"The glands and hairs from the capsules of Mallotus philippiensis (Lamarck), Müller Arg."—(U. S. P.); (Echinus philippinensis, Baillon; Rottlera tinctoria, Roxburgh; Croton philippensis, Lamarck).
COMMON NAMES: Rottlera (U. S. P., 1870), Kamala, Kameela, Spoonwood.
ILLUSTRATION: Bentley and Trimen, Med. Plants, 236.
Botanical Source and History.—This is a small tree or arborescent shrub, found in the hilly parts of India, along the base of the Himalaya mountains from Assam to near Perhawur, in Mysore, and near Bombay, in Australia, China, Abyssinia, etc., and growing from 15 to 30 feet high. It was formerly known as Rottlera tinctoria. Its leaves are entire, petiolate, ovate, and acute. The fruit of this plant is about the size of a hazel-nut, tricoccous, with its external covering trifurrowed, and thickly covered with glands of a pulverulent appearance, and a reddish color. These glands are the parts used, and are obtained by simply brushing them off from the ripe capsule, which usually ripens between the last of January and the first of April. In Hindustan this powder, under the name of wurrus (see Related Drugs), has been extensively employed as a dyeing agent.
Description.—Kamala, when recent, has a peculiar, heavy odor (inodorous, U. S. P.), increased on being rubbed between the fingers, or upon being warmed, but which diminishes with age. In the mouth it is gritty and has a somewhat acrid taste. When exposed to a temperature of 93.3° to 100° C. (200° to 212° F.) it undergoes no apparent alteration; when a small portion is dropped into a flame it flashes up instantaneously. Its best solvents are alcohol, ether, and solutions of alkalies, from which it is precipitated by water or acid, in the form of a resinous substance.
The U. S. P. thus describes the official drug: "A granular, mobile, brick-red or brownish-red powder, inodorous, and nearly tasteless, imparting a deep-red color to alkaline liquids, alcohol, ether, or chloroform, and a pale-yellow tinge to boiling water. Under the microscope it is seen to consist of stellately arranged, colorless hairs, mixed with depressed-globular glands, containing numerous red, club-shaped vesicles. Upon ignition it should leave not more than 8 per cent of ash"—(U. S. P.). Dr. F. A. Flückiger states that if the glands are caused to roll under water or glycerin, they all ultimately show, to the observer, under the microscope their flat side. In its center we find a very short stalk-cell, from which a certain number of small clavate cells radiate in different directions, thus constituting the somewhat globular form of the gland, which is covered by a weak integument. The thicker ends of the small clavate cells within appear at the outside as soft protuberances, upon which partly depends the irregularity of the nearly globular form of the glands. The radiate cells in question are arranged around the center of the flat side to the number of from 9 to 30. If only the basal side is examined, they will be seen to be filled with a dark-brown or brownish-red resin, the intermediate spaces and the outer membrane being of a light-yellow color. The outline of that side, which is always turned to the observer, forms thus an undulated circle or ellipsis, the diameter of which varies from 70 to 120 micromillimeters (thousandth parts of a millimeter), the height of the whole gland being always considerably less. The kamala glands are always accompanied by a tolerable amount of characteristic, stellate, colorless, or brownish hairs, belonging equally to the fruits of Mallotus, and some fragments of the latter, and inorganic impurities (Pharm. Jour., Dec., 1867, p. 279).
