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



Description:  Natural Order, Umbelliferae.  A native of Persia, India, and other Oriental countries.   It is a biennial, attaining the height of six or seven feet, and abounding in a somewhat milky juice.  This juice is gathered in the spring time, from incisions made in the roots, after the manner of asafoetida.   It is a gum resin, and  comes to market  in  the  form of tears  consolidated into rough masses; yellowish without, whitish within, compact and brittle.  At a moderate heat, it softens without melting; and will burn with a white flame and much smoke.  It is partly soluble in water, with which it forms a milky emulsion; and acts as other resins with alcohol.

Properties and Uses:  Stimulant, with moderate relaxing powers, rather diffusive in its action, chiefly influencing the mucous membranes.  It should not be used in any case where inflammation is present, but is suited to relaxed and atonic conditions.   It is employed in old coughs with pulmonic debility and excessive mucous secretion; and sometimes in leucorrhea, and amenorrhea under similar circumstances.  It has been found of use in asthmatic and catarrhal affections under the same conditions.   It  gently  promotes  the flow of urine;  and  a warm preparation will act moderately upon the skin.  It is not an agent to be relied upon largely; but makes an excellent adjunct to stronger  and less diffusive  articles.   From ten  to  twenty grains may be given at a dose, three times a day; and though it may be used as a pill, the form of emulsion is better.  The emulsion is formed by triturating two drachms of the gum with half a pint of water; and one to two tablespoonfuls of this may be given as a dose.

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