William Hale-White.

Materia medica, pharmacy, pharmacology and therapeutics online

. (page 56 of 67)
Online LibraryWilliam Hale-WhiteMateria medica, pharmacy, pharmacology and therapeutics → online text (page 56 of 67)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

the United States.

CHARACTERS. Nearly 2 mm. in diameter, depressed -globular, glandular,
dull greenish or brownish, the integuments friable, and containing a lenticular,
obtusely-edged, glossy, black seed. It has a peculiar,' somewhat terebinthinate
odor, and a bitterish, pungent taste.

COMPOSITION. It is composed chiefly of a volatile oil, consisting of (i)
a hydrocarbon, C 10 H I6 , and (2) a liquid, oxygenated oil C 10 II 16 O.

Dose, 15 to 30 gr. ; i. to 2. gm.


OLEUM CHENOPODII. Oil of Chenopodium. Synonym. Oil
of American Wormseed. A volatile oil distilled from Chenopodium.

CHARACTERS. A thin, colorless or yellowish liquid, having a peculiar,
penetrating, somewhat camphoraceous odor, and a pungent and bitter taste.
Sp. gr. , about 0.970.

Dose, 2 to 10 m. ; .12 to .60 c.c.


Wormseed is one of the most efficient anthelmintics, particu-
larly against Ascarides, but it should be followed by a cathartic.]


STAPHISAGRIA. [Synonym. Stavesacre. The seed of Delphinium
Staphisagria Linne (nat. ord. Ranunculacea}. Habitat. Basin of the Med-
iterranean ; cultivated.

CHARACTERS. About 5 mm. long, 3 or 4 mm. broad, flattish-tetrahedral,
one side convex, brown or brownish-gray, with reticulate ridges, containing a
whitish, oily albumen and a straight embryo ; nearly inodorous ; taste bitter
and acrid. ]

COMPOSITION. The chief constituents are (i) Delphinine, [C-^Hj-NOg,
a white, crystalline, poisonous alkaloid, soluble in Alcohol, Ether and Chloro-
form, resembling Aconite in its action. (2) Delphinoidine, C^HggNjOj, an
amoi phous alkaloid ; solubility as of Delphinine. (3) Delphisine,C^H^f) v
a crystalline alkaloid of the same solubility. (4) Staphisagrine , C^H^NOj,
an alkaloid but slightly soluble in water. (5) Fixed oil, 25 per cent]


[Staphisagria] is only used as a parasiticide to kill pediculi.
The affected part is rubbed with the ointment, [B. P., 4 ; yel-
low wax, 2 ; benzoinated lard, 17] which, in the case of pediculi
vestimentorum, is allowed to soak, day and night, into the gar-
ments next to the skin, for the parasite inhabits them. It is
often employed, but it will be remembered that many other
parasiticides for pediculi have been mentioned (see p. 51).


PICROTOXIN. C 30 H 34 O ls [=6oo.58. A neutral principle obtained
from the seed of Anamirta paniculata Colebrooke (nat. ord. Menispermaceee).
Synonyms. Cocculus Indicus. Fishberry. Habitat. East India.


SOURCE. Obtained by exhaustion with hot Alcohol, evaporation and puri-
fication by re-crystallization, after decolorizing with Animal Charcoal.

CHARACTERS. Colorless, flexible, shining, prismatic crystals, or a micro-
crystalline powder, odorless, and having a very bitter taste ; permanent in the
air. Solubility. Soluble in 240 parts of water, and in 9 parts of Alcohol ;
also soluble in solutions of the alkalies, and in acids. Very slightly soluble in
Ether or Chloroform. ]

Dose, T ^j to ^y gr. ; [.0005 to .001 gm.]


External. Picrotoxin is very destructive to lower forms of
life, and is therefore antiparasitic.

Internal. It is a powerful poison, causing severe gastro-in-
testinal irritation, collapse, lightheadedness, convulsions, hyper-
pyrexia, slowing of the pulse and stimulation of the respiratory
centre. Death results from asphyxia, partly due to convulsions
and partly to ultimate paralysis of the respiratory centre.


