This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Simarouba Pharm. Lond. & Edinb. the bark of the Quassia, Simarouba, Linn, suppl. Quaffia dioica, Pharm. Suec, Evonymus fructu nigra tetragono Barrer, aequin, It is brought from Guiana, in long pieces, of a yellowish white colour, light, tough, and of a fibrous texture.
(a) The Edinburgh college give the Convallaria Polygonatum of Linnaeus as their species.
(b) Cullen, Mat, Mid, (c) Id.
Mr. de Juffieu reports, that this bark is of common use in Guiana, against dysenteric fluxes, and was brought from thence into Europe in the year 1713: that the fluxes which, in France, succeeded the excessively hot sum-rner of 1718, and which not only refilled, but were aggravated by, purgatives, astringents, and ipecacoanha, happily yielded to simarauba: that decoctions of an ounce or half an ounce in a small quantity of water, the dose used by the natives of Guiana, occasioned often vomiting, almost always uneasy sweats, and sometimes an increase of the bloody and serous discharges by stool; but that a decoction of two drams in a quart of water, boiled to the consumption of one third, divided into four doses, and taken warm at intervals of three hours, abated the pain in one day, and when continued for a short time completed the cure, without producing any nausea or disturbance: that it is not accompanied with the ill effects of astringents: that it abates spasmodic and hysteric symp-toms: that it answers best in fluxes of the ferofo-bilious, bloody and mucous kind, sup-ported by a convulsive motion of the intestines, where there is no fever, where the functions pf the stomach are unhurt, and in tenesmi (a). Dr. Degner likewise made use of this bark in the above form, with good success, after proper evacuations, in an epidemic putrid dysentery, which raged at Nimeguen during the summer and autumn of 1736: he says it acted mildly and almost insensibly, and that its effects were speedier in bloody than in bilious dischargcs: he takes notice also that the barks procured under the name of fimaruba, in different parts of Holland, from Leipfick, and from Paris, differed greatly in quality from one another; but does not mention what! the differences were, nor the qualities of the genuine or best sort (a).
(a) Mem. de l'acad. des scienc. de Paris, 1729. Geoffroy, mat. med. ii. 211.
The fimaruba, which I have met with in our shops, has a moderately strong, durable, not very ungrateful bitter taste, without smell, and without any manifell aftringency. Macerated in water, or in rectified spirit, it quickly impreg-nates both menstrua with its bitterness, and with a yellow tincture. It seems to give out its virtue more perfectly to cold than to boiling water; the cold infusion being rather stronger in taste than the decoction; which last, of a transparent yellow colour whilst hot, grows turbid and red-difh brown as it cools. The milky appearance, which Jufiieu says it communicates to boiling water, I have not observed in the decoction of any of the specimens I examined.