American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. An eastern Mediterranean plant (Convolvulus scammonia) having large roots that yield a resin formerly used as a cathartic.
- n. The resin obtained from this plant.
- n. A cathartic preparation made from this resin.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A plant, Convolvulus Scammonia, which grows abundantly in Syria and Asia Minor. Its stems, bearing arrow-shaped leaves, trail or climb a distance of several feet, and it has a large tapering root which is the source of the drug scammony.
- n. A gum-resin consisting of the inspissated root-juice of this plant. It is obtained by slicing off the top of the root obliquely and collecting as it runs off the sap, which concretes in course of time. It appears in commerce commonly in fragments or cakes of a greenish-gray or blackish color, has a peculiar odor somewhat like that of cheese, and a slightly acrid taste. Virgin scammony, the pure exuded article, is little in the market; the common scammony is adulterated with a decoction of the root and with earthy and other substances, on which account the dried roots are to some extent imported and the resin extracted by alcohol. Scammony is an energetic cathartic.
- n. Convolvulus scammonia, a twining perennial bindweed native to the eastern part of the Mediterranean basin, whose juice has been used in medicine as scammonium.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Bot.) A species of bindweed or Convolvulus (C. Scammonia).
- n. An inspissated sap obtained from the root of the Convolvulus Scammonia, of a blackish gray color, a nauseous smell like that of old cheese, and a somewhat acrid taste. It is used in medicine as a cathartic.
- n. tropical American morning glory
- n. resin from the root of Convolvulus scammonia
- n. twining plant of Asia Minor having cream-colored to purple flowers and long thick roots yielding a cathartic resin
- Middle English scamonie, from Old English scammōniam and from Old French scamonie, both from Latin scammōnea, from Greek skammōniā. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“He made use of the narcotics mandragora, henbane, and probably also poppy-juice, and as a laxative used greatly a vegetable substance called "mercury," beet and cabbage, and cathartics such as scammony and elaterium!”
“The cruelty of these impious men goes even to the length that, thinking the wretches have eaten gold or silver, they either put scammony in their drink and force them to vomit or void their vitals, or – and this is unspeakable – they stretch asunder the coverings of all the intestines after ripping open their stomachs with a blade and reveal with horrible mutilation whatever nature keeps secret.”
“Taken into the inferior parts are clysters strong or weak, suppositories of Castilian soap, honey boiled to a consistence; or stronger of scammony, hellebore, &c.”
“If there be borborygmi, with bilious stools, purge moderately with scammony; but with regard to the treatment otherwise, administer as few drinks and draughts as until there be some amendment, and the disease is past the fourteenth day.”
“Grosseteste uses the example, drawn from Avicenna, of the causal claim that scammony of itself causes the discharge of red bile.”
“The organ was indeed the strangest that ever eyes beheld; for the pipes were of cassia fistula in the cod; the top and cornice of guiacum; the bellows of rhubarb; the pedas of turbith, and the clavier or keys of scammony.”
“I let pass how for a minorative or gentle potion he took four hundred pound weight of colophoniac scammony, six score and eighteen cartloads of cassia, an eleven thousand and nine hundred pound weight of rhubarb, besides other confuse jumblings of sundry drugs.”
“Each fluid ounce contains: sulp. magnesia one drachm, senna two drachms, scammony six grains, liquorice one drachm, ginger three grains, coriander, five grains, with flavoring ingredients.”
“Dyaceraseos (a mixture of cherry juice, honey, cinnamon, mastic and scammony) and Agrippa.”
“Her method consisted in giving from one to three drams of the powdered root, after using a clyster, and following the dose up with a purge of scammony and calomel.”
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