This section is from the "A Handbook of Useful Drugs" book, by State Medical Examining and Licensing Boards.
The leaflets of Pilocarpus Jaborandi or of Pilocarpus Microphyllus.
Used chiefly in the form of a salt of its principal alkaloid, pilocarpin.
Action and Uses: Pilocarpin stimulates the oculomotor and other autonomous nerves. It produces excessive secretion of the salivary glands and also of the sweat glands. It stimulates the unstriated muscles of the body generally and the motor system of the intestines, and causes a partial spasm of the bronchial muscles. It causes a marked slowing of the pulse and a fall of blood-pressure due to the lessened rate of the heart, but the vagus stimulation is soon followed by depression with an accelerated pulse-rate.
It contracts the pupil and causes spasm of the muscles of accommodation by a peripheral action.
Pilocarpus is administered internally chiefly for its diaphoretic effect. In this action it is serviceable in certain diseases of the skin. Under its continuous use there may be a stimulation of the growth of hair in favorable cases. In doses just short of producing free diaphoresis it is sometimes of great benefit to relieve itching in generalized, acute eczema, urticaria, pruritus, etc.
In diseases of the eye such as glaucoma, corneal ulcer, etc.. pilocarpin is employed as a weak miotic.