Cassia Bark is the dried stem bark of Cinnamomum cassia Presl (Fam. Lauraceae). The drug is frequently collected in autumn, and dried in the shade.
Description: Channelled or quilled, 30-40 cm long, 3-10 cm wide or in diameter, 2-8 mm thick. Outer surface greyish-brown, slightly rough, with irregular fine wrinkles and transverse protruding lenticels, some showing greyish-white streaks; inner surface reddish-brown, somewhat even, with fine longitudinal striations and exhibiting oily trace on scratching. Texture hard and fragile, easily broken, fracture uneven, outer layer brown and relatively rough, inner layer reddish-brown and oily, showing a yellowish-brown line between two layers. Odour, strongly aromatic; taste, sweet and pungent.
Identification: (1) Transverse section: Cork cells several layers, the innermost layer of cells with thickened and lignified outer walls. Cortex scattered with stone cells and secretory cells. Pericycle stone cells in groups arranged in an interrupted ring, accompanied by fibre bundles at outer side, the outer walls of stone cells usually thinner. Phloem rays 1-2 cells wide, containing minute needle crystals of calcium oxalate; fibres usually 2-3 in bundles; oil cells scattered throughout. Parenchymatous cells containing starch granules.
Powder: Reddish-brown. Most of fibres singly scattered, long fusiform, 195-920 mm long, up to 50 mm in diameter, walls thickened and lignified, pits indistinct. Stone cells subsquare or subrounded, 32-88 mm in diameter, walls thickened, some thin at one side. Oil cells subrounded or oblong, 45-108 mm in diameter. Needle crystals minute, scattered in ray cells. Cork cells polygonal, containing reddish-brown contents.
(2) Macerate 0.5 g of the powder with 10 ml of ethanol for 20 minutes with frequent shaking in a stoppered flask and filter, use the filtrate as the test solution. Dissolve cinnamic aldehyde CRS in ethanol to produce a solution containing 1 ml per ml as the reference solution. Carry out the method for thin layer chromatography (Appendix VI B), using silica gel G as the coating substance, and a mixture of petroleum ether (60-90oC)-ethyl acetate (17:3) as the mobile phase. Apply separately to the plate 2-5 ml of the test solution and 2 ml of the reference solution. After developing and removal of the plate, dry it in air, spray with ethanolic 2,4-dinitrophenyhydrazine TS. The spot in the chromatogram obtained with the test solution corresponds in position and colour to the spot in the chromatogram obtained with the reference solution.
Water: Carry out the method for determination of water (Appendix IX H, method 2,), not more than 15.0%.
Total ash: Not more than 5.0% (Appendix IX K).
Processing: Eliminate foreign matter and rough bark. Pound to pieces before use.
Action: To supplement body fire, reinforce yang, and lead the fire back to the kidney, to dispel cold and relieve pain, and to activate blood circulation and stimulate menstrual discharge.
Indications: Impotence, frigidity, feeling of cold and pain in the loins and knees; dyspnea in deficiency of the kidney; dizziness, inflammation of the eye and sore throat due to yang deficiency; precordial and abdominal pain with cold sensation, vomiting and diarrhea in deficiency-cold syndrome; neurosis with a feeling of gas rushing up through the chest to the throat from the lower abdomen; amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea.
Usage and dosage: 1-4.5 g.
Precaution: Used with caution in the patients with bleeding tendency or pregnancy. Incompatible with Halloysitum Rubrum.
Storage: Preserve in well closed containers, stored in a cool and dry place.