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.
Stavesacre, Delphinum staphisagria. Official in the U. S. and five other countries. See "Aconite" and "Sabadilla," as pharmacologically staphisagria is classed with them. This drug was formerly in use in several directions a knowledge of its composition renders dubious at best. Staphisagria powerfully depresses respiration and is a dangerous gastrointestinal irritant.
The louse, Pediculus capitis and P. pubis, and to a less degree P. corporis, since it infests clothing, is killed by staphisagria. The fl. diluted with 8 to 10 parts soap liniment or bay rum is an effective preparation. Another good formula is as follows: Corrosive sublimate, 1 grain; fl. staphisagria, 1 fluidrachm; alcohol, 1 fluidrachm; rose water, sufficient to make 3 fluidounces. Apply as a wash. Do not apply to the unbroken skin.
Our garden Larkspur is similar in composition, the seed being quite toxic.
Internally staphisagria may, of course, be used in the treatment of genito-urinary irritations and inflammations (in very small doses), but Pulsatilla, gelsemium, or cannabis indica are superior to it in the symptomatic indications for which staphisagria was formerly employed. And we must not forget that internal medication by itself has little influence upon genito-urinary inflammatory disorders, especially in the presence of infection. After considerable use of the drug - some years ago - I am of the opinion that staphisagria has no worth-while place in internal therapy.