Berberin in Hydrastis canadensis


Mahla, F.

American Journal of Science S2-33(97): 43-46

1862


Dr.
F.
Mahla
on
Berberin
in
Hydrastis
Canadensis.
43
ART.
V.-Berberin
in
Hydrastis
Canadensis;
by
F.
MAHLA,
Ph.D.,
Chicago.
HYDRASTIS
canadensis
L.,
commmonly
termed
Orange-root,
or
Yellow
Puccoon
grows
in
rich
woods
from
New
York
to
Wis-
consin
and
southward.
It
is
a
low
perenniel
herb,
which
be-
longs
to
the
natural
family
of
the
Ranunculaceee.
The
root
of
this
plant
contains
a
large
quantity
of
a
yellow
coloring
mat-
ter
and
its
juice
has
indeed
been
used
by
the
Indians
to
color
their
clothing
yellow.
It
has
been
asserted
also,
that
the
Chero-
kees
used
to
employ
it
for
the
cure
of
cancers
and
other
diseases.
In
regular
medical
practice
the
root
itself
was
but
little
used,
until
the
so-called
eclectic
and
botanic
physicians
began
to
em-
ploy
it
largely
in
their
prescriptions.
Of
late
even
our
regular
physicians
have
begun
to
use
an
article,
which
was
introduced
by
several
parties
under
the
false
name
of
hydrastin.
This
so-
called
hydrastin
is,
as
some
experiments
lead
me
to
believe,
not
an
isolated
organic
principle,
but
merely
a
dissicated
alcoholic
extract
of
the
Orange-root
and
must
accordingly
be
so
denomi-
nated.
Hydrastis,
however,
contains
an
alkaloid
and
there
are
several
methods
mentioned
by
which
it
may
be
most
conveniently
ex-
44
Dr.
F.
Mahla
on
I3erberin
in
Hydrastis
Canadensis.
tracted.
The
eclectic
Dispensatory
gives
one
of
those
methods,
according
to
which
the
powdered
root
should
be
extracted
with
alcohol.
The
tincture
thus
obtained
is
then
evaporated,
the
residue
mixed
with
water,
the
whole
filtered
and
a
quantity
of
hydrochloric
acid
added
to
the
watery
liquid,
when
a
beautiful
crystalline
precipitate
makes
its
appearance,
which
was
assumed
to
be
the
pure
hydrastin.
The
circumstance,
that
this
substance
is
precipitated
from
its
solutions
by
a
mineral
acid,
at
the
first
glance
makes
its
basic
nature
a
little
improbable.
This
circumstance
combined
with
the
fact,
that
an
organic
elementary
analysis
of
this
substance
does
not
exist,
seemed
to
make
it
desirable
to
have
its
proper-
ties
a
little
better
investigated.
In
preparing
the
body
in
question,
I
followed
in
general
the
above
given
directions.
I
modified
the
process
merely
by
effect-
ing
the
extraction
in
a
hot-water
percolator
so
that
the
alcohol
was
always
in
boiling
condition.
I
found,
that
by
this
modifi-
cation,
the
process
was
finished
in
a
much
shorter
time
and
that
less
quantities
of
alcohol
were
necessary.
The
crystalline
body,
formed
by
the
addition
of
hydrochloric
acid,
was
collected
on
a
calico
filter,
pressed
and
redissolved
in
boiling
alcohol.
The
hot
filtered
solution
readily
deposits
on
cooling
such
an
amount
of
crystals,
that
the
whole
seems
to
form
one
solid
mass.
These
crystals
were
again
pressed
and
once
more
crystallized
from
al-
cohol,
after
which
they
were
considered
pure.
This
substance
forms,
when
dry,
a
light
yellow
powder,
which
presents
under
the
microscope
the
appearance
of
prismatic
crys-
tals.
It
has
a
bright
yellow
color
and
a
very
intense
bitter
taste.
It
is
inodorous
and
little
soluble
in
cold
water,
to
which
it
imparts,
however,
a
deep
yellow
color.
Cold
alcohol
dissolves
also
very
little
but
it
is
readily
soluble
and
in
large
proportions
both
in
boiling
water
and
in
alcohol.
These
hot
solutions
ex-
hibit
a
brown-yellow
tint,
while
the
cold
diluted
solutions
are
purely
yellow.
Neither
litmus
nor
curcuma
paper
is
affected
by
them,
Concentrated
sulphuric
acid
dissolves
it
with
olive
green
color
and
