Sinapis Alba (U. S. P.)—White Mustard.


Fig. 230. Brassica nigra. Photo: Sinapis alba 2. Preparations: Mustard Paper - Mustard Poultice - Compound Liniment of Mustard - Spirit of Mustard
Related entry: Oleum Sinapis Volatile (U. S. P.)—Volatile Oil of Mustard

"The seed of Brassica alba (Linné), Hooker filius et Thompson"—(U. S. P.) (Sinapis alba, Linné; Leucosinapis alba, Spach).
Nat. Ord.—Cruciferae.
ILLUSTRATION: Bentley and Trimen, Med. Plants, 23.

Sinapis Nigra (U. S. P.)—Black Mustard.

"The seed of Brassica nigra (Linné), Koch"—(U. S. P.) (Sinapis nigra, Linné; Brassica sinapoides, Roth).
Nat. Ord.—Cruciferae.
ILLUSTRATION: Bentley and Trimen, Med. Plants, 22.

Botanical Source.Sinapis alba is an annual plant, with a thinly hirsute stem, 2 to 5 feet high. The leaves are smoothish, lyrately pinnate, irregularly dentate, rugged, and pale-green; the lower lobes oblong and deeper; the terminal larger. Flowers large, pale-yellow; petals ovate, with straight claws; sepals linear, green, equal at base, and spreading. The siliques or pods are spreading, hispid, torose at the place of the seeds, nerved, shorter than the compressed, ensiform beak, about 4-seeded. The seeds are globose, large, and pale (W.—L.).

Sinapis nigra is also an annual plant, with a round, smooth, striate, branching stem, 3 to 6 feet high. The lower leaves are large, lyrate, rough, variously lobed, and dentate; the upper linear-lanceolate, smooth, entire, and pendulous; all petiolate. Flowers small, sulphur-yellow; calyx spreading; petals obovate. Pods very numerous, nearly an inch long, bluntly quadrangular, nearly even and smooth, appressed close to the rachis of the raceme, tipped by a small, short, 4-sided style, but wholly destitute of the ensiform beak of the above species. The seeds are numerous, small, globose, blackish-brown, and veined (L.—W.).

Description.—These plants are indigenous to Europe, and have been introduced into this country, where they are cultivated for use, and are found growing in old fields and waste places, flowering in June and July. The U. .S. P. describes White mustard-seed as "about 2 Mm. (1/12 inch) in diameter, almost globular, with a circular hilum; testa yellowish, finely pitted, hard; embryo oily, with a curved radical, and 2 cotyledons, one folded over the other; free from starch; inodorous; taste pungent and acrid"—(U. S. P.). Black mustard-seed is "about 1 Mm. (1/25 inch) in diameter, almost globular, with a circular hilum; testa blackish-brown or grayish-brown, finely pitted, hard; embryo oily, with a curved radical, and 2 cotyledons, one folded over the other; free from starch; inodorous when dry, but when triturated with water, of a pungent, penetrating, irritating odor; taste pungent and acrid"—(U. S. P.). Both kinds of mustard-seeds are employed in medicine, in the form of flour, and the white seed is likewise used entire. Table mustard is prepared from the white seed, but the finest quality is prepared with the purest flour of both the white and black, in nearly equal quantities. Wheat flour is sometimes added to diminish the pungency, and turmeric has been added to improve the color. (AJP1871) The medicinal flour of mustard should be made with the black and white seeds only, without any adulteration.

Chemical Composition.—Both white and black mustard-seeds contain mucilage (19 per cent in black mustard-seed), non-drying fatty oil (an average of 25 per cent; Hassall [Pharm. Jour. Trans., Vol. IV, 1874, p. 670] found 35.7 per cent); it is light to brown-yellow, and consists of the glycerides of stearic and oleic acids, erucic (or brassic) acid (C22H42O2), which is the principal acid, behenic (C22H44O2) and sinapolic (C20H38O2) acids. In both kinds of seeds much nitrogenous matter is present (26 to 31 per cent; see methods of analysis of black and white mustard by C. H. Piesse and L. Stansell, Pharm. Jour. Trans., Vol. XI, 1880, p. 416). The nitrogenous ferment, myrosin, likewise occurs in both kinds of seeds. It is soluble in water, insoluble in alcohol. Starch is absent in ripe mustard-seed, and the ash varies from 4 to 5 per cent. The most important constituents of mustard are the glucosids sinigrin, in black, and sinalbin, in white mustard-seed, both of complicated, yet analogous, composition.

