Sanguinaria (U. S. P.)—Sanguinaria.
Preparations: Vinegar of Bloodroot - Extract of Sanguinaria - Fluid Extract of Sanguinaria - Compound Mixture of Bloodroot - Syrup of Sanguinaria - Tincture of Sanguinaria - Compound Acetated Tincture of Sanguinaria - Compound Tincture of Lobelia
The rhizome of Sanguinaria canadensis, Linné, gathered in autumn after the leaves and scape have died to the ground.
COMMON NAMES: Bloodroot, Puccoon, Red puccoon, Indian paint, Tetterwort.
ILLUSTRATIONS: Bentley and Trimen, Med. Plants, 20; Johnson's Med. Bot. of N. A., Pl. III.
Botanical Source.—Bloodroot is a smooth herbaceous, perennial, indigenous plant, with a horizontal, truncate or premorse, creeping rhizome covered with scattered fibers, and emitting an acrid bright orange-colored juice when cut or bruised. It is frequently crooked, 2 or 3 inches long, 3 to 6 lines in diameter, brownish-red externally, and red internally. From each bud of the root-stalk there springs a single leaf, and a round, erect scape about 6 inches high, with a single flower; and as they arise, the folded leaf incloses the flower-bud, and rolls back as the latter amplifies. The leaf is smooth, on long, channeled petioles, reniform or cordate, with large roundish lobes separated by rounded sinuses; the underside strongly reticulated by orange-colored veins, paler than the upper, and at length glaucous. The flowers are white, scentless, of a quadrangular outline, and of short duration. The calyx is formed of 2 concave, ovate, obtuse sepals, falling off when the corolla expands; the corolla has 8 (or more by cultivation) petals, which are spreading, concave, obtuse, the external ones the longer; sometimes they have a purple or rose tint. Stamens short, numerous, with oblong, yellow anthers. Ovary oblong, and compressed, style none; stigma, thick and somewhat 2-lobed. Capsule oblong, acute at both extremities, and 2-valved. The seeds are numerous, roundish, compressed, dark shining red, half-surrounded by a white vermiform raphe (L.—W.—B.).
Description.—The root of sanguinaria is the official part, although the whole plant is actively medicinal. The fresh root is from 1 to 4 inches in length, fleshy, round, about as thick as the finger and tolerably stout in the middle, abrupt at the end, often contorted and truncated, somewhat curved at each end, covered with orange-colored fibers 2 or more inches in length, of a reddish-brown color externally, brighter blood-red within, and containing an abundance of orange-colored juice, which flows out when the root is cut. The end of the root always appears as if broken or cut off by a dull instrument in removing it from the ground.
A horizontal section of the fresh root is a most beautiful object under the microscope; it is found to consist of numerous cells throughout its central part, somewhat oval or hexagonal, of nearly equal diameter, and containing: (1) a large proportion of the orange-colored resin peculiar to the plant, presenting the most beautiful shades of transparent amber; (2) a magnificent transparent garnet hue, not seen, however, in every cell, resembling dots of garnet scattered over the field, with lateral facets, like a precious stone; and (3) a scarcity of white, transparent substance, consisting of a colorless, fixed oil. The juice when examined under the microscope, presents numerous transparent milk-like globules, and many colored granules, free and in clusters; with a power of 740 diameters, multitudes of transparent monads are seen in active motion. These globules and granules are rendered thinner and more transparent by liquor potassae, and are mostly dissolved by ether; acetic acid dissolved most of the granules. The juice forms a fine dye of an orange color, the color being fixed by various mordants, as perchloride of tin, and sulphate of aluminum (G. D. Gibb).
