The Gum-Resin obtained by incision from the living root of Narthex (Ferula, Linn.) Assaftida (Falconer). Nat. Ord. UmbelliferAe. Linn. Syst. Pentan-dria Trigynia. Source, Persia, Affghanistan, and the Upper Provinces of India, whence it is conveyed to Bombay.
Med. Prop. and Action. Stimulant, anti-spasmodic, expectorant, and anthelmintic. It is the most active and powerful of all the fetid gums. When taken internally, it is absorbed into the system, and communicates its odour to the urine, milk, and perspiration. It may also be detected in the breath. The Arabians place it among their aphrodisiacs, and throughout the East it is considered to be of so stimulating a nature, that if administered to a pregnant woman, it will cause the death of the foetus. Recent observations in Europe partially support this opinion. Lombard, however, regards it as a sedative; he found it diminish and render more regular the movements of the heart, and produce a state of tranquillity not easily excited. It is best administered in the form of Tincture. It occasionally enters into the composition of enemas.
Offlc. Prep. 1. Enema AssaftidAe (Tr. of Assaftida fl. drms. vj.; Mucilage of Starch fl. oz. vj ).
(Assaftida oz. ij.; Galbanum oz. ij.; Myrrh oz. ij.; Treacle oz. j.). Dose, gr. v - gr. x.
iiss.; Rect Sp. Oj.; prepared by maceration). Dose, fl drm. ss. - fl. drms. ij.
Dose of Assaftida, gr. v - xx. in pills or emulsion.
It is contra-indicated in all inflammatory states of the system.
In Spasmodic Asthma, Assaftida is sometimes strikingly beneficial. It is best given in combination with other anti-spasmodics and with narcotics, thus: - T. A ft. fl. drm. ss., T. Opii exx., Spt. Aether Sulph. Co. 11. drm. ss., Mist. Camph. fl. oz. iss., M. ft. haust. In Angina Pectoris, the same formula is also, occasionally, of great use. Should the symptoms be very urgent, a small abstraction of blood (fl. oz. vj. - fl. oz. viij.) will be beneficial.
Rieken* found Assaftida more useful than any other remedy. He advises its administration in glysters. Half a grain of the gum incorporated with the yolk of an egg, and mixed in fl. oz. vj. - fl. oz. viij. of water, is sufficient for ten or twelve glysters, for children under one year of age; four or six for those under three years; and two or three for elder ones. Two glysters are administered daily. Olive oil may be added, if they cause tenesmus. Its internal use was advocated by Millar, in 1769, but Hufeland reported unfavourably of its efficacy. In the advanced stages of Pneumonia and Bronchitis in Children, Prof. G. B. Wood regards it as an admirable remedy. His testimony in its favour is very strong; he considers that he has seen many lives saved by its judicious use; it is particularly useful in relieving nervous exhaustion, when freely used and repeated every one or two hours. In Laryngismus Stridulus it is said also to have proved effectual.
446. In Flatulence and Flatulent Colic, especially in that occurring in hysterical women, an enema containing ft. drs. ij. - fl drs. iij. of T. Assaftida, will often afford immediate relief.