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 seeds.
Description. -- This is a moderate-sized tree, with a short and pretty thick trunk. The wood is white, hard, and bitter. The leaves are opposite, oval, and smooth on both sides. Flowers small, greenish-white, funnel-shaped, and have a disagreeable odor. The fruit is a berry, round, and about the size of a large apple, enclosing five whitish seeds.
History. -- It is an inhabitant of Coromandel, Ceylon, and other parts of the East Indies. The active principles of the seeds are strychnine and brucia.
Properties and Uses. -- It is an energetic poison, exerting its influence chiefly upon the cerebro-spinal system. It is supposed to affect the spinal cord principally. It is a favorite medicine for paralysis and nervous debility generally. If a poisonous dose is given it will produce spasms like tetanus or lock-jaw. It is tonic, and increases the action of various excretory organs. Where want of nervous energy exists it is an admirable remedy. Its range of service is quite extensive, and valuable for many indications; but as great caution is required in its administration, it should only be employed by the educated physician.