Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 352 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GROUP XXII. Saponin.—Saponin and many allied bodies form an abundant soapy-looking froth when shaken up with water, and they are contained in a very large number of plants, the chief of which are the Quillaia saponaria, Polygala senega, sarsaparilla, and others, known collectively as soapworts. They all act as local irritants in the alimentary canal, and after absorption are more or less depressing to the muscular and nervous systems. They produce slight nausea and increased secretion of mucus. GRouP XXIII. Cyanogen.—This includes compounds of cyanogen such as hydrocyanic (prussic) acid, cyanides of potassium, sodium. &c., cherry-laurel water, amygdalin, bitter almonds and other chemical and vegetable substances which readily yield hydro-cyanic acid. Hydrocyanic acid is a general protoplasmic poison, all the lower organisms being very susceptible to its action, while in the higher animals it speedily depresses or paralyses all forms of nerve tissue. It enters into combination with haemoglobin, forming a bright scarlet compound and interfering with respiration. It kills by its paralysing effect on the motor ganglia of the heart and on the respiratory centre. Ggour XXIV. Ferments.—These include such bodies as pepsin, diastase, the pancreatic ferments, papain, the pine-apple ferment, taka-diastase and others, and serve to convert starch into saccharine substances, or albumen into peptone and albumoses.
End of Article: GROUP XXII

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