Elaterinum. Elaterin, C20H28O5, official.

Ecballium Elaterium,

(Linne) A. Richard.

A principle from Elaterium, a substance deposited by the juice of the fruit.

Habitat. W. Asia, N. Africa, S. Europe - Mediterranean basin, dry waste places; cultivated.

Syn. Squirting or Wild Cucumber, Wild Balsam Apple; Fr. Concombre sauvage, Elaterine, Elatine; Ger. Eselsgurke, Springgurke, Elaterin.

Ec-bal'li-um. L. fr. Gr.

Ecballium Squirting Cucumber 786

out, +

Ecballium Squirting Cucumber 787

to throw - 1. e., the fruit expelling its contents when fully ripe. El-a-te'ri-um. L. fr. Gr.

Ecballium Squirting Cucumber 788

driving out, purging - i. e., its medicinal property. El-a-te-ri'num, E-lat'er-in - both simply derivative names.

Plant. - Common perennial, squash-like vine; stem trailing, tendril-bearing, succulent, bristly, .6-1.3 M. (2-4°) long; leaves cordate, 7.5-12.5 Cm. (3-5') long, lobed, hispid, pale green; flowers monoecious, yellow; fruit 5 Cm. (2') long, 2.5 Cm. (1') broad, oblong, pale yellowish-green, beset with fleshy prickles, 3-celled, containing bitter, watery, mucilaginous juice in which are many light brown seeds.

Constituents. - Elaterin 44 p. c, green resin 17 p. c, starch 6 p. c.; prophetin, ecballin (elateric acid), hydroelaterin, elaterid.

Elaterinum. Elaterin. - Obtained by exhausting elaterium with hot alcohol and precipitating with water, or treating with hot chloroform and precipitating with ether, washing with ether and recrystalliz-ing from alcohol or chloroform. It is in minute, white, hexagonal scales, prismatic crystals; odorless; slightly acrid, bitter taste, permanent, soluble in alcohol (325), boiling alcohol (100), chloroform (15.5), ether (450), benzene (310); insoluble in ether, water; alcoholic solution neutral. Tests: 1. Mix .01 Gm. with sulphuric acid 1 Ml. (Cc.) - only yellow color (abs. of readily carbonizable substances); + a drop of formaldehyde solution - brown. 2. Solution of .01 Gm.

Fig. 405.   Ecballium Elaterium.

Fig. 405. - Ecballium Elaterium.

in 5 Ml. (Cc.) of melted phenol, + a few drops of sulphuric acid - crimson, rapidly changing to scarlet; incinerate .1 Gm. - ash non-weighable. Impurities: Alkaloids, readily carbonizable substances. Dose, gr. 1/20-1/10 (.003-.006 Gm.).

Adulterations. - Elaterium: Starch, calcium carbonate, various minerals colored green. Owing to this adulteration and the irregular treatment in collecting and curing, it becomes a very uncertain product, hence the official Elaterin is much to be preferred, which as a rule is pure.

Commercial. - Fruit when ripe is yellow and falls to the ground from its attachment, and at the instant of separation the entire contents are expelled violently (hence called squirting cucumber), through the socket or peduncle orifice - due to osmosis from pericarp to central pulp, causing engorgement, therefore tension and rupture at weakest point. Elaterium should be prepared from the fruit collected with the stalk, just before ripe, cutting fruit lengthwise, lightly pressing (best without pressure), straining the juice, setting aside to deposit, and putting this (sediment) on porous tiles to dry by gentle heat, avoiding exposure to the sun. Forty cucumbers without pressure yield 6 gr. (.4 Gm.), and 40 pounds (18 Kg.) yield only 240 gr. (15.5 Gm.). Elaterium occurs in grayish fragments or scales, odor tea-like, taste bitter, acrid; should not effervesce with hydrochloric acid. Dr. Clutterbuck's is considered best.

Preparations. - 1. Trituratio Elaterini. Trituration of Elaterin. (Syn., Trit. Elaterin.; Fr. Trituration d'Elaterine; Ger. Elaterintri-turation.)

Manufacture: 10 p. c. Triturate 10 Gm. with sugar of milk 90 Gm.; mix thoroughly. Dose, gr. 1/2-3/4 (.03-.05 Gm.).

Unoff. Preps.: Pulvis Elaterini Compositus, 2.5 p. c, dose, gr. 1-4 (.06-.26 Gm.). Elaterium, dose, gr. 1/8-1/4 (.008-.016 Gm.). Solution of Elaterium, 1/4 p. c. in alcohol + 1/2 p. c. nitric acid, dose, exxx (2 Ml. (Cc.)).

Fig. 406.   Bryonia dioica.

Fig. 406. - Bryonia dioica.

Properties. - Hydragogue cathartic (most powerful known), producing profuse watery evacuations with griping and much prostration; large doses nauseate, vomit, inflame stomach and bowels, increase flow of urine, and may kill. Does not vomit nor purge dogs, rabbits, but kills them by convulsions. Those working in it often have ulcerated fingers, eyes, etc.

Uses. - The fruit was employed by the ancients, being recommended by Dioscorides-in mania, melancholia. Sydenham used it in dropsy, but it fell into disfavor through its severity until brought forward again by Dr. Ferriar. Useful in dropsy, Bright's disease with dropsy (as it is believed to eliminate more urea through the bowels than any other cathartic), brain and lung congestion, uraemia, but never in heart disease.

Poisoning: Same as for aloes, etc. Evacuate stomach, give demulcents, opium, stimulants. Allied Plants:

1. Bryo'nia al'ba and B. dioi'ca, Bryonia, Bryony. - The dried root, collected in the spring, official 1880-1900; C. and S. Europe. Perennial climbers, the former monoecious, the latter dioecious; leaves heart-shaped, 5-lobed; flowers small, greenish-white or yellowish; fruit, berries, size of a pea, the former black, the latter red (hence names black and red bryony). Root, spindle-shaped, .3-6 M. (1-2°) long, lactescent, fleshy, usually in transverse sections 3 Mm. (1/8') thick, 5 Cm. (2') broad, yellowish-white, cambium line brown, medullary rays broad, many wood-bundles, fracture short; inodorous, bitter; contains alkaloid (amorphous), bryonol (dihydric alcohol) - both purgative, volatile oil, resin, glucoside (inactive), enzyme, sugar, phytosterol; solvents: alcohol, hot water. Hydragogue cathartic, emmenagogue, vesicant, emetic (large doses). Used in dropsy, epilepsy, hysteria, bronchitis, whooping-cough, rheumatism, swollen glands, scabies; large doses poisonous. Dose, gr. 10-60 (.6-4 Gm.); fluidextract ex-60 (.6-4 Ml. (Cc.)); infusion, 5 p. c, ℥j-2 (30-60 Ml. (Cc.)); tincture, 10 p. c. (alcohol), 3j_2 (4-8 Ml. (Cc.)); mother-tincture (homeopathic),ev-40(.3-2.6Ml.(Cc.)); bryonin,gr.1/6-1/3 (.01-02Gm.).

2. Cayapo'nia america'na {Bryonia americana). - W. Indies. 3. Bryonia Kedros'tis na'na (africa'na); S. Africa. Both in their respective countries are used like bryonia, especially for dropsy. 4. B. epi-gce'a; India. Used natively as an alterative in syphilis, and as a remedy for snake-bites.