Andira inermis. Cabbage-tree Bark.

Botanical name: 

Nat. Ord. — Fabaceae. Sex. Syst. — Diadelphia Decandria.

The Bark.

Description. — Andira Inermis, (Geoffroya Inermis), is a tree of mode rate hight, branched toward the top, and covered with a smooth gray bark ; the branches are suberect at their extremities, terete, glabrous, ash-colored. The leaves are about a foot in length, alternate, unequally pinnate, consisting of five to eight pairs of oblong-lanceolate, acuminate, veined, smooth leaflets, of a dark-green color, on short roundish ferruginous downy stalks, with a terminal one on a longer footstalk. The flowers are rose- colored, large, branched, and arranged in erect, axillary, terminal downy panicles, with very short pedicels. The calyx is turbinate-campanulate, covered with ferruginous down, of a dark-purple color, and divided into five obtuse segments. The corolla is of a pale-rose color, papilionaceous, having a concave vexillum, emarginate at the top, and longer than the carina. The stamens are purple, diadelphous, with roundish anthers. The ovary is oval, with a tapering, curved style, and hooked stigma. The fruit resembles a small plum, is pulpy, and contains a hard nut, or legume.

History. — This tree is a native of Jamaica and other of the West India Islands. The bark is the officinal part ; it is in long, thick, fibrous pieces, externally of a brownish-ash color, and generally covered with lichens, and internally yellowish. It has a resinous fracture, a disagreeable smell, and a sweetish, mucilaginous, bitterish taste.

Properties and Uses. — Cabbage-tree Bark is emetic, purgative, and anthelmintic. It is thought by some to be a dangerous acro-narcotic in large doses, causing troublesome sickness, fever, and delirium ; on which account it is not much used in practice, although it has proved effectual in removing the lumbricoid worms. Dose of the powdered bark, from a scruple to a drachm ; of the extract three grains ; of the syrup or decoction, a teaspoonful two or three times a day. If any narcotic or other unpleasant effects arise, a dose of castor-oil must be administered, and the patient must take freely of lime-juice.

The American Eclectic Dispensatory, 1854, was written by John King, M. D.