Oleoresina Capsici (U. S. P.)—Oleoresin of Capsicum.

Botanical name: 

Related entry: Capsicum (U. S. P.)—Capsicum

SYNONYM: Ethereal extract of capsicum.

Preparation.—"Capsicum, in No. 60 powder, five hundred grammes (500 Gm.) [1 lb. av., 1 oz., 279 grs.]; ether, a sufficient quantity. Put the capsicum into a cylindrical glass percolator, provided with a stop-cock, and arranged with cover and receptacle suitable for volatile liquids. Press the drug firmly, and percolate slowly with ether, added in successive portions, until the drug is exhausted. Recover the greater part of the ether from the percolate by distillation on a water-bath, and, having transferred the residue to a capsule, allow the remaining ether to evaporate spontaneously. Then pour off the liquid portion, transfer the remainder to a strainer, and, when the separated fatty matter (which is to be rejected) has been completely drained, mix the liquid portions together. Keep the oleoresin in a well-stoppered bottle"—(U. S. P.).

Or, exhaust finely powdered capsicum, any quantity, in a percolating apparatus, by ether, a sufficient quantity. Distill off three-fourths of the ether, and, having placed the remainder of the solution in an evaporating dish, allow it evaporate spontaneously.

Description.—This oleoresin consists of a thick oily liquid holding the active principle capsaicin (see Capsicum), and a fatty substance which gradually separates when the fluid is allowed to rest, and which may be separated by decantation or straining. The oleoresin forms a thick, dark-brownish fluid possessing in a high degree the acrid, burning taste of the capsicum, which is slightly soluble in water or vinegar, but very soluble in alcohol, ether, oil of turpentine, and the caustic alkalies, forming reddish-brown solutions. Benzin is an excellent solvent of capsicum, and may be employed in the above process instead of ether.

Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—As this oleoresin is a very powerful stimulant, it may be added to liniments, poultices, etc., whenever excessive stimulation or rubefaction is desired. It is entirely too active to employ as an internal remedy, except in very small doses, not exceeding 1 drop, which should be greatly diluted with syrup, glycerin, mucilage, or olive oil. Thus used it may prove useful in delirium tremens, and torpid conditions of the stomach.

King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.