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All parts of the plant Digitalis purpurea (purple foxglove) are
poisonous. Contains the glucoside digitalin and other active principles.
Symptoms.--Nausea, vomiting, purging, and abdominal pains. Vomited
matter grass-green in colour. Headache, giddiness, and loss of sight;
pupils dilated, insensitive; pulse weak, remarkably slow and irregular;
cold sweat. Salivation occasionally, or syncope and stupor. Death
sometimes quite suddenly.
Post-Mortem Appearances.--Congested condition of brain and membranes;
inflammation of gastric mucous membrane.
Treatment.--Emetics freely; infusions containing tannin, as coffee,
tea, oak-bark, galls, etc. Stimulants. Hypodermic injection of 1/120
grain of aconitine.
Method of Extraction from the Stomach, etc.--Use Stas-Otto process.
Tests for Digitalin.--A white substance, sparingly soluble in water,
not changed by nitric acid; turns yellow, changing to green, with
hydrochloric acid. The minutest trace of digitalin moistened with
sulphuric and treated with bromine vapour gives a rose colour, turning
to mauve. This is very delicate, but in experienced hands the
physiological test is more reliable. The chemist who has had no
practical experience in pharmacological methods would be wiser to keep
to his chemical tests.
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