lactuca virosa info and ancient extract preparation recipes

Discussion in 'Ethnobotanicals' started by Benga, Mar 5, 2007.

  1. Benga

    Benga Platinum Member & Advisor

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    Lactucarium (U. S. P.)—Lactucarium.

    Preparations: Fluid Extract of Lactucarium - Syrup of Lactucarium - Tincture of Lactucarium
    Related entry: Lactuca.—Lettuce
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    The concrete milk-juice of Lactuca virosa, Linné"—(U. S. P.).
    Nat. Ord.—Compositae.
    COMMON NAME: Lettuce-opium.

    Description.—(For source, history, and collection of Lactucarium [in part], see Lactuca.) Lactucarium comes to us chiefly from Germany and Scotland, and is also produced in France, although little of the latter product reaches American markets. The Scotch, or English, variety is said to be of better quality than the German. It occurs in angular pieces of various sizes, is brown in color, and earthy in appearance. The German product occurs in brown quarter-sections of plano-convex, circular, or saucer-shaped cakes. French lactucarium comes in small, circular cakes, otherwise resembling the German drug.

    The official product is thus described: "In sections of plano-convex, circular cakes, or in irregular, angular pieces, externally grayish-brown, or dull reddish-brown, internally whitish or yellowish, of a waxy luster; odor heavy, somewhat narcotic; taste bitter. It is partly soluble in alcohol and in ether. When triturated with water, it yields a turbid mixture, and, when boiled with water, it softens and yields a brownish-colored liquid which, after cooling, is not colored blue by iodine T.S."—(U. S. P.). Lactucarium does not absorb moisture from the atmosphere; is softened by heat, and at a high temperature burns with a large, white flame. Cold water takes up about a sixth of it, forming a deep-brown infusion; boiling water, proof-spirit, alcohol, and ether a much larger proportion. The addition of acetic acid to water or alcohol improves their solvent powers upon this article. It pulverizes with difficulty. It does not readily emulsionize with water, unless gum Arabic be present. By previous trituration with a small quantity of nitrous ether, it may be readily incorporated with water (Vogeler).

    Chemical Composition.—Lactucarium contains neither morphine nor hyoscyamine, nor any other alkaloid (see Lactuca), but is found to consist of the bitter substances lactucin, lactuco-picrin, and lactucic acid, large amounts of caoutchouc and lactucerin (lactucon), a camphoraceous volatile oil (Thieme), sugar, gum, pectic acid, albumen, oxalic acid, mannit, potassium nitrate, etc.

    Lactucin (C11H14O4, Kromayer, 1861), one of the bitter principles of lactucarium, may be obtained by extracting lactucarium, with cold alcohol of specific gravity 0.85. It is a colorless, odorless, fusible, neutral substance, crystallizing in rhombic plates, or in pearly-white scales. It dissolves in from 60 to 80 parts of water, is slightly soluble in ether, readily so in alcohol, and in acids. It reduces Fehling's solution, but yields no sugar upon hydrolysis. Lactucic acid (Ludwig, Archiv der Pharm., 1847) is light yellow, very bitter, soluble in water and alcohol, and does not readily crystallize. Alkalies turn its aqueous solution red. By some this acid is considered a prominent active constituent. The mother liquor of lactucin yielded (Kromayer, 1861) lactuco-picrin (C44H32O21). It is a brown, amorphous, bitter body, faintly acid in reaction, soluble in water and alcohol. It is probably an oxidation product of lactucin. Kromayer regards lactucic acid as the product of the oxidation of lactuco-picrin.

