Cascarilla. Br. Cascarilla.
"Cascarilla is the dried bark of Croton Eluteria, J. J. Benn." Br. "The dried bark of Croton Eluteria (Linne) Bennett (Fam. Euphorbiaceae), without the presence of more than 5 per cent. of adhering wood." N. F.
Cascarillae Cortex, Br. (1885), Cascarilla Bark, Sweet Bark, Sweetwood Bark; Cascarille officinale, Fr. Cod.; Cortex Eluteriae, Cortex Thuris; Chacrille, Ecorce eleutherienne Cascarille, Fr.; Cortex Cascarillae, P. G.; Cascarillrinde; Cascarilla, Kaskarillrinde, G.; Cascarilla, Cascariglia, It., Chacarilla, Quina aromatica, Sp.
Croton Eluteria is a shrub or a small tree with a stem from four to eight inches in diameter. The stem is straight, and marked at intervals with white or grayish stains. The leaves are petiolate, often somewhat cordate at the base, obtusely acuminate, pale or grayish-green above, and densely covered beneath with shining silvery scales, appearing white at a distance. They are smaller and narrower in the plants of arborescent growth. The flowers, which have a delicious odor, are monoecious, small, white, petiolate, and closely set in simple terminal or axillary spikes. The shrub is a native of the Bahamas, scarce at present in the island of New Providence, but still abundant in Andros, Long, and Eleutheria islands, from the latter of which is derived its botanical title. Daniell calls the plant sweetwood. The name of sea-side balsam belongs to another species, C. balsamiferum of Linnaeus, which grows in the Bahamas and other West India islands, and owes its name to the exudation of a balsamic juice from its young branches when wounded.
Under the name of "cascarilla," also "Quina morada," the bark of the Pogonopus febrifugus is said to be used in the Argentine Republic as a substitute for cinchona bark. There has been separated from it a blue fluorescent substance, moradin, and an alkaloid, moradeine. (P. J., xx, 854.)
Copalchi bark has been mistaken not only for cascarilla, but also for a variety of cinchona. Portions of it, having been taken to Europe, attracted the attention both of pharmacologists and physicians. Two kinds were noticed: one, in small slender quills, of an ash color, bearing some resemblance to a variety of pale cinchona, but having the flavor of cascarilla, and burning with a similar odor; the other in larger quills, with a thick cork-like epidermis, very bitter, and yielding an aromatic odor when burnt. The former is the product of Croton Pseudochina, Schlechtendal (C. niveus Jacquin); the latter is of unknown origin, but conjecturally referred to C. suberosus. J. E. Howard states that the quilled copalchi bark contains a bitter alkaloid, soluble in ether, and precipitable as a white hydroxide from its acid solution. (P. J., xiv, 319.) Copalchi. bark is an aromatic tonic, employed in Mexico in intermittents, and capable of useful application in all cases requiring a mild aromatic bitter. Stark has employed it advantageously in feeble states of digestion with irritable bowels, and found it in one or two cases, to exhibit antiperiodic properties. It may be given in infusion, made with half an ounce of the bark to a pint of water, in the dose of one or two fluidounces three times a day. (Ed. Med. and Surg. Journ., April, 1849, p. 410; see also P. J., 1886, p. 917.)
Croton Cascarilla Bennett, known in the West Indies as wild rosemary, was at one time said to furnish the cascarilla of commerce. The bark is also substituted by the barks of Croton glabellus L. and C. lucidus L. of the Bahamas and which were formerly designated as the "mother plants" of Cascarilla. They are not aromatic but astringent and slightly bitter. They are also distinguished by the presence of stone cells which are wanting in true Cascarilla. (See U. S. D., 19th ed.)
Cascarilla is brought to this market from the West Indies, and chiefly, we have been informed, from the Bahamas. It comes in bags or casks. We have observed it in commerce in two forms, so distinct as to merit the titles of varieties. In one, the bark is in rolled pieces of every size, from three or four inches in length and half an inch in diameter to the smallest fragments, covered externally with a dull whitish or grayish-white epidermis, which in many portions is partially, sometimes wholly removed, leaving a dark brown surface, while the inner surface has a chocolate color, and the fracture is a reddish-brown. The small pieces are sometimes curled, but have a distinct abrupt edge as if broken from the branches. The second variety consists entirely of very small pieces, not more than an inch or two in length, very thin, without the white cork, not regularly quilled, but curved more or less in the direction of their length, often having a small portion of woody fiber attached to their inner surface, and appearing precisely as if shaved by a knife from the stem or branches. Whether these two varieties are derived from distinct species, or differ only because of the mode of collection, it is difficult to determine. A. W. Southall describes a bark (believed to belong to the genus Croton, and obtained from Colombia) in P. J., 1894, 574.
"In quills usually from three to ten centimetres in length and from four to twelve millimetres in diameter, or in small curved pieces, cork greyish-white, easily detached, and often more or less completely removed disclosing a dull brown cortex. Both cork and cortex frequently marked with numerous longitudinal and transverse cracks. Fracture short, the fractured surface exhibiting under a lens a dark reddish-brown bast traversed by numerous, thin, whitish medullary rays. In transverse section cork cells with strongly thickened outer walls, but thin inner walls, in which minute crystals of calcium oxalate are embedded; both cortex and bast free from sclerenchymatous cells. Aromatic odor, especially when burned; taste aromatic and bitter. Ash not more than 11 per cent." Br.
