This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Fructus HoraeI Medicorum. Fraga, cerafa, ribesia, mora, fructus rubi idaei, etc. Summer fruits: strawberries, cherries, currants, mulberries, raspberries, etc.
These mild sweet subacid fruits are sometimes used medicinally, as refrigerants, antiseptics, relaxants, attenuants and aperients. Boerhaave looks upon their continued use as one of the principal remedies in cases of obstruction and vis-cidity, and in putrid disorders (a); and Hoffman gives instances of some obstinate diseases being cured by them (b): they apparently promote the alvine and urinary excretions; and in some fevers, where watery liquors run off almost unchanged, these fruits or their juices render the urine coloured. As dietetic articles, they afford little nutriment, and are liable to produce flatulencies: to persons of a bilious temperament and rigid fibres, and where the habit is disposed, naturally or from extrinsic causes, to an inflammatory or putrescent state, their moderate, and even plentiful use, is salu-brious: by those of a cold inactive disposition, where the vessels are lax, the circulation languid, and the digestion weak, they should be used very sparingly.
The juices, extracted from fruits by expres-sion, contain their medicinal parts, freed from the grosser indigestible matter. On (landing, they ferment, and change to a vinous or acetous state: by a proper addition of sugar, and by boiling, their fermentative power is sup-pressed, and their medicinal qualities preserved. The inspissated juices are found to be less flatulent, and less disposed, when taken freely, to produce gripes and fluxes, than an equivalent quantity of the fruits in substance or of the juices unboiled.
(a) Elementa chemiae, process. iii. Praxis medica passim.
(b) Med. rational. de affectione phthisica, obs. i. Oper. ;om, iii. p. 295.
These juices, purified from their seculencies by fettling and draining, and made into syrups by a less proportion of sugar, than water or the common watery infusions require. For a quart of the depurated juices of mulberries, raspberries, etc. fifty ounces at most are sufficient; whereas the generality of vegetable infusions require fifty-eight. The more juicy berries give out their juice by heat without expression: if equal parts of picked currants and sugar be set over a gentle fire, the sugar dissolves in the juice of the fruit, and by boiling for a little time, an elegant jelly is formed, which may be freed from the skins by draining. These preparations may be occasionally dissolved in water, and used as diluents, resolvents, etc. in acute and other diseases.
The kernels of the stones of fruits, as of cherries, plums, etc. are of the same general nature with almonds. Those which have any bit-terishness or particular flavour, receive these qualities from a subtile principle; which is extracted by maceration in vinous spirits; which rises in distillation with water; and which, when thus separated from the oily and farinaceous matter of the kernel, and combined with only a small quantity of the menstruum, appears to be, like the flavouring matter of bitter almonds, poisonous. Some physicians having found, that a dislilled water very strongly impregnated with black cherry kernels, no more than two pints being distilled from fourteen pounds of the stones bruised, proves poisonous to brutes; the committee of the London college, appointed to reform their pharmacopoeia, repeated the experiment with the same event.
Syrup, mo-ribis nigr, & rubi idaei Ph.