Euonymi Cortex. Br.
"The dried root bark of Euonymus atropurpureus, Jacq." Br. "The dried bark of the root of Euonymus atropurpureus Jacquin (Fam. Celastraceae), without the presence of more than 3 per cent. of wood or other foreign matter." N.F.
Euonymus N. F. IV, Wahoo; Cortex Euonymi; American Indian Arrow-wood; Ecorce d'Evonymus, Fr. Cod.; Spindlebaum, Pfaffenhütchen, Spillbaumrinde, G.
Euonymus (Evonymus) atropurpureus, named variously wahoo, spindle-tree, and burning-bush, is a tall, erect shrub, with quadrangular branchlets, and opposite, petiolate, oval-oblong, pointed, serrate leaves. The flowers, which stand in loose cymes on axillary peduncles, are small and dark purple, with sepals and petals commonly in fours. The capsule or pod is smooth and deeply lobed. The plant is indigenous, growing throughout the Northern and Western States, and sometimes cultivated for the beauty of its crimson fruit.
The plants belonging to this genus are shrubs or small trees, presenting in the autumn a striking appearance from the rich red color of their fruit, which has obtained for them the name of burning-bush. E. americanus L. and E. europaeus L. have been cultivated in gardens as ornamental plants. Two or more of the species have been used in medicine. Their properties are probably similar, if not identical. Grundner, who experimented with the fruit of E. europaeus, found it to have no other effect than that of a diuretic. (Ph. Cb., 1847, p. 873.) An oil expressed from the seeds is used in Europe for the destruction of vermin in the hair, and sometimes also as an application to old sores. (Ibid., 1851, p. 641.) Griffith says that the seeds of this and other species are purgative and emetic, and that the leaves are poisonous to sheep and other animals feeding on them. He states also that the inner bark of E. tingens Wall. is beautifully yellow, and used in India for dyeing, and in diseases of the eye. (Med. Bot., p. 220.) It is probable that much of the wahoo of our drug stores has been obtained from E. americanus, which is distinguished from E. atropurpureus by its rough, warty, depressed pods, and almost sessile, thickish leaves.
Properties.—The dried bark is described in the National Formulary as follows: "Usually in transversely curved pieces, occasionally in single quills from 2 to 7 cm. in length; bark from 1 to 2.5 mm. in thickness; very light in "weight; outer surface grayish or light brown, somewhat "wrinkled, occasionally transversely fissured from the lenticels and with scale-patches of soft cork; inner surface grayish-white, longitudinally striate and somewhat porous; fracture short with silky, projecting elastic fibers. Odor distinct-taste bitter and acrid. The powder is light brown, and when examined under the microscope shows numerous starch grains, nearly spherical, from 0.003 to 0.012 mm. in diameter; fragments of cork with nearly colorless, thin walls; secretion cells with yellowish or brownish amorphous contents; bast fibers very long, with thin, non-lignified walls possessing numerous small, more or less oblique pores; numerous fragments of starch-bearing parenchyma; calcium oxalate in rosette aggregates from 0.015 to 0.035 mm. in diameter, the amount in different specimens showing some variation. Euonymus yields not more than 12 per cent. of ash." N. F.
"In quilled or curved pieces, from two to four millimetres thick. Outer layer a soft, friable, greyish cork, marked with dark patches. Inner surface pale tawny-white and smooth. Fracture short, the fractured surface yellowish in color. Transverse section free from sclerenchymatous cells and fibres, and exhibiting, in the secondary bast, laticiferous cells filled with a granular, elastic substance. Faint but characteristic odor; taste somewhat mucilaginous, afterwards bitter and slightly acrid." Br.
The drug frequently has as much as 25 per cent. of adhering wood. The amount of the latter with other foreign matter should not exceed 3 per cent. Holm (Merck's Rep., 1909, p. 169) illustrates the structural characteristics of E. atropurpureus and E. americanus. Holmes (P. J., 1905) describes the bark of Alstonia scholaris which has been used as an adulterant of Euonymus. The name of Wahoo or Waahoo (pronounced Wawhoo) was given to it by the Indians. The same name has also been applied to Ulmus alata, of the Southern States, and has thus led to mistakes.
It imparts its virtues to water and alcohol. Analyzed by Wm. T. Wenzell, it was found to contain a bitter principle which he named euonymin, asparagin, a soft resin, a crystallizable resin, a yellow resin, a brown resin, fixed oil, wax, starch, albumen glucose pectin, and various salts of organic and inorganic acids. Euonymin was obtained by agitating with chloroform a tincture made with diluted alcohol, separating the chloroformic solution and allowing it to evaporate spontaneously, treating the residue with ether, dissolving what was left in alcohol, adding lead acetate to the solution, filtering, precipitating the lead with hydrogen sulphide, and evaporating". The euonymin obtained was uncrystallizable, intensely bitter, soluble in water and alcohol, and neutral in its reactions. It was abundantly precipitated from its solution by lead subacetate and phosphomolybdic acid. For an examination of commercial euonymin (the eclectic resinoid) by Paul Thibault, see N. R., 1883, 294. W. P. Clothier found the bark to yield no volatile oil on distillation. According to the same writer, if a concentrated tincture be poured into water, a dark yellow substance will be thrown down, containing resin and fixed oil, which is the euonymin of the eclectics, very improperly so named, as, though it contains a portion of the active principle, it is a very complex substance. Clothier found the bark to purge actively without griping. (Ibid., 1861, p. 491.) Frank V. Cassaday (A. J. P., 1889, p. 284) found 1.30 per cent. of volatile oil and resin, 1.48 per cent. of euonic acid and resin, 2.10 per cent. of euonymin and resin, together with the usual plant constituents. Kubel has discovered in the fresh inner bark of E. europaeus a saccharine, crystallizable substance, closely resembling mannite, but differing in its crystalline form and in its melting point. He calls it euonymite. (J. P. C., Dec., 1862, 523.)
H. Rogerson (Ph. J., 1912, p. 687) has made a complete chemical examination of this bark with the result that the following definite constituents are reported present: dulcitol; furan B carboxylic acid, C5H4O3; euonymol, C21H30O4 (a new crystalline alcohol, having a melting point of 248° C. [478.4° F.]); a sugar which yielded d-phenyl glucozazone; euonosteryl, C31H51O.OH; homoeuonosteryl, C40H69O.OH; atropurol, C27H44(OH)2; citrullol, C22H36O2(OH)2; and a mixture of palmitic, cerotic, oleic and linoleic acids. No glucoside was found nor could any product corresponding to the euonymin of Wenzell or of Schmiedeberg be found.
Uses.—This bark was first introduced into notice, as a remedy for dropsy, under the name of Wahoo, by George W. Carpenter. It exerts a digitalis-like action on the heart, but because of the irregularity of its absorption should not be employed as a systemic remedy. By virtue of its local irritant effects on the intestines it usually exerts a laxative effect 'but is not to be recommended because of its liability to nauseate and the possibility of .circulatory effects. It was formerly used as a diaphoretic in muscular rheumatism, influenza, acute coryza, and similar conditions but it does not appear to have any advantage for this purpose over the other nauseating drugs and has been largely abandoned. The fluidextract may be given in doses of eight minims (0.5 mil).
Dose, of euonymus, five to fifteen grains (0.32-1.0 Gm.).
"Caution.—It has been stated that the absorption of Euonymus in the gastro-intestinal tract is uncertain and irregular. To avoid an accumulation of the drug or toxic action, the physician should carefully guard the dosage and determine in each case the tolerance of the patient." N. F.
Off. Prep.—Extraction Euonymi, Br., N. F.; Fluidextractum Euonymi, N. F.