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uraemia, and for those with dropsy from any cause. Large doses
should not be given if the intestinal mucous membrane is liable
to inflame easily. It is occasionally employed for severe consti-
pation. [An old prescription consists of equal parts of powdered
jalap and calomel, well triturated. The dose is from 5 to 10 gr. ;
.30 to .60 gm. This is known as Rush's thunderbolt. Curi-
ously enough, it does not gripe..


BRYONIA. Synonym. Bryony. The root of Bryonia alba, and of
Bryonia dioica Linne (nat. ord. Cucurbitacece}. Habitat. Central and
Southern Europe.

CHARACTERS. In transverse sections about 5 cm. in diameter, the bark
gray-brown, rough, thin, the central portion whitish or grayish, with numerous,
small, projecting wood-bundles arranged in circles and radiating lines; frac-
ture short ; inodorous ; taste disagreeably bitter.

COMPOSITION. The chief constituents are (i) Bryonin, C^H^Og, a bit-
ter glucoside ; (2) Resin; (3) Starch; (4) Gum.

Dose, 10 to 60 gr. ; .60 to 4.00 gm.


Tinctura Bryoniae. Tincture of Bryonia. Bryonia, 100; by
maceration and percolation with Alcohol to looo.
Dose, 2 to 4 fl. dr. ; 8. to 15. c.c.


Bryonia is an active hydragogue cathartic, which was for-
merly much employed, but has been superseded by jalap.]


CROTON OIL. [A fixed oil expressed from the seed of Croton Tig-
lium Linne (nat. ord. Euphorbiacece}. Habitat. India and Philippine
Islands ; cultivated.

CHARACTERS. A pale yellow or brownish-yellow, somewhat viscid, and
slightly fluorescent liquid, having a slight fatty odor, and a mild, oily, after-
wards acrid and burning taste ; when applied to the skin, it produces rubefac-


tion or a pustular eruption. Sp. gr., 0.940 to 0.960. Solubility. When
fresh, in about 60 parts of Alcohol, the solubility increasing by age ; feebly
soluble in Ether, Chloroform, Carbon Bisulphide, and in fixed or volatile oils.
The oil should be at least two years old ; when fresh it is of no value.]

COMPOSITION. The chief constituents are (i) Several volatile acids (I
per cent, in all) ; these give the odor. [ Tiglinic Acid, C 5 H 8 O 2 , is the charac-
teristic one ; the others are Acetic, Isobutyric, Isovalerianic, Formic, Laurie,
Myristic, Palmitic, Stearic, existing as glycerides. (2) Several fatty acids,
both free and combined to form fats. (3) Crotonol, C 18 H 28 O 4 ] a substance
which is non-purgative, but is capable of causing cutaneous irritation.

Dose, } to 2 m. ; [.015 to .12 c'.c.] on a lump of sugar, or mixed with
Castor Oil and placed at the back of the mouth, so that it may be quickly

Croton seeds are not official, but it is important to recognize them. They
are [13 mm.] long, [8 mm.] broad, ovoid and bluntly oblong, covered with a
brown shell, which on scraping becomes black. The kernel is white and
oily. They yield 50 to 60 per cent, of Croton Oil. They are known from
Castor- oil seeds, which are like them, by the fact that the Castor-oil seeds are
bright, polished and mottled.


External. Croton oil is one of the most powerful irri-
tants in the pharmacopoeia. A drop placed on the skin causes
redness, burning pain, and quickly a crop of vesicles form (vesi-
cation) ; these rapidly become pustules (pustulation), and the
surrounding subcutaneous tissue is red and cedematous. [The
pustules may be umbilicated, but differ from variolous pustules
in that they vary greatly in their size.]

Internal. Gastro-intestinal tract. Very soon after a drop
has been taken there is considerable griping and abdominal
pain. In an hour or two the bowels are opened, and this may
subsequently occur several times, the motions becoming, more
and more fluid. The croton oil greatly aggravates the vascu-
larity of the stomach and intestines, the mucous membrane of
which becomes red, cedematous and angry-looking ; there is a
great increase of the intestinal secretion, but none of the bile.
The drug produces, in fact, severe enteritis, and to a less ex-
tent gastritis. The motions may contain blood. These effects
are all due to the local [action] of the croton oil. It is probable
that the peristaltic movements are increased also ; whether this


is a result of the irritation, or of some action of the drug exerted
after absorption, is not known. Croton oil applied to the skin
may cause free purgation.