The National Formulary describes it as "in quills or curved pieces from 0.5 to 2.5 mm. in thickness, externally gray, somewhat fissured; the corky layer easily detached, more or less coated with a white lichen; the uncoated surface dull-brown, inner surface smooth; fracture short, the fractured surface having a resinous and radially striate appearance. Odor characteristic, strong and musk-like when the bark is burned; taste warm, aromatic and very bitter. The powdered drug is pale-brown and has an odor resembling that of clove. When examined under the microscope, it exhibits simple starch grains up to 0.013 mm. in diameter and occasionally two- to three-compound; calcium oxalate in monoclinic crystals or rosette aggregates up to 0.025 mm. in diameter; fragments of parenchyma tissue, some of the cells containing starch, calcium oxalate or tannin; cells filled with reddish-brown resin or yellow oil; somewhat lignified cork cells, polygonal in outline with evenly thickened, lamellated walls and irregular lumina; non-porous bast fibers, some with lignified walls, up to 0.016 mm. in diameter; tracheas with bordered pores very few or absent. Cascarilla yields not more than 10 per cent of ash." N. F.
Cascarilla should yield not more than 10 per cent. of ash.
Properties.—Cascarilla has an aromatic odor, rendered much more distinct by friction, and a warm, spicy, bitter taste. It is brittle, breaking with a short fracture. When burned it emits a pleasant odor, closely resembling that of musk, but weaker and more agreeable. This property serves to distinguish it from other barks. It was analyzed by Trommsdorff, and more recently by Duval of Lisieux, in France. The constituents found by the latter were albumen, a peculiar kind of tannin, a bitter crystallizable principle called cascarillin, a red coloring- matter, fatty matter of a nauseous odor, wax, gum, volatile oil, resin, starch, pectic acid, potassium chloride, a salt of calcium, and lignin. The oil, according to Trommsdorff, constitutes 1.6 per cent., is of a greenish-yellow color, has a penetrating odor analogous to that of the bark, and is of the sp. gr. 0.938. G. Feudler (A. Pharm., 1900, p. 671) finds the oil to contain about 2 per cent. of free acid, which consists of a liquid acid, C11H20O2, to which the name of cascarillic acid was given, and a solid portion made up of a mixture of palmitic and stearic acids. The oil contains 0.3 per cent. of eugenol, a terpene differing from pinene, cymene, possibly some l-limonene, two sesquiterpenes and an alcohol, C15H23OH. To obtain cascarillin, Duval treated the powdered bark with water, added lead acetate to the solution, separated the lead by hydrogen sulphide, filtered, evaporated -with the addition of animal charcoal, filtered again, evaporated at a low temperature to a syrupy consistence, and having allowed the semi-liquid substance thus obtained to harden by cooling, purified it by twice successively treating it, first with a little cool alcohol, to separate the coloring and fatty matters, and afterwards with boiling alcohol and animal charcoal. The last alcoholic solution was allowed to evaporate spontaneously. Thus obtained, cascarillin is white, crystalline, inodorous, bitter, very slightly soluble in water, soluble in alcohol and ether. (J. P. C., 3e ser., vii, 96.) It melts at 205° C. (401° F.), is not volatile nor a glucoside. Its composition answers to the formula C12H18O4. P. E. Alessandri regards cascarilline as an alkaloid, and obtains it economically by mixing powdered cascarilla with sufficient 3 per cent. aqueous solution of oxalic acid to cover it, shaking the mixture, and heating it to 60° C. (140° F.), then allowing it to cool, expressing the mixture and saturating the filtered liquor with ammonia, then evaporating at a low temperature to two-thirds of its bulk, allowing it to cool, and separating any deposit. The clear liquid is then shaken with ether; this takes up the cascarilline, which may be obtained through evaporation of the ethereal liquid. (L'Orosi, v, 1; P. J., 1882, 993.) R. A. Cripps was unable to obtain the alkaloid by Alessandri's method, and suggests that the bitterness of the so-called cascarilline might be due to adherent resin. (P. J., 1886, 1103.) Either alcohol or water will partially extract the active matters of cascarilla; but diluted alcohol is the proper menstruum. Naylor and Littlefield have reviewed the processes of Duval and Alessandri for preparing cascarilline, and find that Duval's method gives the purer product. They find its melting point to be 203.5° C. (398.3° F.), and give it the formula C16B24O5. (Y. B. P., 1896, 301.) W. A. H. Naylor subsequently found betaine in cascarilla, (P. J., 1898, 279.)
Uses.—This bark is aromatic and tonic. It was known in Germany as early as the year 1690, and was much used as a substitute for Peruvian bark by those who were prejudiced against that febrifuge in the treatment of remittent and intermittent fevers. It has, however, lost its reputation, and is now employed only where a pleasant and gently stimulant (tonic is desirable, as in atonic dyspepsia, and other cases of debility of the stomach or bowels, especially in combination with the more powerful bitters. It may be given in powder or "in infusion. In consequence of its pleasant odor when burned, some smokers mix it in a small quantity with their tobacco; but it is said to occasion vertigo and intoxication.
Dose, twenty to thirty grains (1.3-2.0 Gm.).