MEDICAL STUDIES 27
may not know the meanings of these words, so I venture to give them. Tea is an "infusion," made by pouring boiling water on the tea and allowing it to stand. Coffee is, or would be a "decoction" if made by boiling the mixture. Infusions and decoctions are cheap forms of medicine, suitable for hospitals where they are made daily, but they soon spoil when .kept. " Tinctures " are made by pouring spirits of wine instead of water on the drugs ; they keep indefinitely, but are more costly, and therefore rarely used in hospitals. " E ktracts " are made by boiling down decoctions.
All this is easily done when the proper simple apparatus and means of heating are at hand. I once made an extract as an experiment that I recommend to the notice of students who may wish to taste the ne plus ultra of bitterness. It was from, quassia, that curious tree of South America, of which the very chips are bitter. The once well-known " bitter cup " is made of quassia wood. When water is poured into the cup, it quickly becomes bitter. Quassia is a valuable tonic medicine, with perhaps the one fault of cheapness. An apothecary can hardly be expected to feel easy in conscience when he charges apothecary's prices for what every little chip of a timber tree affords when put into hot water. Anyhow, I made a large j ugful of decoction of quassia and boiled it down until a sticky residue was left, which is, or might be, called " quassine." I put a piece of it about the size of a pin's head upon my tongue, and then-oh then! Try it, if you, doubt its absolute bitterness.
It was amusing at first to make pills. The pill mass had to be brayed together in a mortar, occasion-