The aromatic aloe. The accounts given of this wood are so different from each other, as well as from the specimens of it that are met with in our shops, that the real wood is probably unknown. Other woods, as the aspalatham, aquile lignum, and calambour, which are said to be of the same nature, are substituted for it. Whatever this article is in reality, it is also expressed by different writers by the following names, viz.- aloe lign, xyloaloe, sinkoo, calambac, alud, haud, agalugi, heud, etc. The Arabians call it ceber, or sebar, and sometimes alcebar. The Portuguese, Pao-agula.
There are two species of plants which afford a wood which is thus entitled. The A. verum, which is the excecaria agallocha Lin. Sp. Pi. 1451, and the aloexy-lum verum of Loueiro. This also has been styled A. verum. See Transactions of the Lisbon Academy, vol. i.
It is brought from China, and the interior parts of the East Indies, in small pieces. It is described as being compact, ponderous, of a yellow or rusty brown colour, with black or purplish veins, sometimes purple, with ash-coloured veins, and not unfrequently as being of a blackish colour. Such as is brought into Europe has a bitterish, resinous taste, and a light aromatic smell. Set on fire, it seems to melt like wax, emitting, while it burns, an agreeable fragrance; the degree of this fragrance gives the proof of its goodness. That part which is betwixt the heart, and that part which is next the bark, are called calumbac.
One ounce of this wood yields to spirits of wine three drams of a resinous extract; and to water two drams. If distilled with water, it yields an highly cordial oil, in the proportion of half an ounce from one hundred and sixty ounces. Miller. Dale.
Later authors, who professedly speak of the aloexy-lum, a word expressing the wood of aloes, describe it as a milky wood, very poisonous; adding, that the pith is intensely bitter. It is said to be highly acrid and inebriating, fatal to worms, and useful in palsy; or, in a smaller dose, in cholera. The common dose is a scruple. A resin and an essential oil are prepared from it. Sonnerat has lately sent to Lamarck a branch of the true wood, accompanied with a drawing of the flower, which shews that it is not of the genus above mentioned, though figured by Rumphius under the appellation of A. secundarium. Yet a plant of Amboyna may yield a similar resin with one of Cochinchina. Loueiro is, however, confident that the agallochum sold in India comes from the aloexylum -verum. Another kind of wood under this name comes from Mexico, and is distinguished by its agreeable smell. The species is not known.