Grindelia. U. S., Br.
"The dried leaves and flowering tops of Grindelia camporum Greene, or Grindelia cuneifolia Nuttall, or Grindelia squarrosa (Pursh.) Dunal (Fam. Compositae), without the presence or admixture of more than 10 per cent. of stems or other foreign matter." U. S. "Grindelia consists of the dried leaves and flowering tops of Grindelia camporum, Greene." Br.
California Gum-plant; Grindelia, Fr.; Grindelie, G.
The genus Grindelia includes some twenty-five species, six or eight of which are found in South America and the remainder occurring in the United States west of the Mississippi. They are coarse perennial or biennial herbs, being occasionally shrub-like. Most, if not all, of the species produce a resinous exudation on the stem and leaves and especially on the flower-heads. The leaves are alternate, sessile or clasping and spinulose-dentate. The flowers occur in large terminal heads composed of both discoid and radiate yellow flowers. The ray flowers are pistillate and the involucre is more or less hemispherical, the bracts being imbricated, in several series, being usually subulate-tipped. The drug of the market appears to be derived in large part from G. camporum Greene, which is the common "gum plant" of California. It occurs abundantly in the inner coast ranges, where it has been collected in quantity in Lake and Napa Counties. It is also common in the foot hills of the Sierra Nevada and is almost the only plant found on the plains in certain regions of the Sacramento Valley. The leaves are oblong or spatulate, sessile or clasping, coarsely serrate and of a pale-green .color. The flower-heads are yellow and the involucre consists of several rows of lanceolate acuminate recurved bracts. The achenes are distinctive in this species and are usually biauriculate or more rarely unidentate at the summit.
G. cuneifolia closely resembles G. camporum. The leaves are cuneate oblong or linear oblong and either sessile or amplexicaul. It is a marsh plant and is not as glutinous as G. camporum. The leaves of this species, in addition to their being cuneiform in shape, are darker green and not so thick as in G. camporum. The achenes are compressed and closely resemble those of G. camporum.
G. squarrosa is a common plant on the prairies and dry banks of the West. It has been reported as occurring from the Saskatchewan to Minnesota, Texas and California. It is a glabrous, erect, branching herb having linear-oblong or spatulate leaves, which are more or less clasping at the base and sharply spinulose-dentate. It is especially characterized by the bracts of the involucre being linear-lanceolate, subulate tipped and spreading or squarrose at the summit, giving the species its name. The achenes are truncate, those of the outer flowers being usually thicker. The pappus consists of two or three awns.
It was formerly supposed that the drug of commerce was derived from G. robusta. The studies of Perredes (Proc. A. Ph. A., 1906, 370) showed this not to be the case. G. robusta is apparently not a very common plant and is distinguished by having cordate-oblong, amplexicaul, coarsely serrate leaves. The involucre is squarrose and leafy at the base. The pappus consists of two awns. At one time both G. cuneifolia and G. camporum were considered merely as varieties of G. robusta.
According to Joseph Beauvais (A. J. P., Feb., 1889), the resin of the leaf of G. robusta is contained in epidermal glands, and also in rather large resin-ducts situated in an interior collenchymatous layer.
Properties.—The official description of grin-delta is as follows: "Stems with attached branches terminated with resinous flower-buds; stems cylindrical, not exceeding 2 mm. in diameter; light yellow or rose-colored, with alternate leaf-scars, occasionally with basal portions of leaves, sometimes more or less irregularly flexuous and coated with resin, especially at the nodes; leaves usually separate and more or less broken and varying in shape when entire from oblong and lanceolate, to oblanceolate-spatulate and cuneate-spatulate, from 1 to 7 cm. in length, mostly sessile or amplexicaul and more or less sharply serrate or evenly spinosely-toothed, pale yellow to yellowish-green, very resinous, somewhat coriaceous and brittle; bracts of flowering branches almost entire and usually more or less spreading; heads more or less resinous, viscid, many-flowered, either conical-urceolate or depressed-urceolate, involucres from 5 to 20 mm. in breadth, composed of numerous imbricated bracts with more or less recurved tips; fray flowers yellow, ligulate and pistillate; disk florets yellow, tubular and perfect; pappus of two or three mostly unequal linear awns about the length of the disk florets; disk achenes more or less ovoid or oblong; more or less compressed or triquetrous, and either biauriculate or broadly unidentate or with a broad truncate corky, thickened summit; odor balsamic; taste aromatic and bitter, resinous. The powder is yellowish-brown; consisting of numerous fibrous fragments made up of tissues of the stem, the most prominent being the tracheae with annular and spiral thickenings or marked with simple or bordered pores, associated with numerous, narrow, strongly lignified wood-fibers; pith cells more or less tabular and containing a layer of protoplasm in which are embedded numerous spheroidal granules; fragments of epidermis of leaves very characteristic and. showing more or less polygonal areas containing large chloroplastids, and the large, colorless, basal cells of the multicellular glandular hairs; -pollen grains spherical, about 0.035 mm. in diameter, spinose, and in section showing three pores." U. S.
