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Large doses cause burning and pain in the throat and stomach, nausea, vomiting, purging, prostration of strength, convulsions, delirium, and sometimes a cutaneous eruption. Plenek speaks of a young man who was rendered insane by rubbing the ointment on his head. Lentin says: a child whose nurse had sprinkled the powder in its hair, died in convulsions. Sabadilla is an anthelmintic, and is used for pin and tape - worms. It is used for the removal of lice and crab - lice.
The seeds of sabadilla contain sabadillin, a white cystalline solid, possessing alkaline properties, and likewise pure veratria, a drachm of which can be obtained from one pound of the seeds. But, because the Mexican cebadilla and the white hellebore furnish the same alkaloid, it would be wrong to infer that the medicinal virtues of these two substances are alike. (Hempel's Materia Medica)
Large doses paralyse heart action and respiration, and its use is so dangerous that it is scarcely ever taken internally.)
Sabadilla, or cevadilla, is an acrid, drastic emeto-cathartic, in overdoses capable of producing fatal results. Cevine was found to be less poisonous than cevadine, though producing similar symptoms. The powdered seeds have been used as a vermifuge, and to destroy vermin in the hair, being the principal ingredient of the pulvis capucinorum used in Europe. Cevadilla was formerly used internally as an anthelmintic, and in rheumatic and neuralgic affections. The highly poisonous veratria, which is derived from it, has been given in minute doses internally in acute rheumatism and gout, and in some inflammatory diseases, but it must be used with caution. Veratria is useful as an ointment in rheumatism and neuralgia, but is regarded as being less valuable than aconite. The ointment is also employed for the destruction of pedicule. Applied to unbroken skin it produces tingling and numbness, followed by coldness and anaesthesia. Given subcutaneously, it causes violent pain and irritation, in addition to the symptoms following an internal dose. The principal reason against its internal use is its powerful action on the heart, the contractions of the organ becoming fewer and longer until the heart stops in systole. (http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/sabadi01.html)
Chemical Composition.—Sabadilla seeds contain fixed oil (24.6 per cent), resin (10 per cent, of which 8.5 per cent is insoluble in ether), the alkaloid veratrine (Meissner, 1818) (see Veratrina), a peculiar volatile and crystallizable fatty acid called sabadillic or cevadic acid (Pelletier and Caventou, 1819), etc.
The alkaloidal constituents have been frequently investigated. C. R. A. Wright and A. P. Luff (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1878, p. 489, from Lond. Jour. Chem. Soc., Aug., 1878, p. 358) come to the following conclusions: The seeds of Veratrum Sabadilla contain: (1) amorphous veratrine (C37H53NO11), first isolated by Couerbe (1834); upon saponification it splits into veratric acid (dimethylprotocatechuic acid) and a new base, verine (C28H45NO8); (2) crystallizable cevadine (C32H49NO9), the principal alkaloid, first isolated by Merck (1855) and named by him veratrine. It melts at about 205.5° C. (402° F.), and upon saponification splits into the base cevine (C27H43NO8) and methylcrotonic acid (C5H8O2) with which the above cevadic acid is identical. The authors could not obtain the crystallizable, non-sternutatory (3) sabadilline of Couerbe (1834), Hübschmann (1852), and Weigelin (Jahresb. der Pharm., 1871, p. 34), the existence of which, however, is upheld by Masing (ibid.). Wright and Luff found instead a similar body, likewise insoluble, or nearly so, in ether, but amorphous and insoluble in water, and named it cevadilline. The amorphous alkaloid sabatrine of Weigelin (loc. cit.) is believed by the authors to be a mixture. They likewise disbelieve the statements of former authors (Weigelin, E. Schmidt and R. Köppen, Archiv der Pharm., 1877, p. 1) that cevadine (veratrine) occurs in two isomeric modifications, one crystalline, the other amorphous. Bosetti, however (Archiv der Pharm., 1883, pp. 81-106), differentiated commercial veratrine into a crystallizable base, nearly insoluble in water, soluble in alcohol and ether, and identical with cevadine (C32H49NO9), which he names veratrine, and an isomer of the latter, soluble in water, which he calls veratridine (also see Veratrina). E. Merck (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1891, p. 338) isolated from cevadilla seeds two new alkaloids sabadine (C29H51NO8) and sabadinine (C27H43NO8, or C27H45NO8). Both are crystallizable and non-sternutatory. Wright and Luff believe the sabadilla alkaloids to be closely related to the alkaloids of aconite. Sabadilla seeds, when assayed by Keller's method (Jahresb. der Pharm., 1892, p. 14), yield from 4.25 to 4.35 per cent of total alkaloid, while the yield is usually stated to be only from 1 to 2 per cent.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Cevadilla seeds have been used as a vermifuge, and to destroy vermin in the hair, but their dangerous drastic and irritating properties have caused them to be dismissed from practice. They are principally used in the manufacture of veratrine; and rarely, but with great caution, in some nervous diseases, tapeworm, etc. The dose is from 5 to 15 grains, for the expulsion of taenia, and other worm. An extract has proved beneficial in painful rheumatic and neuralgic affections. Cevadilla is now used only as a source of veratrine, to which all of its activity and toxic properties are due.