SINIGRIN (potassium myronate, C10H16NS2KO9, or C3H5N:C:[S.C6H11O5.[O.SO2OK], Gadamer) and myrosin were first isolated by Bussy (1839), and their behavior further studied by Will and Körner (1863). Dr. J. Gadamer (Archiv der Pharm., 1897, pp. 44-114) obtained a yield of 1.3 per cent. It crystallizes in brilliant-white needles, is soluble in water, yielding a neutral solution of bitter taste. It is very little soluble in cold alcohol, insoluble in ether. In contact with myrosin in aqueous solution, at a temperature not above 70° C. (158° F.), it is readily decomposed into allyl-mustard oil (allyl-isothiocyanide, or volatile oil of mustard, which see), dextrose, and acid potassium sulphate, according to the equation: C10H16NS2KO9 + H2O = C3H5NCS + C6H12O6 + KHSO4. At and above the temperature named, the activity of the myrosin is destroyed.

SINALBIN (C30H42N2S2O15, Gadamer, 1897), so named and investigated by Will and Laubenheimer (1870), may be obtained from white mustard-seed in the quantity of 2.5 per cent (Gadamer). It crystallizes in nearly colorless prisms, is readily soluble in boiling water, little soluble in alcohol, insoluble in ether. In contact with myrosin and water, sinalbin undergoes decomposition analogous to that of sinigrin-namely, into non-volatile, pungent sinalbin-mustard-oil (paraoxybenzyl- [or acrinyl-] isothiocyanide, C6H6[OH].CH2.NCS), dextrose, and acid sinapine sulphate, according to the equation: C30H42N2S2O15 + H2O = C7H7O.NCS + C6H12O6 + C16H24NO5.HSO4.

The basis sinapine (C12H25NO2, Gadamer) was ascertained by von Babo and Hirschbrunn (1852) to be the ester of choline (C5H15NO2) and sinapic acid (C11H12O5) (see researches regarding the latter, Archiv der Pharm, 1897, pp. 102-114). According to Gadamer, the basis sinapine also occurs in black mustard-seed in the form of an acid sulphate, but no sinalbin occurs in the latter kind of seed. Neither does sinigrin occur in white mustard-seed. Sinapine sulphocyanide (rhodanide) (C16H24NO5.SCN, characterized by the blood-red coloration of rhodanides with ferric chloride) does not occur as such in white mustard-seed, as was believed by von Babo and Hirschbrunn (also see Oleum Sinapis Volatile).

The efficiency of commercial in mustard-seeds and" mustard farina" depends on the amount of volatile oil that is formed when in prolonged contact (5 to 6 hours, perhaps less) with myrosin and water. This amount is determined by distilling the mixture and determining the volatile oil, in the form of thiosinamine (see Oleum Sinapis Volatile). Piesse and Stansell thus obtained from commercial black mustard-seed 0.473 per cent, from black farina 1.38 to 1.5 per cent of oil, the higher value in the latter case being due to a concentration of the mustard substance by loss of water. (For further details regarding the analysis of white and black mustard-seeds, see Piesse and Stansell, loc. cit., and A. R. Leeds and E. Everhart, Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1882, p. 404; also see J. U. Lloyd's tests for starch in powdered mustard, ibid., 1898, p. 433.)

Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Mustard is an irritant, stimulant, rubefacient, vesicant, and diuretic. It is used in small quantities, internally, as a condiment and mild but efficient excitant of the organs of digestion. In drachm doses, it acts as an emetic, and will thus be found serviceable in cases of gastric torpidity, poisoning by narcotics, to stimulate the stomach, and to aid other emetics in fulfilling their indications. In large doses, the volatile oil is poisonous, causing inflammation of the stomach and bowels, and impairing the normal character of the fluids of the system by its absorption. Externally, it quickly excites redness of the skin, and, if too long applied, inflammation, ulceration, and even sloughing; but if removed in time, the redness is succeeded only by induration of the cuticle, and occasionally desquamation. The stinging pain which remains after the removal of the mustard, may be mitigated by sponging the part with cold water, or dropping ether on it. Sinapisms are beneficially applied over the abdomen and spine, in gastric and enteric inflammations, and over the epigastrium, in vomiting from irritability of the stomach; also to the spine, wrists, and ankles, to arouse the system in apoplectic and comatose conditions, and in typhus fever; to the feet and legs, for pains in the head during fevers and other diseases, and in determinations to the head; and to various parts for removing pain, mitigating local inflammations, or arousing from stupor. In the treatment of cholera, mustard is an excellent rubefacient application, likewise in dyspepsia and obstinate constipation. Applied to the breasts, it will often relieve suppression of the menses, as well as menorrhagia; to be applied intermittingly. Ellingwood advises a cold sitz-bath, strong with mustard, to restore arrested menses. A mustard-bath, at about 28.3° C. (85° F.), imparts a sense of coldness, and even distinct chills may be felt in the limbs, abdomen, and back. This continues until the person is removed from the bath, when stinging, glowing, and burning of the surface indicate that reaction is established. Mustard should be cautiously employed upon young children, as it has, in several recorded instances, induced suppression of the urine or strangury. The volatile oil of mustard is a powerful rubefacient and vesicatory; and, in the dose of 2 drops, several times a day, in some mucilaginous vehicle, it is a good diuretic, useful in dropsy, and has been serviceable in colic. The usual dose, however, of volatile oil of mustard is from 1/12 to ¼ drop. A liniment, composed of 1 part of the oil, dissolved in 16 parts of alcohol, or in 10 parts of olive or almond oil, is a good substitute for a sinapism, though less manageable. White mustard-seed, taken entire, was formerly used as a favorite tonic in dyspepsia, and as a laxative, the seed passing unchanged, and probably acting by mechanical irritation. Dose of mustard, as an emetic, 1, 2, or 3 drachms, with 6 or 8 ounces of warm water (see Charta Sinapis and Cataplasma Sinapis). A prolonged application of a mustard cataplasm causes blistering, with even ulceration and gangrene. A mustard plaster is prepared from equal parts of wheaten or rye flour and lukewarm or cold water, spread upon fabric, and applied with a thin tissue, as of gauze, intervening between the plaster and skin. Its effects should be closely watched, especially in delicate individuals and the old and young. It often gives relief in pleurisy and the early stage of other painful chest affections. Acute cardiac pain, whether or not due to angina pectoris, is often promptly relieved by a mustard plaster. The same is very efficient when applied to the nape of the neck for the relief of headache, with fullness of the cerebral vessels, or when due to congestion. The application of mustard poultices to the spine—one to the cervical portion one day, one to the dorsal region the next day, and one to the lumbar the third day, repeating the procedure from day to day, has been advised in the treatment of spinal irritation. Care should be exercised that the skin be not blistered, rubefacient effect only being desired (Ellingwood). Acute cerebro-spinal meningitis has been aborted by wrapping the patient in a blanket wrung out of hot mustard-water (ibid.), while to reestablish the eruption after recession in the exanthemata, a hot mustard-bath is frequently all that will be required.

Specific Indications and Uses.—A counter-irritant and revulsive in local painful affections and internal congestions; a convenient emetic for narcotic poisoning.

Related Species.Brassica juncea, Hooker filius (Sinapis juncea, Linné). Grown in place of the Brassica nigra in India, central Africa, and Russia. In the latter place it furnishes a fine, yellow flour, known as sarepta or Russian mustard. The fixed oil is there used like olive oil. The seeds closely resemble, and have the same constituents as those of black mustard (Pharmacographia; also see Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1875, p. 260).

Photo: Brassica rapa olei 4. Photo: Brassica napus. Brassica campestris, Linné.—Several varieties of this species are cultivated, chief among which are Brassica Napus and Brassica Rapa. The roots furnish the vegetable turnip, and the seeds the oils known as colza oil and rape-seed oil. These oils are subacrid and brown, or green-yellow, before refining, but yellow and bland after purification. H. Ritthausen found a considerable quantity of potassium myronate (sinigrin) in yellow and brown turnip-seeds (Brassica Rapa) from India and east Prussia, yielding oil of mustard, while seeds from B. Napus, grown in Russia and in Prussia, were free from it.

Brassica sinapistrum, Boissier (Sinapis arvensis, Linné), Charlock.—Europe and the United States. A weed having deep-brown, smoothish seeds, not so pungent, and smaller than those of Brassica nigra.

Brassica sinensis.—The petsai of the Chinese. The oil is purgative, and has been employed in cutaneous affections. It is also used for illuminating purposes (see Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1885, p. 306.).

Photo: Brassica oleracea capi 1. Brassica oleracea, Linné, var. capitata, Cabbage.—The leaves of cabbage are highly praised as a topical remedy for indolent and fetid ulcers.

Photo: Raphanus sativus 2. Raphanus sativus, Linné, Garden radish, cultivated.—This yields a small quantity of a volatile oil, heavier than water, and containing sulphur. It has the taste but not the odor of the garden radish. Moreigne (1896) obtained from Raphanus niger only 0.0025 per cent of volatile oil, from which solid raphanol (C29H58O4) separated (Gildemeister and Hoffmann, Die Aetherischen Oele, 1899, p. 544).

Raphanus raphanistrum, Linné, Wild radish, Jointed charlock.—Also yields oil of mustard.

