This section is from the book "Botanic Drugs Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics", by Thomas S. Blair. Also available from Amazon: Botanic Drugs, Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
Golden Seal, Yellow Root, Hydrastis canadensis. Universally official.
The isoquinoline alkaloid, hy-drastine, is the active agent in hydrastis; but ber-berine and canadine are also present.
Hydrastine increases reflex excitability similar to the effects of narcotine and thebain, minor opium alkaloids. The medulla is stimulated, as well as the cord, while respiration is accelerated and blood-pressure raised from central stimulation. The action on the circulation is the resultant of several factors, and hence is not marked or regular. Hydrastine stimulates intestinal movements and the uterine muscle. It is excreted unchanged.
Hydrastinine does not occur naturally in hy-drastis, but is an artificial alkaloid derived by oxidation from hydrastine, as cotarnine is derived from narcotine. See "Cotarnine." Cotarnine, its allies, and hydrastinine, depress the central nervous system to a slight degree, and in very large doses paralyze the respiratory center. Hydrastinine strengthens and slows the heart-beat, and produces a slight vaso-constriction of the arterioles. It is claimed to stimulate the suprarenal function. Hydrastinine increases uterine tonus, its excitability, and the rhythm of the muscle. See "Stypticin" and "Styptol."
Berberine is a bitter that in large doses produces a fall in blood-pressure through vaso-dilation and cardiac depression. See "Berberis."
Canadine is similar to berberine, but is more toxic; it is found in very small quantities in hydrastis.
Hydrastine is official and is given in an average dose of 1-6 grain. Hydrastinine hydrochloride (not hydrochlorate, as in the earlier edition) is also official and is. given in an average dose of 1/2 grain.
Hydrastine hydrochloride (official U. S. P. IX) is a white powder given in doses of 1-6 to 1-3 grain. Do not conflict it with the official hydrastinine hydrochloride, a yellow crystalline powder. There has been much discussion of the proper and improper nomenclature of hydrastis alkaloids. The above is the official status of the matter, the official names being Hydrastina (hydrastine), Hy-Drastinae Hydrochloridum (hydras-tine hydrochloride), and Hydrastininae Hydrochloridum (hydrastinine hydrochloride).
The pharmacology of hydrastis itself combines the actions of hydrastine, berberine, and canadine; but not including that of hydrastinine. Therefore, hydrastis is a bitter tonic with the added effect of increased reflex excitability, cord and medulla stimulation, increased intestinal and uterine movement, with an initial rise in blood-pressure but a fall from heavy dosage.
Indicated in subacute and chronic inflammations of the mucous membranes, more especially in gastric catarrhal states and intestinal indigestion, as chronic gastritis, constipation with debility and atonic indigestion. Use the fl., 10 to 30 minims. Employed in many combinations.
In genito-urinary inflammations, such as gleet, subacute gonorrhea, leucorrhea, etc., the colorless, non-alcoholic preparations are to be preferred in the same dosage as the fluidextract. They may be used externally or injected, sprayed or used as a gargle.
As a stomachic tonic, in cases with no organic pathology involved, the tr. (30 to 60 minims) is very available.
In various affections - syphilitic mouth lesions, nasal catarrh, stomatitis, follicular pharyngitis, fissured nipples, hemorrhoids, rectal ulceration and fissures, chancroid, ulcers, etc., the fl. and other products, especially the colorless ones, are used externally and sometimes internally as well.
Hydrastine is used much as is hydrastis and also in uterine hemorrhage, and its hydrochloride the same. But the hydrochloride salt is preferable for local use, as in conjunctivitis (0.1 to 0.5% solutions), gonorrhea (0.25 to 0.5%), skin diseases (1%).
Hydrastinine Hydrochloride is the better uterine hemostatic. Doses are given under its description. Subcutaneously use 8 to 15 minims of a 10% aqueous solution. See also "Cotarnine," "Styp-ticin," and "Styptol." These products, but not the hydrastis alkaloids, come under the provisions of the Harrison Act.