C14H19NO2 = 233.162.
Cephaeline, C14H19NO2, is an alkaloid obtained from ipecacuanha root. It occurs in the form of white silky needles, becoming yellow on exposure to light. If a concentrated ethereal solution be made and allowed to stand in a closed vessel, it deposits, after some time, bunches of delicate silky crystals. The melting-point of these crystals is 96° to 98°, while the base precipitated by ammonia melts at 102°. By exposure on a watch-glass, at 100°, it loses 4.78 per cent. of its weight; at 120° there is no further loss, but the substance acquires a brown colour without melting, and apparently undergoes some alteration. The salts of cephaeline appear to be uncrystallisable.
Soluble in alcohol, chloroform, benzene, and caustic alkali solutions; very sparingly soluble in petroleum spirit; slightly soluble in ether (less so than emetine).
Action and Uses.—Cephaeline is an emetic more powerful (and more toxic) than emetine, though the latter is the better expectorant. The action of cephaeline is slow and is obtained satisfactorily only by oral administration; it is not absorbed into the system. Both as expectorants and emetics the alkaloids from ipecacuanha are inferior to the galenical preparations. It should be administered triturated with sugar of milk, and prepared in the form of a pill with glycerin of tragacanth; or as a powder.
Dose.—5 to 10 milligrams (1/12 to 1/6 grain).