P. E.—Leaves and seeds.
N. H.—Europe, Asia.
Properties: Anodyne, antispasmodic.
Physiological action: In large doses it causes dry throat, dilated pupils, vision becomes impaired, headache, thirst, nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, weakness of lower extremities, spasms, rapid and intermittent pulse, cramps, paralysis, delirium and even death, resulting from paralysis of respiration. Hyoscyamus is a calmative, hypnotic and narcotic. Relieves pain and promotes sleep. It is not irritating nor does it suppress secretion. May often be used when opium is contraindicated. In small doses it is a mild nerve stimulant, its action however being transient. If used continuously for some time it will cause a dry, red rash which is very annoying on account of its itching. In cases that have recovered from toxic doses it is sometimes found to leave a bloody diarrhea, showing that in large doses it acts as an irritant to the gastro-intestinal tract. The delirium of hyoscyamus is not furious and is accompanied with sleeplessness. It excites cerebral activity while the spinal functions are depressed. It stimulates the vaso-motor and cardiac acceleratory apparatus and has a soothing influence on the urinary passages.
Indications: Nervousness, restlessness, irritability, flushed face, dilated pupils, delirium, violent mania, hallucinations; dry cough, worse at night and relieved by sitting up.
Use: It allays irritation of the cerebro-spinal, and to some degree of the sympathetic nervous system. We think of it in excitable mental conditions where it will subdue the excitement and promote sleep. In insomnia from exhaustion and debility. In chronic dementia with destructive tendencies, hallucination, talkativeness, tendency to vulgarity. In violent delirium of fevers and inflammation where patients sing and talk almost continually. In children it has proved a valuable hypnotic in small doses, not suppressing secretion as opium or morphine do. In irritation of the bladder and urethra, in gonorrhea and vesical tenesmus. Added to purgatives it will greatly modify griping.
The Materia Medica and Clinical Therapeutics, 1905, was written by Fred J. Petersen, M.D.