This section is from the book "Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics", by W. Hale White. Also available from Amazon: Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics..
Aspidosperma. - Synonyms. - Quebracho. Iron Wood. The bark of Aspidosperma Quebracho-bianco Schlechtendal (nat. ord. Apocynaceae).
In nearly flat pieces, about I to 3 cm. thick; the outer surface yellowish-gray or brownish, deeply fissured; inner surface yellowish-brown or reddish-brown, distinctly striate; fracture displaying two sharply defined strata, of about equal thickness, and both marked with numerous whitish dots and striae arranged in tangential lines; the fracture of the outer, lighter-colored layer rather coarsely granular, and that of the darker colored, inner layer short-splintery; inodorous; taste very bitter and slightly aromatic.
1) Aspidospermine, C22H28N2O2, (2) Quebrachamine, (3) Aspidospermatine, (4) Aspidosamine, C22H28N2O2, (5) Hydroquebrachine, C21H28N2O2, all being Alkaloids, (6) Quebrachit, a peculiar sugar, (7) Tannic acid.
Dose, 5 to 30 gr.; .30 to 2.00 gm.
Dose, 5 to 30 m.; .30 to 2.00 c.c.
None of the alkaloids fully represent the drug. In the lower animals large doses of the bark produce motor paralysis, with dyspnoea and finally death from asphyxia. The breathing early becomes slower, but deeper; the blood-pressure is not affected until late. Penzoldt believes that the relief of dyspnoea, which is obtained clinically, is caused by its increasing the power of the blood to take up oxygen.
It is a bitter which may aid the appetite, and is a valuable remedy when the respiration is embarrassed by emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or chronic pneumonia; even uraemic asthma is benefited by it. It is not of benefit in dyspnoea of cardiac origin. The commercial aspidospermine, which is an impure mixture of all the alkaloids, and therefore represents their combined action, may be given in doses of from 1/4 to 1/2 gr.; .015 to .03 gm.