Synonyms.—Blue Cohosh; Pappoose Root; Squaw Root.
Caulophyllum consists of the rhizome and roots of Caulophyllum thalictroides (Linn.), Michaux (N.O. Berberideae), a herbaceous plant growing in the United States. The rhizome is horizontal, irregular, about 100 millimetres long and 6 to 12 millimetres thick, somewhat tortuous and branched. It is of a greyish-brown colour and bears on its upper surface cup-shaped depressions and short knotty branches. The under surface bears numerous wiry matted rootlets, about 10 centimetres long and 6 to 10 millimetres thick. Internally it is whitish and exhibits numerous narrow woody wedges, surrounding a large pith. The medullary rays are broad, and the parenchyma contains numerous starch grains. The drug is almost odourless, the taste slightly sweet but somewhat acrid.
Constituents.—The chief constituents of caulophyllum are said to be a saponin-like, crystalline glucoside, leontin, and a colourless, odourless, and almost tasteless alkaloid, caulophylline, which crystallises with difficulty. The alkaloid must not be confused with caulophyllin, a brown resinoid powder obtained by precipitating the resinous matter from a concentrated alcoholic tincture of the drug.
Action and Uses.—Caulophyllum is used as a diuretic and emmenagogue, and is stated to exert a direct influence on the uterus. It has also been used with success as an anthelmintic. A liquid extract is prepared and is administered in a mixture with viburnum or the tinctures of aletris and pulsatilla (see Liquor Caulophylli et Pulsatillae Compositus). Caulophyllin is best given in pill form, in doses of 6 to 25 centigrams (1 to 4 grains). It may be combined with ergot or hydrastis.
Dose.—3 to 20; decigrams (5 to 30 grains).
- Extractum Caulophylli Liquidum, B.P.C.—LIQUID EXTRACT OF CAULOPHYLLUM. Syn.—Liquid Extract of Blue Cohosh. 1 in 1.
- Used with the tinctures of pulsatilla and black haw or with the liquid extracts of aletris and hydrastis as a uterine sedative and tonic. Dose.—½ to 2 mils (10 to 30 minims).
- Liquor Caulophylli et Pulsatillae, B.P.C.—SOLUTION OF CAULOPHYLLUM AND PULSATILLA.
- Liquid extract of caulophyllum, 25; liquid extract of pulsatilla, 5; with glycerin and alcohol (60 per cent.) to 100. Given as a sedative in dysmenorrhoea and uterine disorders, but it is of doubtful value for that purpose. Dose.—4 to 8 mils (1 to 2 fluid drachms).
- Liquor Caulophylli et Pulsatillae Compositus, B.P.C.—COMPOUND SOLUTION OF CAULOPHYLLUM AND PULSATILLA.
- Liquid extract of caulophyllum, 15; liquid extract of pulsatilla, 5; liquid extract of aletris, 10; liquid extract of black haw, 20; with glycerin and alcohol (60 per cent.) to 100. Used for similar purposes to Liquor Caulophylli et Pulsatillae. Dose.—4 to 8 mils (1 to 2 fluid drachms).