This section is from the book "A Treatise On Therapeutics, And Pharmacology Or Materia Medica Vol1", by George B. Wood. Also available from Amazon: Part 1 and Part 2.
This name has been given to the seeds of Slrychnos Nux vomica, a middling-sized tree, growing in various parts of the East Indies. The bark is intensely bitter, containing the same alkaloids which characterize the seeds, and is thought to be identical with a product which at one time attracted considerable attention, under the name of False Angustura bark. The seeds are embedded in the juicy pulp of the fruit, which is a round berry, about the size of an orange, and covered with a smooth, yellowish, or orange-coloured rind.
The seeds are circular, about three-quarters of an inch in diameter and two lines thick, somewhat concave on one side and convex on the other, externally presenting a thin coat closely invested with very short, silky, ash-coloured hairs, internally whitish, translucent, very hard and tough, and difficult to pulverize. They are inodorous and intensely bitter, and yield their bitterness and medical virtues to water, but more readily to diluted alcohol.