The bulb of Allium sativum.

Characters. - Bulb subglobular, compound, consisting of about eight compressed, wedge-shaped bulblets, which are arranged in a circle around the base of the stem, and covered by several dry, membranaceous scales. It has a pungent, disagreeable odour, and a warm, acrid taste. It should be preserved in a dry place, and used only in the fresh state.

Composition. - The bulblets, or cloves as they are commonly termed, owe their strong taste and smell to a volatile oil which is sulphide of allyl (C3H5)2S.

Officinal Preparation.

dose.

Syrupus Allii .........................................................................

1-4 fl. dr.

Action.- Allyl alcohol is a powerful antiseptic (pp. 95 and 102), and it is probable that oil of garlic will have a similar action. Like oil of mustard, to which it is allied in chemical composition (p. 864), oil of garlic is a powerful irritant, or even vesicant, when applied to the skin. In the intestine it acts in small doses as a gastric tonic and carminative; in large doses as an emetic and irritant, causing vomiting, purging, headache, and fever. After absorption, it quickens the pulse and acts as a nervine stimulant. It is partly eliminated by the lungs, imparting its peculiar odour to the breath, and acting as an expectorant. It is diaphoretic or diuretic according as the patient is kept warm or cool. It is said to be an emmenagogue.

Uses. - A mixture of garlic juice and oil, or bruised garlic steeped in spirit, is used as a counter-irritant in convulsions or nervous diseases in children, and also in skin-eruptions. The syrup may be used as a gastric tonic in atonic dyspepsia, and to check nervous vomiting. It is chiefly employed in nervous coughs of children, and as an expectorant in bronchitis after the acute stage has passed. It is used as an anthelmintic in cases of ascarides, and is given by the mouth and also as an enema.

Convallaria Majalis. Lily of the Valley. Not officinal. - The flowers and stem are used, though the whole plant contains the active principle.

Composition. - The flowers and stem contain two glucosides, convallarin, soluble in alcohol but insoluble in water, and con-vallamarin, soluble in both alcohol and water.

Preparations.

Dose.

Extraction Convallariae..................................................................

2-8 gr.

,, ,, Liquidum ....................................................

2-10 min.

Tinctura „ ....................................................................

5-30 min.

Convallamarin .................................................................................

1/2-2 gr.

Action. - Convallamarin acts like digitalis (p. 996), though not so well, on the heart, and in producing diuresis in cardiac disease. Convallarin has only a purgative effect.

Uses. - An infusion of the whole plant is a common remedy in Russia for cardiac dropsy. Convallamarin has been used in mitral disease with dropsy, but it has not superseded digitalis, though it is said to have no harmful effects.