As found in commerce, the dried root, considerably shrunken, is dark brown externally, bright yellow internally, but becoming dark-brown by the action of the air, more or less crooked, compressed, corrugated, having a short, uneven, pith-like fracture, a peculiar faintly virose odor, and a bitter, acrid, and pungent taste, leaving an impression in the fauces for some time after it has been chewed. "Of horizontal growth, about 5 Cm. (2 inches) long, and 1 Cm. (⅓ inch) thick, cylindrical, somewhat branched, faintly annulate, wrinkled, reddish-brown; fracture short, somewhat waxy, whitish, with numerous small, red resin-cells, or of a nearly uniform, brownish-red color; bark thin; odor slight; taste persistently bitter and acrid"—(U. S. P.). It is readily reduced to brownish-red powder, which causes sneezing when stirred. Boiling water or alcohol takes up its active properties, the latter, however, being the best menstruum; the root should be kept in a dry place; age or moisture impairs its activity. The seeds are about the size of barley grains, of a shining dark reddish-brown color, half surrounded with a peculiar white vermiform appendage, projecting at the lower end; they contain a bland, nutritious, and colorless fixed oil.
History.—Sanguinaria is one of the best known of our vernal-flowering-plants, making its appearance very early in the spring, usually in this climate in April, frequently covering the ground with large patches of beautiful white flowers. It usually grows in open woods, but may also be found along fences, around old stumps, and in recent clearings. Though extremely common throughout the eastern half of the union it is rapidly becoming scarce in the New England states, where it formerly grew in abundance. It thrives best in clayey soils, and rich loam, and is not usually found in wet places, as swamps and marshes, nor is it fond of sand, consequently it is not found near the ocean and lakes, nor in the swamps of the south. Otherwise it is encountered from Quebec and Ontario on the north to the Gulf of Mexico on the south, and from the Atlantic to the western boundary of the tier of states bordering on the west bank of the Mississippi River. It is commonly known as Bloodroot and Red puccoon, and less familiarly as Bloodwort, Red-root, Puccoon, Turmeric, and Indian paint. By the middle of summer the whole plant dies to the ground. The rhizome is fleshy, fibrous rooted, and breaks abruptly with a transverse fracture. The first botanical mention of bloodroot was made by Cornuti, in 1635, who placed it in the genus Chelidonium. The name sanguinaria was first applied to it by a French botanist, Pierre Morin (Morinus), who published, in 1651, a catalogue of plants in his garden, and through John Jacob Dillenius, an eminent English botanist (of German birth and education, however), became established as the generic name, though it remained for Linnaeus to define the genus. The name sanguinaria is from the Latin sanguis, blood; so named because the plant when wounded throws out the copious blood-like sap before referred to. The name sanguinaria, or "herba sanguinalis" had previously been used by both Greek and Latin writers, but was probably applied to other plants, as the name had reference to such plants as had the property of stopping the flow of blood—acted as hemostatics—and not on account of any red coloring possessed by them. This plant was well known to the American Indians, who used it as a dye. Through them the Virginians became acquainted with it. Strachey, who lived in Jamestown in 1610, states that it was called by the natives "Musquaspenne."
Perhaps no indigenous plant created greater interest among the early botanical physicians than the bloodroot. While nearly every writer on materia medica and botany gave full descriptions of the plant, and commended it for its beauty and usefulness, yet it never obtained the prominence that a drug of its class merits. In fact, while used to a considerable extent in domestic and botanical practice, it remained for the "Eclectic fathers" to take it up and develop its use as a remedy. Schoepf was among the earliest to notice it as a medicine. He speaks of 15 or 20 grains of the powdered root producing powerful emesis, and further notices its irritating action on the fauces, when given in powder. He advised a decoction or pill form of administration. Both Schoepf and Mérat used it for gonorrhoea, and Colden employed it in jaundice. Thacher mentions it, stating that it was the chief ingredient of a nostrum known as "Rawson's Bitters." The younger Barton employed a spirituous tincture in connection with the tinctures of bitter plants as a tonic, and used it locally as a wash for indolent ulcers, with hardened edges and ichorous discharges. He also applied the pulverized root to fungoid growths and nasal polypi. Bigelow and Smith used it for the same purpose. Thacher speaks of its use for coughs and pneumonic complaints, being used in place of digitalis. It was also used for "peripneumonia trachealis, cynanche maligna, and cynanche trachealis." Barton and Downey pointed out that the leaves and seeds were possessed of a narcotic power similar to that possessed by stramonium seeds, which fact was confirmed by the celebrated Dr. Bard (in an inaugural address), who used the root in croup, pneumonia, whooping-cough, phthisis, and jaundice. In 1831, Dr. Daniel B. Smith published in the