Chrysarobin was introduced into pharmacology by Balmanno Squire.1 It was first found in cavities of the trunk of Andira araroba, a tree which grows in Brazil, in the Portuguese colony of Goa and elsewhere. The substance is crystalline, is tasteless and odorless, is slightly soluble in water, slightly soluble in alkalis (1: 385) and partially soluble in fats and turns brown when exposed to the air. It belongs to the group of so-called ``anthraglycosides'' and has the following formula:
Senna, rhubarb, cascara, aloe and emodin are closely related drugs. Emodin, for instance, is a trioxymethylanthraquinone, C15H10O5, while chrysarobin is formed from chrysophanic acid, C15H10O4, in the following way:
An alkaline solution of chrysarobin exposed to the air turns into chrysophanic acid. Attfield2 in 1875 analyzed chrysarobin, or "Goa powder" as it was called in those days, and found
STRAKOSCH EA. STUDIES ON OINTMENTS: VI. OINTMENTS CONTAINING CHRYSAROBIN. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1944;49(1):1–7. doi:10.1001/archderm.1944.01510070004001
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