Scilla, B.P. Squill.

Botanical name: 

Related entry: Urginea

Squill consists of the bulb of Urginea Scilla, Steinh. (N.O. Liliaceae), divested of its outer membranous scales and dried; it is indigenous to the Mediterranean district. It is also official in the U.S.P. The commercial drug consists usually of transverse slices of the middle leaves of the bulb, the soft central portion being rejected together with the outer membranous scales. They are usually of a yellowish-white or pinkish colour, about 2.5 to 5 centimetres long, 1 centimetre wide and 3 millimetres thick, tapering towards either end. When quite dry they are brittle, but they rapidly absorb moisture and become tough and flexible. Odour, slight; taste, disagreeably bitter and acrid. On incineration, it yields about 5 per cent. of ash. There are two varieties of squill, viz., white and pink; the former is generally preferred in England, the latter in France.

Constituents.—The chief constituents of squill are the toxic, amorphous glucosides scillipicrin and scillitoxin. Scillin is a crystallisable, inactive glucoside; this name has also been applied to a carbohydrate, sinistrin, found in the drug and probably identical with triticin and irisin (phlein). There is much uncertainty regarding the active constituents, and those named are not to be regarded as pure substances of definite chemical composition. The drug also contains mucilage, and calcium oxalate in bundles of large acicular crystals; the latter penetrate the skin when the bulbs are handled, and are said to be the cause of the irritation that has been observed.

Action and Uses.—Squill resembles digitalis in its action, but its effects on the heart and blood vessels are much more powerful; it increases the force of cardiac systole to a greater extent, and its action on the systemic blood vessels raises blood pressure to an extent which is unobtainable by digitalis. It also constricts the coronary vessels much more strongly than digitalis, and this is no doubt one reason which has rendered its value second to that of digitalis in therapeutics, because it is so essential in cardiac therapeutics to do all that is possible to improve the blood supply of the heart itself. It is given with digitalis in cardiac dropsy, also to promote absorption of effusions in the pleura, etc. Squill is more irritant and not so readily absorbed as digitalis, and it is for the latter reason that it is not so reliable, when given by the mouth, as digitalis. In large doses it produces nausea and vomiting, and it was at one time used as an emetic. In smaller doses it mildly irritates the stomach, and produces reflex secretion from the bronchioles; it is much used as an expectorant in the treatment of cough in chronic bronchitis. The tincture is administered in mixture form with other expectorants, especially ipecacuanha and ammonium carbonate. Vinegar, oxymel, and syrup of squill, are also common constituents of expectorant cough mixtures. For use as a cardiac tonic in dropsy, it is frequently given in pill form with mercury pill and digitalis (see Pilulae Digitalis Compositae).

Dose.—6 to 18 centigrams (1 to 3 grains).


