Physostigma venenosum,


The dried ripe seeds, containing .15 p. c. of alkaloids.

Habitat. W. Africa (near mouths of Niger and Old Calabar Rivers, in the Gulf of Guinea); introduced into India and Brazil.

Syn. Physostig. Calabar Bean, Ordeal Bean, Chop Nut, Split Nut; Physostig-matis Semina; Fr. Feve de Calabar; Ger. Faba Calabarica, Kalabarbohne.

Phy-so-stig'ma. L. fr. Gr.

Physostigma Physostigma 441

a bladder, +

Physostigma Physostigma 442

stigma - i. e., stigmatic appendage is hollow and inflated.

Ven-e-no'sum. L. venenosus, full of poison, poisonous - i. e., plant's property. Cal'a-bar Bean - i. e., bean from the Calabar district on W. African coast.

Plant. - Woody, perennial climber; stem 12-15 M. (40-50°) long, 5 Cm. (2') thick, smooth; root spreading, fibrils many, having attached small succulent tubers; leaves large, pinnately trifoliate, leaflets 7.5-15 Cm. (3-6') long, stipulate, ovate pointed; flowers purplish, racemes; fruit June-Sept., legume 10-17.5 Cm. (4-7') long, compressed, pointed, pale brown, 2-valved, reticulately veined, dehiscent, inside woolly, 2-3-seeded. Seeds, oblong, ellipsoidal, somewhat compressed reniform, 15-30 Mm. (Hi') long, 10-15 Mm. (2/5-3/5') broad, 12 Mm. (1/2') thick, reddish, chocolate-brown, smooth, somewhat wrinkled near brownish-black groove, the latter being 2 Mm. (1/12') wide, and extending almost the entire length of convex edge and in which often are found remains of white membranous funiculus, margins of seed-coat on both sides of the groove somewhat elevated, yellowish-red, brownish-red and thickened; embryo large, white, with short hypocotyl and 2 concavo-convex cotyledons; taste at first starchy, afterward acrid. Powder, grayish-white; microscopically - numerous starch grains, .005-.15 Mm. (1/5000-1/170') broad, fragments of seed-coat with thick cells resembling stone cells, occasional fragments with tracheae. Embryo 72 p. c, integuments 28 p. c, the former when moistened with potassium hydroxide T. S. becoming pale yellow. Solvent: alcohol. Dose, gr. 1-4 (.06-26 Gm.).

Fig. 202.   Physostigma venenosum.

Fig. 202. - Physostigma venenosum.

Adulterations. - P. cylindrosper'ma, seeds 4 Cm. (1 3/5') long, nearly cylindrical, groove and hilum shorter, not extending quite to the end; En'tada scan'dens, seeds round, flat, 5 Cm. (2') broad (poisonous), also Oil Palm Seeds, and seeds of Mucuna species, none of which resemble the official.'

Commercial. - Plant first noticed medicinally in 1846, and, except ligneous stem, resembles our String and Lima Beans (Phase'olus multifio'rus and P. luna'tus), preferring banks of streams into which 21 the fruit often falls only to be dispersed and conveyed to settlers more or less remote.

Constituents. - Physostigmine (eserine) .1 p. c., Eseridine, esera-mine, C16H25N4O3 (crystalline physiologically inactive), calabarine (liquid, not yet obtained pure, antagonistic to physostigmine, tetanic, may cause diarrhoea and convulsions, soluble in alcohol, water, insoluble in ether), phytosterin - separable into sitosterin 80 p. c., stigmos-terin 20 p. c, which crystallizes with 1 molecule of H2O, inactive, starch 48 p. c., proteids (albumin) 23 p. c, gum, fat, ash 3-4 p. c.

Fig. 203.   Physostigma: view from the side and edge, showing length of hilum.

Fig. 203. - Physostigma: view from the side and edge, showing length of hilum.

Fig. 204.   Physostigma split, showing cotyledons.

Fig. 204. - Physostigma split, showing cotyledons.

Fig. 205.   Physostigma cylindro sperma.

Fig. 205. - Physostigma cylindro-sperma.

Physostigmine, C15H21N3O2. - Chiefly in embryo; obtained by mixing powdered bean with 1 p. c. of tartaric acid, exhausting with alcohol, evaporating, treating residue with water, agitating filtrate with ether to remove color, adding sodium bicarbonate, shaking with ether, evaporating, getting colorless, amorphous physostigmine; hygroscopic, liquefies at 45° C. (113° F.), tasteless, soluble in alcohol, ether, chloroform, benzene, carbon disulphide, slightly in water; forms salts (benzoate, citrate, hydrobromide, hydrochloride, nitrate, etc.). With alkalies of chlorinated lime yields red rubreserine; with sulphuric acid gives yellow, then olive-green. Dose, gr. 1/120-1/60 (.0005-.001 Gm,).

Physostigminae Salicylas, Physostigmine Salicylate. C15H21N3O2.C7-H6O3, official. - (Syn., Physostig. Salicyl., Eserine Salicylate; Fr. Salicylate d'Eserine; Ger. Physostigminum salicylicum, Physostigminsalicy-lat.) Obtained by neutralizing alcoholic or ethereal solution of physostigmine with salicylic acid, allowing to crystallize; it is in colorless, faintly yellowish, shining, acicular, or short columnar crystals, odorless, acquiring red tint on exposure (must use great caution in tasting); soluble in water (75), hot water (16), alcohol (16), hot alcohol (5), chloroform (6), ether (250); cold, saturated aqueous solution neutral or faintly acid, usually pink in 24 hours, greatly hastened by a few drops of sodium hydroxide T. S. Tests: 1. Aqueous solution with ferric chloride T. S. - deep violet color; with solution of chlorinated lime - red color. 2. Evaporate .005 Gm. to dryness with a few drops of ammonia water - blue residue, which dissolved in alcohol, + acetic acid in excess - red, fluorescent solution; incinerate .1 Gm. - ash non-weighable. Impurities: Sulphate, readily carbonizable substances. Should be kept dark, in small, well-closed containers. Dose, gr. 1/120-1/60 (.0005-.001 Gm.).

