Habitat. United States, Canada; in shady, rocky places.
Syn. Cimicif., Black Cohosh, Black Snakeroot, Macrotys, Bugbane, Bug-wort, Rattleroot, Rattleweed, Richweed, Squawroot, Rattlesnake's Root; Cimici-fuga Rhizoma, Actaeae Racemosae Radix; Fr. Racine d'Actee a Grappes; Ger. Schwarze Schlangenwurzel.
Cim-i-cif'u-ga. L. cimex, bug, + fugare, to drive away - i. e., from the fact of Cimicifuga foetida 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°) high; leaves irregularly ternately decompound, the rather small leaflets incised, 2.5-7.5 Cm. (1-3') 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, 2-12 Cm. (4/5-5') long, 1-2.5 Cm. (2/5-1') thick, dark brown, grayish-black, slightly annulate from circular scars of bud scale-leaves; upper surface
Fig. 118. - Cimicifuga racemosa.
with numerous stout, 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, brownish, blackish, longitudinally wrinkled, fracture short; internally bark brownish, wood yellowish, 4-6-rayed. Powder, light brown; microscopically - numerous starch grains, .003-.015 Mm. (1/8325-1/1650') broad, fragments showing tracheae with bordered pores and lignified wood-fibres, fragments of suberized epidermis made up of tabular cells. Solvents: alcohol; boiling water. Dose, gr. 5-30 (.3-2 Gm.).
Adulterations. - Rare: Caulophyllum, podophyllum, each sometimes 1 p. c, comfrey, possessing similar blackish color, smaller amount. Commercial. - Plant, also named Actoe'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 Actoea 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), 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, phytos-terol, 3 crystalline bodies (alcohols ?), alkaloids (trace).
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. Extractum Cimicifuga. Extract of Cimicifuga. (Syn., Ext. Cimicif., Powdered Extract of Cimicifuga, Extract of Black Cohosh; Fr., Extrait d'Actee a Grappes; Ger. Cimicifuga-extrakt.)
Manufacture: Macerate, percolate 100 Gm. with alcohol until exhausted, reclaim alcohol, evaporate residue at 70° C. (158° F.) to dryness, frequently stirring; add dried starch q. s. 25 Gm., pulverize, mix thoroughly, pass through fine sieve. Should be kept in small, wide-mouthed, tightly-stoppered bottles. Dose, gr. 1-8 (.06-.5 Gm.).
Fig. 119. - Cimicifuga racemosa: transverse section through a branch of the rhizome and through rootlets; natural size.
2. Fluidextractum Cimicifuga. Fluidextract of Cimicifuga. (Syn., Fldext. Cimicif., Fluid Extract of Cimicifuga, Fluidextract of Black Cohosh, Fluidextract of Black Snakeroot; Fxtraetum Cimicifugae Liquidum; Fr. Extrait fluide d'Actee a Grappes; Ger. Cimicifuga-fhiidextrakt.)
Manufacture: Similar to Fluidextractum Sabal, page 95; menstruum: alcohol. Dose, v-30 (.3-2 Ml. (Cc.)).
Unoff. Preps.: Decoctum, 5 p. c., dose, ℥ss-l (15-30 Ml. (Cc.)). Compound Syrup, 4 p. c. (+ glycyrrhiza 2, senega 2, ipecac 1, wild cherry 4), purified talc 1.5, sugar 65, water q. s. 100, dose, 3j-4 (4-15 Ml. (Cc.)). Tincture, 20 p. c. (alcohol), dose, 3ss-l (2-4 Ml. (Cc.)).
Properties. - Alterative (diuretic, diaphoretic, expectorant), antispasmodic, sedative (arterial and nervous), safer than digitalis, emmenagogue. It acts on the gastric secretion like any other bitter, slightly depresses the rate, but increases the force of the pulse, 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, amenor-rhoea, dysmenorrhoea, 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.