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.
This has already been fully described under the nervous stimulants (i. 597). Among its important properties is that of stimulating the bronchial secretion, for which it is often and very usefully employed, in chronic pectoral affections, and the advanced stages of the acute. it is admirably adapted to these complaints when associated with nervous exhaustion, spasm, or hysterical disorder. in the advanced stage of pneumonia, when the system begins to sink; in the same stage of bronchitis, with copious puruloid or muco-puruloid expectoration; in chronic bronchial inflammation, associated with asthma; in the second and third stages of pertussis; in the declining stage of phthisis, with disordered nervous symptoms; in pure nervous coughs; in the pectoral affections of hysterical women, in the absence of acute inflammatory symptoms, assafetida may be used often with great relief. in the advanced stage of the pectoral diseases of infants, it is an excellent remedy.
It not unfrequently happens in the bronchitis and pneumonia of infants, before the close of the disease, that the nervous power appears to be exhausted, and a very alarming condition ensues, which, without caution, may be mistaken for an increase of the inflammation or congestion. There is very frequent and apparently oppressed respiration, the alae nasi visibly expand and contract, the pulse is very frequent, the child restless, or perhaps approaching a comatose state, and there is obviously great and urgent danger. if, under these circumstances, the hand be applied to the tip of the nose, the ear, or the cheek, they will be found to be cool, instead of hot; and the symptoms are in fact the result of almost complete nervous exhaustion. Assafetida acts here with very great and prompt advantage, and, along with due nutrition, will, I believe, often save the life of the patient, when a perseverance in depleting or reducing measures would be inevitably fatal.
Sufficient has been said of the dose and administration of assafetida under the former head. I will here merely add that, in the infantile cases above referred to, it may be given to children, under two years, in the dose of one or two grains every hour or two, in the form of mixture or emulsion.