Indian Tobacco. Nat. Ord. Lobeliaceae. Linn. Syst. Pentandria Monogynia. Hab. United States.
Med. Prop. and Action. The whole plant is officinal. In doses of gr. j. - v. of the powdered leaves it is sedative, sudorific, and expectorant; of gr. xv. - gr. xx. it acts as an emetic or cathartic; and in larger doses it is an acro-narcotic poison. It is best given in simple or etherial Tincture. Of the simple Tincture fl. drs. ij. act as an emetic. If a leaf or capsule be held in the mouth for a short time, it brings on giddiness, headache, a trembling agitation over the whole body, sickness, and finally vomiting. These effects are analogous to those which Tobacco produces in those unaccustomed to its use. If swallowed in substance, it excites speedy vomiting, accompanied by distressing and long-continued sickness, and even with dangerous symptoms if the dose be large (Bigelow). It is extremely unequal in its operation; in some, causing, even when given in small doses, serious constitutional disturbance; whilst in others, large doses are taken with little perceptible effect. As there are no means of determining the cases in which its operation will be thus violent, it is always advisable to commence with small doses, and to increase them as the patient is able to bear the medicine, discontinuing its use, if it cause nausea, or great depression, or intermittent pulse. Its activity appears to depend upon two principles - 1, Lobelin, a principle much resembling Nicotin; and, 2, a volatile oil, or peculiar acid, Lobelic Acid.
Offic. Prep. 1. Tinctura Lobelias (Lobelia dried and bruised oz. iiss.; Proof Spirit Oj. Prepared by maceration and percolation). Dose, ex. - fl. drm. ss., or more.
Aetherea (Lobelia dried and bruised oz. iiss.; Spirit of Aether Oj. Prepared by maceration). Dose, ex. - fl. drm. ss., or more.
In Spasmodic Asthma, Lobelia occasionally affords great and immediate relief, but more often fails to produce any beneficial effect. This want of uniformity of action is a great drawback to its value. The Tincture should be given in small (ex. - xij.) and increasing doses. Bigelow says that it sometimes produces relief without vomiting, but more frequently after discharging the contents of the stomach. Dr. Andrews employed it with benefit in Hooping- Cough.
C. B. Williams,§ particularly in those aggravations of common Catarrh which Laennec designates "Suffocative." The dose should be small at first, gradually increased, and its action carefully watched.
* Med. Times and Gaz., Nov. 23, 1861. Mat. Med, 1818, Boston.
Glasgow Medical Journal, vol i. p. 178. § Cyc. Pract. Med., art. Bronchitis.
Gordon, of Welton.* Its effects should be carefully watched.