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..
The tops of Juniperns Sabina Linne (nat. ord. Coniferae).
Siberia, Europe, Canada and Northern United States.
Short, thin, subquadrangular branchlets; leaves rather dark green, in four rows, opposite, scale-like, ovate-lanceolate, more or less acute, appressed, imbricated on the back with a shallow groove containing an oblong or roundish gland; odor peculiar, terebinthinate; taste nauseous, resinous and bitter.
The chief constituent is the volatile oil (see below), about 2 per cent
Dose, 5 to 15 gr.; .30 to 1.00 gm.
A volatile oil distilled from Savine.
A colorless or yellowish liquid, having a peculiar terebinthinate odor, and a pungent, bitterish and camphoraceous taste. It becomes darker and thicker by age and exposure to the air. Sp. gr., 0.910 to 0.940.
Soluble in equal volume of Alcohol.
It contains several terpenes.
Dose, 1 to 5 m.; .06 to .30 c.c.
Oil of savine has the same action as oil of turpentine, but it is more marked. Thus externally it causes great redness, pain, vesication, and even pustulation. Internally it may produce severe gastro-intestinal irritation, with vomiting, abdominal pain and purging. In its excretion through the kidney and the mucous membranes of the genito-urinary tract it severely irritates them; thus haematuria, scanty urine, and pain on micturition may follow its use. The point in which the action of oil of savine differs from that of the oil of turpentine is that it powerfully irritates the ovaries and uterus, causing hyperaemia of them and accelerating menstruation. It also induces contractions of the pregnant uterus, and therefore it is an ecbolic.
The cerate made from the fluid extract, 1; in resin cerate,
4, has been used as a powerful irritant and counter-irritant, and internally savine may be given as an emmenagogue; but, on the whole, its use is to be discouraged, as it is so liable to cause serious gastro-enteritis. It has often been administered as an ecbolic with criminal intent, but it is rarely used in medicine.