This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Acacia vera aegyptiaca. Acacia: a sub-astringent gummy substance, usually of a firm consistence, but not very dry; brought from Egypt, in roundish masses, wrapt up in thin bladders, from four to eight ounces in weight; outwardly of a deep brown colour inclining to black, inwardly of a reddish or yellowish brown; prepared by infpiffating, to a due consistence, the juice expressed from the unripe pods of a large prickly tree called by Cafper Bauhine acacia foliis scorpioidis leguminosae: the Mimofa nilotica of Linnaeus.
(a) Haller, Stirp, Helvetic. p. 695; Artemifia 2 &3.
Acacia has no manifest smell. Applied to the tongue, it quickly softens, and discovers a moderately rough not ungrateful taste, which is followed by a kind of sweetishness. It dissolves totally in water, except the impurities, which, in the specimens I examined, amounted to a considerable quantity. Proof spirit dissolves a part: rectified spirit extracts from it little or nothing. This juice appears therefore to be truly of the gummy kind; and to differ essen-tially, in its nature and pharmaceutic properties, from the generality both of astringent juices, as hypociftis and terra japonica, and of astringent vegetables in substance, as bistort and tormentil roots, whose styptic matter is extracted by spirit of wine as well as water.
This mild gummy astringent may be given to advantage in disorders arising from laxity and acrimony, as habitual diarrhoeas, uterine fluors, and catarrhal coughs. It is used by the Egyptians against spittings of blood, in doses of a dram; and employed in collyria for strengthen-ing the eyes, in gargarisms for quinseys, and in glyfters for diarrhoeas (a). Among us, it is scarcely otherwise made use of than as an ingredient in mithridate and theriaca.
(a) Alpinus, de plant. aegypt. cap. 4. & de medicina aegyptior. lib. iv. cap, 14.