1902 Encyclopedia > Jaborandi


JABOBANDI, a name popularly applied in a generic manner in Brazil and South America to a number of different plants, all of which possess more or less marked sialogogue and sudorific properties. In the year 1875 a drug was introduced under the above name to the notice of medical men in France by Dr Coutinho of Pernambuco, its botanical source being then unknown. When examined by Professor Baillon, the fragments of leaves were found to belong to Pilocarpus pennatifolius, Lem., of the natural order Rutacese. About the same time Holmes found that the commercial drug in England consisted also to some extent of P. Selloanus, Engl., and his statement was after-wards confirmed by Baillon, and also by Balansa, the latter of whom observed that species to be employed in Asuncion, and collected for exportation to Europe. P. pennatifolius is a slightly branched shrub about 10 feet high, growing in the eastern provinces of Brazil. The compound imparipinnate leaves, which are placed alternately on the stem, are often If feet long, and consist of from 2 to 5 pairs of opposite leaflets, the terminal one having a longer pedicel than the others. The leaflets are oval,

Jaborandi—a, leaf (reduced); b, leaflet (natural size); c, flower ; d, fruit (natural size).

lanceolate, entire, and obtuse, and often slightly emargi-nate, from 3 to 4 inches long and 1 to inch broad in the middle. When held up to the light they may be observed to have scattered all over them numerous pellucid dots or receptacles of secretion immersed in the substance of the leaf. The leaves in size and texture bear some resemblance to those of the cherry-laurel (Prunus Lauro-cerasus, L.), but are less polished on the upper surface. The flowers, which are produced in spring and early summer, are borne on a raceme, 6 or 8 inches long, and the fruit consists of 5 carpels, of which not more than two or three usually arrive at maturity. These present the characters of the natural order to which the plant belongs. (See Pharm. Journ., ser. 3, vol. v. p. 582.) P. Selloanus differs from the above chiefly in the leaves never being hairy and in the longer and more slender pedicels of the flowers. The leaves are the part of the plant usually imported, although occasionally the stems and roots are attached to them. The active principle for which the name pilocarpine, suggested by Holmes, was ultimately adopted, was discovered almost simultaneously by Hardy in France and Gerrard in England, but was first obtained in a pure state by Petit of Paris. It is an alkaloid, of a soft viscous character, slightly soluble in water, and very soluble in alcohol, ether, and chloroform. It strongly rotates the plane of polarization to the right, and forms crystalline salts of which the nitrate, hydrochlo-rate, and phosphate are those chiefly used in medicine. The nitrate and phosphate are insoluble in ether, chloroform, and benzol, while the hydrochlorate and hydrobromate dissolve both in these menstrua and in water and alcohol; the sulphate and acetate being deliquescent are not employed medicinally. The formula of the alkaloid is given by Kingzett as C23H84N404 + 4H20. The volatile oil contained in the leaves was found by Hardy to be a complex body consisting of pilocarpene, which is a dextro-gyre hydrocarbon, sp. gr. 0"852, boiling at 178° C. (352°'4 Fahr.), of another hydrocarbon boiling at 250° C. (492° Fahr.), and a third boiling at a still higher temperature, and forming a colourless transparent solid.

The physiological action of jaborandi is that of an extremely powerful diaphoretic and sialogogue. It acts as a sedative on the heart, probably influencing the circulation through the terminal branches of the vasomotor nerves, and widening the arteries and lessening their tension. The alkaloid does not cause the nausea and vertigo often resulting from the use of the crude drug. Atropine and pilocarpine have been proved to possess antagonistic and mutually antidotal properties. Jaborandi, in the form of liquid extract, tincture, or alkaloid, has been found useful in some forms of chronic pneumonia, in relieving pleuritic effusion in dropsy, in diabetes insipidus, in Bright's disease, as a galactogogue, and more recently in diphtheria. In small doses it restrains the perspiration of phthisis. It has also been proposed as a remedy for hydrophobia. As a mydriatic pilocarpine is said to possess an advantage over eserine, inasmuch as it contracts the pupil of the eye to an equal extent, while it produces less irritation of the conjunctiva, less supraorbital pain, and less spasm of the accommodating apparatus.

According to Peckolt the following are known in some of the Brazilian provinces as jaborandi:—Serronia Jabor-andi, Guill., Piper reticulatum, L., P. nodulosum, Link., Artanthe mollicoma, Miq., Aubletia trifolia, Rich., Xau-ihoxylum elegans, Engl. To these may be added Piper citrifolium, Lam. Only one of them appears to have undergone chemical examination. In 1875 Parodi isolated from the Serronia Jaborandi a crystalline alkaloid C10H12N2O6, which he named jaborandine. It is slightly soluble in ether, has but a weak affinity for acids, and appears to belong to the piperine group; at the same time a volatile oil of an acrid and biting taste was also obtained from the plant.

See Pharmacographia, 2d ed., p. 113 ; Stille and Maisch, National Dispensatory, 1879 ; Bentley and Trimen, Medicinal Plants, So. 48; Kingsett, Journ. Ghem. Soc, Oct. 1876, p. 367; Hardy, in Pharmaceutical Journal (3) vi. p. 565, vii. p. 496 ; Holmes, Ibid. (3) v. pp. 581, 641, 784 ; and other papers in the same journal and in British Medical Journal, 1875, 1876, 1877. (E. M. H.)

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