Australian Sassafras. Nat.

Ord. Atherospermaceae. Hab. Australia, Victoria, Tasmania.

Med. Prop. and Action. The bark of this small tree, which has a fragrant odour and a pleasantly bitter camphoraceous taste, originally obtained repute amongst the colonists as a substitute for tea, and also in the form of a concentrated infusion as a diaphoretic and diuretic. Further attention to it has been called by Dr. A. Greeves, of Victoria, from whoso account it would appear to be possessed of valuable medicinal properties. After remarking that an infusion of the bark has long been in use amongst the early settler a sort of diet-drink for Rheumatism and Secondary (Syphilitic) Affection*, he states that his attention was attracted to it several years since by the relief he personally experienced, whilst suffering from a severe attack of chronic Bronchitis, from chewing a piece of the bark, and swallowing the saliva A decoction, he adds, was immediately prepared, duly taken every third hour, and in less than twenty hours the pulse fell from 120 to 80; whilst the expectoration, from being difficult and excessive, became easy and moderate. In short, in a few days, without any other treatment than this remedy, an attack of many weeks' duration terminated. Drs. Howitt and Wilmott are stated to have instituted some trials with it in similar cases, and with uniformly satisfactory results. Indeed, it appears to have come into such general use at Victoria that it is kept in the chemists' shops for sale like other medicines.

Mr. Bosisto, of Melbourne, has succeeded in separating (1) an essential oil, and (2) a bitter principle in the form of an extract. The oil, which is abundant, is regarded as the sedative principle, and is stated to have been successfully employed by Dr. Hudson in heart disease (?) Caution is evidently required in its use: a single drop is a full dose. An alkaloid (Atherospermine) has been discovered in it by Dr. Wittstein, of Munich.

Dr. Greevcs (op. cit.), on whose authority the above statements are given, considers that it must be admitted that a sedative tonic, which acts freely on the kidneys and the skin. and which facilitates expectoration whilst reducing the secretion, is likely to prove a valuable addition to the Materia Medica, The remedy certainly seems worthy of further trials.

Pose. The dose of the decoction (oz. j. ad Aq. Oj. boiled for fifteen minutes) is fl. oz. j. - fl. oz. ij. every three or four hours. It is likewise used in the form of tincture.