Squill, the Common, or SEa-onion, Scilla maritima, L. an exotic plant, growing on the sandy shores of the Levant, especially on those of Spain, and Portugal, whence considerable quantities of its roots are annually imported. The best sea-onions ought to be sound, fresh, and to contain a viscous juice: they are nauseous, bitter, and, if much handled, are so acrid as to ulcerate the skin.
The squill is a powerful stimulant, promoting the discharge of urine; and, if the patient be kept warm, a profuse perspiration. It is chiefly employed in cases, where the organs of respiration are clogged, or oppressed with mucus : - when combined with nitre in the proportion of from 4 to 10 grains of the dried root, with a double quantity of saltpetre, it has been greatly extolled for its efficacy in dropsical swellings, and inflammations of the kidnies. If the squill be taken in a large dose, it operates as an emetic ; and, in some persons, as a purgative. It is often prescribed in the form of pills; though, when mixed with honey into an oxymel, it affords an useful medicine for obstinate coughs. - The roots of the sea-onion pay, on importation, the duty of 2s. 9d. per lb.