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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

HYOSCYAMUS NIGER                                                   683

general paralysis of the nervous system. In addition to these, nausea, vomit-
ing, purging, spasmodic contractions of the muscles and hallucinations may
be present.

Fatal Dose.—Two grains of hyoscyamine is probably a fatal dose. Owing to an
individual idiosyncrasy medicinal doses have produced toxic symptoms. One-fourth to
half-a-grain of hyoscine hydrobromide may be regarded as a fatal dose.20

Fatal Period.—Usually twenty-four hours.

Treatment.—Similar to that for poisoning by datura.

Post-mortem Appearances.—Similar to -those in poisoning by datura. Henbane or
hyoscyarnus seeds may be found in the stomach.

Detection.—The seeds are kidney-shaped, about 4" in diameter, covered with small
projections and are of a brown or grey colour.

Tests.—1. Hyoscyamine and hyoscine are mydriatic alkaloids ; hence a solution of
either of them, if put into the eye of a cat, causes dilatation of the pupil.

2.   Hyoscyamine forms with auric chloride solution a gold double salt, which melts
at 165° and 200°C.

Hyoscine treated with auric chloride solution yields a yellow precipitate, which,
recrystallized from water, forms bright yellow, glistening needles, having a melting point
of 198° to 200°C.

3.   An   alcoholic  solution   of  bromine  in  hydrobromic   acid  forms   needle-shaped
crystals with a solution of hyoscyamine, but round spheres with a solution of hyoscine.

Medico-Legal Points.—An accidental fatal case has occurred in 24 hours from the
root used as a vegetable in mistake for parsnip. The seeds have been mistaken for
celery seeds and have produced poisonous symptoms.

The dried leaves and flowers are smoked like ganja by depraved persons and Fakirs
in Sind. The juice of the fresh leaves, and the dried leaves are used in the treatment
of irritable affections of the lungs, bowels and genito-urinary organs. The juice and
oil are also used for external applications. In 1910, hyoscine hydrobromide was used
by Crippen, an American homoeopathic doctor, for killing his wife. Two-fifths of a grain
of the salt were estimated to be present in the organs submitted to Willcox for analysis.
This amounted to more than half-a-grain in the whole body.21

Hyoscine (Scopolamine) is used in combination with morphine in producing the
so-called "twilight sleep". It has caused toxic effects, followed by a few deaths. One-
eighth grain of morphine and 1/100 grain of scopolamine hydrobromide injected hypo-
dermically has caused death.22

Hyoscine has been recently tried under the name of " truth serum" on persons
suspected of having committed serious crimes for extorting confessions. Hyoscine is
injected hypodermically in repeated doses until the stage of mild delirium is induced.
When the proper point is reached, the questioning begins, and the patient forgets any
alibi which he may have built up to cover his crime. Under such a condition he is
apt to tell the truth and gives details implicating other associates, if any.

The following plants belonging to N.O. Solanaceae have produced poisonous symptoms
which are due to solanine, an active principle, contained in them. It is readily hydro-
lized by mineral acids into solanidine. It acts as a gastro-intestinal irritant and
narcotic: —

1.   Solanum  Dulcamara   (Woody nightshade).—The  berries  are  known as  Inab-
es-salib.   Two cases28 of cattle poisoning by these berries are reported.   In one case
one foal died, and in the other several cows died.

2.   Solanum Indicum  (Barhanta, Dolimoola).

3.    Solanum Jacquinii  (Katai, BTiooiringni),

4.    Solanum Nigrum  (Kakmachi, IWakoi).

5.    Solanum Tuberosum  (Alu).

Symptoms.—Nausea ; vomiting; diarrhoea; colic ; tenesmus ; giddiness; widely
dilated pupils; cramps in the legs; muscular spasms; drowsiness; delirium; coma.
Death occurs from respiratory paralysis.

Fatal Dose and Fatal Period.—Uncertain. Two berries of solanum dulcamara24 have
caused the death of a child, four years old, in thirty-two hours. A girl,25 aged 9 years,
died in about five days after she had eaten three berries of solanum dulcamara.

20.    Willcox, Brit. Med. Jour., Oct. 29, 1910, p. 1375.

21.    Brit. Med.  Jour.,  Oct.  29, 1910, p.  1375.

22.    Ely, New York Med. Jour., 1906, LXXXIV, p. 799.

23.   H. Lowe, Analyst, 1929, p. 153 ; Jour, oj State Med., June 1929, p. 368.

24.    Lancet, June 28, 1855.

25.    Lancet, Sep. 11, 1948, p. 438.