This section is from the book "A Practitioner's Handbook Of Materia Medica And Therapeutics", by Thos. S. Blair. Also available from Amazon: A Practitioner's handbook of Materia Medica and Therapeutics.
Aconitum, Aconite. For the toxic action of this drug consult the standard works. It is too dangerous a drug to employ in doses verging upon the toxic, and especial care should be exercised when the fluidextract or the stronger tinctures are employed. Lloyd's aconite is especially toxic, 1/2 I being the maximum medicinal dose. In employing it, it is best to dilute it with nine parts of 76% alcohol. Large medicinal doses, according to Bartholow, produce gastric pain and nausea, reduce the number and force of the heart beats, and lower arterial tension; there is increased action of the skin and kidneys, some muscular weakness, and sometimes diarrhea or vomiting. These large doses are seldom employed except where muscular spasm accompanies sthenic febrile states. (Tr. 20 I, ec. tr. 1/2 I)
Moderate medicinal doses, according to Hare, exercise no marked effect on any part of the organism save the circulation, which becomes somewhat slower by stimulation of the vagus centers and by the drug acting as a sedative to the heart muscle itself. He suggests its employment, broadly, in the early stages of all acute inflammations, and externally as an anodyne application. He opposes the administration internally of either aconitine or Fleming's tincture. (Tr. 3 to 10 I)
In small doses aconite is a sedative, indicated when the pulse is small, hard, sharp, and quick with suppressed secretions and chilliness upon slight exposure. (Tr. I to 3 I at a dose, ec. tr. 5 I to aqua fKiv, giving teaspoonful doses. The imported mother tincture is a superior preparation used in I to 3 I doses.)
A high-grade tincture of aconite is one of the most generally useful of remedies, indicated in the initial stage of fevers generally, and particularly in the exanthems and simple fevers of childhood. It is useful in capillary engorgement, and especially so if alternated with small dose of belladonna. Aconite retards exudation, suppuration, and induration. In acute congestions, nervous palpitations, the first stage of enteritis with fever, myalgia, otitis, suppression of menses from cold, and catarrhal inflammations of mucous membranes generally, it is a remedy for which we have no real substitute.