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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

588

MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE

3.   Digest the residue with a small quantity of water rendered slightly
alkaline with caustic potash solution.

4.   Filter the solution obtained, acidulate with hydrochloric acid and
shake with ether in a separating funnel.

5.    Separate the ether.    (Plumbagin passes into the ether.)

6.   Evaporate the ethereal extract.

7.   Dissolve   the   residue   (containing  plumbagin)   in^ caustic   potash
solution, when a bright crimson liquid is formed.   On adding hydrochloric
acid to this the colour changes to yellow, and on standing for some time the
liquid deposits yellow flocculi of plumbagin, which may be separated by
shaking the acid liquid with ether.   An alcoholic solution of plumbagin gives
a crimson precipitate with a solution of basic lead acetate.

Medico-Legal Points.—The crushed roots are largely used for procuring
criminal abortion. They are either taken internally, or, in the form of a
paste, are applied to the os
uteri, or painted on the " abor-
tion sticks ". Deaths have en-
sued from this use.

" A woman48 was given a
quack medicine containing
plumbago root by her para-
mour to cause miscarriage.
She died after having suffered
from severe gastro-intestinal
irritation with vomiting and
purging for ten days. At the
post-mortem examina-
tion severe congestions of the
lungs, heart, liver, kidneys and
the genital canal were found
with the expulsion of the
foetus from the gravid uterus.

Plumbago roots are rarely used with homicidal intent. Chevers40 men-
tions a case in which a woman mixed a small quantity of the powdered
root (Lai Chitm) with milk and gave it to her husband. After two hours
vomiting and purging occurred and in a short time the man died. On post-
mortem examination the surface of the stomach was corrugated and covered
with small inflamed patches, and the mucous membrane of the intestine
was injected. Plumbagin was detected in the stomach contents, the vomited
matter and the remnants of the food.

When applied to the skin in the form of a paste, the root of plumbago
rosea or zeylanica produces a reddish-brown mark, which simulates a bruise.

Walsh so records a case -where one Jitan AH Mir of Murshidabad reported to the
police on the morning of August 22nd, 1898, that some eighteen or nineteen men armed
with lathies, torches, lanterns, etc,, had entered his house on the previous night, and
carried away his valuables after having beaten and branded him with torches, Upon
examination twenty-seven trifling injuries were found on several parts of his body which
he could easily reach with his hand. These appeared to have been self-inflicted, and
caused by the application of plumbago rosea to the skin. Of these injuries only one
showed a slight abrasion due t'o destruction of the cuticle. The stains were of a reddish>-
brown colour and without raised or inflamed margins. The hair stood on them, unsinged or
uninjured. The man was found guilty of bringing a false charge of dacoity with self-
inflicted injuries and sentenced to four years' imprisonment.

S'   £^g* rChem* Exam" A*"™31 Report. 1^33, p. 13, see also Kept, 1938, p. 14,

49.   Med. Juris., p. 252.                                                                              r

50.   JndL Med. Gaz., Jan. 1900, p. 8; see also Beng. Chem, Exam. Ann, Rep,, 1939, p, 18,

Fig. 176.—Plumbago Zeylanica.