Simaruba. Simaruba amara.
Simaruba.—Under this name the U. S. P. formerly recognized the bark of the root of S. amara Aublet (S. officinalis DC.) Ecorce de simarouba, Fr. Simarubarinde, Ruhrrinde, G. Corteccia di Simaruba, It. Cortesa de Simaruba, Sp. (Fam. Simarubaceae.) This is a tree of considerable height, having alternate branches, with a bark which in the old tree is black and somewhat furrowed, in the young is smooth, gray, and marked here and there with broad yellow spots.
Simaruba bark is in long pieces, from 4 to 12 cm. wide and 2 to 5 mm. thick, folded lengthwise, light, flexible, tenacious, very fibrous, externally of a light brownish-yellow color, rough, warty, and marked with transverse ridges, internally of a pale yellow. It ia without odor, and of a bitter taste. It readily imparts its virtues, at ordinary temperatures, to water and alcohol. The infusion is at least equally bitter with the decoction, which becomes turbid as it cools. Its constituents, according to Morin, are a bitter principle identical with quassin, C10H12O3, to which Gilling (P. J., 1908, lxxxi) ascribes the formula, C22H30PO9, a resinous matter, a volatile oil having the odor of benzoin, malic acid, gallic acid in very minute proportion, an ammoniacal salt, calcium malate and oxalate, some mineral salts, ferric oxide, silica, ulmin, and lignin.
It is a native of French Guiana and the Islands of Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Barbadoes, in the West Indies. A closely related species, having, however, dioecious instead of monoecious flowers, nourishes in Jamaica, San Domingo, Bahama Islands, Panama and Guatemala, extending even to Florida; it is called in Jamaica mountain damson, and is known as S. glauca DC. (S. officinalis Macf., not DC.) The two species have probably identical medicinal properties. The bark of the root is the part employed, the wood being nearly tasteless and inert. The middle bark contains much resin. A decoction of the bark and leaves ofS. versicolor St.-Hil. (Cortex Paraibae), is employed in Brazil as an antidote for snakebites and in the treatment of syphilis and tapeworm; the powder is used against vermin.
Simaruba possesses the same tonic properties as other simple bitters. In large doses it is said to purge and vomit. On account of its difficult pulverization, it is seldom given in substance. The best mode of administration is by infusion. The dose is from twenty grains to a drachm (1.3-3.9 Gm.).