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NAT. ORD., Cupuliferae.
COMMON NAME, European Beech.
PREPARATION.--The Beech Nuts are pounded to a pulp and macerated in five
parts by weight of alcohol.
(In volume XIII of the American Observer, Dr. E. W.
Berridge, contributes the following concerning the action
of Fagus sylvaticus or Beech nuts):
BEECH NUTS. (From Medical Museum--London, 1781--vol. ii., pp. 97,
294.) From a dissertation on hydrophobia, by Christian Frederick
Seleg, M. D., of Enbenstoff, in Saxony, printed in Eslong, in 1762.
A boy aged 13 had eaten four days ago a large quantity of beech nuts. I
found him in great pain, languid, and terrified with apprehensions of
present death. Pulse very unequal, sometimes extremely quick, sometimes
languid and intermittent; skin burning violently; mouth flowing with
froth and saliva, intolerable thirst, entreating for drink, but as soon
as any liquid was brought he seemed to shudder with equal horror, as if
he had been eating unripe grapes. Soon after eating the nuts he had been
seized with torpor, gloominess and dread of liquids. He had not been
bitten by any rabid animal.
Next (5th) day, early in the morning, he was the same, but seemed to
talk more in his wildness and perturbation of mind, and his mouth flowed
with foam more abundantly; the urine he had voided by night was red and
firey, depositing a copious turbid white sediment, resembling an
emulsion of beech nuts, subsiding as deep as the breadth of the finger
at the bottom of the vessel. A few hours before he died he vomited a
porraceous bile, after which he died quietly.
The author in the original work gives a number of fatal cases of
spontaneous hydrophobia. This work should be examined.
John Bauhin (Hist. Plants, vol. i, pp. 2, 121) says that the nuts will
disorder the head like darnel; hogs grow stupid and drowsy by feeding on
Ray (Hist. of Plants, tom. ii, p. 1382) and Mangetus (Biblioth.
Pharm., vol. i, p. 910) says the same.
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