Other Agents Acting Upon the Skin.—Under this head we include methods and agents used for their effects upon the skin and upon the blood supply of the visceral and other parts. These methods, very popular at one time, are not often resorted to at the present day. However, advantageous effects may occasionally be derived from them, and especially from the spirit vapor-bath.

SPIRIT VAPOR-BATH, Hot-air bath.—"A spirit vapor-bath exerts a most powerful, yet beneficial influence upon the whole system, aiding very materially our endeavors to remove disease. This highly valuable mode of producing activity of the cutaneous vessels has long been practiced in many sections of the country as a domestic remedial agent, and was first introduced to the notice of the medical profession by myself, about twenty-five years ago, since which it is in much use among physicians. The advantages to be derived from this method of producing perspiration are very great, and it is not followed with any of those injurious consequences which often attend the internal administration of a sudorific. It is to be given as follows: The patient is undressed, ready for getting into bed, having removed the shirt and underclothing worn through the day, and put on a nightshirt or other clothing to be worn only while sweating, and during the night, if the bath is taken at bedtime. He is then seated on a high windsor, or wooden-bottomed chair, or, instead thereof, a bench or board may be placed on a common open-bottomed chair, care being taken that the bottom is so covered that the flame will not burn him. After seating himself, a large blanket or coverlet is thrown around him from behind, covering the back part of his head and body, as well as the chair, and another must be passed around him in front, which last is to be pinned at the neck, loosely, so that he can raise it and cover his face, or remove it down from his face, from time to time, as occasion requires, during the operation of the bath. The blankets must reach down to the floor, and cover each other at the sides, so as to retain the vapor and prevent it from passing off.

"This having been done, a saucer or tin vessel, into which is put 1 or 2 tablespoonfuls of whiskey, brandy, spirits, alcohol, or any liquor that will burn, is then placed upon the floor, directly under the center of the bottom of the chair, raising a part of the blanket from behind to place it there; then light a piece of paper, apply the flame to the liquor, and as soon as it kindles, let down the part of the blanket which has been raised, and allow the liquor to burn till it is consumed, watching it from time to time to see that the blankets are not burned. As soon as consumed, put more liquor into the saucer, about as much as before, and again set it on fire, being very careful to pour no liquor into the saucer while the flame exists, as there would be danger of burning the patient, blankets, and perhaps the house. Continue this until the patient sweats or perspires freely, which in a majority of cases will be in 5 or 10 minutes.

"If, during the operation, the patient feels faint or thirsty, cold water must be sprinkled or dashed in his face, or he may drink 1 or 2 swallows of it; and in some cases, the head may be bathed with cold water.

"As soon as free perspiration is produced, wrap the blankets around him, place him in bed, and cover him up warm, giving him about 1 pint of either good tea, ginger, or some herb tea to drink, as warm as he can take it. After 2 or 3 hours, remove the covering, piece by piece, at intervals of 20 or 25 minutes between each, that he may gradually cease perspiring.

"There is no danger of taking cold after this hot-air bath, if the patient uses ordinary precaution; and if his disease will allow, he can attend to his business on the next day the same as usual. In fact, the whole is a very easy, safe, agreeable, and beneficial operation, much more so than a mere reading of the above explanation would lead one to suppose. Chairs have been manufactured expressly for this purpose.

"This bath is much employed by many physicians, and is highly beneficial in colds, pleurisy, and all febrile and inflammatory attacks, diarrhoea, dysentery, sluggishness of cutaneous vessels, and in all chronic disease where there is an abnormal condition of the skin. In acute diseases, it may be repeated once a day, if required; in chronic diseases, once or twice a week, or once in a fortnight, according to indications.

"Where it can be done, it is always preferable to bathe the patient with an alkaline wash, both before and after this vapor-bath" (J. King).

HAEMOSPASIS.—Cupping, Haemospastic medication, Dry cupping. "This is a powerful revulsive treatment. Anything which draws the blood to a part may be said to act haemospastically. Dry cupping does so; it not only draws the blood from the internal parts to the surface, but likewise attracts morbid action, and thus affords relief. Common ½ pint tumblers will answer for adults very well, in place of ordinary cupping glasses. A piece of paper or cotton, rolled up and fired, and dropped into the tumbler, and allowed to burn a minute or two, fits the tumbler for application to the spot. One, two, or more may be applied, and repeated so often as may be desirable; they should remain until ready to fall off. Rubber cups are now to be had which are easily applied by first compressing the bulb to create a vacuum, then applying the cup to the affected part, and finally relaxing the pressure on the bulb. Intermittent fever has been asserted to have been invariably cured by M. Condret, by applying 8 to 10 middle-sized cupping-glasses, on each side of the spinal column, from the neck downward, and allowing them to remain for about 30 or 40 minutes. To be applied at the commencement of the cold stage. One to 4 applications effect the cure. Also useful in cases of difficult respiration from congestion of the lungs or mucous membrane of the bronchii, etc." (J. King).

