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..
Involuntary muscles. - Because of its stimulating power on unstriped muscle Calabar bean has been recommended for chronic constipation, atony of the bladder, and chronic bronchitis with deficient power of expectoration, but it is rarely given for these purposes.
Spinal cord. - Calabar bean has been largely used for tetanus, and some cases of recovery have been reported. It must be administered boldly; the extract has often been given, but it is better to inject physostigmine sulphate under the skin. Doses of 1/30 gr., .002 gm., frequently repeated, may be employed, but the patient must be carefully watched. Physostigmine has been given as an antidote for strychnine poisoning.
Eye.-A solution of physostigmine salicylate 1 or 2, to water, 480; is dropped in the eye to break up adhesions of the iris, to diminish intra-ocular tension, and to prevent prolapse of the iris after wounds,or ulcers of the cornea. It is also employed in glaucoma, in paralysis of the iris and ciliary muscles, and to prevent the entrance of light into the eye in photophobia.
It will be observed that in its actions on the pupil, on secretion, on the heart, and on respiration, physostigmine is antagonistic to atropine. In its action on the spinal cord and respiratory centre it is antagonistic to strychnine.