aka chrysophanol; 3-methylchrysazin; rhenic acid
CAS No. 481-74-3
NFPA Rating: Health 0, Flammability 0, Reactivity 0
Appearance: When pure, crystallizes in golden-yellow needles.
Solubility: Slight in cold water (<0.1g/100ml @ 18C); dissolves readily in alcohol, ether, benzine, and acetic acid
Melting Point: 194-198C (~385F)
Chrysophanol acts as a stimulant laxative, and is a component of some popular Senna-derived herbal laxative products (e.g. Senokot).
There has been some concern about possible mutagenic effects of a related family of chemicals, including chrysophanol, aloe-emodin, emodin, and chrysarobin, but data have been contradictory. In 2002 the FDA ruled certain stimulant laxative products containing chrysophanol to not be Generally Recognized As Safe and Effective (GRASE), but other such products are in common use; chrysophanol itself does not appear to pose a major health risk. (I am not a doctor. I am not qualified to dispense this advice. Don't listen to me. Talk to your doctor.)
Natural Occurence and Preparation
Chrysophanol was originally extracted and refined from araroba (aka goa powder or chrysarobinum), rhubarb, and some common wall lichens. It is also found in senna, as mentioned above, and in aloe. As a medicine, it was traditionally prepared by boiling and filtration in benzine solution.