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Anamirta Cocculus

Wight & Arn. (Menispermum Cocculus, (L.) Blanco; M. lacunosum, Famk; Cocculus lacunosus, C. suberosus, DC.)

Wight & Arn. (Menispermum Cocculus, (L.) Blanco; M.

lacunosum, Famk; Cocculus lacunosus, C. suberosus, DC.) NOM. VULG.—Laktag̃, Liktag̃, Suma, Lanta, Lintag̃ bagin, Tuba, Balasin, Bayati, Tag., Vis., Pam.

USES.—One of the uses to which the India berries (Cocas de Levante) are put in the Philippines, is to throw them into small sluggish streams or into lakes with the object of intoxicating the fish which soon come to the surface and float there as if dead. This custom is very extensive in Malaysia, in India and even in Europe, where, in order to avoid the cases of poisoning which this practice has occasioned in the consumers of fish taken in this way, it has been found necessary to forbid the sale of the berries except in the pharmacies. These restrictions are practiced in France.

In the Binondo market in Manila the root of this plant may be found in abundance; it is yellow and very bitter. The natives use the infusion (5–10 grams to 300 cc. of water) in fevers, dyspepsia and menstrual derangements. In India also the root is used in the same complaints.

The fruit contains the highly toxic principle picrotoxin, and others as follows: Menispermin (C18H24N2O2) is an alkaloid which crystallizes in pyramidal prisms, is soluble in alcohol and ether and insoluble in water. Hot nitric acid converts it into oxalic acid and a yellow substance of a resinous appearance.

Picrotoxin (C30H24O13) is not an alkaloid as may be seen from its formula. Its properties are not well known at the present time. It crystallizes in small quadrilateral prisms, white and transparent, or in needles grouped in stars. No odor, taste bitter, insoluble in water, partly soluble in alcohol and in ether, freely soluble in acids and alkalies. A solution in concentrated sulphuric acid has a saffron-yellow color. Nitric acid transforms it into oxalic acid.

Picrotoxinin exists in picrotoxin in the proportion of 32 to 100, and may be separated by boiling in benzine. It is bitter, poisonous, reduced by Fehling’s solution and nitrate of silver. Sixty-six per cent. of picrotoxin consists of another bitter substance, non-poisonous—picrotin, which is insoluble in benzine and is reduced by Fehling’s solution and nitrate of silver. Lastly, anamirtin is found in the mother water of picrotoxin; it is not bitter, not poisonous, and not reducible by the aforementioned reagents.

The fruit of the anamirta, the “coca de Levante” is an acrid, narcotic poison, which may not be employed internally; its uses are limited to external medication. In the Pharmacopoeia of India is given the formula for a parasiticide ointment, highly recommended in the treatment of pediculi: Unguentum anamirtæ: 4 grams Cocculus berries, powdered, 30 grams Vaseline.

M. Fiat unguentum.

In applying this ointment it is necessary to make sure that there is no wound or abrasion of the skin through which absorption might take place.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A vine with leaves alternate, entire, glabrous, broadly oval, pointed, with 5 nerves which unite at the base, long petioles. Flowers dioecious, in compound racemes. Male flowers consist of a perianth without corolla, the sepals arranged by threes in two or three whorls. The end of the receptacle expanded like a bead, bears a large number of stamens in 6 vertical series, with anthers sessile and 4-lobed. Female flowers analogous as regards the perianth, with 6–9 sterile stamens. Carpels formed of 5 ovaries, free, unilocular, containing one ovule each. Fruit, a drupe of a purple color, the size of a filbert, kidney-shaped, the albumen horny.

Cissampelos Pareira, L.

NOM. VULG.—Sansawsansawan, Tag.; Chinchaochinchauan, Sp.-Fil.

USES.—Although this plant formerly bore the Portuguese name of Pareira brava, the U. S. P. and B. P. recognize now under this title only the root of Chondrodendron tomentosum. It is diuretic and tonic and apparently exercises an astringent and sedative action upon the mucous membrane of the genito-urinary organs. The root is used in acute and chronic cystitis.

In Brazil it is used as a diaphoretic and as such is employed in cases of venomous snake bites. It is also used there as an emmenagogue and diuretic, in intermittent fevers, dropsy and suppression of the lochia in women recently confined.

It is official in the Pharmacopoeia of India.

DECOCTION.— Root of cissampelos, small pieces, 50 grams.

Water 600 grams.

Dose.—30–100 grams.

Boil 15 minutes; filter and add enough water to bring the total bulk up to 600 cc.

EXTRACT.— Root of cissampelos in powder 500 grams.

Water 5 liters.

DOSE.—.5–1 gram.

Digest the powder for 24 hours in 500 cc. water, pour the mixture into a filter and add water gradually until the percolate amounts to 5 liters. Evaporate the percolate in a water-bath to the consistency of a pill mass.

FLUID EXTRACT.—This is prepared in the same manner as the extract and is allowed to remain in the bath until reduced in bulk to 400 grams. It is then removed and 100 grams of alcohol (36°) are added.

DOSE.—1.75–7 cc.

CHEMICAL COMPOSITION.—Flückiger has isolated a bitter principle analogous to berberin; also buxine and paracine, which latter received the name pelosine from Wiggers in 1839. The former chemist proposed the name buxine for all these analogous principles. Pelosine or buxine is precipitated by a concentrated solution of HCl, by sal ammoniac, by potassium nitrate and potassium iodide.

He also discovered a neutral substance, deyamitin, which crystallizes in microscopic tablets; sulphuric acid added to these gives a pretty dark blue color which changes to green.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A climbing shrub with cylindrical woody stem, with leaves simple, alternate, entire, petiolate, ovoid, broad at the base. The inferior surface of the leaf is pubescent, especially in the intervals between the ribs.

Flowers dioecious, small, racemose. Calyx of 12 sepals arranged in 3 whorls, the inner ones broad and petaloid. Corolla of 6 petals arranged in 2 whorls. Stamens sterile or rudimentary in the pistillate flower, the staminate flower bearing 6; anthers innate, 2-celled. Drupes oval, 2 or 3 cm. long, black, closely resembling a grape seed.

Reference book: The Medicinal Plants of the Philippines

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