External. An ointment of the seeds in lard [i to 6] has
been applied to the scalp to kill pediculi. It must be employed
with caution, for this strong poison can be absorbed if the skin
be broken. It is an expensive ointment.

Internal. Picrotoxin is used empirically, to check the
night sweating of phthisis. A single dose should be given in
the evening. Its action is uncertain, but sometimes it succeeds.
Many other diseases have been treated with it, but there is no
evidence that it has benefited them. [Tablets] , each containing
T&T of a grain [.0006 gm.], are prepared for subcutaneous injec-
tion. One should be dissolved in a few drops of water imme-
diately before use.



Vegetable drugs apparently having only a diuretic


Uva Ursi, [Apocynum, Zea,] Triticum, [Marrubium, Pareira,
Dulcamara, Chimaphila, Fabiana.J


UVA URSI. Synonym. Bearberry. [The leaves of Arctostaphylos
Uva Ursi (Linne) Sprengel (nat. ord. Ericacea). Habitat. Northern Hemi-
sphere, in dry and sandy or rocky places; in the United States, south to Penn-
sylvania, New Mexico, and California.

CHARACTERS. Very short-stalked, obovate or oblong-spatulate, coriaceous,
from 15 to 20 mm. long, and 5 to 8 mm. broad, obtuse, slightly revolute on
the margin, upper surface with depressed veins ; lower surface distinctly reticu-
late ; odor faint, hay-like ; taste strongly astringent, and somewhat bitter.
Resembling Uva Ursi. Senna (see p. 493) and Buchu (see p. 570.)]

COMPOSITION. The chief constituents are (l) Arbutin, [Cj 2 H 16 O 7 ,] a
bitter, crystalline glucoside yielding glucose, hydroquinone and methyl-hydro-
quinone. (2) Ericolin [C 10 H 16 O, a bitter, crystalline glucoside. (3) Ursone,
a tasteless neutral body. (4) Tannic Acid, 6 to 7 per cent. (5) Gallic Acid.

INCOMPATIBLES. Iron, lead and silver salts, alkaloids, and gelatin.]

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


[i. Extractum Uvae Ursi. Extract of Uva Ursi. By maceration
and percolation with Alcohol and Water, and evaporation.
Dose, 5 to 15 gr. ; .30 to i.oo gm.

2. Extractum Uvae Ursi Fluidum. Fluid Extract of Uva Ursi.
By maceration and percolation with Glycerin, Alcohol and Water, and

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


Uva ursi is a well-marked diuretic, and is astringent and
disinfectant to the urinary mucous membrane. Its dis-
infectant action is probably due to the decomposition of the ar-
butin into glucose and hydroquinone, for after uva ursi is given
this substance is found in the urine, and it is a very energetic
antiseptic. This decomposition must take place in the kidneys,


for hydroquinone is a powerful poison. Against this being the
reason of the disinfectant action of the uva ursi, it is urged that
giving arbutin does not disinfect the urine ; but others deny this,
and the probability is that the first-mentioned view is correct.
Arbutin itself is a diuretic. The urine may be a pale greenish
to dark greenish -brown color. Hydroquinone is also found in
the urine in carbolic acid poisoning (see p. 332). [The fluid
extract is an excellent remedy for ardor urinae of acute gonor-
rhoea.] The astringent action of uva ursi on the urinary tract is
usually ascribed to the gallic and tannic acids, but as these are
not remote astringents this is most likely wrong.


Uva ursi is given to disinfect the urine in the same class of
cases as buchu that is to say, in pyelitis, cystitis and gonorrhoea.


APOCYNUM. Synonym. Canadian Hemp. The root of Apocynum
cannabinum Linn6 (nat. ord. Apocynacea]. Habitat. United States, on the
border of thickets and in grassy places.

CHARACTERS. Long, cylindrical, somewhat branched, 5 to 10 mm. thick,
gray or brownish-gray, longitudinally wrinkled and transversely fissured ;
brittle ; fracture short, white ; the bark rather thick ; the wood porous, spongy,
with delicate, medullary rays ; inodorous ; taste bitter, disagreeable.

COMPOSITION. The chief constituents are (i) Apocynein, a glucoside,
soluble in water, acting like digitalin. (2) Apocynin, an amorphous, resinous

Dose, 2 to 5 gr. ; .12 to .30 grn.


