Open main menu

Page:Indian Medicinal Plants (Text Part 1).djvu/14

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

plants, and was helped in this portion of his task by an able member of the Indian Civil Service, who to his other accomplishments adds a great taste for Botany. His notes have been incorporated by Colonel Kirtikar in the botanical descriptions.

Before his lamented death, which took place on the 9th May, 1917, Colonel Kirtikar had left in manuscript the botanical descriptions of almost all the plants mentioned in this work. It is to be greatly regretted that he did not live to give a finishing touch to his writings. He was, however, able to revise the proofs of about the first 500 pages of this book.

When we undertook the preparation of this work, it was decided that it would not be a treatise on Materia Medica. A work of that nature should include—

"(1) Characters and means of recognition of the crude drug including—

(a) External appearance, feel, [taste], smell, weight, &c.
(b) Microscopical characters and tests.

(c) General adulterants and mode of detection.

(2) To know whence and how the drug is obtained.

(3) The general properties of the crude drug, and the source of its special properties, i.e., its active principle, treated generally.

(4) To know the method of development of the drug itself, so far as practicable; and the nature, anatomical and developmental, of the structures whence it is obtained.

(5) The preparations in which the drug forms a part, the processes of preparation and their rationale; methods of manipulation, etc.

(6) The doses of the drug and of its preparations.

(7) The physiological action of the drug and its preparations."

Pharmacographia Indica by Messrs. Dymock, Warden and Hooper still remains an authoritative work on Indian Materia Medica. The present work is a Botany of Indian Medicinal Plants and so no account of drugs procurable in Indian bazars is given in it.

It is true that most of the illustrations in this publication are reproductions from those in various works on Indian Botany and