External. Croton oil was formerly employed externally as
an irritant and a counter-irritant for inflamed joints, pleurisy,
bronchitis, phthisis, etc. ; but it is not often so used now, as the
scars left after the suppuration are very unsightly, the application
is 'too painful and the inflammation induced too severe. [Cor-
son's paint is a 5 to 15 per cent, solution of croton oil in ether,
to which a small quantity of tincture of iodine is added to color
it]. A little croton oil spread over an area not exceeding that
of a [dime] may be applied to set up suppuration in the scalp,
and so destroy an inveterate patch of ringworm if it is wished to
cure it quickly. The croton oil will certainly do this, but the
resulting suppuration is so severe that the remedy should be used
with care, and only when all others have failed. The liniment
[of the B. P., 15 per cent, of croton oil in equal parts of oil of
cajuput and alcohol], well diluted, is occasionally employed to
stimulate the skin in alopecia.

Internal. Croton oil should only be given in very obstinate
constipation, not due to organic obstruction, and only one dose
should be administered. Not more than one or two drops
should be prescribed. Constipation due to lead poisoning and
faecal impaction are sometimes suitable cases. Placed on the
back of the tongue, it is, on account of its small bulk, a useful
purgative for lunatics who refuse to take anything, and for un-
conscious patients, because in such cases it is quickly swallowed
reflexly ; hence also it is commonly given to those who are un-
conscious from apoplexy. It must never be administered to
children, to pregnant women, to feeble subjects, to those with
haemorrhoids, nor to those suffering from peritonitis, gastritis,
or enteritis.


COLOCYNTH. [^xwowywj. Bitter Apple. Bitter Gourd. Bitter
Cucumber. The fruit of Citrullus Colocynthis, Schrader (nat. ord. Cucur-


bitacetz), deprived of its rind. Habitat. Southern and Western Asia,
Northern and Southern Africa, Greece and Spain.

CHARACTERS. From 5 to 10 cm. in diameter; globular; white or. yel-
lowish-white ; light, spongy ; readily breaking into three wedge-shaped
pieces, each containing near the rounded surface, many flat, ovate, brown
seeds ; inodorous ; taste intensely bitter. The pulp only should be used, the
seeds being separated and rejected.]

IMPURITIES. Seeds and cortex.

COMPOSITION. The chief constituents are (i) Colocynthin, [C^H^O^
about 2 per cent.,] an amorphous or crystalline, bitter, active glucoside, readily
soluble in water and Alcohol. (2) Resinous matter having the names of
Citrullin, Colocynthein and Colocynthitin, insoluble in water.

Dose, 2 to 8 gr. ; [.12 to .50 gm.]


[i. Extractum Colocynthidis. Extract of Colocynth. By
maceration with Diluted Alcohol, expression and straining; percolation
and evaporation.

Dose, y 2 to 2 gr. ; .03 to .12 gm.

2. Extractum Colocynthidis Compositum. Compound Extract
of Colocynth. Extract of Colocynth, 160 ; Purified Aloes, 500; Car-
damom, 60 ; Resin of Scammony, 140 ; Soap, 140 ; Alcohol, loo.
By melting, straining and reducing to powder.

Dose, 5 to 15 gr. ; .30 to i.oo gm.

3. Pilulae Catharticae Compositae. See Mercury, p. 212.

4. Pilulae Catharticae Vegetabiles. Vegetable Cathartic Pills.
Compound Extract of Colocynth, 60 ; Extract of Hyoscyamus, 30 ;
Extract of Jalap, 30; Extract of Leptandra, 15; Resin of Podophyl-
lum, 15 gm. ; Oil of Peppermint, 8 c.c. ; Water, to make 1000 pills.

Dose, i to 5 pills.]


