Related entry: Erigeron
Oil of Erigeron. Oil of Fleabane. Oleum Erigerontis. U. S. VIII. Oil of Canada Fleabane. Essence d'Erigeron, Fr.—"A volatile oil distilled from the fresh, flowering herb of Erigeron canadensis Linné (Fam, Compositae)." U. S. VIII.
Oil of erigeron is limpid, of a light straw color, a peculiar, aromatic, persistent odor, and a characteristic taste. By exposure it becomes darker and thicker. Its reaction is neutral. Its sp. gr. is about 0.850, increasing with age (0.855 to 0.890, Schim. Rep.). It consists chiefly of dextrogyrate limonene, together with some terpineol. (A. J. P., 1893, 420.) It was officially described as "a pale yellow, limpid liquid, rapidly 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, 0.845 to 0.865 at 25° C. (77° F.). Soluble in an equal volume of alcohol (distinction from oil of fireweed derived from Erechthites hieracifolia Rafinesque (fam. Compositae) and from oil of turpentine). It is dextrogyrate, the angle of rotation being not below +45° in 100 mm. tube, at a temperature of 25° C. (77° F.)." U. S. When distilled without water, it comes over colorless, and a little resinous matter is left behind, probably resulting from the oxidation of one or both of the constituent oils. It is slowly reddened by potassium hydroxide, combines with iodine without explosion, is instantly decomposed by sulphuric acid, and is acted on by strong nitric acid, slowly at ordinary temperatures, but with heat explosively. (Procter, A. J. P., xxvi, 502.) The plant yields 0.2 to 0.4 per cent. of oil. When exposed to the air, the oil darkens and rapidly resinifies. For an account of the difference in properties between this oil and that from Erechthites hieracifolia, see a paper by Albert M. Todd, A. J. P., 1887, p. 302; also one by Frank Rabak, Ph. Rev., 1905, 81, and also Ph. Rev., 1906, 326.
It was first brought into notice by the so-called eclectic physicians, who use it in diarrhea, dysentery, and the hemorrhages, and apparently it is a valuable remedy in hemoptysis when there is no fever or other marked evidence of constitutional irritation. J. W. Moorman speaks of it most highly, in diarrhea of debility, in dysentery after sufficient evacuation of the stomach and bowels, and especially in hemorrhage from the bowels during typhoid fever. (Am. J. M. S., Oct., 1865, p. 393.) It probably acts like the oil of turpentine as a hemostatic, but is much less irritant and stimulating.
Dose, ten minims to half a fluidrachm (0.6-1.8 mils), repeated every hour or two.
The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.