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Archangelica Officinalis.—Garden Angelica.

Photo: Angelica archangelica 6.Preparation: Fluid Extract of Angelica Root
Related entry: Archangelica Atropurpurea.—Purple Angelica

The root and seeds of the Archangelica officinalis, Hoffmann (Angelica Archangelica, Linné, Angelica officinalis, Moench).
COMMON NAME: Garden angelica.

Botanical Source.—Garden angelica is a plant about 5 or 6 feet high. Its biennial root is fleshy, quite thick and long, and from it ascends every year a smooth, branched, fistulous, articulated and furrowed stem, of a purple color. . The leaves are large, bipinnate, with acute, lance-ovate, serrate leaflets, the terminal one trilobate, are borne on hollow foot-stalks. The greenish-white flowers are arranged in umbels which in turn are made up of compact, semiglobular umbellets.

History.—This plant is a native of Northern Europe, but is also found further south, especially in high altitudes, as among the Alps and Pyrenees, Much of it is cultivated in Germany from whence the drug market is chiefly supplied. The cultivated variety is said to differ from the native species sufficiently for some botanists to classify it as a distinct species. Thus it has been known as Archangelica sativa, Fries (Angelica sativa, Miller). The root should be gathered in the first year's autumn, as it is more likely to keep without becoming covered with mould. Its properties are in part abstracted by water, and fully by alcohol. It is highly valued as a domestic drug and condiment by the natives of Lapland where it is indigenous. The stems are preserved in Europe and employed as a food and gastric excitant. The fresh root when broken, emits an aromatic fluid having the appearance of honey. The warm infusion is an eligible form of administration.

Description.—ROOT. The root-stock is from 2 to 4 inches in length, and seldom exceeds 2 inches in thickness. It is fusiform, corrugated, annulated above, and tipped with the remains of leaf-stalks. It has many tuberculated rugose branches which are from 5 to 12 inches long, and 1/4 inch thick. The color externally is gray-brown, and it is whitish or yellowish-white within. It has a thick bark enclosing a yellowish wood. The bark shows resin dots, indicating the position of resin ducts. The root breaks with an amylaceous fracture. Its taste is sweetish, spicy, and followed by bitterness. It has an aromatic fragrance, and is liable to attack and destruction by insects.

SEEDS.—The seeds are of an ashen color, oval, from 2 to 3 lines in length, ,lightly bifid at the extremities, convex with three distinct ridges on one surface, and traversed on the other by a single groove running lengthwise. Their odor is aromatic, and their taste pungent, sweetish, and bitter.

Chemical Composition.—This root contains the usual plant constituents as, albumen, lignin, tannin, pectin, starch, sugar, and salts; also malic acid (Buchner). Buchner, in 1842, obtained from the root angelic acid (C5H8O2), an unsaturated volatile body, of acid taste and aromatic smell. It crystallizes in colorless prisms, fusing at 45° C. (113° F.). Buchner also abstracted a wax-like, white substance, crystallizing from alcohol in warty masses; an acid resin of acrid taste, capable of forming acicular crystals from alcoholic solution. To this substance be gave the name angelicin. In 1877, Brimmer proved its identity with Husemann's carotin, and still later, 1886, Arnaud demonstrated that in all probability it is identical with phytosterin, a cholesterin-like body contained in Physostigma venenosum (calabar bean). Buchner finally obtained from the root an amorphous, bitter principle, and a yellow, volatile oil which was subsequently investigated quite extensively. It consists, for the most part, of terpenes (C10H16) (Beilstein and Wiegand, 1882), containing, among other constituents, dextrogyrate phellandrene (Schimmel's Reports, 1891-93-96). There are also oxygen compounds present in the oil. In 1880, R. Müller isolated therefrom oxymyristic acid (C14H28O3). The presence of metyl-ethyl-acetic acid, an isomer of valeric acid, has also been established. In 1896, Schimmel & Co. state that the oil from the seed is abundant, and deserves the preference over that distilled from the root. The percentage of oil from the dried root is 0.35 to 1 per cent; from the fresh root 0.25 to 0.35 per cent. The specific gravity at 15° C. (59° F.) is 0.855 to 0.905 (Schimmel & Co., Semi-Annual Reports, Oct., 1893).

Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Diuretic, stimulant, tonic, and emetic. It has been applied as a fomentation in tumefactions and swellings, and given internally in enteric fever and other typhoid states, chronic rheumatic complaints, gout, and malarial intermittents. As a stimulant to the respiratory mucous surfaces it has been serviceable in chronic bronchitis. The dose of the infusion (℥j to aqua Oj) is from 1/2 to 1 wineglassful; of the powdered root, 5 to 30 grains; of the powdered seeds, 5 to 30 grains.

Photo: Levisticum officinale 4. Related Species and Preparations.Levisticum officinale, Koch (Ligusticum Levisticum, Linné). Nat. Ord.—Umbelliferae. Lovage. Mountains of South Europe and in gardens. The root and seeds are employed. The former is from 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick, has several heads, is somewhat annulated, and is wrinkled lengthwise. Externally, yellow-brown; internally, light-yellowish. The thick bark is radially striated, fissured externally, and has numerous resin cells of an orange color, arranged in imperfect circles. Its odor is aromatic, resembling somewhat that of angelica. Its taste is pungent, mucilaginous, and balsamic. The seeds are ovate-oblong, or elliptical, small, compressed, curved, and strongly marked with ribs, which are winged, and in the grooves between the ribs occur one or more oil-tubes. The color of the fruit is yellowish-brown. Analysis has revealed several hard and soft resins, one of which has a pungent, bitter taste, a thick, volatile oil, containing a large amount of stearopten, sugar, and mucilage. The coloring principle is ligulin (Nickles) and has been proposed as a test for calcium compounds in water, the substance imparting to distilled water a permanent crimson hue, which with lime-water changes in a brief space of time to a handsome blue. Lovage is a gastric stimulant, diuretic, emmenagogue, and carminative. It closely resembles angelica in its action and uses. The infusion is the best form of administration.

Photo: Ligusticum porteri. Ligusticum filicinum, Watson. Osha, or Colorado cough root. Rocky Mountain regions. Root resembles the preceding in appearance and action. Used as a stimulating expectorant (see A. J. P., 1890-91). A Mexican umbellifer, of unknown botanical source, known as Osha root, yielded oshaic acid, which very closely resembles angelic acid (Haupt).

Ligusticum actaeifolium.—Southern States. Properties same as Lovage.

Ligusticum sinense.—The Kao-pén of the Chinese, who employ it medicinally.

Laserpitium latifolium, Linné. This is the Radix gentianae albae of former times, so called on account of its gentian-like appearance. It has, however, a white interior, and a brownish-white exterior. Its bark is thick and spongy, and is interspersed with resin cells of a yellow color. It contains a crystalline bitter, laspitin (C15H22O4). It is reputed a prompt purgative.

Pimpinella Saxifraga, Linné. Small burnet saxifrage.—A European perennial umbellifer, the root of which has a pungent, biting, balsamic, sweetish and bitterish taste, and a disagreeable, strongly aromatic odor. Acrid resin, a bitter principle, pimpinellin, soluble in alcohol, and a golden-yellow, light, volatile oil, having a sharp taste, and a parsley-like odor, are its chief constituents. The root is reputed diuretic, diaphoretic, and stomachic. Its uses are similar to those of levisticum and angelica. Asthma, catarrh, dropsies, amenorrhoea, etc., and toothache (applied locally) have been treated with it. It was formerly much used (in Germany) to expel mercury from the system after a mercurial course. The following tincture may be employed:

TINCTURA PIMPINELLAE (N. F.), Tincture of Pimpinella. Formulary number, 420.—"Pimpinella, root, one hundred and sixty-five grammes (165 Gm.) [5 ozs. av., 359 grs.]; alcohol, water, of each a sufficient quantity, to make one thousand cubic centimeters (1000 Cc.) [33 fl℥, 391♏]. Mix 2 volumes of alcohol with 1 volume of water. Macerate the pimpinella, reduced to a moderately coarse (No. 40) powder, with enough of the menstruum to keep it distinctly damp during 12 hours. Then percolate it with the same menstruum, in the usual manner, until 1000 Cc. [33 fl℥, 391♏] of tincture are obtained.

Note.—This preparation is approximately of the same strength as that which is official in the Germ. Pharm. Pimpinella root is derived from Pimpinella Saxifraga, Linné, and Pimpinella magna, Linné—(Nat. Form.).

Pimpinella magna, Linné, is also known as Small burnet saxifrage, and is similar to the foregoing in properties and used like it. It enters into the foregoing tincture.


King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.



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