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..
Staphisagria. - Synonym. - Stavesacre. The seed of Delphinium Staphisagria Linne (nat. ord. Ranunculaceae).
Basin of the Mediterranean; cultivated.
About 5 mm. long, 3 or 4 mm. broad, flattish-tetrahedral, one side convex, brown or brownish-gray, with reticulate ridges, containing a whitish, oily albumen and a straight embryo; nearly inodorous; taste bitter and acrid.
The chief constituents are - (1) Delphinine, C22H35No6, a white, crystalline, poisonous alkaloid, soluble in Alcohol, Ether and Chloroform, resembling Aconite in its action. (2) Delphinoidine, C42H68N2O7, an amorphous alkaloid; solubility as of Delphinine. (3) Delphisine, C27H46N2O4, a crystalline alkaloid of the same solubility. (4) Staphisagrine, C22H32No5, an alkaloid but slightly soluble in water. (5) Fixed oil, 25 per cent
Staphisagria is only used as a parasiticide to kill pediculi. The affected part is rubbed with the ointment, B. P., 4; yellow wax, 2; benzoinated lard, 17 which, in the case of pediculi vestimentorum is allowed to soak, day and night, into the garments next to the skin, for the parasite inhabits them. It is often employed, but it will be remembered that many other parasiticides for pediculi have been mentioned (see p. 51).