Brazilian Drugs at the Vienna Exhibition.
The Zeitschrift des Allgemeinen Österreichischen Apotheker-Vereines now enables us to quote a series of notes upon the uses, etc., of these drugs. Very little is known about some of them in this country, and as South American drugs are frequently sent over to England, some of the information which has been furnished to the above may at a future time be found useful for reference. These notes are furnished to the above journal by Gustave Peckolt, apothecary at Rio Janeiro, son of the well-known botanist, Dr. Theodor Peckolt.
Carquega Amargosa.—The leaves of Baccharis genistelloides, Pers. [Compositae).—The powerfully bitter leaves serve as a substitute for wormwood. A tea prepared from these leaves is much used for indigestion and diarrhoea, 12 grams of the leaves being infused in 600 grams of water and taken in doses of a wineglassful. An aqueous extract is used in conjunction with salts of iron for debility and anaemia; a spirituous extract in doses of 2 grams for liver disease, and the bitter resin every two hours in intermittent fever between the attacks.
The fresh leaves analysed by Dr. Theodor Peckolt were found to contain in 1,000 parts 1.347 per cent. of a volatile oil and 17.948 of a dark green soft resin soluble in ether, 11.218 of a dark green hard acid resin insoluble in ether, 3.236 of a brown bitter resin, 8.413 of a tannin giving a green precipitate with iron salts; also wax, fat, etc.
The fresh leaves afforded 10 per cent. of watery extract and 9 per cent. of a spirituous one.
The leaves are said to be exported in considerable quantity to France for preparing a secret remedy or some other purpose. The idea seems to suggest itself that this may be used as an ingredient of absinthe.
Jaborandi.—Mr. Peckolt remarks that various leaves of other rutaceous plants, more especially of the genus Xanthoxylum, are exported under this name by ignorant collectors (see Pharm. Journ., October 20, 1883, p. 476, and Pharm. Centralhalle, No. 37, 1875).
Jurumbeba (Solanum insidiosum, Mart).—The leaves and unripe fruit are much used at Rio in vesical catarrh and liver disease. The drug is taken in the form of wine or pills and a plaster made with the extract is also applied externally. The dose of the leaves is 2 grams in 500 grams of infusion, a wineglassful being taken four times a day; of the extract 0.051 gram in the form of a pill four times daily. (See also "Amer. Jour. Phar.," 1877, p. 506.)
Mangueira.—The flowers of the mango, Mangifera indica, L. (Anacardiaceae), are used either in the form of tea or powder for catarrh of the bladder. The powder is also used in the form of fumigation against mosquitoes.
On analysis 1,000 grams of the fresh roots of the plant yielded 9.015 grams of a soft bitter resin, and 7.768 grams of a yellow resinous acid soluble in ether, 3.137 per cent. of a brown resin insoluble in ether, 4.018 per cent. of a crystallized vegetable acid, 32.100 grams of a wax giving off a vanilla odor when heated, as does also the extract of the root. The vegetable acid does not correspond in chemical reactions with any known acid and seems to deserve further investigation.
Cipó de Chumbo (Cuscuta racemosa, Mart.).—The expressed juice of the fresh plant is used in menorrhagia and catarrhal affections. The decoction is taken internally and used externally for crusta lactea and as a gargle for inflammation of the throat. The powdered herb is said to be useful as a vulnerary.
Crua or Melao do Caboclo (Sicana odorifera, Naud., Cucurbitaceae).—In the ripe state it (the fruit) has a very pleasant odor. The juice is used as a refrigerant and antifebrile remedy, and the seeds are regarded as a powerful emmenagogue.
Fava contra (Canavalia gladiata, DC. Leguminosae.)—The seeds are used as a remedy against the bites of serpents. The seeds are pounded with rum, the liquid pressed out and drunk, and the expressed portion applied to the bitten part.
Fructo de Abutua (Abuta rufescens, Aubl.).—The root is a considerable article of export as Pareira brava; it would be interesting to know for what purpose it is used, as it is impossible that the thousands of kilos exported should be used for medicinal purposes.
Fructo de Arradiabo (Cnidoscolus neglectus, Pohl. Euphorbiaceae.)—In Pernambuco the freshly bruised leaves are used as a poultice for carbuncle. The leaves and husk of the fruit are furnished with glandular hairs which sting most virulently, causing blisters where they touch the skin and giving rise to fever. The seeds contain 31.5 per cent. of a purgative oil.
Fructos de Barbatimao (Stryphnodendron polyphyllum, Mart. Leguminosae).—The pods contain soft sweet pulp, with a styptic after-taste, and are used for hemoptyses. The fresh pods were found by Dr. T. Peckolt to contain 7.9 per cent., and the dried pods 17.584 per cent. of tannin, which gives a black precipitate with ferric salts.
