Med. Prop. and Action. Narcotic, anodyne, anti-spasmodic. Active principle, a liquid volatile alkaloid. Conia or Coniine. Hemlock has also been employed as an alterative and deobstrument in glandular and other swellings. To obtain its full effects it should be commenced in small doses, and continued in gradually-increasing quantities until it produces constitutional effects; viz., headache, vertigo, dryness of the mouth, nausea, or vomiting. It should then be discontinued. The pulse in some cases sinks; in others it is maintained, at 100 or more during the whole time of exhibiting the medicine. Sometimes, the function of the kidneys is augmented; sometimes, that of the skin; sometimes, no effect is produced on the sensibility of the habit, and occasionally this is greatly diminished. It acts principally on the spinal cord, depressing the reflex action and producing effects directly opposite to those of Strychnia. Paralysis of the voluntary muscles, and a creeping sensation from below upwards, are the characteristic symptoms. They are sometimes, though rarely, accompanied with pain or derangement of the intellectual faculties. In some cases, furious delirium or profound stupor precedes death. After the stomach has been evacuated, vinegar has been recommended as an antidote. Externally Conium is employed in the form of ointment (Fresh Hemlock Leaves lb. ij., boil in Lard lb. ij.; express through linen), or in poultice (Cataplasam Conii). In administering the Extract of Conium, great care is necessary to ascertain the strength and purity of the preparation, some samples being almost inert, whilst others are powerfully poisonous. A case is related by Mr. Lloyd,§ of St. Bartholomew's Hospital (the patient labouring under extensive syphilitic ulceration of the perinAeum), in which about 57 ounces (27.480 grains) were given in 112 days without producing any ill effects. During the last seven days of treatment the man took 2,940 grains, or 420 grains daily! On the other hand, four or five grains will in some instances produce serious constitutional disturbance. It is always advisable to commence with small doses, and to increase them as circumstances warrant. Offic. Prep. Of Conium (Leaves and Branches of fresh plant): -
* On the Influence of Tropical Climates, &c. 6th Ed., p. 662. Journ. fur Kind., 1859, p. 9.
Cyc. Pract. Med, vol. iii. p. 158. § Medical Times, vol xx. p. 218, 1849.
j.; Linseed Meal oz. iij.; Boiling Water fl. oz. x. Mix for a poultice).
Dose, gr. ij. - gr. v., or more.
3. Succu8 Conii (the juice of the fresh leaves, with one measure of Rect Spirit added to every three measures of juice). Dose, exxx. - fl. drm. j. 1/2.
Of Hemlock Fruit (Conii Fructus). -
Tinctura Conii Fructus (Bruised Hemlock Fruit oz. iiss.; Proof Spirit Oj. Prepared by maceration and percolation). At least twice the strength of the Tincture of the Lond. Pharm. Dose, exx. - fl. drm. j.
Dose of powdered leaves, gr. iij. - gr. x.