Methylis Salicylas. Methyl Salicylate, official.
Gaultheria procumbens, Linne, Betula lenta, Linne.
An ester (compound ether) obtained by distilling leaves of the former and bark of the latter, also synthetically.
Habitat. N. America, Newfoundland to Georgia, Minnesota; cold damp woods (shade of evergreens); forests.
Syn. Wintergreen, Spring (Creeping, Spicy, Aromatic) Wintergreen, Checker (Partridge) berry, Tea (Spice) berry, Mountain Tea; Black (Cherry, Mahogany, Sweet, Spice) Birch, Mountain Mahogany; Methyl, Salicyl., Oleum Gaultheriae, U. S. P. 1900, Oil of Wintergreen; Oleum Betulae, U. S. P. 1900, Oil of Sweet Birch, Oil of Teaberry; Fr. Salicylate de Methyle; Ger. Kunstliches Wintergrunol.
Gaul-the'ri-a. L. dedicated by Kalm to Dr. Gaulther, of Quebec.
Pro-cum'bens. L. pro, forward, + cumbere, to lie, lying down - i. e., the reclining habit of the stem.
Bet'u-la. L. fr. Celtic betu, the birch - i. e., its original name.
Len'ta. L. lentus, soft, pliant, flexible - i. c, its stems and branches.
Plants. - Gaultheria procumbens, stems slender, creeping on or below the surface, branches ascending, leafy at summit, 5-15 Cm. (2-6') high; leaves obovate, alternate, evergreen, spicy, mucronate, 29 serrate; flowers, June-Sept., few, white, nodding, mostly single in the axils; fruit (formed of calyx) bright red berries (capsules), 5-celled, spicy, aromatic; Betula lenta, tree 12-24 M. (40-80°) high, .6-1 M. (2-3°) thick; bark dark brown, close, smooth, sweet, aromatic; leaves 7.5-10 Cm. (3-4') long, 2.5-5 Cm. (1-2') broad, ovate, acuminate, serrate, petiolate; flowers, staminate (catkins) and pistillate; bark not separable into layers, cambium when wounded in the spring, exudes sweet, acid, edible juice; wood reddish, strong, compact.
Fig. 297. - Gaultheria procumbens.
Constituents. - Methyl Salicylate (Volatile oil), resin, tannin 3-6 p. c, gaultherin, betulin.
Methylis Salicylas. Methyl Salicylate, CH3C7H5O3. - While this constitutes 99 p. c. of the commercial oils of gaultheria and betula, it is obtained largely synthetically by distilling salicylic acid, or a salicylate, with methyl alcohol and sulphuric acid (abstracting water as eliminated), the methyl salicylate distilling over and floating on the surface - HC7H5O3 + CH3OH + H2SO4 = CH3C7H5O3 + H2O + H2SO4. It is a colorless, yellowish, reddish liquid, characteristic odor and taste of gaultheria, soluble in 70 p. c. alcohol (6), with not more than slight cloudiness, sparingly in water, miscible with alcohol and glacial acetic acid; alcoholic solutron neutral, slightly acid, sp. gr. 1.180-1.185(synthetic), 1.172-1.182 (from gaultheria or sweet birch); boils at 220° C. (428° F.); optically inactive (synthetic and sweet birch), slightly laevorotatory (gaultheria); contains 98 p. c. of methyl salicylate. Tests: 1. Shake a drop with 5 Ml. (Cc.) of distilled water, + a drop of ferric chloride T. S. - deep violet color. Impurities:
Heavy metals, volatile oils, petroleum products. The label must indicate definitely its specific source. Should be kept cool, dark, in well-stoppered, amber-colored bottles. Dose, e-10) (.06-.6 ML ((C)).
Preparations. - 1. Emulsum Olei Morrhuoe, § p. c. 2. Fluidextrac-tmn Cascaroe Sagradoe Aromaticum, 1/50 p. c. 3. Syrupus Sarsaparilloe Compositus, 1/50 P. c.
Unoff. Preps.: Petroxolin, 20 p. c, liquid petroxolin 80. Spiritus Gaultherioe, 5 p. c, dose, 3 j-2 (4-8 Ml. (Cc.)). Nebula. Trochisci, etc.
Properties and Uses. - Similar to salicylic acid: Antiseptic, analgesic, stimulant, carminative, flavoring; muscular rheumatism, lumbago, sciatica; locally applied upon lint over swollen joints, acute articular rheumatism, tic doloureux, etc. Amount may be increased, if no impairment of digestion, until full effect produced.
Fig. 298. - Chimaphila umbellata: upper part of flowering stem.
Poisoning: Large quantities produce drowsiness, cerebral congestion, delirium, gastric irritability, vomiting, purging, intestinal pain, rapid pulse, hot dry skin, difficult breathing; give diffusible stimulants - ether, alcohol, ammonia, etc.