This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics: An Introduction to the National Treatment of Disease", by John Mitchell Bruce. Also available from Amazon: The pharmacology and therapeutics of the materia medica.
Belladonna is used in diseases of the respiratory organs, both for the prevention and for the relief of spasm of the bronchi (asthma), spasmodic cough of any kind, and especially pertussis. It is difficult to over-estimate the value of this drug as a sedative to the respiratory nerves, as compared with opium. The latter also relieves spasm and cough, but tends to paralyse the respiratory centre, and has generally to be avoided. Belladonna soothes the afferent and efferent nerves of the bronchi, but strengthens the respiratory centre, and may be given with great confidence.
Some forms of chronic constipation are relieved by belladonna, which is here given as the extract combined usually with aloes. Acute obstruction of the bowels may yield to atropia, with or without morphia. Fissure of the anus and spasm of the sphincter are greatly benefited by its local use as a suppository.
Belladonna is useful in diseases of the genito-urinary organs, such as chordee, spermatorrhoea, some cases of retention of urine, the nocturnal incontinence of children, and all forms of painful spasm of the bladder, as in calculus, cystitis, and prostatitis. In these cases it is best given as suppository, or applied to the perinaeum.
Belladonna or atropia may be used in poisoning by opium (see Opium, page 198), and by calabar bean.
Atropia is excreted unchanged in the urine, almost immediately on its administration: in 10 to 20 hours the last traces have left the body. It increases the urea, phosphates, sulphates, and water, but not the chlorides of the urine; that is, is diuretic. It cannot be said to be much used for this purpose. In flowing over the ureters, bladder, and urethra, it may again relieve local pain and spasm, as indicated in the last section.
Stramonii Folia-Stramonium Leaves.-The dried leaves of Datura stramonium,, Thorn Apple. Collected from plants in flower, cultivated in Britain.
Characters.-Large, ovate, sinuous, deeply cut; of a heavy odour, which is strongest while they are drying, and of a mawkish faintly bitter nauseous taste.
Substances resembling Stramonium Leaves: Belladonna Leaves, less wrinkled; Hyoscyamus Leaves, hairy.
Stramonii Semina-Rtramontttm Seeds.-The ripe seeds of Datura stramonium.
Characters.-Brownish-black, reniform, flat, rough, in taste feebly bitter and mawkish; inodorous unless bruised, when they emit a peculiar heavy smell.
Composition,-Both leaves and seeds contain a crystalline alkaloid, daturia. combined with malic acid. Daturia, C17H13 N03, is a tropate of tropin, that is, is identical with hyoscyamia, and isomeric but not identical with atropia. See Belladonna, page 299.
Incompatibles.-Metallic salts, and mineral acids. Daturia is decomposed by caustic alkalies like atropia.
Preparations of Stramonii Semina.
Tinctura Stramonii. 1 in 8. Lose, 10 to 20 min.
Daturia has an almost exactly similar action to atropia.
Two points of difference require to be noticed, namely, (1) that the extract of stramonium is more powerful than the extract of belladonna, and (2) that stramonium is more depressant to the nerves of the bronchi. The use of stramonium is almost confined to the treatment of spasmodic affections of the respiratory organs, such as spasmodic bronchitis and asthma. The extract in doses of 1/6 gr. may be given to prevent or lessen the attacks, and the leaves may be smoked as cigarettes during the paroxysm.
Hyoscyami Folia-Hyosoyamus Leaves.-The fresh leaves, with the branches to which they are attached, of Hyoscyamus niger: also the leaves separated from the branches and carefully dried; gathered from wild, or cultivated British, biennial plants, when about two-thirds of the flowers are expanded.
Characters.-Leaves sinuated, clammy, and hairy. The fresh herb has a strong unpleasant odour and a slightly acrid taste, which nearly disappear on drying. The fresh juice, dropped into the eye, dilates the pupil.
Substances resembling Hyoscyamm: See Belladonna and Stramonii Folia.
Composition and Incompatibles.-The active principle is hyoscyamiar which is identical with daturia, and isomeric with atropia. See Stramonii Folia, page 305, and Belladonnoe Folia, page 298.
Extractum Hyoscyami. A green extract. 20 of the fresh leaves in 1. Lose, 3 to 6 gr. From the Extract is prepared: Pilula Colocynthidis et Hyosryami, 1 in 3.
2. Succus Hyoscyami,-3 of fresh juice to 1 of Spirit. Dose, 1/2 to 1 fl.dr.
Tinctura Hyoscyami. 1 in 8. Dose, 15 to 60 min.
These closely agree with the action and uses of belladonna and stramonium. The special points to be noted in connection with hyoscyamus are as follows: 1. The pharmaceutical preparations of the plant are decidedly weaker in their action, and must be given in larger doses, than those of stramonium. 2. The secondary or calmative effect of the atro-paceous plants on the'convolutions is more rapid and pronounced with hyoscyamus, which is used in maniacal excitement, and as an anodyne and hypnotic to children. 3. The laxative and carminative effects on the bowel are decided, and hyoscyamus is often combined with purgative pills. 4. The remote local action on the urinary organs is more marked, so that the tincture relieves irritability of the bladder from any cause.
Duboisia (Not Officinal).-An alkaloid derived from an Australian plant, Duboisia myoporoides, and identical with Hyoscyamia.
Sulphate of Duboisia, in golden-yellow scales, is more powerful than the atropia salt, and may be used as a mydriatic, in the form of a solution, 1 gr. to the ounce. Stronger solutions are apt to produce general toxic effects.