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Santalum Rubrum. U. S. (Br.)

Botanical name:

Santalum Rubrum. U. S. (Br.)

Red Saunders. Santal. Rub.

"The heart-wood of Pterocarpus santalinus Linné filius (Fam. Leguminosae)." U. S. "Red Sanders Wood is the heart-wood of Pterocarpus santalinus, Linn. f." Br.

Pterocarpi Lignum, Br., Red Sanders Wood; Lignum Santalinum Rubrum, Rasura Santalum Ligni; Red Sandal Wood; Red Santal Wood; Ruby Wood; Santal rouge, Fr. Cod.; Santelholz, Rothes Santelholz, G.; Sandalo rojo (Leno de), Sp.

Pterocarpus santalinus is a large tree, with alternate branches, and petiolate ternate leaves, each leaflet being ovate, blunt, somewhat notched at the apex, entire, veined, smooth on the upper surface, and hoary beneath. The flowers are yellow in axillary spikes, and have a papilionaceous corolla, of which the vexillum is obcordate, erect, somewhat reflexed at the sides, toothed and waved, the alee spreading with their edges apparently toothed, and the carina oblong, short, and somewhat inflated. The tree is a native of India, attaining the highest perfection in mountainous districts, and inhabiting especially the mountains of Coromandel and Ceylon. It is cultivated also in Southern India and in the Philippine Islands. Its wood is the official red saunders, though there is reason to believe that the products of other trees are also sold by the same name.

Properties.—The wood comes in heavy, irregular, roundish or angular billets of various size and thickness, externally brown from exposure, internally of a deep blood-red color, on transverse section variegated with zones of a lighter red. The structure is heavy, compact, and fibrous. In the pharmacies red saunders is usually kept in the shape of small chips, or raspings, or coarse powder, of a deep reddish-brown color, slightly astringent in taste, and when rubbed of a faint peculiar odor. It has little odor or taste. Red saunders is officially described as follows: "Usually in the form of a coarse powder, of a brownish-red or dark saffron color and nearly odorless and tasteless. Under the microscope, Red Saunders shows numerous wood-fibers which are mostly irregular in outline, with sharply pointed and occasionally forked ends, the individual fibers from 0.3 to 0.75 mm. in length, the walls being very thick, porous, yellowish, unevenly thickened, and strongly lignified, and the lumina being filled with a fine, granular, protoplasmic content; occasional trachea) with simple or bordered pores and filled with light lemon-yellow, resinous masses; occasionally fragments showing medullary rays in narrow elliptical groups 1 cell wide and 3 to 6 cells deep; also occasional groups of crystal fibers with calcium oxalate in the form of monoclinic prisms, from 0.01 to 0.02 mm. in diameter. Mounts in hydrated chloral T.S. are of a deep, rich red color. Add 0.5 Gm. of Red Saunders to 10 mils of alcohol; the solution becomes distinctly red. Add 0.5 Gm. of Red Saunders to 10 mils of ether, the solution assumes an orange-yellow color and when held in a bright light shows a distinct, greenish fluorescence. Add 0.005 Gm. of Red Saunders to 10 mils of water; the liquid remains clear and colorless. Red Saunders yields not more than 3 per cent. of ash." U. S.

"Imported in irregular logs or billets, freed from the pale sapwood; reddish-brown or blackish-brown externally, deep blood-red internally; hard, but easily split longitudinally. In transverse section, narrow, closely approximated, reddish medullary rays traversing a nearly black wood with scattered, large, isolated vessels. Coloring matter readily soluble in alcohol (90 per cent.), but almost insoluble in water. Odor of the warmed Wood faintly aromatic; taste very slightly astringent." Br.

It imparts a red color to alcohol, ether, and alkaline solutions, but not to water, and a test is thus afforded by which it may be distinguished from some other coloring woods. The alcoholic tincture produces a deep violet precipitate with ferrous sulphate, a scarlet with mercuric chloride, and a violet with the soluble salts of lead. The coloring principle, which was separated by Pelletier and called by him santalin, is of a resinous character, scarcely soluble in cold water, more so in boiling water, very soluble in alcohol, ether, acetic acid, and alkaline solutions, but slightly in the fixed and volatile oils, with the exception of those of lavender and rosemary, which readily dissolve it. It is precipitated when acids are added to the infusion of the wood, prepared with an alkaline solution. Weyermann and Haeffely have found it to possess acid properties, and give it the formula C15H14O5. (Ann. Ch. Ph., 74, p. 226.) Weidel (Wien. Akad. Ber., lx, p. 388), by extracting the red saunders with potassium hydroxide, precipitating with hydrochloric acid, and again extracting from the purified precipitate with ether, obtained a colorless crystalline principle, which he calls santal, C8H6O3 + 1/2H2O.

Cazeneuve and Hugonneng (C. R. A. S; 104, 1722, 1725) have described two crystalline principles which they have extracted from red saunders, pterocarpin, C20H16O6 and homo-pterocarpin, C24H24O6, of which the former fuses at 152° C. (305.6° F.) and the latter at from 82° to 86° C.(179.6°-186.8° F.). The wood has no medicinal virtues, and is employed solely for the purpose of imparting color.

Off. Prep.—Tinctura Lavandulae Composita, U. S., Br.


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



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