Extractum Apocyni Fluidum. Fluid Extract of Apocynum.
By maceration and percolation with Glycerin, Alcohol and Water, and

Dose, 2 to 20 m. ; .12 to 1.20 c.c.


Canadian hemp has been found to be beneficial in dropsy, be-
cause of its action which is not only diuretic, but as well re-
sembling that of strophanthus and similar drugs, when used as
an infusion (i to 16), of which the dose is one to two fluid


ounces; 30. to 60. c.c., twice or three times daily. This is a
more valuable drug than its limited use would indicate. It fre-
quently produces copious diuresis after other, and better known
drugs, have failed. It is also, in larger doses, a hydragogue


ZEA. Synonym. Corn-silk. The styles and stigmas of Zea Mays
Linn6 (nat. ord. Grammes}. Habitat. Tropical America ; cultivated in
the warm, temperate zone.

CHARACTERS. Thread-like ; about 15 cm. long, and 0.5 mm. broad,
yellowish or greenish, soft silky, finely hairy, and delicately veined longitudi-
nally ; inodorous ; taste sweetish.

COMPOSITION. Its chief constituents are (l) Maizenic Acid, about 2
percent (2) Fixed oil. (3) Resin. (4) Salts.

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


Corn-silk is a mild but fairly certain diuretic when given in
full doses. It is useful in acute and chronic cystitis and in the
bladder irritation of uric acid and for phosphatic gravel. It is
possibly as well a cardiac stimulant in the dropsy of heart dis-
ease. It is best administered in the form of an infusion, in boil-
ing water (i to 8), taken almost ad libitum. ,]


TRITICUM. \_Synonym. Couch-Grass. The rhizome of Agropyrum
repens (Linne) Beauvois (nat. ord. Graminetz), gathered in the spring and de-
prived of the roots. Habitat. Europe and North America.

CHARACTERS. Very long and creeping, about 2 mm. thick ; as met with
in the shops, cut into sections about I cm. long ; smooth, but wrinkled ; hollow
in the centre, straw-yellow ; inodorous, taste sweetish.

COMPOSITION. (i) Triticin, about 8 per cent., a gummy substance resem.-
bling Inulin. (2) Inosit. (3) Malates.

Dose, i to 8 dr. ; 4. to 30. gm.


Extractum Tritici Fluidum. Fluid Extract of Triticum. By
percolation with Boiling Water, evaporation, addition of Alcohol and

Dose, i to 8 fl. dr. ; 4. to 30. c.c.]



Triticum is a diuretic, and is used as a sedative in inflamma-
tion of the genito-urinary membranes.


MARRUBIUM. Synonym. Horehound. The leaves and tops of
Marrubium vulgare Linn6 (nat. ord. Labiate}. Habitat. Europe, Central
Asia ; naturalized in North America ; cultivated.

CHARACTERS. Leaves about 25 mm. long, opposite, petiolate, roundish-
ovate, obtuse, coarsely crenate, strongly rugose, downy above, white-hairy
beneath; branches quadrangular, white, tomentose ; flowers in dense, axillary
woolly whorls, with a stiffly ten- toothed calyx, a whitish, bilabiate corolla, and
four included stamens ; aromatic and bitter.

COMPOSITION. (I) Marrubiin, possibly a glucoside, in crystalline scales
or prisms, soluble in Ether, Chloroform and Alcohol. (2) Volatile Oil, in
small amount. (3) Resin.

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


Horehound, used as a decoction or an infusion, is in moder-
ate doses a diuretic, in large doses laxative, and may be so given
as to increase the action of the skin and kidneys ; but its action
is not marked. It is probably also a bitter stomachic. Confec-
tion of horehound slowly dissolved in the mouth relieves the
relaxed throat of public speakers.]


PAREIRA. [Synonym. Pareira Brava. The root of Chondodendron
tomeniosum Ruiz et Pavon (nat. ord. Menispermacea;'). Habitat. Brazil.

