Oleum Chenopodii. U. S. Oil of Chenopodium.
Ol. Chenopod. [Oil of American Wormseed]
Related entry: Chenopodium
"A volatile oil distilled from Chenopodium ambrosioides anthelminticum Linné (Fam. Chenopodiaceae). Preserve it in well-stoppered, amber-colored bottles, in a cool place, protected from light." U. S.
Huile volatile d'Anserine vermifuge, Fr. Cod.; Essence de Chenopode anthelmintique, Fr.; Amerikanisches Wurmsamenöl, Chenopodiumöl, G.
For description of the plant from which this oil is derived see Chenopodium. The oil is largely distilled in Maryland. It is of a light-yellow color when recently distilled, but becomes deeper yellow and even brownish by age. Its reaction is neutral. It has in a high degree the peculiar odor of the plant. It. is officially described in the United States Pharmacopoeia as "a colorless or pale yellowish liquid, having a characteristic, disagreeable odor and taste. It is soluble in 8 volumes of 70 per cent. alcohol. Specific gravity: 0.955 to 0.980 at 25° C. (77° F.). Its optical rotation varies between -4° and -10° in a 100 mm. tube at 25° C. (77° F.) (see Part III, Test No. 21)." U.S.
When freshly prepared, it has the sp. gr. 0.908, which, according to S. S. Garrigues, is increased by time to 0.960. A portion examined by him, which was of a brownish-yellow color, had the sp. gr. 0.959 at 16.1° C. (61° F.), boiled at 190° C. (374° F.), and was freely soluble hi alcohol and ether. He found it to be composed of two distinct oils, separable by distillation; one of these has the formula C10H16, and is probably limonene; the other is heavier, and possesses the formula C10H16O2. This constitutes over 50 per cent. of the commercial oil and has been given the name ascaridol, which is an unstable organic dioxide, decomposing with explosive violence with inorganic acids. (A. J. P., xxvi, 405.)
Uses.—The oil of chenopodium is used in medicine almost exclusively as an anthelmintic. Although it has been official in the Pharmacopoeia for many years, it owes its modem popularity to the investigations of Brunning. (Z. E. P. T., 1905, i, and 1906, iii, p. 564.) This author showed that one part in five thousand paralyzed although it did not kill the round worm of dogs, and that one part in two hundred had a distinct antiseptic action. In mammals, if given in sufficient dose, it depresses the spinal cord and finally kills by arrest of respiration. According to Salant and Livings-ton (A. J. Phys., 1915, xxxviii) the oil of chenopodium in doses of 0.02 mil per kilo, or more, produces a lowering of the blood pressure through a cardiac action and diminution in the amplitude and rate of respiration. Because of its efficiency, ease of administration, and low toxicity, it is perhaps the most valuable of all the vermifuge remedies. Although originally recommended against the ascarides it has been shown to be also of great service against both the tapeworm and the hookworm. In the comparative studies of Schuffner and Verwoort (M. M. W., 1913, lx, p. 129) it gave better results in uncinariasis than either eucalyptus, betanaphthol, or thymol.
Levy (J. A. M. A., 1914, lxiii, p. 1946) has collected from the literature twelve cases of poisoning by oil of chenopodium of which nine ended fatally. The smallest dose in this series was four drops three times a day for two days, which caused death in a baby one year old. In another case a child of two recovered from a dose of two teaspoonfuls given in the course of one afternoon. The symptoms of poisoning by oil of chenopodium—which may not appear for several hours after taking the oil—are nausea, vomiting, headache followed by drowsiness, ringing in the ears, and sometimes deafness. In the fatal cases there develop coma and convulsions. The usual method of administration is to give from ten to fifteen drops either in sugar or as an emulsion twice a day for two days and followed on the second day by an ounce of castor oil. For children between the ages of six and twelve the dose should be one drop for each year of age.
Dose, five to fifteen minims (0.3-0.9 mil).