This section is from the book "Botanic Drugs Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics", by Thomas S. Blair. Also available from Amazon: Botanic Drugs, Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
Ecballium elaterium. An energetic hydrogogue cathartic no longer used in crude form. The tincture is used in doses of a fraction of a drop in the treatment of chronic cystitis, but we have much better agents for this purpose. Elaterium is a variable and uncertain drug at best, even in full dosage.
Elaterinum is the official name of Elaterin, the average dose of which is 1-10 grain. Dextrorotatory elaterin is most energetic in action, the laevorotatory elaterin being nearly inert; "Elaterin Merck" is the former, the dose being 1-20 grain, usually in trituration. The U. S. P. trituration is given in an average dose of 1/2ain.
most energetic substance, when potent and reliable, never to be administered to the aged or debilitated. In ascites, uremia, and pulmonary edema its use may be justified; but certainly it is not wise to use it in the ordinary indications for a purgative agent.