Journal of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy a dissertation on bloodroot, giving the natural and botanical history, and called attention to Dr. Dana's experiments, in 1824, when the latter possibly first obtained sanguinarine. Prof. Tully, who carefully experimented with bloodroot, classed it therapeutically with squills, seneca, digitalis, guaiacum, and ammoniacum. About the middle of the present century Dr. Fell, of England, was permitted to make a trial of a secret method of treating cancer, in the Middlesex Hospital of London, an act which was severely condemned by the London Lancet, consequently it led Dr. Fell to publish a work on "Cancer and Its Treatment," in which he said that he used the "bruised bloody pulp of the white flowering puccoon" (Drugs and Medicines of North America). The Western Medical Reformer, the pioneer Eclectic medical journal, in October, 1836, gave a description of bloodroot and its uses, and from that time on it has been a favorite remedy with our practitioners. The salts of sanguinarine were introduced into commerce by the late William S. Merrell, M. D.
Specific sanguinaria, the preparation principally employed by Eclectic physicians, has a deep ruby-red color and little odor. The taste is sharp and acrid, or as some might contend peppery, the after-taste being disagreeable, especially the sensation that remains in the throat and fauces. When ammonia is added to specific sanguinaria the red color disappears, a buff, purplish hue resulting. Acids restore the red color. When specific sanguinaria is dropped into water it imparts a yellow color if in small amount, which deepens to red as the proportion increases. A slight opalescence also results owing to precipitation of resin in a finely divided condition, and if the specific be in large amount the mixture becomes turbid and ultimately precipitates.
Chemical Composition.—G. König (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1891, p. 457) isolated from the root of sanguinaria the following alkaloids: Chelerythrine (C21H17NO4), occurring in largest quantity, and forming lemon-yellow salts with acids; sanguinarine (C20H15NO4), forming red-colored salts with acids; gamma-homochelidonine (probably C22H21NO4); and protopine (C20H17NO5), which is also a constituent of opium and chelidonium. Sanguinarine (formerly also called chelerythrine) was discovered in bloodroot by Dana, in 1829, and, afterward, in Chelidonium majus (see Chelidonium) by Probst (1838). It crystallizes in colorless needles, melting at 211° C. (411.8° F.) (G. König); insoluble in water, soluble in alcohol and ether, and in acids, forming red-colored salt-solutions of acrid taste (see Sanguinarine, page 1713). The bases above-named are combined in the root with sanguinaric acid (Newbold, 1866), which L. C. Hopp showed to be a mixture of citric and malic acids (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1875, p. 193). Mr. F. L. Slocum (ibid., 1881, p. 275) found the root to contain about 3.5 per cent of resin, soluble in alcohol, insoluble in water. Sanguinaria seeds were analyzed by John Culley (ibid., 1894, p. 189); petroleum ether extracted fixed oil and alkaloids (28.2 per cent), ether then took up resin and alkaloids (4.47 per cent), and absolute alcohol finally removed 2.9 per cent of resin. Mr. Charles H. La Wall (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1896, p. 305) recommends an assay of sanguinaria by abstracting the powdered root with petroleum benzin and aqua ammoniae, an average of 1.5 per cent of total alkaloids being uniformly obtained. Other solvents extracted as much as 5 or 6 per cent.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—I. SANGUINARIA. The physiological action of sanguinaria is pronounced. The powder, when inhaled, is exceedingly irritating to the Schneiderian membrane, provoking violent sneezing, and free and somewhat prolonged secretion of mucus. To the taste, bloodroot is harsh, bitter, acrid, and persistent, and, when swallowed, leaves an acridity and sense of constriction in the fauces and pharynx, and induces a feeling of warmth in the stomach. In small doses, it stimulates the digestive organs, and increases the action of the heart and arteries, acting as a stimulant and tonic; in larger doses it acts as a sedative to the heart, reducing the pulse, causing nausea, and, consequently, diaphoresis, increased expectoration, and gentle diuresis, at the same time stimulating the liver to increased action. If the dose be large, it provokes nausea, with violent emesis, vertigo, disordered vision, and great prostration. It also increases the broncho-pulmonary, cutaneous, and menstrual secretions. It is a systemic emetic, very depressing, causing increased salivary and hepatic secretions, and hypercatharsis may result. When an emetic dose has been taken, the heart's action is at first accelerated and then depressed. Poisonous doses produce violent gastralgia of a burning and racking character, which extends throughout the gastro-intestinal canal. The muscles relax, the skin becomes cold and clammy, the pupils dilate, there is great thirst and anxiety, and the heart's action becomes slower and irregular. Spinal reflexes are reduced and paralysis of the spinal nerve centers follow. Lethal doses produce death by paralysis of medullary, respiratory, and cardiac centers, death being sometimes preceded by convulsions.