disengages
hydrochloric
acid.
Concentrated
nitric
acid
produces
a
deep
red
solution
under
disengagement
of
nitrous
acid
vapors.
It
does
not
emit
any
trace
of
ammonia,
when
boiled
with
a
diluted
solution
of
caustic
potassa,
but
clots
together
and
is
trans.
formed
into
a
brown
resinous
substance,
which
adheres
strongly
to
the
sides
of
the
vessel.
This
resinous
body
is
insoluble
in
water
but
soluble
in
alcohol,
to
which
it
imparts
a
bitter
taste.
Heated
with
soda-lime
it
emits
ammonia.
Dry
chlorine
gas
transforms
it
into
a
red
body,
which
is
readily
soluble
in
water.
Dr.
F.
Mahla
on
Berberin
in
Hydrastis
Canadensis.
45
Polysulphid
of
ammonium,
when
mixed
with
a
hot
solution
of
this
so-called
hydrastin
produces
immediately
a
red
brown
precipitate.
Sulphate
of
copper
is
precipitated
with
a
yellowish
green
;
nitrate
of
silver,
chlorid
of
zinc,
corrosive
sublimate,
chlorate
of
potassa,
and
chlorid
of
platinum
with
a
yellow
color.
A
solu-
tion
of
bichromate
of
potassa
when
mixed
with
a
solution
of
this
body
throws
down
an
orange-yellow,
cyanid
of
potassium
an
ochre-yellow
and
ferrocyanid
of
potassium
a
greenish-yellow
pre-
cipitate.
When
moderately
heated
it
exhibits
a
deeper
yellow
tint
;
the
original
bright
yellow
color
is,
however,
restored
on
cooling
;
if
heated
to
a
higher
temperature
it
melts
like
a
resin
and
leaves
finally
a
light
coaly
residue.
All
these
reactions
coincide
so
completely
with
the
reactions
of
muriate
of
Berberin,
that
I
should
not
have
hesitated
a
moment
on
this
evidence
alone
to
declare
its
identity
with
that
alkaloid.
(The
fact
that
berberin
is
precipitated
from
its
solutions
by
hydrochloric
acid
explains
the
peculiar
method
of
preparation
of
hydrastin.)
To
quiet,
however,
all
doubts,
I
undertook
an
elementary
analysis
of
it,
which
lead
to
the
following
results
:
1.
The
nitrogen
was
determined
by
will
and
Varrentrapp's
method.
Before
commencing
the
experiment,
I
dried
the
sub-
stance
for
10
hours
at
a
temperature
of
100°
C.
The
quantity
of
material
employed
amounted
to
0.416
grammes.
It
yielded
0
.
286
ammonia-chlorid
of
platinum.
This
corresponds
to
3.563
per
cent
of
nitrogen.
Muriate
of
berberin
dried
at
100°
C.
requires
3
.
57
per
cent.
2.
The
combustion
for
the
determination
of
carbon
and
hy-
drogen
was
made
with
bichromate
of
lead.
0.440
substance
dried
at
100°
C.
yielded
:—
Carbonic
acid
=
P0450
which
corresponds
to
carbon
=
64.71
per
et.
Water
=
0.2035
"
"
hydrogen
=
5.138
per
et.
Muriate
of
berberin
dried
at
100°
C.
requires
in
100
parts
64
.
20
carbon
and
4.841
hydrogen.
3.
The
quantity
of
chlorine
was
found
by
precipitating
the
boiling
solution
of
the
substance
with
nitrate
of
silver.
This
mixture
was
filtered,
when
still
quite
hot,
and
washed
on
the
filter
with
boiling
water.
The
material
also
in
this
instance
was
dried
at
a
temperature
of
100°
C.
0.497
substance
yielded
01725
chlorid
of
silver
;
this
corres-
ponds
to
8.579
per
cent
of
chlorine.
Muriate
of
Berberin
requires
9.03
per
cent
chlorine.
Berberin
has
been
discovered
thus
far
in
different
species
of
46
the
Berberidem
and
in
one
or
two
speics
of
the
Menisperme
ae
.
This
occurrence
was
one
of
the
principal
arguments,
with
which
the
union
of
these
two
families
in
one
under
the
name
of
Coe-
culinem
was
justified.
It
is,
as
far
as
I
am
aware,
the
first
instance
that
this
interest-
ing
body
has
been
found
in
a
plant,
which
belongs
to
the
Ra-
nunculacem.
This
circumstance
is,
therefore,
a
proof,
that
even
true
alkaloids
may
occur
in
several
plants
which
belong
to
dij:
ferent
families.
Chicago,
Illinois,
October,
1861.