This section is from the book "Dental Medicine. A Manual Of Dental Materia Medica And Therapeutics", by Ferdinand J. S. Gorgas. Also available from Amazon: Dental Medicine.
Jamaica Dogwood is a plant indigenous to the West Indies, where it has been used as an intoxicant in taking fish. The bark is the officinal portion, and is smooth and bright-colored.
Jamaica dogwood is a powerful narcotic, and, in a measure, tonic and diuretic. Its narcotic properties are supposed to be superior to opium, as it does not cause the disagreeable after-effects common to that drug. When chewed, Jamaica dogwood has an unpleasant, acrimonious taste. It yields its virtues to alcohol, but not to water. Its internal use is generally followed by a sensation of heat, gradually extending to the surface, and succeeded by profuse perspiration, with profound sleep. In large doses it produces general paralysis, and death from asphyxia. It has been used as a substitute for morphine, which it resembles in many respects.
The principal use of Jamaica dogwood is in neuralgia, in the form of a tincture composed of Jamaica dogwood , rectified spirits
It is effectual in acute pains usually, and is said to be efficacious in lunacy, and cough of phthisis.
Of the tincture of Jamaica dogwood,
Jamaica dogwood, in the form of the tincture, is efficacious in trigeminal neuralgia, and in odontalgia resulting from an irritable pulp, for which purposes a fluid drachm in cold water may be taken internally, and applied externally in the case of odontalgia, being introduced on a pledget of cotton into the carious cavity.