This section is from the book "Botanic Drugs Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics", by Thomas S. Blair. Also available from Amazon: Botanic Drugs, Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
Malt, from the partially germinated barley Hordeum distichon. Extract of Malt has the consistency of honey and possesses amylolytic properties. The dose is one tablespoonful. It is a most reliable vehicle for many acrid, resinous, oily, or disagreeable drugs. Malt extract is nutritive, tonic, and laxative. Liquid Malt Extract is a fermented malt extract containing a minimum of alcohol. It is combined with hops, like in beer, and serves as a good bitter and reconstructive tonic possessed of slight soporific properties. Diastase is the active ferment in malt, Taka-diastase being the prominent commercial form used in medicine. It is a starch-digesting enzyme derived from Euro-tium oryzae, a mold. This is grown upon hydrolized wheat bran, developing a diastase three times as active as malt diastase. It acts as a starch-digestant and is given in doses of 1 to 5 grains. It is used in amylaceous dyspepsia.
There are other digestants of vegetable origin. Bromelin is an active ferment derived from Ana-nassa sativa, the Pineapple. It has a tryptic action and, especially in neutral solutions, digests vegetable and animal proteids. It is destroyed by heat. It is not very available as a drug, but fresh pineapple juice has considerable digestive power. Do not confuse bromelin with bromalin; the latter is a substitute for the bromides.
Papain, or Papayotin, also known as Caroid, is the concentrated active principle of the juice of Carica papaya, a tropical melon known as the Papaw. It is given in 2- to 5-grain doses with sodium bicarbonate. It aids in dissolving mucus in the stomach in gastric ulcer and other conditions. Papain is the more active agent of the class. A 5% solution in equal parts of glycerin and water dissolves false membrane in croup. These agents are not of as great clinical value as was formerly thought to be the case.