The dried root of Polygala Senega. North America.

Fig. 181.   Senega, half the natural size.

Fig. 181. - Senega, half the natural size.

Characters. - A knobby rootstock with spreading, tortuous rootlets, twisted and keeled.

Adulterations. - Ginseng and other roots, detected by absence of keel.

Composition. - The active principle which is contained in the cortex is called senegin or polygalic acid. It appears to be identical with saponin obtained from Saponaria officinalis and Quillaia Saponaria (p. 918), which is a glucoside splitting up when boiled into grape-sugar and sapogenin. It is a white powder, easily soluble in hot water and alcohol, forming a soapy emulsion when mixed with boiling water even in small quantities.

Preparations

B.P.

Dose.

Infusum Senegae (1in 20 for half-an-hour).................................

1-2 fl. oz.

Tinctura Senegae ......................................................................

1/2-2 fl. dr.

3 k. 2

Preparations - Continued

U.S.P.

Dose.

Abstractum Senegae .......................

5-10 gr. (0.3-0.6 gm.)

Abstractum Senegae Fluidum...........

10-20 min. (0.6-1.25 c.c.)

Syrupus Senegae .............................

1-2 fl. dr. (3.75-7.5 c.c.)

Syrupus Scillae Compositus ...........

For children 10 min. to 1 fl. dr. (0.6-3.75 c.c.)

Expectorant for adults 20-30 min. (1.25-1.9 c.c.)

Action and Use. - It is employed as a stimulating expectorant, diuretic, and diaphoretic. The indications for its administration as an expectorant are when the power to expectorate is small, but the quantity of expectoration is abnormally large, and it is more or less purulent in character, as in the second stage of acute bronchial catarrh, or pneumonia in the stage of resolution. When the expectoration is tough and scanty, senega is of little use.

It is also used in chronic pneumonia, and chronic bronchitis, and in dropsy dependent on renal disease. It is usually combined with other expectorants and diuretics. Its taste is to many very disagreeable, but spirit of chloroform both makes it more agreeable and tends to lessen cough. It has been recommended in palpitation due to aortic disease (pp. 316 and 317), and also in amenorrhoea. (Vide also p. 919.)

Sub-Order. - Krameriae.