Eseridine, C15H23N3O3. - Derivative of physostigmine, from which it differs by containing H2O, and into which it can be converted by dilute acids; obtained from its mother-liquor by precipitating with lead sub-acetate and ammonia, evaporating filtrate, treating residue with alcohol, precipitating with phosphotungstic acid, decomposing with baryta; occurs in 4-sided crystals, soluble in alcohol, chloroform, ether, acts similar to physostigmine. Dose, gr. 1/20-1/10 (.003-.006 Gm.).

Preparations. - 1. Extraction Physostigmatis. Extract of Physos-tigma. (Syn., Ext. Physostig., Powdered Extract of Physostigma; Fr. Extrait de Feve de Calabar; Ger. Extractum Fabae Calabaricae, Kalabarbohnenextrakt.)

Manufacture: Macerate, percolate 100 Gm. with 75 p. c. alcohol 100 Ml. (Cc.) + tartaric acid .5 Gm., proceed with 75 p. c. alcohol until exhausted, reclaim alcohol, evaporate residue at 70° C. (158° F.) to 20 Ml. (Cc.), transfer to a flask, rinse still with little warm 75 p. c. alcohol, which add to flask, + water 10 Ml. (Cc.) + purified petroleum benzin 25 Ml. (Cc.), shake thoroughly several minutes, decant benzin layer, again shake residue with purified petroleum benzin 20 Ml. (Cc.), discard benzin layers, transfer residue to a dish, rinse flask with little warm 75 p. c. alcohol, which add to dish, evaporate at 70° C. (158° F.) to pilular consistence, incorporate thoroughly dried starch 2 Gm., expose to warm air until dry, pulverize; after assay add enough dried starch for the extract to contain 2 p. c. of the alkaloids; mix thoroughly, pass through fine sieve; contains 1.7-2.3 - 2 p. c. of the alkaloids; 1 Gm. represents about 13 Gm. of the drug. Should be kept in small, wide-mouthed, tightly-stoppered bottles. Dose, gr. 1/10-1/2 (.006-.03 Gm.).

2. Tinctura Physostigmatis. Tincture of Physostigma. (Syn., Tr. Physostig., Tincture of Calabar Bean; Fr. Teinture de Feve de Calabar; Ger. Kalabarbohnentinktur.)

Manufacture: 10 p. c Similar to Tinctura Veratri Viridis, page 101; menstruum: alcohol - percolate 95 Ml. (Cc.), assay, and add enough menstruum for the 100 Ml. (Cc.) to contain .013-.017 - .015 Gm. of the alkaloids. Dose, v-20 (.3-1.3 Ml. (Cc.)).

Unoff. Prep.: Lamelae Physostigminae (Br.), 1/1000 gr. (.00006 Gm.).

Properties. - Sedative, myotic, motor depressant, paralyzant, emetic, purgative, diaphoretic, sialagogue, poisonous. Stimulates salivary, gastric, and intestinal secretions, peristalsis, acting directly upon the unstriped muscle-fibres, quickens breathing, then retards it, heart becomes slow and irregular, but more powerful, finally feeble and ceasing altogether, depresses, ultimately paralyzes spinal cord reflex, and motor centres.

Uses. - Tetanus, chorea, epilepsy, progressive paralysis, tonic convulsions, gastralgia, strychnine and atropine poisoning, constipation (combined with belladonna and nux vomica). Externally - in neuralgia, muscular rheumatism, malignant tumors. Physostigmine (1/2 p. c. in water, few drops into eye) for breaking up ocular adhesions (iris, cornea, lens), lessen intra-ocular tension, iritis, corneal ulcers, prolapsed iris, paralysis of the iris accommodation following diphtheria, glaucoma. In Africa as ordeal bean of Calabar for punishing criminals and for witchcraft, the accused having to eat them until they vomit or die: if former, innocent; latter, guilty (?). A paste of 20 seeds will kill.

Fig. 206.   Mucuria pruriens: a, flower; b, stamen system; c, anthers; d, filament; e, anther.

Fig. 206. - Mucuria pruriens: a, flower; b, stamen system; c, anthers; d, filament; e, anther.

Poisoning: Have nausea, giddiness, abdominal pain, indistinct vision, diminished heart action, muscular tremors and weakness, then complete relaxation, retarded respiration, motor paralysis, sphincters contract, cold extremities, skin covered with cholera-like sweat. Conscious until death, which is caused by carbon dioxide narcosis, and paralysis of the respiratory centres and heart-muscle. Evacuate stomach (emetics, pump); give atropine (physiological antidote) hypodermically, gr. 1/30 (.002 Gm.); tannin, hydrated chloral (spine), strychnine, diffusible stimulants, coffee, ammonia, digitalis, alcohol, artificial heat and respiration, electricity. Empty bladder often (catheter), as the drug is eliminated by kidneys (bile and saliva), and urine becomes poisonous.

Incompatibles: Vegetable astringents, tannin, caustic alkalies, atropine, hydrated chloral, motor and tetanizing excitants.

Synergists: Motor depressants, conium, gelsemium, amyl nitrite, etc.

Allied Plants: