from The Century Dictionary.
- noun The non-nitrogenous bitter principle of Ilex Aquifolium. It forms brownish-yellow crystals, is very bitter, and is said to have febrifuge qualities.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.
- noun (Chem.) The bitter principle of the holly.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
- noun organic chemistry A
bitter alkaloidfound in holly.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
Its febrifuge virtues are supposed to depend on a bitter principle, ilicin, and the berries are considered purgative, diuretic, and emetic.
Resources of the Southern Fields and Forests, Medical, Economical, and Agricultural. Being also a Medical Botany of the Confederate States; with Practical Information on the Useful Properties of the Trees, Plants, and Shrubs
Holly berries are somewhat toxic and will cause vomiting and/or diarrhea when ingested by people, partly due to the ilicin content.