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Discovered by Geiger and Hesse in 1833. It was first obtained in the form of needles, which were much more soluble than atropine. In the pure state it forms a viscous mass with a repulsive odor. These researches were repeated by Thibout, Kletinski, Ludwig, Lading, Bucheim, Wagymar, and Renard.
Hoehn and Reichardt have recently studied hyoscyamine in a very complete manner. They have obtained the body in the form of warty concretions as soft as wax, and melting at 194° F., having a formula according to them of CHNO. They have also studied the splitting up of the alkaloid by means of baryta water, and have obtained an acid which they have named hyoscinic acid, and which melts at about 219° F., and a basic body, hyoscine, CHN. They represent the reaction as follows:
CHNO = CHO + CHN.
According to this view hyoscyamine ought to be the hyoscinate of hyoscine, or at any rate an isomer of this body. It is to be remarked that they compare hyoscinic acid not with tropic acid, of which it possesses the composition, but with atropic acid, CHO. I have worked with the hyoscyamine of both Merck and Trommsdorff, as well as with a product which I obtained from hyoscyamus seeds myself. The best way of purifying the alkaloid is by recrystallizing its gold salt several times, so as to obtain it in brilliant yellow plates, melting at 320° F. By passing a stream of hydrosulphuric acid gas through the liquor the gold is precipitated in the form of sulphide. The liquid is filtered and evaporated, precipitated by an excess of a strong solution of potassium carbonate, and the alkaloid extracted by chloroform. The solution is dried over carbonate of potassium, and part of the chloroform is distilled off. By leaving the solution to evaporate spontaneously the alkaloid is obtained in silky crystals. The crystals are then dissolved in alcohol, which, on being poured into water, parts with them in the same form.
Hyoscyamine crystallizes in the acicular form, with greater difficulty even than atropine, it also forms less compact crystals. Its fusing point is 149.6° F. I have not yet succeeded in crystallizing any of its more simple salts. The double platinum salt melts at 392° F., with decomposition. The double gold salt, which has been described above, does not melt in boiling water, and its aqueous solution is reduced neither by boiling nor by long exposure to light. By leaving the hot saturated solution to cool it does not cloud, but the double salt separates pretty rapidly in the form of plates.
One liter of water containing 10 cubic centimeters of hydrochloric acid at 1.19° dissolves 65 centigrammes of the salt at 146° F.
These characteristics allow us to differentiate atropine and hyoscyamine, the reactions of which are almost identical, as will be seen from the following table, which shows the action of weak solutions of the acids named on the hydrochlorates of the bases:
_Reagents_. _Hyoscyamine_. _Atropine_.
Picric acid. An oil solidifying Crystalline precipitate. immediately into tabular crystals.
Mercuropotassic White cheesy Same. iodide. precipitate.
Iodized potassic An immediate A brown oil crystallizing iodide. precipitate of after a time. periodate.
Mercuric chloride. Same as picric acid. Same.
Tannic acid. Slight cloud. Cloud hardly visible.
Platinum chloride. O. O.
(To be continued.)