"Stems slender, yellow, smooth. Leaves three to five centimetres long, oblong or spatulate, sessile or amplexicaul, pale green, rigid, brittle, smooth, glabrous; surface minutely dotted; margin coarsely serrate. Flower-heads yellow, hard, resinous, with several rows of lanceolate-acuminate, recurved bracts. Fruits biauriculate or unidentate at the summit, with a pappus consisting of two thick, stiff bristles. All parts more or less resinous. Slightly aromatic odor, taste aromatic and bitter." Br.
As it occurs in commerce, grindelia is in the form of the whole dried herb; the stems are about eighteen inches in length, light brownish, very frequently stripped of their leaves, but with some of the floral heads adherent. The brittle leaves are much broken, and, with separate floral heads, are mixed with the stem. The taste is warm, peculiar, and very persistent. Tunmann (Ph. Zentralh., 1908, p. 457) has made an excellent pharmacognostical study of G. robusta. Wohn (Merck's Rep., 1910, p. 310) presents the results of a morphological study of G. squarrosa. Farwell (D. C., 1907, p. 460) reports having received one of the California "tar weeds," Hemizouella minima Gray, for grindelia. The plant is very diminutive in size, but the inflorescence is very glutinous. Perredes (P. J., 1909, xxix, pp. 596 and 604) gives the results of some experiments in the cultivation of G. camporum. The activity of the drug probably resides in the resinous exudation. C. J. Rademaker obtained from it an oil, the odor of which closely resembled that of oil of turpentine, resin, and a crystalline body having an alkaline reaction. (N. R., 1S76, p. 205.) W. H. dark and John L. Fischer (A. J. P., 1888, p. 433) failed to verify all of Rademaker's results, but obtained an alkaline principle to which the name of grindeline was given. A. Schneegans (A. J. P., 1892, 369) found in Grindelia robusta, saponin, which, he states, is composed of two glucosides; he also found indications of an alkaloid, but believes that its presence is not yet certainly proved. See also M. R., 1898, 394. Grindelia robusta is said to contain 0.28 per cent. of a dark-brown essential oil, having a specific gravity of 0.9582 at 15° C. (59° F.), and the optical rotation in alcoholic solution of -8° 08'. It is soluble in ether, amyl alcohol, and chloroform. (Ph. Ztg., 48, 574.)
Uses.—Grindelia is possessed of only feeble physiologic powers, but according to Buffington, when given to the lower animals in very large doses produces narcosis, with dilated pupils, slowing of the action of the heart from stimulation of the inhibitory nerves, and elevation of the blood pressure from stimulation of the vasomotor center. Dobroklowsky has found that it had a primary stimulating and later depressant effect on the isolated frog's heart. He further states that it acts chiefly upon the motor nerves and muscles, but Buffington asserts that it paralyzes first the sensory nerve-trunks, than the sensory side of the spinal cord, and afterwards involves the motor nerve-trunks and cord. Grindelia is used almost solely in the treatment of bronchial catarrhs, especially when there is a tendency to asthma. Its action is probably simply that of a stimulating expectorant, but some believe it exerts also an antispasmodic influence. It is frequently used in conjunction with stramonium leaves in the preparation of "Asthma powders" or cigarettes. It has been employed with asserted success in whooping cough. Its active principles appear to be excreted from the kidneys; hence, after large doses, there are sometimes evidences of renal irritation, and in chronic catarrh of the bladder good has been effected by its stimulant influence upon the mucous membrane of the viscus. As a local application, grindelia has been employed with asserted advantage in burns, vaginitis, genito-urinary catarrh, etc., applied either in the form of a poultice or in solution. It has considerable use also as a local application in the treatment of rhus poisoning. The fluidextract, diluted with water, is employed.
Dose, thirty to forty grains (2.0-2.6 Gm.).
Off. Prep.—Fluidextractum Grindeliae, U. S. (Br.).
The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.