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.
Jequirity Seeds. (Prayer beads) - The seeds of Abrus precatorius, Linne (N.O. Leguminiosoe), a common Indian and Brazilian shrub. The seeds are sharply characterised by their smooth, glossy surface and bright scarlet colour with a black patch at the hilum; ovoid or subglobular, 5 to 8 mm. long, 4 to 5 mm. broad. They contain a substance known as abrin which is a mixture of two toxic proteins, a paraglobulin which loses its activity at 75° to 80° and a phytalbumose which is destroyed at 85°. The action of abrin resembles that of snake venom. An infusion of the seeds has been applied to the eyes for opacities of the cornea but is dangerous; a paste of the seeds has been used for lupus.
Abrus root (Indian liquorice) contains a sweet substance resembling but not identical with glycyrrhizin, but it possesses toxic properties.