Picrorhiza is the dried rhizome of Picrorhiza Kurroa, Royle (N.O. Scrophularineae), a small plant indigenous to the Alpine Himalayas. The drug occurs in greyish-brown, more or less cylindrical pieces, about 2.5 to 5 centimetres long and 4 to 8 millimetres in diameter. The rhizome is often deeply wrinkled longitudinally, and covered with a thin cork. It exhibits the transverse scars of cataphyllary leaves, numerous small, black buds, but only an occasional root or root scar; near the apex, the black remains of closely approximate scaly leaves may be found. The rhizome, which is very light in weight, breaks readily with a short fracture, disclosing a very dark, lacunous interior. The section exhibits a thin, pale grey cork, and a narrow ring of tangentially extended wood bundles.
Constituents.—The chief constituent of the rhizome is the bitter, crystalline glucoside picrorhizin, which yields on hydrolysis picrorhizetin and dextrose.
Action and Uses.—Picrorhiza is a bitter, and is best administered in combination with aromatics. A liquid extract and tincture are prepared, and are official in India and the Eastern Colonies for use as tonics and antiperiodics.
Dose.—6 to 30 decigrams (10 to 50 grains).
- Extractum Picrorhizae Liquidum, I.C.A.—LIQUID EXTRACT OF PICRORHIZA.
- Picrorhiza, in No. 60 powder, 100; alcohol (60 per cent.), sufficient to produce 100. Mix the drug with about 40 of the alcohol, pack in a percolator, saturate the mass with more of the alcohol, set aside for forty-eight hours, then exhaust by percolation with the alcohol. Reserve the first 85 of percolate, distil off most of the alcohol from the subsequent percolate, evaporate the residue 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 picrorhiza is official in India and the Eastern Colonies, where it is used as a bitter and antiperiodic. Dose.—1 1/2 to 4 mils (20 to 60 minims).
- Tinctura Picrorhizae, I.C.A.—TINCTURE OF PICRORHIZA.
- Picrorhiza, cut small, and well bruised, 12.5; alcohol (45 per cent.), 100. Prepared by the maceration process. Tincture of picrorhiza is official in India and the Eastern Colonies for use as a bitter. Dose.—2 to 4 mils (~ to 1 fluid drachm).
The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.