This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Pimento Pharm. Lond. Pimenta five piper jamaicense Pharm, Edinb. Amomum Pharm. Wirtemb. Jamaica Pepper, Pimento, Allspice: the dried aromatic berry of a large tree growing in the mountainous parts of Jamaica, reckoned a species of myrtle, and called by Sir Hans Sloane myrtus arborea aromatica soliis lau-rinis, by Linnaeus myrtus (pimenta) foliis alternis.
Pimento is a moderately warm spice, of an agreeable flavour, somewhat resembling that of a mixture of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmegs, Distilled with water, it yields an elegant essen-tial oil, so ponderous as to sink in the aqueous fluid, in taste moderately pungent, in smell and flavour approaching to oil of cloves, or rather a mixture of those of cloves and nutmegs: the remaining decoction, infpiffated, leaves an extract somewhat ungrateful but not pungent, and the berry itself is now found to be almost wholly deprived of its taste as well as flavour; the warmth of this spice residing rather in the volatile than in the fixt parts. To rectified spirit it imparts, by maceration or digestion, the whole of its virtue, together with a brownish green tincture: in distillation, it gives over nothing considerable to this menstruum, nearly all its active matter remaining concentrated in the in-fpiffated extract; which is very warm and pungent, but not of a fiery heat like those obtained from the foregoing sorts of pepper.
This spice, at first brought over for dietetic uses, has been long employed in the shops as a succedaneum to the more costly oriental aroma-tics; from them it was introduced into our hos-pitals, and is now received both in the London and Edinburgh pharmacopoeias. A simple water is directed to be distilled from it, in the proportion of a gallon or ten pounds from half a pound: this is strongly impregnated with the flavour of the pimento, though it is less elegant than the spirituous water which the shops have been accustomed to prepare, by drawing off two or three gallons of proof spirit from the same quantity of the spice. The Edinburgh college directs only nine pounds from this quantity. The essential oil does not seem to be much known in practice; though it promises to be a very useful one, and might, doubtless, on many occasions, supply the place of many of the dearer oils. The quantity of oil afforded by the spice is very considerable: Cartheufer indeed says, that only about half a dram is to be got from sixteen ounces; a mistake, which probably has arisen from inadvertence in copying Neumann's proportion, of half a dram from an ounce, or one sixteenth: so large a proportion as this last cannot, however, be collected in its proper form, the oil that remains dissolved in the distilled water being here included.