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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

EUPHORBIUM                                                       593


This is a powder prepared from the dried tubercles of Ipomcea purga or Sxogonium
purga belonging to N.O. Convolvulacese, and is used as a hydragogue purgative in 5 to 20-
gram doses. It is also contained in a non-official preparation of Pulvis jalapce compositus
(dose, 10 to 60 grains). The purgative properties are due to a resin and two anhydride
glucosides, jalapin, which is also called convolvulin and jalapurgin. In larger doses it
acts as an irritant poison. It is sometimes used as an abortifacient, and produces toxic


This is a gum-resin which is known as ipomcea resin, and is obtained from the root
of Convolvulus scammonia belonging to N.O. Convolvulacese. It is easily pulverized,
and forms into an emulsion when mixed with emulsin. The resin is used as a drastic
purgative in J to 3-grain doses. In large doses it acts as a strong gastro-intestinal irri-
tant, and may cause death, if administered to weak, debilitated persons.


These are the seeds of Ipomoea hederacea cultivated in several places of India, and
belonging to N.O. Convolvulacese. Their active principle is a pale yellowish resin, phar-
bitisin, corresponding in chemical action to jalapin, to which its irritant properties are
chiefly due.

The seeds are in the form of a segment of a sphere, about 5 mm. long or smaller, and
nearly^ black except at the nilum where they are brown and hairy. The resin occurs in
"brownish opaque fragments, being translucent at the edges. The seeds and the resin
are used as pharmacopceial drugs in India, having the doses of 30 to 45 grains and 2 to 8
grains respectively. In large doses they produce symptoms of irritant poisoning.

The seeds are also contained in Pulvis kaladance compositus (dose 60 to 90 grains).


This plant belongs to N.O. Convolvulacese, and is called an Indian jalap or white
turpeth. Both the root and the bark are used as cathartic and laxative. The root con-
tains 5 to 10 per cent of a resin, named turpethin. The non-official, dose of the root is
5 to 20 grains, but it can be given from 4 to 1J drachms. Larger doses produce irritant
symptoms. Another variety, known as black turpeth, is more drastic in its action and
is, therefore, not used in medicine.


This is a parasitic, climbing plant, growing wild on certain hedges, and belonging to
N.O. Convolvulacese. Its decoction is used as an abortifacient by " Dais" (untrained
mid wives), chiefly in the Punjab. It is said that a decoction of 180 grains of the plant
produces abortion, though at the same time it causes nausea, vomiting and depression.


This is an acrid, milky juice exuded from the stems of various euphorbious plants
belonging to N.O. Euphorbiaceae; the chief of these are Euphorbia antiquorum (tidhara,
sehund), Euphorbia nerifolia (thohar) and Euphorbia tirucalli (milk hedge or Indian

The juice produces vesication, when applied to the skin, and inflanunation involving
eye-sight, when dropped into the eyes. Internally, it acts as an irritant, causing vomit-
ing, diarrhoea, convulsions and coma. It is used for procuring criminal abortion, but
rarely for homicidal purposes. A case 50 is recorded where a man applied the juice df
Euphorbia antiquorum to the eyes and vagina of his wife as a punishment for her faith-
lessness. She lost her eyesight and suffered from intense pain in the genitals. In his
annual report for the year 1949, the Chemical Examiner, Madras, also mentions a case
where a man was tied to a tree, and the juice of Euphorbia antiquorum was poured into
his eyes. The victim complained of burning sensation in his eyes and loss of eyesight.
The eyes were also swollen.

A teaspoonful of the juice of Euphorbium Officinarum or resinifera proved fatal to an
adult in three days. On post-mortem examination gangrenous patches were observed in
the stomach and the spleen was found in a "rotten" condition.

56.   Beng. Chem. Exam. Ann. Rep., 1938, p. 17,