The cubeb pepper is a relative of black pepper, and like all peppers stimulate digestion, circulation, sneezing, and general vitality. This one is said to be especially arousing to the parts below the waste.
Notes from the Eclectic Physicians
Notes from the Eclectic Physicians
1854. John King. Materia Medica. – PIPER CUBEBA
Properties and Uses . - Cubebs are mildly stimulant, expectorant, stomachic, and carminative. They act more particularly upon mucous tissues, arresting excessive discharges, especially from the urethra. In large doses they accelerate the circulation, increase the temperature of the system, and occasionally produce headache and giddiness; with these effects they likewise in most instances, cause an increased flow of urine, to which they impart a peculiar odor. They have been empooyed successfully in gonorrhea, gleet, and sometimes in leucorrhea, and catarrh of the urinary bladder; if not speedily useful, their use should be discontinued. They are contra-indicated during a high inflammatory condition, and are advised to be used in gonorrhea only when the inflammation in confined to the mucous membrane of the urethra. They have also been recommended in piles, abscess fo the prostate gland, and chronic bronchial inflammation. Their use sometimes occasions nausea or vomiting, and is frequently attended, like copaiba, with an ephemeral synocha, followed by a prompt cessation of the gonorrheal discharge; in which disease they may be given in powder along with water or milk, or made into a paste with copaiba. The following preparations have been successfully used in gonorrhea and gleet; – 1. Take of Ethereal extract of Cubebs, Solidified Balsam of copaiba, and Carbonate of iron, of each, two drachms, Podophyllin half a scruple. Mix, and divide with pills of four grains each, of which one or two may be given three times a day. 2. Take of pulverized Cubebs, Podophyllum, white Pond Lily, of each, half an ounce, Holland gin one pint. Macerate for several days, and give sufficient doses three times a day to act slightly on the bowels. 3. Take of Solidified copaiba two ounces, ethereal extract of Cubebs one ounce, Oil of Uniper, a sufficient quantity. Mix, and divide into pills of four grains each of which one or two may be taken three times a day. Dose of cubebs in powder, from half a drachm to a drachm, three times a day; of the tincture two fluidrachms; of the oil from ten to thirty drops.
1909: Felter and Lloyd: CUBEBA (U.S.P.) – CUBEB
History and Description – Piper Cubeba inhabits Java and Prince of Wales Island, Sumatra, Southern Borneo, and other isles in the Indian ocean , growing without cultivation in the forests. They are also cultivated to some extent in the coffee plantations of Java, being easy to grow when placed so as to climb the shade trees which are necessary in a coffee plantation. The fruit is gathered before it is fully ripe, and wen dried is the part used in medicine. The fruit or berries are nearly globular, rough, grayish, somewhat lighter-colored than black pepper, of a rather pleasant, aromatic odor, and a hot, bitter, and somewhat camphoraceous taste. The cortical portion appears to have been thinner and less succulent than in black pepper, and contains within it a hard, spherical seed, which is whitish and oily. Cubebs are officially described as follows: “Globular, about 4 or 5 Mm. (1/8 to 1/3 inch) long, reticulately wrinkled, blackish-gray, internally whitish and hollow; odor strong, spicy; taste aromatic and pungent. Cubeb should not be mixed with the nearly inodorous rachis or stalks” – (U.S.P.). The volatile oil is much used in medicine. The powder od cubeb becomes inert after a time, in consequence of the loss of its volatile oil; hence, it is better to powder the drug only as required for use.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage – Cubebs are mildly stimulant, expectorant, stomachic, and carminative. They act more particularly upon mucous tissues, arresting excessive discharges, especially from the urethra. In large doses they produce increased frequency and fullness of pulse and augmented heat; occasionally they cause nausea, vomiting, burning pain, griping, or even purging. Sometimes they cause a rash-like eruption on the skin. They exercise an influence over the urinary apparatus, frequently producing diuresis, rendering the urine of a deeper color, with a peculiar, aromatic odor. They have been usccessfully employed in gonorrhoea, gleet, leucorrhoea, catarrh of the urinary bladder, chronic inflammation of the bladder, abscess of the prostate, chronic laryngitis and bronchitis, dyspepsia due to an atonic condition of the stomach, etc. Generally, it is better to use them after the high inflammatory symptoms have subsided. If they do not afford benefit very soon, they should be used no longer. There has been much controversy as to whether this drug should be employed during the active stage of gonorrhoea, or after the active symptoms have subsided. Prof. Locke, whose experience has been large, declares in favor of it after the active inflammatory stage has passed, and that it should be employed only after the profuse discharge has ceased. He believes it contraindicated in all inflammatory stages, and prefers it in the