Preparation: Fluid Extract of Chimaphila
The leaves of Chimaphila umbellata (Linné), Nuttall"—(U. S. P.); (Chimaphila corymbosa, Pursh; Pyrola umbellata, Linné). The whole plant may be employed.
COMMON NAMES: Pipsissewa, Prince's pine, Ground holly, Wintergreen.
ILLUSTRATIONS: Bentley and Trimen, Med. Plants, 165; Bigelow Med. Bot., Vol. II, 21.
Botanical Source.—This plant is a small evergreen, nearly herbaceous, perennial herb, with a creeping, yellowish rhizome, from which are sent several simple, erect, or semi-procumbent stems, somewhat angular, marked with the scars of former leaves, and woody at their base; they grow from 4 to 8 inches in height. The leaves are in two or more irregular whorls, from 2 to 3 inches long, about one-fourth as wide, cuneate-lanceolate, acute at the base, sharply serrate, on short petioles, coriaceous, shining, of a uniform dark-green color, paler below, and not spotted. The flowers are corymbose, nodding, of a light-purple color. The pedicels, with linear-subulate bracts about their middle, 8 lines long. The calyx is small, consisting of 5 roundish, acute teeth, or segments, and much shorter than the corolla. The corolla is composed of 5 roundish, concave, spreading, cream-colored petals, exhaling a fragrant odor, and tinged at the base with purple. Stamens 10, hypogynous; filaments sigmoid, the lower half fleshy, triangular, dilated, slightly pubescent at the edges; the upper half filiform. Anthers 2-celled, each cell opening by a short, round, tubular orifice, which points downward in the bud, but upward in the flower. Pollen white; ovary globular, depressed, furrowed, obscurely 5-lobed, with a funnel-shaped cavity at the top, and supporting a large peltate, convex, obscurely 5-rayed stigma. Style short, straight, half as long as the ovary, inversely conical, inserted in the cavity of the ovary, and concealed by the stigma. The capsule is erect, depressed, 5-celled, 5-valved, with partitions from the middle of the valves. The seeds are numerous, linear, and chaffy (L.—W.—G.).
History.—This little herb is indigenous to the north temperate regions of both hemispheres, and is met with in the United States in dry, shady woods, flowering from May to August. The leaves have no odor when dried, but when fresh and rubbed they are rather fragrant; their taste is astringent, sweetish, and not disagreeably bitter. The whole herb is used. Boiling water or alcohol extracts the active properties.
Description and Chemical Composition.—"About 5 Cm. (2 inches) long, oblanceolate, sharply serrate above, wedge-shaped and nearly entire towards the base; coriaceous, smooth, and dark-green on the upper surface. It is nearly inodorous, and has an astringent and bitterish taste "—(U. S. P.). Mr. S. Fairbank found the leaves to contain gum, tannic acid, starch, pectic acid, extractive, resin, fatty matter, chlorophyll, yellow coloring matter, lignin, and golden-yellow, needle-shaped crystals, which he named chimaphilin. This yellow body is without taste or odor, freely soluble in alcohol, chloroform, ether, benzol, benzin, glacial acetic acid, and acetone, and in oils, both essential and fixed, but dissolves sparingly in water. It has a neutral reaction, and is volatile with aqueous vapors. Arbutin (C24H32O14.H2O), a crystalline, glucosidal principle, found also in other ericaceous plants, forming neutral, silky, colorless, bitter needles, and readily soluble in boiling water and alcohol, but sparingly so in ether, was found in this plant by Zwenger and Himmelmann, in 1864. Salts of potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, chloride of sodium, phosphoric, sulphuric, and silicic acids were also found (Jour. Trans. Md. Col. Pharm., March, 1860). Mr. E. S. Beshore (1887) also obtained chimaphilin, and found another crystalline body, of the composition C10H19O, melting at 236° C. (457.2° F.), by abstracting the dried drug with petroleum ether.
