LECTURE S ON MATERIA MEDICA AND THERAPEUTICS,

1837 The Lancet  
857 bitter as to communicate bitterness to 600,000 times its weight of water. It requires 6000 parts of water at 60°, and 2300 I at 212°, for its solution. It is insoluble in absolute alcohol and in asther, but it dissolves in diluted alcohol. It has an alkaline reaction, and neutralises acids. It is a compound of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. I am not aware of any chemical test for it, in its pure state, except that it imparts a red-wine colour to iodic acid, yet iodine is not set
more » ... odine is not set free. Brucicc is less crystallisable than strychnia. It is more soluble in water, requiring only 850 parts at 600, and 500 at 212°, for its solution. With nitric acid it acquires a blood-red colour, which passes into yellow ; and the addition of protochloride of tin produces a beautiful violet tint. Both of these alkaloids operate in the same manner as nux vomica, but the strychiiia with much more violence, and its influence on the surface is more striking. This was well illustrated in some experiments which I made with it upon a snake, and some other reptiles.* In cases of poisoning by nux vomica, when the object is suicide, it is generally taken in the state of powder, with the appearance of which we should be acquainted ; the taste is bitter, and it acquires an orangered colour, with nitric acid. The effects of these re-agents are the same in the decoction, which is intensely bitter. Infusion of galls precipitates it grayish. Ammoniacal sulphate of copper gives the decoction a green colour. The orange-red produced by nitric acid is owing to the brucia contained in conjunction with the strychnia in the nux vomica : the green colour is owing to the igasuric acid, which is combined with the brucia and the strychnia to render them soluble. The same result as with ammoniacal snlphate of copper, takes place with infusion of arnica montanum, an overdose of which causes symptoms closely resembling those of nux vomica ; and although nitric acid causes no reddening in the infusion, yet this is no proof that it does not contain strychnia, as this alkaloid, when pure, causes no redness with nitric acid. Before proceeding to notice the treatment, let us examine the other substances which produce poisoning in the same manner as nux vomica, and evidently from the same cause. The first of these is the ST.IGNATIUs' bean, the seed of the strychnia sancti IgvinGii. Nitric acid acts on the powder of this seed more powerfully than on that of nux vomica, as it contains more brucia than nux vomica. It is, also, more energetic in its action on . Elements of Mat. Med., &c. p. 180, note. the animal economy than nux vomica. The only case of human poisoning by it that I am aware of is one quoted in CHRISTISON'S work, detailed by Dr. HOFF. Half a bean was taken in brandy ; tetanic symptoms followed, but the man recovered.
doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(02)98420-5 fatcat:g4qc45rokzbgvfddg4cunbxsri