Copaiva. The Oleo-Resin of Copaifera Multi-juga, and of other species of Copaifera. Nat. Ord. Cesal-pineae. Linn. Syst. Decandria Monogynia. Source, West Indies and South America. It is chiefly obtained from the province of Para in Brazil. Though usually called a Balsam, it is not correctly so named, as it contains no Benzoic Acid. It is an Oleo-Resin, which varies more or less in colour, odour, specific gravity, and medicinal virtues, according to the species from which it is obtained. (Royle.) Oleum CopaibAe, Oil of Copaiva, is the oil distilled from the Oleo-Resin.
*Journ. fur Kinderkr., 1854, Hf. 1,2. Obs. on various Articles of Mat.
Pharmacopoeia Chirurg., p. 174. § Medical Times, vol. xx. p. 216.
Med. Prop. and Actum. Stimulant of mucous surfaces generally, particularly that of the genito-urinary system. It may be given in doses of exv. - fl.drm. ss. - fl. drm. j. twice or thrice daily in milk or emulsion, or mixed with Spirit of Nitric Ether in Aromatic Water; but, in order to cover its unpleasant taste, it may be given in a thin layer of gelatine (capsules), or in the form of pill (fl. oz. ij. of Copaiba and gr. lx. of Calcined Magnesia, thoroughly incorporated and set aside for eight hours, form a mass which gives 200 pills). Its activity depends upon a volatile oil, which is a perfect substitute for the Balsam in doses of ex. - xxx. When Copaiba has been continued in repeated doses for a few days, it causes a slight purging, which may be regarded as a 8ign that the system has become affected. The urine is generally greatly increased in quantity; smells of the remedy, which may be separated from it by Ether; is stated to be of an intensely bitter taste; and has a copious froth or head, which remains more or less for several hours. Its modus operandi is obscure, but it appears probable, that it operates by exciting a new action on irritated mucous surfaces. The odour may be detected in the breath. When Copaiba is given in large doses, it occasionally produces Urticaria.
Dote of Copaiba, exv. - fl. drm. j.; of Oleum Copaib, ex. - exxx.
Remarks on its administration. - 1. In some persons, Copaiba, even in small doses, produces violent vomiting and purging. In these cases it should not be persevered with. 2. If it do not soon produce a purgative effect moderately, or an improvement in the symptoms, it should be discontinued. 8. A long course of Copaiba is not unattended with danger. Mr. Thomas relates a case of renal dropsy, clearly traceable to the patient over-dosing himself with it; and Dr. Kinnier states that he has seen several cases of Rheumatism fairly attributable to the same cause. Urticaria, he adds, is by no means an unusual sequence of too long a continued use of this remedy.
Disease of the Genito-Urinary System. In Gonorrhoea, Copaiba is a remedy of great value. Ricord* details the case of a man whose urethra, in consequence of an urinary abscess, was laid open and exposed to view: this man contracted Gonorrhoea, and was treated with Copaiba. From observations in this case, Ricord concludes that this medicine produces its effects by the principles or properties which it communicates to the urine, and of which the urethra receives the influence by the passage of that fluid. The following formula is commonly employed, and with much success: - CopaibAe, Spt. Ether. Nit. aa fl. drs. ij., Liq. Potas. fl. drm. j., T. Hyos. exl., Aq. fl. oz. iv., Mucilag. Acac. fl. oz. ij., M. sumat. coch. amp. ij. ter quaterve in die. M. Diday considers that it acts more certainly if combined with purgatives, and advises the following: -
CopaibAe f3iij., Pulv. Cubebae 3ivss., Pulv. JalapAe gr. xlv., Mellis q. s. ft. electuarium, sumat. dimid. mane, et repet. vespere. The average duration of cure with this formula was five days. Some practitioners prefer the oil, which may be advantageously given thus: -Oil of Copaiba fl. oz. j., Oil of Cubebs fl. drm. j., Sweet Spirits of Nitre fl. oz. j., M. Dose, gutt. xx. - xxx. To avoid its unpleasant taste, it may be given in capsules, in the form of pills (ut supra), or in enema. Administered in the latter way, it is occasionally very beneficial. In Chronic Gonorrhoea or Gleet, the introduction of a bougie smeared with Copaiba sometimes effects a removal of the disease. I have seen a case of two months' standing yield after the third application of Copaiba in this manner.
* Brit. and For. Med. Rev., vol, xx. p. 529. Ed. Med. and Surg. Journ., Jan. 1, 1845 Bengal Dispensatory, p. 313.