Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Robinia pseudoacacia

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The bark contains a toxalbumin similar the Ricin, the Robin.
In small quantities the toxalbumin Phasin, furthermore the non-polluting Glykosid Syringin, Katechin, Tannine and resin.
Robin and Phasin also are located in the seed. In the leaf, Indican was found among other elements.
The bloom, that is used also for food, contains the flavonglykoside Robinin and Acaciin.
Some poisonings after  eating the seeds or chewing of the bark are described by Allen and by Hughes. Mydriasis, hypersomnia, frantic twitches and in one case a collapse occured.
Allen presents a report  about the poisoning of a 2 years old child, that was completely  paralyzed on the fifth day after having eaten some seeds; at the 18th day it could move the legs slightly and could hold objects in its hand; however at the 38th day the child still could neither walk nor stand.
According to Hughes, however, it is not sure whether  in this case the seeds came from Robinia pseudacacia.
With horses, who ate the barks out of hunger, arousal conditions and after some hours apathy appeared combined with frantic twitches.
Drug examination: Burt published 1864 his introspections after the chewing of the bark.
Spranger reported 1865 about a proving with the tincture of the bark by himself and his brother.
A very extensive list of symptoms, however not convincing at all without stating the number of provers or the dosages was submitted by Houatt 1866.
Allen summarized the reported symptoms  in groups in 1878 , while Hughes reported the symptoms in the order of their appearance in 1891.
Both completed the provings by some poisoning cases.

All parts of the plant (except the flowers) and especially the bark, should be considered to be toxic[4, 65, 76]. The toxins are destroyed by heat[65].
Seed (Dry weight)
In grammes per 100g weight of food:
Protein: 21 Fat: 3 Fibre: 28 Ash: 6.8
In milligrammes per 100g weight of food:
Calcium: 1400 Phosphorus: 0.3
Source: [218]

Medicinal Uses

Antispasmodic; Antiviral; Aromatic; Cholagogue; Diuretic; Emetic; Emollient; Febrifuge; Laxative; Narcotic; Purgative; Tonic.
Febrifuge[13, 46].
The flowers are antispasmodic, aromatic, diuretic, emollient and laxative[218]. They are cooked and eaten for the treatment of eye ailments[218].

The inner bark and the root bark are emetic, purgative and tonic[4, 7, 218, 257]. The root bark has been chewed to induce vomiting, or held in the mouth to allay toothache[222, 257], though it is rarely if ever prescribed as a therapeutic agent in Britain[4].

The fruit is narcotic[13]. This probably refers to the seedpod.

The leaves are cholagogue and emetic[7]. The leaf juice inhibits viruses[218].

The Treasury of Botany, states "The roots of Robinia have the taste and smell of liquorice, but are a dangerous poison and accidents have occurred from their being mistaken for liquorice roots." The poisonings that have been recorded have been due to eating the beans or chewing the bark. Of thirty-two boys so poisoned in the mildest cases there occurred Vomiting of ropy mucus, dilatation of pupils, dry throat, flushed face.
     In the severest the vomit was more copious and mixed with blood with retching, epigastric pains, debility, stupor, cold limbs, dusky pallor, heart's action feeble intermittent, limbs pulseless. Recovery took place in two days.

CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS. Robinin, C25 H30 O 16 + Aq. This aromatic glucoside bears great resemblance to quercetin, yielding as products of decomposition this body, and peculiar sugars. (Schorlemmer.) Robinin is found principally in the flowers; it forms fine, satiny, yellow needles, neutral and tasteless, losing water at 100 (degree) (212 (degree) F.), and fusing at 195 (degree) (383 (degree) F.). It is soluble in both water and alcohol.

     Robinic acid. This body was discovered in the roots by Reinsch, but afterwards doubted. Prof. Hlasiwetz (Chem. Gaz., Aug 15, 1855), in his examination of the root, decided that the above body was Asparagine: he obtained some two and a half ounces of this substance from thirty pounds of the root. The body answers to the following properties: large, hard, refractive, octahedral crystals, colorless and consent upon recrystallization, and having a mawkish taste; hey fuse when heated, giving off an ammoniacal odor. Tannin, and the usual plant constituents, have also been determined.

     PHYSIOLOGICAL ACTION. Robinia causes extreme nausea, profuse acid vomitings, fluid eructations and purging. These symptoms followed eating of the bark. (Dr. A. R. ball.)
     Dr. Shaw (med. Times and Gazette vol. i., p. 570) gives the following effects noticed in a child who had eaten of the seeds: Inability to hold the head upright, nausea and attempts to vomit, with a tendency to syncope, when in an upright position; voice, respiration and heart's action feeble, as from exhaustion; a painful, paralytic condition of the extremities, which became shrunken on the fifth day. All the symptoms seemed like those produced by a long - continued diarrhea, though in this case purging was not present.