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Botanical: Simaba Cedron (PLANCH.)
Family: N.O. Simarubaceae
---Habitat---Columbia and Central America.
---Description---A small tree, a native of New Grenada, remarkable for the properties of its seed. It has large pinnated leaves with over twenty narrow elliptical leaflets and large panicles of flowers, 3 to 4 feet long; the fruit is about the size of a swan's egg, and contains only one fruit, four of the cells being barren. The Cedron of commerce is not unlike a large blanched almond - it is often yellowish, hard and compact, but can be easily cut, it is intensely bitter, not unlike quassia in taste and has no odour. The Cedron of commerce is obtained from the seed. Cedron has always been used in Central America as a remedy for snake-bite, and first came into notice in Britain in 1699.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---It has been found of considerable value in New Grenada as a febrifuge in intermittent fever, and is also recommended as an antiperiodic. There is almost a superstitious belief in its efficacy in eradicating poison, and the natives always carry some of the seeds on their person. For snake-bites, a small quantity is scraped off, mixed with water and applied to the wound, and then about 2 grains are put into brandy or into water and taken internally. Every part of the plant, including the seed, is intensely bitter.
---Constituents---A crystalline substance called Cedrin was separated by Lowry, but this has been disputed.
---Dosages---Of the crude drug, 5 to 15 grains. Of powdered seeds, 1 to 10 grains.
The infusion, which is taken in tablespoonful doses, is made with 1 OZ. of the herb to 1 pint of boiling water. Hyperdermically, Cedrin has been given, 1/15 of a grain.
The powdered bark is used to kill vermin.
---Other Species---The Simaruba versicolor has similar properties.
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Bear in mind "A Modern Herbal" was written with the conventional wisdom of the early 1900's. This should be taken into account as some of the information may now be considered inaccurate, or not in accordance with modern medicine.
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