Lobelia Inflata. (Lobelia.)

Botanical name: 

Preparation.—Prepare a tincture from the ground seed, ℥viij. to Alcohol 98° Oj. Dose, from the fraction of a drop to ten drops.

The common use of Lobelia as an emetic is so well known that little need be said about it. In the form of the Compound Powder of Lobelia, or the Acetous Emetic Tincture of the Dispensatory, it gives us our most valued emetic when properly used. To obtain the curative effects of a lobelia emetic, the remedy should be given in small quantities frequently repeated, as it can be absorbed from the stomach, so that emesis when it does occur shall he from the general influence of the remedy in the blood, and not from its local irritant influence upon the stomach. Many physicians fail to obtain the benefit they have reason to expect because of its improper administration; it is not absorbed, but simply irritates the stomach.

Lobelia as prepared above is one of the most powerful vital stimulants in the Materia Medica. It strengthens the circulation, improves innervation, and by its influence upon the sympathetic nervous system gives increased activity of all the vegetative functions. These influences conic from minute doses, one drop or less. I usually prescribe it in this proportion : Rx Tincture of Lobelia, gtts. x. to xx.; Water, ℥iv. A teaspoonful every one or two hours.

In some cases where there is necessity for a speedy action, as in cases of angina pectoris or neuralgia of the heart, I give one or two full doses of twenty drops.

This preparation of Lobelia is specific in difficult labor from rigid os, vagina, or perineum. It also stimulates the contractile function of the uterus, and thus strengthens the pains. This use of Lobelia will be greatly prized when known. In tardy or difficult labor add ʒj. of the tincture to ℥iv. of water, and give a teaspoonful every fifteen minutes until slight nausea is produced, then in smaller quantities.

In rigid os or perineum, I frequently employ it in the same way, and with excellent results, but in other cases give it in larger doses until nausea is induced.

Lobelia is a sedative, occupying a place between Veratrum and Aconite. I would be glad if each reader would put the tincture of the seed in his pocket case and employ it in fevers and inflammations in the same doses in which he uses Veratrum. I think it will prove very valuable, especially where there is necessity for stimulation.

Specific Medication and Specific Medicines, 1870, was written by John M. Scudder, M.D.