CHARACTERS. Subcylindrical, somewhat tortuous pieces, about 10 to 15
cm. long, varying in thickness from 2 to 10 cm. ; externally dark brownish-
gray, with transverse ridges and fissures and longitudinal furrows ; internally
pale brown, and, when freshly cut, having a waxy lustre ; bark thin ; wood
porous, in two or more somewhat irregularly concentric circles, with rather
large medullary rays, and no distinct central pith ; hiodorous ; taste bitter.

COMPOSITION. The chief constituent is Pelosine, an alkaloid, about 0.5
per cent., identical with Berberine (see p. 640) and Buxine].

INCOMPATIBLES. Ferric and lead salts, and tincture of iodine.

Dose, l /t\io\ dr. ; [2. to 4. gm.]



[Extractum Pareirae Fluidum. Fluid Extract of Pareira. By
maceration and percolation with Glycerin, Alcohol, and Water, and

Dose, ^ to i fl. dr. ; 2. to 4. c.c.]


Pareira [besides its diuretic,' in which it closely resembles
buchu, is not known .to have any physiological action.] It is
used empirically in chronic inflammation of the genito- urinary
tract, such as pyelitis, cystitis, gonorrhoea, and gleet. [It was
formerly renowned as a lithontriptic.]


DULCAMARA. Synonyms. Bittersweet. Woodjr Nightshade. The
young branches of Solatium Dulcamara Linne (nat. ord. Solanacecz'). Habi-
tat. Europe and Asia ; naturalized in North America.

CHARACTERS. About 5 mm., or less, thick, cylindrical, somewhat angu-
lar, longitudinally striate, more or less warty, usually hollow in the centre, cut
into short sections. The thin bark is externally pale greenish, or light greenish
brown, marked with alternate leaf-scars, and internally green ; the greenish or
yellowish wood forms one or two concentric rings. Odor slight ; taste bitter,
afterwards sweet.

COMPOSITION. (I) Solanine, C 42 H 87 NO 15 , the active alkaloid. (2) Dul-
camarin, C 23 H 3t O lQi 0.4 per cent, a glucoside, soluble in water and Alcohol,
and yielding frothy solutions. (3) Resin. (4) Gum.

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


Extractum Dulcamarae Fluidum. Fluid Extract of Dulcamara.
By maceration and percolation with diluted Alcohol and evaporation:
Dose, i to 2 fl. dr. ; 4. to 8. c.c.


Dulcamara increases the secretions, particularly those of the
kidneys and skin, with some diminution of sensibility. In large
doses it is an aero-narcotic poison. It has been employed chiefly
for cutaneous eruptions, particularly of a scaly character, but is
seldom prescribed.



CHIMAPHILA. Synonyms. Pipsissewa. Prince's Pine. The leaves
of Chimaphila umbellata (Linne) Nuttall (nat. ord. Ericacete). Habitat.
Northern Continent.

CHARACTERS. About 5 cm. long, oblanceolate, sharply serrate above,
wedge-shaped and nearly entire towards the base ; coriaceous, smooth, and
dark-green on the upper surface. It is nearly inodorous, and has an astringent
and bitterish taste.

COMPOSITION. (l) Arbutin (ste-p. 631). (2) Ericolin. (3) Chimaphilin,
in yellow, tasteless, volatile crystals. (4) Ursone. (5) Tannic Acid, 4 per cent.

Dose, YI to 2 dr. ; 2. to 8. c.c.


Extractum Chimaphilae Fluidum. Fluid Extract of Chima-
phila. By maceration and percolation with Diluted Alcohol, and evap-

Dose, y z to 2 fl. dr. ; 2. to 8. c.c.


This plant is diuretic and diaphoretic. It is used for rheumat-
ism and nephritic affections.


PICHI. (Not official.) The branches of the woody shrub, Fabiana
imbricata (nat. ord. Solanacea}. Habitat. Peru and Chili.

CHARACTERS. A woody shrub growing on rocky hill-tops, with plume-
like sprays, the small densely-crowded leaves much resembling those of
a conifer. The branches and leafy branchlets are resinous, with an aromatic
odor and taste.

COMPOSITION. It contains (i) Fabianine, a bitter alkaloid. (2) A Resin.
(3) A crystalline substance. (4) An essential oil.


