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Oleum Cubebae (U. S. P.)—Oil of Cubebs.

Botanical name:

Related entry: Cubeba (U. S. P.)—Cubeb

A volatile oil distilled from the fruit of Piper Cubeba, Linné filius.
Nat. Ord.—Piperaceae.
"It should be kept in well-stoppered bottles, in a cool place"—(U. S. P.).

Preparation, Description, and Chemical Composition.—Cubebs ground and distilled with water, furnish from 10 to 18 per cent of this oil. The bulk of the oil boils between 250° and 280° C. (482° and 536° F.). It is lighter than water, of specific gravity 0.910 to 0.930 (Schimmel & Co.), and thickens on exposure to the air without losing its odor; occasionally it deposits crystals which are called cubeb camphor (C15H24H2O). This camphor is deposited in old oil, or in that distilled from old fruit. Oil of cubeb is officially described as "a colorless, pale greenish, or yellowish liquid, having the characteristic odor of cubeb, and a warm, camphoraceous, aromatic taste. Specific gravity, about 0.920 at 15° C. (59° F.). Soluble in an equal volume of alcohol, the solution being neutral to litmus paper"—(U. S. P.). It contains some dipentene (C10H16), but is composed mainly of cadinene (C15H24).

Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Oil of cubebs may be substituted for the powdered berries, in many instances with benefit. It is less pungent than the oleoresin or fluid extract, and is probably only one of the active principles of cubebs. The dose is 10 or 12 drops, 3 times a day, gradually increased, as the stomach will permit, or until it produces some decided result. It may be given in syrup, emulsion, or in the form of capsules, like copaiba.


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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