Stillingia. U. S.
Stillingia. Stilling. [Queen's Root]
"The dried roots of Stillingia sylvatica Linné (Fam. Euphorbiaceae). Preserve Stillingia in tightly-closed containers, adding a few drops of chloroform or carbon tetrachloride, from tune to time, to prevent attack by insects." U. S.
Silver Leaf, Queen's Delight, Yaw Root; Stillingie, Fr., G.
Stillingia sylvatica is an indigenous perennial plant* commonly called Queen's delight, with herbaceous stems, two or three feet high, and alternate, sessile, oblong or lanceolate-oblong, obtuse serrulate leaves, tapering at the base, and accompanied with stipules. The staminate and pistillate flowers are distinct upon the same plant. They are yellow, and arranged in the form of a spike, of which the upper part is occupied by the male, the lower by the female flowers. The staminate florets are scarcely longer than the bracteal scales. The plant grows in pine barrens from Maryland to Florida and west to Kansas and Texas, flowering in May and June. When wounded it emits a milky juice.
Properties.—The root, which is the part used, is large, thick, and woody. It is officially described as "entire, terete, unequally tapering, rarely branched, usually in pieces attaining a length of 40 cm. and from 0.5 to 3 cm. in diameter, externally reddish-brown, longitudinally wrinkled; fracture very fibrous; internally the bark is light reddish-brown, thick, spongy, finely fibrous, with numerous resin cells and easily separable from the porous, radiate wood; odor distinct; taste bitter, acrid and pungent. The powder is pinkish-brown or light reddish-brown; when examined under the microscope it exhibits numerous starch grains from 0.005 to 0.035 mm. in diameter, mostly single, very variable in shape, and usually with a central cleft; numerous fragments, with more or less tabular secretion cells, containing a reddish-brown, amorphous, resinous substance; fragments of tracheae mostly with simple pores and associated with wood-fibers, the walls being very thin, lignified and possessing numerous, transverse, slit-like simple pores; bast-fibers long, narrow, the walls thick and slightly lignified; fragments of reddish-brown cork cells; occasionally crystals of calcium oxalate in rosette aggregates about 0.035 mm. in diameter. Stillingia yields not more than 5 per cent. of ash." U. S.
The odor is slight, peculiar, and somewhat oleaginous, but in the recent root. is said to be strong and acrimonious. The taste is bitterish and pungent, leaving an impression of disagreeable acrimony in the mouth and fauces. Holm gives an excellent illustrated article on the pharmacognosy of stillingia in Merck's Rep., xx, p. 412. W. Saunders has obtained from the root a volatile oil, which he found to possess the odor, taste, and peculiar acrimony of the root in a high degree. He procured six and a quarter ounces from five pounds of the dried root. It had a thick consistence, and required the addition of alcohol to render it fit for manipulation. Wm. Bichy (A. J. P., 1885, p. 529) found an alkaloid which he named stillingine. It was obtained as an amorphous powder, volatilizable on heating, forming a sulphate in fine scale-like crystals.
Uses.—In large doses Stillingia is emetic and cathartic, but is rarely used for these purposes. Smaller quantities have been supposed to exercise an alterative effect upon the system and are used in syphilitic and scrofulous conditions. The drug is probably, however, without any real value.
Dose, half a drachm to a drachm (2.0-3.9 Gm.).
Off. Prep.—Fluidextractum Stillingiae, U. S.; Elixir Corydalis Compositum (from Fluidextract), N. F.; Fluidextractum Stillingiae Compositum, N. F.; Syrupus Stillingiae Compositus, N. F.
The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.