This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
A tree, which has attained great celebrity, is that called Cedron (Simaba Cedron, Planch.) The most ancient record of it which I can find is in the "History of the Buccaneers," an old work published in London, in the year 1699. Its use, as an antidote for snakes, and place of growth, are there distinctly stated; but whether on the authority of the natives, or accidentally discovered by the pirates, docs not appear. If the former was the case, they must have learned it while on some of their cruizes on the Magda-lena. for in the Isthmus the very existence of the tree was unsuspected until about 1845, when Don Juan de Ansoatigui ascertained, by com-parison, that the Cedron of Panama and Darien was identical with that of Carthagena. The virtues of its seeds, however, were known, years ago, from those fruits imported from the Mag-dalena, where, according to Mr. William Pur-die, the plant grows in profusion about the village of San Pablo. In the Isthmus it is generally found on the outskirts of forests in almost every part of the country, but in greater abundance in Darien and Veraguas, than in Panama. The natives hold it in high esteem, and always carry a piece of the seed about with them.
When a person is bitten, a little, mixed with water, is applied to the wound, and about two grains scraped into brandy, or, in the absence of it. into water, is administered internally. By following this treatment the bites of the most venomous snakes, scorpions, centipedes, and other noxious animals, have been unattended by dangerous consequences. Doses of it have also proved highly beneficial in cases of intermittent fever. The Cedron is a tree, from 12 to 16 feet high; its simple trunk is about 6 inches in diameter, and clothed on the top with long pinnated leaves, which give it the appearance of a Palm. Its flowers are greenish, and the fruit resembles very much an unripe Peach. Each seed, or cotyledon I should rather say, is sold in the chemists' shops of Panama for two or three reals (about Is. or Is. 6d. English,) and sometimes a much larger price is given for them. - Hooker't Journal of Botany.