Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A white opaque or translucent variety of opal which breaks into irregular pieces like dry starch, found in the joints of the bamboo in the East and Brazil, and believed to be caused by disease or injury to the plant. It possesses the power of absorbing its own weight of water, when it becomes entirely transparent. It is probably the “oculus mundi” of the gem-writers of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. In the East Indies tabasheer, prepared by calcining and pulverizing, is largely used as a medicine by both Hindus and Mohammedans; it is esteemed cooling, tonic, aphrodisiac, and pectoral.
- n. A translucent white substance, composed mainly of silica and water with traces of lime and potash, obtained from the nodal joints of some species of bamboo and used in traditional Asian medicine.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A concretion in the joints of the bamboo, which consists largely or chiefly of pure silica. It is highly valued in the East Indies as a medicine for the cure of bilious vomitings, bloody flux, piles, and various other diseases.
- Hindi-Urdu: तबाशीर or طباشیر. (Wiktionary)
“Sir David Brewster long ago pointed out the remarkable physical characters presented by the curious product of the vegetable world known as "tabasheer," though so far as I can find out it has not in recent years received that attention from physicists which the experiments and observations of the great Scotch philosopher show it to be worthy of.”
“Much of the material which under the name of "tabasheer" finds its way to Syria and Turkey is said, however, to be fictitious or adulterated.”
“In 1819 tabasheer caught the interest of the great David Brewster, Scottish science king of all reflection-refraction-diffraction matters he also invented the kaleidoscope.”
“And three: In 1791 he published a paper on a queer stone tabasheer found in bamboo joints.”
“In the case of tabasheer he discovered it was a form of opal that phosphoresced when hot, reflected a curious bluish-white light, and was more holes than solid, so it absorbed liquid.”
“By the aid of Mr. Swinton, secretary to the government at Calcutta, he formed a large and interesting collection of all the different varieties of tabasheer from various parts of India.”
“Occasionally the thicker varieties were found passing into a solid state, and forming tabasheer.”
“Banks yielded, not an ordinary tabasheer, but a small pebble about the size of half a pea, externally of a dark brown or black color, and within of a reddish brown tint.”
“On these determinations Guibourt founded a theory of the mode of formation of tabasheer based on the suggestion that at certain periods of its growth the bamboo needed less silica than at other times, and that when not needed, the silica was carried inward and deposited in the interior.”
“Foureroy and Vauquelin gave an account of a specimen of tabasheer brought from South America in 1804 by Humboldt and”
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