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Dracontium (Symplocarpus).

Botanical name:

The rhizome, roots and seeds of Symplocarpus foetidus, Linné (Nat. Ord. Araceae). A peculiar plant found in moist grounds in the United States. Dose, 10 to 40 grains.
Common Names: Skunk Cabbage, Skunk Weed, Pole Cat Weed, Meadow Cabbage.

Principal Constituents.—A peculiar evanescent volatile substance, resin and volatile oil.
Preparation.—Tinctura Dracontii, Tincture of Dracontium (fresh root, 8 ounces; Alcohol, 16 fluidounces). Dose, 1/2 to 2 fluidrachms.

Action and Therapy.—In large doses dracontium will cause nausea and vomiting, dizziness, headache, and impaired vision. In small doses it is a stimulant, expectorant, and antispasmodic. It very markedly relieves nervous irritation with tendency to spasmodic action, making it a remedy of some value in nervous irritability, asthma, and whooping cough, and in chronic coughs and catarrhs. The drug needs restudy from a therapeutic standpoint, for it undoubtedly possesses a marked action upon the nervous system. Only preparations from the fresh root are of any value. Skunk cabbage was an ingredient of many early Eclectic medicines, and is still a constituent of Acetous Emetic Tincture, Compound Emetic Powder, and Libradol, the magma representing the latter compound.


The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.



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