Description: Natural Order, Meliaceae. Genus CANELLA: Calyx three-lobed; petals five, longer than the calyx; ovary superior, three-celled; fruit one-celled by abortion, two to four- seeded. C. ALBA: A native of Jamaica and other West India islands, where it grows as an erect and slender tree thirty to fifty feet high; branching near the top only; covered with a whitish bark. "Leaves alternate, oblong, entire, dark-green, thick, shining, with a laurel odor; flowers small, violet, in clusters at the ends of the branches; fruit an oblong, dark berry, with black and shining seeds." (Willd.) The inner bark is medicinal, and comes to market in thin rolls (quills) from a few inches to two feet in length, of a yellowish-white color. It contains a fragrant, spicy, yet bitter oil; and also resin and bitter extractive. Alcohol takes up all its active qualities, but water acts on it only moderately. It is usually presented in drug stores as a light-yellowish, aromatic powder, of a spicy but pungently-bitter taste.
Properties and Uses: The bark is an aromatic stimulant, leaving a resinous impression in the mouth. It warms the stomach and arouses local circulation; on which account, together with its flavor, it has been used as an adjuvant to tonic and cathartic preparations for atonic conditions, and to cover the taste and obviate the griping of purges. Its taste is unpleasant to most people of a nervous temperament, and the article deserves less consideration than has usually been given to it.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com