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.
The dried young branches of Solanum dulcamara. Bittersweet. From indigenous plants which have shed their leaves.
Characters.-Light, hollow, cylindrical, about the thickness of a goose-quill, bitter and subsequently sweetish to the taste.
Substance resembling Dulcamara: Chiretta, which has flowers, and is bitter.
Composition.-Dulcamara contains an alkaloid, solanin, C43H69NO16, acting as a glucoside, and breaking up with weak acids into glucose and solanidin, C25H39NO, which can be further decomposed into two other alkaloids, solanicin, and modified solanidin.
Infusum Dulcamarae.-1 in 10. Dose, 1 to 2 fl.oz.
Dulcamara is a gastro-intestinal stimulant, and in large doses causes vomiting. Its specific action is imperfectly understood, but it appears to cause paralysis by depression of the central nervous system, and to lower the activity of the heart, and especially of the respiration. It has been used as a diuretic and diaphoretic, but probably possesses no such action. It is very seldom prescribed.