In small doses colocynth acts as a simple bitter, increasing
the gastric and intestinal secretions and improving the appetite.
In larger doses it augments considerably the flow of bile and suc-
cus entericus, stimulates the muscular coat, causes a little griping,
and leads to the evacuation of a watery motion. In still
larger doses the hypersecretion is excessive and the griping is
severe because the muscular coat is powerfully irritated, and


several abundant watery motions result. The drug may therefore
be called drastic, hydragogue, and cathartic. The depres-
sion produced may be considerable.


Colocynth should never be given alone, because of the grip-
ing it causes. In the colocynth and hyoscyamus pill, [i part
of colocynth, 2 parts of hyoscyamus,] which is often prescribed,
the hyoscyamus prevents this painful result. Colocynth is an
excellent purgative for producing a single abundant evacuation
of the bowels in chronic constipation, such as that so often met
with in persons suffering from hepatic disorder, and in those
confined to bed. Because of the watery character of the motions
it may be given in ascites or Bright's disease, but jalap or scam-
mony is usually preferred. It is too irritant for habitual use.
It should never be administered if there is any suspicion of in-
testinal or gastric inflammation, nor in pregnancy. It is often
combined with milder purgatives. A diuretic action has been
claimed for it, but this is unimportant.


[ELATERIN. C 20 H 28 O 5 =347.2O. A neutral principle obtained from
Elaterium, a substance deposited by the juice of the fruit of Ecballium Ela-
lerium (Linne) A. Richard (nat. ord. Cucurbitace<z). Synonym. Squirting
Cucumber. Habitat. Western Asia, Northern Africa and Southern Europe ;

SOURCE. Exhaust Elaterium with Chloroform. Add Ether, wash the
resulting precipitate with Ether ; purify by re-crystallization with Chloroform.

CHARACTERS. Minute, white, hexagonal scales, or prismatic crystals,
without odor, and having a slightly acrid, bitter taste ; permanent in the air.
Solubility. In 4250 parts of water, and in 337 parts of Alcohol ; also soluble
in 543 parts of Ether, or in 2.4 parts of Chloroform.

Dose, ^ to T ^ gr. ; .003 to .005 gm.


Trituratio Elaterini. Trituration of Elaterin. Elaterin, lo ; Sugar
of Milk, 90.

Dose, YZ to i gr. ; .03 to .06 gm.]



Elaterin is violently purgative, producing profuse water)'
evacuations, attended with griping and much prostration. It
acts like colocynth, and except that it is much more energetic, the
description of that drug will apply to it. It increases the salivary
secretion. When injected subcutaneously it purges. It is the
most powerful hydragogue purgative in the Pharmacopoeia.


Elaterin should not be given in ordinary constipation, as it is
too violent in its effects, but on account of the large amount of
fluid it brings away it is in suitable cases very useful in ascites
and in Bright' s disease. The same cautions as were enumer-
ated for colocynth are still more necessary here. It should not
be given, or only with great care, in heart disease, on account
of the depression produced.


[GAMBOGE. A gum resin obtained from Garcinia Hanburii Hooker
filius (nat. ord. Guttifera). Habitat. Anam, Camboja and Siam.

CHARACTERS. In cylindrical pieces, sometimes hollow in the centre, 2
to 5 cm. in diameter, longitudinally striate on the surface ; fracture flattish-
conchoidal, of a waxy lustre, orange-red ; in powder bright yellow ; inodorous ;
taste very acrid ; the powder sternutatory. Solubility. It is partly soluble in
Alcohol and in Ether.]

COMPOSITION. The chief constituents are (I) A brilliant yellow Resin,
Gambogic Acid, [65 to 80 per cent. (2) Gum, 16 to 26 per cent.] This is
soluble, so that an emulsion of Gambogic Acid is formed with water.

IMPURITIES. Starch, woody fibre.

[ Gamboge is contained in Pilulae Catharticse Composite. ]

Dose, i to 5 gr. ; [.06 to .30 gm.]


Gamboge is a drastic, hydragogue purgative, causing
much griping, and, in large doses, great irritation of the alimen-
tary canal. Most of it passes in the faeces, but some is absorbed,
causing the urine to be yellow. It is slightly diuretic.



