Digitalis





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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