The leaves of Hyoscyamus niger.—Europe
Preparations.—Extract of Hyoscyamus. Tincture of Hyoscyamus. Hyoscyamia.
Dose.—The dose of the extract will be from gr. one-half to grs. ij.; of the tincture from gtt. j. to ʒss.; of Hyoscyamia gr. one-sixtieth.
Hyoscyamus is Narcotic, anodyne, sedative, and antispasmodic; it is one of the most important agents belonging to the class of narcotics.
Its effects upon the system vary very much according to the dose administered.
In small doses it acts as an excitant; but if frequently repeated, it has a sedative and tranquilizing influence upon the system. This is especially the case with patients of a highly nervous and irritable habit of body; in such it lessens irritation of the general system, and diminishes the morbid sensibility existing in any organ. Many authors do not admit that it exerts a primary excitant action. It does not induce constipation, like opium; on the contrary, it frequently proves laxative, and occasionally acts as a diaphoretic and diuretic.
In large doses hyoscyamus acts as an acro-narcotic poison. The symptoms which evince its acro-narcotic action are thirsty nausea and vomiting, violent pain in the bowels, purging, disturbance of vision, distortion of the face, dilated pupils, loss of speech, prostration, coma, delirium, paralysis, petechia, convulsions, etc., followed by death. Upon dissection, the stomach and bowels exhibit evidences of inflammation.
In medicinal doses the Hyoscyamus is found to be very valuable for its soothing and tranquilizing influence over the nervous system, especially in those cases in which, from idiosyncrasy, the opium is found to be inadmissible. It alleviates pain and irritation, promotes sleep, secures quietude, and counteracts spasm. For any of these purposes, however, it is far inferior to opium, and especially as an anodyne and hypnotic, unless it is in those cases in which opium causes headache, torpor of the bowels, and other unpleasant effects.
Hyoscyamus is employed as an anodyne in violent painful affections, in many cases with much benefit. Among the diseases of this character in which it has been found beneficial, may be named gouty disorders, rheumatism, neuralgia, scirrhus, carcinoma, periostitis, pleuritis, pneumonitis, trachitis, painful abscesses, nocturnal syphilitic pains, painful affections of the genito-urinary organs, violent colic pains, painful spasmodic disorders, etc.