This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics: An Introduction to the National Treatment of Disease", by John Mitchell Bruce. Also available from Amazon: The pharmacology and therapeutics of the materia medica.
The dried drupe of the Plum, Prunus domestica. From southern Europe.
Composition. - The prune contains sugar, malic acid, and a purgative principle.
Prune is contained in Confectio Sennae, 1 in 12 1/2.
The prune is nutritive, demulcent, and slightly laxative, It may he ordered as an article of diet in habitual constipation.
Laurocerasi Folia - Cherry-Laurel Leaves. - The fresh leaves of Prunus Laurocerasus. The Common or Cherry Laurel.
Characters. - Ovate-lanceolate or elliptical, distantly toothed, furnished with glands at the base, smooth and shining, deep green, on strong short footstalks; emitting a ratafia odour when bruised.
Composition. - Cherry laurel leaves yield by distillation a variable amount of hydrocyanic acid, and a volatile oil, by a process of decomposition resembling that just described in the bitter almond. Neither emulsin nor ordinary amygdalin have, however, been demonstrated in the leaves, but a resinoid body, which yields with emulsin hydrocyanic acid, and is called "amorphous amygdalin."
Cherry-laurel water possesses the action of hydrocyanic acid, and is also a flavouring agent. The strength of the drug in this very powerful substance is so uncertain that its use ought to be avoided. See Acidum Hydrocyamcum Dilutum.