Extractum Fabianse Fluidum. Fluid Extract of Fabiana. By
maceration and percolation with Diluted Alcohol, and evaporation.
Dose, 5 to 40 m. ; .30 to 2.50 c.c.


Pichi is a diuretic of great value in inflammation of the blad-
der and catarrh of the urinary tract. It should not be used in
organic disease. It is best prescribed in combination with an
alkali, as sodium carbonate.]



Vegetable drugs acting locally on unstriped muscle,
especially that of the uterus.

Ergot, Hydrastis, [Cotton Root Bark, Caulophyllum, Viburnum,



ERGOT. [Synonym. Ergot of Rye. The sclerotium of Claviceps pur-
purea (Fries) Tulasne (class Fungi), replacing the grain of rye, Secale cereale
Linne (nat. ord. Graminece). Habitat. Spain and Russia.

CHARACTERS. Somewhat fusiform, obtusely triangular, usually curved,
about 2 or 3 cm. long, and 3 mm. thick ; three-furrowed, obtuse at both ends,
purplish-black, internally whitish with some purplish striae, breaking with a
short fracture ; odor peculiar, heavy ; taste oily and disagreeable.]

COMPOSITION. The chief constituents are [(i) Ergotine, CsoH^NjOj,
an amorphous alkaloid, feebly bitter ; soluble in Alcohol and water. (2)
Ecboline, an amorphous alkaloid, slightly bitter ; soluble in water and Alcohol.
(3) Ergotinine, C S5 H 40 N 4 O 6 , a crystalline alkaloid, slightly bitter.] (4)
Sphacelic Acid [known also as Sphacelotoxiri\, a non-nitrogenous, unstable
body, insoluble in water, soluble in alkalies. It is believed to be the active
agent in contracting the blood-vessels. (5) Cornutine, an active alkaloid, [not
only contracts the blood-vessels but] is believed to be the agent which con-
tracts the uterus. This is the chief active constituent of alcoholic extracts of
Ergot. (6) [Sclerotinic, Ergotinic or Ergotic Acid, I to 4 per cent., solu-
ble in water and alkalies, having ecbolic properties]. This is really a mixture
of Sphacelic Acid and Cornutine. (7) A fixed oil, 30 per cent. (8) Tri-
methylamine, to which the odor is due. (9) Tannic Acid. Many other
bodies have been found in Ergot, but those given are believed to be the more
important ; the composition of Ergot is not yet certainly made out.

Dose, 30 to 60 gr. ; [2. to 4. gin.]


1. [Extractum Ergotae Fluidum. Fluid Extract of Ergot. By
maceration and percolation with Acetic Acid and Diluted Alcohol, and

Dose, YZ to i fl. dr. ; 2. to 3. c.c.

2. Extractum Ergotae. Extract of Ergot. Synonym. Ergotin.
Fluid Extract of Ergot. By evaporation to a pilular consistence.

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


3. Vinum Ergotae. Wine of Ergot. Ergot, 150. By percola-
tion with White Wine, 150; and Alcohol, to 1000.
Dose, i to 4 fl. dr. ; .4 to .15 c.c.

It is said that Ammonia is the best solvent for the active principles of
Ergot. It may be extemporaneously prescribed as follows : Ergot, i ; Aro-
matic Spirit of Ammonia, 2. Dose, 10 to 60 m. ; .60 to 4.00 c.c.]



The chief action of cornutine is on voluntary and involun-
tary muscle, which is stimulated to contract, hence prolonged
muscle curves, increased peristalsis of the [intestines], tonic
contraction of the uterus, and consequent rise of blood-pressure.
It also causes convulsions. Sphacelic acid also acts directly on
the muscular tissue of arterioles and the uterus, causing it to con-
tract, and in addition it produces an actual thickening of the
walls of the arterioles. These substances are rarely given sepa-
rately, and the following account refers to the action of ergot

External. None.

Internal. Gastro-intestinal tract. The unstriped muscle
of the intestine is stimulated by ergot, and this leads to greatly
increased peristaltic movements, sometimes strong enough* to
cause relaxation of the bowels. The vessels of the intestine are
constricted, in part because of the contraction of their own
muscular fibres, and in part because of the contraction of those
of the intestinal muscular coat. The result is that the intestine
is blanched.

