Buxus. Buxus sempervirens L. Evergreen Box. (Fam. Buxaceae.)—This evergreen shrub is too well known to require description. Though much cultivated in this country as an ornamental plant, it is a native of Europe and Western Asia.
The wood is considered diaphoretic in its native countries, and is used in decoction in rheumatism, secondary syphilis, etc. The leaves, which have a peculiar odor and a bitter and disagreeable taste, are said to be purgative in the dose of a drachm. A volatile oil distilled from the wood has been given in epilepsy. A tincture formerly enjoyed some reputation as an antiperiodic. (Merat and De Lens.) The alkaloid buxine, which has been discovered in the leaves of this tree, is identical with the bebeerine of nectandra bark. (See p. 1274; also P. J., Oct., 1869, 194.) Pavia obtained a second alkaloid from Buxus sempervirens, which was investigated by Pavesi and Rotondi. (Jahresberichte, 1874, 903.) They named it parabuxine, and ascribed to it the formula C22H48N2O. Barbaglia (A. J. P., 1885, 145) described still another alkaloid, parabuxinidine. It crystallizes in thin, colorless prisms, is insoluble in water, soluble in ether, freely soluble in alcohol, and colors turmeric paper deep red.