The rhizome, roots and seeds of Symplocarpus foetidus, Linné (Nat. Ord. Araceae). A peculiar plant found in moist grounds in the United States. Dose, 10 to 40 grains.
Common Names: Skunk Cabbage, Skunk Weed, Pole Cat Weed, Meadow Cabbage.
Principal Constituents.—A peculiar evanescent volatile substance, resin and volatile oil.
Preparation.—Tinctura Dracontii, Tincture of Dracontium (fresh root, 8 ounces; Alcohol, 16 fluidounces). Dose, ½ to 2 fluidrachms.
Action and Therapy.—In large doses dracontium will cause nausea and vomiting, dizziness, headache, and impaired vision. In small doses it is a stimulant, expectorant, and antispasmodic. It very markedly relieves nervous irritation with tendency to spasmodic action, making it a remedy of some value in nervous irritability, asthma, and whooping cough, and in chronic coughs and catarrhs. The drug needs restudy from a therapeutic standpoint, for it undoubtedly possesses a marked action upon the nervous system. Only preparations from the fresh root are of any value. Skunk cabbage was an ingredient of many early Eclectic medicines, and is still a constituent of Acetous Emetic Tincture, Compound Emetic Powder, and Libradol, the magma representing the latter compound.