Scopola. Scopolia. Scopola Belladonna.
Scopola. Scopolia. Belladonna Scopola. Scopola Belladonna. Japanese Belladonna, (incorrectly).—"The dried rhizome of Scopola Carniolica Jacquin (Fam. Solanaceae), yielding, when assayed as directed below, not less than 0.5 per cent. of its alkaloids." U. S. VIII. The genus Scopola is the connecting link between Atropa and Hyoscyamus, resembling Atropa in leaf and flower and in the microscopical character of its rhizome, but differing in that its fruit is not a berry but is a pyxis resembling that of Hyoscyamus. For description of drug and its histological study, see Kraemer, A. J. P., 1908, p. 459. The Japanese plant, S. japonica, is so closely allied to S. carniolica that its specific distinction is very doubtful; it has been separated upon the characters of the style being curved, the calyx-teeth unequal and the leaves less obovate and having much longer petioles than S. Carniolica; but Holmes has shown that the curved style occurs in S. Carniolica. S. Carniolica is a common plant in Bavaria, Austro-Hungary, and Southwestern Russia, usually in the hilly districts, where it grows in damp, stony places. Its general appearance is that of the belladonna, but it is much shorter, rarely growing above a foot in height, has thinner leaves, and is especially distinguished by its fruit being a transversely dehiscent capsule and by the presence of a distinct rhizome.
The rhizome was officially described as "of horizontal growth, more or less curved and shortly and sharply flexuous, cylindraceous and somewhat flattened vertically, occurring mostly in pieces from 2.5 to 7.5 Cm. long and 0.8 to 1.6 Cm. broad, often split before drying; upper surface marked with closely set, large, cup-shaped stem scars, margins irregularly contracted; externally varying from yellowish-brown to dark brownish-gray, finely and irregularly wrinkled longitudinally, obscurely annulate and more or less nodular-roughened; fracture short and sharp, exhibiting a yellowish-white bark, its corky layer dark brown, or pale brown, wood indistinctly radiate, and central pith rather horny; nearly inodorous; taste sweetish, afterwards bitterish and strongly acrid." U. S. VIII.
The Japanese rhizome is from 5 to 15 cm. long, about 1 cm. in diameter, rarely branched, cylindrical or slightly compressed, knotty, bent, with circular disk-like scars, of a pale brown color, not whitish when abraded, with a slightly mousy, narcotic odor, and a taste nearly free from bitterness. According to Thos. Greenish, the microscopical characteristics of the rhizome of S. Carniolica are very similar to those of belladonna root, the chief differences being that the bark is less thick, the dark line under the epidermis narrower, the vascular bundles neither so large nor so numerous, and the bundles of raphides less pronounced; the starch grains are also smaller and their shape less distinct. The structure of the rhizome of S. japonica was found to be the same as that of the European species. Kraemer (loc. cit.) has since shown that scopola possesses only reticulate tracheae while in belladonna root the tracheae possess both simple and bordered pores.
The alkaloid scopolamine (or scopoleine), C17H21O4N, has been found to be the characteristic constituent of the root. (See p. 985.) Inactive scopolamine, C17H21O4N, also known as atroscine, is present. It melts at 82° C. (179.6° F.), and yields by hydrolysis tropic acid and scopoline. Seward W. Williams states, as the result of the assay of many tons of the root of Atropa belladonna and of the rhizome of scopola, each of the best qualities occurring in the American market, that while the belladonna root yields on an average 0.50 per cent. of alkaloid, the scopola yields 0.58 per cent. See also Proc. A. Ph. A., 1899, 285.
Fluidextract of Scopola, U. S. VIII, was made as follows: "Scopola, in No. 40 powder, one thousand grammes [or 35 ounces av., 120 grains]; Alcohol, Water, each, a sufficient quantity, to make about one thousand mils [or 33 fluidounces, 6 ½ fluidrachms] Mix eight hundred mils [or 27 fluidounces, 24 minims] of Alcohol with two hundred mils [or 6 fluidounces, 366 minims] of Water, and, having moistened the powder with three hundred and fifty mils [or 11 fluidounces, 401 minims] of the mixture, pack it firmly in a cylindrical percolator; then add enough menstruum to saturate the powder and leave a stratum above it. When the liquid begins to drop from the percolator, close the lower orifice, and, having closely covered tile percolator, macerate for forty-eight hours. Then allow the percolation to proceed slowly, gradually adding menstruum, using the same proportions of Alcohol and Water as before, until the Scopola is exhausted. Reserve the first eight hundred mils [or 27 fluidounces, 24 minims] of the percolate, and evaporate the remainder, at a temperature not exceeding 50° C. (122° F.), to a soft extract; dissolve this in the reserved portion, and mix thoroughly. Assay ten mils of this liquid as directed below; from the result thus obtained, ascertain by calculation the amount of mydriatic alkaloids in the remainder of the liquid, and add to this enough menstruum to make each one hundred mils of the finished Fluidextract contain 0.5 Gm. of the mydriatic alkaloids from Scopola." U. S. VIII.
Extract of Scopola, U. S. VIII, was made by evaporating the fluidextract and assaying it so that it contains 2 per cent. of mydriatic alkaloids. Dose, one-eighth to one-fourth of a grain (0.008-0.016 Gm.).
The physiological and medicinal properties of scopola are very similar to those of belladonna, but the crude drug has been scarcely used at all in internal medicine. It has been largely employed in America in the manufacture of belladonna plaster and much of the hyoscine of commerce in the last decade has been obtained from it. Its alkaloid Scopolamine hydrobromide is recognized in the United States Pharmacopoeia. Dose, of the drug, one to two grains (0.65-0.13 Gm.); of the fluidextract, one-half to three minims (0.03-0.2 mil).