A mixture of alkaloids obtained from the seeds of Schoenocaulon officinale, Asa Gray (Sabadilla officinarum, Brandt; Asagrea officinalis (Chamisso and Schlechtendal) Lindley; (Sabadilla seeds) (Nat. Ord. Liliaceae). Tropical regions from Mexico to Venezuela.Veratrine is an alkaloid obtained from sabadilla seeds. It forms colourless crystals, that have a bitter taste and excite sneezing. It was formerly used in medicine as an external application to produce local anaesthesia, but is an active poison if taken internally
Description.—A white or grayish-white, non-crystalline powder, without odor, but causing violent irritation and sneezing when even a minute quantity comes in contact with the nasal mucosa. It should not be tasted. Veratrine is slightly hygroscopic, though very sparingly dissolved by water (1,760 parts). It is very soluble in chloroform, alcohol and ether.
Action.—Locally, veratrine (or its salts) is a violent irritant closely resembling aconitine in action. Applied in alcoholic solution, ointment, or oleate, it excites a singular sense of heat and tingling, or prickling pain, which, however, does not last long, but is followed by coolness and more or less numbness; there is seldom redness or vesication unless the preparation is strong and applied with brisk friction. Inhaled, even in minute quantity, it occasions severe coryza and excessive sneezing. Muscular twitching has resulted from its application in ointment to the face, and sometimes it gives rise to headache, nausea, griping, slight diarrhea, and depression of the action of the heart. When swallowed it is a violent, irritant poison, causing great acrimony in the parts over which it passes, salivation, peculiar prickling numbness of tongue and mucous membranes, violent vomiting, profuse and sometimes bloody, and bilious diarrhea (sometimes constipation); weak, irregular and quick pulse; cardiac depression; pallor of face and great faintness; cold sweats; muscular twitching and aching pain along the spine; contracted abdomen and pupils; and occasionally extreme pruritus and tingling which may persist for weeks. In so-called medicinal doses it produces a feeling of warmth in the stomach and bowels, which extends to the chest and extremities. In poisoning by it, the stomach should be thoroughly evacuated, and tannin solutions freely given and pumped out. Stimulation should be resorted to to overcome the depression; for this purpose alcoholics, aromatic spirit of ammonia, ammonium carbonate, artificial respiration, etc., may be employed.
Therapy.—External. Veratrine should be used only as an external application, and then rarely, in superficial functional neuralgia, myalgia, herpes zoster, chronic arthritis, acute gout, and other painful local inflammations. It is less effective than aconitine, but both are equally dangerous and great care should be exercised that it is not applied where the epiderm is denuded, nor should it be allowed to come into contact with or even be used near the eye, on account of the violent conjunctivitis caused by it. A 2 per cent solution in equal quantities of olive oil and oleic acid is usually employed.
Internal. Veratrine should not be used as an internal medicine.
The seeds are black, shining, flat, shrivelled and winged, odourless, with a bitter, acrid, persistent and disagreeable taste, the pale grey, amorphous powder being errhine and violently sternutatory. The seeds were known in Europe as early as 1752, but officially only as the source of veratrine.
---Constituents---Sabadilla contains several alkaloids, the most important being Cevadine, yielding cevine on hydrolysis; Veratrine, obtained from the syrupy liquor from which the cevadine has crystallized; and Cevadilline or Sabadillie, obtained after the extraction of the veratrine with ether.]
Two other alkaloids have been isolated: Sabadine, which is less sternutatory than veratrine, and Sabadinine, which is not sternutatory. Sabadilla yields about 0.3 per cent of veratrine. The seeds also contain veratric acid, cevadic acid, fat and resin.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---Sabadilla, or cevadilla, is an acrid, drastic emeto-cathartic, in overdoses capable of producing fatal results. Cevine was found to be less poisonous than cevadine, though producing similar symptoms. The powdered seeds have been used as a vermifuge, and to destroy vermin in the hair, being the principal ingredient of the pulvis capucinorum used in Europe. Cevadilla was formerly used internally as an anthelmintic, and in rheumatic and neuralgic affections. The highly poisonous veratria, which is derived from it, has been given in minute doses internally in acute rheumatism and gout, and in some inflammatory diseases, but it must be used with caution. Veratria is useful as an ointment in rheumatism and neuralgia, but is regarded as being less valuable than aconite. The ointment is also employed for the destruction of pedicule. Applied to unbroken skin it produces tingling and numbness, followed by coldness and anaesthesia. Given subcutaneously, it causes violent pain and irritation, in addition to the symptoms following an internal dose. The principal reason against its internal use is its powerful action on the heart, the contractions of the organ becoming fewer and longer until the heart stops in systole.
---Dosage---From 5 to 20 grains as a taenicide. Ointment veratrine, B.P.
---Poisonous, if any, with Antidotes---Large doses paralyse heart action and respiration, and its use is so dangerous that it is scarcely ever taken internally.
Indications, contraindications: Laxative and vomitivo vermifuge, parasiticide, intense, rubifacient.
It can produce irritation of the skin and the mucous membranes, to high doses can be fatal. Not advised its internal use.
Preparation, prescriptions: The seeds are used.