Botanical name: 

Related entry: Chenopodium oil

Synonym.—American Wormseed.

Chenopodium is the fruit of Chenopodium ambrosioides, Linn. (N.O. Chenopodiaceae), and of C. ambrosioides, var. anthelminticum, Gray; a perennial plant abundant in the Southern United States and Central America. The fruit should be collected in the autumn. The drug consists of the small irregular globular fruits, not larger than the head of a pin. They are very light, and of a greenish-yellow or brown colour, On rubbing, the fruit the membranous pericarp is removed, and the single, small, lenticular, brownish-black seed is exposed. The odour of the fruits is strong, resembling that of eucalyptus; the taste, pungent and bitter. The fruit of C. ambrosioides var. anthelminticum is similar, but is more aromatic.

Constituents.—The chief constituent of the drug is the volatile oil, of which it is said to contain 3.5 per cent. This has a penetrating camphoraceous odour and pungent bitter taste. Its specific gravity is about 0.975 and rotation not over -5° in a 100-millimetre tube at 25°. The fresh plant contains an alkaloid, chenopodine.

Action and Uses.—Chenopodium is a vermifuge used to expel lumbricoid warms in children. The powdered seeds are administered, and are an active form of the drug. A fluid extract is prepared, of which the dose is 2 to 4 mils (½ to 1 fluid drachm). The volatile oil is occasionally administered in doses of 1 to 6 decimils (0.1 to 0.6 milliliters) (2 to 10 minims), for three doses. These preparations follow the general rule of administration for anthelmintics: they are taken at bedtime, fasting, and are followed by a purgative.

Dose.—1 to 4 grammes (15 to 60 grains).

The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.