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perties, one whom he has never before seen, and describes him so well, that he can be readily recognized when seen again by others. Yet upon such perceptivilyto employ the language of the phrenologist—the naturalist prides himself; and hosts of his brethren-proverbially genus irritabile--are ready to pounce upon him, and to contest the honour or deny the truth of his “dis. covery.The man, who, in the nineteenth century, in a science like that of medicine, collates well and analyses accurately the observations of himself and others, and reduces the indigestu moles—the chaos—10 soinething like order, is eminently worthy of honour and of a niche in the temple of fame: it is not, indeed, the best observer of facts who is necessarily the best philosopherin other words, the best interpreter of the laws of facts or phenomena: he serves, however, as the pioneer, and the man of science follows to cultivate the newly discovered region.

To make his work more extensively useful, Dr. Griffith has-wisely, we think-prefixed a brief introduction on the anatomy, physiology and chemistry of plants, with a copious glossary of botanical terms-most valuable to the tyro-and a conspectus of the natural order of plants that are of medicinal utility.

To exhibit the mode in which he treats his subject we shall extract at random.

"I. TINCTORIA, Linn.-Leaflets 4–5 pairs, ovate, somewhat pubescent beneath ; racemes shorter than the leaves; legumes terete, arcuated, deflexed.

Linn., Sp. Pl. 1061 ; Lam., Dict. iii. 245; Lindley, Fl. Med. 242; De Candolle, Prod. ii. 224.

Common Name.-Indigo Plant.
Foreign Name.-Indigotier, Fr.

Description.A shrub about two feet in height, wit spreading, sub-flexuous branches, which are angulose and appressed-puberulous near their extremities. Leaves pinnate. Leaflets 4—5 pair, with an odd one, petiolated, elliptic, acute at base, mucronate at tip, with an appressed pubescence beneath. Stipules small and subulate. Racemes axillary, not as long as the leaves. Flowers pedicellate, with minute subulate bracts. Calyx 5-toothed, the two upper wider apart than the others. Flowers of a greenish colour, marked with vermilion red. Standard ovate, mucronate, minutely ciliate, and pubescent externally. Winys shorter than the keel, which is concave, greenish, minutely, ciliated. Legume more than an inch in length, arcuated, terete, pubescent, containing ten seeds.

Several species of Indigofera are cultivated, but the I. tinctoria is that grown in India, and very extensively in South America, the Guatimala plant, I. disperma, being considered by De Candolle as a variety of it. Besides this, the I. anil, 1. caroliniana, and I. argentia, are also used, the two latter in the United States. The I. tinctoria abounds most in colouring principles, and is therefore the one generally selected for cultivation.

Indigo is a rich blue substance, light and friable, tasteless, almost devoid of smell, of a smooth fracture, insoluble in water or alcohol, but dissolved by sulphuric or nitric acid. It consists of indigotin, or indigo blue, indigo brown, indigo red, and a gelatinous substance. It is procured in three different modes; by fermentation, which was the most general plan, by scalding, and by the dry process; which latter is becoming much used in India, and is said to afford the best product, whilst it is not so injurious to the health of those engaged in the manufacture. (See Encyclop. Amer., Art. Indigo.) In whatever way Indigo is procured, a certain degree of fermentation appears necessary, as it does not appear to exist in the leaves, and is therefore rather a product than an educt.

The mode of preparing it, and of applying it to the purposes of dyeing, seem to have been known in India from the earliest ages, and it is noticed by Dioscorides and Pliny, though the term Indicum was also applied to other colouring substances. Its use was likewise known to the Mexicans and other American natives, long anterior to the conquest. As early as the fifteenth century the Venetians were in the habit of receiving it from India, by the way of Egypt; but it was not generally employed in Europe until about the middle of the sixteenth century, when it was brought from the East Indies by the Dutch. When it was thus introduced, there was a great prejudice against it, and it was considered to be a kind of stone; it was prohibited in England by Elizabeth, and in Saxony by the Elector, who speaks of it in his edict as a corrosive substance, and food fit only for the devil.

