Constituents of some American Plants.


Mitchella repens, Lin.—An analysis of this plant was made by Edgar Breneiser, Ph. G., with the following results: Volatile oil was found to be absent. Petroleum-benzin dissolved 1.180 per cent., consisting of chlorophyll and wax, the latter saponifiable by alcoholic potassa solution. Ether took up 1.400, of which .240 was soluble in water, and .940 soluble in alcohol. The aqueous solution contained a principle precipitated by tannin and by picric acid, but neither alkaloid nor glucoside. The resin taken up by alcohol was soluble in potassa and this solution yielded nothing to benzin, benzol or chloroform; the liquid obtained on treating the resin with acidulated water, gave precipitates with tannin and picric acid, but yielded nothing to benzin, benzol or chloroform. The alcoholic extract of the plant, amounted to 3.800 per cent., of which 3.440 was soluble in water, and this contained 1.630 glucose, estimated by Fehling's solution. Water now dissolved from the plant 20.699 per cent., from which alcohol precipitated 5.440 mucilaginous matter and .636 inorganic compounds; the further addition of alcohol precipitated 3.679 dextrin and allied carbohydrates; 6.009 glucose was found; also a saponin-like principle (precipitated by baryta, and frothing in aqueous solution.) Dilute soda solution dissolved 2.360 albumin, 1.840 other organic matter and .120 inorganic matter; total, 4.320 per cent. Dilute hydrochloric acid took up 4.418 organic and 2.820 inorganic matter, total 7.238. Treatment with chlorine occasioned a loss of 11.784 per cent.; the residue now weighed 33.460, and after deducting 11.240 for moisture in the drug, the loss not accounted for by the analysis, amounts to 4.879 per cent. The ash of the air dry plant weighed 5.440 per cent., only .360 of which was soluble in water; the ash consisted of carbonates, chlorides, sulphates and phosphates of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron.

Eupatorium perfoliatum, Lin.—The percentages of extract obtained from this plant by the successive treatment with different solvents, has been ascertained by Oscar F. Dana, Jr., Ph. G. The results are as follows: moisture 10.50, extract by petroleum benzin 3.80, by ether 4.60, by alcohol 33.80, by water 24.80, by alkali 5.80, cellulin 11.70; loss by treatment with chlorine, &c. 5.00. The ash amounted to 8.3 per cent. Crystals were observed in the benzin extract, and were prepared in larger quantity, by exhausting the plant with alcohol, treating this extract with ether and the ethereal extract with benzin. Thus obtained the crystals were still impure and were not further examined.

By the same process these crystals were obtained by G. Latin, (AM. JOUR. PHAR. 1880, p. 392,) who succeeded in obtaining them white and showed them to be wax or possibly resin. The bitter principle has been obtained by Latin in a pure or nearly pure condition and found to be a glucoside; he states it to be soluble in ether, while according to M. Parsons (AM. J. PH., 1879; p. 342,) it is insoluble in the menstruum named.

Leptandra virginica, Nutall.—To obtain the bitter principle, Gust. Steinmann, Ph. G., poured the concentrated tincture into water, and agitated the acidulated, aqueous solution with petroleum benzin, benzol and chloroform; only the benzol liquid yielded a residue which was crystalline. 500 gm. of the drug yielded only 0.5 gm. of the crystals, which after recrystallizing from ether, were of a pale lemon-yellow color, of a peculiar agreeable odor, and of a very bitter taste. They were found to be insoluble in petroleum benzin, soluble in alcohol, ether and benzol, less freely soluble in cold water, not precipitated by Mayer's solution or by tannin, and not yielding glucose on being boiled with dilute sulphuric acid. The resinous matter precipitated by water from the alcoholic extract, loses the bitter taste almost completely by repeated solution and precipitation.

Catalpa bignonioides, Walter.—The seeds were examined by Fred. K. Brown, Ph. G., who demonstrated the presence of resin, fixed oil, tannin and sugar, and on distilling with water, obtained a distillate having somewhat of a rancid odor. Two crystalline bodies were obtained by treating the powdered seeds with a mixture of ether, alcohol and ammonia, acidulating the concentrated filtrate, removing oil and other impurities with ether, neutralizing with ammonia, and agitating with a mixture of ether and chloroform; on evaporating the ethereal solution, needles were left, which were soluble in alcohol, ether and chloroform, insoluble in water, almost tasteless and after boiling with dilute sulphuric acid did not reduce Fehling's solution. The aqueous liquid, left after treatment with ether and chloroform, yielded crystals, which must have contained ammonia sulphate, and possibly also a glucoside, since after boiling with sulphuric acid, a reaction with Fehling's solution was obtained.

Ilex opaca, Aiton.—On treating the leaves with benzin, Walter A. Smith, Ph. G., obtained 1.2 per cent. extract, of which .088 was volatile and had an acrid mustard like odor; the remainder consisted of fat and .152 wax. Ether extracted 4.5 per cent, .5 of which was, soluble in water, the remainder being resin soluble in alcohol; the aqueous solution had a bitter taste, and from its behavior to Fehling's liquid appears to contain a glucoside. Tannin and chlorophyll were found in the alcoholic tincture. The leaves yielded 4.5 per cent. of ash.

Gymnocladus canadensis, Lamarck.—Samuel S. Mell, Ph. G., observed that the seeds weigh on the average 30 grains, contain 8.5 per cent. of moisture, and yield 2.75 per cent. of ash. Petroleum benzin extracts about 10 per cent. of fixed oil, which is yellowish, saponifiable, and of the spec. grav. .919. Ether extracts a little wax, fat and resin. The alcoholic extract amounts to 3.25 per cent. and contains a little tannin and a small quantity of glucoside which can be removed from the aqueous solution by chloroform, and which appears to b. present also in the immature fruit; it has a peculiar odor and an acrid burning taste. The seeds contain also mucilage, starch and albuminoids.

The American Journal of Pharmacy, Vol. 59, 1887, was edited by John M. Maisch.