chronic form of gonorrhoea, believing it more successful than in the acute. In chronic gonorrhoea, 30 grains of the powdered berries are to be given 3 times a day to produce an aggravated condition of the disease – a substitutive inflammation – and as this passes off the disease is decidedly better. This method should be persisted in until urination is painful, and then the dose should be lessened from day to day until a cure is effected. Christison states that he has known the use of cubebs to be frequently attended, like copaiba, with an ephemeral synocha, followed by a prompt cessation of the gonorrhoeal discharge; in which disease they may be given in powder, along with water or milk, or made into a paste with copaiba. The following preparations have been successfully used in gonorrhoea and gleet: 1. Take of ethereal extract of cubebs, solidified balsam of copaiba, and carbonate of iron, of each 2 drachms; resin of podophyllum, 10 grains. Mix, and divide into pills of 4 grains each, of which 1 or 2 may be given 3 times a day. 2. Take a pulverized cubebs, podophyllum, white pond lily, of each 1/2 ounce; Holland gin, 1 pint; macerate for several days, and give sufficient doses 3 times a day to act slightly on the bowels. 3. Take a solidified capaiba 2 ounces, ethereal extract of cubebs 1 ounce, oil of juniper a sufficient quantity; mix an ddivide into pills of 4 grains each, of which 1 or 2 may be taken 3 times a day. Not only does dubeba affect the urinary tract, but it acts upon all the mucous tissues of the body, restraining profluvia, giving tone, besides augmenting the appetite and improving digestion. While contraindicated in acute inflammations it is often of service in chronic inflammations. When in leucorrhoea the discharge is copious and offensive, given large doses (30 to 40 grains 3 times a day), until a decided effect is made; then diminish the dose from day to day. Chronic inflammatory states of the female bladder and urethra, with constant urging and painful efforts to urinate, are relieved by 5-drop doses of specific cubeba given every 3 or 4 hours. Spermatorrhoea, cystit catarrh, nocturnal urinal incontinence of children, an dprostatic abscess, are all benefited when the conditions are first aggravated by the larger dose, and the drug lessened as the treatment progresses. The urethral burning is the indication for it. The greater the debility the more pronounced are its effects. Use it for the scaling sensations often experienced by women in urinating, a condition common to the menstrual period, and for irritation and burning of the vulva. Prof. Scudder suggests the small dose “in debility with irritation of the reproductive apparatus, statorrhoea, uneasiness and formication of the scrotum and anus, and diseases associated with reproductive weakness.”
Atonic respiratory troubles with profuse expectoration, are benefited by 5 to 10 drop doses of specific cubeba on sugar every hour. It has been given in this manner and the berries smoked for the relief of nasal catarrh. The latter procedure is often beneficial in hay fever. Equal parts of black German snuff and powdered cubebs are stimulating and alterative in excessive catarrhal states of the nasal membranes; snuff into the nostrils several times a day (Locke). M. Trideau found a syrup of cubebs, in connection with one of copaiba, to be almost a specific in croup. M. Berjeron has also met with great success in the same disease, but he prefers to administer the oleoresin of cubebs either in capsules or in emulsion, having the children take according to their ages from 15 to 60 grains per day. Chronic sore throat with great relaxation of the membranes and excessive secretion is benefited by specific cubeba suspended in syrup. Dose of cubebs in powder, from 5 grains to 1 drachm 3 times a day; of the tincture, 1/2 to 2 fluid drachms; of the oil, from 5 to 30 drops; of specific cubeba, 1 to 60 drops.
Specific Indications and Uses – Latter stage of gonorrhoea, after profuse discharges have ceased; chronic gonorrhoea; enfeebled states of the large intestine and rectum; subacute inflammations of the urinary passages; urethral burning; scalding of urine in females; irritation and burning of vulva; debility with profuse discharges from the mucous tissues.
Cubebs (Piper cubeba) is the berry of a shrub indigenous to Java, Southern Borneo, and Sumatra . Masudi (413) in the tenth century refers to cubebs as a product of Java. Edrisi (221), 1153, mentions the berries as among the imports of Aden . That they were known in Europe as early as the eleventh century is evident from the writings of Constantius Africanus (165), of Salerno, while Abbatissa Hildegarde (316) of Germany mentions them in the thirteenth century, at which time they had become an article of European trade. They were sold in England in 1284, and at that time, or thereabout, were known to European countries generally. The price in 1596 was equal to that of opium or of amber. Cubeb berries were introduced into medicine by the Arabs of the Middle Ages.
Excessive discharges, especiallly from the urethrea, dyspepsia due to atonic condition of the stomach, scalding urine in women, and burning irritation of the vulva, cystitis, after the acute symptoms have passed away.
