Source and Composition. Squill is the sliced bulb of Urginea maritima, a perennial plant of the nat. ord. Liliaceae, growing along the shores of the Mediterranean. Its active principle is probably the acrid, bitter glucoside, Scillitoxin or Scillaïn, which it contains, along with Scillipicrin, Scillitin, Scillin, Sinistrin, etc. Dose of the dried bulb, in powder, gr. j-iij.
- Extractum Scillae Fluidum, Fluid Extract of Squill,—Dose, ♏j-v.
- Tinctura Scillae, Tincture of Squill, 15 per cent. ,—Dose, ♏v-xxx.
- Acetum Scillae, Vinegar of Squill, 10 per cent. ,—Dose, ♏x-ℨj.
- Syrupus Scillae, Syrup of Squill,—has of the Acetum 45 per cent. Dose, ℨss-ij.
- Syrupus Scillae Compositus, Compound Syrup of Squill, (Cox's Hive Mixture), —has Squill, Senega, Calcium Phosphate, etc., and Tartar Emetic, the latter in the proportion of about gr. j to the ℥. Dose ♏v-x, for children; ♏x-xxx for adults ;—as an emetic ℨj-ij, according to age.
Physiological Action. In small doses Squill is expectorant, in large ones it is emetic and diuretic, and in overdoses it is an irritant poison, causing nausea and vomiting, purging, gastro-enteritis, strangury, bloody urine, perhaps suppression, convulsions, and death by paralysis of the heart in systole. In medicinal doses it acts upon the circulation like Digitalis, slowing and strengthening the cardiac contractions, making the pulse slower and stronger, raising arterial tension, and increasing the flow of urine. The difference between its actions as an expectorant and a cardiac stimulant would seem to indicate its possession of two or more active principles, one specifically affecting the secretory mucous membranes, and the other the circulatory apparatus.
Therapeutics. Squill is a household word in many countries, especially in England, where it is freely used in domestic practice for coughs of infants and children, and causes many deaths by direct poisoning. It is chiefly employed as an expectorant and diuretic, though it renders excellent service as a cardiac stimulant. It is well used in—
- Bronchitis,—when the secretion, though profuse, is difficult to expel. If secretion be scanty, first give Ipecac.
- Chronic Bronchitis,—the Pil. Ipecac cum Scilla of the B. P., gr. x, night and morning, is a most useful remedy.
- Dropsy, of cardiac origin,—Squill combined with Digitalis, and Hydrarg. cum creta, gr. j of each, is an efficient diuretic.
- Croup,—the Compound Syrup, remembering its containing Tartar Emetic and the liability to great depression therefrom.
- Whooping-cough, and other irritant coughs,—the Acetum or Syrup.
- Cardiac Disorders,—as a stimulant to the heart, in cases where Digitalis would be considered dangerous.
A Compend of Materia Medica, Therapeutics, and Prescription Writing, 1902, by Sam'l O. L. Potter, M.D., M.R.C.P.L.