This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Pistachio Nut: an oblong, pointed nut, about the size and shape of a filberd; including a kernel of a pale greenish colour, covered with a yellowish or reddim skin. It is the produce of a large tree, with winged leaves, resembling those of the afh, piftacia peregrina fructu racemofo five terebinthus indica theopbrafti C. B. Piflacbia vera Linn, which grows fpon-taneoufly in the eastern countries, and bears the cold of our own.
Pistachio nuts have a pleasant sweetish unctuous taste, resembling that of sweet almonds: their principal difference from which confifts in their having rather a greater degree of sweetness, accompanied with a light grateful flavour, and in being more oily, arid hence some-what more emollient, and perhaps more nutritious. They have been ranked among the principal analeptics, and greatly esteemed by some in certain weaknesses and emaciations. They are taken chiefly in substance, their greenish hue rendering them unsightly in the form of an emulsion. They are very liable to grow rancid in keeping.
Ol. nucis mosch. ex-preforum, macis vulgc dictm Ph. Lond. & Ed.
Nux Vomica Pharm. Parif. Nux me-tella. Vomic nut: a flat roundish seed or kernel, about an inch broad and near a quarter of an inch thick, with a prominence in the middle on both sides, of a grey colour, covered with a kind of woolly matter, internally hard and tough like horn. It is the produce of a large tree growing in the East Indies, called by Plukenet cucurbitifera malabarienfis; anoplia foliis rolundis, fructu orbiculari rubro cujus grana Junt nuces vomica officinarum; by Linnasus, Strychnos Nux Vomica.
This seed discovers to the taste a consider-able bitterness, but makes little or no im-preflion on the organs of smell. It has been recommended in tertian and quartan fevers, in virulent gonorrhoeas, and as an alexipharmac: Fallopius relates, that it was given with suc-cess in the plague;. that in doses of from a fcru-pie to half a dram, it procured a plentiful sweat; and that where this evacuation happened, the patient recovered (a). At present it is looked upon, and not without good foundation, as a deleterious drug; which, though like many other deleterious substances, capable, in certain doses and in certain circumstances, of producing happy effects, has its salutary and pernicious operations so nearly and so indetermin-ably allied, that common prudence forbids its being ventured on. Hoffman tells us of a girl of ten years of age, to whom ftfteen grains, given at twice, for the cure of an obstinate quartan, proved mortal (a). The principal symptoms it has been observed to produce, in human subjects and brutes (b) are, great anxieties, strong convulsions or epileptic fits, paralytic tremors and resolutions, a great increase of the motion of the heart and of respiration, and Teachings and subversions of the stomach. Dif-fections of dogs killed by it have shewn no material injury of the groffer parts; from whence we may presume that it is the nervous system which it immediately offends. It is probable, that the active matter of this seed is of the same nature with that of bitter almonds, but more developed and in a more concentrated slate.
(a) Tract. de tumoribus praternaturalibus, cap. 27.
* The nux vomica was lately used in Sweden in an epidemic dysentery, as it is said, with remarkably good effects. A scruple of the powder was given to adults once a day in barley water, proper evacuants having been premised. Bergius, however, afferts, that though the flux was suppressed for twelve hours by this medicine, it never failed to return. He also mentions a case in which the above dose caused convulsive stretchings and vertigo; and after the cure of the dysentery by other medicines, a pain in the stomach and epigastric region remained for a long tine. In the isle of Ceylon the nux vomica is said to be used internally as a specific against the bite of a species of water snake.
(a) Pbilofophia corp. human, morboft, P. ii. cap, viii. § 8.
(b) Vide Wepfer, De cicuta aquatica* cap. xiii. p. 194, & feq (c) Mat. Med. 145.
The wood or roots of the tree, or of other trees of the same genus, are sometimes brought from the East Indies under the name of lignum colubrinum (Pharm. Parif.) or snakewood, in pieces about the thickness of a man's arm, covered with a brownish or rusty coloured bark, internally of a yellowish colour with whitish streaks.
This wood, in rasping or scraping, emits a faint not disagreeable smell; and when chewed for some time discovers a very bitter table. Cartheufer relates, that it gives a gold-coloured tincture both to water and spirit, and that the infpiffated extracts are brownish; that the watery mfufion has an agreeable smell like that of rhodium, the spirituous little or none; that the infusions and extracts made with both menstrua are very bitter; that the quantity of watery extract amounts to one fifth of the wood, and that of the spirituous to near one fourth; and that the wood remaining after the action of spirit, yields still, to water, a gold-coloured tincture, and one eighth its weight of a bitter subacrid extract: from whence water appears to be the proper menstruum of its active matter.
The lignum colubrinum has been recommended, in small doles, not exceeding half a dram, as an anthelmintic, and in obstinate quartans, jaundices, cachexies, and other chronical disorders: it is said to operate most commonly by sweat, fometimes by stool, and sometimes by vomit. It appears however to be possessed of the same ill qualities with the nux vomica itself, though in a lower degree, having in sun-dry instances been productive of convulsions, tremors, stupors, and disorders of the senses.
The faba indie a Pharm. Parif. Fab a fancti ignatii, or faba febrifuga, is the produce of a tree of the same kind, growing in the East Indies and in the Philippine islands, called by Pluke-net cucurbitifera malabatbri foliis fcandens, cata-longay & contara pbilippims orientalibus dicta, cujus nuclei pepitas de befayas aut catbalogan & fabae fancti ignatii ab bifpanis, igafur & mananaog infulanis nuncupati; by Linnaeus, Strycbnos Ignatii. The seeds of the gourd-like fruit, improperly called beans, are of a roundish figure, very irregular and uneven, about the size of a middling nutmeg, semitransparent, and of a hard horny texture.
These seeds have a very bitter taste, and no considerable smell: when fresh they are said to have somewhat of a musky scent. Neumann observes, that an extract made of them by rectified spirit impresses at first a very agreeable bit-terness, somewhat like that of peach kernels, which going off leaves in the mouth a strong bitter; that an extract made with water is like-wife bitter; that the watery extract is greenish and in quantity one half of the seeds, the fpiri-tious yellowish and little more than one fifth ■, that the seeds remaining after the action of water scarcely gave out any thing to spirit, but that after spirit they yielded above one fourth of extract with water.
St. Ignatius's bean is said by father Camelli to be employed by the common people in the Philippine islands against all deleaves. The effects attributed to it are similar to those of the two foregoing substances: he observes, that it generally vomits, sometimes purges, and almost always produces in the Europeans, though not in the Indians, spasmodic motions; that the dose in substance, as an emetic, is ten or twelve grains, to be taken an hour after eating; and that in smaller doses it sometimes promotes a plentiful sweat. (a). Neumann says he has known intermitting fevers cured by drinking, on the approach of a paroxysm, an infusion of some grains of the seed made in carduus water (b); and I have been informed, that two grains were found to have as much effect: as a full dose of bark. This seed, nevertheless, as it apparently partakes of the qualities of the two preceding articles, seems much too hazardous for general use.