Meliaceae - Sycocarpus rusbyi Britt., Guarea rusbyi (Britt.) Rusby, cocillana
„Tree to 50 m. tall, frequently flowering when only 6-10 m. tall, occasionally shrubby (sprout clumps?). Leaves 0.15-2 m. long; … Distribution: Frequent in lowland forest from southern Mexico to Bolivia.“ http://tropicos.org/Name/20400127?projectid=56
From bark extracts the pharmaceutical company Parke-Davis produced a cough medicine:
„While in the Bolivian jungles Rusby kept hearing reports about the bark of a mystery tree called “cocillana” which was reported to possess a remarkable range of therapeutic uses. Finally a native identified this mysterious tree and Rusby immediately had it cut down and its bark removed and dried. In order to test the properties he administered a small amount to one of his native companions and it produced an increase of mucus in the mouth and throat. A double dose was then given to two other natives with similar results. Thus encouraged, Rusby again doubled the dose and took it himself. The result was “nausea, pallor, and an abundance of thin watery mucus from the nose.” Based on these findings and what information he could gather, Rusby considered that this drug had properties similar to those of ipecac and that it had commercial possibilities. So he hired natives to gather 600 pounds of this bark which was then packed, carried over the mountains, and shipped back to Detroit.
…Cocillana bark was listed in the 1888 catalog just two years after Rusby sent back the first sample. Cocillana never replaced ipecac but eventually was utilized in cough preparations …
One of the major problems encountered by the pharmacists and physicians at that time was the variation in the strengths of the prepared medicinal extracts on the market. These could range from being worthlessly weak to death-threateningly strong.“
[The early history of PARKE-DAVIS AND COMPANY, Milton L. Hoefle, Warner Lambert-Parke Davis, Bull. Hist. Chem., Vol.25 (1), 2000, 29-30] http://www.scs.illinois.edu/~mainzv/HIST/bulletin_open_access/v25-1/v25-1%20p28-34.pdf