Sanguinaria fulfils a variety of therapeutic uses according to the size of the dose employed. Though an emetic, it is seldom employed alone, but in combination with lobelia, as in the acetous emetic tincture, it forms one of our most efficient systemic agents of this class, and may be employed in inflammatory and febrile states, where it is thought necessary to thoroughly cleanse the stomach, and to excite the hepatic and general glandular system to activity. Upon the liver it acts as a gentle but reliable cholagogue, and may be employed in torpor of that viscus, or in congestive states and subacute as well as chronic hepatitis. Its action on the stomach is kindly. It promotes secretion and improves the appetite. It is a good remedy for atonic dyspepsia, administering drop doses of specific sanguinaria every 2 or 3 hours. By its stimulant action on the mucous surface, it proves valuable in the treatment of gastric and duodenal catarrh, and in catarrhal jaundice. It is applicable in all cases of hepatic debility, especially where the biliary product is suppressed, deficient or vitiated, and the general circulation is feeble, with cold extremities and sick headaches. Its value is often increased when combined with either podophyllin or specific iris. Bloodroot has proven serviceable in rheumatism, dysentery, and scrofula, with imperfect circulation.
Bloodroot is useful in many troubles of the genital system. Amenorrhoea, especially in anemic and chlorotic patients, with chilliness and headache, is benefited by it, as well as dysmenorrhoea in debilitated females. Hysteria, when due to moral causes, or pain, has likewise yielded to sanguinaria. Hemorrhage of the lungs, depending on vicarious menstruation, has been controlled by bloodroot. In the male, it is a remedy for genital debility and seminal weakness, impotence, with seminal incontinence and relaxed sexual organs. Sanguinaria is "a neglected drug in respiratory disorders. Its action upon the pulmonary organs is somewhat similar to that of lobelia. It is important as a stimulating expectorant, to be used after active inflammation has been subdued. It may be employed in atonic conditions. It restores the bronchial secretions when scanty, and checks them when profuse. It is indicated in burning, smarting, itching conditions of the throat, larynx, and nares; tickling or burning in the nasal passage with abundant secretion, and an irritative, tickling cough; or when from atony the secretions are checked, it restores them, and removes the dry, harsh cough. It is useful in both acute and chronic bronchitis, laryngitis, sore throat, and acute or chronic nasal catarrh. It acts as a sedative to the irritable mucous surfaces, promotes expectoration, and stimulates their functions. It has proved very valuable as a cough remedy in phthisis pulmonalis. It is further a valuable alterative. It has been successfully employed in various forms of croup, particularly mucous croup. It is serviceable in humid asthma and whooping-cough. Pharyngitis, with red and irritable mucous membranes, and burning, smarting, or tickling, is cured by it. As an expectorant, it may be combined with other agents, as lobelia, etc. It enters into the composition of the 'acetous emetic tincture,' and, in powder form, is contained in the 'compound powder of lobelia and capsicum.' It is too harsh to use as an emetic, still good results have come from its use in pseudo-membranous croup, first giving small doses until profound nausea is produced, then carrying it to emesis. In pneumonia, after the inflammatory stage has passed, it may be given in 1 or 2-drop doses, frequently repeated, or it may be combined