Sex. Syst. Diandria, Monogynia.
(Herba; folia.—The Leaves, D.)
Piper angustifolium, Ruiz and Pavon, Fl. Peruv.; Piper etongatum, Vahl.; Stephensia elongata, Kunth; Moho Moho id est Nodus Nodus, vernacul. name.—This plant has long been in use among the natives of Peru in venereal diseases; and having been employed on some occasion by a soldier as a mechanical agent to staunch blood, it got the mime of the Soldier's herb, and, in 1839, was introduced into this country as an internal or chemical styptic. The term matico (matecó or matica) is not exclusively applied to the leaves of this plant; but to those of others also. Dr. Lindley has given to the Museum of the Pharmaceutical Society some leaves of the Eupatorium glutinosum, Kunth. They are marked Matico, and are said to be excellent in powder for staunching blood and healing wounds. In appearance and texture they closely resemble the leaves of Artanthe elongata; and would, I doubt not, be equally valuable as mechanical styptics.
Artanthe elongata is a shrub of about 12 feet high, with jointed stem and branches. Its leaves are harsh, short-stalked, oblong lanceolate, acuminate: pubescent benendi, tessellated or rough on the upper side on account of the sunken veins. The spikes are solitary, cylindrical, and opposite the leaves; the bracts lanceolate; and the flowers hermaphrodite.—It grows at Huanuco, Cuchero, Panao, Chaclea and Muna in Peru; and flowers from July to September.
Matico (herba matico vel maticae) is imported in serons, and consists of the dried leaves, stalks, and spikes (some unripe, others ripe), and more or less compressed into a lump. The colour of the dried plant is greenish; and the leaves, which are from 2 to 8 inches long, in structure somewhat resemble those of sage, and are easily reducible to powder. The plant has an aromatic odour somewhat similar to that of cubebs.
Matico has been analyzed by Dr. J. F. Hodges, [Memoirs and Proceedings of the Chemical Society, vol. ii. p. 123, 1844.] who found the following substances in it:—an aromatic volatile oil, a bitter principle (maticine), a soft dark green resin, a brown colouring matter, a yellow colouring matter, chlorophylle, gum and nitrate of potash, salts, and lignin.—The oil of matico has a light green colour, and when recent, the consistence of good castor oil, but becomes thick and crystalline on keeping. The bitter principle called maticine, is soluble in alcohol and water, but not in ether.
Infusion of matico yields a dark greenish colouring and precipitate with the sesquichloride of iron; [Peppermint and other labiate plants yield infusions which produce a dark green colour with the sesquichloride of iron.] but undergoes no change on the addition of gelatin, emetic tartar, or perchloride of mercury. It, therefore, contains little or no tannin. Acetate of lead and infusion of nutgalls each occasion copious coloured precipitates.
Matico is an aromatic bitter stimulant, which agrees with cubebs and the pepper in the character of its effects. Its active principles are volatile oil, resin, and the bitter principle.
Matico maybe used (like lint, felt, cobweb, &c.) as a topical application for staunching blood, or from slight cuts and other wounds, leech-bites, the nose, gums, &c. It acts mechanically as a styptic by the structure of its leaf, which divides the blood and promotes its coagulation.
As an internal remedy it is applicable as a substitute for cubebs, in discharges from the mucous surfaces, as leucorrhoea, gonorrhoea, &c. It might, perhaps, be useful in affections of the rectum, in similar cases to those in which the confection of pepper has been serviceable. The Indians use the infusion as an aphrodisiac. [Martius, Pharmaceutical Journal, vol. ii. p. 660, 1843.]
Matico has been greatly lauded [See Jeffrey's Remarks on Matico, 1813.] as an internal styptic or astringent in internal hemorrhages (from the lungs, stomach, bowels, and uterus). But the botanical, chemical, and sensible qualities of matico are opposed to the idea of its astringent properties; and with regard to the supposed therapeutic evidence, it may be observed that from the often temporary character and uncertain duration of internal hemorrhages generally, it is very difficult to determine the therapeutical influence of the agents called astringents, and to distinguish post hoc from propter hoc phenomena. If matico have any styptic power, it is derived not from tannic or gallic acids, but from the volatile oil which the plant contains; and in that case the oils of pepper, cubebs, or turpentine, would be much more energetic and preferable.
[Dr. Ruschenberger, who became acquainted with it during a visit to Peru in 1834, and introduced it into the United States, has used it locally in chronic ophthalmia with advantage. With regard to its anti-hemorrhagic power, the latter gentleman informs me that he applied it to arrest hemorrhage after an operation on the side of the neck below the angle of the jaw, in which there was considerable bleeding and difficulty in taking up the divided vessels, owing to induration of the part from chronic inflammation; and the application was successful. The same arrest of the discharge of blood followed its use in haematemesis.]
Matico is administered in the form of powder, infusion, and tincture. The dose of the powder is from ℨss to ℨij.
1. Infusum Matico, D.; Infusion of Matico.—(Matico Leaves, cut small, ℥ss; Boiling Water Oss. Infuse for one hour, in a covered vessel, and strain. The product should measure about eight ounces, D.)—Dose from f℥j to f℥ij.
2. Tinctura Matico, D.; Tincture of Matico.—(Matico Leaves, in coarse powder, g viij; Proof Spirit Oij. Macerate for fourteen days, strain, express, and filter, D.)—Dose from fℨj to fℨij.
The Elements of Materia Medica and Therapeutics, Vol. II, 3th American ed., was written by Jonathan Pereira in 1853.