Page images

With refpect, therefore, to the merits of thofe other extracts, the compiler leaves us wholly in the dark. We indeed are willing to confefs that Ferdüfi has all the fimplicity, energy, and majesty of Homer; that Hafiz, as a lyric poet, comprehends every beauty to be found in Anacreon or Petrarch; and that Sadi is as fine a moralift as Steele or Addison, and a superior poet.

All this, however, is not enough; and we cannot here with-hold our opinion that the Perfian language will never obtain any general footing in the circle of European studies: nor our judgment that the want of it will never be regretted. Our reafons for this fentiment are too numerous for infertion here: but we may fafely affirm that, could any thing have fucceeded in exciting or facilitating the introduction of this language, the moft learned and entertaining works of Sir William Jones-his Perfian Grammar, and his Poefeos Afiaticæ Commentarii, would have neceffarily produced that effect

Si Pergama dextrâ
Defendi poffent, etiam hâc defenfa fuiffent.

Many inaccuracies occur in the Perfian letter-press of this volume, and no table of errata is fubjoined; which, in a book of rudiments, is a correction moft effentially neceffary.

ART. III. Medical Botany, &c. &c. by Wm. Woodville, M. D. Vol. II. 4to. 11. 16s. coloured. 155. plain. Vol. III. 11. 175. 6d. colcured. 16s. plain. Boards. Phillips. 1792, 1793.

IN IN the 8th volume of our New Series, p. 16c, we called the attention of our readers to the first part of this useful work, which is now brought to a conclufion. As we have already spoken of the author's general plan, and have given our teftimony in favour of its execution, we fhall only prefent our readers with a few extracts respecting the medicinal properties of fome plants here defcribed: for the botanical defcriptions, and for the plates by which they are illuftrated, we must refer to the volumes.

Speaking of Veratrum Album, the author observes,

The ExBopos Ros of the Greek writers is by many fuppofed to be our Helleborus albus; but this opinion, like many others refpecting the identity of the ancient nomenclature of plants with that of the modern, feems drawn rather from the fimilarity of their effects upon the body, than from an agreement in their botanical defcriptions. This will evidently appear upon comparing the plant here figured with the defcription given by Diofcorides: and yet Geoffroy fays,


"Helleborus albus folia fert Plantaginis aut Betæ fylveftris fimilia, sed breviora, nigriora, & dorfo rubefcentia: caulem palmi altitudine,


"Apud Diofcoridem hellebori albi descriptio, veratro albo noftro fatis apte convenit."

The Expos peha, or famous Anticyran Hellebore t, is likewife thought to be the Helleborus niger of Linnæus, an account of which has been given at page 50; but the defcriptions of the former by the antients are fo vague that their identity is equally doubtfult; the application therefore of what has formerly been faid of the Hellebores of the Greeks to thofe known to us, can only be admitted but as a matter of probability.

• Hippocrates frequently mentions Hellebore fimply, or generically, by which we are told the white is to be understood, as he adds the word black or purging when the other fpecies is meant; and as the purga tive powers of Veratrum are known to be weaker than thofe of Hel leborus niger, the diftinction is fo far applicable to the effects now experienced of the roots of our Hellebores.


It appears from various inftances, that not only the roots of white Hellebore but that every part of the plant is extremely acrid and poifonous, as its leaves and even feeds proved deleterious to different animals. The dried root has no peculiar fmell, but a durable nauseous acrid bitterifh tafte, burning the mouth and fauces; when powdered and applied to iffues or ulcers it-produces griping and purging; if fnuffed up the nofe it proves a violent fternutatory. Gefher made an infufion of half an ounce of this root with two ounces of water, of this he took two drams, which produced great heat about the scapula, and in the face and head, as well as the tongue and throat, followed with fingultus, which continued till vomiting was excited §. Bergius alfo experienced very diftreffing symptoms merely by tafting this infufion q.

concavum; qui quidem tunicas quibus convolvitur abdicat cum arefcere incipit. Radices fubjacent numerofæ, tenues ac fibrate, ab exiguo & oblongo capitulo, ceu cæpa, exeuntes, eidemque annexe. Nafcitur in montofis & afperis," Diofcorid. M. M. L. iv. c. 150. This defcrip tion of the plant, though imperfect, is the only one given by the an


Mat. Med. vol. ii. p. 68.
"Naviget Anticyram."-

Danda eft hellebori multo pars maxima avaris : Necio, an Anticyram ratio illis deftinet omnem. HOR. SAT. Lib. ii. v. 82. 'It is faid that both the white and black hellebore grew at Anticyra but the latter was accounted fafer, and therefore more commonly em ployed. Paufanius, Lib. x. p. 623.'

Though Tournefort fays, "Nous connûmes deux Herboriftes à Profe, l'un Emir & l'antre Armenien, qui paffoient pour de grands Docteurs. Ils nous fournirent des racines du veritable Ellebore noir des anciens, autant que nous voulumes pour en faire l'extrait. C'ef la même espece que celle des Anticyres et des côtes de la Mer Noir." See his account of Mount Olympus. Voyage du Levant. But his defcription of the plant differs widely from that of our Helleborus niger.'

