Zanthoxylon, or, more correctly, Xanthoxylon, Prickly Yellow Wood, or Yellow Hercules, is a native of Jamaica, and other tropical countries, where it grows to the height of 16 feet, and is about 12 inches in diameter. This straight tree somewhat resembles the common ash : the bark of the trunk is covered with numerous prickles ; and the wood is of a bright-yellow cast.
The wood of the Xanthoxylon is chiefly employed for the heading of hogsheads, for bedsteads, and numerous other purposes: it also possesses remarkable medicinal virtues, which render it peculiarly serviceable to the inhabitants of the West Indies.
The pulverized bark of the roots, when sprinkled on ulcers, speedily and eftectually removes these disgusting sores. The fresh juice, expressed from the roots, affords certain relief in the painful disease, termed dry belly-ache. This important fad was discovered in the
West Indies, by watching a female slave, who collected the root in the woods, and gave two spoonfuls of its juice to a negro, suffering under that colic, at an interval of two hours. Such medicine occasioned a profound, but composed, sleep of 12 hours ; when all sense of pain, and other distressing symptoms, had vanished: the cure was completed, by giving an infusion of such expressed roots in water, byway of diet-drink.
Farther, the juice of the Prickly Yellow Wood, when preserved in rum, and administered in doses not exceeding a wine-glassful, has effectually removed the most obstinate epileptic fits; but Dr. He-ney has not mentioned the manner in which this preparation ought to-be managed.