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Chemical Notes.

Bryony root.—Chas. F. Heller, Ph. G., made the following determinations with a specimen of the root containing 7.5 per cent. of moisture. It yielded 5.5 per cent. of ash, consisting of sulphate, chloride and carbonate of potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and aluminium. The benzol extract mounted to 0.746 per cent., and consisted of fixed oil, waxy substance and coloring matter. The alcoholic extract weighed 15.494 per cent., and from it the glucoside bryonin was prepared by the process of Walz. The aqueous extraction contained 9.360 per cent. of solid matter, consisting mainly of sugar, gum and albumen. On continued boiling with diluted sulphuric acid starch was the chief principle taken up, the extract weighing 49.024 per cent. Caustic soda now dissolved 6. 1 per cent., and the residuary cellulose, after bleaching and drying, weighed 6.506 per cent.

Myrrh.—A sample of myrrh examined by Chas. E. Escott, Ph. G., treated with alcohol, left 56 per cent of insoluble matter. Maceration with petroleum benzin yielded a pale yellow liquid, which on spontaneous evaporation left 18.75 per cent. of oily residue. Caustic potassa gave with myrrh a solution of a brilliant red color, turning to amber color on dilution. The gum left on treatment with alcohol had a barely perceptible odor of myrrh and a slightly mucilaginous taste, was neutral to test paper, and though of a pale color, gave with water a dark brown solution, the odor changing and becoming stronger, without apparent decomposition. The insoluble portion amounted to 15 per cent., or 8.4 per cent. of the weight of the myrrh. The dilute solution (1:450) acquired a purple color by ferric chloride, changed to reddish yellow by ammonia. Stronger solutions were precipitated by alcohol, not gelatinized by borax, and the precipitate with subacetate of lead was not redissolved. A castor-oil emulsion made with the gum, proved to be not permanent. The gum makes a good mucilage and should be saved for that purpose in making tincture of myrrh.

Damiana.—The leaves of Turnera aphrodisiaca, Ward, have been examined by F. W. Pantzer, Ph. G. The air-dry leaves lost in a drying chamber 11 per cent of moisture and volatile oil, yielded 9.68 per cent. of ash. Petroleum benzin extracted 7 per cent. of volatile oil, fat, wax and resinous matter. Alcohol of 80 per cent. yielded 20 per cent. of dark green extract, containing tannin, two tasteless resins and extractive. Water dissolved 16 per cent. of mucilaginous and extractive principles, and by distillation with water 1/2 per cent. of an amber colored volatile oil was obtained, having a heavy aromatic odor and a warm camphoraceous and bitter taste. Alkaloids and glucosides were not observed.


The American Journal of Pharmacy, Vol. 59, 1887, was edited by John M. Maisch.



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