BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS.—A low, woody shrub, with grayish leaves and red flowers. The flowers are solitary in the axils of the upper leaves, short-stalked. The fruit is globular, leathery, indehiscent, about the size of a pea, and covered with reddish-brown, hooked prickles.
SOURCE.—Krameria triandra (Red rhatany) is a native of Peru, the commercial supply being obtained from the southern provinces; abundant about the cities of Huanuco and Lima; shipped from Paytu. Krameria ixina (Savanilla or New Granada rhatany) is yielded by several varieties, as K. tomentosa, St. Hil., an extremely wooly form growing in Colombia, British Guiana, and Northern Brazil; shipped from Carthagena, Santa Marta, etc. Para rhatany, described by Berg, is said to be from K. argentea; grayish-brown color.
DESCRIPTION OF DRUG.—From 10 to 30 mm. (2/5 to 1 1/5 in.) thick, knotty, and with several thick heads above, and branches below, from which emanate cylindrical roots about 6 to 12 mm. (1/4 to 1/2 in.) thick and from 100 to 400 mm. (4 to 16 in.) long. In commerce the more woody pieces, with short stumpy branches, constitute the largest proportion; the bark is tough and fibrous, dark reddish-brown, scaly, rugged, and about 1 to 2 mm. (1/25 to 1/12 in.) thick; the wood is hard and compact, light reddish-brown in color, and when cut with a knife, presents a shining surface, marked with concentric circles and fine medullary rays. Inodorous; taste very astringent, the bark more so than the wood. Krameria ixina (Savanilla rhatany) is more slender and less knotty, dull purplish-brown, with smooth, closely adhering bark. The roots are less flexuous and less tapering than the Peruvian rhatany and are usually separate, not usually exceeding 12 cm. in thickness, externally purplish-brown or chocolate-colored and marked with numerous fissures, the fracture less tough than that of Peruvian rhatany, the bark and wood darker. The bark is more astringent than that of Peruvian rhatany. The yield of aqueous extract should not be less than 9 per cent. The yield of ash should not exceed 5 per cent.
Powder.—Deep red. Characteristic elements: Parenchyma cells of cortex with reddish-brown coloring-matter; starch grains, 20 to 30 µ in diam., 1 to 4 compound; calcium oxalate in prisms and pyramids; sclerenchyma with few short, thick-walled bast fibers. In Savanilla variety the sclerenchymatous fibers, the parenchyma, bast, and ducts, are larger.
CONSTITUENTS.—Kramero-tannic acid (20 per cent.), rhatanin, and rhatanicred (a coloring matter). The tannic acid in a state of purity is perfectly colorless, but accompanying it is phlobaphene, an extractive which gives its solutions a reddish-brown color. Gives a dark green precipitate with ferric salts, a flesh-colored precipitate, with gelatin, and none with tartar emetic. Extracts of krameria should be made with cold water, the solution being evaporated at a low temperature. Boiling water extracts apothem, the presence of which is a detriment to the astringent principle.
ACTION and USES.—A powerful astringent, with some tonic properties. Dose: 5 to 30 gr. (0.3 to 2 Gm.).
A Manual of Organic Materia Medica and Pharmacognosy, 1917, was written by Lucius E. Sayre, B.S. Ph. M.