    By far the most abundant substance in lactucarium is lactucerin (lactucon of Lenoir, 1846) (C19H30O, Flückiger and O. Schmidt, 1876), constituting half or more of its weight. It is obtained by extracting lactucarium with cold, then with boiling alcohol, which leaves caoutchouc undissolved; or by extracting lactucarium with a mixture of 1 part of chloroform and 3 parts of alcohol. It forms odorless, tasteless, colorless needles, soluble in alcohol, ether, benzin, benzol, chloroform, and volatile and fixed oils, but not soluble in water. Its exact chemical nature remains yet to be established (see O. Hesse and G. Kassner, Jahresb. der Pharm., 1886, p. 37; and 1887, p. 65; also Lieb. Annal., 1886 and 1888). Flückiger (Pharmacographia) calls attention to the fact that it is remarkably analogous to euphorbon (from euphorbium), cynanchol (C15H24O) (from Cynanchum acutum, Linné), echicerin (from Alstonia), and taraxacerin (from Taraxacum). Lactucarium is liable to be adulterated with bread crumbs, hence the pharmacopoeial test for starch above given.

    THRIDACE is the inspissated, expressed juice obtained, in France, from Lactucarium gallicum s. parisiense, by collecting the stalks near the flowering period, depriving them of their leaves, and then subjecting them to pressure. It is not identical with lactucarium, as was at one time supposed.

    Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Lactucarium has never been thoroughly and satisfactorily investigated in relation to its therapeutical influences: indeed, various experimenters differ in their views on this point, some asserting it to be a stimulant and others a sedative. It is, when employed at all, usually given as a calmative and hypnotic, and as a substitute for opium, to which it is to be preferred in many instances, on account of its freedom, from unpleasant after-effects, as constipation, excitement of the brain, etc. However, it is not considered equal in power to opium. The most energetic lactucarium. is said to be obtained from L. virosa and L. altissima. Moderate doses of it act as a narcotic poison on the lower animals, and 10 or 20 grains swallowed by a dog will cause sleep, or the watery solution injected into a vein occasions sleep, coma, and death. It appears to be of use in insomnia, due to mental overwork. A syrup of lactucarium is of value in the cough of phthisis, and even garden lettuce appears to exert a good influence in this disease, tending to allay the broncho-pulmonary irritation. Dose of lactucarium in pill or powder, which is the most efficient mode of administration, from 5 to 20 grains; of the tincture, 30 to 60 drops; of the alcoholic extract, 1 to 5 grains.


    Extractum Lactucarii Fluidum (N. F.)—Fluid Extract of Lactucarium.

    Related entry: Lactucarium (U. S. P.)—Lactucarium - Extracts and Fluid Extracts
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    Preparation.—Formulary number, 166: "Lactucarium, in coarse powder, one hundred grammes (100 Gm.) [3 ozs. av., 231 grs.]; ether, one hundred and twenty-five cubic centimeters (125 Cc.) [4 fl, 109]; alcohol, water, each, a sufficient quantity. Add the lactucarium to the ether contained in a tared flask having the capacity of six hundred cubic centimeters (600 Cc.) [20 fl, 138], and let it macerate for 24 hours; then add three hundred cubic centimeters (300 Cc.) [10 fl, 69] of water, and shake the mixture well. Fit a bent glass tube into the neck of the flask, and, having immersed the flask in hot water, recover the ether by distillation. When all the ether has distilled over, remove the tube, and, after thoroughly shaking the contents of the flask, continue the heat for 1/2 hour. Let the mixture cool, add one hundred grammes (100 Gm.) [3 ozs. av., 231 grs.] of alcohol, and enough water to make the whole mixture weigh five hundred grammes (500 Gm.) [1 lb. av., 1 oz., 279 grs.]; after maceration for 24 hours, with occasional agitation, express and filter the liquid. Return the dregs to the flask and macerate them with two hundred grammes (200 Gm.) [7 ozs. av., 24 grs.] of a mixture of alcohol and water made in the proportion of 1 part of alcohol to 3 parts of water; repeat the maceration 2 or 3 times, successively, with fresh portions of the mixture, until the dregs are tasteless, or nearly so. Mix and filter the liquids thus obtained, and concentrate them, by means of a water-bath (the first expressed liquid by itself), until the combined weight of the liquids is sixty grammes (60 Gm.) [2 ozs av., 51 grs.]; mix the liquids, add forty grammes (40 Gm.) [1 oz., av., 180 grs.] of alcohol, and let the mixture cool in the evaporating vessel, stirring the mixture frequently, and during the intervals keeping the vessel well covered. When cool, add enough alcohol to make the mixture weigh one hundred grammes (100 Gm.) [3 ozs. av., 231 grs.]; transfer the liquid to a flask, and add enough water to make the mixture measure one hundred cubic centimeters (100 Cc.) [3 fl, 183], using the water so required to rinse the evaporating vessel. Shake the mixture occasionally, during several hours (and frequently, if a portion of the precipitate is found to be tenacious), and, when a uniform mixture results, set it aside for 24 hours, so that any precipitate formed may subside. Decant the clear liquid, transfer the precipitate to a filter, and, after thoroughly draining it into the decanted liquid, wash it with a mixture of alcohol and water made in the proportion of 3 parts of alcohol to 4 parts of water, until the washings pass tasteless. Concentrate the washings, by evaporation, to a syrupy consistence, mix with the decanted liquid, and add enough of the last-named mixture of alcohol and water to make the whole measure one hundred cubic centimeters (100 Cc.) [3 fl, 183]. Lastly, after 24 hours, having meanwhile shaken the fluid extract occasionally, filter it through paper" (Nat. Form.).

