Definition: They are materials that consist of mixtures of chemical
substances, having a fairly uniform structure and are not composed of
✓ They are usually derived from parts of plants or animals by some
processes of extraction, incision (opium), decoction (agar), expression
(oils) or they are natural secretions (beeswax).
✓ They are frequently solid, but some are fluids e.g. oils and balsams..
based on their origin and nature they can be classified into:
1- Dried Latex (e.g. Opium)
2- Dried Juices (e.g. Aloes)
3- Extracts (e.g. Catechu, Agar and Gelatin)
4- Gums (e.g. Acacia and Tragacanth)
5- Resin & Resin combinations :
a- Acid Resin (e.g. Colophony)
b- Glycosidal Resin (e.g. Podophyllum)
c- Oleo-resin (e.g. Copaiba)
d- Oleo-gum-resin (e.g. Asafoetida and Myrrh)
6-Balsams (e.g. Benzoin and Balsam Tolu)
1- DRIED LATEX
Latex is an emulsion or suspension, it occurs in the plants in
lactiferous cells, tubes or vessels, from which it is obtained by
incision of the plant.
OPIUM: [Raw Opium]
Sources: Opium is the dried latex obtained by
incision of the fully grown but unripe capsules of
the opium poppy Papaver somniferum Linné (F.:
It is official in E. P
. under the name Opium and
known in commerce as Raw Opium.
Geog. Sources: Turkey, former Yugoslavia, Iran,
Bulgaria, India and Pakistan.
Collection and Preparation:
➢ Incisions are made into the wall of the capsule in the afternoon.
➢ a milky exudate (latex) soon collects around these incisions and is
scraped off with a knife early on the following morning.
➢ The latex is dried partly by spontaneous evaporation and partly by
➢ The manner of making incision, method of drying latex and the
shape of opium cake differs according to the country of origin.
Opium contains about 25 alkaloids occur in combination with meconic acid:
1- Phenanthrene alkaloids: morphine (9.5 to 20 %, when acetylated forms
heroin), codeine (methyl morphine, 0.3 to 0.4%) and thebaine.
2- Benzylisoquinoline alkaloids : papaverine and narcotine (noscapine).
3- Phenylethylamine alkaloid : narceine.
1- Test for meconic acid:
The solution + FeCl3 : deep purple color which is not destroyed by boiling
or by adding cold dil. HCl or mercuric chloride.
2- Test for morphine :
Morphine is sparingly soluble in cold water but readily soluble in NaOH
(a) Deniges test: 10 ml solution + 2 ml 3% H2O2 + 1 ml 10% ammonia +
one drop of CuSO4 : red color.
(b) Marquis test: evaporate the solution in a dish, then add one drop of
formaldehyde + 1 ml H2SO4: purple blue colour changes to blue.
3- Test for papaverine :
Warren’s test: a small crystal of potassium permanganate is mixed with 0.5
mg of papaverine then treated with 0.2 ml of Marqui's reagent (2 - 3 drops
of 40% formaldehyde solution are mixed with 3 ml of conc. sulphuric):
green color rapidly.
➢ Morphine is used as a sedative, hypnotic and it is a powerful narcotic
analgesic agent (in trauma, fracture bones, surgical operations, pain of cancer
➢ Codeine and narcotine are used as antitussive (Cough sedative)
➢ Papaverine is used as antispasmodic, in peripheral thrombosis, bronchial
asthma and myocardial infarction.
➢ In general, Opium is used in treatment of diarrhoea and as diaphoretic.
2- DRIED JUICES
Juices are aqueous liquids containing dissolved substances. They
occur in special structures as cells or cavities and obtained by
incision or cutting.
Sources: Aloes is the solid residue obtained by evaporating the liquid which
drains from the transversely cut leaves of various species of Aloe, : Aloe ferox
Miller (Cape aloes), Aloe barbadenesis Miller = Aloe vera Linné (Curacao
aloes), Aloe perryi Baker (Socotrine or Zanzibar aloes) (F.: Liliaceae).
