372. Pimenta, N. F.—Allspice.

Botanical name: 

Fig. 186. Pimenta officinalis. The nearly ripe dried fruit of Pimen'ta officina'lis Lindley, including not more than 5 per cent. of stems and foreign matter.

BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS.—An elegant tree about 30 feet high, evergreen. Leaves pellucid-punctate, petiolate. Flowers in racemes, white. Calyx and petals 4-fold, the latter greenish-white. Fruit a berry, covered by the roundish, persistent base of the calyx. After ripening, they lose their aromatic warmth and acquire a somewhat juniper-like taste; hence they are gathered in the unripe state.

SOURCE.—West Indies, Mexico, and South America, the principal source being Jamaica, from which it has received the name of Jamaica pepper.

DESCRIPTION OF DRUG.—Globular, about the size of a large pea; picked while yet green, becoming wrinkled and brownish on drying, with the four calyx-teeth and the short style still adherent to the apex, or a raised ring marking the position of the calyx-teeth; it is divided into two cells, each of which contains a single, brownish, plano-convex seed. The pericarp is finely tuberculated with numerous oil tubercles. Odor spicy and agreeably pungent; taste clove-like.

Fig. 301. Powdered Piments. Powder.—Reddish-brown. Characteristic elements: Parenchyma of endosperm, with starch and resin; parenchyma of pericarp, with starch, resin, and calcium oxalate in aggregate crystals about 10µ, in diam.; sclerenchyma with stone cells, having simple, branching pores; trichomes, short, one-celled; large oil and resin ducts; starch grains, spherical, 10µ simple or compound. See Fig. 301.

CONSTITUENTS.—The properties depend upon a volatile oil and a green, acrid fixed oil, existing to the extent of 10 per cent. and 8 per cent. respectively in the pericarp, and in considerably less quantities in the embryo. The yield of total ash should not exceed: 6 per cent. of which the amount soluble in dilute HCl should not exceed 0.5 per cent.

ACTION AND USES.—Stimulant and carminative, as an adjuvant to tonic and purgative mixtures. Dose: 5 to 30 gr. (0.3 to 2 Gm.).

372a. OLEUM PIMENTAE (U.S.P. IX).—A colorless, or pale yellow, volatile oil, becoming thick and reddish-brown by age. Specific gravity 1.02 to 1.05, It closely resembles oil of cloves (q.v.), but has a more pleasant and less pungent odor; taste aromatic. Consists, like oil of cloves, of a light and a heavy oil, the heavy oil being identical with eugenol.

ACTION AND USES.—Same as the other stimulant aromatic oils. Dose: 1 to 5 drops (0.065 to 0.3 mil).


Spiritus Myrciae (U.S.P. 1890) (0.05 per cent.).

A Manual of Organic Materia Medica and Pharmacognosy, 1917, was written by Lucius E. Sayre, B.S. Ph. M.