Oleum Zedoariae. - Zitwerwurzelol. - Essence de Zedoaire.

Origin and Production. The rhizomes of Curcuma Zedoaria, Roscoe (Curcuma Zerumbet, Roxb., family Zingiberaceae) enter commerce primarily from Ceylon via Bombay. The plant has long been cultivated in Ceylon because the leaves are a favorite vegetable with the natives3).

1) Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1890, 28.

2) Luksch, loc. cit.

3) Fluckiger, Pharmakognosie p. 369. - Dymock, Materia medica of Western India. Bombay and London 1885, p. 772.

Upon distillation the dry rhizome yields 1 to 11/2 p.c. of oil. R.F.Bacon1) obtained but 0,1 p.c., presumably from fresh root grown in the neighborhood of Manila.

Properties. Oil of zedoary is a somewhat viscid, oily liquid. In thin layers its color is greenish, in thick layers reflected light shows a greenish-black color, whereas transmitted light is reddish. Its odor reminds one of that of ginger oil, but differs therefrom by a camphor-like odor due to cineol. d15o 0,982 to 1,01;o aD+ to +17°; nD20o 1,50233 to 1,50556; A.V. 0,3 to 2,4; E.V. 16 to 21; E.V. after acetylation 56 to 66; soluble in 11/2 to 2 vols, of 80 p.c. alcohol.

Composition. The lowest boiling fractions, which constitute but a small portion of the oil, contain cineol (hydrogen bromide addition product)2).

Crystals that had separated from "heavy zedoary oil" were observed by H. Hasnsel 3). They melted at 142,5°; d15o 1,0322; sD20o + 20°; combustion C 76,3 p.c, H 9,8 p.c, O 13,9 p.c; in alcoholic solution the body was found to be strongly dextro-rotatory. It was neither acid, aldehyde nor ketone.

From fraction 140 to 166° (7 mm.) Bacon4) isolated a sesquiterpene alcohol of a strong, rather pleasant odor, which imparts to zedoary oil its characteristic aroma. It is conspicuous by its decided capacity to crystallize. From the alcoholic solution crystals several centimetres long were frequently obtained. They melted at 67°; the boiling point could not be ascertained, since the alcohol sublimes below its boiling temperature; d30/30o1,01; aD + 0. Concentrated sulphuric acid produces first a red color, then carbonization takes place. Concentrated nitric acid produces a solid substance which is colorless and odorless, and which dissolves in 10 p.c. sodium hydroxide solution with a red color, from which solution acids again precipitate it. If to the petroleum ether solution phosphorus pentachloride be added, no reaction takes place, until a drop of concentrated formic acid has been added, when a hard resin is formed.

1) Philippine Journ. of Sc. 5 (1910), A, 261. 2) Report of Schimmel & Co. October 1890, 66.

3) Jahresb. f. Pharm. 1900, 338. - Pharm. Ztg. 44 (1899), 752.

4) Philippine Journ. of Sc. 5 (1910), A, 261.