(1) Cape aloes : South Africa and Kenya.
(2) Curacao aloes : West Indian island of Curacao.
(3) Socotrine or Zanzibar aloes: island of Socotria in East Africa.
Anthraquinones, aloe-emodin, aloetin, aloenin and alomicin.
C-glycosides of anthrone derivatives (aloin).
The glycosides (aloin) contains not less than 70% of barbaloin.
isobarbaloin found in quantity in Curacao and in smaller amounts in the Cape and
absent from Socotrine aloes.
Mucopolysaccharides, organic acids (tartaric and malic), amino acids, minerals and
A- General tests:
Boil 1g of drug with 100 ml of water, add Kieselguhr and filter
1- Schönteten's reaction:
To 5 ml of the filtrate add 0.2 g of borax and heat until dissolved, transfer 5-10
drops of this solution to test tube full of water : green fluorescence (positive with
all types of aloes, due to anthranols).
2- Bromine test:
To 2 ml of the filtrate add 2 ml of bromine water : yellow ppt. (positive with all
types of aloes, due to anthranols).
B- Special tests:
1- Nitrous acid test : (for isobarbaloin)
To 5 ml of the filtrate add 0.1 g of sod. nitrite + 3 drops of 30% acetic acid :
a) a pink to carmine red color (Curacao)
b) a lesser pink color (Cape)
c) little change in color (Socotrine)
2- Modified Bornträger's test : (for aloe-emodin)
To the filtrate add FeCl3 + HCl (oxidative hydrolysis); extract the liberated
anthraquinones with CCl4 and shake with dil. ammonia : rose red color.
1- Purgative (anthraquinones)
2- for skin care, falling hair, dandruff and alopecia (amino acids, organic acids and
may be mucopolysaccharides)
3- Antitumor (alomicin and mucopolysaccharides)
4- Hypotensive (mucopolysaccharides)
5- Antidiabetic (may be mucopolysaccharides)
6- Improves liver functions (mucopolysaccharides)
7- Efficient against gastritis and gastric and deudenal ulcer (aloin, aloe-emodin and
I- CATECHU: [Gambir or Pale Catechu]
Sources: is a dried aqueous extract prepared from the leaves and young twigs
of Uncaria gambir (Hunter) Roxb.(F.: Rubiaceae).
Geog. Sources: Malaya and Indonesia.
Active constituents: 7% catechins, 22-50% catechutannic acid and gambir-
fluorescein. Flavonoid quercetin.
1- Gambir fluorescein test:
➢ Extract 0.5 g powder with alcohol and filter, to the filtrate add 5 ml NaOH, shake, add
pet. ether and shake : green fluorescence in the organic layer (c.f. Black catechu).
2- Test for Catechin:
➢ Immerse a piece of wood in the aqueous extract of powdered gambir, dry it, immerse it
in HCl, then put it on a flame : magenta red colour (Catechin: Phloroglucinol).
➢ Extract the powder with boiling water then filter. To the filtrate add FeCl3: green
3- Test for Chlorophyll:
Extract the powder with CHCl3 A yellowish green residue (c.f. Black catechu).
➢ As a local astringent in the form of lozenges.
➢ As general astringent in diarrhoea.
➢ In industry of dying and tanning.
II- BLACK CATECHU
Sources: It is the aqueous extract of the heart wood of trees known as Acacia
catechu Wild.(F.: Leguminosae).
Geog. Sources : India and Mayanmar (Burma).
Active constituents: 2-12% catechins, 25-30% phlobatannin. Flavonoids quercitrin
1- Gambir fluorescein test : -ve (c.f. Pale catechu).
2- Test for Catechin : +ve
3- Test for Chlorophyll : -ve (c.f. Pale catechu).
Uses : As an astringent in diarrhoea and in industry of dying and tanning.
