BY GEORGE W. KENNEDY.
In the early part of last year (1880) I received from my friend, Mr. J. U. Lloyd, of Cincinnati, Ohio, a small quantity of powder of a lemon-yellow color, which he obtained from the root of American Colombo, with the request that I examine it carefully, as he was under the impression it was identical with that isolated by me from the root of Frasera Walteri in 1873 ("Proc. Am. Phar. Asso." 1873, p. 636). Later in the year I received another small quantity by mail from the same gentleman.
In appearance the powder or very small crystals, which they appeared to be, were of the same light yellow color, and very much resembled those obtained by the writer. They were submitted to the same tests as those which were obtained by myself, and their behavior corresponded precisely, again proving conclusively, for the second time, that the root of American Colombo contains constituents identical with those of Gentiana lutea, and that the two roots are closely analogous; the only difference I was able to discover was that the frasera contained more of the yellow acid (gentisic acid), and the gentian more of the bitter principle (gentiopicrin).
The substance obtained from Mr. Lloyd was submitted to additional experiments. With ferric chloride it produces a deep green-black color, and in this respect is similar to that obtained by Prof. Maisch from the root of gentian ("Am. Jour. Phar.," 1880, p. 1-4). It is the same substance which led a number of pharmacists to believe that gentian root contained tannin. When treated with a solution of gelatin a very delicate precipitation was observed after standing about 8 hours. The substance was found to be decidedly more soluble in hot water than cold, the former producing a pronounced lemon-yellow solution, whilst in the latter the water was hardly tinged.
The American Journal of Pharmacy, Vol. 53, 1881, was edited by John M. Maisch.