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..
Scoparius. - Synonym. - Broom. The tops of Cytisus Scoparius (Linne) Link (nat. ord. Leguminosae).
Western Asia, Southern and Western Europe; naturalized in some localities in the United States.
In thin, flexible, branched twigs, pentangular, winged, dark green, nearly smooth, tough, usually free from leaves; odor peculiar when bruised; taste disagreeably bitter.
Dose, 1/4 to 1 dr.; 1. to 4. gm.
Sparteinae Sulphas. Sparteine Sulphate. - C15H26N2H2So4+ 4H2O=403.23.
The neutral sulphate of an alkaloid obtained from Scoparius. It is obtained by extracting the plant with water acidulated with Sulphuric Acid, concentrating, decomposing with Sodium Hydroxide, and distilling. The Sulphate is prepared from the Alkaloid by neutralization with Sulphuric Acid, and crystallization.
Colorless, white, prismatic crystals, or a granular powder, odorless, and having a slight saline and somewhat bitter taste. Liable to attract moisture when exposed to damp air.
Very soluble in water and Alcohol.
Dose, 1/10 to 2 gr.; .006 to .12 gm.
Broom has no external action.
Nervous system. - Its alkaloid sparteine sulphate in poisonous doses causes, in the lower animals, tremblings, incoordination, increase of reflexes, clonic and tonic convulsions, followed by enfeeblement of all the functions, convulsions, and death from asphyxia.
Respiration. - It paralyzes the respiratory centres, causes embarrassment of the respiration and paralyzes the motor centres of the spinal cord, but has a very feeble influence upon the muscles, lessening, though not destroying, their excitability.
Circulation. - According to Laborde, under the influence of this alkaloid there is a very great increase in the size and height of the cardiac wave. If the dose has been a small one, the pulse is at first accelerated; after large doses there is a slowing followed by enfeeblement of the heart. The arterial pressure is not materially changed unless the dose is toxic, when it falls. Small doses weaken, and large ones paralyze the pneumogastric; upon the vaso-motor system it appears to have no influence, unless in very large toxic doses, when it, perhaps, acts as a paralyzant.
Kidneys. - Broom is of value as a diuretic. Scoparin probably represents the diuretic principles of the plant.
Broom is a very useful diuretic. It is usually given in combination with other diuretics in cases of dropsy from heart disease or interstitial nephritis. If there is acute renal inflammation it should not be prescribed. According to See, sparteine sulphate is of very great value in producing regularity in cases of irregular cardiac action. It accelerates the beats when a weak, atonic state is present, and has the great advantage of acting quickly, is not cumulative, on the whole is probably inferior to digitalis in power, but it is useful in uncompensated cardiac, especially mitral, disease.