This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Myrobalani Parm. Paris. Myro-balans: dried fruits, of the plum kind, brought from the East Indies. Five sorts, produced by different trees, have been distinguished in the shops.
1. Myrobalani belliricae: Myrobalani rotundaw belliricae, arabibus belleregi, etc. C. B. Belliric myrobalans: of a yellowish grey colour, and an irregularly roundish or oblong figure, about an inch in length, and three quarters of an inch thick.
1. Myrobalani citrinae: Myrobalani tere-tes citrini bilem purgantes C. B. Yellow myro-balans: somewhat longer than the preceding; with generally five large longitudinal ridges?
(a) Linnaeus. Flora lapponica, p. 264.
(b) Hagendorn, Cynofbatologia, p. 74.
and as many smaller between them; somewhat pointed at both ends.
3. Myrobalani chebulae: Myrobalani max-imi angulofi situitam purgantes, arabibus quebolia, etc. C. B. Chebule myrobalans: resembling the yellow in figure and ridges, but larger, of a darker colour inclining to brown or blackish, and with a thicker pulp.
4. Myrobalani emblicae, arabibus embelgi, etc. C. B. Myrobalani emblicae in segmentis nucleum habentes angulosae J. B. Emblic myrobalans: of a dark blackish grey colour, round-ish, about half an inch thick, with six hexagonal faces opening from one another; the fruit of the Phyllanthus Emblica of Linnaeus.
5. Myrobalani indicae: Myrobalani nigrae octangulares C. B. Myrobalani indicae nigrae fine nucleis J. B. Indian or black myrobalans: of a deep black colour, oblong, octangular, differing from all the others, in having no stone, or only the rudiments of one; from whence they are supposed to have been gathered before maturity.
All the myrobalans have an unpleasant, bitterish, very austere taste; and strike an inky blackness with solution of chalybeate vitriol They are said to have a gently purgative, as well as an astringent and corroborating virtue; and are directed to be given, in substance from half a dram to four drams, and in infusion or slight decoction from four to twelve drams. It is said also, that the fruit in substance acts barely as a styptic, without exerting its purgative quality; that this last is discovered only in the infusions (a), and that by boiling it is dissipated or destroyed (b). A difference of this kind, between the fruit and its infusions, might be easily conceived, if the aftringency of the myro-balans was not extracted by watery liquors, but the contrary of this was found on trial to be true; the infusions, decoctions, and the decoctions infpirffated to the consistence of an extract, being strongly styptic. In this country, they have long been entire strangers to practice, and are now discarded, by the colleges both of London and of Edinburgh, from their catalogue of officinals.