See Pallas, Ruff. Reife, vol. i. p. 49. Kalm's N. Amer. tom. iii. P.48. Gunner, Fl. Norveg. P.ii. p. 2. For the poisonous effects of The roots, when applied to wounds of different animals, Vide Phil. Tranf. vol. xlvii. p. 82.'

Epift. Med. p. 69.
Rev. FEB. 1794.

M. M. p. 819.


The root, taken in large dofes, difcovers fuch acrimony, and operates upwards and downwards with fuch violence that blood is ufually discharged: it likewise acts very powerfully upon the nervous fyftem, producing great anxiety, tremors, vertigo, fyncope, lofs of voice, interrupted refpiration, finking of the pulfe, convulfions, fpafms, cold fweats, &c. + Upon opening thofe who have died by the effects of this poifon, the ftomach discovered marks of inflammation, with corrosions of its interior coat, and the lungs have been found inflamed, and their veffels much distended with dark blood 1.


The ancients, though fufficiently acquainted with the virulency of their white Hellebore, were not deterred from employing it internally in feveral difeafes, efpecially thofe of a chronic and obftinate kind, as mania, melancholia, hydrops, elephantiafis, epilepfia, vitiligo, lepra, rabies canina, &c. they confidered it the safer when it excited vomiting, and Hippocrates wifhed this to be its firft effect. To thofe of weak conflitutions, as women, children, old men, and thofe labouring under pulmonary complaints, its exhibition was deemed unfafe; and even when given to the robuft it was thought neceffary to moderate its violence by different combinations and preparations; for it was frequently obferved to effect a cure not only by its immediate action upon the prime vix, but when no fenfible evacuation was promoted by its ufe II.

Similar obfervations have been made of Veratrum by authors of later times Mayerne § gave from two to three grains of an extract of this roct with confiderable advantage in maniacal cafes where no re. markable evacuation took place; and Con. Gefner, who investigated the qualities of Veratrum by repeated experiments, and whofe encomiums on its efficacy feemed for a while to restore it to the ancient character of Hellebore, expreísly declares, that he did not give it as an evacuant, but to produce the more gradual effects of thofe medicines



*Ettmuller. Oper. tom. ii. P. 2. p. 435. + Wepfer, de Cicut. p. 48. Lorry de Mielanch. ii. p. 313. Borrich. A. Haf. vol. vi. P. 145. Albert. Juritprud. Med. vol. vi. p. 718. Brefl. Samml. 1724. P. 2. p. 269. p. 537. A& Berol. Dec. 2. vol. 6. Mifc. Nat. Cur. Dec. 2. Ann. 2. p. 239. Act. Berol. cit. Mifc. Nat. Cur. cit. Bergius fays, Lgo vix a memet impetrare potero, ut radicis, ita intenfe venenaiæ, ufum internum cuiquam fuafurus fim, nifi fumma adhibita circumfpicientia; etenim conftat, eam, in fatis parca dofi propinatam, fæpe horrenda fymptomata excitasse, ut fitim, cardialgiam, tormina, fingultum iuffocationes, convulfiones, tremores, inflammaticnem primarum viarum, lipothymias, fudorem frigidum, immo & mortem." . c.


Hippocr. T EX Bogiem in Oper, ed. Lind. tom. i. p. 610. Et Aphorifm. Sec. iv. Aph. 13-16.

Pias. Med. Lib. i. c. 7. p. 69. St.




He fays, non ad purgandum, sed ad referandos meatus & craffos humores attenuandum, cofque a centro & interioribus corporis ad fuperficiem & vias excretionum vari rum educendum." Adding, creat & roberat, & hilariorem freit & acuit ingenium: quod in me & aliis fæpiffime expertus fcribc." Hd Gefner lived long enough, he had still more to say on this fubject. "Ego, fi vixero, in Ellebori hiftoria multa proferam, quæ medici admirentur." I. c.


termed alteratives. Gefner's account of Veratrum was followed by thofe of feveral other authors *; in which it is faid to have been ferviceable in various chronic difeafes. But the fullest trial which feems to have been lately made of the efficacy of Veratrum is by Greding t› who employed it in a great number of cafes, (twenty-eight) of the maniacal and melancholic kind; the majority of thefe, as might be expected, derived no permanent benefit; feveral however were relieved, and five completely cured by this medicine. It was the bark of the root, collected in the fpring, which he gave in powder, beginping with one grain: this dofe was gradually increafed according to its effect. With fome patients one or two grains excited naufea and vomiting, but generally eight grains were required to produce this effect, though in a few inftances a fcruple, and even more, was given. We may alfo remark, that he fometimes ufed the extract prepared after Stoerck's manner. In almost every cafe which he relates; the medicine acted more or less upon all the excretions: vomiting and purging were very generally produced, and the matter thrown off the ftomach was conftantly mixed with bile; a florid redness frequently appeared on the face, and various cutaneous efflorefcences upon the body; and, in fome, pleuretic symptoms, with fever, fupervened, fo as to require bleeding, nor were the more alarming affections of fpafms and convulfions unfrequent. Critical evacuations, we are told, were often very evident, many fweated profufely, in fome the urine was confiderably increased, in others the faliva and the mucous difcharges: alfo uterine obftructions, of long continuance, were often removed by this drug.