Mr. J. C. Peacock (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1892) failed to obtain chimaphilin from the fresh plant of Chimaphila maculata, but obtained it in the ordinary way from the dried plant, by distilling the drug with water. The influence of drying upon the yield of chimaphilin from C. maculata was likewise observed by him when attempting to abstract this substance by means of petroleum ether. Mr. Peacock found the fusing point of chimaphilin at 113° to 114° C. (235.4° to 237.2° F.), and the composition of this substance to correspond with the formula C24H21O4. Three other principles of a crystalline character were obtained from chimaphila, occurring respectively as "matted crystals," "tufted crystals," and "glistening crystals," all differing in solubility and other respects from any previously known constituents of the order Ericaceae (A. P. A. Proc., 1892). In 1895, Mr. Ridenour confirmed Mr. Peacock's formula by the analysis of chimaphilin and some new derivatives prepared by him; he succeeded, however, in obtaining chimaphilin from the fresh plant of C. maculata.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Diuretic, tonic, alterative, and astringent. The fresh leaves, when bruised and applied to the skin, act as vesicants and rubefacients. Its alterative properties are marked, the processes of waste and nutrition being powerfully influenced by it. It is especially useful in scrofula and chronic rheumatic and nephritic affections. Irritation of any part of the urinary tract is relieved by it, and the circulation and nutrition of the part improved. The cases of all diseases in which it is of most value are those of debility, and particularly when a scrofulous taint is present. Its particular field is in genito-urinary fluxes, due to debility or depending upon a scrofulous diathesis. The more pronounced the catarrhal character of the disorder, the more valuable is the drug. Catarrh of the bladder, with offensive urine, or urine loaded with mucus, muco-pus, or even blood, are cases for its exhibition. Chronic affections of the kidneys, with muco-purulent discharges, are also conditions indicating it. The infusion is the best preparation. Do not make a decoction, as boiling impairs its virtues. It is also a remedy for chronic prostatic irritation and chronic prostatitis. Used both locally and internally, it is a good remedy for scrofulous ulcerations. The infusion has cured ascites, and has been advantageous in strangury, chronic gonorrhoea, and other mucous profluvia; and as an antilithic it is said to diminish lithic acid in the urine. In dropsy it can not be depended upon without the use of other more active measures, and is better adapted to cases accompanied with weakness and loss of appetite. In urinary disorders, it may be used as a substitute for uva ursi and buchu, to which it is preferable on account of being less obnoxious to the stomach. In many cutaneous diseases it has proved very efficient. Dose of the infusion, from 1 to 4 fluid ounces, 3 times a day; of the extract, from 10 to 20 grains, 3 or 4 times a day; a syrup may be prepared by macerating 4 ounces of the finely-bruised leaves in 8 fluid ounces of water for 36 hours, then subject the whole to percolation till a pint of fluid is obtained, evaporate to ½ pint, and add 12 ounces of sugar. Dose, 1 or 2 tablespoonfuls; fluid extract, ℨss to ℨj, largely diluted; specific chimaphila, 5 drops to 1 drachm, every 3 or 4 hours.
Specific Indications and Uses.—Atonic and debilitated states of the urinary organs, giving rise to lingering disorders, with scanty urine, but excessive voidings of mucus, muco-pus, or bloody muco-pus, offensive or non-offensive in character; smarting or burning pain with dysuria; chronic irritation of the urethra and prostate; chronic relaxation of the bladder walls; chronic prostatitis, with vesical catarrh.
Related Species and Drugs.—Chimaphila maculata, Pursh, Spotted wintergreen, may be known from the above by its leaves, which are opposite, or in threes, lanceolate, acuminate, rounded at the base, where they are broader than near the summit, remotely serrate, of a deep olive-green color, and veined with greenish-white. The C. umbellata leaves are broader near the summit, tapering toward the base, of a uniform shining-green color, serrated, and not marked with the whitish line along the mid-vein and veinlets. The C. maculata is probably possessed of similar powers with the official article, and may be used as a substitute. An extract of it is reputed to have cured epilepsy.
Pyrola rotundifolia, Linné; Pyrola chlorantha, Swartz; Pyrola elliptica, Nuttall; Pyrola secunda, Linné (see Pyrola).
Orthosiphon stamineus. Java tea.—This drug comes in the form of little oval, green leaves, finely toothed, and rolled like ordinary tea. Essential oil and a glucosid, orthosiphonin in crystals, are among its constituents. It is reputed powerfully diuretic, and, in doses of from 15 to 20 grains per day, it has been lauded in uric acid diathesis, gravel, ascites, and nephritic colic.