Oleum Sabinae (U. S. P.)—Oil of Savine.

Botanical name: 

Related entry: Sabina (U. S. P.)—Savine

A volatile oil distilled from the tops of Juniperus Sabina, Linné.
Nat. Ord.—Coniferae.
"It should be kept in well-stoppered bottles, protected from light"—(U.S.P.).
SYNONYM: Oil of savin.

Preparation and Description.—The tops and leaves of savine, when submitted to distillation with water, yield this oil in the quantity of from 4 to 5 per cent (Schimmel & Co., Report, April, 1897). The official oil is described as "a colorless or yellowish liquid, having a peculiar, terebinthinate odor, and a pungent, bitterish, and camphoraceous taste. It becomes darker and thicker by age and exposure to the air. Specific gravity, 0.910 to 0.940 at 15° C. (59° F.). Soluble in an equal volume of alcohol (distinction from oil of juniper and oil of turpentine), the solution being neutral to litmus paper; also soluble in an equal volume of glacial acetic acid"—(U.S.P.). The oil is dextro-rotatory.

Chemical Composition.—The chief constituent of oil of savine is the alcohol sabinol (Schimmel & Co., Report, 1895), of the formula C10H16O, and boiling at 208° to 209° C. (406.4° to 408.2° F.) (E. Fromm, 1898). It exists partly free (10 per cent), partly in the form of acetate (40 to 44 per cent). The highest fractions of oil of savine contain cadinene (Wallach, 1877). The lowest fractions contain terpenes, probably pinene. According to Umney (Pharm. Jour. Trans., 1895), not more than 25 per cent of the oil distills below 200° C. (392° F.). If the quantity of distillate exceeds this figure, adulterations with oil of turpentine may be looked for. French oil of savine is stated to be frequently adulterated with oil of turpentine. An addition of the latter (if of French origin) also reduces the optical rotation of the oil (see Gildemeister and Hoffmann, Die Aetherischen Oele, 1899, p. 352).

Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Oil of savine is a powerful irritant to the mucous tissues, and powerfully deranges the nervous system. It may induce gastro-intestinal inflammation, vesical tenesmus and strangury, congestion of the pelvic organs, fever, mental excitation and intoxication, coma, and death. Oil of savine is an emmenagogue, and is seldom used for any other purpose, save as a liniment to the lumbar and sacral regions, and internally in amenorrhoea from torpor of the reproductive organs, in which it is sometimes very efficient. It also acts as a stimulant and abortivant. Ten drops of the oil on sugar, repeated 3 times a day, will, it is stated, positively produce abortion in from 1 to 3 weeks; but, as with all other agents of this kind, is apt to be followed by very serious consequences. It has been used for the relief of uterine leucorrhoea, uterine hemorrhage, dysmenorrhoea, and sterility. It is reputed to cure condylomata. The dose of oil, ordinarily, is from 2 to 10 drops.

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