Coccus cacti, Linne".
The dried female insect enclosing the young larvae.
Habitat. Mexico, C. America; cultivated in W. Indies, Canaries, Algiers, S. Spain. Syn. Cochineal Insect; Fr. Cochenille; Ger. Coccionella, Scharlachwurm. Coc'cus. L. fr. Gr.
a grain, berry, kernel - i. e., from the insect resemblance.
Cac'ti. L. gen. of cactus, fr. Gr.
a prickly plant - i. e., insects feed upon Cactus species.
Coch'i-ne-al. L. fr. cochinilla, L. coccineus, scarlet, coccum, a berry - i. e., which the kermes insect resembles, and was once supposed to be.
Insect. - The female when full-grown is N Mm. (1/3') long, 6 Mm. (1/4') high, when dry 3.5-5 Mm. (1/7-1/5") long, somewhat ovate, convex above, concave beneath, consisting of 9-12 segments, grayish-purple, grayish; numerous larvae, less than 1 Mm. (1/25') broad, in the shelllike, horny abdomen; mature larvae with antennae consisting of 8 joints, 3 pairs of legs, the lower having 6-8 segments and a characteristic beak (rostrum) of 4 thread-like parts which pair off into 2 coils; easily pulverizable into dark red powder; odor characteristic; taste slightly bitter; masticated - colors saliva red; macerated in water - no insoluble powder separates. Dose, gr. 1-15 (.06-1 Gm.).
Adulterations. - I. Silver-grain: Barium and lead carbonates or sulphates, talcum, etc. II. Black-grain: Graphite, ivory black, manganese dioxide. III. Factitious: Artificial product made of starch, gum, mineral and coloring matters; also prepared by coloring exhausted cochineal powder with rosaniline, and granulating; recognized by readily forming paste with water. Tests: 1. Macerate in water, when the powder separates, the minerals depositing; or burn insects and note the increased ash yield
Fig. 434. - Coccus cacti, female insect, natural size: a, before, and b, c, after impregnation, dry, and soaked in water.
Fig. 435. - Cochineal insects, magnified 3 diam.: w, female; m, male.
- 12-35 p. c. 2. Cold decoction is decolorized by potassium permanganate, preferably in the presence of a little indigo carmine.
Commercial. - Female is official, being twice the size of the male, with a rostrum and bluish-red body, underside flat, upper convex, but without wings and bristles, both of which the male possesses. They feed upon Cactus species, especially Nopa'lea cochenil'lifer (Opun'tia coccinellif 'era), to which the females attach themselves and remain continuously at one point, copulating and growing rapidly, until the several thousand eggs are hatched by the sun within the body after death - the body being concealed by a white wax, in the form of a fluffy cotton-like mass. In Mexico, during the rainy seasons, insects are kept on cactus branches under roof, and in good weather are sown upon plants without, the young ones being allowed to develop until females become fecundated and enlarged, when they are brushed from the branches into hot water and killed, thereby removing the wax and requiring further drying by sun or fire, producing black-grain cochineal; if they are killed by exposure to sulphur fumes and dried by sun or ovens the wax is retained, producing silver-grain cochineal. The wild-grown (granilla, "little grain," grana sylvestra, "wild grain") and the older insects are inferior in the yield of coloring matter. In cultivation some females always are left for propagation (100 200 to each male), which usually produce 3 crops before the return of the rainy ason. Aqueous infusion or decoction violet-crimson, brightened by acids, deepened (purplish) by alkalies; upon adding zinc, bismuth, or oickle salts - lilac precipitate; iron salts - dark purple, black; tin salts (nitrate, chloride) - brilliant scarlet; alumina - pigment called lake; acids, animal gelatin, (salts of tin), alum, cream of tartar, salt of sorrel - pigment called carmine, which contains coloring matter (carminic acid) 50-60 p. c, but often is adulterated with vermilion, lead dichro-inate, and starch, sometimes to the extent of 60-70 p. c. Test: 1. Pure carmine should be entirely soluble in ammonia water, and yield ash 9 p. c.
Constituents. - Carminic acid, C17H18O10, 10 p. c, Coccerin (wax), C30H60(C31H61O3)2, 1-2 p. c, fixed oil (oleic, linoleic, myristic acids), 4-6 p. c, myristin 1.5-2 p. c, fats, gum, volatile oil, ash 3-6 p. c.
Carminic Acid. - This is the coloring matter, being obtained by macerating in ether, treating residue successively with boiling alcohol, from which it deposits upon cooling and spontaneous evaporation; it is brownish-purple, yielding red powder, soluble in water, alcohol, alkalies - which change color of solutions to purple, acids to reddish-yellow, slightly soluble in ether, insoluble in fixed and volatile oils. When boiled with diluted sulphuric acid splits into sugar and carmine-red, C11H12O7, a vermilion-red powder, soluble in water, alcohol, and alkalies.
Preparations. - 1. Tinctura Cardamomi Composita, 1/2 p. c.
Unoff. Preps.: Infusion (Infusum Cocci), dose, ℥ss-l (15-30 Ml. (Cc.)). Tinctura Cocci (Br.), 10 p. c. (alcohol 45 p. a), dose, ev-30 (.3-2 Ml. (Cc.)). Liquor Cocci, 6.5 p. c, + potassium carbonate 3.2, alum 3.2, potassium bitartrate 6.5, glycerin 50 alcohol 3.2, water q. s. 100. Liquor Carmini, carmine 6.5 Gm.,+ ammonia water 36.5, glycerin 36.5, water q. s. 100.
Properties. - Stimulant, antispasmodic, diuretic.
Uses. - Whooping-cough, neuralgia, chiefly for its coloring proper-tics, especially carmine; in tinctures; tooth powders, etc.