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Oleoresina Petroselini. U. S. Oleoresin of Parsley Fruit. Oleores. Petrosel. [Liquid Apiol]

Botanical name:

Related entry: Petroselinum

Apiol, Oil of Parsley Seed.

"Parsley Fruit, in No. 60 powder, five hundred grammes [or 17 ounces av., 279 grains]; Ether, a sufficient quantity. Place the parsley fruit in a cylindrical glass percolator provided with a stop-cock and arranged with a cover and a receptacle suitable for volatile liquids. Pack the powder firmly and percolate slowly with ether, added in successive portions until the drug is exhausted. Recover the greater portion of the ether by distillation on a water bath, and, having transferred the residue to a dish, remove the remaining ether by spontaneous evaporation in a warm place, stirring frequently. Allow the Oleoresin to stand without agitation for four or five days, decant the clear liquid portion from any solid residue, and preserve" it in well-stoppered bottles." U. S.

This oleoresin is commonly called "liquid apiol." The official process should be strictly followed as cases are on record where commercial gasoline or benzin has been used as the menstruum and the percolate evaporated spontaneously, whereupon a yield of as much as 50 per cent. of a non-volatile, oily liquid was obtained which consisted chiefly of the non-volatile portions from the gasoline. Such a procedure cannot be too severely condemned.

According to L. Wolff (A. J. P., 1877, 2), commercial apiol is merely the oleoresin; he proposes a very simple process for true apiol. Powdered parsley seed is exhausted with petroleum benzin, and the liquid is spontaneously evaporated; the residue is a mixture of fixed oil, wax, and apiol; the apiol alone being soluble in alcohol can easily be separated by repeated washings with strong alcohol; the washings evaporated over a water bath at a gentle heat leave as a residue "true apiol." L. Ough (C. D., 1894, 17) obtains apiol by percolating freshly powdered parsley seeds with alcohol, recovering the alcohol from the percolate by distillation, and separating the oily residue from the deposited waxy solid.

Ciamician and Silber (Ph. Post, 1888, 391) have investigated apiol, and state that the pure substance occurs in white crystals having the composition C12H14O4, melting at 30° C. (86° F.), and boiling at 294° C. (561° F.). Isapiol, apiolic acid, apiolaldehyde, and apion are decomposition products. They state that isapiol has physiological properties resembling those of pure apiol.

H. C. Whitney (N. R, January, 1880) proposed to change the name of commercial apiol, and call it oil of parsley seed. He believed that the volatile oil of parsley seed is the active and emmenagogue principle, and obtained it by distilling the freshly powdered seed with salt water. The yield is 4.27 per cent. of an oil which corresponded closely with Joret and Homolle's apiol. Von Gerichten (Ber. d. Chem. Ges., 16, 17) obtained besides the peculiar terpene, parsley camphor, which he thinks is alone entitled to the name of apiol. He gives its melting point as 30° C. (86° F.), boiling point 300° C. (572° F.), and sp. gr. 1.015.

Parsley camphor has been given the formula CH2:CH.CH2.C2H(OCH3)2:O2:CH2.CH. It may be prepared by extracting the oleoresin of parsley seed with ether and subsequent purification. It crystallizes in long needles of a slight parsley odor—insoluble in water, but readily soluble in alcohol. With strong sulphuric acid it gives a blood-red color.

Uses.—The oleoresin of parsley contains a number of bodies of considerable physiological power. The most important of these are crystalline apiol, white apioline, and myristicin. According to the experiments of Lutz (Bull. Sci. Pharm., 1910, xvii, p. 1) the actions of these substances are similar in kind. They produce marked slowing of the pulse with fall of the blood pressure, tremors,, and weakness of the extremities, followed by paralysis with epileptiform convulsions and gasping respirations. After death there was found marked congestion in the lungs and in the pelvic organs. Rimini and Dilitala (Archiv. di. Farmacologia e. Terap., 1908, xiv) have shown that apiol produces in the cat fatty degeneration of the liver of the same type as is caused by myristicin. They also noted that it had a direct weakening action on the voluntary muscles.

Oleoresin of parsley and other principles derived from this plant have been used in various uterine disorders, especially in dysmenorrhea. Our knowledge of its physiological action, however, furnishes no ground for attributing to it valuable properties in this or any other disease. The congestion in the pelvic organs found after death from this drug, may easily be attributed to the asphyxial nature of the poisoning. There is no evidence that in quantities approaching those used in medicine it has any influence of any kind upon the uterus. Glatard (Journ. de Mod. et Chir. Prat., 1910, p. 674) reports a case of apiol poisoning in a pregnant woman who took six grammes in a period of forty-eight hours. There was vertigo, nausea and vomiting, urticaria, liver swollen and painful, mild icterus, urine scanty and high colored, but free from albumen; pregnancy was not interrupted. Sardou (A. G. M., 1906) recommends apiolin as an antispasmodic in intestinal colic.

Dose, five to fifteen minims (0.3-0.9 mil).


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



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