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596                                                MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE

colocynth.   Hiera-piera  (holy bitter), a compound of four parts of aloes and one part
of canella bark is sometimes employed for procuring abortion.

Chemical Test—Aloin, when heated with a drop of copper sulphate solution and 1
or 2 cc. of hydrogen peroxide, yields a strawberry-red colour,


This plant belongs to N.O. Liliaceae. Its bulbous root cut into slices and dried is a
pharmacopceial preparation, known as squill, and is given internally as a diuretic and
expectorant in 1 to 3-grain doses. The other official preparations containing squill are
Acetum scillae, dose: 10 to 30 minims ; Oxymel scillae, dose: 30 to 60 minims ; Syrupus
scilloe, dose : 30 to 60 minims ; and Twctura sciUoe, dose : 5 to 30 minims.

In large doses squill or any of its preparations acts as a powerful gastro-intestinal
irritant, and produces nausea, vomiting, purging with bloody stools, strangury, bloody
urine and cardiac depression. Twenty-four grains of the powdered root have proved
fatal. Seventy-five grains of its alcoholic extract have also caused death in two days.

The treatment consists in the administration of emetics or washing out of the
stomach. The patient should be kept in a recumbent posture and should be treated

The post-mortem appearances may be inflammation of the alimentary canal and of
the kidneys.

Squill owes its toxic properties to scillitoxin and sciUareu, both glycosides, which are
readily broken down by the digestive juices.

The powdered root, especially of the red variety is added to bread and milk and is
used as a rat poison. It is very efficacious for this purpose, but is harmless to larger

An Indian variety, called urginea Indica (Jangli piaz) is used as a substitute for


This belongs to N.O. Liliacea?. It is an elegant, climbing hedge plant growing in
Bengal and in low jungles throughout India, and flowers about the end of the rains. Its
"root, which is juicy, tuberous and flattened or cylindrical, contains an active bitter
principle, superbine, a glycoside. It is used as a tonic, stomachic and anti-periodic in
5 to 10-grain doses. Upto 12 grains it is not poisonous, but beyond that it has possibly
the same poisonous action as squill. It is said to be used in India as an adulterant of

Symptoms.—Nausea, violent vomiting, purging, spasms, convulsions, profuse sweat-
ing and collapse with heart-failure.

A case 59 is recorded of a man, aged 45 years, who ate the root of gloriosa superba
in order to commit suicide, suffered from violent gastro-intestinal symptoms and died
within twelve hours.

Chemical Analysis.—The active principle may be extracted with an acid chloroform
mixture from organic matter in the Stas-Otto process. The residue obtained on evaporat-
ing the solvent responds to the following tests 60 : —

1.   With sulphuric acid it gives a deep yellow colour.

2.   With sulphuric acid and potassium nitrate crystals it gives a violet colour, chang-
ing to red.

3.   With concentrated nitric acid it gives a deep violet colour with a yellow tinge
appearing at the margin.

4.   When injected into a frog, it proves fatal to the frog.


THE PARSON IN THE PULPIT)                                 '

This plant belongs to N.O. Araceae, Sub prder, Aroidese. Its root, if eaten raw, pro-
duces irritant symptoms in addition to swelling of the tongue, salivation and dilatation
of the pupils, convulsions, insensibility, coma and death. It loses its poisonous proper-
ties by soaking it in water, and then baking it. It is thus used as an article of food,
constituting the Portland sago.

The treatment consists in the administration of emetics or in the washing out of the
stomach. Castor oil may afterwards be given, followed by strong coffee.

59.- Madras Chem. Exam.'s Ann. Rept, 1934, p. 6.
60.   Beng. Chem. Examiner's Annual .Report, 1947.