=Aconite= (Aconitum Napellus, monkshood).--Root and leaves. Poisonous
property depends upon an alkaloid, aconitine. Aconite is one of the
constituents of St. Jacob's Oil.
Symptoms.--Numbness and tingling in mouth, throat, and stomach,
giddiness, loss of sensation, deafness, dimness of sight, paralysis,
first of the lower and then of the upper extremities, vomiting, and
shallow respiration. Pupils dilated.
Pulse small, irregular, finally
imperceptible. The mind remains unaffected. Death often sudden.
Post-Mortem Appearances.--Venous congestion, engorgement of brain and
Treatment.--Emetics, stimulants freely. Best antidote is sulphate of
atropine, 1/50 grain hypodermically, and also strychnine. Digitalis also
useful. Warmth to whole body. Patient to make no exertion.
Fatal Dose.--Of root or tincture, 1 drachm.
Fatal Period.--Average, less than four hours.
Method of Extraction from the Stomach, etc.--Extraction from contents
of stomach by Stas-Otto process. It may be found in the urine; gives
usual alkaloidal reactions, but no distinctive chemical test known.
Tests.--Chiefly physiological; tingling and numbness when applied to
tongue or inner surface of cheek. Effects on mice, etc. A cadaveric
alkaloid or ptomaine has been found in the body, possessing many of the
actions of aconitine. The presence of this substance was suggested in
the Lamson trial.
The Indian aconite, Aconitum ferox, the Bish poison, is much more
active than the European variety. It contains a large proportion of
pseudaconitine, and is frequently employed in India, not only for the
destruction of wild beasts, but for criminal purposes.
=Aconitine= varies much in activity according to its mode of preparation
and the source from which it is derived. The most active kind is
probably made from A. ferox.