Fructos de Buchinha (Luffa operculata, Cogn. Cucurbitaceae).—The fruits are as drastic in their action as colocynth, and are used in dropsy, amenorrhoea, liver complaints, and tropical anaemia (opilacao). For dropsy, a fruit is boiled for some time, strained and beaten until cold, into a froth like white of egg, and a tablespoonful given every half-hour until vomiting or purging take place. In the northern provinces of Brazil it is used indiscriminately by the common people in all diseases, and, consequently, is sometimes used with bad results. For general use a bottle is half filled with the sliced fibrous part of the fruit, the bottle filled with rum and allowed to stand a day in the sun. In any indisposition a small dram glassful is taken, which usually produces six to eight evacuations.
Fructos de Copaiba (Copaifera nitida, Mart.).—The pods are used only by herbalist in the treatment of gonorrhoea, but with success. It is noteworthy that the pods contain 19.568 per cent. of a soft resin, having the odor of balsam of copaiba, and that the odor of copaiba is found only in the wood, bark, and pods of the tree, the black seeds containing 3.558 per cent. of a fat oil, having the odor of tonka bean, and the orange yellow arillus surrounding the seed being free from odor.
Fructo de Cujete (Crescentia Cujete, L.).—The pulp of the unripe fruit is beaten with sugar and taken in teaspoonful doses as a remedy for catarrh and bilious fever, and the expressed juice in doses of 8-15 grams in the treatment of convulsions. In the province of Pernambuco the full grown unripe fruit is heated over a fire until the shell begins to crack, and the pulp then removed, or squeezed out while hot, and given in doses of two spoonfuls for traumatic tetanus. The herbalists mix the heated mass with tapioca meal and make it into pills, or rather boluses, which they give for elephantiasis. Externally, it is applied to ruptures, and as a poultice for headache, bruises, scalds, and to ripen boils. The seeds are also used by the common people as a taenifuge. The not pleasant pulp of the ripe fruit is eaten by negroes and Indians without unpleasant results. With the juice of the ripe fruit a cough linctus is prepared. The pulp, on examination was found to contain malic, tartaric and crescentinic acids, a tannin giving a green color with salts of iron, a bitter substance, brown resin, etc.; a kilogram of the fresh unripe fruit afforded 292.700 grams of juice, which yielded 1.690 gram of crescentinic acid crystallized in four-sided prisms from the alcoholic solution. The seeds contain an acrid, bitter, fat oil.
Jaca (Thevetia neriifolia, Bass. Apocynaceae.).—One kernel eaten, or pounded with milk and drunk, acts as a purgative in about a quarter of an hour; sometimes also producing vomiting. The usual dose as a purgative is half a seed, in rheumatism and dropsy. It is also a popular remedy for snake bites. Two seeds are beaten with a beer-glassful of rum and strained, and a tumblerful taken every half-hour or hour and the residue applied to the wound. It is now, however, becoming supplanted by the subcutaneous injection of permanganate of potash. Notwithstanding that the activity of this antidote is doubted in Europe Mr. Peckolt says that in Brazil there is almost daily proof of its distinct efficacy.
Fructo de Papagaio (Mahonia sp. ?)—In the province of Minas, this fruit is called "Moribo," and in San Paulo "Moluro." It is a popular remedy for gonorrhoea. Parrots are very fond of the fruit.
Baunilha do Rio (Vanilla palmarum, Lindl. Orchidaceae).—The pods are collected in the province of Rio de Janeiro, in abundance on the banks of the river Parahyba, and would by proper treatment afford a good article of export. They contain 1.03 per cent. of vanillin.
Casca de Angrio Vermelho (Piptaedenia gida, Benth. Mimoseae).—Much used as an alterative and blood purifier, being given in decoction made in the proportion of 60 grams to 500 grams of water, and strained. Externally it is used in the form of decoction or fluid extract as an application for oedema of the feet and chronic ulcers. The wood of the tree is valued as timber and the sawdust is used for preparing a fluid extract of syrupy consistence which is used as a vulnerary. It was used by Dr. Peckolt in a hospital at Rio de Janeiro for wounds, and in three days the pus had nearly disappeared, and in twenty days the wounds were perfectly healed. The sawdust was. found to contain 5.128 per cent. of a soft resin soluble in ether, and 20.512 per cent. of tannin. A tincture of the leaves is also used for bruises and cuts.
Casca de barbatimao (Stryphnodendron polyphyllum, Mart. Mimoseae).—The bark is frequently exported to Europe as Cortex adstringens. According to Dr. Peixoto the decoction of the fresh bark, or the powder in the form of a poultice, is useful for unhealthy sores, and as an injection for leucorrhoea or passive haemorrhage. It is used in the form of snuff for epistaxis, and the extract in the form of plaster for rupture. In cases of post-partum haemorrhage a decoction is made of 20 grams of the bark to 240 of water, the decoction strained, and 4 grams of acetic ether added; of this mixture a tablespoonful is. given every hour. Dr. T. Peckolt found in the fresh bark 0.792, and in the fresh leaves 0.528 per cent. of a tannin which gives a green precipitate with salts of iron.