    Medical Uses and Dosage.—(See Lactucarium). Dose, 1 to 5 grains.

    Related Preparation.—EXTRACTUM LACTUCAE (Br.), Extract of lettuce, Extractum lactucae virosae, Thridacium. The British official preparation is merely the inspissated juice of Lactuca virosa. Feebly hypnotic. Dose, 5 grains.

    Tinctura Lactucarii (U. S. P.)—Tincture of Lactucarium.

    Related entry: Lactucarium (U. S. P.)—Lactucarium - Tinctures
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    Preparation.—"Lactucarium, five hundred grammes (500 Gm.) [1 lb. av., 1 oz., 279 grs.]; glycerin, two hundred and fifty cubic centimeters (250 Cc.) [8 fl, 218]; water, alcohol, benzin, diluted alcohol, each, a sufficient quantity. Beat the lactucarium in an iron mortar, with clean sand, to a coarse powder, and introduce it into a bottle; add two thousand cubic centimeters (2000 Cc.) [67 fl, 301] of benzin, cork the bottle tightly, and set it aside for 48 hours, frequently agitating the mixture. Pour the mixture on a double filter, and allow it to drain. Wash the residue by gradually adding fifteen hundred cubic centimeters (1500 Cc.) [50 fl, 346] of benzin. Allow the lactucarium to dry by exposing it to a current of air. When it is dry, and free from the odor of benzin, reduce it to powder, using more sand, if necessary, and pack it moderately in a conical percolator. Mix the glycerin with two hundred cubic centimeters (200 Cc.) [6 fl, 366] of water, and five hundred cubic centimeters (500 Cc.) [16 fl, 435] of alcohol, and moisten the powder with five hundred cubic centimeters (500 Cc.) [16 fl, 435] of the mixture. When the liquid begins to drop from the percolator, close the lower orifice, and, having closely covered the percolator, macerate for 24 hours; then allow the percolation to proceed very slowly, gradually adding, first, the remainder of the menstruum, and then diluted alcohol, until the lactucarium is exhausted. Reserve the first seven hundred and fifty cubic centimeters (750 Cc.) [25 fl, 173] of the percolate, evaporate the remainder, on a water-bath at a temperature not exceeding 70° C. (158° F.), to two hundred and fifty cubic centimeters (250 Cc.) [8 fl, 218], and mix this with the reserved portion. Filter, and add enough diluted alcohol through the filter to make the product measure one thousand cubic centimeters (1000 Cc.) [33 fl, 391]"—(U. S. P.). About 7 1/2 grains of lactucarium are contained in 16 minims of this tincture.

