Synonyms.—Indian Pink; Pink Root.
Spigelia consists of the rhizome and rootlets, or the entire plant, of the Carolina pink, Spigelia marilandica, Linn. (N.O. Loganiaceae), a native of the southern United States. It is official in the U.S.P. It is a herbaceous, perennial plant, from 30 to 50 centimetres high, with a smooth, simple stem, which is rounded below, quadrangular above, and bears a few opposite and sessile, ovate-lanceolate leaves, about 7.5 centimetres long, acuminate at the apex, and tapering towards the base. The stem sometimes terminates in a spike of brilliant, red flowers. The entire plant is collected in the autumn and dried, the rhizomes and rootlets being separated from the aerial parts of the plant, or several entire plants are made into a bundle and tied. The rhizome is 5 centimetres or more in length and 2 or 3 millimetres in diameter. It is dark brown externally, tortuous, and knotty, with numerous slender wiry rootlets attached, while it bears on the upper side short branches marked with the cup-shaped scars of the stems of former years. Internally the rhizome has a whitish wood, and a dark-coloured or decayed pith. The rootlets have a thick bark, and are about 10 centimetres long, thin, brittle, and lighter coloured than the rhizome. The drug has a somewhat aromatic odour, and a sweetish but bitter and pungent taste. The rhizome of Phlox Carolina, Linné (N.O. Polemoniaceae), is also known as Carolina pink, but is smoother and lacks the cup-shaped scars, while the rootlets are straighter, thicker, and less wiry than those of spigelia.
Constituents.—The chief constituents of spigelia are an acrid, bitter substance, soluble in water or alcohol, but insoluble in ether, and a poisonous alkaloid named spigeline; other constituents ate volatile oil, resin, tannin, wax, fat, and gum.
Action and Uses.—Spigelia is said to depress the circulation and respiration, and cause loss of muscular power when given in large doses. The drug is anthelmintic, and is used to expel round worms; it is said to be safe and efficient if given in proper doses, followed by a saline purgative, such as magnesium sulphate. It is administered in powder or as an infusion, mixed with purgatives and aromatics, such as senna, manna, and fennel; a fluidextract is also used.
Dose.—2 to 4 grammes (30 to 60 grains).
- Fluidextractum Spigeliae, U.S.P.—FLUIDEXTRACT OF SPIGELIA.
- Spigelia, in No, 40 powder, 100; alcohol (49 per cent.). sufficient to produce 100. Average dose.—4 mils (1 fluid drachm).