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Tanacetum.

Botanical name:

The leaves and tops of Tanacetum vulgare, Linné (Nat. Ord. Compositae). Europe; naturalized and cultivated in the United States. Dose, 5 to 60 grains.
Common Name: Tansy.

Principal Constituents.—A volatile oil (Oleum Tanaceti), and an amorphous, bitter tanacetin.
Preparations.—1 Oleum Tanaceti, Oil of Tansy. Dose, 1 to 10 drops.
2. Tinctura Tanaceti, Tincture of Tanacetum (fresh herb, 8 ounces, to Alcohol, 76 per cent). Dose, 1 to 30 drops.

Action and Toxicology.—Oil of tansy is a gastro-intestinal and nerve poison, and in overdoses has caused epileptiform convulsions, profound coma, and death by paralysis of the breathing organs (asphyxiation). Lesser doses may increase the pulse rate, dilate the pupils, and cause severe vomiting and purging with colicky pain. Doses above fifteen drops are dangerous. Most deaths have occurred from its use in attempts at abortion.

Therapy.—External. In use in domestic medicine as a fomentation to sprains and injuries, and to the abdomen in dysmenorrhea.

Internal. Tansy is a uterine stimulant and emmenagogue, and is a popular but unsafe remedy to restore arrested or delayed menstruation. An infusion is generally employed for this purpose by the laity. The cold infusion and the tincture (8 ounces to Alcohol, 16 fluidounces; dose, 5 to 10 drops) are sometimes useful as a gastric bitter in convalescence from exhausting diseases and in dyspeptic conditions with flatulence.


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



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