Menispermum. Yellow Parilla, Canadian Moonseed, Texas sarsaparilla. Menispermum canadense.
Menispermum. U. S. 1890. Yellow Parilla. Canadian Moonseed. Texas Sarsaparilla.—" The rhizome and roots of Menispermum canadense Linné (fam. Menispermaceae)." U. S., 1890.
M. canadense L.—This is a woody, climbing plant, which grows from Western Quebec and New England southward. It is specifically characterized by its peltate, three to seven-lobed leaves, its small clusters of greenish-yellow flowers, and its somewhat kidney-shaped, glaucous fruit, which is ripened in September. Menispermum was officially described as follows: "Rhizome 5 to 6 dm. long, 5 mm. thick, brown or yellowish-brown, somewhat knotty, finely wrinkled longitudinally and beset with numerous thin, rather brittle roots; fracture tough, woody; internally yellowish, the bark rather thick, the wood-rays broad, porous, and longest on the lower side; pith distinct. Nearly inodorous; taste bitter." U. S. 1890. Maisch proved the presence of a white alkaloid, and of a small quantity of berberine. The former reacts with the usual alkaloidal precipitants, is not very soluble in water, but soluble in alcohol and ether. H. L. Barber (A. J. P., 1884, p. 401) obtained the white amorphous alkaloid above referred to, for which Maisch proposed the name menispine. Starch was also found in the root. (A. J. P., 1863, p. 301.) H. M. Gordin states that berberine is not present in menispermum. [Proc. A. Ph. A., 1909.) Menispermum has been used as a substitute for sarsaparilla but is probably inert. A fluidextract made with a menstruum of 2 parts of alcohol and one part of water was recognized by the U. S. P., 1890; dose one-half to one fluidrachm (1.8-3.75 mils).