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Calycanthus.

Botanical name:

Calycanthus. Calycanthus floridus L.—This is a shrub of the fam. Calycanthaceae, from six to eight feet high, which inhabits the low, shady woods along the mountains of Georgia and North Carolina, and also Tennessee, where it is known as sweet shrub or Carolina allspice. The whole plant is aromatic, having, when crushed, the odor of strawberries. According to R. G. Eccles, the seeds contain a fixed oil, and an alkaloid, calycanthine. H. W. Wiley (A. J. P., 1890, 96) found in the seeds over 47 per cent. of oil and 4.25 per cent. of alkaloid. H. M. Gordin made an extensive investigation of calycanthine and its salts. (Proc. A. Ph. A., 1905, 224.) According to Cushny (A. I. P. T., 1905, xv, p. 487) calycanthine has the empiric formula of C11H14N2. When injected into the lower animals it causes muscular weakness, by an action upon the peripheral motor nerves, associated with increased reflexes, and, in the higher mammals, with convulsions similar to those seen in picrotoxin poisoning. The alkaloid also exercises a powerfully depressant action upon the heart muscle. More recently, a second alkaloid, isocalycanthine, has been described by Gordin. (Proc. A. Ph. A., 1908 and 1909, 889.) This alkaloid, according to the experiments of MacGuigan and Hess (J. P. Ex. T., 1912, iii), is very similar in its physiological properties to calycanthine. It is asserted that the shrub is important as a source of poisoning to cattle and sheep. Calycanthus has been used as an antiperiodic. The dose of the fluidextract is thirty to sixty minims (1.9-3.75 mils).


The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.



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