Casca de Cedro Vermelho, Cedrela vellosiana, Roem..According to some writers on Brazilian drugs the bark possesses emetic properties, a statement that has also been copied in some French works. According to Dr. T. Peckolt's investigations in the hospital of Rio Janeiro the statement is not supported by facts. He gave the decoction in the dose of 40 grams of the bark to 240 grams of water without the least symptom of nausea being produced, and in one patient suffering from dysentery, in whose case an emetic was indicated, the decoction cured the patient. The fluid extract is given with success in diarrhoea, a tablespoonful being given every three hours of a mixture of 8 grams of the fluid extract in 120 of water. The fresh bark was found to yield only 0.03 per cent of tannin, which gives a black precipitate with iron salts. Ten kilograms of the dried bark yielded 1.976 grams of a volatile oil, having the odor of the wood.
Casca de Raiz de Cipo Suma (Anchietea salutaris, St. Hil. Violaceae),—The root bark is officinal, and is much prized as a remedy for syphilis and herpetic eruptions. It is also used for whooping-cough in the form of syrup, 4 grams of tincture mixed with 30 of simple syrup. The decoction is prepared of the strength of 30 parts of the root to 500 of water; the powder is taken in doses of 2 to 6 grams three times a day.
Casca de Guaranhem (Lucuma glycyphloeum, Eichl. Sapotaceae).—Dr. Peckolt found in monesia bark 22 per mille of monesia—tannic acid—which gives a black coloration with iron salts, 6.960 of gallic acid, 2.800 of monesin, an acrid amorphous body, 0.090 of lucumin, a body crystallizing in silky needles, 1.130 of a bitter substance and 15.000 of glycyrrhizin, tartaric and citric acids, wax, etc.
The dose of the decoction is made from 30 grams of the bark boiled in 500 grams of water. Of the extract (known as monesia), the dose is 0.6 to 1.5 gram, taken during the day. The tincture is prepared from 1 part of the bark and 5 of spirit of wine.
Casca de Mulungu (Erythrina Mulungu, Benth. Leguminosae).—A largely used and much valued remedy. In small doses it acts as an anodyne and sedative; in larger doses it produces sleep without causing excitement; it is also used in cases of hypertrophy. It is added to baths to relieve rheumatism.
This drug has no doubt an important future, and it is well worthy of further examination from a physiological and a therapeutic point of view. The active principle has not yet been obtained in a definite form, although a yellow odorless resin and a strongly narcotic extract of a disagreeable bitter taste, tannin and nitrate of potash have been prepared from the bark.
Casca Paratudo (Hortia arborea, Engl. Rutaceae).—The bark is an excellent tonic; it has an agreeable aromatic odor, a mild bitter flavor with a burning after-taste, due to the presence of volatile oil. It is a favorite tonic for weak digestion. The infusion is used in zymotic fevers, especially when severe (atuctische) skin eruptions are present.
The dose of the powdered bark is 0.5 to 1 gram. A concentrated infusion is used as an enema in prolapsus ani.
Casca de Pao Pereira (Geissospermum Vellosii, Fr. Allem).—The active principle, geissospermine, is best prepared by making an alcoholic extract, distilling off the alcohol and treating the residue with acidulated water and precipitating with ammonia. When prepared directly from a watery extract of the bark, the alkaloid is purified with difficulty.
Casca de Sangue de Drago (Croton erythoema, Mart. Euphorbiaceae).—The bark is a favorite astringent. A decoction of the fresh bark evaporated to an extract of a weak syrupy consistence is known as mellado de sangue de drago. In chronic diarrhoea of adults the dose is a teaspoonful three times a day; for children a teaspoonful of a mixture of 2 grams of the extract with 60 grams of water every three hours. It is employed in the form of injection for gonorrhoea and leucorrhoea. It has also been used as a vulnerary with success.
Casca de Tinguaciba (Xanthoxylum Tinguassiba, St. Hil. Rutaceae).—The decoction is used as a powerful sudorific, and in the form of a gargle for affections of the throat, also as an addition to odontalgic tincture. Dr. Peckolt has found in the bark an alkaloid producing effects similar to those of pilocarpine.
Quina do Remijio (Remijia ferruginea, Ol. Cinchonaceae).—The root-bark has long been used as a remedy for intermittent fever by the wandering natives. The active principle is an acid resin having a shining crystalline appearance and named by Dr. Peckolt vieirin after Dr. J. A. Vieira de Mattos, who discovered it in 1860. The vieirin can be prepared by exhausting the powdered bark with water rendered alkaline with ammonium or sodium hydrate and precipitating the liquid with acetic or hydrochloric acid. If extracted by means of milk of lime and alcohol it is obtained in a shining crystalline form resembling santonin. It is soluble in alcohol and alkalies and is given in a mixture with wine and bicarbonate of sodium.
The American Journal of Pharmacy, Vol. 56, 1884, was edited by John M. Maisch.