It is not often prescribed, as it is uncertain, and gripes con-
siderably. It should never be given alone. It has been used as
an anthelmintic.



PODOPHYLLUM. [Synonyms. May Apple. Mandrake. The
rhizome and Roots of Podopkylltmt peltatum Linne (nat ord. Berberidece).
Habitat. North America, in rich woods and thickets.

CHARACTERS. Of horizontal growth, consisting of joints about 5 cm.
long, flattish cylindrical, about 5 mm. thick, but somewhat enlarged at the end,
which has a circular scar on the upper side, a tuft of about ten, nearly simple,
fragile roots on the lower side, and is sometimes branched laterally ; smooth or
somewhat wrinkled, orange-brown, internally white and mealy, with a circle
of small wood-bundles ; pith large ; nearly inodorous ; taste sweetish, some-
what bitter and acrid.]

COMPOSITION. The chief constituents are (i) The official Resin (see
below), 4 to 5 per cent. (2) Podophyllic Acid, a coloring principle.

Dose, 5 to 20 gr. ; .30 to 1.20 gm.


1. Extractum Podophylli. Extract of Podophyllum. By mac-
eration and percolation with Alcohol and Water, distillation of the
Alcohol, and evaporation.

Dose, 2 to 10 gr. ; .12 to .60 gm.

2. Extractum Podophylli Fluidum. Fluid Extract of Podo-
phyllum. By maceration and percolation with Alcohol and Water,
distillation of the Alcohol and solution.

Dose, 5 to 20 m. ; .30 to 1.20 c.c.]

3. Resina Podophylli. [Resin of Podophyllum. Synonym.

SOURCE. By maceration and percolation in Alcohol, distillation of
the Alcohol, precipitation of Resin in Hydrochloric Acid and Water;
wash and dry.

CHARACTERS. An amorphous powder, varying in color from gray-
ish-white to pale greenish-yellow or yellowish-green, turning darker
when exposed to heat ; having a slight, peculiar odor, and a peculiar,
faintly bitter taste. Permanent in the air. Solubility. In Alcohol in
all proportions ; Ether dissolves 15 to 20 per cent, of it.]


COMPOSITION. The Resin consists mainly of Podophyllotoxin t
[CjjH^C^-f^HjO, which is said to be a mixture of Picropodophyllin,
75 to 80 per cent., the purgative principle, and Picropodophyllic Acid,
both existing free in the rhizome ; with these are associated minor resins,
and Podophylloquercitin, a coloring principle.]

INCOMPATIBLE. Water precipitates it from Alcohol ; acids pre-
cipitate it from Ammonia.

[Resin of Podophyllum is contained in Pilulae Catharticae Vege-
tabiles. ]

Dose, yto}4gr.', [.008 to .03 gm.]


External. It has no external action unless applied to raw
surfaces, from which it may be absorbed, and then it will purge.

Internal. Gastro-intestinal tract. Podophyllin has a bitter
taste. It is in large doses a powerful gastro-intestinal irritant,
and has caused death. In medicinal doses it gives rise to much
griping pain, perhaps some nausea, and in about ten hours there
is an evacuation of the bowels ; the motion, which is liquid,
is deeply stained with bile. The pain shows that the muscular
coat is stimulated, the liquidity that probably more intestinal
fluid is secreted, and the color that more bile is poured into the
intestine. In small doses podophyllin probably increases the
secretion of bile, and certainly the solids in it are greater; in
purgative doses it is said not to increase the quantity, although
more bile is poured from the bladder into the intestine. It is
thus a direct and indirect cholagogue. It probably acts after
absorption, for all its effects can be produced if it is injected


Podophyllum is only used for its cholagogue purgative
action. [An old name for this drug is Vegetable Mercury.] It
is especially suitable for constipation due to hepatic disorder,
whether functional, as in the hepatic dyspepsia which commonly
goes by the name of biliousness, or organic, as in hepatic cirr-
hosis and cancer. It must be remembered that as it causes much
griping, it should be combined with hyoscyamus or some other


drug to overcome this ; that it takes a long while to act, and will
therefore be swept away before it has produced any effect if given
with quickly acting purgatives ; and that it is better to begin
with small doses, as people are very unequally affected by it. It
may be advantageously combined with calomel in a pill. It is
so disagreeable to the taste that it is better to dissolve the resin
in aromatic spirit of ammonia (i to 480).