Blood. The active principles of ergot are readily absorbed,
but they are not known to produce any effect on the blood.

Heart. The activity of the heart muscle is depressed by
ergot ; therefore the rate of the pulse falls, and consequently at
first the blood -pressure may fall.

Vessels. But the fall of blood-pressure is soon followed by a
great rise, and this is due to the general contraction of the
arteries all over the body ; they can, in some parts, be seen to
become smaller. The rise of pressure is most marked in the
pulmonary artery, and here there is no primary fall. The veins


are contracted to a less extent. This vascular contraction is
less if the spinal cord is destroyed, from which it is fair to infer
that it is partly due to the action of ergot on the vaso-motor
centres in the cord, but the drug acts largely directly on the
muscular coat of the vessels. [Because it contracts the arterioles
it is haemostatic.] If the ergot be taken for a long time the
contraction of the arterioles, together with the associated thick-
ening of their walls produced by sphacelic acid, lead to gan-
grene of various parts of the body, and this was a prominent
symptom of the ergotism (chronic poisoning by ergot) which
used to be seen in the very poor who could get no better food
than rye infected with Claviceps purpurea. Enormous single
doses of ergot appear to paralyze the vaso-motor centres, and
then the blood-pressure falls from vascular dilatation and cardiac

Nenious system. Medicinal doses, or even an enormous single
dose, very rarely affect the nervous system, but if ergot be taken
for a long time a peculiar train of symptoms sets in ; they con-
stituted the second variety of chronic ergotism in the [times]
when diseased bread was eaten. The sufferer first complained
of itching and tingling, and a sensation of insects running over
the skin ; this was followed by numbness and local anaes-
thesia. These symptoms first appeared in the hands and feet,
but spread over the whole body. They were followed by tonic
contractions of various muscles, especially those of the ex-
tremities. The muscular power was lessened, and the gait was
staggering. Dimness of vision and loss of hearing, and epi-
leptiform convulsions were sometimes present. This variety
of ergotism was usually accompanied by vomiting and diarrhoea.
Death occurred from [exhaustion].

Uterus. Ergot powerfully excites the pregnant uterus of
women and lower animals to contract and expel its contents. It
is therefore called an ecbolic. It is not decided whether this
effect is due to the action of the drug on the organ itself or on
the spinal centres. Ergot has very little power to cause contrac-
tion of the unimpregnated uterus.

The flow of urine, of saliva, of sweat, and of milk is dimin-


ished by ergot, probably because of the general vascular con-


The chief use of ergot is to cause efficient contraction of the
uterus after labor, and so to diminish the risk of post-partum
haemorrhage. If there is any likelihood of profuse bleeding it
should be given subcutaneously, so that it may act rapidly.

Ergot should [not] be administered before the child is ex-
pelled, for the contraction produced by it not only gradually
becomes more severe, but more prolonged, so that ultimately the
uterus remains tightly contracted for several minutes ; that is, of
course, dangerous to the life of the child, and if the resistance be
very great, may lead to rupture of the uterus. [The modern
practice is to forbid its use until after the expulsion of the

This drug has often been given as a haemostatic in haemoptysis
and other haemorrhages from different parts of the body. Some
authors claim great success. Frequently it fails, and it may, by
the general rise of blood-pressure, do more harm than good. It
is difficult to [estimate] its value, for so many haemorrhages \vill
stop, even if no drugs are given. It has been used to check the
night-sweats of phthisis, and as an antigalactagogue.

It is often desirable to combine the [fluid] extract of ergot
with [ferric] chloride. Because of the tannic acid in the ergot
an inky mixture results ; but this may be clarified by the addition
of a little citric acid, and the taste may be covered with chloro-
form water.


HYDRASTIS. [Synonyms. Golden Seal. Yellow Puccoon. The
rhizome and roots of Hydrastis canaJensis Linne (nat. ord. Ranunculacea.)
Habitat. North America, west to Missouri and Arkansas, in woodlands.

CHARACTERS. Rhizome about 4 cm. long and 6 mm. thick ; oblique

Online LibraryWilliam Hale-WhiteMateria medica, pharmacy, pharmacology and therapeutics → online text (page 56 of 67)