Medicinal Action and Uses---Quassia, found in the shops in the form of chips or raspings, has no smell but an intense bitter taste, which will always distinguish the pure drug from adulterations; the infusion of these by persalt of iron gives a bluish-black colour, but as the blue Quassia chips contain no tannic acid, no result is produced in the infusion. Quassia wood is a pure bitter tonic and stomachic; it is also a vermicide and slight narcotic; it acts on flies and some of the higher animals as a narcotic poison. It is a valuable remedy in convalescence, after acute disease and in debility and atonic dyspepsia; an antispasmodic in fever. Having no tannic acid, it is frequently given with chalybeates and therefore can be preseribed with salts of iron; as an aromatic bitter stomachic it acts in the same way as calumba. In small doses Quassia increases the appetite large doses act as an irritant and cause vomiting; its action probably lessens putrefaction in the stomach, and prevents the formation of acid substances during digestion. A decoction used as an injection will move ascarides; for an enema for this purpose, 3 parts Quassia to 1 part mandrake root are used, and to each ounce of the mixture, 1 fluid drachm of asafoetida or diluted carbolic acid is added; for a child up to three years, 2 fluid ounces are injected into the rectum twice daily. Cups made of the wood and filled with liquid will in a few hours become thoroughly impregnated and this drink makes a powerful tonic. The infusion is made by macerating in cold water for twelve hours 3 drachmsof the rasped Quassia to 1 pint of cold water, 2 OZ. of the infusion alone, or with ginger tea, taken three times a day, proves very useful for feeble emaciated people with impaired digestive organs. The extract can be made by evaporating the decoction to a pilular consistence, and taken in 1 grain doses, three or four times daily, this will be found less obnoxious to the stomach than the infusion or decoction. Quassia with sulphuric acid acts as a cure for drunkenness, by destroying the appetite for alcoholics.
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