This section is from the book "Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics", by W. Hale White. Also available from Amazon: Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics..
The bulb of Urginea maritima (Linne) Baker (nat. ord. Liliaceae), deprived of its dry, membranaceous outer scales, and cut into thin slices, the central portions being rejected.
Basin of the Mediterranean near the sea.
In narrow segments, about 5 cm. long, slightly translucent, yellowish-white or reddish, brittle and pulverizable when dry, tough and flexible after exposure to damp air; inodorous; taste mucilaginous, bitter and acrid.
The chief constituents are - (1) Scillitoxin, the most active principle; (2) Scillipicrin, acting upon the heart; (3) Scillin, producing numbness and vomiting; (4) Mucilage.
Dose, 1 to 5 gr.; .06 to .30 gm.
1. Acetum Scillse. - Vinegar of Squill. Squill, 100; Diluted Acetic Acid, by maceration and percolation, to 1000. Vinegar of Squill is used to prepare Syrupus Scillae. Dos.. 10 to 45 m.; .60 to 3.00 c.c.
Fluid Extract of Squill is used to prepare Syrupus Scillae Com-positus.
Dose, 1 to 5 m.; .06 to .30 c.c.
3. Tinctura Scillae. - Tincture of Squill. Squill, 150. By maceration and percolation with Alcohol and Water, to 1000.
Dose, 5 to 30 m.; .30 to 2.00 c.c.
4. Syrupus Scillae. - Syrup of Squill. Vinegar of Squill, 450; Sugar, 800; water to 1000. By solution and straining.
Dose, 1/2 to 1 fl. dr.; 2. to 4. c.c.
Squill so closely resembles digitalis in its action that the account of that drug will apply to squill, with the following additions: Squill is a much more powerful gastro-intestinal irritant; vomiting and purging result from even moderate doses, and after death, if animals are killed with it, much gastro-enteritis is found. In the second place, some constituent of squill is excreted by the bronchial mucous membrane, and in passing through it irritates it. The vascularity and the amount of secretion are thereby increased. Squill is, therefore, a powerful expectorant. Thirdly, squill in the course of its excretion through the kidneys stimulates them; it is, therefore, a more energetic diuretic than digitalis, and it may irritate the kidneys excessively.
Because of its irritating properties, squill is not given alone, but it is frequently combined with digitalis when that drug is administered for heart disease or as a diuretic. A very favorite diuretic pill is composed of squill, digitalis and calomel, 1 gr. .06 gm. of each, made up with extract of hyoscyamus, 1 1/2 gr.; .09 gm. This is sometimes known as Guy's triplex pill.
Squill is much used as an expectorant. Here also it is always prescribed in combination; it is too irritating to the bronchial mucous membrane for it to be advisable to give it in acute bronchitis; nor should it be chosen in phthisis, lest it should cause dyspepsia; but it is valuable in chronic bronchitis if the secretion is scanty.
Squill should not be given in acute Bright's disease, for it is too irritating to the kidneys. Vinegar of squill should not be prescribed with ammonium carbonate.