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Eclectic Medical Journal

Vol. V.

JANUARY 1912

No. )

Original Contributions

SANTONINE. J. A. Munk, M. D., Los Angeles, California. Read before the Los Angeles County Eclectic Medical Society.

Santonine is the active principle of the plant santonica. The herb grows in nearly every section of our country and is one of the native wild plants which are found growing in the College Botanical Garden. Its common names are wormseed and Jerusalem oak, and is readily recognized by its characteristic odor. Children who have ever taken McClains, or some other kind of fluid patent-medicine vermifuge during the past fifty years or more, have a distinct and abiding recollection of its taste, as this plant is almost always an ingredient in every such mixture.

Scientifically it has been classified as Chenopodium, artemisia, ambrosia and erysimum, but whichever of these names is the correct one matters little, as it is preferably called by the familiar and euphoneous name of santonica. Its oil, or other fluid preparation, is now seldom used in medicine, owing to its disagreeable taste, but is ordinarily dispensed in the form of santonine, which is almost tasteless. It can be used in powder, but is more conveniently given in a tablet triturate, which always divides the dose accurately, one-fourth of a grain being the average dose. If a smaller dose is desired the tablet can be divided, or the dose can be increased tɔ two or more tablets. It is not objectionable to a child and may be eaten like candy, dissolved in water, or swallowed like a pill.

The dose of santonine is from a quarter of a grain to two gains. The United States Dispensatory gives the dose from ten to thirty grains, which is evidently excessive and dangerous. The smallest dose of any drug that will have the desired effect and afford the needed relief, is the quantity that should be used. The Eclectic method of prescribing medicines in frequent small doses is much preferable, as a rule, to giving large doses at longer intervals. An over dose of five grains, or more, is poisɔnous and dangerous, as it has been known to cause convulsions and death. With ordinary caution, however, no dan

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