Eriodictyon. U. S.
Eriodictyon. Eriodict. [Yerba Santa]
"The dried leaves of Eriodictyon californicum (Hooker and Arnott) Greene (Fam. Hydrophyllaceae), without the presence or admixture of more than 5 per cent. of stems or other foreign matter." U. S.
Mountain Balm, Consumptive's Weed, Bear's Weed, Gum Bush.
Eriodictyon californicum is a low evergreen shrub growing abundantly upon dry hills in California. It is glabrous, resinous, having short petiolate, long lanceolate leaves, irregularly more or less serrate, sometimes entire, whitened beneath, between the reticulations, by a minute and close tomentum, above glabrous. The corolla is tubular funnel-form; the calyx being sparsely hirsute. The leaf structure has been studied by F. W. Ritter. (See A. J. P., 1895, 565.)
E. tomentosum, which grows often along with E. californicum, especially in the southern part of California, is readily distinguished by its dense coat of short villous hairs, whitish or rusty-colored with age. It is also a larger shrub than E. californicum, has its corolla somewhat salverform, and its leaves oblong or oval, and obtuse.
Properties.—The leaves of eriodictyon are characterized by the U. S. Pharmacopoeia as "Usually in fragments; when entire, laminae lanceolate, from 5 to 15 cm. in length, and from 1 to 3 cm. in breadth; summits acute; bases slightly tapering into short petioles; margins irregularly serrate or crenate-dentate; upper surfaces yellowish-brown, covered with a more or less glistening resin; under surfaces grayish or yellowish-white, conspicuously reticulate with greenish-yellow veins; minutely tomentose between the reticulations; thick, brittle; odor aromatic; taste balsamic, bitter, becoming sweetish. Under the microscope, transverse sections of the laminas of Eriodictyon show upon the upper surface large epidermal cells, the outer walls being very uneven, owing to indentations which appear as striations in surface view; glandular hairs numerous, with short 1-celled stalks and 6- to 8-celled glandular heads; palisade cells very narrow, from 2 to 6 rows deep, containing numerous chloroplastids; cells of dorsal-pneumatic tissue (loose mesophyll) very few; fibro-vascular tissues not strongly developed except in the midrib and more prominent veins; numerous 1-celled, much twisted, thick-walled, non-glandular hairs occurring on the lower surface between the veins. Under the microscope, sections of the stems of Eriodictyon show the epidermis usually replaced by strongly lignified cork; cortex of from 10 to 20 rows of more or less rounded cells; bast-fibers deep-seated with thick, more or less strongly lignified walls and occurring in small groups forming a more or less interrupted circle; sieve tissues in a narrow zone; wood-wedges consisting of tracheae with spiral thickenings, simple or bordered pores and numerous strongly lignified wood-fibers, separated by medullary rays 1-cell in width; pith very large, the walls of the cells being strongly lignified and with numerous simple pores." U. S.
Tunmann (Ph. Centralh., 1908, p. 159) describes and illustrates the pharmacognostic and microscopic characteristics of Eriodictyon californicum, and discusses the morphological importance of the oil glands of eriodictyon. H. S. Wellcome (The Pharmacist, 1876, p. 33) found the drug to contain two aromatic resins, while an aqueous infusion of leaves which had been exhausted by alcohol yielded an intensely bitter extract. According to the analysis of Chas. Mohr (A. J. P., 1879, 549), it contains tannic acid and 8 per cent. of an acrid, bitter, resin, upon which its activity is believed to depend, also a minute quantity of volatile oil. R. Rother describes (A. J. P., 1887, p. 225) an acid resin which forms with bases quite soluble salts. The acid resin was obtained at the conclusion of the spontaneous volatilization of the several solvents as a green-yellow transparent mass. Thai (Ph. Z. R., 1883, p. 209) affirmed the presence of ericolin, C34H56O22. Power and Tutin deny that ericolin is present but find besides volatile oil and resin, triacontane, C30H62, pentatriacontane, C35H72, eriodictyol, C15H12O6, homoeriodiciyol, C16H14O6, and a phenol, C16H41O6.
Uses.—Eriodictyon has long been used in California as a bitter tonic, and also as a stimulant balsamic expectorant. There is considerable testimony to its usefulness in asthma, chronic bronchitis, and allied conditions; also in chronic inflammation of the genito-urinary tract. Attention has been called by Kier to its remarkable power of disguising the taste of quinine, and Meyer (Ph. Ztg., 1905) found that it will also mitigate the unpleasantness of hydrastis or aspidium. It is best exhibited in the form of the official fluidextract, the dose of which is one-half to one fluidrachm (1.8-3.75 mils); a solid extract has been made, which may be given in doses of from five to fifteen grains (0.32-1.0 Gm.). In cases of asthma, eriodictyon is often used by smoking. The aromatic syrup is well adapted as a vehicle for quinine.
Dose, fifteen to sixty grains (1.0-3.9 Gm.).
Off. Prep.—Fluidextractum Eriodictyi, U. S.; Elixir Eriodictyi Aromaticum (from Fluidextract), N. F.; Syrupus Eriodictyi Aromaticus (from Fluidextract), N. F.
The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.