Active Ingredients. - The root of this plant contains a volatile oil, a resin, and a bitter and acrid extractive matter, which last is soluble both in water and in spirit. The volatile oil is yellowish when newly prepared, but with age it becomes brownish; the odor is aromatic, the taste warm, bitter, and camphoraceous. All the properties of serpentary are yielded to water, as well as to proof spirit and to alcohol. By distillation it furnishes a considerable amount of camphor.

Physiological Action. - Taken internally in small doses, ser-pentaria promotes the appetite. In larger doses, it causes nausea, flatulence, uneasy sensations in the stomach, and frequent, though not watery stools. When the absorption is completed, the pulse increases both in frequency and fulness; the surface-heat of the blood is heightened, and secretion and exhalation generally become augmented. A certain degree of analogy with camphor seems to be manifested by disturbance of the cerebral functions, serpentaria being apt to induce headache and a feeling of oppression, and at night to disturb the sleep. Emphatically, it is stimulant, tonic, and diaphoretic.

According to Jorg, after employment of the powder and the infusion of serpentary, in a large number of experiments, the conclusions come to were the following: "Serpentaria occasions nausea, eructation, vomiting, constriction and pain in the stomach, borborygmi, colic in the small intestine, discharge of flatus, and a disposition to go to stool, but without evacuation, or the evacuation of consistent faeces only. The appetite is sometimes impaired, and sometimes increased; the stomach and bowels often become distended with flatus; itching about the anus, and even haemorrhoids, are produced occasionally. Hence it would appear that the medicine acts upon the alimentary canal as an irritant, producing a secretion, not of liquid, but of gas.1

Therapeutic Action. - As is implied in the name, the virtues of this plant were originally believed to render it an antidote to serpent-bites.

The conditions of the system in which the value of serpentaria is best declared are those of atony and torpor. In the low stages of typhus, it is by some persons considered a valuable remedy, in combination with ses-qui-carbonate of ammonia, and administered when the tongue is dry, and brown or black, the pulse, at the same time, being feeble. Sydenham recommended a scruple of serpentary, taken in three ounces of wine, as a remedv for tertians.

In Dyspepsia, chronic Rheumatism, and gouty Rheumatism, serpentary is given. In the chronic forms of the last named it is recommended by Garrod, who considers it a remedy of some power. In certain exanthematous diseases it has been administered with advantage, either alone or in combination with other tonics. In adynamic Fevers, the low delirium, watchfulness, and other irregular actions of the nervous system which often ensue, appear to be amenable to the powers of serpentary.

In remittent Fever, especially when the remission is obscure, serpentaria is by some thought preferable to cinchona, being seldom offensive to the stomach, and quite free from proneness to do mischief. Sydenham remarks that in all cases where it is expedient to combine wine with cinchona the effects are much improved by the addition of serpentaria. It also enables the stomach to retain the cinchona with more comfort.

In bilious Vomiting, serpentaria is found in America to be efficacious in checking the nausea and tranquillizing the stomach. For this purpose it is given in decoction, in doses of a tablespoonful frequently-repeated.

1 Stille, "Therapeutics," vol ii., p. 533.

In Cynanche maligna, serpentaria is employed externally and as a gargle.

Preparations And Dose. - Extract. Serpentariae Fluid., 3 ss - j. (2. - 4); Tinct. Serpentariae, 3 ii. - iv. (8. - 15.); Infus. Serpentariae,

Aristolochiaceae Serpentaria Aristolochia Serpenta 48

- ij. (30. - 60.).