BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS.—Stem climbing, rooting at the joints. Leaves 4 to 7 inches long, petiolate, oblong to ovate. Flowers dioecious, in spikes opposite the leaves. Fruit larger than black pepper, globose, on pedicels about ½ of an inch long.
SOURCE.—Java, Sumatra, Borneo; also in West Indies. It grows extensively in coffee plantations or in grounds reserved for that purpose. The fruit after gathering is sent to Java, thence to Singapore, where it enters the market.
DESCRIPTION OF DRUG.—The official cubebs are picked while green, becoming brown or black and reticulately wrinkled on drying; they are about the size of a pea, still attached to the slender stalk; this stalk is longer than the fruit, and is formed by the downward lengthening of the pericarp, continuous with the prominent raised ridges on the surface of the berry. The shell or pericarp is hard, almost ligneous, and incloses a central cavity or a black, shrunken seed; odor and taste aromatic, spicy, pungent.
Powder.—Characteristic elements: See Part iv, Chap. 1, 13.
ADULTERATIONS.—Frequently adulterated with stems. Black pepper and other piperaceous fruits are often met with, but these are rarely intentional adulterants. Rhamnus catharticus (buckthorn berries) is sometimes used as an adulterant and may be readily distinguished by its four-seed fruit.
CONSTITUENTS.—Volatile oil (5 to 18 per cent.), cubebin, C10H10O3, cubebic acid, C14H18O4, resin, fat, wax, and starch. Cubebin is a colorless principle and forms the greater portion of the sediment which deposits from the official oleoresin on standing. Cubebic acid is the, principle upon which depends the diuretic action of cubebs; the volatile oil is stimulating. Ash, not exceeding 8 per cent.
Preparation of Cubebin.—Precipitates from oleoresin, upon standing, in white, crystalline form; inodorous and bitter.
ACTION AND USES.—Stimulant, carminative, and diuretic. Its especial action is on the mucous membrane of the genito-urinary tract Dose: 15 gr. to 2 dr. (1 to 8 Gm.).
- OFFICIAL PREPARATIONS.
- Oleoresina Cubebae, Dose: 5 to 30 drops (0.3 to 2 mils).
- Trochisci Cubebae (⅗ gr. of oleoresin in each troche), Dose: 1 or 2 troches.
88a. OLEUM CUBEBAE, U. S.—OIL OF CUBEB. A greenish volatile oil, becoming yellowish with age (colorless upon rectification), having the odor and taste of cubeb, but less pungent, and a warm, camphoraceous, aromatic taste. It has about the consistence of almond oil and is lighter than water. It is said not to preexist in the fruit, but to be formed by the prolonged action of the air. The oil consists of dipentene, cadinene, and cubeb camphor. Dose: 5 to 15 drops (0.3 to 1 mil).