Preparation: Fluid Extract of Grindelia
"The leaves and flowering tops of Grindelia robusta, Nuttall, and of Grindelia squarrosa, Dunal"—(U. S. P.).
COMMON NAMES: 1. Hardy grindelia. 2. Scaly grindelia.
Botanical Source and History.—Grindelia robusta is an erect perennial plant, native of California. It was brought to the notice of pharmacists and the medical profession generally, by Mr. Jas. G. Steele, of San Francisco, Cal., through a paper presented to the American Pharmaceutical Association, in 1875, although Dr. C. A. Canfield, long previously, had noticed it in the Pacific Med. and Surg. Jour. The plant has a smooth, round, striate stem, much divided into ascending branches, each of which ends in a large, yellow flower-head. The lower leaves are obovate-spatulate, and tapering at the base; the upper are alternate, ascending, and have broad, clasping bases. They are of a firm, coriaceous texture, and a light-green color; the margins are coarsely toothed. The flower-heads are large, nearly 3/4 of an inch in diameter, and are solitary, terminating the branches. The involucre is very resinous and consists of many thick, imbricated scales, with recurved tips. The receptacle is flat, pitted like a honey-comb, and destitute of scales. The ray-flowers are large, yellow, spreading, and arranged in a single series. They are pistillate and fertile. The disk-flowers are very numerous and perfect. The achenia are smooth, oblong, and slightly 4-angled. The most distinguishing character of the genus Grindelia is the pappus, which consists of 3 or 4 very deciduous awns; they are rigid, more or less curved, white, very smooth, and, when magnified, have a waxy appearance. In the G. robusta they are about half the length of the disk-flowers. A very large variety (var. latifolia), of this species of Grindelia is frequent in California, and is often collected. It is much more robust in every particular, having heads over an inch in diameter. The upper stem-leaves are about an inch broad, and the flower-heads are surrounded at the base by a cluster of 3 or 4 leaves.
Grindelia squarrosa has the general appearance of Grindelia robusta, but is a smaller plant, and has lately been considered a variety of this species. It is more widely distributed than G. robusta, and is quite common on the plains, from the Rocky Mountains west to the Pacific. The mode of growth is different in the two species. In the Grindelia squarrosa, a perennial root-stalk sends up from its head a cluster of from 4 to 10 slender, erect, sub-parallel, and generally undivided branches, from 1 to 2 feet high. The stem-leaves are alternate, acute, sessile, and slightly clasping at the base, and serrate on the margin. They are about an inch long, one-quarter as wide, and are attached to the stem in an erect position. The scales of the flower-heads are narrow, and have long, slender, recurved points (whence the specific name). In other respects the flower-heads resemble those of the Grindelia robusta, but are smaller. The pappus of the Grindelia squarrosa is slender and about the length of the disk-flowers. Grindelia squarrosa was introduced as a remedial agent some years after Mr. Steele brought G. robusta into notice. Its sensible properties are exactly like those of G. robusta, and it is often found on the market and substituted largely for G. robusta.
Description.—Owing to the fact that both species are often indiscriminately gathered, or that the one is frequently adulterated with the other, both are described by the U. S. P. under the name GRINDELIA, as follows:
"Leaves about 5 Cm. (2 inches), or less, long, varying from broadly spatulate or oblong to lanceolate, sessile or clasping, obtuse, more or less sharply serrate, often spinosely toothed, or even laciniate-pinnatifid, pale green, smooth, finely dotted, thickish, brittle, beads many-flowered, subglobular or somewhat conical; the involucre hemispherical, about 10 Mm. (2/5 inch) broad, composed of numerous imbricated, squarrosely-tipped or spreading scales; ray-florets yellow, ligulate, pistillate; disk-florets yellow, tubular, perfect; pappus consisting of 2 or 3 awns of the length of the disk-florets; odor balsamic; taste pungently aromatic and bitter"—(U. S. P.).
Chemical Composition.—C. J. Rademaker (New Rem., 1876, p. 205), was probably the first to make an analysis of Grindelia robusta, yet with no positive results. G. Linwood Libby (Pharm. Era, 1888, p. 11), isolated from the same plant an oleoresin and a resin.