with wild cherry, lycopus, or eucalyptus. The vinegar of sanguinaria is a very efficient pectoral agent. The nitrate of sanguinarine is, with many, a favorite remedy to fulfil the indications for bloodroot. It may be administered in water, syrup, or in trituration with milk-sugar. The specific indications are a sense of burning in the fauces, pharynx, larynx, or nasal tissues, with redness of surface, and thin, acrid burning, smarting discharge; post-sternal constriction, or at the supra-sternal notch, with difficult breathing. A decoction of bloodroot is of-service in scarlatinal sore throat" (Felter, Ec. Med. Jour.). Sanguinaria is of value in syphilitic skin eruptions, and, as an ointment, has been employed, locally, in tinea. The powder, made into a cataplasm with slippery-elm, has been used in domestic practice as a local dressing for frozen feet. An infusion, made in vinegar, has been found valuable in several cutaneous diseases, as eczema, ringworm, and warts. At one time the root was extensively employed in the treatment of carcinomata, and was also applied to exuberant excrescences for its escharotic action, and to ill-conditioned ulcers, to create a healthy energy in the sores. Bloodroot, with bayberry, was formerly popular as an errhine in catarrhal affections of the nose, cephalalgia, neuralgic affections of the head, and to destroy nasal polypi. Prof. W. Byrd Scudder (Ec. Med. Jour., 1892, p. 86) reports a case of hypertrophic rhinitis, caused by irritating dust in a seed-house, promptly relieved by 1/10-grain doses of sanguinarine nitrate. The patient complained of a "dryness of the nasopharynx and throat, attended with sharp lancinating pain, and a sensation as if one side of the throat rubbed against the other." We have employed the nitrate of sanguinarine when the only symptom was an irritating cough, with tickling low in the larynx, with marked benefit. The preparations of sanguinaria in use are the powder, fluid extract, tincture, specific sanguinaria, vinegar of sanguinaria, syrup of sanguinaria, sanguinarine, and sanguinarine nitrate. The latter should be given in milk-sugar, or in syrup, on account of its acridity. Dose of the powder, as an emetic, from 10 to 20 grains; of the tincture, from 20 to 60 drops; as a stimulant or expectorant, from 3 to 5 grains; as an alterative, from ½ to 2 grains. The dose of sanguinarine is 1/25 to 1/12 grain; of sanguinarine nitrate, 1/30 to 1/10 grain; specific sanguinaria, from 1 to 10 drops. For chronic respiratory troubles the syrup may be combined with wild cherry and liquorice.
II. SANGUINARINE NITRATE.—The action of this agent is practically that ascribed to sanguinaria (which see), though for respiratory affections it is to be preferred to that drug. The usual methods of administration are the syrup (½ to 2 grains to 4 fluid ounces of water and syrup), the dose of which is a teaspoonful every 1 to 3 hours; and the 2 x trituration, the dose of which ranges from 1 to 10 grains.
Specific Indications and Uses.—I. SANGUINARIA. For its specific indications, Prof. J. M. Scudder gives a "sensation of burning and itching of mucous membrane, especially of fauces, pharynx, Eustachian tubes and ears; less frequently of larynx, trachea, and bronchia, occasionally of stomach and rectum, and rarely of vagina and urethra. The mucous membrane looks red and irritable. Sometimes the redness will be of the end of the nose." Added to this he gives "nervousness, redness of nose, with acrid discharge, burning and constriction in fauces of pharynx, with irritative cough and difficult respiration." Prof. Locke gives also feeble circulation, with coldness of extremities.
