This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Cyperus: a plant with grass-like leaves, and three-square stalks, branched at top, bearing tufts of small imperfect flowers, each of which is followed by a naked triangular seed. It is perennial.
1. Cyperus longus Pharm. Paris. & Linn. Cyperus odoratus radice longa five cyperus qffici-narum C. B. Cyperus or English galangal: with a long slender root, crooked and full of knots, of a dark brown or blackish colour on the outside, and whitish within. It grows wild in marshy places in some parts of England: the shops have been usually supplied from Italy and France, with dried roots, not superiour to those which are produced in our own country.
Cyperus root has a pleasant aromatic smell, and a warm bitterish taste; both which it imparts almost totally to watery and to spirituous menstrua: it tinges the former of a dark reddish brown colour, the latter of a bright reddish yellow. In distillation, it impregnates water with its grateful smell; but yields, at least when only moderate quantities are submitted to the operation, no separable oil: rectified spirit carries offl likewise, in evaporation or distillation, a great part of its odorous matter. The watery extract is moderately bitter, slightly pungent, and subastringent: the spirituous is in taste bitterer and warmer; but has not much smell, any more than the watery extract:. The quantity of both extracts is very nearly alike, amounting to about one fourth of the weight of the root.
2. Cyperus rotundus Pharm. Paris. & Linn. Cyperus rotundus orientalis major C. B. Round cyperus: with several roundish roots, about the size and shape of an olive, connected by fibres, rough and rusty-coloured on the out-side, whitish or yellowish within. It is a native of the East Indies, from whence the roots are sometimes, but rarely, brought to us. It is said to grow wild also in France.
This root has the same kind of smell and taste, and nearly in the same degree, as the foregoing. It differs, according to Cartheufer's examination of it, in giving a gold yellow tincture to water, in yielding a little more extract, one third its weighty both with water and spirit; and in the spirituous extract being more tenacious or resinous.