Veratrum has likewife been found ufeful in epilepfy, and other convulfive complaints . but the difeafes in which its efficacy feems leaft equivocal, are thofe of the fkin ||, as fcabies and different prurient eruptions, herpes, morbus pediculofus, lepra, fcrophula, &c. and in many of thefe it has been fuccessfully employed both internally and externally.

As a powerful ftimulant, and irritating medicine, its ufe has been reforted to only in defperate cafes, and then it is first to be tried in very


• Hannemann, Quercetanus, Screta, Wepfer, Muralto, Linder. Vermifchte Med. u. chirurg. Schriften. Altenb. 1781. to p. 30. • Wendt relates a cafe of mania, brought on by taking pepper and fpirits of wine as a remedy for the ague; the disease continued thirtythree weeks, when it was faid to have been cured by a decoction of white hellebore; but as copious and repeated bleedings, with other means, were employed, the cure cannot wholly be afcribed to the hellebore. See Agaffz. Diff. de therapia maniæ. Erl. 1785. p. 37.


Greding, l. c. See alfo Smyth in Medical Communications, vol. i.

P. 207.

Its fuccefs in thefe complaints is mentioned both by the ancient and modern writers. Smyth relates three cafes. See l. c.

The veratrum nigrum of Lin. or Helleborus albus fore atro-rubente of C. Bauh. is faid to produce the fame effects as the Veratrum album. See Lorry, de melanch.tom. ii. p. 289. & Linnæus, Amoen. Acad. vol. ix. p. 261. Helleborus is fuppofed to be derived domes Boja quod efu perimat. Veratrum dicitur quod mentem vertat, or, à verare, i. e. vera loqui. . C. Bauh. I. c.

L 2


[ocr errors]

fmall dofes, in a diluted ftate, and to be gradually increased, according to the effects.'

We fhall conclude our quotations with an extract that will prove pleasant to more readers than those of the medical class.— The following account is given of the faccharum officinarum, or common fugar cane:

The fugar cane is a native of Africa, and Lower Afia, as the Eaft Indies and Arabia felix; it is alfo faid to grow fpontaneously in America; but others affert that it was unknown in these regions till Europeans poffeffed it. For a confiderable time however it has been induftriously cultivated in the American iflands fituated within the tropics, and was two centuries ago introduced into the garden of that affiduous botanist Mr. Gerard.

We have before remarked on the subject of manna, that several vegetables fecrete a fweet or faccharine juice, eafily converted into fugar. The Arundo Bambo L. diftils from its joints a fluid, which, by the heat of the fun, concretes into fugar, and is collected for use *. A confiderable quantity of fugar is annually obtained in America from the Acer faccharina, a fpecies of Maple. The inhabitants of New Spain procure fugar from the Agave Americana; it is likewise obtained from the Afclepias fyriaca, and Zea Mays. Nor are the inhabitants of the northern regions wholly deftitute of vegetables which furnifh this ufeful article; for at Kamfchatska it is produced from the Aeracleum Syphondylium and fucus faccharinus +:

The plant here figured affords the fugar in common ufe, which is prepared from its expreffed juice, boiled with the addition of quick lime, or the common vegetable alkali+. The boiling is repeated in smaller and smaller veffels, during which it is often neceffary to fcum the impurities, and employ additional alkali; when the juice acquires a due confiftence, it is fuffered to cool in a proper veffel, and the faccharine matter concretes into a crystalized mafs. This, after being separated from the melaffes, is fold under the name of brown or moist fugar; the faccharum non purificatum of the London Pharmacopoeia.

This fugar may be purified in conical moulds, by fpreading on the upper broad furface fome moift clay, which gradually transfufes its watery moisture through the mafs of fugar, and carries with it a confiderable part of the remains of the treacly matter; it is then called clayed fugar. The faccharum purificatum, or loaf fugar, is prepared in this country from the other fugar boiled in water, to which is added lime water, alfo bullock's blood, or eggs, or commonly both; thefe are found to clarify the fugar, by incorporating with its oily and mucilaginous parts, and forming a fcum, which is carefully taken off. After fufficient clarification it is trained through a woollen cloth, and boiled again until it becomes of a proper confiftence; it is then poured into a refrigeratory, and when duly cooled, into conical moulds made of clay, and perforated at the apex, which is placed downwards; at

*See Pifon. Mant. Aromat. p. 186. It is alfo procured from the Boraffus flabelliformis & Cocos nucifera.

+ Several roots and fruits likewife afford fugar. The ufe of this is to imbibe the fuperfluous acid.

« PreviousContinue »