LEPTANDRA. Synonym. Culver's Root. The rhizome and roots
of Veronica virginica Linne (nat. ord. Scrophularinece). Habitat. United
States, south to Georgia, and west to Minnesota, in low grounds.

CHARACTERS. Of horizontal growth, from 10 to 15 cm. long, and about
5 mm. thick, somewhat flattened, bent and branched, deep blackish- brown,
with cup-shaped scars on the upper side, hard, of a woody fracture, with a
thin, blackish bark, a hard, yellowish wood, and a large, purplish-brown, about
six-rayed pith ; roots thin, wrinkled, very fragile ; inodorous ; taste bitter and
feebly acrid.

COMPOSITION. The chief constituents are (i) Leptandrin, a bitter,
crystalline glucoside. (2) A saccharine principle having the properties of
Mannit. (3) Possibly a Volatile Alkaloid.

Dose, % to i dr. ; i. to 4. gm.


i. Extractum Leptandrae. Extract of Leptandra. By macer-
ation and percolation with Alcohol and water, and evaporation.

Extract of Leptandra is contained in Pilulae Catharticae Vege-

Dose, i to 3 gr. ; .06 to .20 gm.

2. Extractum Leptandrae Fluidum. Fluid Extract of Lep-
tandra. By maceration and percolation with Alcohol and Water, and

Dose, ^ to i fl. dr. ; i. to 4. c.c.


Recent leptandra root acts as a violent cathartic, and some-
times as an emetic. It is an excellent cholagogue, appears to
have a special influence upon the muciparous follicles of the
intestine, and it acts very advantageously in cases of duodenal
indigestion and chronic constipation.



CHELIDONIUM. .Sywwi/wz. Celandine. The entire plant, CM-
idonium ma/us Linne (nat. ord. Papaveracecz). Habitat. Europe; natural-
ized in North America.

CHARACTERS. Root several-headed, branching, reddish-brown ; stem
about 50 cm. long, light-green, hairy ; leaves about 15 cm. long, thin, petio-
late, the upper ones smaller and sessile, light-green, on the lower side glau-
cous, lyrate-pinnatifid, the pinnae ovate-oblong, obtuse, coarsely crenate or
incised and the terminal one often three-lobed ; flowers in small, long pedun-
cled umbels with two sepals and four yellow petals ; capsule linear, two-valved
and many seeded. The fresh plant contains a saffron-colored milk-juice, and
has an unpleasant odor and acrid taste.

COMPOSITION. (l) Chelerythrine, C 2 ,H ]7 NO 4 . (2) Sanguinarine,
C M H 15 NO 4 (see p. 450.) (3) Chdidonine, C 20 H ]9 NO 5 . (4) Protopine,
C 20 H 17 NO 5 , also contained in Opium and Sanguinaria. (5) Chelidoxanthin,
Chelidonic and Chelidoninic Acids.

Dose, 15 to 60 gr. ; i. to 4. gm.


Celandine has been found useful in jaundice, apparently pos-
sessing a stimulating effect upon the hepatic secretions. It is a
somewhat irregularly acting purgative, giving rise to watery mo-
tives, but at the same time to griping pains. It was the chief
ingredient in the old Decoctum ad Ictericos of the Edinburgh


IRIS. Synonym. Blue Flag. The rhizome and roots of Iris versi-
color Linne (nat. ord. Iridccc}. Habitat. North America, in swampy localities.

CHARACTERS. Rhizome of horizontal growth, consisting of joints, 5 to
10 cm. long, cylindrical in the lower half, flattish near the upper extremity,
and terminated by a circular scar, annulated from the leaf-sheaths, grayish-
brown ; roots long, simple, crowded near the broad end ; odor slight ; taste
acrid and nauseous.

