Helianthus. Common Sunflower. Helianthus annuus.
Helianthus. Helianthus annuus L. Common Sunflower. Helianthe, Grand Soleil, Fr. Sonnenblume, G.—This very large composite is cultivated in this country, in Europe, and especially in China, chiefly for the sake of the fixed oil yielded by the seed. The oil has a sp. gr. of from 0.924 to 0.926, solidifies at -15° C. (5° F.), is colorless or yellowish, limpid, nearly tasteless and odorless, and dries slowly. It is said to make an excellent salad dressing, and to be one of the best burning oils known. The increase in cultivation is stated to be nearly a thousandfold, 275 pounds of oil being a fair yield per acre. For particulars as to cultivation, see A. J. P., 1875, 460; also N. R., 1876, 165. Ludwig and Kromayer (A. Pharm. (2), 99, 1 and 285) obtained a tannin which they called helianthitannic acid, and gave it the formula C14H9O8. On boiling with moderately diluted hydrochloric acid they obtained a fermentable sugar and a violet coloring matter. E. Diek (In. Dis., Göttingen, 1878) found only small quantities of inulin, large amounts of levulin, and a dextrorotatory sugar. Chardon has obtained a peculiar oleoresin from sunflowers grown in Algeria. (P. J., 1873, 323.) Buschmann obtained from the flowers of Russian helianthus, betaine and choline, he believed that their presence accounts for the observed activity of the extract. Tincture of Helianthus has been used in Russia. (A. Pharm., 1911, 1; M. R., 1908.) The stalk, when treated as is flax, yields a long, fine fiber, which is said to be used in China for the adulteration of silk. The sunflower also enjoys the reputation of protecting against marsh miasmata. (See N. Y. M. R., 1868, 353.) Kazatchkoff states (B. G. T., Oct., 1889) that in the Caucasus the inhabitants employ the sunflower in malarial fevers. The leaves are spread upon a bed covered with a cloth, moistened with warm milk, and then the patient is wrapped up in the spread. Perspiration is produced, and the patient is kept in this condition for an hour or two. The same process is repeated every day until the access of the fever has ceased. A tincture of the flowers and the leaves of the sunflower has been recommended by Beldau in combination with balsamics in the treatment of bronchiectasis. The Pah Ute Indians are said to use very freely as food the seeds of two indigenous sunflowers, H. petiolaris Nutt. and H. lenticularis. (Proc. A. Ph. A., xxvii, 178.)