Xanthium Strumarium, Linne.
BY MATTHEW VENABLE CHEATHAM, PH.G.
Abstract from an Inaugural Essay.
The cocklebur is one of the first plants making its appearance in the spring, and the hogs, which in some of the Southern and Western States are allowed to run at large during the fall and winter to eat the mast, are very fond of the young plant, but almost invariably die after eating them; warm lard and other fatty substances being used as antidotes with only poor success.
The writer extracted the bruised dried fruit, 195.21 grams, with benzin and obtained 29 grams of a yellowish, non-drying fixed oil having the specific gravity .900 and a peculiar odor somewhat resembling that of freshly extracted flaxseed oil; from the soap prepared with it, oleic acid was obtained, and glycerin was found in the mother liquor of the soap.
With strong alcohol a resinous extract was obtained. The portion soluble in diluted acetic acid gave precipitates with potassio-mercurio iodide, with iodine and with tannin, but not with picric acid; ferric chloride produced a green color, and sugar followed by a drop of sulphuric acid caused a yellowish color slowly changing to carmine and to bright violet red. Ether extracted from the acid solution the principle giving these reactions; but the small quantity subsequently taken up by ether from the same solution rendered alkaline by potassa, did not give these reactions.
Of the resinous substance left after treatment with acidulated water, 4 grams were given to a small dog, producing no visible effects. This substance was freely soluble in ether and alcohol and slightly soluble in potassa and ammonia; ferric chloride added to the alcoholic solution gave a deep green color probably due to a little tannin.
The principle obtained above, though probably not pure, the author thinks may be different from the xanthostrumarin of Zander ("Amer. Jour. Phar.," 1881, p. 271), the latter being precipitated with picric-acid and not precipitated with tannin.