Extractum Phytolaccae.—Extract of Poke.
Preparation.—Exhaust the recently dried leaves of poke, in coarse powder, with diluted alcohol, a sufficient quantity, proceeding in the same manner as explained for the preparation of Alcoholic Extracts, on page 758. Extract of poke prepared in this manner, is superior to that prepared in the ordinary way with water. The leaves employed in the preparation of the extract should be gathered immediately previous to the ripening of the berries, at which period they are the most active. An extract is prepared from the poke-root in the same manner. An extract formed by evaporating the expressed juice of the recent ripe berries is frequently employed, and has been recently highly lauded as an antifat.
Medical Uses and Dosage.—These various extracts of poke are emetic and purgative in large doses; in medicinal doses they are alterative, and are especially useful in syphilitic, mercurio-syphilitic, and rheumatic diseases, and particularly in the osteocopic pains of mercurio-syphilis. They lose their virtues by age, and should be freshly prepared every year. The dose is from 1 to 5 grains, or more, 3 times a day. The inspissated juice of poke-berries (Succus inspissatus phytolaccae baccae), is frequently employed as a valuable agent in rheumatism; it is milder than the extract prepared from the root or leaves. The dose, both as an antifat and in rheumatism, is from 2 to 5 grains 3 times daily. Since, so far as we know, all advertised antifat remedies are given by specialists in connection with heavy doses of cathartics, the inference is that the cathartic deserves the credit for the loss of flesh.