The best Indigo is of a deep-blue colour, inclining to violet, of a smooth grain, and bright and sparkling when broken. It should break easily, swim in water, and burn freely, leaving but little residue.

Medical Uses, &c.—A decoction of the root, used as a lotion, effectually destroys vermin, and is much used for that purpose in Jamaica. The juice of the young branches, mixed with honey, is recommended as an application in the aphthous sore mouth in children, and Indigo sprinkled over foul ulcers is said to cleanse them (Macfayden, Flor. Jam. i. 251.) The leaves are supposed to have virtue in hepatitis, given in the form of powder mixed with honey, and a decoction of the root is reckoned as alexipharmic. (Ainslie, Mat. Ind. i. 179.)

Indigo itself has been employed for a long time. The Romans ascribed extraordinary virtues to it; rigores et impetus sedat et siccat ulcera," (Plin. lib. xxxv. c. vi.) It was employed at one time as an astringent, in immoderate discharges of the lochia, and for curing a prolapsus of the uterus or rectum. (James, Pharm. Univer., 315.) Of late years it has attained some celebrity in the treatment of spasmodic diseases, especially epilepsy, in which it is stated to have been very successful in numerous cases in Germany. The trials made with it in England



and this country, have not been attended with the same good results (Dunglison, New Rem., 361.) To produce any effect the doses must be as large as the stomach can bear, beginning with a few grains and increasing The best form of exhibition is in an electuary of one part of Indigo to two of syrup. According to Roth (Pereira, ii. 610) it produces the following effects. Shortly after taking it the patient experiences a sense of constriction at the fauces, and an impression of a metallic taste on the tongue. This is followed by nausea, and frequently by vomiting. In some persons the vomiting is so violent as to prevent any further use of the remedy. When it has subsided, a diarrhea, often accompanied with cardialgia, ensues; the stools are frequent, liquid, and of a blue colour. Dyspepsia and vertigo sometimes

The urine becomes of a dark-brown or violet colour. After its use for some time, spasmodic twitching of the muscles sometimes takes place."

This article, however, appears to be possessed of very little power, as most persons can take it in very large doses; two ounces having been administered daily for a length of time without producing any very manifest effect, except a derangement of the digestive apparatus.”




The wood-cuts are generally well executed; and we can recommend the work strongly both to the student and practitioner.A few errors we notice-many of them doubtless typographicalsuch as Madur Culotropis for Madar or Mudar Calotropis; Gieger for Geiger;, Paulus Æginetus for Paulus Ægineta. These can be corrected in a second edition, which we hope to herald before a long period has elapsed. The German synonymy, too, requires “overhauling;" in such cases for example as Neiswurz for Niesewurz; Gartenmohu for Gartenmohn; Meerettig for Meerrettig; Pomeranzin for Pomeranzen; Wiesser zimmet for Weisser Zimmt; Geftsumach for Giftsumach; Unchte Quassie for Quassie, [we know not what the unchte means,] &c. &c. Nor do we think the best or distinctive synonymes have been selected: for example, under SINAPIS NIGRA we have as the German synonymn Schwarzer Senfe, [Schwarzer Senf] which means “black mustard;" whilst under SINAPIS ALBA, “white mustard,” we have Senfsamen or “mustard seed,” in place of weisser Senf. Biller wurzel_“bitter root”-is doubtless a synonym of Gentiana lutea; but the one most used is Enzian wurzel, which is omitted. These, however, are comparatively small matters; but we wish to see so good a book purged of all

To one who is not a German scholar, or who does not


desire to become one, the German synonymy is of course of little

or no moment.


The work of Dr. Carson differs from that of Dr. Griffith essentially in this;--that whilst the text is subordinate, in the former, to the “Illustrations,”-in the latter, the xylographic representations are subordinate to the text. This difference between the works is sufficiently shown by a comparison of the title pages.

