This section is from the book "A Treatise On Therapeutics, And Pharmacology Or Materia Medica Vol2", by George B. Wood. Also available from Amazon: Part 1 and Part 2.
For a general account of squill, see page 605 of this volume, where it is described among the diuretics. Though but slightly stimulant to the system at large, it is decidedly so to any part upon which it specially acts, whether before or after absorption. its strongest tendency, in the latter condition, is undoubtedly to the kidneys; but, that it has also a decided affinity for the bronchial mucous membrane, is established, I think, by the fact, that it has so long retained its place, not only in regular but domestic practice, among the best expectorants. it probably not only, like tartar emetic and ipecacuanha, excites the proper function of secretion in the epithelial cells of the bronchial tubes, but, unlike them, stimulates also the capillary circulation, so as to be unfit for employment as an expectorant in the highest activity of inflammation in these parts. it is true that, if pushed so as to produce its nauseating effect, the relaxing influence of this condition on the bronchial tubes would, in some measure, counteract its direct stimulation; but it would be unsafe to use squill habitually to this extent, in consequence of its irritant operation on the stomach. in the use, therefore, of this remedy as an expectorant, it is always best to wait until the first activity of the inflammation has subsided, or been subdued; and, even then, to conjoin its use with that of tartar emetic or ipecacuanha, especially the former, which, by its depressing influence on the capillary circulation, may counteract the stimulation of the squill.
In the more advanced stage and chronic state of inflammation in the respiratory passages, squill may be given with great propriety; and, in those cases in which a condition of local debility or relaxation has supervened, it may be combined with the expectorants more stimulating than itself.
The dose of the powder is one or two grains, which should be repeated every two or three hours in acute cases, three or four times a day in the chronic. But it is seldom used as an expectorant in this state, except in combination with other medicines, in the form of pill, as with ammoniac, in the Compound Pills of Squill (Pilula Scillae Composita, U. S.), which consist of squill mixed with twice its weight, each, of ammoniac and ginger, and made into a pilular mass with soap and a little syrup. From five to ten grains of the mass, or one or two of the U. S. pills may be taken at a dose, and repeated three or four times a day. There are several liquid preparations.
1. Vinegar of Squill (Acetum Scillae, U. S.) is made in the proportion of four troyounces of squill to two pints of diluted acetic acid or distilled vinegar. This is an excellent solvent of the active matter of squill; and the vinegar is consequently a very efficient preparation. But it does not keep well; and the syrup prepared from it is usually preferred. it may be given in the dose of from ten minims to half a fluidrachm, frequently repeated, and increased, if necessary, until it produces some effect. Should it nauseate, the dose should be diminished.
2. Syrup of Squill (Syrupus Scillae, U. S., Br.) is made from the vinegar of squill by the addition of enough sugar to form a syrup. This is the preparation usually employed, when it is desired to obtain the expectorant effect of the medicine. it is peculiarly adapted to infantile cases from its sweet, acidulous, not very unpleasant taste. The dose for an adult is from half a fluidrachm to a fluidrachm; the latter quantity being used when the dose is given at long intervals, as twice a day, for example; the former when it is frequently repeated.
3. Oxymel of Squill (Oxymel Scillae, U. S. 1850) differs from the syrup only in containing honey instead of sugar, and in the circumstance that it is necessary to evaporate it for some time, in order to reduce it to the proper consistence. The use of heat in its preparation is injurious; and, therefore, if the evaporation be not carefully conducted, the preparation may undergo some deterioration in the process. The dose is the same as that of the syrup. it has been omitted in the present Pharmacopoeia.
4. Compound Syrup of Squill (Syrupus Scillae Compositus, U. S.) is a preparation containing seneka and tartar emetic, besides squill, and will be most appropriately treated of under seneka, as the only one of its ingredients not yet noticed. (See the next article.)
5. Tincture of Squill (Tinctura Scillae, U. S., Br.) is prepared with diluted alcohol, and is of the same strength as the vinegar. it may be used whenever squill is indicated, and the alcoholic ingredient is not forbidden. it is specially adapted to the bronchial diseases of intemperate persons, and to all cases attended with general debility, or local debility and relaxation of the parts affected. The dose is from ten to thirty minims, or from twenty to sixty drops.