This section is from the book "A Text-Book Of Pharmacology, Therapeutics And Materia Medica", by T. Lauder Brunton. Also available from Amazon: A text-book of pharmacology, therapeutics and materia medica.
A volatile oil distilled from copaiva.
Characters. - Colourless or pale yellow, with the odour and taste of copaiva.
Copaiva may be taken mixed with yolk of egg or floating upon water or some other liquid, or made "into pills with burnt magnesia; or lastly, dissolved in water by the aid of liquor potassae, with which it forms a soap. Sometimes, to hide its disagreeable taste, it is put into membranous or gelatinous capsules.
Action. - Copaiva has a stimulating action on mucous membranes, especially those of the lungs and genito-urinary tract. It is diuretic. Large doses have an irritant action, causing vomiting and purging. It is excreted by the kidneys and lungs, and may be recognised by its characteristic odour. It is very apt to produce an eruption of the skin, generally in the form of rose-coloured spots resembling a syphilitic eruption, but distinguished from it by its affecting chiefly the backs of the arms and legs, by coming on suddenly, and by the intense itching with which it is accompanied. Sometimes it resembles urticaria more in its appearance, but rarely it is eczematous. Copaiba forms a conjugate glycuronic acid in the system, and is eliminated in the urine, which, with nitric acid, gives a precipitate of copaibic acid easily mistaken for albumen, but distinguished by disappearing on the application of heat. The conjugate acid renders the urine antiseptic as it is secreted by the kidneys, so that it does not readily decompose, and bacteria either do not appear in it at all or only in very small numbers, even after the surface has become covered with mould. It is probable that the utility of the drug in diseases of the bladder and urethra is due to the washing out of the urinary passages by the antiseptic urine (p. 446).
Uses. - Copaiba is employed in diseases of the mucous membranes, and especially of the genito-urinary passages, the lungs, and, along with digitalis, in cardiac dropsy. It is also useful in chronic bronchitis and bronchorrhoea. Its great disadvantage is its nauseous smell and taste. It is chiefly used in gonorrhoea. It is not advisable to use it when the inflammation is acute and severe, but it is exceedingly useful after the acuteness of the inflammation has subsided. It is not so useful in gleet. It appears to be of service in chronic cystitis. The resin is a good diuretic, especially in cases of dropsy depending on disease of the liver, where the kidneys are healthy.
Extractum Piscidiae Erythrinae Fluidum........................
20 min. 2 fl. dr.
Action. - It has been employed for stupefying and catching fish. It is a narcotic not only to fish but to frogs, rabbits, and man. It lessens reflex action at first, by stimulation of Setsche-now's centres (p. 165), and afterwards produces tetanus by stimulation of the spinal cord. It stimulates the vaso-motor centre, raises blood-pressure, and slows the pulse. It dilates the pupil. It increases the secretion of the skin and saliva.
Use. - It is employed as a narcotic instead of opium.