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Oleum Cubebae. U. S., Br. Oil of Cubeb.

Botanical name:

Ol. Cubeb. [Cubeb Oil]

Related entry: Cubeb

"A volatile oil distilled from the unripe fruit of Piper Cubeba Linné filius (Fam. Piperaceae). Preserve it in well-stoppered, amber-colored bottles, in a cool place, protected from light." U. S. "Oil of Cubebs is the oil distilled from Cubebs." Br.

Oleum Cubebarum; Oil of Cubebs; Huile volatile (Essence) de Cubebe, Fr.; Kubebenöl, G.

The oil is obtained from cubeb by grinding the berries, and then distilling with water. From ten pounds Sebonwald procured eleven ounces of oil, and this result very nearly coincides with the experiments of Christison, who obtained 7 per cent.; but by better methods of distillation 10 to 18 per cent. have been obtained. When recently distilled from the fruit, the oil is somewhat greenish, becoming yellowish by age, but when carefully redistilled it is colorless. It has the odor of cubeb, a warm, aromatic, camphoraceous taste, and a neutral reaction, is of a consistence approaching that of almond oil, is lighter than water, having the sp. gr. 0.920 (0.910 to 0.930, Br.), and when exposed to the air is said to thicken without losing its odor. It is soluble in an equal weight of alcohol. It is described in the U. S. P. IX as follows: "Oil of Cubeb is a colorless or a pale green to yellowish-green liquid, having the characteristic odor and taste of cubeb. Specific gravity: 0.905 to'0.925 at 25° C. (77° F.). Its optical rotation varies from -20° to -40° in a 100 mm. tube at 25° C. (77° F.). Its alcoholic solution is neutral to litmus." U. S.

"Colorless, pale green, or greenish-yellow. Odor and taste those of Cubebs. Specific gravity 0.910 to 0.930; optical rotation -25° to 40°; refractive index at 25° C. (77° F.) 1.486 to 1.500. Not less than 60 per cent. distils between 250° and 280° C. (482°-536° F.)." Br.

The oil consists chiefly of sesquiterpenes which distil over between 250° and 280° C. (482° and 536° F.), one of which is cadinene, C15H24, with some dipentene, and probably pinene or camphene. Upon standing, it sometimes deposits rhomboidal prismatic crystals of a stearopten. The camphor of cubeb has the formula C15H26O, is fusible at from 66° to 68° C. (150.8 °-154.4° F.), and volatilizes without change at from 148° to 150° C. (298.4°-302° F.). According to Schmidt, it does not pre-exist in the cubeb, but is formed by the prolonged action of the air and therefore does not occur in oil distilled from new berries. (J. P. C., June, 1875.) The oil has the aromatic properties of cubeb, but it is probably not the sole active ingredient, as it is much less pungent than the fluidextract or the oleoresin. It may, however, often be advantageously substituted for the powder, the dose to be gradually increased until its effects are obtained, or until it proves offensive to the stomach. It may be given suspended in water by means of sugar, in the form of emulsion, or enclosed in capsules of gelatin.

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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