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A phytochemical and pharmacological study of the berries of Phytolacca americana Linne

, : A phytochemical and pharmacological study of the berries of Phytolacca americana Linne. Sci Ed Jour Amer Pharm Assoc 31(3): 81-84

The petroleum ether extractive of the drug consisted of 7.8% which was subdivided mechanically into a fixed oil and a crystalline sterol-like compound. The fixed oil was saponified, glycerol was identified, and the fatty acids were separated into saturated and unsatd. fractions. Each fraction was methylated and distilled fractionally in vacuo. On the basis of the mean mol. wts. and calculations the satd. fatty acids consisted of palmitic acid[long dash]50.7%, stearic acid[long dash]45.6%, and arachidic acid[long dash]3.8%. The unsatd. fatty acid fraction consisted of oleic acid. The sterol-like compound (C28H46O3), m.p. 297[degree]-298[degree] C, possessed no alkoxy groups. One acetyl group was introduced with pyridine and acetyl chloride. The acetylated derivative melted at 303c-304[degree] C. Upon hydrolysis one methyl group was removed and the melting point of the resultant product was 287[degree]-288[degree] C. The non-saponifiable portion of the oil consisted of Hentriacontane and a sterol. The sterol (C31H56O H2O) melted at 166[degree] C. One acetyl group was introduced with acetic anhydride. The acetylated derivative melted at 175[degree] C. Extracts of the berries of P. americana were prepd. and introduced by oral, intraperit., and intraven. routes into rats, rabbits, and cats. A mild degree of depression occurred in rats from intraperit. injns. and in rabbits and cats from intraven. injns. A gradual rise in blood pressure resulted when intraven. injns. were made into anesthetised rabbits and cats. Also there occurred occasional extra systoles, increased pulse pressure due to a decrease in the diastolic pressure and a decrease in the rate and depth of respiration. The toxicity of Phytolacca berries was not as great as that of Phytolacca root.


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