HAEMOSTASIS "is a term applied to the retention of venous blood in the extremities by ligature. Tie a handkerchief, or any suitable cord, around the upper part of the arms, and the thighs, and then, by means of a piece of wood, twist or turn the cord sufficiently tight to check the circulation of the venous blood, but not the arterial, which may be known by the action of the pulse. In a short time the legs and arms will be much distended, and an amount of blood removed from the trunk and retained in the limbs, which the most heroic practitioner dare not remove by the lancet. If the subject faint, promptly loosen or remove the ligatures; if he be plethoric and of firm, vigorous constitution, he must be reduced by cathartics, diuretics, sudorifics, and be under the influence of gentle nauseants, at the time of the operation. This has been found very useful in uterine hemorrhage, hemoptysis, and other hemorrhages, inflammations of the brain, lungs, bowels, etc., congestions, puerperal convulsions, and wherever it is deemed advisable to lessen the amount of blood in the head and trunk, without injuring the system" (J. King).

FIRING.—Firing, Button cautery. "Obtain a thick iron-wire shank, about 2 inches long, and inserted into a small wooden handle; on its extremity, which must be slightly curved, affix a disk or button of iron, exactly ¼ inch thick, and ½ inch in diameter. The whole instrument to be only 6 inches in length. The face of the disk for application must be flat.

Mode of Application.—"Light a small spirit-lamp and hold the button over the flame, keeping the forefinger of the hand holding the instrument, at the distance of about ½ inch from the bottom. As soon as the finger feels uncomfortably hot, the instrument is ready for use, and the time required for heating it to this degree, will be about ½ minute. It is to be applied as quickly as possible to the parts, the skin being tipped successively, at intervals of ½ inch, over the affected part, as lightly and rapidly as possible, always taking care to bring the flat surface of the disk fairly in contact with the skin. In this way the process of firing a whole limb, or the loins, making about 100 applications, does not occupy a minute, and the one heating by the lamp suffices. To ascertain whether the heat be sufficient, look sidewise at the spots as you touch them, and each spot will be observed to become of a glistening white, much whiter than the surrounding skin. In from 5 to 30 minutes the skin becomes bright red, and a glow of heat is felt over the part. The iron must never be made red hot—it is very little hotter than boiling water—should never make an eschar, and rarely raise a blister. On the next day after its application a number of circular red marks will be seen on the skin, the cuticle not even being raised, and the surface ready, if necessary, for a fresh application. There is no discharge whatever, and in most cases the patient is unconscious of what has been done. It is vastly superior to a blister in many cases; even the most delicate female will not object to its frequent repetition when required.

"A powerful counter-irritant. Recommended by Dr. Corrigan in paralysis, local muscular rheumatism, sciatica, lumbago, neuralgic pains, etc., and wherever a counter-irritant is required. Also applied each side of the spinal column, in intermittents, epilepsy, mania, and other diseases" (J. King). This procedure is now seldom practiced.

Related entries: Helianthus

MOXA.—Moxa is a term derived from the Portuguese language and a plying to a variety of cylinders of combustible vegetable materials which burn without fusing, and were formerly used for revulsive effects in deep-seated inflammations, etc. Species of Artemisia furnish Chinese moxa, while the mature pith of the sunflower, Helianthus annuus, which contains a large proportion of potassium nitrate, has also been used. Moxas are also prepared by saturating paper, hemp, cotton, etc., impregnated with a weak nitre solution, and by means of adhesive material forming them into cylinders, which should be about 1 inch long by ¼ to ½ inch thick. The custom of using the moxa is a very ancient one. The cylinder is grasped by a forceps or other holder and the end is applied to the skin. Protecting the surrounding tissues by a damp cloth, alum-paper, or other means, the other end of the cylinder is ignited, and combustion supported by blowing the breath upon it, or by means of a bellows. Any degree of inflammation, even to destruction of the skin, maybe produced by regulating the time of application. Deep cauterization may be prevented by applying ammonia water immediately after the use of its moxa. It should be applied only where the hard tissues have a good muscular covering. The application is said to be at first agreeable, but finally becomes quite painful. It has been used for deep-seated inflammations and nervous, vascular, or other forms of local irritation. The galvanic cautery, which can be better used upon the deeper structures, even to the osseous tissues, has largely superseded the moxa.

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