This agent is frequently indicated in old gonorrhea and gleet, leucorrhea, catarrh of the bladder, abscesses of the prostate, chornic inflammation of the bladder, chronic laryngitis and chronic bronchitis. Piper cubeba is stimulant, expectorant, stomachic, and carminative.
1919: Ellingwood: CUBEBA – PIPER CUBEBA
Synonym – Cubebs.
Constituents – Volatile oil, fixed oil, wax, resin, cubebin, gum, malates, cubebic acid.
Preparations – Extractum Cubebae Fluidum, Fluid Extract of Dubeb. Dose, from five to thirty minims. Oleum Cubebae, Oil of Cubeb. Dose, ten minims. Oleoresina Cubebae, Oleoresin of Cubeb. Dose, from five to thirty minims. Specific Cubeb. Dose, from five to twenty minims.
Physiological Action – Stimulant, carminative, expectorant, stomachic. It stimulates the intestinal tract like black pepper, and, in excessive doses, causes nausea, vomiting, burning pain, griping and purging. The active principle being absorbed causes general stimulation and a feverish condition, and sometimes redness of the skin.
Therapy – Cubebs is in common use in the treatment of gonorrhoea. Its best results are obtained when the active stage has passed, being especially useful in gleet, and also useful in the discharge present after acute prostatitis, especially if purulent in character, where the parts are greatly debilitated and there is catarrh of the bladder with nocturnal incontinence of urine, or in spermatorrhoea with enfeeblement, it is a useful remedy.
A snuff of powdered cubebs is of much benefit in acute coryza if there is free secretion. It is beneficial also in some chronic cases.
A cigarette is prepared of cubebs, which is smoked to relieve hoarseness. It serves a good purpose in this form in sub-acute or chronic bronchitis or in any case of general relaxation with debility of the mucous structures of these parts.
Mentioned in every edition of the U.S.P. The later volumes, beginning with 1870, limit the drug to the unripe fruit.
Cubebs, Piper Cubeba, the berry of a shrub indigenous to Java, Southern Borneo, an dSumatra, was originally introduced to Europe as a spice. Masudi (413) in the 10th century refers to cubebs as a product of Java. Edrisi (221), 1153, mentions the berries as among the imports of Aden . That they were known in Europe as early as the 11th century, is evident from the writings of Constantius Africanus (165), of Salerno, while Abbatissa Hildegarde, (316), of Germany, mentions them in the 13th century, at which time they had become an article of European trade. They were sold in England in 1284, and at that time, or thereabout, were known to European countries generally. The price in 1596 was equal to that of opium or of amber. Cubeb berries were introduced into medicine by the Arabs of the Middle Ages. *1
The following interesting article is recorded in Fluckiger’s Pharmacographia, pp. 584-5:
“Cubebs are mentioned as a production of Java (‘grand isle de Javva’) by Marco Polo; and by Odoric, an Italian friar, who visited the island about forty years later. In the 13th century the drug was an article of European trade, and would appear to have already been regularly imported into London . Duty was levied upon them as Cubebas silvestres at Barcelona in 1271. They are mentioned about this period as sold in the fairs of Champagne in France , the price being 4 sous per lb. They were also soldin England: in accounts under date 1284 they are encountered with almonds, saffron, raisins, white pepper, grains (of paradise), mace, galangal, and gingerbread, and entered as costing 2s. per lb. In 1285, 2s. bd. to 3s. per lb; while in 1307, 1 lb. purchased for the King’s Wardrobe cost 9s.
“From the journal of expenses of John, King of France, while in England during 1359-60, it is evident that cubebs were in frequent use as a spice. Among those who could command such luxuries they were eaten in powder with meat, or they were candied whole. A patent of pontage granted in 1305 by Edward I, to aid in repairing and sustaining the Bridge of London , and authorizing toll on various articles, mentions among groceries and spices, cubebs as liable to impost. Cubebs occur in the German lists of medicines of Frankfort and Nordlingen, about 1450 and 1480; they are also mentioned in the Confectbuch of Hans Folcz of Nuremberg , dating about 1480.
“It can not, however, be said that cubebs were a common spice, at all comparable with pepper or ginger, or even in such frequent use as grains of paradise or galangal. Garcia de Orta, (1563), speaks of them as but seldom used in Europe ; yet they are named by Saladinus as necessary to be kept in every apotheca. In a list of drugs to be sold in the apothecaries’ shops of the city of Ulm, A. D. 1596, cubebs are mentioned as Fructus carpesiorum vel cubebarum, the price for half an ounce being quoted as 8 kreutzers, the same as that of opium, best manna, and amber, while black and white pepper are priced at 2 kreutzers.”
*1 – We fail to find cubeb mentioned by Burton . Possibly it was given a position under another name. His Thousand Nights and a Night, so prolific in natural history notes, lacks an index of drugs and plants. This is to be regretted.
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