[Golden seal (Hydrastis) is endangered. Don't use it unless you know it's cultivated, not wildcrafted. --Henriette]
Hydrastis rhizome or golden seal rhizome (Hydrastis, U.S.P.) is the product of Hydrastis canadensis, Linn. (N.O. Ranunculaceae), a small perennial plant growing in the woods of Canada and the Eastern United States. The rhizomes and roots are collected in the autumn and dried. The rhizome is small, yellowish-brown and tortuous, from 10 to 40 millimetres long, and 3 to 12 millimetres thick. It bears numerous, short, upright branches, terminated by cup-shaped scars left by the aerial stems. The lower surface and sides bear numerous brittle, wiry roots, but these are often broken off, leaving small, prominent scars. The rhizome is hard, and breaks with a resinous fracture; the transverse section varies in colour from dark yellow to dark yellowish-brown, and exhibits a ring of bright yellow, somewhat distant, narrow wood-bundles surrounding a large pith. The odour is slight, but characteristic, the taste bitter. The commercial drug occasionally contains as accidental admixtures the rhizomes of Aristolochia Serpentaria, Stylophorum diphyllum,Cypripedium parviflorum, C. pubescens, etc., but the characters of hydrastis rhizome are so well marked that no other drug can easily be mistaken for it.
Constituents.—The drug contains the alkaloids hydrastine, berberine, and canadine, together with resin, starch, and volatile oil. Hydrastine occurs in the proportion of 1.5 to 3.2 per cent. Hydrastis, U.S.P., should yield not less than 2.5 per cent. of hydrastine. Berberine occurs to the extent of about 3 per cent., Canadine occurs in small quantity only. The drug yields about 5 to 8 per cent. of ash.
Action and Uses.—Hydrastis is a bitter; it is supposed to exert a beneficial action on mucous membranes, and is therefore given sometimes in chronic gastro-intestinal catarrh and nasal inflammations. The action of the alkaloid hydrastine in constricting vessels renders it useful in menorrhagia, but in post-partum haemorrhage it has little effect, because in this condition the uterus should be contracted rather than the vessels; it is also employed in chronic inflammations of the uterine mucous membranes in leucorrhoea and gonorrhoea. The tincture, liquid extract, and dry extract (hydrastin) are preparations representative of the whole drug. They are administered in mixture form, often with ergot and hamamelis. The tincture is diluted with 1 to 4 parts of water, or the liquid extract with 15 parts of water, as an astringent lotion in leucorrhoea, gonorrhoea, epistaxis, and nasal catarrh, or as a gargle in chronic pharyngitis.
- Extractum Hydrastis, B.P.C.—EXTRACT OF HYDRASTIS. Syn.—Hydrastin; Extractum Hydrastis Siccum.
- An alcoholic extract of hydrastis. Should be prescribed as "Extractum Hydrastis," as the name "hydrastin" is liable to confusion with that of the alkaloid hydrastine. It has been suggested that this extract should be standardised to contain 20 per cent. of total alkaloids, of which 2/5 should be hydrastine. Extract of hydrastis is prescribed in pills, often with extract of ergot. Dose.—3 to 12 centigrams (1/2 to 2 grains).
- Extractum Hydrastis Liquidum, B.P.—LIQUID EXTRACT OF HYDRASTIS.
- Hydrastis rhizome, in No. 60 powder, 100; alcohol (45 per cent.), sufficient to produce 100. Mix the drug with 40 of the alcohol; pack in a percolator, saturate the drug with alcohol, and allow to macerate for forty-eight hours; then exhaust by percolation with more alcohol. Reserve the first 85 of percolate; concentrate the subsequent percolate to a soft extract, dissolve this in the reserved percolate and add sufficient of the alcohol to make up to the required volume. Liquid extract of hydrastis contains about 2 per cent. of the alkaloid hydrastine. It is prescribed in the form of mixture for internal use, or soft gelatin capsules may be prepared, some of the spirit being removed by evaporation. For external use the liquid extract is diluted with 15 parts of water for use as a lotion, gargle, or spray solution for the nose and throat. For urethral and vaginal injections a teaspoonful is added to half a pint of water. Dose.—3 to 10 decimils (0.3 to 10 milliliters) (5 to 15 minims).
- Fluidextractum Hydrastis, U.S.P.—FLUIDEXTRACT OF HYDRASTIS.
- Hydrastis, in No. 60 powder, 100; glycerin, 10; alcohol (63 per cent.), sufficient to produce 100. The product is standardised to contain 2 per cent. w/v of hydrastine. Average dose.—2 mils (30 minims).
- Glyceritum Hydrastis, U.S.P.—GLYCERITE OF HYDRASTIS,
- Hydrastis rhizome, in No. 60 powder, 100; glycerin, 50; alcohol (95 per cent.), a sufficient quantity; distilled water, sufficient to produce 100. This preparation is free from the resinous constituents of hydrastis, and is readily miscible with water. Average dose.—2 mils (30 minims).
- Pessus Hydrastis, B.P.C.—HYDRASTIS PESSARY. 12 minims of liquid extract.
- Tinctura Hydrastis, B.P.—TINCTURE OF HYDRASTIS.
- Hydrastis rhizome, in No. 60 powder, 10; alcohol (60 per cent.), sufficient to produce 100. Add to of the alcohol to the drug to moisten it, and proceed with the percolation process. Tincture of hydrastis is used as a bitter, as an astringent, arid in catarrhal affections of the mucous membranes, especially of the uterus. For local use as a styptic it should be diluted with an equal quantity of water. Dose.—2 to 4 mils (1/2 to 1 fluid drachm).
- Tinctura Hydrastis, U.S.P.—TINCTURE OF HYDRASTIS, U.S.P.
- Hydrastis, in No. 60 powder (containing not less than 2.5 per cent. of hydrastine), 20; alcohol (71 per cent.), sufficient to produce 100. The product should contain not less than 0.4 per cent. w/v of hydrastine. Average dose.—4 mils (1 fluid drachm).
The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.