This section is from the book "A Treatise On Therapeutics, And Pharmacology Or Materia Medica Vol2", by George B. Wood. Also available from Amazon: Part 1 and Part 2.
Origin and Properties Pareira brava is supposed to be the root of Gissampelos Pareira, a climbing plant of the West Indies and South America. It is in cylindrical pieces, sometimes branched or contorted, of variable size, from two or three inches to several feet in length, and from half an inch to two or three inches in thickness, and covered with a closely adhering, brownish bark, with longitudinal and transverse wrinkles, and sometimes knotty excrescences. The interior woody portion is yellowish, soft, and marked with concentric circles. The root is without smell, and of a taste which is at first sweetish, but afterwards bitter and nauseous. Its activity probably depends on an alkaline principle, discovered by Wiggers, and denominated ciseampelina, which vol. II. - 41 has not, however, been isolated for use. The virtues of the root are readily extracted by water and alcohol.
This is an old remedy, recently revived, probably to be soon again forgotten. it was used in Europe before the commencement of the last century, and was supposed to possess an extraordinary influence over calculous affections, and various other diseases of the urinary organs. The fact seems to be, that it is a general tonic, occasionally acting as a diuretic and aperient, and applicable, therefore, to cases of feeble digestion, with a tendency to costiveness, and offering indications for a tonic impression on the urinary organs. it is mainly on the favourable opinion of the late Sir B. Brodie that the reputation of the medicine rests. By that eminent surgeon it was used with advantage in complaints of the urinary passages, attended with mucous or purulent discharges, as gonorrhoea, cystirrhoea, etc. He believed that, while it modifies the character of the discharge, it also lessens the irritability of the organs.
The dose of the powder is from thirty grains to a drachm; but the medicine is more frequently given in decoction or infusion.
The infusion (infusum Pareira, U. S.) is made in the proportion of a troyounce to the pint; the Decoction (Decoctum Pareira, Br.), by boiling an avoirdupois ounce and a half in an imperial pint and a half of water to a pint. The dose is one or two fluidounces three or four times a day.
The Aqueous Extract of the London and Dublin Colleges has been superseded, in the British Pharmacopoeia, by the Liquid Extract (Ex-tractum Pareira Liquidum, Br.), which is a highly concentrated infusion, preserved by the addition of about one-fourth of its bulk of alcohol. The dose is one or two fluidrachms.