This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Coffee: a pale coloured oval seed, some-what smaller than a common bean, convex on one side, flat on the other with a remarkable furrow. It is the produce of a tree of the jas-mine kind, (jasminum arabicum castaneae folio, flore albo odoratissimo, Commelin. hort. amst. Coffaea arabica Linn.) growing in Arabia, and thence introduced into the West Indies: the fruit is a juicy berry, including two of the seeds, joined by the flat sides, and covered each with a thin shell.
Coffee seeds have a farinaceous, somewhat unctuous, bitterish taste, and little or no smell: the flavour, for which they are valued, is procured by gentle roasting; and some of our own seeds and kernels acquire, by that process, a flavour somewhat of the same kind. The roasted seeds, ground into powder, soon lose their flavour in the air, impart it to water and spirit by slight coction or digestion, and give over great part of it with water in distillation. An extract made from them by water is, not disagreeably, bitterish: an extract made by rectified spirit is stronger, and not a. little nauseous.
The dietetic use of coffee is said to strengthen the stomach and promote the secretions; to be serviceable in phlegmatic corpulent habits; to be injurious in thin habits and bilious temperaments, in melancholic and hypochondriacal dis-orders, and to persons subject to hemorrhages.
* From some experiments related by Dr. Percival in Vol. II. of his Essays Medical and Experimental, it appears that coffee is (lightly astringent and antiseptic; that it restrains fermentation; and has a powerful sedative action on the nervous system. Sir John Pringle, in a letter to the same author, recommends strong coffee as the best abator of the paroxysms of the periodic asthma with which he is acquainted. He directs for this purpose an ounce of best Mocha coffee to be made into a single dish, to be repeated fresh after the interval of a quarter or half an hour, and drunk without milk or5 sugar.