III- AGAR: [Japanese Isinglass]
Sources: It is the dried colloidal concentrate from a decoction of various red
algae, particularly species of Gelidium, Petrocladi (F.: Gelidiaceae) and
Gracilaria (F.: Gracilariaceae).
Geog. Sources: Japan, Korea, South Africa and USA.
Active constituents: Agar is a heterogenous polysaccharide, the two main
constituents are : agarose which is neutral galactose polymer responsible for
jell strength and agaropectin which is a sulphonated polysaccharide
responsible for the viscosity of Agar solution.
Chemical tests: Prepare 1% Agar solution in water
1- Hydrolyse by boiling with HCl (D, L galactose and sulphate ion) then neutralize the
a- Solution + Fehling's: red ppt. (galactose)
b- Solution + BaCl2 : ppt. (sulphate ion)
2- Mount powdered agar with
a- ruthenium red: staining pink (c.f. Acacia and Tragacanth)
b- Iodine solution: crimson to brown colour
3-Test for protein: with Millon's reagent or chromic acid : no ppt. (c.f. Gelatin)
4- Test for nitrogen: boil with soda lime : no ammonia odour (c.f. Gelatin)
Uses: 1- In the preparation of bacteriologic culture media.
2- As an emulsifying agent. 3- In the treatment of chronic constipation.
IV- GELATIN: [Gelatinum]
Sources: It is a mixture of reversible gel-forming proteins obtained by boiling the
collagenous tissues of animals such
as skin, tendons, ligaments and bones with water. After decolorization and
filteration, the extract is concentrated to
a solid form
Active constituents: proteins
Chemical tests:Test for proteins :a- Solution + mercuric nitrate (Millon's reagent) :
white ppt. becoming brick red on warming.
b- Solution + picric acid: yellow ppt.
c- Solution + tannic acid: white ppt.
Test for nitrogen: heat with soda lime : ammonia odor (due to nitrogen).
Uses : For preparation of capsules, as a coat of pills and as a base for suppositories.
4- PLANT GUMS
Gums are a heterogeneous group of acidic substances, which have the
common property of swelling in water to form either gels or viscous, sticky
Gums are produced by trees either spontaneously or as a result of mechanical
Gums are neutral salts of complex polysaccharide acids which contain
methylpentose , pentose, hexose and uronic acid residues [gums = sugars +
uronic acid residues; on hydrolysis
Gum acacia gives sugars + glucuronic acid residues,
Gum tragacanth gives sugars + galacturonic acid residues].
Cont. Plant gums
I- GUM ACACIA: [Gum Arabic]
Sources: It is the dried gum obtained by incision from the stems
and branches of Acacia senegal (Linné) Willd. and other species
of Acacia (F. Leguminosae).
Geog. Sources: Sudan, Nigeria and Senegal.
Description: It occurs as rounded or ovoid tears, white or pale
yellow in color. The tears break rapidly with a glassy fracture. It
is odourless and has a mucilaginous taste.
Cont. Gum Arabic
➢ Acacia senegal is a tree about 6 meters in height.
➢ When trees are about 6 years old, a transverse
incisions are made under the bark without injuring the
➢ This cambium produces new phloem with secretory
cavities and in about 20-30 days the tears of gum which
have formed on the surface are picked off.
Cont. Gum Arabic
➢ Arabin which is the calcium (with traces of magnesium and potassium) salt of arabic
acid. On hydrolysis with dil. sulphuric acid, it yields L-rhamnose, D-galactose, L-arabinose
and glucuronic acid.
➢ Oxidase enzyme.
Chemical tests: Prepare 10% solution:
1-For oxidase enzyme: solution + benzidine + H2O2: blue color.
2- Solution + lead acetate: -ve.
3- Solution + lead subacetate: white ppt.
4-Solution + Iodine solution: -ve (no starch)
5- Powder + KOH : no color.
Cont. Gum Arabic
➢ Stabilizer in emulsion.
➢ It has a demulcent properties so used in cough, diarrhea and throat
➢ Suspending agent, adhesive and binder in tablet granulation.