    Uses.—Tincture of lactucarium is employed in the preparation of Syrup of Lactucarium, and, for this purpose, must be freed from caoutchouc, which it contains. This is accomplished by the benzin, and rendered fit to form an unclouded syrup. A pure benzin should be selected, and the percolate should pass very slowly. Tincture of lactucarium is less efficient than syrup of lactucarium, and is but little valued in Eclectic practice.

    Syrupus Lactucarii (U. S. P.)—Syrup of Lactucarium.

    Related entry: Lactucarium (U. S. P.)—Lactucarium - Syrups
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    Preparation.—"Tincture of lactucarium, one hundred cubic centimeters (100 Cc.) [3 fl, 183]; precipitated calcium phosphate, fifty grammes (50 Gm.) [1 oz. av., 334 grs.]; sugar, seven hundred and fifty grammes (750 Gm.) [1 lb. av., 10 ozs., 199 grs.]; water, a sufficient quantity to make one thousand cubic centimeters (1000 Cc.) [33 fl, 391]. Triturate the precipitated calcium phosphate and one hundred and fifty grammes (150 Gm.) [5 ozs. av., 127 grs.] of the sugar, in a mortar, with the tincture of lactucarium gradually added, and afterward with three hundred cubic centimeters (300 Cc.) [10 fl, 69] of water, added in small portions at a time. Filter the mixture, dissolve the remainder of the sugar in the filtrate, and pass enough water through the filter to make the product measure one thousand cubic centimeters (1000 Cc.) [33 fl, 391]. Mix thoroughly. Syrup of lactucarium may also be prepared in the following manner: Prepare a percolator or funnel in the manner described under syrup (see Syrupus). Pour the filtrate obtained as directed in the preceding formula upon the sugar, return the first portions of the percolate, until it runs through clear, and, when all the liquid has passed, follow it by water, until the product measures one thousand cubic centimeters (1000 Cc.) [33 fl, 391]. Mix thoroughly"—(U. S. P). This syrup is transparent, the rubber-like constituents of lactucarium having been removed in the process of tincturing. Of lactucarium it contains about 3 grains in each fluid drachm.

    Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—(For uses, see Lactucarium.) Dose, about 1 fluid drachm.

    LACTUCARIUM.
    LACTUCARIUM.

    Synonym.—Lettuce Opium.

    Lactucarium is the dried latex of Lactuca virosa, Linn., and other species of Lactuca (more) (N.O. Compositae). It is official in the U.S.P. It is obtained by cutting off the upper portion of the stem, thus allowing the latex to exude, so that it can be transferred to a small cup. After twenty-four hours a thin slice is removed from the cut surface and the operation repeated. The collected latex soon solidifies, and is then removed from the cup, cut into pieces, and dried, gradually acquiring a dull brownish colour during the process. The drug occurs in hard, opaque, irregular pieces, often curved on one side. They are dull brown in colour, but the interior, in recent pieces, may still be whitish and soft. The odour is characteristic, recalling that of opium; taste, bitter. The cooled decoction should not be coloured blue by iodine.

    Constituents.—One of the chief constituents of lactucarium is a colourless, tasteless, crystalline substance named lactucerin or lactucone (44 per cent.); this is accompanied by the bitter principles lactucin and lactucic acid, which are crystalline, and lactucopicrin, which is amorphous. Marmite, sugar, and caoutchouc are also present, but the alkaloid hyoscyamine cannot be detected in lactucarium, although traces are said to be contained in the fresh herb.

    Action and Uses.—Lactucarium is employed as a sedative in irritable cough and as a mild hypnotic in insomnia. The syrup is much used abroad. Pastilles and lozenges containing lactucarium are prepared for local use against cough, 30 milligrams (1 grain) in each.

