Materia Medica Notes.
Abstracts from Theses.
Cultivation of Peppermint in Michigan.—From his personal observations in the peppermint plantations, and from information received from mint growers, Dennis Reagan, Ph.G., describes the cultivation to be the same as was stated by M. Fred. Stearns, in 1858 (see Amer. Jour. Phar., 1859, p. 35), except that the planting is done annually, the runners of the preceding year being used for the purpose. If the plants are raised from seeds (Peppermint doesn't come true from seeds... -Henriette) in a nursery, they are reset every two years. Peppermint does not sprout freely after the second year, unless the soil is very rich and loose and the preceding summer has been wet and warm, or the ground is boggy.
The oil obtained per acre varies between three and twenty-six pounds, the average being about sixteen pounds; new mint generally yields a few pounds more than the old, the quality of the oil being the same. The principal weed growing in mint fields is Erigeron (Conyza) canadense, Lin.; the large growers remove it carefully from the field, and plants which are overlooked are separated from the cut mint, which is smaller. Erechthites hieracifolia, Raf., grows only in new clearings. Both these weeds are sometimes distilled separately, and the oils are occasionally used for adulterating oil of peppermint; oil of turpentine is also used for the same purpose. Oil of peppermint, when pure, is said to be rather slowly absorbed if dropped upon blotting paper, while it is at once absorbed if adulterated with any one of the three oils mentioned.
Ailanthus glandulosa, Desfontaines.—Fred. Horace Davis, Ph.G., has subjected the bark of this tree to proximate analysis; it is not stated whether the bark of the branches or of the trunk was used for the purpose.
By exsiccation at 100°C., the air dry bark lost 7 per cent. of moisture, and on incineration yielded 5.92 per cent. of ash; of the latter 25.8 per cent. was soluble in water (potassium and sodium chloride and phosphate), and the insoluble portion contained calcium, magnesium and iron as carbonate, sulphate and phosphate. The bark was successively treated with petroleum benzin, ether, alcohol, cold water, boiling water and dilute acid; fixed oil, chlorophyll, resin, wax, sugar, tannin, albumen, gum, starch, pectin, oxalic acid and probably another crystallizable organic acid, soluble in alcohol, were obtained. Distillation with water yielded a trace of volatile oil. Alkaloids and glucosides could not be detected.