Gleanings in Materia Medica, cont'd.
Cont'd from previous page.
Arachis hypogaea, Lin.—Formerly peanuts came to the United States almost exclusively from South America and Africa; of late years, however, they have been grown here so extensively that the importations have almost entirely ceased. The bulk of the crop in the United States comes from Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, the best nuts being raised in the vicinity of Wilmington, N. C. For the three States of Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee alone the crop last year was upward of 2,000,000 bushels. The use of peanuts in different kinds of confectionery and cake has largely increased the sale of the nuts, and they are also used for an oil, which is expressed in considerable quantities from the seeds, and which is said to be in no way inferior to olive oil. —The Cultivator.
Euphoria litchi, Desf. s. E. punicea, Lamarck. Nat. ord. Sapindaceae. Stanislas Martin describes the fruit as being 10 centimeters (4 inches) in circumference and 12 cm. long; fleshy; the seed with a hard testa; the embryo exalbuminous, hard (If it's that big it can't be Litchi sinensis. -Henriette). The arillus is covered with rough and sharp projections, weighs 35 centigrams, is brittle, contains tannin and brown resin, burns with flame and leaves little ash. The pulp of each fruit weighs 2 to 3 grams and contains much sugar, pectin, mucilage, tartaric acid and an aromatic principle. (The litchi fruit is used in China and India in febrile diseases for its refrigerant acidulous properties.—EDITOR.)—Bull. gén. de Thérap., April, p. 325.
Mulberry barkhas enjoyed some reputation as a taenifuge since Dioscorides. Dr. Berenger-Feraud has experimented with the fresh bark of the black and white mulberry, taken from vigorous trees in the neighborhood of Toulon, and did not observe any appreciable physiologic effect. The bark was given in the form of infusion, in doses varying from 16 to 300 grams.—Ibid., March, p. 220.
Eupatorium Ayapana, Vent.—H. Paschkis describes these leaves as attaining a length of 9 and a breadth of 2 centimeters, lanceolate, gradually acuminate, and at the base narrowed into a short petiole, of the thickness of paper and appearing finely hairy under a magnifying glass. The lowest two lateral nerves spring at a very acute angle from the principal nerve, and each anastomoses in the form of a noose near the margin. The upper surface has few, the lower surface numerous almost circular stomata, with one or two contiguous cells scarcely larger than the guard cells. The hairs are several-celled, either pointed or glandular, and contain a yellow granular substance becoming darker with potassa solution.—Zeitschr. Oest. Apoth. Ver.; Phar. Jour. and Trans., June 4.
Liatris odoratissima, Willd.—The leaves attain a length of 25 and a breadth of 2.5 centimeters, and are naked on both sides, but covered with small pits and furrows. Upon the surface, but very plentifully upon the petiole, are found glistening scales of coumarin. The leaves are oval, almost oblanceolate, the upper end truncate, the margin delicately undulate, the base diminishing into a long-winged petiole, midrib thick, lateral nerves at very acute angles, anastomosing in the form of double nooses near the margin. The stomata are numerous on both sides, in the mesophyll are found roundish or oblong cavities filled with a greenish or golden yellow oil, enclosing smaller strongly refracting drops. Both surfaces contain many funnel-shaped depressions, in which glands are imbedded.—Ibid.
Preservation of Hops.—Naumann and Pohl have patented a process according to which hops are dampened with alcohol and then pressed into any suitable vessel, which is afterwards well closed. The pressed hops become uniformly permeated with the alcohol and retain their properties for a long time.—Archiv d. Phar., 1881, March, p. 201.
Castor is secreted, according to Jos. Fuchs, by glands contained on the inner surface of the castor sacs, and in the fresh state is of an unctuous consistence, but never liquid. Canadian castor has a rather weak odor resembling that of old willow bark; the odor of Siberian and European castor is much stronger, and has been likened to that of birch oil or Russian leather. The difference in odor is regarded as the best character for distinguishing the two kinds. Their shape is similar, frequently pyriform; egg-shaped bags of Siberian or European castor are apt to contain a large amount of calcium carbonate. Adulterations with resinous and gum-resinous substances are best detected by breaking the bags in the middle, when membranes should be observed pervading the contents.—Archiv d. Phar. 1881, March, 189-195.
Other tomes: King's
Varieties of Amber.—O. Helm describes, under the name of glessite, a peculiar variety of amber, which is dark colored, translucent. or opaque, of spec. grav. 1.015 to 1.027, contains 0.44 per cent. of sulphur and behaves to solvents like ordinary amber, but on dry distillation yields probably formic (not succinic) acid.
Amber from Sicily is found of different shades of red or red-yellow, frequently displaying different colors, surrounded by a thin darker stratum, and of spec. grav. 1.052 to 1.068. Hardness, fracture, electrical behavior and amount of sulphur (0.52 per cent.) are the same as in amber from the Baltic, but it yields only 0.4 per cent. of succinic acid and the vapors are less irritating.
Roumanian amber is scarcely to be distinguished from the Baltic amber; it is usually rather harder, contains 1.15 per cent. of sulphur, has a density of 1.06 to 1.10, and on heating yields water sulphuretted hydrogen and 5.2 per cent. of succinic acid.—Archiv d. Phar., 1881, April, p. 307; Danzig Naturf. Ges.
Naphthol, a New Remedy for Cutaneous Diseases.—Chemists distinguish two isomeric compounds, a naphthol and b naphthol. The latter, which has been experimented with by Prof. Kaposi, is extensively used in dyeing, and is met with in commerce in large lumps, violet-brown, of a crystalline texture, friable, with a slight odor resembling that of carbolic acid, easily soluble in alcohol, liquid and solid fats, also in dilute alcohol. It has been used in the form of a 10 per cent. alcoholic solution and of an ointment containing 15 per cent. of naphthol. It colors the skin faintly brown and produces only slight desquamation. It is rapidly absorbed, the urine is on the following day turbid, but contains no albumen. The ointment does not color the clothes or bandages, the alcoholic solution gives them a rose-red color, which is easily removed by hot water and soap.
Further observations must decide in which diseases naphthol is best indicated; also whether it may not be possible and useful to give it internally and let it act by secretion through the skin.—Phar. Centralh., p. 238; Allg. Wien. Med. Ztg.
The American Journal of Pharmacy, Vol. 53, 1881, was edited by John M. Maisch.