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



Description:  Natural Order, Styraceae. A tree found on the shores of the Levant, and through Italy and southern portions of Spain. “It is a tree which rises from fifteen to twenty- five feet in height, sends off many branches, and is covered with a rough gray bark. The leaves are alternate, petiolate, entire, oval, bright-green on their upper surface, white with a cotton-like down upon the under side. The flowers are united in clusters of three or four at the extremities of the branches. They are white, and bear considerable resemblance to those of the orange.” (U. S, D.) It bears a close resemblance to the liquid-amber; and like it, yields a fragrant balsam, obtained by incisions in the bark. Various qualities are found in market, the best consisting of plastic and yellowish-white tears, sometimes reddish-yellow, and adhesive. A less valuable but more common variety is soft and dark, with hard lumps through it.

Liquid styrax is the article most common in the American market; and is, in all probability, obtained from the bark of the LIQUID-AMBER ORIENTALE, in Asia Minor. It is a half-fluid mass, of a dark blackish-green color, and a strong odor not unlike that of balsam Peru. Resin, cinnamic acid, and a trace of fatty matter, make up its chief composition.

Properties and Uses:  These balsams are stimulating expectorants, scarcely employed except in minute quantities as adjuvants to less agreeable and more relaxing agents. The fluid styrax may be used in sub-acute gonorrhea and gleet, especially by incorporating half a drachm of it in four ounces of the copaiba emulsion. Absolute alcohol dissolves it completely; and its tincture in that form is sometimes added to pill masses, as when aloes or other intensely bitter agents are being used.

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