Conii Fructus, B.P. Conium Fruit.
Conium or hemlock fruit is the product of the hemlock, Conium maculatum, Linn. (N. O. Umbelliferae), a plant distributed throughout Europe and Great Britain. The fruits are officially directed to be collected when full grown, but before they ripen, and dried. Conium, U.S.P., should contain not less than 0.5 per cent. of coniine. Conium fruit should be greenish-grey in colour, about 3 millimetres in length and breadth; the fruits are broadly ovoid in shape, slightly compressed laterally and crowned with small stylopods. The separate mericarps are quite glabrous and marked with five irregular crenate primary ridges. Cut transversely the endosperm is seen to be deeply grooved, but no vittae are present. The fruits have no marked odour or taste, but develop a strong disagreeable mouse-like odour when triturated with solution of potassium hydroxide.
Constituents.—If gathered at the right time and dried, hemlock fruits yield as much as 2.77 per cent. of coniine. Commercial fruits only yield from 0.5 to 1.3 per cent. of coniine, due to their collection after they have attained full growth and are ripening, at which period the quantity of alkaloid rapidly diminishes. Conhydrine, methyl-coniine, ethyl-piperidine, and pseudo-conhydrine are also present.
Action and Uses.—Conium fruit is the chief source of coniine, of which it contains a greater proportion than the leaves. Preparations of conium fruit are Tinctura Conii and Extractum Conii Liquidum, used internally as sedatives and antispasmodics (see Coniina). Unstandardised preparations of conium vary greatly in strength, but the liquid extract of conium is adjusted to contain 1 per cent. of alkaloidal hydrochlorides, thus forming a preparation of uniform potency. Incompatible with alkalies, and preparations of conium should not be prescribed with alkalies, except when intended for inhalation. In cases of poisoning by conium, the antidotes described under Coniina should be employed.
- Extractum Conii Liquidum, B.P.C.—LIQUID EXTRACT OF CONIUM. Syn.—Liquid Extract of Hemlock.
- Contains 1 per cent. of alkaloidal hydrochlorides, and is the most uniform preparation of conium. It may be used with advantage in place of the tincture and juice of conium; 1 fluid drachm (4 mils) of the liquid extract is about equal to 1 fluid ounce (30 mils) of the juice. Dose.—3 to 10 decimils (0.3 to 1.0 milliliters) (5 to 15 minims).
- Fluidextractum Conii, U.S.P.—FLUIDEXTRACT OF CONIUM.
- Conium fruit, in No. 40 powder, 100; acetic acid (36 per cent.), 2; alcohol (49 per cent.), sufficient to produce a liquid containing 0.45 per cent. w/v of coniine. Average dose.—2 decimils (0.2 milliliters) (3 minims).
- Tinctura Conii, B.P.—TINCTURE OF CONIUM. Syn.—Tincture of Hemlock.
- Conium fruit, recently reduced to No. 40 powder, 20; alcohol (70 per cent.), sufficient to produce 100. Prepare by the percolation process. Tincture of conium is used as a sedative in spasmodic affections of the respiratory organs. It has also been used as an inhalation to allay bronchial spasm. Dose.—2 to 4 mils (½ to 1 fluid drachm).
- Unguentum Extracti Conii, B.P.C.—CONIUM EXTRACT OINTMENT.
- Liquid extract of conium, 10; wool fat, 90.