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Related article: which were gathered at the time of flowering.
My own experience is with three lots of first-year leaves, all of which
were garden-grown. One was grown at Madison, Wisconsin in 1908, and
two in the Government drug garden ot Arlington, Virginia, one of the
1907 crop, the other of the 1909. The leaves were powdered to number
60 powder and then made up into tinctures Phenergan 25 according to the U. S. P.
VIII. The results of their assay were as follows in terms of heart units
per Cc. (By heart unit is meant the amount of the preparation per
gram weight of frog to produce the Phenergan 25 end reaction). Arlington, 1907, 200
heart units; Arlington, 1909, 200 heart units; Wisconsin, 1908, 182 heart
units. A tincture made up from Allen's English leaves at the same time
and in as nearly the same manner as possible contained 133 heart units
per Cc, or in terms of per cent, the first-year leaves were 50, 50 and 37
per cent, stronger than select English leaves of the second year's growth.
As a further proof of the h:gh activity of these lots of first year leaves it is
of interest to note that in all my experience with assay work only one
other tincture, presumably made from second-year leaves showed as high
values as these.
In connection with these assays a further interesting fact is to be noted,
namely that this high value was given Phenergan 25 by leaves grown in gardens. The
often repeated statement that wild growing plants furnish leaves of the
higher potency probably is true in many instauces but it seems doubtful
that this fact alone has much to do with high activity and that to specify
either second-year plants Phenergan 25 or leaves from wild growing plants in the phar-
macopoeia will decrease the variability factor or increase the Phenergan 25 potency of
the preparations made from them.
A point often made, and which would seem to have considerable impor-
tance in securing digitalis leaves of a high value, relates to the manner of
drying. Hamilton as early as 1807 warned physicians against the use of
Digitized by VjOOQ IC
926 MlNUl'ES OF THE SECTION ON SCIENTIFIC PAPERS.
improperly dried leaves and since then many similar reports based either
on clinical or experimental knowledge have been made. Focke especially
lays Phenergan 25 much stress on this point not only as Phenergan 25 a means of securing preparations
of high activity, but what is equally important, of delaying their deteriora
tion with age. As a result of his work he recommends that the leaves
should be so dried as to contain not more than 1.5 per cent, moisture and
to maintain this condition that they should be stored in air-tight glass
My own experience regarding this point is by no means extensive nor
is it absolute. However a number of facts have developed to show that
leaves as ordinarily dried and containing approximately 5 to 8 per cent,
of moisture may maintain a high potency for some time. Thus an assay
of digitalis leaves at least 8 years old and entirely open to the influence of
atmospheric conditions had as marked activity as fresh English leaves ;
1907 first year leaves examined in 19 to were as active as first year leaves
of the 1909 crop. Both were only ordinarily dried and were stored in
cloth bags in a climate that is very humid. Nevertheless and possibly
further attesting the potency of first year leaves, these were of exception-
ally high activity. 1908 English leaves, containing 7.8 per cent, moisture
were examined 1909 and again a year later showing the same activity in
each case. Thus there does not seem to be necessarily any marked deter-
ioration because of ordinary amounts of moisture. But if sufficient mois-
ture be added as in one instance to cause moulding, the decrease in activ-
ity in nine months was about 90 per cent. In conclusion therefore it
seems probable that while careful and prompt drying is of some impor-
tance it is not at all essential to reduce the moisture content to 1.5 per
In this connection the use of heat as an aid to the drying process is of
importance. Several small lots of powdered digitalis were submitted to
temperatures ranging from 80