This section is from the book "A Text Book Of Materia Medica, Being An Account Of The More Important Crude Drugs Of Vegetable And Animal Origin", by Henry G. Greenish. Also available from Amazon: A Text Book of Materia Medica : Being an Account of the More Important Crude Drugs of Vegetable and Animal Origin.
Annatto. A colouring matter obtained from the seeds of Bixa Orellana, Linne (N.O. Bixineoe), a small tree indigenous to South America (Venezuela, Brazil) and cultivated in most tropical countries. The outer part of the shell of the seed consists of a soft, sticky, red, resinous mass. The capsular fruit is opened, the seeds removed and the annatto separated by vigorously stirring with water, pulping, drying the pulped mass and pressing it into cakes; or the seeds mixed with water may be allowed to ferment, the annatto suspended in the water separated by sieving, boiling, skimming off the scum, evaporating it, and forming it into cakes. Annatto from Brazil (Spanish annatto) has an agreeable odour; that from Cayenne (French annatto) has an unpleasant odour, due, it is said, to the addition of urine in order to keep the cakes moist. The chief constituent is bixin (minute, dark red crystals, soluble in alcohol, ether and alkalies, insoluble in water), fat, resin, etc. It is used to colour butter, cheese, wax, varnish, etc.
Buckthorn Berries. The fruits of Rhamnus caihartica, Linne (N.O. Rhamneoe). The fresh fruits are almost black, spherical up to 1 cm. in diameter, inferior, crowned with an eight-rayed calyx; mesocarp fleshy, greenish; each of the four carpels contains a single ovule but usually two or three only develop into hard seeds. The fruits are usually used in the fresh state for the expression of the juice (Succus Rhamni) which is made into syrup (Syrupus Rhamni) by the addition of sugar. The chief constituents are rhamno-emodin (Tschirch and Polasco), rhamno-carthartin (an emodin glucoside) and emodin-anthranol; they are accompanied by yellow colouring substances, rhamnoxanthin, xantho-rhamnin, quercetin, rhamnocitrin, rhamnolutin, rhamnochrysin. The syrup is used as a purgative.
Ajowan Fruits. The fruits of Carum copticum, Bentham and Hooker films (N.O. Umbelliferoe), India; greyish-brown about 2 mm. long, compressed, with short protuberances; odour of thymol. The volatile oil (3 to 4 per cent.) contains thymol (30 to 40 per cent.). Used as a source of thymol; in India as a spice.
Chenopodium (American Wormseed). The fruits of Chenopodium ambrosioides, Linne and C. ambrosioides, var. anthelminticum, Gray (N.O. Chenopodiaceoe). Fruits very small, about 1.5 mm. in diameter, globular, greenish yellow or brown, depressed, enveloped by the persistent calyx; in each a single, small brownish-black lenticular seed. Odour strong, recalling eucalyptus. Contains volatile oil (3 to 4 per cent.). Used as an anthelmintic.
Parsley Fruits. The fruits of Carum Petroselinum, Bentham and Hooker (N.O. Umbelliferoe). Fruits about 2 mm. long, 1 to 2 mm. thick, laterally compressed, ovate, greyish green or greenish brown; odour and taste aromatic. Chief constituent volatile oil (2 to 5 per cent.) containing apiol (C12 H14 04) which separates in crystals on standing or on cooling (parsley camphor). Commercial apiol is a greenish viscous oily liquid obtained by exhausting the fruits with ether and distilling. Yellow apiol is a purified form of commercial apiol. Apiol is used in dysmenorrhea and amenorrhoea.
Cashew Nuts (East Indian Almonds). The seeds of Anacardium occidentale, Linne (N.O. Anacardiaceoe), West Indies. Peduncle of fruit large, fleshy, pear-shaped, sweet, edible. Fruit reniform, up to 3 cm. long, brownish; in the mesocarp dark brown, oily, very acrid and irritant secretion. Seed reniform, taste bland, edible. Chief constituents of the oily secretion cardol (yellowish oily, irritant and vesicant), anacardic acid, tannin; in the seed 40 to 50 per cent, fixed oil. The fruits of Semecarpus Anacardium, Linne (N.O. Anacardiaceoe) India, are flattened cordate; the mesocarp contains a similar secretion. Cardol exposed to the air gradually turns black and may be used to prepare an indelible ink, hence the fruits are sometimes called ' marking nuts.'
Pearl Barley (Hordeum Decorticatum). The dried fruit of Hordeum distichon, Linne (N.O. Gramineoe), from which the enclosing firmly attached paleae, pericarp and seed-coats have been more or less completely removed by milling, the elongated barley grain being thereby reduced to a small rounded grain with a groove containing remains of the various coats on one side. Chief constituents are starch and proteids.
Malt is barley which has been induced to germinate by moistening it and has then been dried. It contains the enzyme diastase which is capable of converting gelatinised starch into dextrin and maltose. Taka-diastase is a similar enzyme obtained by growing the fungus Eurotium oryzoe on cooked rice.