Synonyms: Rosina, Long needle pine, Colophonium, Pine resin

Biological source: Colophony is the solid residue of turpentine oil left after distilling the crude oleoresin obtained from Pinus species like Pinus palustris, P. echinata, P. maritime, P. longifolia.

Family: Pinaceae.

Geographical source: It is mainly prepared in Pakistan, South East USA, North America, South West France, Europe, and India (in Himalayan territories).

Collection and Preparation of Colophony

Nearly 80 species of the Pinaceae family are available from which the oleoresin, a mixture of turpentine oil and colophony is collected. The trees contain normal oleo resin but in small quantities. After incision, the new oleoresin-containing ducts are formed which produces a good amount of oleoresin. This oleoresin is collected and kept in copper distilling vessels with water and heated. Turpentine oil is distilled oil and colophony are left as residue forms and is collected.

Colophony plant and its tear form
Fig.1: Colophony plant and its tear form

Macroscopical Characters of Colophony

  • Colour: Amber coloured or sometimes Yellowish to yellowish-brown.
  • Odour: Faint.
  • Taste: Angular, Translucent masses.
  • Size: Varies in size.
  • Appearance: Glossy appearance with brittle nature.

It has a solubility in alcohol, chloroform, ether, fixed oil, essential oils, light petroleum, and glacial acetic acid but is insoluble in water.

Chemical Constituents of Colophony

It mainly contains unsaturated resin acids principally abietic acid (nearly 90 percent), esters of oleic acids, volatile oil (0.5 percent), resenes (5 to 6 percent), sapenic acid, pimaric acid, etc. The unsaponifiable matter of colophony contains high molecular weight alcohols and hydrocarbons.

Chemical Structure of Abietic acid and Sapenic acid
Fig.2: Chemical Structure of Abietic acid and Sapenic acid

Chemical Test of Colophony

  1. Dissolve 1 gm of the drug into 10 ml acetic anhydride and heat gently. Now add a drop of sulphuric acid which gives bright red colour changes to violet colour.
  2. Dissolve drug in light petroleum ether and make up the double volume with dilute copper acetate solution. The petroleum ether layer shows emarald green colour which shows the presence of copper salt of abietic acid.

Uses of Colophony

It is used as a diuretic, stimulant, ointment preparation, varnishes manufacturing, insulators, soaps, ink preparations. It is also used in flooring preparation, soldering compounds, mastics, and pressure-sensitive adhesive manufacturing.

Adulterant: It is adulterated with black resin and epic resin.

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