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Pareira (U. S. P.)—Pareira.

Preparations: Extract of Pareira - Fluid Extract of Pareira

The root of Chondrodendron tomentosum, Ruiz et Pavon"—(U. S. P). (Cocculus Chondodendron, De Candolle; Cissampelos Abutua, Vellozo; Botryopsis platyphylla, Miers.)
Nat. Ord.—Menispermaceae.
COMMON NAMES: Pareira brava, Pareira root.
ILLUSTRATION: Bentley and Trimen, Med. Plants, 11.

Botanical Source.—This plant is "a lofty climbing shrub, with long, woody stems, and leaves as much as a foot in length. The latter are of variable form, but mostly broadly-ovate, rounded or pointed at the extremity, slightly cordate at the base, and having long petioles. They are smooth on the upper side; on the under, covered between the veins with a fine, close tomentum of ashy hue. The flowers are unisexual, racemose, minute, produced either from the young shoots or from the woody stems. The fruits are 3/4 of an inch long, oval, black, and much resembling grapes in form and arrangement" (Hanbury, Pharmacographia).

History and Description.—This plant was introduced into Europe by the Portuguese in the second half of the seventeenth century. Its true origin was made known by Hanbury, in 1873, after it having been believed, for more than a hundred years, to be the product of Cissampelos Pareira, Linné (see D. Hanbury, Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1873, p. 449). It is a woody, climbing vine of Brazil and Peru, being plentiful in the neighborhood of Rio Janeiro. In Brazil it is called abutua. It is much subject to adulteration, one of the most frequent substitutions at one time having been the worthless stem for the root (see E. R. Squibb, Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1872, p. 107; and John Moss, ibid., 1874, p. 335). Occasionally, substitutes of unknown origin turn up (see Ringer and Brooke, on "True and Commercial Pareira", Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1892, p. 255). Spurious drugs may be known by their non-conformity to the pharmacopoeial requirements.

True pareira brava is officially described as follows: "In subcylindrical, somewhat tortuous pieces, about 10 to 15 Cm. (4 to 6 inches) long, varying in thickness from 2 to 10 Cm. (4/5 to 4 inches); externally dark brownish-gray, with transverse ridges and fissures and longitudinal furrows; internally pale brown, and, when freshly cut, having a waxy lustre; bark thin; wood porous, in 2 or more somewhat irregularly concentric circles, with rather large medullary rays, and no distinct central pith; inodorous; taste bitter. Pieces having a bright-yellow color, or the woody portion of which is grayish, hard, and nearly tasteless, should be rejected"—(U. S. P.).

Chemical Composition.—F. A. Ringer and E. Brooke (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1892, p. 255) made a comparative analysis of true pareira and a spurious variety from Bahia, of unknown botanical origin. The distinguishing feature was the petroleum-ether extract (fats and fatty acids), which amounted in the true root to 8.67 per cent; in the false to only 0.28 per cent. Both drugs also contained starch, gum, tannin (1.26 percent in the true), phlobaphene (0.52 per cent), and an alkaloid (0.819 per cent). The spurious drug contained only 0.143 per cent of the latter. Both alkaloids were insoluble in water, but soluble in alcohol and ether.

Charles Morrison (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1878, p. 430) records the presence of two alkaloids in a specimen of false pareira brava, having a bright-yellow wood; one of the alkaloids was similar to, but not quite identical with berberine. Wiggers, in 1839, named an amorphous, white alkaloid, which he found in a probably undetermined species of pareira brava, pelosine; it was insoluble in water, soluble in alcohol and acids, and of an intensely bitter taste. Pelosine was subsequently found by Flückiger (Neues Jahrbuch der Pharmacie, 1869, pp. 257-276) in notoriously genuine Cissampelos Pareira, associated with an indifferent body, deyamittin. Pelosine was proven by Flückiger to be identical with the alkaloids beberine and buxine (which see).

Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Tonic, diuretic, and aperient. To the kidneys it is a decided stimulant and tonic, relieving irritation of the urinary tract, being indicated by abdominal uneasiness, with desire to pass urine frequently. Used in chronic inflammation of the bladder, pyelitis, and various disorders of the urinary organs. Also recommended in calculous affections, leucorrhoea, dropsy, rheumatism, and jaundice. Dose, of the infusion, from 1 to 4 fluid ounces; of the extract, from 10 to 20 grains. A strong tincture (bark, ℥viii to alcohol, 76 per cent, Oj) may be administered in doses of from 1 to 10 drops for specific purposes.

