The leaves and seeds of Datura stramonium.—U. S.
Preparations.—A tincture of the fresh leaves. An ointment of the fresh leaves.
Dose.—The dose of the tincture will be from the fraction of a drop to five drops.
Specific Indications.—Acute delirium (maniacal), when the patient is passionate and violent. The patient can not control his temper, feels an almost uncontrollable desire to destroy something, or injure somebody.
Therapeutic Action.—Stramonium is described as narcotic, antispasmodic, sedative, and anodyne; it is a powerful narcotic poison, closely resembling the Belladonna in its effects on the system. In small and repeated doses it lessens the sensibility and often alleviates pain, but does not induce sleep. By mitigating pain, however, and tranquilizing the system, it may indirectly dispose to sleep, but it can not be regarded as a soporific.
If the dose be large, it causes thirst, nausea, vertigo, headache, dimness or perverted vision, dilated pupils, dryness of the throat, sensation of suffocation at times, with peculiar deranged sensations about the fauces, esophagus and trachea, nervous agitation or disturbed state of the cerebral functions, and may cause diaphoresis, diuresis, and relaxation of the bowels. The pulse is but slightly affected. "In fatal doses the leading symptoms are flushed countenance, delirium (usually maniacal), dilutation of the pupil, dryness of the throat, loss of voice, difficulty of deglutition, convulsions, and, in some cases, palsy." If the dose is not excessive these effects subside in five or six hours. If the dose is large, it may cause stupor, convulsions and death.
The diseases in which it has been employed with most advantage are those of a nervous character, as neuralgia, or tic-douleureux, mania, epilepsy, etc. In rheumatism, sciatica, etc., it often affords relief, and in spasmodic pain of the bowels, unattended with inflammation, and in syphilitic pains it has been found useful as an anodyne. It has acquired considerable reputation in mania and epilepsy. A large number of cases of the two diseases are reported, in which it is said to have either cured or greatly mitigated the attending symptoms.
It has been found useful in dysmenorrhea, when attended with nervous irritation. In some cases it affords prompt and permanent relief. The seeds of Stramonium are esteemed valuable to prevent abortion, it has been found to give speedy and certain relief, by Prof. Baldridge, Dr. Wade and others. Dr. Wade asserts he has used it in cases attended with violent bearing-down pains and every symptom of a speedy abortion, with perfect success.
We employ it now as a remedy in the maniacal delirium that is sometimes met within fevers and inflammations. This is a very unpleasant complication, and in zymotic fevers almost invariably fatal under the ordinary treatment. Five to twenty drops may be added to a half glass of water; and give in teaspoonful doses every half hour or hour.
The dried leaves are smoked for asthma. Fomentations of stramonium leaves hot are used in the early stages of inflammation to relieve pain and check determination of blood. The stramonium ointment is employed as a local application in irritable hemorrhoids, and especially in that unpleasant hypertrophy of the skin about the anus which is attended with pruritus, and sometimes with sero-purulent secretion.