After stating in his “Introduction" the necessity for a lecturer, who is desirous of being successful, “ to have at his command the means of presenting to his hearers the visible objects, or representations of them, about which he discourses," Dr. Carson adds:

“As regards the department of Materia Medica, the instruction usually given is accompanied by the exhibition of delineations of Medical Plants. This will answer the ends of the teacher, and greatly aid the listener for the time being; but amidst the multiplicity of objects, and from the brief period allowed for inspection, ihe impression made upon the mind is soon enfeebled, and in most cases altogether fades, if close and more protracted observalion be not afforded. It is then desirable to possess the means of reviving impressions received, of studying the subject at leisure, and of rendering the plants familiar. But not only to students will the publication be serviceable; it will materially aid numerous teachers, whose facilities of access to the works from which the necessary materials for illustration can be derived, are few and imperfect, and in this respect a double end will be accomplished.” *** “As the design of the work,” he concludes, “is simply to present the botanical history of the materia medica, and not a complete account of it, with the exception of indicating the modes of operation peculiar to each substance, all therapeutical and pharmaceutical details appertaining to it have been omitted. The works especially written with the view of unfolding them are full, and easy of access." p. 6.

It is proper to remark, that after acknowledging the sources whence information has been derived, Dr. Carson adds:

“ From the collection of specimens, which during the last ten years he has been enabled to make, and which have been employed by him in the Courses at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, many of the representations are entirely new, and where they are not strictly so, corrections have been made from this source, which render them more valuable than those which have been used as copy.” p. 6. VOL. X.


The following account of a well known indigenous article of the materia medica will exhibit the Author's mode of managing the text:


Seneka Snake Root. Sex. Syst.—Diadelphia Octandria.

Gen. Char.-Sepals five, persistent, the alæ large and petaloid. Petals three, their claws all united with the staminiferous tube, the lower one (carina) keel-shaped, the two additional ones abortive. Stamens united into a tube at the base, which is cleft in front; anthers opening by a pore. Ovury two-celled; ovules, solitary, pendulous from the apex of the cell. Capsule two-locular, loculicidal, compressed. Seeds pendulous from the apex of the cells, pubescent with a carunculate arillus at the hilum; albumen abundant, fleshy. Shrubs or herbaceous plants. Flowers arranged in terminal or axillary racemes. (Wright and Arnott in Lindley's Flora Medica.)

SPECIF. Char.-Root perennial, large, firm, and ligneous, with coarse branches. Stem nine to fifteen inches high, mostly several from the same root; simple, herbaceous, rather flaccid, and oblique, terete below, slightly angular above; minutely roughish-pubescent, with numerous small, ovate, sessile scales, like leaves, at or near the base. Leaves one to two, or three inches long, and one-third of an inch to near an inch wide, smoothish, slightly serulate or scabrous on the margin, more or less acuminately tapering at apex, and narrowed at base to a short petiole. Spike one to two inches long, dense, terminal, somewhat nodding, or flaccid ; pedicels very short, each with an oblong lance-shaped bract at base, and two minute lateral bracts. Flowers greenish-white. Capsule obcordate, compressed, orbicular, retuse. Seeds large, pyriform, hairy.

This plant is an inhabitant of the United States ; found in Pennsylvania, but more abundantly in the Southern and Western States. It flowers from June to August, and ripens its seeds as it flowers.

The root, which is the medicinal portion, is of various sizes, sometimes as thick as large quills, and at others minute and delicate. The head is disposed in the old roots to be enlarged, rough, and irregular, from the separation of the stems annually. It is branched, fibrous, contorted, and twisted, and marked by a sharp line or ridge, which extends the entire length. It is composed of a cortical substance and a ligneous cord. The colour varies from a dark-brown to a yellow. The dried root resembles the fresh, but is broken with a short fracture. It has a peculiar, disagreeable smell, and the taste is at first sweetish but afterward acrid and disagreeable.

In this root have been detected two new acids by Quevenne, Polygalic acid and Virgineic acid, as also tannic acid. The first is capable of union with bases; it is the principle called by Gehlen Senegin; the second is volatile and oily, and may be the volatile oil detected by Dulong. The acrid taste is due to the polygalic acid.

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