Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

A preliminary phytochemical investigation of Ephedra viridis Coville found in Oregon

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  • A species of Ephedra found in southeastern Oregon, identified as Ephedra viridis Coville is reported of medicinal value among the American Indian tribes and other dwellers of that locality in various affections such as venereal diseases, kidney and bladder disturbances, in stomach ulcers and abdominal pains, in delayed menstruation, as blood tonic, as an aid in the relief of rheumatic pains; also in cases of diarrhea in children and for colds. A preliminary phytochemical investigation of this plant, Ephedra viridis Coville, has been undertaken in this report, the purpose of which is to establish the characteristics of the plant and determine its alkaloidal content (ephedrine). A general plant analysis of the drug samples yielded the following results: Moisture, 5.5 to 7 per cent; total ash, 6.5 to 7,9 per cent; water-soluble ash, 0.86 per cent; alkalinity of water-soluble ash, 0.932 (mls. of 0.1 N HCl per gram sample of the drug); water-insoluble ash, 7.12 per cent; alkalinity of water-insoluble ash, 12.323 (mls. 0.1 N HCl per gram sample of the drug); acid-insoluble ash varied from 0.075 to 0.24 per cent, volatile oil constituents varied from 0.29 to 2.4 per cent, the crude fiber content of the drug, 17.3 per cent. The determinations of total extractives with different solvents gave the following results: alcohol-soluble extractive, 33.2 per cent, dilute-alcohol extractive, 17.4 to 23.53 per cent, total ether extractive, 2.765 per cent, volatile-ether soluble extractive portion, 0.32 to 0.34 per cent, nonvolatile- ether soluble extractive, 2.5 per cent, petroleum ether extractive, 1.7 to 2.2 per cent, and water-soluble extractive, l6.3 per cent. The alkaloidal content of this sample of Ephedra viridis Coville, determined according to the official assay of bella donna leaf varied from 0.02 to 0.299 per cent. Because of this insignificant alkaloidal content, the therapeutic value (with regards to ephedrine) of this plant by the Indian tribes appears questionable.
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