XII.—The constituents of Piper ovatum
Journal of the Chemical Society Transactions
the Superinteudenf of the Royal Botanic Garden, at Trinidad, to whom me are indebted for a further supply of the material. The plant somewhat resembles Jaborandi in appearance, and has been employed in Trinidad as a remedy for snake bite, and as a cure for hydrophobia in animals. When chewed, it gives rise t o a persistent tingling of the tongue and lips, which is followed by a sensation of numbness, accompanied by profuse salivation, in these respects recalling pellitory. Some irritation at
... me irritation at the back of the throat is also observed. All parts of the plant-leaves, stem, and root-possess this property, b u t the leaves and root zppear to act more powerfully than the stem ; the leaves have an aromatJic taste due t o an essential oil which is absent from the root. The following is a brief botanical description of Piper ovaturrh, taken partly from Grisebach and partly from our own observations. Shrub, 2-4 feet high; root woody, spreading. Stems erect, slender, somewhat woody, branching in zigzags, nodes tumid ; leaves alternate, 3-6 inches long, 2-3 inches broad, ovate, pointed, broadly cuneate at base, papery opaque, glabrous ; petiole channelled, naked, about &-$ inch long. Plowers usually racemose, pedicles jointed with the flower. Bracts cucullate, usually a t the base of a pedicel ; stamens -4 (-3) inserted round the ovary; stigmas 4, sessile. Pericarp baccate, tetragonal. Berries pedicellate, somewhat longer than their pedicel, rounded at base, mucronate with a bluntish point. Habitat, Trinidad. A number of the living plants have been brought to England, in Wardian cases, and are at present growing at Kew Gardens, but so far they have shown no signs of flowering. V o I a t i I e Cons t i t tc e r h . As the aromatic taste of the leaves suggested the probability of the presence of a volatile oil, the leaves were distilled with steam in the usual manner and the distillate extracted with ether. By Chis means a small quantity of an almost colourless, volatile, aromatic oil was ob-of piperovatine is very similar t o that of the medicinal pellitory, the Anacyclus Pyrethrum of the Pharmacopoeia, and it might be useful t o determine how far this similarity can be tzaced, and also whether Piper ovatum or its alkalo'id piperovatine could be used medicinally in the place of pellitory.