"A volatile oil distilled from the fresh flowering herb of Erigeron canadense, Linné (Nat. Ord.—Compositae). It should be kept in well-stoppered bottles, in a cool place, protected from light"—(U S. P.).
SYNONYMS: Oil of fleabane, Oleum erigerontis canadensis (U. S. P., 1870), Oil of Canada fleabane.
Preparation, History, and Description.—This oil is obtained by distillation of the leaves and flowers of fleabane (Erigeron canadense) with water. When freshly obtained it is colorless, or of a light-yellow color, and transparent; both the odor and taste recall to mind those of oil of spearmint, combined with oil of amber. The oil is inflammable, burning with an abundant, sooty flame. The U. S. P. describes this oil as "a pale-yellow, limpid liquid, becoming darker and thicker by age and exposure to the air, having a peculiar, aromatic, persistent odor and an aromatic, slightly pungent taste. Specific gravity, about 0.850 at 15° C. (59° F.), increasing with age. Soluble in an equal volume of alcohol (distinction from oil of fireweed [derived from Erechtites hieracifolia, Rafinesque, Nat. Ord.—Compositae] and from oil of turpentine), this solution being neutral or slightly acid to litmus; also soluble in an equal volume of glacial acetic acid. It distills for the most part between 175° and 180° C. (347° and 356° F.)"—(U. S. P.). Oil of erigeron was introduced into practice by Eclectic physicians.
Chemical Composition.—This oil is mainly composed of dextro-limonene (see Fritz W. Meissner, Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1893, p. 420), and terpineol (Kremers and Hunkel, Pharm. Rundschau, Vol. XIII, 1895, p. 137).
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Oil of fleabane is haemostatic, stimulant, and carminative, with scarcely any perceptible astringency. It appears, notwithstanding, to exert a very remarkable influence on the system in hemorrhages, to check which it is chiefly used. It is of superior value in all hemorrhages, but more especially when from the uterus. Further investigations with this remedy are required in order to know its proper therapeutic action. The dose is from 2 to 10 drops, dissolved in alcohol, and administered in mucilage or sweetened water. It should be repeated, according to circumstances, every 15 or 30 minutes, or every 1, 2, or 4 hours. Combined with 5 or 6 parts of castor oil, or of stramonium ointment, it forms a valuable application to piles. (For further uses, see Erigeron.)
King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.