The sediment from the expressed juice of the fruit of Ecbalium Officinarum. Squirting Cucumber. Nat. Ord. Cucurbitaceae. Linn. Syst. Moncia Synge-nesia. It is sometimes improperly styled an Extract, a misnomer which may lead to serious mistakes. Source, South of Europe, and other parts.

Med. Prop. and Action. Hydragogue cathartic. The best mode of administering it, is in divided doses of gr. 1/8 every four hours, until it begins to operate. It often occasions severe griping, vomiting, or hypercatharsis, but this may be partially obviated by combining it with a small portion of powdered Capsicum or Ginger. It gives rise to considerable dryness of the mouth and fauces, a desire for drinks, and, after its operation, to a great feeling of depression and debility, which soon passes off. The stools produced by Elaterium resemble water in which meat has been partially boiled. It is only suited for dropsical or cerebral affections, where a powerful revulsive action is desired; in cases of ordinary constipation it should never be employed. It contains an active crystalline principle, Elaterine or Momordicine (C20H14O6), which forms from 20 to 30 per cent. of good Elaterium. This may be given in doses of gr. 1/24 - gr. J. Both Elaterium and its active principle are irritant poisons, in large doses, causing gastro-intestinal inflammation. " Good Elaterium is of a pale, greenish colour, has a bitter taste, is light and pulverulent." (A. T. Thompson.) It becomes grey on exposure to light.

Dose of good Elaterium, gr. 1/12 - gr. 1/2. If impure or deteriorated by long keeping, gr. 1/2 - gr.j.

1115. Therapeutic Uses

Dropsical Affections. In Dropsy, Anasarca, and (Edema, arising in connection with Disease of the Heart, Elaterium is one of the most efficacious remedies we possess. Dr. Hope* observes that its effects are sometimes truly-astonishing; and that he has seen an extreme, universal anasarca removed by it in three or four days. The remedy, however, is apt to be excessively violent in its operation, and it should therefore be given to strong subjects alone; in the weak and the aged, its effects should be carefully watched. As its effect varies in different individuals, it should be tried first in small doses, as from 1/8 to 1/4 of a grain. With caution, this may be carried to two grains. Dr. Hope gives it, in the form of pill, with Pulv. Cap-sici, to counteract the griping, and with a grain of Calomel to prevent its emetic effects. A single pill should produce six or eight watery evacuations, and he advises that it should be repeated two or three mornings in succession, or every second or third morning, according to the strength of the patient. Dr. Darwell.t whose estimate of Elaterium is very high, directs two grains to be combined with j. of Ext. Gentian., and divided into four pills, of which one is to be taken every hour, till it cause free evacuations. In order to be of much service, he adds, this should be repeated every two or three days for a fortnight; after which, it may be suspended for a short time. An eligible formula is proposed by Dr. Kilgour: -1115 Therapeutic Uses 91 Elaterii gr. j., Ext. Coloc. Co. ij., Ext. Hyoscyam. gr. xij., M. ft. pil. xij. sumat. j. nocte maneque. In Ascites, however, observes Dr. Ballard, § it often fails, until the tension of the abdomen has been relieved by tapping; but as soon as the patient has recovered from the first effects of the operation, Elaterium should be resorted to as the most probable means of preventing the re-accumulation of the fluid. Its use is no bar to the simultaneous administration of tonics and iron. It is a most valuable remedy in Renal Dropsy.

* Prov. Journ., March 4, 1849.

Lond. Journ. of Med., March 1851.

1116. In Cerebral Affections, Elaterium, as a powerful cathartic, occasionally proves highly serviceable, not only in removing the obstinate constipation so frequently attendant on these affections, but as a revulsive and derivative. It is, however, less applicable in the majority of cases than Croton Oil, or the stronger saline purgatives. It should be avoided in the aged, or in those much debilitated. In Hydrocephalus, it is advised by Dr. Elliotson as the most efficient purgative.