BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS.—An elegant tree about 30 feet high, evergreen. Leaves pellucid-punctate, petiolate. Flowers in racemes, white. Calyx and petals 4-fold, the latter greenish-white. Fruit a berry, covered by the roundish, persistent base of the calyx. After ripening, they lose their aromatic warmth and acquire a somewhat juniper-like taste; hence they are gathered in the unripe state.
SOURCE.—West Indies, Mexico, and South America, the principal source being Jamaica-from which it has received the name of Jamaica pepper.
DESCRIPTION OF DRUG.—Globular, about the size of a large pea; picked while yet green, becoming wrinkled and brownish on drying, with the four calyx-teeth and the short style still adherent to the apex, or a raised ring marking the position of the calyx-teeth; it is divided into two cells, each of which contains a single, brownish, plano-convex seed. The pericarp is finely tuberculated with numerous oil tubercles. Odor spicy and agreeably pungent; taste clove-like.
Powder.—Reddish-brown. Characteristic elements: Parenchyma of endosperm, with starch and resin; parenchyma of pericarp, with starch, resin, and calcium oxalate in aggregate crystals about 10µ, in diam.; sclerenchyma with stone cells, having simple, branching pores; trichomes, short, one-celled; large oil and resin ducts; starch grains, spherical, 10µ simple or compound. See Fig. 301.
CONSTITUENTS.—The properties depend upon a volatile oil and a green, acrid fixed oil, existing to the extent of 10 per cent. and 8 per cent. respectively in the pericarp, and in considerably less quantities in the embryo. The yield of total ash should not exceed: 6 per cent. of which the amount soluble in dilute HCl should not exceed 0.5 per cent.
ACTION AND USES.—Stimulant and carminative, as an adjuvant to tonic and purgative mixtures. Dose: 5 to 30 gr. (0.3 to 2 Gm.).
372a. OLEUM PIMENTAE (U.S.P. IX).—A colorless, or pale yellow, volatile oil, becoming thick and reddish-brown by age. Specific gravity 1.02 to 1.05, It closely resembles oil of cloves (q.v.), but has a more pleasant and less pungent odor; taste aromatic. Consists, like oil of cloves, of a light and a heavy oil, the heavy oil being identical with eugenol.
ACTION AND USES.—Same as the other stimulant aromatic oils. Dose: 1 to 5 drops (0.065 to 0.3 mil).
- Spiritus Myrciae (U.S.P. 1890) (0.05 per cent.).
A Manual of Organic Materia Medica and Pharmacognosy, 1917, was written by Lucius E. Sayre, B.S. Ph. M.