COMPOSITION. The chief constituents are (I) An acrid resin. (2) Pos-
sibly an alkaloid. (3) Fat. (4) A camphoraceous body.

Dose, 10 to 30 gr. ; .60 to 2.00 gm.

Prep a rations.

i. Extractum Iridis. Extract of Iris. By maceration and per-
eolation with Alcohol, and evaporation.
Dose, i to 3 gr. ; .06 to .20 gm.


2. Extractum Iridis Fluidum. Fluid Extract of Iris. By
maceration and percolation with Alcohol, and evaporation.
Dose, 10 to 30 m. ; .60 to 2.00 c.c.]


IRIDIN. (Not official.) Synonym. Irisin. The powdered extractive
obtained from the root of Iris versicolor^

CHARACTERS. A dark-brown, bitter, nauseous powder.
Dose, i to 5 gr. ; [.06 to .30 gm.]


[The extract and fluid extract of iris are infrequently used.]
Iridin is a cholagogue, and as it rarely gripes, it may be given
when it is required to use a cholagogue purgative daily for some
time. It may be combined with euonymin, calomel, podophyl-
lin and other cholagogue purgatives.


EUONYMUS. Synonyms. Wahoo. Spindle Tree. [The bark of the
root of Enonymus atropurpureus Jacquin (nat. ord. Celastrinece). Habitat.
United States, southward to Florida, and westward to Wisconsin, in shady

CHARACTERS. In quilled or curved pieces, from 2 to 8 mm. thick, outer
surface, ash-gray, with blackish patches, detached in thin and small scales ;
inner surface whitish or slightly tawny, smooth ; fracture smooth, whitish,
the inner layers of a laminated appearance ; nearly inodorous ; taste sweetish,
somewhat bitter and acrid].

COMPOSITION. The chief constituents are (I) Euonymin [an amorphous
resin, very bitter. (2) Atrofurpurin, a crystalline glucoside. (3) Citric,
Tartaric and Malic Acids.

Dose, i to 2 dr. ; 4. to 8. gm.]


Extractum Euonymi. Extract of Euonymus. [Synonym.
Euonymin. By maceration and percolation with Alcohol and Water,
distillation of the Alcohol, and evaporation.

Dose, i to 5 gr. ; .06 to .30 gm.]


In small doses euonymin stimulates the appetite and flow of
gastric juice ; in larger, it is irritant to the intestine and is



cathartic. An ordinary dose increases the amount of bile ex-
creted into the intestine, but does not gripe or cause much intes-
tinal secretion. It has slight diuretic and expectorant effects ;
but its only use is as a purgative for those cases of constipation
in which the liver is disordered, and for which it is particularly
efficacious. It is usually combined with other cholagogues as
iridin and calomel.

Volatile Oils.

These, when applied externally, stimulate the skin, and thus cause red-
ness, sometimes even vesication, tingling, and subsequent numbness. Taken
internally, they stimulate the gastrointestinal tract, increasing its vascularity,
the flow of saliva, of gastric juice, and of succus entericus ; and they excite its
unstriped muscular fibres. Thus in moderate doses they are stomachics and
carminatives ; in large doses they are gastro-intestinal irritants. Their irri-
tation of the stomach reflexly stimulates the heart and the central nervous sys-
tem. They are absorbed and excreted by the skin, which they may thus
irritate, and by the bronchial mucous membrane, while they consequently
stimulate, increasing the amount of secretion from it, its vascularity, the expul-
sive power of its unstriped muscles, and reflexly this irritation leads to cough-
ing; consequently they are expectorants, [although they may later limit the
amount of secretion formed]. They are also largely excreted by the kidneys,
which are stimulated even to inflammation, and hence these drugs are often
diuretic ; and by the genito-urinary mucous membrane, which is also
stimulated, often so energetically that it may become inflamed. [Some are
antiseptic.] Some volatile oils act strongly in all these ways ; others act much
more powerfully in some than in others. [Volatile and fixed oils are usually
mutually soluble in all proportions. Volatile oils are generally slightly soluble

Online LibraryWilliam Hale-WhiteMateria medica, pharmacy, pharmacology and therapeutics → online text (page 45 of 67)