SCOPARII. N. F., Br. SCOPARIUS Scopar. [Broom Tops] USD 1926
Compiled by Ivor Hughes

" Scoparius consists of the dried tops of Cytisus scoparius (Linne) Link (Fam. Leguminosae). Scoparius contains not more than 5 per cent, of stems over 3 mm. in diameter and not more than 2 per cent, of other foreign organic matter." N. F.

" Broom Tops are the fresh and the dried tops of Cytisus scoparius, Link." Br.

Scoparlus Cacumina, Br.; HerbaScoparii; Spartium; Irish or Scotch Broom; Besom; Gen�t & balais, Fr.; Gemeine Besenginster, Besenginster, Besenkraut, Pfriemenkraut, G.

Cytisus scoparius is a common European shrub, cultivated as a sand-binder and locally naturalized on the Atlantic Coast at Nova Scotia and from northern Massachusetts to Virginia. It is a low, densely branched, glabrous shrub, from three to eight feet high, with numerous straight, pentangular, bright green, very flexible branches, and small, oblong leaves, usually trifoliate, but on the upper part of the plant sometimes simple. The flowers are numerous, papilionaceous, large, showy, of a golden-yellow color, and solitary or in pairs upon short axillary peduncles. The seeds are contained in a compressed legume, which is hairy at the sutures. It is essential that true broom be carefully distinguished from Spanish broom (Spartium Junceum}, since a number of cases of poisoning have occurred from the substitution of the dried flowers of Spartium for those of broom. (See Part II.)

The whole plant has a bitter, nauseous taste, and, when bruised, a strong, peculiar odor. The tops of the branches are used in medicine.

Description and Physical Properties. � " Unground Scoparius.� Stems thin, flexible, with branched twigs, from 1 to 3 mm. in thickness, more or less angled and winged; externally dark green, nearly glabrous, with numerous reddish brown cork patches; internally yellowish, fracture short-fibrous, that of thicker pieces tough and splintery; leaves present in small amount or absent, upper leaves sessile, with often only one obovate leaflet. Odor slight, on bruising more distinct and peculiar; taste disagreeable, bitter.

Powdered Scoparius.� Dark green; non-glandular, non-lignified hairs, unicellular, pointed, very long and more or less curved with thick walls over which are numerous small projections; fragments of leaf and stem tissue composed of chlorenchyma or epidermis, broadly elliptical stomata from 0.022 to 0.035 mm. in length; fibers with thin walls and simple pores, the fibers from 0.006 to 0.025 mm. in diameter and associated with pith and wood parenchyma and trachea with spiral thickenings; starch grains occasional, from 0.007 to 0.020 mm. in diameter; pollen grains few." N. F.

Stem dark green, with long, straight, slender, alternate branches; the latter, like the upper part of the stem, winged, tough, flexible and glabrous. Leaves, when present, small, sessile, and simple above, stalked and trifoliate below. Odor of the fresh tops, especially when bruised, characteristic; the dry tops almost inodorous. NF.

The seeds are reported to be used sometimes,
and to be as active as the tops. Farwell (A. J. P., 1922, xciv, 429) says that the Osyrius alba is common in the market as a substitute for, or an adulterant of, Scoparius. There is considerable resemblance between the two but in the crude drug they can be distinguished by the fact that in the osyrius the stems are many striated, instead of five-angled as in the scoparius, and that the leaf buds are at the apex of the angles, instead of in the channels between them, and that the wood of the osyrius is white instead of yellowish. The powder of the osyrius is of much lighter color than that of the scoparius.

Constituents.� According to Cadet de Gassi-court, the flowers contain volatile oil, fatty matter, wax, chlorophyll, yellow coloring matter, tannin, a sweet substance, mucilage, albumen, and lignin. Stenhouse has separated from them two principles, scoparin and an alkaloid sparteine. Scoparin is a neutral substance. Stenhouse gives its composition as C21H22O10, but Goldschmidt and Himmelmayer (Ap. Ztg., 1893, 566) give the following formula: C10H16O8(OH)(OCH3). It is in stellate crystals, only slightly soluble in cold water, more readily in hot water with greenish light yellow color, easily soluble in alkaline solutions or in alcohol. It is decomposed by heat. When fused with potassium hydroxide it yields, according to Hlasiwetz, phloroglucin and protocatechuic acid. Sparteine, C15H26N2, was first obtained by distillation from the mother waters of the scoparin. Broom tops yield from 0.23 to 0.68 per cent, of sparteine, according to the time of collection, being richest in spring and poorest in summer at the flowering time of the plant. It is a colorless liquid having a peculiar bitter taste, and all the properties of a volatile alkaloid. Its sulphate occurs in colorless crystals, and is freely soluble in water. (See Sparteine Sulphate, Part II). For the commercial extraction of sparteine the ground drug is macerated for several days in a weak solution of sulphuric acid. This infusion is neutralized and evaporated to a syrupy consistency. It is then made alkaline and subjected to steam distillation. The volatilized sparteine is converted into the sulphate and purified by crystallization from water and finally from alcohol.

By the action of potassium dichromate and sulphuric acid, oxysparteine, C15H24N2O, is formed, which has been used in medicine (see Part II). For further chemistry of sparteine and its derivatives see Schmidt, Pharmaceutische Chemie, 3te Auf., Bd. ii, 1276 and Henry, Plant Alkaloids, 2nd ed., 1924, p. 120. Taleur (C. E. A. S., 1918, clxvii, p. 163) has reported two other alkaloids, one volatile and one non-volatile; the former he calls Genisteine and gives it the formula C16H28N2; the second he names Sarothamnine, C15H24N2.

Uses.� Seoparius is diuretic and cathartic, and in large doses emetic, and has been employed with advantage in dropsy. Cullen prescribed it in the form of decoction, made by boiling half an ounce of the fresh tops in a pint of water down to half a pint, of which he gave a fluid-ounce (30 cc.) every hour until it operated by stool or urine. The seeds may be given in powder, in the dose of from ten to fifteen grains (0.65-1.0 Gm.).

Scoparin probably represents the diuretic and purgative influences of scoparius, although its physiological and therapeutic properties have not as yet been sufficiently investigated. For description of the effects of sparteine, see Sparteine Sulphate.

Dose, of scoparius, ten to fifteen grains (0.65-1.0 Gm.).

Off. Prep.� Fluidextractum Seoparii, N. F.; Infusum Seoparii, Br.; Succus Seoparii, Br.

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