By DR. A. V. PLANTA-REICHENAU.
The plant is known in Switzerland as forest lady's herb (Wildfräulein Kraut) and has been used there for centuries as a stomachic tonic, &c.
The author collected the herb before flowering without the root. It was, in the form of a coarse powder, distilled with steam, until volatile oil ceased to come over, and the aqueous decoction evaporated to the consistency of an extract. The herb thus exhausted with water, was dried and extracted with alcohol until it ceased to impart to it a bitter taste; most of the alcohol was distilled off.
Iva Oil. The crude volatile oil is bluish green, of a peculiar, not disagreeable odor, and a taste reminding of peppermint. It commences to boil at 170° C.; the greatest portion distils between 180 and 210° C.; the distillate between 230 and 260° C. is brown, and has the odor of wormwood. A dark brown, soft resin is left behind, which is not bitter, insoluble in absolute alcohol, but readily soluble in ether and oil of turpentine. The rectified oil was of a faint yellowish color, an agreeable refreshing odor, and a warm bitter taste, reminding of peppermint. Its composition is C48H40O4; the author names this ivaol.
Ivaïn. The dark green alcoholic liquid was precipitated by alcoholic solution of acetate of lead; the filtrate was treated with sulphuretted hydrogen and the filtrate evaporated; the residue was washed with acetic acid until the washings were colorless, afterwards with water, until it floats upon it. It was then repeatedly dissolve in alcohol and evaporated, to remove acetic acid, then treated with animal charcoal and the alcohol evaporated. Ivaïn = C48H42O6 has the consistency of Venice turpentine, is of a yellow color, insoluble in water, and in alcoholic solution has a persistently bitter taste.
Achilleina. The aqueous extract was triturated with alcohol until it ceased to become colored; the alcohol was distilled off and the residue precipitated by water. The precipitate having been washed with water, the aqueous liquid was agitated with plumbic hydrate to remove acids. The filtrate was freed from lead, evaporated and alternately dissolved in absolute alcohol and in water, and evaporated until the achilleina yielded clear solutions with both liquids. Thus prepared, it has an alkaline reaction, is brown red, amorphous, friable, very hygroscopic, readily soluble in water, with more difficulty in absolute alcohol, insoluble in ether; its odor is peculiar, its taste very bitter but not disagreeable. The author isolated also the bitter principle from Achillea millefolium, which had been obtained by Zanoa in a not entirely pure state, and found it to be identical with achilleina. Composition = C40H38N2O30. The salts have not been investigated.
Moschatina. The precipitate obtained by water, in the concentrated alcoholic residue, was taken up by absolute alcohol, evaporated to dryness and treated with water until the mass became pulverizable under water. It is of an aromatic bitter taste, little hygroscopic, barely soluble in water, fuses under water upon the water-bath, and separates from its solution in hot water in a pulverulent condition. Composition = C42H27NO14.
Achilletin. On boiling achilleina for several days with diluted acids sugar is formed, together with a volatile aromatic principle and probably ammonia, and a dark-brown powder separates which is not bitter, insoluble in water, sparingly in alcohol, and in this solution has an aromatic taste. Composition = C22H17NO8.
The author also obtained stearic acid on cooling the tincture of iva, concentrated by distillation.
The aqueous solution of the ashes contained very little sulphate of lime and magnesia, but considerable alkalies and chlorine. Nitric acid dissolves from the residue carbonates, much lime, also phosphoric acid and little magnesia. The undissolved portion consisted of charcoal and much silica.—Annalen der Chemie und Pharmacie, 1870, August, 145-161.
J. M. M.