The Physiomedical Dispensatory by William Cook, M.D., 1869    



Synonyms:  Piper angustifolium of Pavon; Piper elongatum of Vahl.

Description:  “A shrub with a jointed stem, about twelve feet in height. The leaves are sessile or very short-petiolate, oval-lanceolate, acuminate, two or three inches long, by an inch in breadth, of an agreeable aromatic odor, and a strong spicy taste. The plant is a native of Peru. The leaves, spikes, and stalks are mixed together, more or less compressed, in the packages of the imported drug; and all are possessed of activity. A volatile oil, and a resin termed maticin, are probably the active ingredients.” ( U. S. Dispensatory.) Its virtues are readily imparted to diluted alcohol and warm water; and are much dissipated by boiling water.

Properties and Uses:  The leaves are diffusibly stimulating, distributing the blood promptly to the superficial capillaries, inducing gentle warmth and moistness of the skin, and leaving behind a mild tonic impression of a slightly astringent character. It is particularly useful in uterine flooding, excessive menstruation, spitting of blood, and other hemorrhages from internal organs. The promptness of its action renders it a very desirable article in such cases; and it may be combined with more permanent agents to great advantage. The powder is sometimes employed as a local styptic, partly as an absorbent, but chiefly because its stimulating property arouses contraction in the small vessels. Its diffusive action often relieves that form of nervousness which accompanies fatigue and a deficient outward circulation, It exerts a decided influence on the mucous membranes; and may be employed in chronic and excessive discharges from these surfaces when in an atonic condition. The kidneys are somewhat affected by it, aud so is the uterus in parturition. The promptness and great pleasantness of the article, commend it highly, and its value in the above connections is very reliable; but its action is somewhat transient, and therefore it is usually best to combine it with agents that exert a more permanent influence.

Half an ounce of the crushed leaves macerated for an hour in a covered vessel, with a pint of hot water, forms the usual infusion; of which the dose is from one to two fluid ounces, repeated every hour or half hour, according to circumstances. A tincture is prepared by macerating eight ounces of the leaves, for ten days, in a quart of diluted alcohol, and straining with strong pressure; of which the dose is from one to three fluid drachms.

 Medical Herbalism journal and