II. SANGUINARINE NITRATE.—Tickling or irritation of the throat, with cough, burning or irritative sensation in the fauces, pharynx, larynx, or nasal tissues, with red surface and thin, acrid, burning, or smarting discharges; dryness of the nasopharynx and throat, with sharp, lancinating pain, and a feeling as if the walls of the throat were rubbing against each other; post-sternal constriction, or sense of uneasiness at the supra-sternal notch, with difficulty in breathing; sense of uneasiness and burning in the stomach, with nervousness.
Related Species.—Stylophorum diphyllum, Nuttall. United States. E. Schmidt (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1888) found the plant to contain chelidonine and another alkaloid, probably chelerythrine. This plant was first analyzed by J. U. Lloyd at the suggestion of C. G. Lloyd, who argued that its botanical relationship suggested an alkaloidal constituent. The product, a white alkaloid, was obtained in considerable amount, but no attempt at identification was made. Subsequently, the alkaloid was sent to Prof. Eykman, of Tokio, Japan, who reported in detail concerning it.
The following agent, though not related botanically, is also used for antispasmodic purpose. It may be well to state here that under the subheads Related Species and Related Preparations, we have frequently placed plants or drugs usually according to botanical or chemical relationship to the subject of the main article, but in several instances physiological or therapeutic relationship only has been taken into consideration.
Adhatoda Vasica, Nees (Justicia Adhatoda, Linné.) (Nat. Ord.—Acanthaceae).—India, "in the sub-Himalayan tract, from Nepal westward." The Malabar nut-tree, also known as Arusa (Hindu), Adulsa (Bombay), Bàkas (Bengalese), and Adatodai (Tam.). Of this plant, Ainslie long ago made the following statement: "The flowers, leaves, and roots are supposed to possess antispasmodic qualities; they are bitterish and subaromatic" (Lindley's Medical Flora). This shrub is largely employed in India as an antispasmodic and expectorant, particularly in asthma (leaves smoked also in this complaint), and in phthisis and bronchitis, and in other catarrhal and pectoral complaints, with cough and hectic. There is a saying in the East, according to Dutt, "that no man suffering from phthisis need despair as long as the Vasaka (Sanscrit) plant exists." The flowers are also used to purify the blood, and in gonorrhoea; the wood makes a fine charcoal for gunpowder (Dymock, Mat. Med. of Western India). Adhatoda contains adhatodic acid and the alkaloid, vasicine, in combination. Frogs and leeches, and fleas, mosquitoes, and many other insects are destroyed by a solution of vasicine. Adhatoda has been advised in this country in the treatment of diphtheria and intermittent and typhoid fevers. The leaves are the parts chiefly employed, of which a fluid extract may be given in doses of from 5 to 60 drops. Adhatoda leaves are said to be used in rice cultivation, being spread over the recently-flooded districts to kill the lower orders of aquatic plants (green scum), which interfere with the growth of the rice; they also serve as fertilizers to the soil.
Sanguinarine, Its Salts, and Sanguinarin.—The Eclectic name Sanguinarine was affixed to the mixed alkaloids thrown down by ammonia from an aqueous solution of the drug. When purified, this mixture, while free from extraneous matter, was still a mixture of alkaloidal educts and never free from decomposition or oxidation products. Change rapidly occurs, the ammoniacal precipitate if white, soon changes to buff and then to blue, drying dark. The salts are, when first thrown out of ethereal solution, of a yellow color; they darken soon, and on drying become of a deep-red color. These salts have long been used in Eclectic medicine.
