صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

diffused the custom through Khorasan and Yemen. In proof of the great antiquity of the practice, certain passages in the works of Hippocrates may be cited, in which some of its properties are clearly described--but the difficulty of deciding whether the passages be spurious or genuine, renders the fact of little value. Dioscorides (lib. ij. cap. 169,) describes Hemp, but merely notices the emollient properties of its seeds—its intoxicating effects must consequently be regarded as unknown to the Greeks prior to his era, which is generally agreed to be about the second century of the Christian epoch, and somewhat subse. quent to the lifetime of Pliny.

In the narrative of Makrizi we also learn that oxymel and acids are the most powerful antidotes to the effects of this narcotic; next to these, emetics, cold bathing, and sleep; and we are further told that it possesses diuretic, astringent, and especially aphrodisiac properties. Ibn Beitar was the first to record its tendency to produce mental derangement, and he even states that it occasionally proves fatal.

In 780 m. E. very severe ordinances were passed in Egypt against the practice: the Djoneina garden was rooted up, and all those convicted of the use of the drug were subjected to the extraction of their teeth ; but in 799 the custom re-established itself with more than original vigour. Makrizi draws an expressive picture of the evils this vice then inflicted on its votaries-“ As its consequence, general corruption of sentiments and manners ensued, modesty disappeared, every base and evil passion was openly indulged in, and nobility of external form alone remained to these infatuated beings."

SECTION IV.

Medicinal properties assigned to Hemp by the ancient Arabian and

Persian writers, and by modern European authors.

In the preceding notice of Makrizi's writings on this subject we have confined ourselves chiefly to historical details, excluding descriptions of supposed medicinal effects. The Mukzun-ul-Udwieh and the Persian MS. in our possession, inform us as to the properties which the ancient physicians attributed to this powerful narcotic.

In Mr. DaCosta's MS. version of the chapter on Hemp in the Mukzunul-Udwieh, Churrus, we are informed, if smoked through a pipe causes torpor and intoxication, and often proves fatal to the smoker. Three kinds are noticed, the garden, wild, and mountain, of which the last is deemed the strongest;—the seeds are called sheadana or shaldaneh in Persia. These are said to be "a compound of opposite qualities, cold and dry in the third degree, that is to say, stimulant and sedative, imparting at first a gentle reviving heat, and then a considerable refrigerant effect.”

The contrary qualities of the plant, its stimulant and sedative effects, are prominently dwelt on. “They at first exhilarate the spirits, cause cheerfulness, give colour to the complexion, bring on intoxication, excite the imagination into the most rapturous ideas, produce thirst, increase appetite, excite concupiscence. Afterwards the sedative effects begin to preside, the spirits sink, the vision darkens and weakens; and madness, melancholy, fearfulness, dropsy, and such like distempers, are the sequel—and the seminal secretions dry up. These effects are increased by sweets, and combated by acids.”

The author of the Mukzun-ul-Udwieh further informs us—

The leaves make a good snuff for deterging the brain; the juice of the leaves applied to the head as a wash, removes dandriff and vermin; drops of the juice thrown into the ear allay pain and destroy worms or insects. It checks diarrhea, is useful in gonorrhea, restrains seminal secretions, and is diuretic. The bark has a similar effect.

"The powder is recommended as an external application to fresh wounds and sores, and for causing granulations ; a poultice of the boiled root and leaves for discussing inflammations, and cure of erysipelas, and for allaying neuralgic pains. The dried leaves bruised and spread on a castor oil leaf cure hydrocele and swelled testes. The dose internally is one direm, or 48 grains. The antidotes are emetics, cow's milk, hot water, and sorrel wine.”

Alluding to its popular uses, the author dwells on the eventual evil consequences of the indulgence ;-weakness of the digestive organs first ensues, followed by iatulency, indigestion, swelling of the limbs and face, change of complexion, diminution of sexual vigor, loss of teeth, heaviness, cowardice, depraved and wicked ideas, scepticism in religi

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

ous tenets ;-licentiousness and ungodliness are also enumerated in the catalogue of deplorable results.

The medicinal properties of Hemp, in various forms, are the subject of some interesting notes by Mirza Abdul Razes. “It produces a ravenous appetite and constipation, arrests the secretions except that of the liver, excites wild imagining, especially a sensation of ascending, forgetfulness of all that happens during its use, and such mental exaltation, that the beholders attribute it to supernatural inspiration.

Mirza Abdul considers Hemp to be a powerful exciter of the flow of bile, and relates cases of its efficacy in restoring appetite-of its utility as an external application as a poultice with milk, in relieving hæmorrhoids--and internally in gonorrhea to the extent of a quarter drachm of bangh. He states also that the habitual smokers of Gunjah generally die of diseases of the lungs, dropsy, and anasarca—“so do the eaters of Majoon and smokers of Sidhee, but at a later period. The inexperienced on first taking it are often senseless for a day, some go mad, others are known to die.”

In the 35th chapter of the 5th volume of Rumphius' Herbarium Amboinense, p. 208, Ed. Amsterd. A. D. 1695, we find a long and very good account of this drug, illustrated by two excellent plates. The subjoined is an epitome of Rumphius' article.

Rumphius first describes botanically the male and female Hemp plants, of which he gives two admirable, drawings. He assigns the upper provinces of India as its habitat, and states it to be cultivated in Java and Amboyna. He then notices very briefly the exciting effects ascribed to the leaf, and to mixtures thereof with spices, camphor, and opium. He alludes doubtingly to its alleged aphrodisiac powers, and states that the kind of mental excitement it produces depends on the temperament of the consumer. He quotes a passage from Galen, lib. i. (de aliment, facult) in which it is asserted that in that great writer's time it was customary to give Hemp seed to the guests at banquets as promoters of hilarity and enjoyment. Rumphius adds, that the Mahomedans in his neighbourhood frequently sought for the male plant from his garden to be given to persons afflicted with virulent gonorrhea and with asthma, or the affection which is popularly called 'stitches in the side.” He tells us, moreover, that the powdered

[ocr errors]

leaves check diarrhoea, are stomachic, cure the malady named pitao, and moderate excessive secretion of bile. He mentions the use of Hemp smoke as an enema in strangulated hernia, and of the leaves as an antidote to poisoning by orpiment. Lastly, he notices in the two subsequent chapters varieties of Hemp which he terms the Gunjah sativa and Gunjah agrestis. In the Hortus Malabaricus Rheedes' article on the Hemp is a mere outline of Rumphius' statements.

Among modern European writers the only information I could trace on the medicinal use of Hemp in Europe, is in the recent work of Ness v. Esenbeck, from which the following is an extract kindly supplied by Dr. Wallich :

“ The fresh herb of the Hemp has a very powerful and unpleasant narcotic smell, and is used in the East in combination with opium, in the preparation of intoxicating potions, &c. It is probable that the nepenthe of the ancients was prepared from the leaves of this plant. Many physicians, Hahnemann among them, prescribe the vinous extract in various nervous disorders, where opium and hyoscyamus used to be employed, being less heating and devoid of bitterness.”

No information as to the medicinal effects of Hemp exists in the standard works on Materia Medica, to which I have access. Soubeiran, Feé, Merat, and de Lens in their admirable dictionary; Chevalier and Richard, Roques (Phytographie Medicale); Ratier and Henry (Pharmacopeé Française); and the Dictionnaire des Sciences Medicales-are all equally silent on the subject.

In Ainslie's Materia Indica, 2nd vol. we find three notices of the plant and its preparations.

At page 39 “Banghie,” (Tamul) with the Persian and Hindee synonymes of " Beng" and "Subjee," is described as an intoxicating liquor prepared with the leaves of the Gunjah, or Hemp plant.

Under the head Gunjah, Ainslie gives numerous synonymes, and tells that the leaves are sometimes prescribed in cases of diarrhæa; and in conjunction with turmeric, onions, and warm gingilie oil are made into an unction for painful protruded piles. Dr. Ainslie also gives a brief view of the popular uses and botanical peculiarities of the plant.

* Handbuch der Medicin : und Pharmac: Botanik, ron F. Ness von Esenbeckel Dr. Carl Ebermaier, vol. I, p. 338.

[ocr errors][merged small]

Majoon, lastly, is described by Dr. Ainslie, page 176, as a preparation of sugar, milk, ghee, poppy seeds, flowers of the datura, powder of nux-vomica, and sugar. The true Majoon however as prepared in Bengal contains neither datura nor nux-vomica. I have already described the process by which it has been manufactured before me.

In the Journal de Pharmacie, the most complete Magazine in existence on all pharmaceutical subjects, we find Hemp noticed in several volumes. In the Bulletin de Pharmacie t. V. A. 1810, p. 400, we find it briefly described by M. Rouyer, apothecary to Napoleon, and member of the Egyptian scientific commission, in a paper on the popular remedies of Egypt. With the leaves and tops, he tells us, collected before ripening, the Egyptians prepare a conserve, which serves as the base of the berch, the diasmouk, and the bernaouy. Hemp leaves reduced to powder and incorporated with honey or stirred with water constitute the berch of the poor classes.

The same work also, (Bulletin, vol. i. p. 523, A. 1809,) contains a very brief notice on the intoxicating preparations of Hemp, read by M. De Sacy before the Institute of France in July, 1809. M. De Sacy's subsequent analysis of Makrizi, of which I have given an outline, is however much more rich in details than the article in the Bulletin,

(To be continued.)

ART. VII.-Memoir on the Climate, Soil, Produce and Husbandry of
Afghanistan and the Neighbouring Countries.--By Lieut. IRWIN.

It gives us great pleasure to be the means of rescuing from undeserved oblivion, the admirable Memoir on Afghanistan, of which we now present to our readers the first part. The author (then) Lieut. Irwin accompanied Mr. ELPHINSTONE in his Mission to Cabul, and is honorably mentioned in the preface to Mr. E's justly celebrated work. The Memoir we now publish exists in the Library of the Asiatic Society, and was first brought to our notice by Captain Cunningham of the Bengal Engineers. Subsequently Dr. Spry struck by the value of its details on rural economy, proposed its publication to the Agri

« السابقةمتابعة »