Chiococca Racemosa. Cahinca.
Nat. Ord. — Cinchonaceae. Sex. Syst. — Pentandria Monogynia.
The Bark of the Root.
Description. — A subscandent shrub, somewhat resembling the Jasmine, with opposite branches. Leaves oval, acuminate, or sometimes obtuse, on a short petiole ; they are entire, very smooth, and furnished with two short, acuminate stipules, which are connate at their edges. The flowers are in axillary racemes, generally shorter than the leaves; they are usually secund ; at first they are white and inodorous, and afterward yellow and fragrant. The fruit is a small, white, compressed berry. There are several varieties, differing in the form of the leaves, and more or less scandent character of the shrub.
History. — This plant, sometimes called Snowberry, is a native of the West Indies, South America, and also of the sea-coast of Florida. The root, as found in commerce, is of a reddish-brown color, in cylindrical pieces of various sizes and lengths, somewhat contorted, slightly wrinkled longitudinally, with occasional small asperities, and having a thin, brittle, reddish-brown bark externally, and an internal ligneous portion. The cortical part, which contains the medical virtues, is of a bitter, disagreeable taste, somewhat acrid and astringent, and possesses an unpleasant odor. Water or alcohol extracts its active principles.
Properties and Uses. — Tonic, diuretic, purgative, and emetic. In moderate doses it gently excites the circulation, increases the discharge of urine, and produces evacuations from the bowels, but is rather slow in its operation. If warm drinks are used, and the surface of the body kept warm, it will produce diaphoresis, and not purge. In large doses it operates powerfully as an emetic and cathartic. It has been found efficient in dropsy, amenorrhea, rheumatism, syphilis, and osteocopus. In Brazil it is used by the natives as a remedy for the bites of poisonous snakes. It may be used in substance, decoction, tincture, or extract. Dose of the powdered bark of the root, as a diuretic and purgative, from twenty to sixty grains ; of the aqueous or spirituous extract, which is preferred, from ten to twenty grains.