The air-hardened gumresin of Dorema ammoniacum, Don. (Peucedanum ammoniacum, H. Baillon) and of several species of Ferula, produced by the puncture of insects, was used during antiquity for incense, for embalming and, in all probability, for medicinal purposes as well. In ancient literature both the plant and the gumresin are mentioned repeatedly. Both Dioscorides1) and Pliny2) mention that the gumresin was named after that of the temple of Jupiter Ammon in the Libyan desert in the neighborhood of which it was produced. Dioscorides' description seems to harmonize with that of Ferula marmarica, Aschers et Taub., found in Barka (Cyrenaica). Later the African gumresin was replaced by that from Dorema ammoniacum, Don. Hence the translators of Dioscorides into Arabian, some of whom were Persians, erroneously applied the Persian name Uschaq also to the African gumresin.3) One of the earliest mentions of ammoniac is to be found in an Alexandrian tariff list for Indian goods, which was compiled during the years 176 to 180 A. D. under the emperors Marcus Aurelius and Commodorus.4) Persian ammoniac is mentioned as medicament under the Persian name Uschaq during the 10. and 11. centuries in the writings of the physicians Isaac judasus5) and Alhervi in Bochara.6) Other ancient medical treatises, among them those of Scribonus Largus, Alexander Trallianus, and others, mention the gumresin as a current drug.
1) Vincent, Commerce and Navigation of the Ancients in the Indian Ocean. London 1807. p. 692. - Meyer, Geschichte der Botanik. 1855. Vol. 2, p. 167.
2) Douet d'Arcq, Comptes de I'Argenterie des roisde France. 1851. p. 236.
3) Pasi, Tariff a de Pesi e Misure. Venetiae 1503. fol. 204.
4) Fontanon, Edicts etOrdonnances des wis de France. 1585. Vol. 2, p. 388. 5) Gualtherus Ryff, New gross Destillirbuch. 1545. fol. 179.- See also p. 48.
6) See p. 53. - Euonymus Philiatrus, Fin kostlicher theurer Schatz. 1555. p. 237.
7) Hieronymi Rubei, Liber de destillatione. Basiliae 1581. Cap. 5, p. 148.
8) Caspar Neumann, Chymia medica dogmatico-experimentalis. Editio Kessel. 1749. p. 422. - Zimmermann, Praelectiones chemicae. Berlin 1740. p. 853.
9) A. F. Walther, De o/eis vegetabilium essentialibus. Dissertatio. Lipsiae 1745.
10) Berl. Jahrbuch der Pharm. 1816, 230.
11) Trommsdorff's Neues Journ. der Pharm. 1, I. (1817), 3.
The oil of gum ammoniac was distilled by Walter Ryff,7) Val. Cordus, and Conrad Gesner.8) It is included in the Frankfurt tax for the year 1587, and in the Dispensatorium Noricum of 1589.
The earlier investigations were made by Buchholz9) of Erfurt in 1808, by Calmeyer10) of Hamburg in 1808, by H. Braconnot11) in 1809, and by Hagen12) of Konigsberg in 1814.
1) Dioscoridis De materia medica libri quinque. Editio Kuhn-Sprengel. 1829. Vol. 1, p. 439.
2) Plinii Naturalis historiae libri. Liber XII, cap. 25.
3) O. Stapf, Kew Bull. 1907 (No. 10), 375. Report of Schimmel & Co., April 1908, 14.
4) Meyer, Geschichte der Botanik. 1855. Vol. 2, p. 167. 5) Isaaci Judaei Opera omnia. Lugduni 1515. Lib. II. Cap. 44. In Choulant's Handbuch der Bucherkunde fur die altere Medicin. Leipzig 1841.
6) F. R. Seligmann, Codex Vindobonensis. Liber fundamentorum Pharmacologiae. 1830. p. 35.
7) Gualtherus Ryff, New gross Desti/iirbuch. 1567. fol. 177b.- See also p. 46. 8) See p. 53. - Euonymi Philiatri Ein kostlicher theurer Schatz. 1555. p. 237. 9) Buchholz, Taschenbuch fur Scheidekunstler und Apotheker 1809, 170.
10) Trommsdorff's Journ. der Pharm. 17, II. (1808), 82.
11) Ann.deChim.68(1808).-Trommsdorff's Journ.d.Pharm. 18,1. (1809),202.
12) Berl. Jahrbuch der Pharm. 1815, 95.