    Dose.—3 to 10 decigrams (5 to 15 grains).
    PREPARATIONS.
    Syrupus Lactucarii, U.S.P.—SYRUP OF LACTUCARIUM.
    Tincture of lactucarium, 10; glycerin, 20; citric acid, 0.1; orange-flower water, undiluted, 5; syrup, sufficient to produce 100. Mildly sedative, and is used in irritable cough. Average dose.—8 mils (2 fluid drachms).
    Tinctura Lactucarii, U.S.P.—TINCTURE OF LACTUCARIUM.
    Lactucarium, in coarse powder, 50; glycerin, 25; alcohol (70 per cent), 70; purified benzin, a sufficient quantity; alcohol (45 per cent.), sufficient to produce 100. This tincture is used chiefly for the preparation of Syrupus Lactucarii. Dose.—1 to 2 mils (15 to 30 minims).
     
  2. Benga

    Benga Platinum Member & Advisor

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    for those interested in percolation extraction techniques, a percolator can be made with a plastic bottle or a good conic glass bottle (such as a vinegar bottle)
    works great. Here's a cut and paste because i'm lazy to make the writeup myself and it's pretty well done :
    Make your own percolator
    A percolator can easily be made with a 2-l lemonade bottle - just saw off the bottom. Retain the cap, you'll need it.
    Or tie a flammable-liquid-dripping bit of string around the bottom of a nice big sloping-neck clear glass bottle, hold the bottle bottom-up, set the string on fire, and wait until the flame has been heating the glass all around for a couple minutes. Then douse the fire in a bowlful of water and icecubes. If you did things right (that is, not in midwinter, when it's cold, outdoors) your bottle will crack and a small tap will remove the bottom altogether. Use some sandpaper to remove sharp edges, that is, if you didn't get cracks up the sides of the bottle. If you did it'll leak, so try again.

    A percolated tincture is done the next day, but needs more alcohol.
    A macerated tincture is done in a week or four, and needs less alcohol.
    You can't percolate fresh herb.

    for a 1:5 60 % tincture that's 100 g dried herb to 5 dl menstruum, in this case 60 % alcohol.
    For percolation you need to add the volume's worth of menstruum, that is, 2.5 dl; so the total need for 60 % alcohol is 7.5 dl.

    -----
    I has more info on tinctures, fluid extracts, maceration and lixivation techniques from his 1927 "guide pratique de la pharmacie en clientele" bible, if other herbal extractors are in the need




    Add 2/3 of the volume in menstruum to the herb to moisten it overnight; that is a bit under 2 dl.

    Then stuff the percolator: open the cap up wide (don't remove it though) (this will allow air to escape downwards as you pour in menstruum at the top), put a filter in the bottom, add your overnight-moistened herb, pack it reasonably tightly, add another filter on top (so that the packed herb won't rush up into the menstruum as you start to pour), pour the rest of your menstruum on top, close the cap until it's almost shut, and let drip, at 1-2 drops a second (hum "Toreador" from Carmen, that works).
    If your tincture gushes out you need to adjust the cap - screw it tighter.
    If your tincture doesn't drip you need to adjust the cap - open it a teensy little bit more.
    If you've removed the cap altogether and don't get a drip after hours of waiting you've packed your herb too tightly for percolation. Ditch the percolation setup, add more dried herb to your herb-menstruum mix (so that the ratio is again 1:5, not 1:7.5), and macerate the lot for 1-4 weeks instead.
     
  3. HighParadise

    HighParadise Newbie

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    Can you extract it using isopropyl alcohol?
     
  4. Benga

    Benga Platinum Member & Advisor

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    not for ingestion purposes. if swiy's going to eat or drink the extract, IPA would be dangerous. better use rectified / absolute alcohol ( 95° / 200% proof drinking alcohol) or the strongest clear grain alcohol one can find ( vodka for instance)

    b
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2007
  5. HighParadise

    HighParadise Newbie

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    I would let it evaporate, obviously...
     
  6. Benga

    Benga Platinum Member & Advisor

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    then it should be ok. You can then disolve the extract in the strongest drinking alcohol You can find, for instance.
    rectified spirits are safer though.

    b