(Linne) De Candolle.
The dried root.
Habitat. N. Africa, Algeria, Barbary - high lands; cultivated in gardens.
Syn. Pyreth., Pellitory Root, Pellitory (of Spain), Spanish Chamomile, Alexander's Foot, Radix Pyrethri Romani; Fr. Pyrethre d'Afrique, Salivaire; Ger. Romische Bertramwurzel.
An-a-cy'clus. L. abr. fr. Ananthocyclus, old generic name, fr. Gr. d, not, +
a flower, +
a circle - i. e., the outer circlet of ovaries being without flowers.
Py-re'thrum. L. fr.
fire - i. e., roots spicy taste, feverfew. Fet'li-tory. Corrupt. of parietary, L. parietaria, the wall plant, paries, a wall - i. e., grows on walls.
Plant. - Procumbent perennial, resembling chamomile; stems numerous, trailing at base, erect in the upper portion, .3 M. (1°) high, terminated by 1 large flower; leaves doubly pinnate, segments linear, pale green, hairy or glabrous; flowers April-June, terminal heads, 2.5-4 Cm. (1 - 1 3/5') wide; rays white above, reddish-purple below and on edges, disk wide, yellow; fruit compressed, obovate, achene smooth, with narrow wing and pappus. Root, nearly cylindrical, slightly tapering, usually in pieces 2.5-10 Cm. (1-4') long, 5-20 Mm. (1/5-4/5") thick, dark brown, deeply longitudinally furrowed, somewhat wrinkled, occasionally with short, tough, hair-like rootlets, crown more or less annulate, sometimes tufted with coarse fibres or long, soft-woolly hairs; fracture short; bark dark brown with 1-2 circular rows of resin ducts, closely adhering to the light yellow, radiate, porous wood, in the medullary rays of which occur 1-3 rows of resin ducts; odor distinct; taste sweetish, pungent, very acrid, tingling and producing strong sialagogue effect. Powder, brownish; microscopically - numerous spherical granules or irregular masses of inulin, not affected by iodine T. S., lignified fragments of woody tissues, stone cells, cork, tracheae, wood parenchyma. Should be kept in tightly-closed containers, adding occasionally a few drops of chloroform or carbon tetrachloride to prevent insect attack. Solvents: alcohol; boiling water partially. Dose, 3ss-l (2-4 Gm.).
Fig. 423. - Anacyclus Pyrethrum: A, Fig. 424. - Pyrethrum: transverse section, expanded flower; B, involucre seen from magnified 3 diam.
below; C, dried flower.
Commercial. - Plant has been cultivated sparingly, as a garden flower, in Europe since 1570; root should be collected in autumn, and comes solely from Algeria, via Oran and Algiers, or via Tunis, thence to Leghorn, Egypt, from whence much is exported to India, although sometimes called Pellitory of Spain, very little comes from that country.
Constituents. - Pyrethrine, brown acrid resin (containing pelli-torin), 2 potassa-soluble acrid fixed oils (one brown, the other yellow), inulin 50 p. c, tannin, volatile oil, gum, ash 3-5 p. c.
Pyrethrine. - This alkaloid is believed to contribute most of the activity; it is decomposed by alcoholic solution of potassium hydroxide into piperidine and pyrethric acid, resembling piperic acid.
Preparations. - 1. Tinctura Pyrethri. Tincture of Pyrethrum. (Syn., Tr. Pyreth., Tincture of Pellitory; Fr. Teinture de Pyrethre; Ger. Bertramwurzeltinktur.)
Manufacture: 20 p. c. Similar to Tinctura Veratri Viridis, page 101; menstruum: alcohol. Dose, 3ss-2 (2-8 Ml. (Cc.)).
Unoff. Preps.: Decoction. Fluidextract, dose, 3ss-l (2-4 Ml. (Cc.)). Extract (alcoholic). Gargle; all mostly used externally. Masticatory.
Properties. - Irritant, rubefacient, sialagogue, sternutatory. When chewed have prickling sensation in the tongue and fauces, with heat, acridity, pungency, copious flow of saliva and mucus; large doses may cause bloody diarrhoea, quick pulse, spasms, stupor; stimulation is due to direct irritation of nerve-ends locally, which soon depresses nerves and blunts their sensibility.
Uses. - Administered by mastication; headache, rheumatism, neuralgia, toothache, paralysis of tongue or throat, relaxed uvula, chronic catarrh; alcoholic tincture or extract, as an anaesthetic in carious teeth.