The Universal Herbal: Haematoxylum Campechianum; Logwood, Bloodwood, Campeache Wood.

The Universal Herbal;
or botanical, medical and agricultural dictonary.
Containing an account of All the known Plants in the World, arranged according to the Linnean system. Specifying the uses to which they are or may be applied, whether as food, as medicine, or in the arts and manufactures.
With the best methods of propagation, and the most recent agricultural improvements.
collected from indisputable Authorities.
Adapted to the use of the farmer - the gardener - the husbandman - the botanist - the florist - and country housekeepers in general.
By Thomas Green.
Vol. I
Printed at the Caxton Press by Henri Fisher.
Printer in Ordinary to His Majesty.
The stem rises from sixteen to twenty-four feet high, is generally crooked, and seldom thicker than a man's thigh; branches subdivided, flexuose, prickly, round, ash coloured; leaves pinnate, petioles alternate, patulous, round, smooth; leaflets four pair on very short petiolules, generally obcordate, entire, small, veined, very smooth and shining, spreading in the day-time, but at night upright, converging; flowers peduncled, numerous, small, pale, yellow, on short, scattered, simple, coloured peduncles. The flowers appear in March and April, and the seeds ripen in July. This tree grows naturally in the bay of Campeache, at Honduras, and in other parts of the Spanish West Indies. It was first propagated in Jamaica, in the year 1715, from seeds brought from the bay of Campeache, and it now grows wild in the neighbourhood of Savannah la Mar, in such quantities as to be extremely incommodious to the landholders, occupying that district in the same manner as the Opoponax and Cashew have the southern parts of Middlesex county. It was first introduced to prevent the necessity of forming a settlement upon the Spanish Main; but the result did not ſully answer the benevolent intentions of those who first cultivated it. It makes an impenetrable and beautiful fence. The smaller stems are made into hoops. Both the bark and gum are gen tle, subastringents, but the last excels, and adds a sweetness to its virtue, which makes it more agreeable to the palate; the inner bark is red, and the wood hard. The wood, says Hill, is a very powerful medicine, to stop fluxes of the belly, and overflowings of the menses: the best way of giving it is in form of an extract, which is to be made by boiling down a strong decoction of it to the consistence of honey; in this form it will keep a long time, and is always ready for use. A strong decoction of this wood, says Meyrich, is found very efficacious for stopping obstinate purges, without contracting the fibres, as the common astringents do; it sheathes and blunts acrimonious humours, and has more of a balsamic than an astringent taste: it strengthens the stomach and bowels, and indeed the general habit, and is an agreeable medicine to take, being free from any thing disgustful to the taste, and almost void of smell: the decoction is made by boiling three ounces of powdered logwood in four pints of water, till it comes to a quart, and then adding about two drachms of cinnamon, which must be allowed to boil together with the logwood a few minutes longer; then, after letting it cool, the liquor must be strained off for use, and may be taken to the amount of three or four ounces, three or four times a day. This decoction is equally agreeable, mild, and safe, and has this advantage attending it, that it may be administered with equal safety, whether the disorder be attended with a fever or not: it commonly tinges the stools, and sometimes the urine, of a deep reddish purple colour; of which circumstance the patient ought to be apprised, that he may not alarm himself, by supposing the colour of the discharge owing to blood. Logwood is a well-known ingredient in dyeing: stuffs, however, would take only a slight and fading colour from logwood, if they were not previously prepared with alum and tartar; a little of the former is also added to the bath, and by these means a tolerably good violet colour is produced. A blue colour may be obtained from this wood, by mixing verdigris with the bath, and dipping the cloth till it has acquired the shade which is desired: the grand use of logwood, however, is for blacks, to which it gives a lustre and velvet cast, and for grays of certain shades: it is also of very extensive use for different compound colours, which it would be difficult to obtain of equal beauty and variety by means of drugs affording a dye of greater permanency. It is used for dyeing silk, violet; for this the silk must be scoured, alumed, and washed, because without the alum it would only take a reddish tinge that would not stand wetting. To dye silk thus, it must be turned in a cold decoction of logwood, till it has acquired the proper colour: if the decoction were used while hot, the colour would be in stripes very uneven. Bergman has observed, that a fine violet might be produced from logwood, by impregnating the silk with solution of tin; in fact we may thus obtain, particularly by mixing logwood and Brazilwood in various proportions, a great number of fine shades, more or less inclined to red, from the lilac to the violet hue. — The seeds of this tree are frequently brought from America, and when fresh will grow readily, if sown upon a good hot-bed; if the bed be kept in a moderate temperature they will grow to be upwards of a foot high in the first year: while the plants are young they are generally well furnished with leaves, in which they are often afterwards very deficient, making but little progress. They are very tender, and should be constantly kept in the bark stove, where, if duly watered, and the stove be kept in a due degree of heat, they may be easily preserved. In the West Indies, it thrives best in low swampy lands, or shallow waters, or a rich and tolerably firm soil.

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