Also: Expectorant Mixture

Acetum Scillae, B.P.—VINEGAR OF SQUILL.
Squill, bruised, 12.5; diluted acetic acid, to 100. Macerate the squill in the mid for seven days; then strain, press, and add sufficient diluted acetic acid to mate the product measure 100. A preparation which corresponds closely to the official Acetum Scillae is obtained by mixing 12.5 of liquid extract of squill with 87.5 of diluted acetic acid, and filtering the mixture through kieselguhr. Vinegar of squill is employed chiefly as an expectorant in chronic bronchitis. On account of its acidity, it should not be prescribed with alkali carbonates. Dose.—½ to 2 mils (10 to 30 minims).
Acetum Scillae, U.S.P.—VINEGAR OF SQUILL, U.S.P.
Squill, in No. 20 powder, 10; diluted acetic acid (6 per cent.), sufficient to produce 100. Average dose.—1 mil (15 minims).
Extractum Scillae Liquidum, B.P.C.—LIQUID EXTRACT OF SQUILL. 1 in 1.
This extract may with advantage be used to make oxymel, syrup, tincture and vinegar of squill, the products corresponding closely to the B.P. preparations and keeping better. Dose.—½ to 2 decimils (0.05 to 0.2 milliliters) (1 to 3 minims),
Fluidextractum Scillae, U.S.P.—FLUIDEXTRACT OF SQUILL.
Squill, in No. 20 powder, 100; a mixture of acetic acid (36 per cent) 1, and water, 3; sufficient to produce 100. Average dose.—1 decimil (0.1 milliliter) (1 ½ minims).
Linctus Opiatus, B.P.C.—OPIATE LINCTUS.
Liquid extract of Opium, 3.33; linctus of squill, to 100. Dose.—2 to 4 mils (½ to 1 fluid drachm).
Linctus Scillae, B.P.C.—LINCTUS OF SQUILL. Syn.—Linctus; Simple Linctus. 1 (oxymel) in 4.
This preparation is used is a cough linctus for children. Dose.—2 to 4 mils (½ to 1 fluid drachm).
Linctus Scillae Compositus, B.P.C.—COMPOUND LINCTUS OF SQUILL. Syn. Linctus Scillae Opiatus.
Compound tincture of camphor, 1; oxymel of squill, 1; syrup of tolu, 1. Dose.—2 to 4 mils (½ to 1 fluid drachm).
Each ½ fluid ounce contains 24 minims of syrup of squill, 12 minims of diluted hydrobromic acid, and 12 minims of emulsion of chloroform. The mixture is given for coughs, and is intended to be sipped slowly. Dose.—8 to 15 mils (2 to 4 fluid drachms).
Mistura Scillae Composita, B.P.C.—COMPOUND SQUILL MIXTURE.
Each fluid ounce contains 20 minims of compound tincture of camphor, 40 minims of oxymel of squill, and 20 minims of spirit of nitrous ether. Used as a diaphoretic, and expectorant. Dose.—15 to 30 mils (½ for fluid ounce).
Mistura Scillae et Ipecacuanhae, B.P.C.—SQUILL AND IPECACUANHA MIXTURE.
Each fluid ounce contains 10 minims of vinegar of squill, 10 minims of vinegar of ipecacuanha, 15 grains of potassium citrate, 2 fluid drachms of solution of ammonium acetate, with a sufficient quantity of anise water. Dose.—15 to 30 mils (½ to 1 fluid ounce).
Mistura Scillae et Opii, B.P.C.—SQUILL AND OPIUM MIXTURE. Syn.—Abercrombie's Cough Mixture.
Each ½ fluid ounce contains 48 minims of syrup of squill, 8 minims of tincture of opium, and 96 minims of cinnamon water. Dose.—8 to 15 mils (2 to 4 fluid drachms).
Oxymel Scillae, B.P.—OXYMEL OF SQUILL.
Squill, bruised, 7.5; acetic acid, 7.5; distilled water, 24; clarified honey, a sufficient quantity. Mix the acid with the water and digest the drug in the mixture for seven days; then pour off the liquid, press the residue, filter the mixed liquids, and add sufficient honey to the filtrate to produce a preparation of specific gravity 1.320. A preparation which corresponds closely with the official Oxymel Scillae is obtained by mixing 7.5 of liquid extract of squill with 6.5 of acetic acid and 86 of clarified honey (specific gravity, 1.4). Oxymel of squill is employed in coughs and colds to assist expectoration. Dose.—2 to 4 mils (½ to 1 fluid drachm).
Pilula Scillae Composita, B.P.—COMPOUND SQUILL PILL.
Squill, in powder, 25; ginger, in powder, 20; ammoniacum, in powder, 20; hard soap, in powder, 20; syrup of glucose, a sufficient quantity. Mix to form a mass. Dose.—2 ½ to 5 decigrams (4 to 8 grains).
Syrupus Mellis Compositus, B.P.C.—COMPOUND SYRUP OF HONEY.
Oil of anise, 0.02; oil of peppermint, 0.04; chloroform, 0.02; camphor, 0.02 benzoic acid, 0.08; alcohol, 1.25; ipecacuanha wine, 2.5; oxymel of squill, 40; syrup of Virginian prune, 20; syrup of tolu, to 100. This preparation is given for coughs. Dose.—2 to 4 mils (½ to 1 fluid drachm).
Syrupus Scillae, B.P.—SYRUP OF SQUILL.
Vinegar of squill, 20; refined sugar, 38. Add the sugar to the vinegar of squill, and dissolve by the aid of gentle heat. A preparation which corresponds closely to the official Syrupus Scillae is obtained by mixing 6 of liquid extract of squill with 2 of glacial acetic acid and 92 of syrup. Syrup of squill is used as an expectorant in acid cough mixtures. Dose.—2 to 4 mils (½ to 1 fluid drachm).
Syrupus Scillae, U.S.P.—SYRUP OF SQUILL, U.S.P.
Vinegar of squill, 45; refined sugar, 80; water, sufficient to produce 100. Average dose.—2 mils (30 minims).
Syrupus Scillae Compositus, U.S.P.—COMPOUND SYRUP OF SQUILL.
Fluidextract of squill, 8; fluidextract senega, 8; antimony and potassium tartrate, 0.2; purified talk, 2; sugar, 75; distilled water to 100. The mixed fluidextracts are evaporated on a water-bath until the product weighs 10; then mixed with 35 of distilled water, cooled, incorporated with the talc and filtered; distilled water is passed through the filter until the filtrate measures 40, the antimony and potassium tartrate is dissolved in 2.5 of hot distilled water, the solutions mixed and the sugar dissolved in the mixture by agitation, strained and made up to the required volume. Average dose.—2 mils (30 minims).
Tablettae Scillae Compositae, B.P.C.—COMPOUND SQUILL TABLETS.
Each tablet contains 1 ¼ grains of squill, 1 grain each of ginger, ammoniacum and hard soap. Each tablet is approximately equal to 3 decigrams (5 grains) of the corresponding official pill mass. Dose. —1 or 2 tablets
Tinctura Scillae, B.P.—TINCTURE OF SQUILL.
Squill, bruised, 20; alcohol (60 per cent.), 100. Macerate for seven days, and complete the maceration process. A preparation which corresponds closely to the official Tinctura Scillae is obtained by mixing 20 of liquid extract of squill with 80 of alcohol (60 per cent.) Tincture of squill is used with it other expectorants to relieve cough, and in chronic bronchitis. Dose.—3 to 10 decimils (0.3 to 1.0 milliliters) (5 to 15 minims).
Tinctura Scillae, U.S.P.—TINCTURE OF SQUILL, U.S.P
Squill, in No. 20 powder, 10; alcohol (71 per cent.), sufficient to produce 100. Average dose.—1 mil (15 minims).

The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.