II- GUM TRAGACANTH
It is the dried gummy exudate flowing naturally or obtained
by incision from the stems of Astragalus gummifer Labill. (F.
Syria, Iraq, Iran and former Soviet Union.
Occurs in thin, flattened and curved ribbon -shaped flakes,
white or pale yellowish-white in colour and almost tasteless.
➢ The mode of formation of tragacanth is different from that of Acacia, the gum
exuding immediately after injury (the gum is produced physiologically).
➢ The cell walls of the pith and medullary rays of the stem are gradually
transformed into gum.
➢ The gum absorbs water and creates internal pressure within the stem.
➢ When the stem is injured, the gum exudes immediately to the surface of the
tree. Gum is collected two days after incision. It is obtained from the plant in its
1- A water-soluble fraction known as tragacanthin.
2- A water-insoluble fraction known as bassorin.
On hydrolysis with dil. sulphuric acid it yields galacturonic acid, D-galactose, L-arabinose and D-
1- Test for oxidase enzyme: -ve
2- Solution + lead acetate: white ppt.
3- Solution + lead subacetate: -ve
4- Solution + Iodine solution: few particles stain blue
5- Powder + KOH: orange yellow color
Uses: 1- As a Suspending agent.
2- As a binder in pills and tablets.
3- As emulsifying agent for oils and resins.
5-RESINS & RESINS COMBINATIONS
Resins are solid or semisolid amorphous organic substances of complex
chemical nature, usually obtained by extraction or by incision. They are
complex mixtures of different chemical types of substances include acids,
esters, alcohol or glycosidic compounds.......etc., and they are free from
COLOPHONY RESIN: [Rosin]
Sources: It is the residue (resin) left after distillation of the oil of turpentine
from the crude oleo-resin of various species of Pinus (F. Pinaceae).
Geog. Sources: USA, France, Italy, Spain, India and China.
Description: It occurs as translucent glassy masses, pale yellow to brownish-
yellow in colour with a slightly bitter taste.
Active constituents: Resin acid (abietic acid) which is a diterpene acid, resens
(neutral inert substances) and esters of fatty acids.
Chemical tests :
Test for abietic acid:
➢Extract the powder with pet. ether, filter and shake the filtrate with twice the
volume of dil. copper acetate : emerald-green colour in the pet. ether layer.
➢ Dissolve 0.1 g of powder in acetic anhydride, add one drop of H2SO4 on the
wall of the tube : purple colour change to violet.
Uses: As an ingredient of ointments and plasters. It has stimulant and diuretic
Cont. Colophony resin
It is a mixture of volatile oil and resin.
Sources: Obtained by incision of the trunks of various Copaifera species (F.
Geog. sources: Brazil, North and South America.
Active constituents: Volatile oil (sesquiterpene hydrocarbon and diterpenes),
resin acids (copaivic acid and illurinic acid) and fluorescent substance.
Uses: As a urinary antiseptic and in chronic bronchitis.
It is a mixture of volatile oil, gum and resin.
Sources: It is an oleo-gum-resin obtained by incision of rhizomes and roots of
Ferula foetida Regel (F. Umbelliferae).
Geog. sources : Iran and Pakistan.
Active constituents: Volatile oil (contains sulpher compounds), resin (contains
asaresinol ferulate and free ferulic acid) and gum. It contains combined
umbelliferone and it doesn't contain free umbelliferone (c.f. galbanum).
1- To the freshly fractured surface of a tear add drops of :
(a) conc.H2SO4 : reddish-brown colour changing to violet on washing with
(b) HNO3 diluted with equal volume of water : green colour (c.f. galbanum).
2-Formation of umbelliferone (test for combined umbelliferone): Powdered
drug + dil.HCl, boil then filter into ammonia: blue fluorescence (due to
formation of umbelliferone).
Uses: Carminative, antispasmodic and expectorant.
