This section is from the book "A Treatise On Therapeutics, And Pharmacology Or Materia Medica Vol1", by George B. Wood. Also available from Amazon: Part 1 and Part 2.
The dose of assafetida is from five to twenty grains. More, however, might sometimes be given with safety and probable advantage. It should generally be administered in pill or emulsion; the former being preferable whenever the latter form is not specially called for, in consequence of the opportunity it affords of concealing the taste and smell. The emulsion, however, is always preferable when a prompt effect is desirable; and this is most frequently the case. It may be made by simply rubbing the gum-resin thoroughly with water, and straining.
The emulsion is directed, in the U. S. Pharmacopoeia, under the name of Assafetida Mixture (Mistura Assafcetidae). It is the milk of assafetida or lac assafoelidae of the older pharmacy. A fluidounce contains fifteen grains, and one or two tablespoonfuls may be given for a dose.
As an enema, assafetida is administered in the form of emulsion; and from half a drachm to two drachms may be used in half a pint of water.
The Tincture of Assafetida (Tinctura Assafcetidae, U. S., Br.) may be given in cases where a prompt effect is required, and there is no objection to the alcohol. Officinal or undiluted alcohol is used in its preparation. The medium dose is a fluidrachm. It should be diluted with water, which becomes milky by the separation of the resin.
Pills of Aloes and Assafetida (Pilulae Aloes et Assafcetidae, U. S., Br.) are officinal. They contain equal quantities of aloes and assafetida mixed with soap, and are given in torpid bowels with flatulence and debility of the alimentary canal. From two to five of the pills, each containing four grains, may be given for a dose.
A Plaster of Assafetida (Emplastrum Assafcetidae, U.S.) is also officinal. It is used as an application to the chest, or between the shoulders, in hooping-cough, and over the abdomen in the flatulent colics of hysteria.
Several other gum-resins, having properties analogous to those of assafetida, though much inferior, have been more or less in use from the times of the ancient Greeks and Romans. At present, however, they are much less employed than formerly. A very brief notice of them will be sufficient; as there is not one of them which might not very well be dispensed with, in reference merely to its powers as a nervous stimulant. The medicines alluded to are sagapenum, galbanum, and ammoniac.