Therapeutics Of Conium


Conium has been applied to painful ulcers and sores, but it is, for the reasons already given, doubtful whether it produces any good effect. It has also been employed for myalgia and rheumatism, but it is quite useless.


Conium is rarely given as a medicine, for (a) the amount of coniine extracted by any preparation is very variable; (b) the amount in the same part of different plants is inconstant; (V) the amount of .methyl-coniine present is also very uncertain; (d) coniine is very volatile; (e) it is unstable, light and air making it inert. For these reasons it is probable that often the pharmacopoeial preparations contain no coniine at all. Ounces of the succus B. P., which is the expressed juice of the leaves and young branches, to which 25 per cent. of alcohol has been added, and which is believed to be the most reliable preparation, have frequently been swallowed without producing any effects. The preparations of the fruit are said by some to be more reliable than those of the leaves. Conium has been given in spasmodic diseases, as whooping-cough, in chorea, tetanus, asthma, and epilepsy, but in all it does little or no good.



The symptoms produced by a poisonous dose are in strict accordance with the physiological action. The sufferer feels his legs to be heavy; on attempting to walk he staggers, and finds he can hardly move them, and finally he has to lie down because he has no power over them. The arms become powerless, and lie motionless at his side. There is ptosis, and dimness of vision from paralysis of accommodation; the eyes are fixed, the pupil is dilated. Swallowing becomes difficult. Respiration is labored, the voice is lost, and death takes place from asphyxia.


The organs are found congested with venous blood.


Emetics (see p. 139), and wash out the stomach. Give tannic acid and again wash it out. Stimulants subcutaneously, warmth to the feet, and artificial respiration are necessary.