Sources: It is an oleo-gum-resin obtained by incision of stems of Ferula
galbaniflua Boiss. et Buhse (F. Umbelliferae).
Geog. sources: Iran and Pakistan.
Active constituents: Volatile oil, gum and resin, combined and free
Chemical tests :
Test for free umbelliferone:
Triturate the drug with sand, boil with alcohol, cool, then filter into
alkalinized alcohol (with ammonia): blue fluorescence.
Uses: As a stimulant in plasters.
Sources: It is an oleo-gum-resin obtained by incision of the stems and branches
of Dorema ammoniacum D. Don (F. Umbelliferae).
Geog. sources : Iran and Southern Siberia.
Active constituents: Volatile oil, gum and resin. Free salicylic acid and no
Test for free umbelliferone : -ve
Test for Salicylic acid : Digest with water, filter, add FeCl3 : reddish violet colour.
Uses: As a stimulant in plasters. As a disinfectant and expectorant in bronchitis.
Origin: oleogumresin obtained from the stems and branches of Commiphora
molmol and other species of Commiphora F. Burseraceae
Geog. sources: North-east Africa and Somalia.
Active constituents: Volatile oil (contains terpenes and sesquiterpenes, esters,
cuminaldehyde and eugenol), gum (contains galactose, arabinose and oxidase
enzyme) and resin (contains α, β and γ commiphoric acids).
Evaporate the etherial extract of myrrh to dryness on a porcelain dish :
(a) Expose the resinous film to bromine vapour : violet colour.
(b) Expose the resinous film in another dish to few drops of HNO3 : purplish-violet
Uses : In perfumes. It has stimulant and antiseptic properties, used in mouth wash.
Recently, it showed antibilharizial activity.
They are resinous mixtures containing large proportions of benzoic or
cinnamic acids or both or esters of these acids.
I- BENZOIN: [Gawi]
Sources: It is a balsamic resin obtained by incision of stems of Styrax benzoin
Dryander [Sumatra benzoin] and Styrax tonkinensis (Piérre) Craib [Siam
benzoin] (F. Styracaceae).
A- Sumatra Benzoin : Geog. sources : Sumatra.
It contains free cinnamic and benzoic acids and their esters, triterpenoid
acids and vanillin.
Internally as expectorant and antiseptic. It is used world-wide as an
ingredient of cosmetic lotions, drinks and perfumes.
B- Siam Benzoin : Geog. sources : Siam.
Active constituents: Coniferyl benzoate, coniferyl alcohol, traces of
cinnamic acid, free benzoic acid, triterpenoid acids and vanillin.
Uses: It is mainly used in perfumery.
Cont. Siam Benzoin
Chemical tests for Sumatra and Siam Benzoin:
1- Heat 0.5 g in a dry test tube, it melts giving irritating fumes which
condenses on the wall of the test tube and consist of :
a- Cinnamic and benzoic acids (Sumatra B.)
b- Benzoic acid (Siam B.)
2- Warm 0.5 g of powdered drug with 10 ml of KMnO4 soln. :
a-Odour of benzaldehyde (oxidation of cinnamic acid) (Sumatra B.)
b- No odour of benzaldehyde (Siam B.)
3- Alcoholic extract + Alc. soln. of FeCl3: green colour (Siam B.)
II- BALSAM TOLU
Sources: It is obtained by incision from the trunk of Myroxylon balsamum
(Linn.) Harms (F. Leguminosae).
Geog. sources: Central America (Colombia and Venezuela).
Active constituents: About 80% of resin alcohol combined with cinnamic
and benzoic acids, free cinnamic and benzoic acids, benzyl benzoate, benzyl
cinnamate esters, eugenol, ferulic acid and a little vanillin.
1- Alc. solution + FeCl3 : green colour
2- Boil 1 g with 5 ml water, filter, add 3 ml of KMnO4 soln., warm : odour of
It has antiseptic and expectorant properties. It is a common ingredient of
Cont. Balsam tolu