This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
MEDICINAL PART. The seed.
Description. -- Simaba is a small tree, with an erect stem about half a foot in diameter, branching luxuriantly at the top. Leaves obovate, large, and serrated; flowers sessile, pale brown, and the fruit a solitary drupe.
History. -- This tree grows in New Grenada and Central America. Its value as a medicinal agent has long been known in Costa Rica, Trinidad, etc., and from thence was communicated to scientific gentlemen in France. The seed, which is the part used, is about an inch and a half long, nearly an inch broad, and about half an inch thick. It is hard, but can be easily cut by a common knife. It is inodoous, but tastes like quassia or aloes, and yields its properties to water or alcohol. In South America the properties of these seeds were known as early as the year 1700. At that time they were applied more especially as an antidote to the bites of poisonous serpents, and similar affections.
Properties and Uses. -- It is an antispasmodic, and one of the most valuable articles of the kind known to educated herbalists. It is very useful in all nervous affections, and is administered in one or two grain doses. As it can only be obtained from those who, like myself, import it especially, it is unnecessary to say that it should not be administered without the advice of competent herbal physicians. To give an idea of its value as an antispasmodic, I mention that it is a cure for hydrophobia, and an antidote for the majority of acro-narcotic poisons.