This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
GeoffraeJamaicensis inermis Dris Wright. Geoffraea Pharm. Edinb. Cabbage bark, or worm-bark tree. This is a tree growing abundantly in the low savannahs of Jamaica, of a considerable height, but no great thickness. it has a straight smooth trunk, and fends off its branches near the top. It bears dark green leaves, and rose-coloured flowers of the papilionaceous kind, set in purple flower-cups. These are succeeded by a, green hard fruit, of the size of a small plum, having a skin the thickness of a crown piece, and a nut within*
(a) Michael Schendo, Acta phyfico-medica acad. nat. curios, vol. i. anno 1727. Append, p. 112.
Extracttum gentianae Ph. Lond. & Ed.
The bark of this tree is externally of a grey colour, black and furrowed on the inside. To the taste it is mucilaginous and sweettfh. It smells disagreeably, whence it has been called by some the bulge-water tree. It has been long a celebrated anthelmintic in the West Indies, and has lately been introduced into European practice.
The first account we meet with of its use is in a letter from Mr. Duguid, in Vol. ii. of Essays Physical and Literary. Several subsequent accounts appeared in different numbers of the Medical Commentaries. But the fullest relation, together with an accurate botanical description of the plant, is given by Dr. William Wright in the Philosophical Transactions, Vol. lxxvii* Part II.
The bark is used in the several forms of decoction, syrup, powder and extract. For making the decoction, an ounce of fresh-dried bark is to be boiled slowly in a quart of water, till the liquor be of the colour of Madeira wine* This is to be drained off for use. The syrup is made by adding a sufficient quantity of sugar to this decoction. By evaporating the decoction, the extract is formed, which must be carefully stirred during the process, to prevent the res]i-nous part from rising to the top. The decoction is generally preferred in Jamaica, and seems to be the most efficacious as an anthelmintic.
As this medicine is rather a violent one, it should always be exhibited at first in small doses. The most immediate effect of these is to produce nausea, which is succeeded by brisk purging, especially when the powder is given. If cold water is drank during its operation, it is apt to occasion sickness, vomiting, fever, and delirium. These symptoms, whether occasionted by this cause, or by an over dose, are removed by washing the stomach with warm water, purging with castor oil, and giving plenty of drink acidulated with vegetable acid, which last seems" a kind of specific against -its deleterious effects. The manner in which Mr. Anderson, the writer of a paper concerning it in.vol. iv. of the Medical Commentaries, recommends its exhibition, is to give gradually augmented doses of the decoction for eight or nine mornings successively, and then a dose of jalap and calomel, which seldom fails to bring away the worms, some dead, and some alive. This writer also remarks, that there are two kinds of the bark, one much paler than the other, which acts with greater violence.