Chemical Composition.—Kamala contains a small amount of moisture (0.5 to 3.5 per cent), starch, tannin, gummy extractive, citric and oxalic acids, volatile oil, and ash, but consists chiefly (to 80 per cent) of a red-colored resin, which is soluble in ether, alcohol, carbon disulphide, amyl alcohol, glacial acetic acid; also in alkalies, imparting to the latter a beautiful red color. Leube (1860) differentiated the ether-soluble part of kamala into a resin freely soluble in alcohol, fusing at 80° C. (176° F.), and another, less soluble, fusing at 191° C. (375.8° F.). Anderson (1855) observed a yellowish-brown crystalline sediment in an ethereal solution of the resin, and named it rottlerin (C22H20O6). By fusion with caustic potash, Flückiger obtained from this substance para-oxy-benzoic acid. Rottlerin (or kamalin of Merck; see. Flückiger, Pharmacognosie, 1891, p. 261), is probably the same substance as mallotoxin (C18H16O5, or C11H10O3), obtained in flesh-colored needles from kamala by A. G. and W. H. Perkin (1886), and by Jawein (1887), the latter observing its melting point at 200° C. (392° F.). Acids reprecipitate this substance from its solution in alkalies. The ash of kamala was found by Flückiger and Hanbury not to exceed 3 per cent in a good grade; the U. S. P. allows 8 per cent. A red color of the ash points to the presence of ferric oxide. H. G. Greenish (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1893, p. 193) calls attention to a false kamala observed by him in trade, and which consisted mainly of powdered safflower, carelessly collected and badly preserved.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—This article has been known as a remedy for tapeworm among European and American physicians, for only a few years, though long known and employed for this purpose in India. Dr. C. Mackinnon, a surgeon in the English army in India, first made its properties known to the profession, he having been almost invariably successful with it. Since then other practitioners have employed it with equal success. In doses of from 2 to 4 drachms it purges, often with griping, or nausea and vomiting, and producing from 4 to 10 or 15 stools. The worm is usually expelled entire, but often without the head, in the third or fourth stool, after 3 drachms of the powder have been administered. A strong alcoholic tincture acts more mildly and with more uniform effects. Round and seat worms are also said to be expelled by it. The dose of the powder for an adult is from 2 ½ to 3 drachms, given in mucilage, syrup, or other vehicle; of the tincture, made in the proportion of 8 ounces to ½ pint of alcohol, ½ fluid ounce. The dose to be repeated, if necessary. Dose of specific kameela, as a taenifuge, 30 to 60 drops, every 3 hours, until 6 or 6 doses have been taken. Externally, its employment is stated to be efficient in certain cutaneous affections, particularly scabies and herpetic ringworm.
Related Drug.—WARS, WURRAS, or WARRAS. This term properly signifies saffron, but has been applied not only to kamala, but more especially to a certain powder, the botanical source of which is not definitely known, though thought to come from Flemingia Grahamiana . This is the substance referred to and beautifully illustrated in the paper from which the above quotation (see Kamala, description) is extracted. Dr. Flückiger therein refers to a new kind of kamala, which he thinks must belong to another plant. It is darker colored, more free from earthy impurities, and its grains are all larger than those of the old or true kamala, and instead of being globular they are cylindrical or nearly conical; its cells are not clavate, but simply subcylindrical, and not radiate, and the hairs with which it is mixed are nearly colorless, and not stellate or tufted, as in the true kamala, but quite simple. When exposed to a temperature of 93.3° to 100° C. (200° to 212° F.), the new kamala becomes intensely black. Its alcoholic tincture, slowly evaporated, leaves microscopic crystals, probably the rottlerin of Dr. Anderson. It is imported from Aden. (For interesting details regarding wars, see Flückiger, Pharmacognosie, 2d ed., 1883, p. 236).
Other Taeniafuges.—Embelia ribes, Burmann. Nat. Ord.—Myrsineae. India. The berries of this tree are aromatic, and have been used to adulterate pepper. The color is dull-red. The stalk and 5-parted calyx are often attached; the apex is beaked; and the surface striated. The taste is pleasantly astringent and feebly aromatic. It is taeniacide. The natives of India attribute tonic, alterative, and especially anthelmintic properties to it. It is said to cause the death of the worm. It enters into the local applications for skin diseases, especially ringworm, and has some reputation as a carminative stomachic in dyspepsia. The natives further believe that its use, with licorice, tends to strengthen the body, and prevent the ill-effects of old age (Dymock, Mat. Med. Western India). Warden (1888) isolated from it golden-yellow crystals of embelic acid (C9H14O2). It is soluble in alcohol and chloroform, but not in water. For tapeworm, Embelia ribes is given in powder (ℨi to ℨiii) with milk, upon an empty stomach, and followed with a purgative.
MUSENNA, MESENNA, BISINNA, or BUSSENA.—The bark of Acacia anthelmintica, Baillon. Nat. Ord.—Leguminosae. An acrid drug containing, according to Thiel (1862), bitter and sweet principles, besides musenin, an amorphous, saponin-like principle. An Abyssinian remedy for tapeworm, taken in doses of 2 or 3 ounces of the powder, followed after some time with a purgative. It is said to cause nausea, and the worm is expelled in a pulpy condition.
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KOSSALA is a remedy employed by the Abyssinians for the removal of tapeworm.
SAORIA.—Fruit of Maesa lanceolata, Forskal. Nat. Ord.—Myrsineae. Abyssinia. A brown-green, resinous drupe, having a bitter, acrid, pungent taste, and sometimes causing nausea, emesis, and catharsis. It contains, according to Apoiger (1857), pectin, an iron-greening tannin, fatty and volatile oil, and an acrid body. Wittstein and Apoiger (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1858, p. 159) established the remarkable occurrence of boric acid among the mineral constituents of this plant. Reputed an effective taeniacide. Administered in powder. It is said to impart a violet hue to the urine.