Matico consists of the dried leaves of Piper angustifolium, Ruiz and Pav. (N.O. Piperaceae), a shrub growing in Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, and Colombia. It is official in the U.S.P. The leaves are from 10 to 15 centimetres long, 2 to 4 centimetres wide, lanceolate and acuminate in outline, cordate and unequal at the base, and very shortly petiolate. The upper surface is tessellated by the depressed veinlets, which divide it into squares about 1 to 2 millimetres wide. On the under surface, the veinlets are raised, and the depressions thus formed are clothed with shaggy hairs. The flowering or fruiting spikes, which are occasionally found in the drug, are 10 to 15 centimetres long, and very slender. Matico leaves have a slight aromatic odour, and bitter camphoraceous taste. The drug is usually imported in dusky green, compressed brittle masses. Much of the matico leaves at present imported differs from the leaves described in being longer (20 centimetres), broader, and less acuminate. The transverse section, however, shows a structure similar to that of the genuine leaves, in particular a single row of colourless hypodermal cells; they are probably derived from a variety of P. angustifolium. Very similar leaves have also been observed in commerce, but destitute of the hypoderma, and probably derived from a distinct species. The leaves of P. aduncum, Linn., are marked on the under-surface by more prominent ascending parallel veins, the spaces between which are comparatively smooth and nearly glabrous. The differences recently found in matico oil are to be ascribed to similar variation in the drug from which it has been distilled. Formerly the leaves yielded 1 to 3.5 per cent. of an oil of specific gravity 0.93 to 0.99, and containing a crystallisable matico camphor and asarone. Latterly the leaves have yielded 3 to 6 per cent. of an oil of specific gravity 1.06 to 1.13, free from matico camphor and asarone, but containing dill apiol and parsley apiol.
Constituents.—The chief constituents of matico are 1 to 3.5 per cent. of volatile oil, tannin, a bitter principle, and crystalline artanthic acid.
Action and Uses.—Matico is employed, chiefly for its oil, in inflammatory conditions of the urinary passages, especially in cystitis, gonorrhoea, leucorrhoea, and catarrh of the bladder in aged people. The infusion, liquid extract, and tincture are used internally in mixture form. The last is the more powerful styptic, and may be applied to leech-bites and small wounds to arrest haemorrhage. It has also been recommended for use in haemoptysis, haematemesis, and haematuria, but it is valueless for these purposes (see Acidum Tannicum).
Dose in powder.—2 to 8 grammes (30 to 120 grains).
- Extractum Maticae Liquidum, B.P.C.—LIQUID EXTRACT OF MATICO. 1 in 1.
- Used as an aromatic astringent in mixture form. Dose.—2 to 4 mils (½ to 1 fluid drachm).
- Fluidextractum Matico, U.S.P.—Same as Extractum Maticae Liquidum, B.P.C.
- Infusum Maticae, B.P.C.—INFUSION OF MATICO. 1 to 20.
- Used as a vehicle for urinary antiseptics and astringents. Dose.—30 to 60 mils (1 to 2 fluid ounces).
- Tinctura Maticae, B.P.C.—TINCTURE OF MATICO. 1 in 5.
- Applied externally as a styptic to small cuts, and used internally in bladder catarrh. Dose.—4 to 8 mils (1 to 2 fluid drachms).