80. Thymeleaceae.—Mezereum family.
Shrubby plants, with the bark containing strong bast fibers, and very bitter.
365. Mezereum. Mezereon bark.
BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS.—A small shrub with smooth, evergreen, lanceolate leaves. Flowers spicate, appearing before the leaves, rose-colored, 4-lobed. Berry bright red, fleshy, 1-seeded.
HABITAT.—Mountainous regions of Europe, Siberia, Canada, and New England.
DESCRIPTION OF DRUG.—This bark comes to us in tough, pliable strips, from 2 to 4 feet long, 25 Mm. (1 in.) or less broad, always rolled into bundles or balls; the very thin periderm is of a greenish-orange or purple color, marked with transverse scars and minute black dots; beneath it is a soft, greenish parenchymatous layer, from which it separates easily. The inner surface is whitish, covered with irregular layers of white silky bast fibers, tangentially arranged. Fracture tough. Odorless; taste exceedingly acrid.
Powder.—Characteristic elements: See Part iv, Chap. I, B.
CONSTITUENTS.—It contains a crystalline glucoside, daphnin, C15H16O9, which is not the active principle, however, the medical virtues depending upon an acrid resin termed mezerein.
ACTION AND USES.—Sialagogue, stimulant, and alterative. Externally vesicant, in ointment or applied in the form of a small square, moistened. Dose: 1 to 8 gr. (0.065 to 0.6 Gm.).
- Fluidextractum Sarsaparillae Compositum, (3 per cent.) Dose: ½ to 1 ½ fl. dr. (2 to 6 mils).