Hyoscyamus. Hyoscyamus niger

Botanical name: 


Hyoscyamine, Hyoscine, Scopolamine, Hyoscipicrin.
Extractum Hyoscyami, Extract of Hyoscyamus. Dose, from one to two grains.
Extractum Hyoscyami Fluidum, Fluid Extract of Hyoscyamus. Dose, from five to twenty minims.
Specific Hyoscyamus. Dose, from one to ten minims.

Physiological ActionHenbane is a narcotic and causes deranged vision, headache, giddiness, dilated pupils, dry throat, hoarseness, weakness of the lower limbs, spasms, cramps, paralysis, loss of speech, or loquacious delirium with hallucinations, followed by a dreamy sleep, according to the amount taken. A continuous use of the medicine causes an eruption of the skin of a red color, which is dry and itching. In some cases large doses cause furious delirium.

While power to temporarily increase nerve force—mild stimulant properties—is ascribed to hyoscyamus, that influence is much less marked than belladonna and stramonium, although its general effects are in many ways similar to these agents in medicinal doses. It is almost entirely devoid of irritant properties, but is soothing, calmative and sedative to a marked degree.

Specific Symptomatology—It is specific in excitable mental conditions, and in the violent and noisy delirium of fevers and acute inflammations, to subdue the excitement and to induce sleep.

In all conditions where there are busy delirium, hallucinations, weight in the front part of the brain, extreme activity of the mind, disturbed sleep with wild and frightful dreams, coma vigil, flushed face, wild, red and restless eyes, it is a sure remedy. In the restlessness, ceaseless agitation and insomnia of exhaustion, and in diseases of infants and of the extreme aged and feeble, it is especially applicable.

Therapy—It is valuable in the pneumonitis of infants for its general soothing influence, and for its sedative effect upon the cough and respiration, and also in bronchitis, with short, sharp cough. A dry cough, increased upon lying down and relieved upon getting up, is surely relieved by its use.

It does not arrest secretion, and in this particular is in every way superior to opium. It does not disturb the mind or produce headache.

The anodyne properties of this agent are not marked in its general application, but administered in the neuralgia of exhaustion, in this variety of neuralgic dysmenorrhea and in irritable conditions of the bladder, as well as in the bone pains of syphilis, it exercises anodyne properties to a remarkable degree. In hepatic, renal, intestinal, ovarian and uterine pain accompanied with great restlessness, it is of much value.

As a hypnotic for infants and the aged there is no happier agent than hyoscyamus, in small doses. From five to ten drops of the fluid extract should be dropped into half a glassful of water, and a teaspoonful may be given every fifteen minutes, for two hours before the usual bedtime or until the patient sleeps. The sleep is quiet, restful, natural and not too sound. The patient awakens refreshed. It is indicated also in patients enfeebled from prolonged illness.

In headaches attendant upon the above irritable conditions the agent is applicable.

Since the profession has learned to use hyoscine and morphine together, for the peculiar analgesic influence of this compound, I am reminded that during the largest part of my experience I have been in the habit of combining morphine, when that remedy is indicated for pain, with hyoscyamus, with excellent results.

It is well known that morphine is acted upon imperfectly, or chemically, by an extremely avid condition of the stomach. Also that there are certain nervous constitutions that have unpleasant nervous irritation from its influence (an idiosyncrasy, often). In place of acting as a stimulant, it acts as an irritant and depressant.

I have learned that the use of hyoscyamus, in the proportion of ten drops of the specific medicine with one dram or more of strontium bromide, combined with a mild stimulant such as capsicum, and one grain of morphine added to the whole, has remarkable pain relieving properties out of all proportion to the small amount of morphine it contains. I add the above to two ounces of water or other simple menstruum, and give it in teaspoonful doses every ten, twenty or thirty minutes until the first effects are observed.

The influence of this simple preparation is exceedingly happy, especially where something soothing is needed for distress, general discomfort, nervous irritability, or wakefulness. A sensitive stomach after anesthesia for surgical operations, will retain this in a remarkable manner usually, and the patient can thus be kept free from pain and discomfort, and will enjoy natural and restful sleep with only an occasional dose.

The alkaloid Hyoscyamine Sulphate, in doses of one-eightieth of a grain, works better often than other forms of the agent in paralysis agitans, locomotor ataxia, the tremors of old age, and in tetanus. It is of value in chorea. In chronic dementia, with destructive tendencies, and sleeplessness, insanity with delusions and hallucinations, in epileptic mania, and in fact, in mania of all forms it is excellent, especially when there are with the above, erratic tendencies.

Co-OperativesGelsemium, stramonium, opium and passiflora incarnata, facilitate the action of hyoscyamus. The alkaloid duboisia is said to be identical with hyoscyamine. Atropine is also identical in some of its properties.

The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 1919, was written by Finley Ellingwood, M.D.
It was scanned by Michael Moore for the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.