Specific Indications and Uses.—Chronic cystitis and pyelitis; irritation of urinary tract, with abdominal uneasiness; frequent desire to urinate, which act is accomplished with pain in urethra and glans penis.

Other Drugs Known as Pareira Brava.—ROOTS AND STEMS OF:

I. CISSAMPELOS PAREIRA, Linné (C. microcarpa, De Candolle); illustration in Bentley and Trimen's Med. Plants, 15.—This was thought originally to be the source of pareira brava. It is also termed Velvet-leaf and Ice vine, and is a shrub with a round, ligneous root, stems either smooth, or with close-pressed down, and climbing over trees. Leaves large, nearly orbicular, peltate, aristate at the point, when full grown smooth above, underneath covered with silky pubescence, but not truly downy. Flowers dioecious, hispid, in racemes; sepals 8, 4 inner united into a cup, with usually an entire margin; peduncles solitary or in pairs, branching from the base, as long as the petiole, or longer, racemose corymbose, with divaricating, downy ramifications. Racemes, in the female plant, longer than the leaves, bearing the flowers in spiked fascicles. Bracts sessile, somewhat orbicular, scarcely mucronate. Ovary solitary, and surmounted with 3 stigmas. Berries scarlet, round, reniform, compressed, Shriveled, thinned to the edge, all over hispid with long hairs (L.). This plant is a native of the West India Islands and the Spanish Main. The root and stem seldom attain the diameter of 1 inch, and are more often the size of a quill. No concentric rings are shown on cross-section. It is very bitter, not sweetish nor astringent. This variety is made up chiefly of stems with some sections of root.

II. COMMON FALSE PAREIRA BRAVA.—This is derived from undetermined plants of the natural order Menispermaceae, and is the drug that yielded pelosine to Wiggers, in 1839. According to Hanbury, "the drug consists of a ponderous, woody, tortuous stem and root, occurring in pieces from a few inches to a foot or more in length, and from 1 to 4 inches in thickness, coated with a thin, hard, dark-brown bark. The pieces are cylindrical, 4-sided, or more or less flattened, sometimes even to the extent of becoming ribbon-like. In transverse section, their structure appears very remarkable. Supposing a piece to be stem, a well-defined pith will be found to occupy the center of the first-formed wood, which is a column about 1/4 of an inch in diameter. This is succeeded by 10 or 15 or more concentric, or oftener eccentric, zones, 1/10 to 1/20 of an inch wide, each separated from its neighbor by a layer of parenchyme, the outermost being coated with true bark. In pieces of the true root, the pith is reduced to a mere point. Sometimes the development of the zones has been so irregular that they have formed themselves entirely on one side of the primitive column, the other being coated with bark. The zones, including the layer around the pith (if pith is present), are crossed by numerous small medullary rays. These do not run from the center to the circumference, but traverse only their respective zones, on the outside of which they are arched together. The drug, when of good quality, has its wood firm, compact, and of a dusky, yellowish-brown hue, and a well-marked, bitter taste. It exhibits, under the knife, nothing of the close, waxy texture seen in the root of Chondodendron, but cuts as a tough, fibrous wood"—(Pharmacographia). This root is unaffected by iodine. This kind possesses medicinal value, but has been largely superseded by an inert drug, devoid of bitterness, in cylindrical sticks of light weight, dull color, splitting readily, and having two easily detached layers of bark. D. Hanbury advocates returning to the use of the original pareira brava, which gave the drug its reputation.

III. STEMS OF CHONDODENDRON TOMENTOSUM.—By far less efficient than the root (see E. R. Squibb, Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1872, p. 107). It is also known as Pareira brava.

IV. WHITE PAREIRA BRAVA.—Stems and roots of Abuta rufescens, Aublet. A tasteless and odorless drug, not found in commerce, whose decoction turns strongly blue when treated with iodine. The root, on transverse section, shows white, amylaceous, concentric zones, marked with handsome, dark, wedge-shaped medullary rays.

V. YELLOW PAREIRA BRAVA.—Probably derived from Abuta amara, Aublet, of Guiana. Internally, it is bright-yellow, and has eccentric zones. It is probably the specimen analyzed by Morrison (see above).


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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