White Hellebore. Nat. Ord. Melan-thaceae. Linn. Syst. Polygamia Moncia. Hab. The Mountains of Europe.

Med. Prop. and Action. The rhizome is purgative and emetic in doses of gr. j., gradually increased to gr. v. A single grain should never be exceeded at the commencement, as the remedy is of extremely uncertain strength. It is rarely employed internally. In large doses, it is a powerful acro-narcotic poison. When chewed, it causes great burning of the mouth and fauces; and, when powdered, creates great irritation of the lining membrane of the nostrils. The powder, applied to ulcers, occasions severe griping and purging. Active principle, Veratria, in combination with an acid, supposed to be Veratric. It deteriorates by keeping. Externally, it is applied in decoction (grs. dc, Water Oij., boiled to Oj.; when cool add Rectified Spirit fl. oz. iij.), or in the form of ointment (powdered root oz. ij., Lard oz. viij., Oil of Lemons xx). It is also occasionally used as an errhine, gr. j. or ij. being mixed with gr. x. - gr. xv. of some inert powder.

Prep. Vinum Veratri (Pharm. Lond.) (White Hellebore sliced viij.; Sherry Wine Oij. Macerate for seven days and strain). Dose, x. - xx. Unguentum Sulphuris Compositum (Pharm. Lond.). (See Sulphur.) Dose of White Hellebore, gr. j., gradually increased to gr. v.

* Pathology of the Eye, p. 298, et var. loc.

2813. Therapeutic Uses

In Mania and Melancholia, White Hellebore was held in high esteem by the ancients; but it does not appear to deserve any confidence. Greding* employed the bark of the root in twenty-eight cases. Of this number, five Were cured In almost every instance, he found it produce vomiting and purging, the evacuated matter being of a highly bilious character; in some patients, it produced efflorescence of the skin; in others, herpetic eruptions. Pleuritic affections, with fevers, and spasms, and convulsions, occurred in others. In Epilepsy, particularly in that occurring in conjunction with Mania, it is advised by Greding.

2814. In Gout and Rheumatism, the Vinum Veratri has been employed as a substitute for Colchicum, but the uncertainty and occasional violence of its operation render it very inferior. It may be given in doses of x., thrice daily, with a few drops of T. Opii. In reference to the substitution of Hellebore for Colchicum, Dr. Garrod remarks, "he is sure that its action differs completely from that of Colchicum; it appears to produce a burning sensation of the (esophagus, parched mouth, and intense thirst, accompanied by great depression, without any alleviation of the gouty symptoms."

2815. In Scabies, Impetigo, Tinea Capitis, and other Skin Diseases, the decoction or the ointment {ante) has been employed on the Continent as a substitute for Sulphur ointment. It has also been extensively used to destroy pediculi, but there is considerable danger attending its use, as the active principles may become absorbed into the system, and produce poisonous effects.

2816. In Amaurosis, and in some Chronic Cerebral Affections, the powder, diluted as described above, has occasionally been employed as an errhine.