61. SABADILLA.—CEVADILLA. The seeds of Vera'trum sabadil'la Schlechtendal, and of Asagrea officinalis Lindley. Habitat: Mexico. They occur in commerce mixed with the fruit, which consists of three thin, papery, acuminate follicles, nearly erect, united at the base, opening by a ventral suture, and appearing like a single three-celled capsule. Each follicle contains one or two narrow, oblong or lance-linear seeds, about 6 mm. (1/4 in.) long, dark brown or blackish, longitudinally shriveled, slightly winged, flat on one side, convex on the other, somewhat curved; apex pointed; the thin testa incloses a discolored, oily albumen, in the broader end of which is the small, linear embryo; inodorous; taste bitter, oily, strongly and persistently acrid.
CONSTITUENTS.—Sabadilla is the principal source of veratrine, C37H53NO11 (Veratrina), a white powder, intensely acrid and sternutatory. The commercial veratrine is impure; it is a mixture of the alkaloid veratrine with other alkaloids extracted along with it, cevadine, C32H49NO9, cevadilline, C34H53NO8, sebadine, C29H51NO8, and sabadinine.
Preparation of Veratrine.—Remove resin and oil from alcoholic tincture by adding water q.s. Decompose native salt (veratrate of veratrine) in filtrate by means of KOH. Take up alkaloid with alcohol. Purify by converting into sulphate, decolorizing, and reprecipitating.
ACTION AND USES.—Sabadilla is rarely used except for the extraction of veratrine. It is a powerful irritant and is sometimes used to kill vermin in the hair.