Paracoto. N. F. IV. Paracoto.—"The dried bark of an unidentified tree indigenous to Northern Bolivia." N. F.
This drug was introduced into the National Formulary IV. It is not official in the U. S. or Br. Pharmacopoeia. A tincture and fluidextract are official in the N. F.. Paracoto is described as follows:
"In quills, or fragments of quills, of indefinite length, usually from 3 to 6 cm. in breadth, from 5 to 15 mm. in thickness; of a deep-brown color throughout, the outer surface nearly smooth, lightly, transversely fissured, and often very thinly scaly, the inner surface very coarsely striate; hard and heavy, but splitting and breaking readily, the fracture mealy in the outer layer, with an irregular resinous band, coarse splintery in the inner layer with large, yellowish-brown bast fibers and stone cells and darker resin tissue. Odor strong and characteristic, nutmeg-like; taste strongly aromatic and pungent. Paracoto yields not more than 3 per cent. of ash." N. F.
Paracotoin, C12H8O4, is extracted from paracoto bark, in which it exists associated with hydrocotoin, C15H14O4, protocotoin, C16H14O6, methylhydrocotoin, C16H16O4, and methylprotocotoin, C17H16O4. Paracotoin may be distinguished from cotoin by giving no reaction with ferric chloride.
Paracotoin forms yellowish crystals soluble in alcohol and water and fusing at 149° to 151° C. (300.2°-303.8° F.). For a special reason its manufacturers have warned against its use in intestinal hyperemia. Piperonylic (methylene protocatechuic) acid, C8H6O4, is also present. Paracoto bark has been used in various types of dysentery and diarrhea, especially in tuberculous enteritis. Balz (of Tokio) has employed paracotoin hypodermically in the treatment of cholera in doses of three grains (0.2 Gm.). This principle has also been recommended for night sweats.
The dose of paracoto bark is five grains (0.3 Gm.). (For uses see Coto Bark, p 1344.)