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.
The herb of Anemone 'Pulsatilla and Anemone pratensist and of Anemone patens, var. Nuttalliana, collected soon after flowering.
It should be carefully preserved and not be kept longer than one year.
Characters. - Leaves radical, petiolate, silky-villous, twice or thrice deeply three-parted or pinnately cleft, with linear, acute lobes, appearing after the large, purple (or, in the last-named species, sometimes whitish) flowers; inodorous, very acrid.
Dose. - 1 1/2 - 6 grains.
Composition. - The fresh plant yields by distillation with water, an acrid, oily principle, with a burning, peppery taste. A similar oil is got from Ranunculus bulbosus, R. flammula, and R. sceleratus. Its therapeutic value is not great. When kept for some time, this oily substance becomes decomposed into anemonic acid and anemonin.
Action. - The oil acts as a vesicant when applied to the skin. Anemonic acid appears to be inert. Anemonin sometimes causes local inflammation and gangrene when subcutaneously injected; vomiting and purging when given internally. It is uncertain whether these symptoms are due to anemonin itself or to some impurity in it. The chief action of pure anemonin is a depressant one on the circulation, respiration, and spinal cord, to a certain extent resembling that of aconite. The symptoms are slow and feeble pulse, slow respiration, coldness, paralysis affecting first the hind and then the fore-legs, dyspnoea, and death without convulsions. In poisoning by extract of Pulsatilla convulsions are always present. Their absence in poisoning by anemonin appears to be due to its paralysing action on motor centres in the brain (p. 184); it does not paralyse the muscles and motor nerves in frogs.
Adonis Vernalis. Not officinal. - This plant is considered by some to be a species of Anemone.
Composition. - It contains a glucoside adonidin.
Action. - Adonidin has an action almost exactly like that of digitalin, but is much stronger, and is said not to be cumulative. It appears to be about ten times as powerful as digitoxin.
Use. - It may be used instead of digitalis, and sometimes succeeds when digitalis fails. It is, however, less certainly beneficial in valvular disease than digitalis, and should be used only when digitalis fails (Nothnagel). It appears to produce vomiting and diarrhoea more readily than digitalis (Bubnoff).