The Garden Lettuce. Nat. Ord. Composite. Linn. Syst. Syngenesia Aequalis. Cultivated in most parts of the world.
Med. Prop. and Action. The inspissated juice, Lactucarium,, or Lettuce Opium, is sedative and diaphoretic. It has been advised as a substitute for Opium, by Duncan, || Coxe, and others. Dr. O'shaughnessy¶ states, that he found it distinctly sedative in doses of gr. vj., and that it does not in any way affect the bowels, either as an astringent or aperient. He could not detect in it the least trace of Morphia, or of any of the narcotic principles of Opium. Of Lactucarium, prepared from the plant grown in India, the dose is stated by Dr. Graham to be from gr. iv. to xij. It may prove useful where Opium is contra-indicated, but it is rarely employed. Dr. Garrod is disposed to question its narcotic powers. He says that he has given thirty grains and more of good Lactucarium without noticing any decided effects from its administration. Lactucarium contains a crystalline substance, Lactucerine, which is soluble in alcohol and ether, but not in water; Lactucic Acid, and Lactucine, a crystalline substance, soluble in water, resembling Mannite (Garrod).**
Dose of Lactucarium, gr. v. - gr. x. or gr. xx.
In Phthisis, it was first recommended by Dr. Duncan. as a means of allaying the cough. He speaks favourably of its influence, but it is rarely employed.
* Med. Times, April 25, 1857. Ibid., May 2, 1857. Dublin Med. Press, Sept. 13,1843. § Brit, and For. Med. Rev., ix. p. 239.
|| Obs. on Pulmonary Consumption, p. 162.
¶ Bengal Dispensatory, p. 407.
** Essentials of Mat. Med. and Therap., p. 239.
Obs. on Consumption, p. 162.
Twining* in Calcutta. In some instances its effects were doubtful, in others it was given with decided benefit, in doses of gr. xij. at bedtime, repeated daily, until amendment was visible.
In one obstinate case it effected a cure in fourteen days. The dose employed was gr. ij., gradually increased to gr. viij., daily.
Dr. Duncan also employed it in Gout.