Veratrina. Veratrine, official.
Chamisso et Schlechtendal.
A mixture of alkaloids obtained from the seed.
Habitat. Mexico to Guatemala and Venezuela.
Syn. Veratrin., Veratria, Indian Barley-caustic; Fr. Cevadille, Veratrine officinale (amorphe); Ger. Sabadillsamen, Laussekorner, Veratrinum, Veratrin.
A-sa-grae'a. L. after Asa Gray, formerly professor of botany, Harvard University.
Of-fi-ci-na'lis L. officina, a workshop, = opus, work, + facere, to do, to make - i. e., used in or belonging to the shop or store.
Sab-a-dil'la. L. fr. Sp. cevadilla, cebadilla, fr. cibare, to feed, cibus, food.
Plant. - Bulbous perennial herb, bulb ovoid, covered with numerous black scales; scape 1.2-1.5 M. (4-5°) high; leaves from bulb, linear, grass-like, .3-1.3 M. (1-4°) long, smooth, entire, strong midrib; flowers numerous, 12 Mm. (1/2') broad, monoecious, lower ones hermaphrodite; upper staminate, greenish-yellow, racemes, 22.5-45 Cm. (9-18') long; fruit, 3-celled capsule (3 coalescing follicles) 12 Mm. (1/2') long, pericarp pale brown, papery, dehiscent. Seeds, 2-5 in each follicle, dark brown, fusiform, compressed, 6 Mm. (1/4') long, slightly winged above, angular, testa thin, rugosely wrinkled,
Fig. 38. - Asagraea officinalis: a, fruit-bearing stem; b, root, bulb, and leaves.
Fig. 39. - Sabadilla: a, fruit, natural size; b, seed and longitudinal section, magnified.
albumin whitish, oily, inodorous, bitter, acrid, sternutatory. Dose, gr. 1-4 (.06-.26 Gm.).
Commercial. - Sabadilla seeds no longer are supposed to come from Veratrum Sabadilla, but are the recognized product chiefly of Asagraea officinalis (Schoenocau'lon officina'le. Veratrum officinale, Helo'nias officinalis). They formerly entered commerce solely from Vera Cruz, being derived from cultivated Mexican plants, but now are shipped chiefly from La Guayra, the port of Caracas, and Venezuela; the ripe capsules from Mexico.
Constituents. - Veratrine (Cevadine, C32H49NO9 + Veratridine, C37H53NO11), cevadilline, C34H53NO8, sabadine, C29H51NO8, sabadinine, C27H43NO8, angelic acid, C5H8O2, methyl-crotonic acid, C5H8O2, cevadic acid, veratric acid, fixed oil, ash 3.5 p. c.
Veratrina. Veratrine, C37H53NO11. - This mixture of alkaloids is obtained by exhausting seeds with alcohol, evaporating to syrupy consistency, adding water to remove resin, oil, coloring matter, etc., precipitating the filtrate containing veratrine veratrate with ammonia water in excess; or may boil alcoholic extract in acidulated water (HC1 or H2SO4), decompose with magnesium oxide, take up alkaloids with acidified alcohol, evaporate, filter through animal charcoal, precipitate with ammonia water. Commercial or medicinal veratrine usually consists of veratrine, cevadine (most important, sternutatory, with potassium hydroxide splitting into methyl-crotonic acid and amorphous cevine, C27H43NO8), veratridine, cevadilline (amorphous, insoluble in ether, benzene), sabadine (non-sternutatory, crystallizes from ether in needles and, like the preceding alkaloids, is colored yellow, then red by sulphuric acid), sabadinine (resembles sabadine, but turns red at once with sulphuric acid), and their derivatives. It is a white, or grayish-white, amorphous powder, odorless, but causing, when even a minute quantity reaches the nasal mucous membrane, intense irritation and sneezing; must use great caution in tasting; slightly hygroscopic, soluble in water (1760), hot water (1345), alcohol (2.8), chloroform (.7), ether (4.2), insoluble in purified petroleum ben-zin; alcoholic solution alkaline; incinerate .1 Gm. - ash non-weighable. Tests: 1. Triturate .05 Gm. with sulphuric acid 2 Ml. (Cc.) - yellow, orange-red solution, but by reflected light - greenish fluorescence, intensified upon adding equal volume of sulphuric acid; on standing - deep red color. 2. Heat with sulphuric acid - cherry-red color; .1 Gm. + sugar .6 Gm. with sulphuric acid - green color, changing to blue, finally colorless. Impurities: Various foreign alkaloids. Should be kept dark, in well-closed containers. Dose, gr. 1/32-1/12 (.002-.005 Gm.).
Preparations. - (Unoff.): Oleate (2 p. c., + olive oil 48 p. c, oleic acid 50 p. c); used externally. Ointment (4 p. c., + expressed oil of almond 6 p. c., benzoinated lard 90 p. c.); used externally.
Properties. - Sedative, powerful irritant, sternutatory, errhine. Locally - gives heat, pain, redness, numbness. Internally - causes burning sensation, free salivation, great depression, reduces force and rate of pulse; large doses make the contractions few, each lasting a long time, until heart stops in systole. When poisoned, have muscular weakness, nausea, vomiting, purging, debility, giddiness, impaired vision, partial unconsciousness, violent convulsions, muscular paralysis, seldom kills, if so, from heart paralysis.
UsES. - Chiefly externally - neuralgia, headache, sciatica, pruritus, pediculi, acute articular rheumatism, pneumonia, epilepsy, chronic swellings, stiff, indurated sprains. For these it may be applied in fat or alcohol (1-5 p. c), using gr. 2-4 (.13-26 Gm.) per day, but never on abraded surface. Internally - for heart trouble, cardiac dropsies, gout, rheumatism fevers, inflammations, dysmenorrhoea. Now little used, owing to its dangerous depressing and uncertain action, as aconitine can well be substituted for it.
Poisoning, Incompatibles, Synergists: Same as for aconite.