The wood of Picraena excelsa. Jamaica.

Characters. - Billets varying in size, seldom thicker than the thigh. Wood dense, tough, yellowish-white, intensely and purely bitter. Also chips and raspings of the same.

Composition. - The wood contains a small quantity of a bitter neutral principle, quassiin. The wood contains no tannin, so that an infusion does not become black on the addition of a persalt of iron.

Preparations

B.P.

Dose.

Extractum Quassiae........................................................................

2-5 gr.

Iniusum „ (1 in 80, cold water, for 1/2 hour)...............

1-2 fl. oz.

Tinctura ,, .....................................................................

1/2-2 fl. drm.

U.S.P.

Extractum Quassiae ............................................................

3-5 gr. (0.18-0.32 gm.)

,, ,, Fluidum ...........................................

1/2-1 fl. drm. (2-4 c.c.)

Tinctura ,, ............................................................

1/2-2 fl. drm. (2-8 c.c.)

Action and Uses. - Quassia is a pure bitter stomachic tonic, having no other action on man. On insects it exerts a narcotic influence and, in the form of an infusion sweetened with sugar, it is often employed to destroy flies.

In small doses it increases the appetite. In large doses it acts as an irritant and causes vomiting. The infusion is made with cold water. As it contains no tannin, it does not form an inky mixture with iron, like most vegetable bitters, and so can be conveniently prescribed with it. It is used in atonic dyspepsia.

Its action is not thoroughly understood, but it is not improbable that it lessens putrefaction in the stomach and prevents to some extent the formation of acid substances during digestion.

It is often administered by using a cup made of the wood; this when filled with water, imparts its active principle to that fluid. An infusion is used in the form of enema to destroy thread-worms.