Gossypii Radicis Cortex. Br.
Cotton Root Bark
Preparations: Cottonseed Oil
"Cotton Boot Bark is the dried root-bark of Gossypium herbaceum, Linn., and of other cultivated species of Gossypium." Br.
"The recently-gathered air-dried bark of the root of one or more of the cultivated varieties of Gossypium herbaceum Linne, Gossypium Barbadense Linne, or Gossypium arboreum Linne (Fam. Malvaceae), without the presence of more than 5 per cent. of wood or other foreign matter." N. F.
Gossypii Cortex, N.F.; Ecorce de la Racine de Cottonnier Fr.; Baumwoll-Wurzelrinde, G.; Corteza de la raiz d'algodon, Sp.
In consequence of changes produced in the plants of this genus by cultivation, botanists have found great difficulty in determining which are distinct species and which are merely varieties. By some taxonomists more than fifty species of Gossypium are recognized. There are only 5 or 6 species which yield useful products and the bulk of the cotton is the product of two species: G. herbaceum L., which furnishes the Upland or short staple cotton, and G. barbadense L., the source of the Sea Island or long staple cotton. All of the species are of tropical origin. The Upland cotton has been cultivated in East India and Arabia since ancient times. The Sea Island cotton is indigenous to America and is of the type observed by Columbus.
Gossypium herbaceum is a biennial or triennial plant, with a branching stem from two to six feet high, and palmate hoary leaves, the lobes of which are somewhat lanceolate and acute. The flowers possess yellow petals, having a purple spot near the claw. The leaves of the involucre or outer calyx are serrate. The capsule opens when ripe, and displays a loose white tuft of long slender filaments, which surround the seeds and adhere firmly to the outer coating. The plant is a native of Asia, but is cultivated in most tropical countries. It requires a certain duration of warm weather to perfect its seeds, and, in the United States, does not mature north of Virginia.
The herbaceous part of the plant contains much mucilage, and has been used as a demulcent. The seeds yield by expression a fixed oil of the semi-drying kind, which is employed for making soap and for other purposes. (See Oleum Gossypii.) The bark of the root has been supposed to possess medicinal virtues, and is recognized by the National Formulary IV. Another portion, for which the plant is cultivated, is the filamentous substance surrounding the seeds. This, when separated, constitutes the cotton of commerce, and when purified, is official as Purified Cotton. Cotton seeds have been employed in our Southern States with great asserted success in the treatment of intermittents, but are at present seldom, if ever used. (For details, see U. S. D., 16th ed.) For an account of a microscopical and microchemical examination of cotton root bark by F. W. Morgan, see A. J. P., 1898, p. 427. Farwell has made a histological study of the root and stem barks. (See Merck's Rep., 1914, p. 133.) The drug of commerce frequently contains a considerable woody material. It is said it deteriorates with age and therefore only recently gathered bark should be used.
Properties.—Cotton Root Bark is described as: "In strips or quilled pieces; thin, tough and fibrous. Cork thin, pale brown, longitudinally striated; removed in places and then disclosing the orange-brown cortex. Inner surface whitish, silky and finely striated. Secondary bast readily separable into thin fibrous laminae. No odor, taste slightly acrid and astringent." Br.
The N. F. describes the bark as follows: "In flexible bands or quilled pieces, attaining a length of 30 cm. and a thickness o£ about 1 mm.; outer surface orange-brown, smooth, slightly wrinkled, with small circular lenticels, the outer corky layer frequently exfoliated and showing the more or less fissured and fibrous middle bark; inner surface light brown, longitudinally striate; fracture tough, fibrous, the inner bark readily separable into fibrous layers. Odor slight; taste very slightly acrid. Under the microscope, sections of Cotton Root Bark show an outer layer of cork composed of four to six layers of tabular, thin-walled, yellowish-brown, non-lignified cells; a thin primary cortex, consisting of starch-bearing parenchyma and an occasional large secretion reservoir with yellowish-brown contents; inner bark with large groups of bast fibers arranged in interrupted, concentric circles, separated radially by medullary rays and tangentially by the leptome or sieve tissue; bast fibers from 0.3 to 1 mm. in length and about 0.015 mm. in width, the walls being about 0.005 mm. in thickness, strongly lignified and with very few pores, the ends being acute and markedly attenuate; medullary rays one to six cells wide, the cells usually filled with starch grains; the latter from 0.003 to 0.02 mm. in diameter; occasional cells containing rosette aggregates of calcium oxalate from 0.009 to 0.025 mm. in diameter. Cotton Root Bark yields not more than 7 per cent. of ash." N. F.
E. S. Wayne, of Cincinnati, found in it a peculiar acid resin, colorless and soluble in water, when pure, but absorbing oxygen on exposure, and then becoming red and insoluble in water. It is deposited from the fluidextract on standing. He suggests that this may be the active principle of the root; but the fact has not been determined. (A. J. P., 1872.) William C. Staehle (A. J. P., 1875) made an examination of this resin, and obtained results somewhat different from those of Wayne. Staehle's percolate was of a dark reddish-brown color, while Wayne's was pale amber. This is accounted for, however, by the presence of a principle which is colorless in the fresh bark, but of a dark red in bark which has been exposed to air and light. W. A. Taylor noticed that the change in color from pale amber to dark red took place in an alcoholic tincture. (A. J. P., 1876.) Staehle found the resin soluble in 14 parts of alcohol, 15 parts of chloroform, 23 parts of ether, and 122 parts of benzene.
Power and Browning (P. J., 1914, xciii, 420) found in an investigation of cotton root bark the following constituents: acetovanillone (in the steam distillate), a phenolic acid (probably two-thirds dihydroxybenzoic acid), salicylic acid, a new colorless phenolic substance, C9H10O3, a new yellow phenolic substance, C13H18O6, betaine, a fatty alcohol, C20H42O, a phytosterol, C27H46O, triacontane, ceryl alcohol,. oleic and palmitic acids, and a sugar. Almost all of these constituents were separated from the resinous extractive which constituted between 10 and 11 per cent. of the air dried bark. No tannin was present and no alkaloids were detected.
Uses.—Cotton root bark was introduced into medicine by Bouchelle (A. J. M. S., August, 1840), who stated that it was habitually resorted to by the slaves of the south as an abortifacient. His favorable opinion has been confirmed by various southern practitioners, and Scott (T. G., 1911) has shown experimentally that cotton root bark increases the contractions and tonus of the uterus in the lower animals, although it is somewhat less powerful than ergot. It is used not only to strengthen the contractions in uterine inertia during labor, but also in the treatment of metrorrhagias, especially when dependent on fibroids. Bellany, of Georgia, asserts that the root should be gathered as late as possible in the fall before frost. Bouchelle used a decoction made by boiling four ounces of the inner bark of the root in a quart of water down to a pint, of which he gave a wine glass full (60 mils) every twenty or thirty minutes. The U. S. P., 1890, recognized a fluidextract (see U. S. Dispensatory, 19th edition, p. 525); for the N. F. IV fluidextract, see Part III.
Dose, thirty to sixty grains (2.0-3.9 Gm.).
The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.