Ɣ SANGUINARINAE.—Sanguinarine (C19H17NO4, Limpricht; C20H15NO4, G. König), the alkaloid of bloodroot. Dr. T. L. A. Greve, of Cincinnati, proposed the following formula for an impure alkaloid: "It may be obtained by adding aqua ammoniae to the liquor from which the resin (sanguinarin) has been precipitated. It is then separated from the liquid by straining or filtering, washing the mass on the filter with water, then drying and powdering it. It may also be procured by treating ground bloodroot with water acidulated with sulphuric acid, and then precipitating with aqua ammoniae, as above named." We have found that a purer form of sanguinarine may be obtained by triturating the sanguinarine nitrate with an ethereal solution of ammonia gas, which yields the alkaloid to ether which may then be evaporated to dryness. Sanguinarine (C19H17NO4) is a white or pearl-gray body, having a bitter taste with some acrimony, is hardly dissolved by water, but readily by ether or alcohol, and possesses well-marked alkaline characters, rendering turmeric paper brown or red, and forming red-colored salts with the acids. So intensely irritating is it that even a very minute amount of the dust in the room will render the air irrespirable. It is a strong base and readily combines with even the weaker organic acids to form salts. All that is necessary to produce the salt is to simply neutralize the alkaloid with a weak solution of the desired acid, and evaporate to dryness. The uses of sanguinarine are similar to those of preparations of bloodroot. One grain of this alkaloid may be thoroughly triturated with 20 or 30 grains of sugar of milk, and divided into 10 or 30 doses, according to the effect desired. A very excellent cough preparation may be made, composed of chloride of ammonium, 2 drachms; extract of liquorice, 2 drachms; extract of hyoscyamus, ½ drachm; syrup of tolu, 1 fluid ounce; water, 6 fluid ounces; acetate or sulphate of sanguinarine, 1 or 2 grains. Mix. The dose is a tablespoonful, repeating it 3 or 4 times a day.
SANGUINARINAE SULPHAS, Sanguinarine Sulphate.—Prof. E. S. Wayne recommends the following mode of obtaining sulphate of sanguinarine, which is Dr. Schiel's process: Exhaust bloodroot, in coarse powder, in a percolator, with diluted sulphuric acid, and then add ammonia; a deep purple precipitate occurs, which must be washed with water upon the filter, dried, and treated with ether, which dissolves out the sanguinarine. Treat this solution with animal charcoal, and the alkaloid is obtained as a sulphate of a bright vermilion color, on the addition of a solution of sulphuric acid in alcohol (Amer. Jour. Pharm., Vol. CXXV, p. 521).
SANGUINARINAE NITRAS, Sanguinarine Nitrate.—The nitrate of the alkaloids obtained from Sanguinaria canadensis, Linné. Prepare an alcoholic extract of sanguinaria, evaporate to a syrupy consistence, mix it with water, filter, and to the filtrate add ammonia water in slight excess. A bluish precipitate falls which must be filtered out and dried. Cautiously powder the dried mass, exhaust with ether, and filter. To prepare the nitrate, cautiously add nitric acid to the ether solution, being careful to avoid an excess, when sanguinarine nitrate will have formed, and not being soluble in ether precipitates as a yellow-red magma which, when dried, assumes a crimson hue. This substance is a salt of the mixed alkaloids of sanguinaria. It forms a powder of a crimson or brick color (according to process employed), almost entirely soluble in water, of an acrid taste, and a slight odor like that peculiar to the root, intensely irritating to the nasal mucous surfaces, and is employed as an expectorant, and likewise used where the root is indicated, in doses of from ⅛ to ¼ grain. (For Action, and Specific Indications and Uses, see Sanguinaria.)
SANGUINARIN.—The alka-resinoid principle of bloodroot. Under the above name the early Eclectics used an impure resinous product of sanguinaria made after the manner of making resin of podophyllum. It possessed the qualities, largely, of the sanguinaria alkaloids which were mixed mechanically therewith. When used alone it should be triturated with sugar, sugar of milk, or some other article. As a tonic, the dose is from ¼ to 1 grain, 3 or 4 times a day; as a hepatic and alterative, from ½ to 2 grains. It may be proper for me to state here that I consider the resin of sanguinaria nearly, if not quite, devoid of medicinal principles, and that all the effects stated, as above, to have occurred from its administration, are entirely owing to its containing a greater or less amount of the alkaloid. Consequently, it would be better, both in a therapeutical and economical view, to dispense with this resin altogether, and employ sanguinarine only (J. King).