Cimicifuga racemosa, (Linne') Nutfall. The dried rhizome and roots with not more than 2 p.c. stems or other foreign organic matter, yielding not more than 4 p.c. acid-insoluble ash.

Habitat. United States, Canada; in shady, rocky places.

Syn. Cimicif., Black Cohosh, Black Snakeroot, Macrotys, Bugbane, Bugwort, Rattleroot, Rattleweed, Richweed, Squawroot, Rattlesnake's Root; Cimicifuga Rhizoma, Actaeae Racemosae Radix; Fr. Racine d'Actee a Grappes; Ger. Schwarze Schlangenwursel.

Cim-i-cif'u-ga. L. Cimex, bug, + fugare, to drive away -- i.e., from the fact of Cimicifuga faetida being used for that purpose in Siberia and Kamtchatka.

Ra-ce-mo'sa. L. Racemosus -- i.e., full of clusters, racemes -- i.e., the flowers.

Plant

Perennial; stem slender, unbranched, 1.5-2.5 M. (5-8 degrees) high; leaves irregularly ternately decompound, the rather small leaflets incised, 2.5-7.5 Cm. (12-3') long; flowers June-July, regular, numerous, small, white, in wand-like racemes, 20-50 Cm. (8-20') long, emit disagreeable odor.

Rhizome

horizontal in growth, branched, 2-15 Cm. (4/5-6') long, 1-2.5 Cm. (2/5-1') thick, dark brown, grayish-black, slightly annulate from circular scars of bud scale-leaves; upper surface with numerous hard, erect, curved branches terminated by deep cup-shaped scars showing radiate structure; lower and lateral surfaces with numerous root-scars and few short roots; fracture horny; internally whitish and mealy or dark brown and waxy; bark thin, wood distinctly radiate and of same thickness as pith; odor slight; taste bitter, acrid; roots cylindrical, obtusely quadrangular, 1-3 Mm. (1/25-1/8') thick, 3-12 Cm. (1 1/5-4 4/5') long, brownish, blackish, longitudinally wrinkled, fracture short; internally cortex thin, brownish, wood yellowish 4-6-rayed.

Powder

light brown--numerous starch grains, .003-.015 Mm. (1/8825-1/1650') broad, fragments showing tracheae with bordered pores and lignified wood-fibers, fragments of suberized epidermis made up of tabular cells. Solvents: alcohol, boiling water. Dose, gr. 5-30 (.3-2 Gm.).

Cimicifuga racemosa

Adulterations

Rare: Caulophyllum, podophyllum, each sometimes 1 p.c., comfrey, possessing similar blackish color, smaller amount.

Commercial

Plant, also named actae'a racemosa, emits when in bloom an odor resembling meadow-sweet, by many considered unpleasant. Rhizome should be collected in autumn (most active), and used shortly thereafter, as it deteriorates with age; recognized readily by the microscope from black and green hellebore whose rhizomes have few and broad wood-bundles and roots with pentagonal or hexagonal wood-zone; rhizome of Actaea spica'ta, Europe, very similar, but its juicy berries are in marked contrast with the official plant's dry follicles.

Constituents

Cimicifugin, resins 3.5 p.c., amorphous resinous body (probably the active principle), racemosin, fat, starch, gum, tannin, volatile oil, sugar; ash 8-10 p.c.; latest investigators claim activity to depend upon: isoferulic acid, salicylic acid, palmitic acid, phytosterol, 3 crystalline bodies (alcohols?), alkaloids (trace).

Cimifuga Racemosa

transverse section through a branch of the rhisome and through rootlets; natural size.

Cimicifugin. -- Bitter, acrid crystalline principle, obtained by acting on the "Eclectic" resinoid, cimicifugin or upon the fresh rhizome with alcohol, precipitating (resin, tannin, coloring matter) with lead subacetate, removing lead with hydrogen sulphide, and evaporating; it is soluble in alcohol, chloroform, slightly in ether.

Resins. -- There are two of these, one soluble in alcohol but not in ether, the other soluble in ether as well as alcohol. These two are obtained as a mixture by exhausting powdered drug with alcohol, precipitating with water, drying precipitate, and as such constitutes the "Eclectic" cimicifugin (macrotin), a yellowish-brown hygroscopic powder. Dose, gr. 1/2-2 (.03-.13 Gm.).

Preparations

1. Fluidextractum Cimicifugae. Fluidextract of Cimicifuga. (Syn., Fldext. Cimicif., Fluid Extract of Cimicifuga, Fluidextract of Black Cohosh, Fluidextract of Black Snakeroot; Extractum Cimicifugae Liquidum; Fr. Extrait fluide d'Actee a Grappes; Ger. Cimicifugafluidextkt.).

Manufacture

Similar to Fluidextractum Sarsaparillae, page 126; menstruum: alcohol. Dose, mv-30 (.3-2 cc.).

Prep.: 1. Elixir Sodii Salicylatis Compositum, N.F., 3.2 p.c.

2. Tinctura Cimicifugae, N.F., 20 p.c. (alcohol). Dose, 3ss-2 (2-4 cc.).

3. Elixir Tongae et Salicylatum, N.F. 3.5 p.c.

Unoff. Preps.: Decoction, 5 p.c., 3ss-1 (15-30 cc.). Compound Syrup, 4 p.c.

Properties

Alterative (diuretic, diaphoretic, expectorant), antispasmodic, sedative (arterial and nervous), cardiac stimulant--safer than digitalis, emmenagogue. Acts on the gastric secretion like any other bitter, slightly depresses the rate, but increases the force of the pulsse, like digitalis; contracts the uterus, increasing the menstrual flow and arterial tension.

Uses

It was introduced first into medicine in 1831 by Dr. Young. Given as cardiac tonic in fatty heart, chorea, acute and chronic bronchitis, rheumatism, neuralgia, hysteria, phthisis, dyspepsia, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, seminal emissions. Large doses cause vertigo, tremors, reduced pulse, vomiting, prostration. Once, but not now, thought efficacious in snake bite, labor-pains, and ills of late pregnancy.

Incompatibles

Iron preparations, stimulants, alcohol, ammonia.

Synergists

Gold, digitalis, ergot, belladonna, etc.