This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics - Vegetable Kingdom", by Charles D. F. Phillips. Also available from Amazon: Materia Medica And Therapeutics: Vegetable Kingdom.
Active Ingredients. - The active principle is said to be the neutral body linine, discovered by Pagenstecher. Linine occurs in shining, silky white crystals, which are very soluble in alcohol, ether, and chloroform, but exceedingly insoluble in water; yet they have the same persistently bitter taste which is said to belong to the watery infusion of the plant. It is changed to a deep violet blue both by concentrated sulphuric and by concentrated phosphoric acid.
Physiological Action. - The experiments of Schroder have put it beyond doubt that linine will produce in exaggeration the drastic irritant effects on the intestinal canal which are characteristic of purging flax when administered in other forms.
Therapeutic Action. - Two ounces infused in a pint of water constitute a medicine which has often been administered to delicate subjects as a valuable tonic purgative. The medicine certainly has the recommendation of being obtained from an indigenous British plant.
Preparations And Dose. - A wineglassful of the above-mentioned infusion, twice a day, generally keeps the bowels open. If more decided effects are desired, it may be given oftener, or a little rhubarb or some neutral salt may be added.