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Fagus Sylvaticus

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 Medica
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.