A complete parallel analysis of G. robusta and G. squarrosa was made by W. H. Clark, in 1888, with the result that the constituents were qualitatively the same in both plants except that Grindelia robusta contained tannin (1.5 per cent), while G. squarrosa seemed to be free from it. Volatile oil was found in both. A crystallizable saponin-like body also occurred in both species (G. robusta contained 2 per cent, and G. squarrosa, 0.82 per cent), for which the author proposes the name grindelin (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1888, pp. 433-441). On the other hand, Mr. John L. Fischer applies the name grindeline to a bitter, crystallizable alkaloid which he found in Grindelia robusta, and the name robustic acid to a crystallizable acid found in the aqueous solution of the alcoholic extract of the same drug (Pharm. Era, 1888, p. 208). Mr. Clark had obtained contradictory results with regard to the presence of an alkaloid. Dr. Schneegans, in 1892, found the saponin-like body to consist of two glucosids, one being identical with, the other closely resembling Kobert's saponin, from senega and quillaja. The presence of small amounts of an alkaloid was also indicated (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1892, p. 370).
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—The grindelias leave in the mouth a bitter, acrid sensation, which persists for some time and is accompanied or followed by an increased flow of saliva. On account of their irritant effects upon the kidneys, they act as diuretics. The brain and cord are first stimulated by them, followed by motor impairment of the lower extremities and a desire to sleep. The number of respirations are reduced by them.
Grindelia robusta has been found especially efficient in asthma, giving prompt relief, and effecting cures in cases previously rebellious to medication. Occasionally, however, as is, indeed, the case with all the therapeutical agents, it has failed, but the circumstances attending these failures have not yet been determined. Further investigations regarding its action in this disease, and the cause of its occasional failure are required. It has likewise been found efficient in bronchial affections, in pertussis, and in some renal maladies. Prof. Scudder was partial to this remedy as a local application in chronic diseases of the skin with feeble circulation, particularly old chronic and indolent ulcers. Specific grindelia robusta (ℨi to ℨii to water Oj), was employed with marked benefit. The fluid extract and specific grindelia robusta are the preparations generally employed, the former in doses of from 10 to 60 minims, and the latter in doses of 5 to 40 minims, repeated 3 or 4 times a day, as may be required. Children require doses of from 5 to 15 or 20 minims (fluid extract), and 1 to 10 minims (specific grindelia robusta).
Grindelia squarrosa has been highly eulogized as an efficient remedy in intermittent fever, and in other malarial affections, also to remove the splenic enlargement which so frequently follows those disorders. Why two plants so closely allied as the G. robusta and the G. squarrosa, and possessing nearly identical constituents, should give such discordant therapeutical results, is certainly enigmatical. The fact is, that many physicians have a great proneness to run after new remedies, especially when introduced under some pretentious name, and to place a marvelous credulity in the statements of interested parties, who are incapable of determining accurate conclusions as to the value of a remedy. Webster, however, asserts that the remedy has a special action upon the splenic circulation, and points out as the case for it one of splenic congestion associated with sluggish hepatic action and dyspepsia. Dull pain in the left hypochondrium, sallow skin, debility, and indigestion are the symptoms pointing to its selection (Dynam. Therap.). The same author recommends it in chronic dyspepsia due to prolonged malarial influence, gastric pain when the spleen is seemingly involved, and in the splenic congestion of malarial cachexia. As a local application, the fluid extract is stated to be of value in the painful eczematous inflammation and vesicular eruption resulting from contact with the poison vine or the poison oak. The dose of the fluid extract is from 15 minims to 1 fluid drachm, repeated every 3 or 4 hours; of specific grindelia squarrosa, 5 to 40 drops.
Specific Indications and Uses.—GRINDELIA ROBUSTA: Asthmatic breathing, with soreness and raw feeling in the chest; cough, harsh and dry; breathing labored, with a dusky coloration of the face in plethoric individuals. Locally, old atonic ulcers; full tissues; rhus poisoning.
GRINDELIA SQUARROSA: Splenic congestion, especially when dependent on malarial cachexia; fullness and dull pain in left hypochondrium, with indigestion, pallid, sallow countenance, an general debility; gastric pains associated with splenic congestion.
Related Species.—Grindelia glutinosa, Dunal, of California, and Grindelia hirsutula, Hooker and Arnott, have a similar odor and taste to Grindelia, and are probably gathered with it. The leaves of the former are smooth. It constitutes the Mexican Calancapatle de Pueblo. The second species is found along the Pacific to Puget's Sound.
Haplopappus Baylahuen (Hysterionica Baylahuen). Nat. Ord.: Compositae.—This plant is a native of Chili and contains a resin, tannin, and volatile and fixed oils. The resin acts upon the bowels and the essential oil upon the respiratory organs after the manner of the terebinthinates, without, however, being an irritant to the gastro-intestinal tract. The chronic looseness of the bowels of tuberculous patients is controlled by it, and the remedy is reputed of value in inflammation of the bladder. Locally, the tincture has been used on ulcers, wounds, etc., both as a stimulant and protective. The tincture is prepared of the strength of 1 part to 5, and the dose is from 6 to 25 drops.
King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.