Chimaphila consists of the dried leaves of Chimaphila umbellata, Linn. (N.O. Ericaceae), a small evergreen plant which is a native of the northern latitudes of Europe, America, and Asia, and is found in all parts of the United States. The drug is official in the U.S.P. The leaves are oblanceolate, 2.5 to 5 centimetres long, 8 to 18 millimetres broad, the upper portion coarsely and sharply serrate, acute, or somewhat obtuse, the lower portion wedge-shaped and nearly entire; they are coriaceous, smooth, dark green on the upper surface, and paler beneath, with very prominent veins. Odour, slight; taste, astringent and bitter.
Constituents.—Chimaphila is said to contain various crystalline constituents, to one of which the name chimaphilin has been applied. It is described as occurring in yellow needles fusing at 113° to 114°, and having a composition corresponding to the formula, C24H21O4. Arbutin is also said to occur in chimaphila, together with resin, gum, starch, tannic acid, sugar, etc.
Action and Uses.—Chimaphila resembles bearberry leaves in its action, and is employed as a diuretic in cardiac and renal conditions. It has also been used in cases of scrofula and rheumatism; large doses have been stated to be of value in diabetes, but reliable information as to its action is wanting. It is best administered in the form of fluidextract or it may be made into a syrup by mixing one part of the fluidextract with three parts of syrup.
Dose.—1 to 3 grammes (15 10 45 grains).
- Fluidextractum Chimaphilae, U.S.P.—FLUIDEXTRACT OF CHIMAPHILA. Syn.—Extractum Chimaphilae Liquidum.
- Chimaphila, in No. 30 powder, 100; alcohol (49 per cent.), sufficient to produce 100. Average dose.—2 mils (30 minims).