Sabina. U. S. VIII. Savin. Sabinae Cacumina. Summitates (Herba) Sabinaee. Savine Tops. Sabine, Fr. Cod. Sevenbaum. Sadebaumspitzen. Sevenkraut, G. Sabina, It., Sp.—"The tops of Juniperus Sabina Linné (Fam. Coniferae)." U. S. VIII. Juniperus Sabina is an evergreen shrub from three to fifteen feet high, with numerous erect, pliant branches. The leaves, which completely invest the younger brandies, are numerous, small, erect, firm, smooth, pointed, dark green, glandular in the middle, opposite, and imbricated in four rows. The fruit is a blackish-purple berry of an ovoid shape, and containing three seeds. The savin is a native of the south of Europe and the Levant, and grows wild in the neighborhood of the northwestern lakes of the United States.
The ends of the branches, and the leaves by which they are invested, are collected for medicinal use in the spring. When dried they are very much faded in color. They were officially described as "short, thin, subquadrangular branchlets bearing leaves which are rather dark green, in four rows, opposite, scale-like, ovate-lanceolate, more or less acute, appressed, imbricated, having on the back a shallow groove containing an oblong or roundish gland; odor peculiar, terebinthinate; taste disagreeable, resinous and bitter." U. S. They have a strong, heavy, disagreeable odor, and a bitter, acrid taste. These properties, which are less striking in the dried than in the recent leaves, are owing to a volatile oil. The leaves impart their virtues to alcohol and to water. C. H. Needles found in them volatile oil, gum, tannic or gallic acid, resin, chlorophyll, fixed oil, bitter extractive, lime, and salts of potassium. (A. J. P., xiii, 15.)
In America the tops of Juniperus virginiana L., or common red cedar, also commonly referred to as savin, are sometimes substituted in commerce for savin, which they resemble closely, but from which they can be distinguished by some of their leaves being obtuse or acutish and the fruits being smaller, purplish and containing fewer seeds. In Europe savin is said to be adulterated with the tops of J. phoenicea L., which contain volatile oil similar to that of J. communis. Such substitution is to be detected by the fact that in J. phoenicea the imbricated leaves occur in spirals of five, and the berries are large, shiny, and vary in color from yellow to reddish-yellow. In the mesophyll there occur large stone cells which are either single or in groups.
According to the more recent authorities, the proportion of volatile oil obtained from savin varies as much as from 1 to 2.5 per cent. The oil of savine (Oleum Sabinae, U. S. VIII) is "a colorless or yellowish liquid, having a peculiar terebinthinate odor, and a pungent, bitter, and camphoraceous taste. Specific gravity: 0.903 to 0.923 at 25° C. (77° F.). The Oil is dextrogyrate, the angle of rotation varying between +40° and +60° in a 100 Mm. tube, at a temperature of 25° C. (77° F.). Soluble in about one-half volume or more of 90 per cent. alcohol." U. S. According to Schimmel & Co. (Schim. Rep., April, 1897), its specific gravity is from 0.91 to 0.925, optical rotation + 45° to + 60°, and it contains pinene, C10H16, cadinene, C15H24, and an alcohol, C10H16O, sabinol, which is present both in the free state and as acetic ester. With iodine it becomes heated, detonates, and gives off yellow and violet-red vapors. (Flaschoff.)
Savin is highly irritant, and is supposed to have a special direction to the uterus. It has been much used in amenorrhea and atonic menorrhagia, and occasionally as a remedy for worms. Chapman strongly recommended it in chronic rheumatism, and it is employed in Germany, both internally and externally, in chronic gout. In overdoses it may produce dangerous gastro-intestinal inflammation, and it should therefore be used with caution. In no case should it be employed when much general or local excitement exists. In pregnancy it should always be given with great caution. As an external irritant, savin is useful, in the form of cerate, for maintaining a discharge from blistered surfaces; but as in this country savin ointment is often feeble, either from the age of the drug or from the substitution of red cedar, it has fallen into disrepute. In powder or infusion, savin is used in Europe as an application to warts, indolent or gangrenous ulcers, psora, and tinea capitis, and the expressed juice of the fresh leaves, diluted with water, is sometimes used for similar purposes. Powdered savin should not be used after it has lost the green color, characteristic of the fresh drug. The oil of savin is a powerful local irritant, producing, when persistently applied to the skin or the mucous membrane, violent inflammation. It has been much used for the purpose of producing criminal abortion, and in a number of such cases has caused death, the symptoms being violent abdominal pain, bloody vomiting and purging, diminution or suppression of urine, disordered respiration, unconsciousness, convulsions, and fatal collapse. Although Prochnow (A. I. P. T., 1911, xxi, p. 316) has found that small doses of savin have a slight stimulating effect upon the uterus it is manifest that any abortifacient results must be due to general disturbance of the health rather than to any local action. The fluidextract is rarely used internally but the stated dose is from five to ten minims (0.3-0.6 mil). The dose of the oil of savin is from one to three minims (0.06-0.2 mil).
Fluidextract of Savin. Fluidextractum Sabinae. U. S. VIII—.The U. S. VIII gave the following directions for the preparation of the fluid-extract: "Savin, in No. 40 powder, one thousand grammes [or 35 ounces av., 120 grains]; Alcohol, a sufficient quantity, to make one thousand mils [or 33 fluidounces, 6 ½ fluidrachms]. Moisten the powder with two hundred and fifty mils [or 8 fluidounces, 218 minims] of Alcohol, and pack it firmly in a cylindrical percolator; then add enough Alcohol to saturate the powder and leave a stratum above it. When the liquid begins to drop from the percolator, close the lower orifice, and, having closely covered the percolator, macerate for forty-eight hours. Then allow the percolation to proceed slowly, gradually adding Alcohol, until the Savin is exhausted. Reserve the first nine hundred mils [or 30 fluid-ounces, 208 minims] of the percolate, and evaporate the remainder, at a temperature not exceeding 50° C. (122° F.), to a soft extract; dissolve this in the reserved portion, and add enough Alcohol to make the Fluidextract measure one thousand mils [or 33 fluidounces, 6 ½ fluidrachms]." U. S. VIII.