The bark of the root of Piscidia piscipula, Jacquin (Nat. Ord. Leguminosae). West Indies and rarely in Florida. Dose, 5 to 60 grains.
Common Name: Jamaica Dogwood.
Principal Constituent.—The chief active body is piscidin (C29H24O8), a neutral principle.
Preparation.—Fluidextractum Piscidiae, Fluidextract of Piscidia. Dose, 10 to 60 drops.
Specific Indications.—Insomnia and nervous unrest; spasm, pain, and nervous irritability; migraine, neuralgia.
Action and Toxicology.—Jamaica dogwood controls pain and produces sleep by its narcotic action. It increases salivary and cutaneous secretion, slows the pulse, first increases then lowers arterial tension (due to the heart weakening), dilates the pupils, reduces reflex activity, may induce convulsions, and proves narcotic to man and animals. Nausea, vomiting, and convulsions have followed a half-drachm dose of the fluidextract. Death, in animals, is caused by either heart failure or respiratory paralysis.
Therapy.—External. Reputed to relieve toothache due to exposed dental pulp, alveolar abscess, or peridental inflammation, and has been advised locally for the relief of pain in hemorrhoids.
Internally. Jamaica dogwood is used to relieve pain, overcome spasm, allay nervous excitability, and produce sleep. It may be cautiously used in the insomnia of the aged and in those of an excessively nervous temperament. By many it is advised where opium would be used to control pain, but for any good reason is not desirable—in neuralgias, painful spasms, tic douloureux, sciatica, enteralgia, dysmenorrhea, and the pains of fractures and carcinoma. It has aided some cases of spasmodic and reflex cough. In whooping-cough, in which it has been advised, it should be used with great caution. Foltz advised it in neuralgia of the eyeball and in supra-orbital neuralgia, and others speak well of results with it in inflammatory and painful affections of the eye and ear. It has never been used to a great extent by Eclectic physicians; and in children and the feeble it should be employed with caution on account of its tendency to produce convulsions, even though it may satisfactorily relieve pain.