Compiled and edited by Ivor Hughes
This is a three part compilation.
2. Boericke�s Homeopathic Materia Medica.
3. A Modern Herbal. Mrs. M. Grieve F.R.H.S.
1. USD 1926 Part 2.
Both the bulb and the flowers of this common and widely cultivated
popular European garden plant have been used in medicine. The bulb is
tunicated and averages one and one-half to two inches in diameter. The
flowers are about two inches long, pale yellow, the corona crenate to
somewhat crenate-fimbriate, the six stamens inserted near the base of the
perianth and much shorter than the corona. The flowers have a feeble
peculiar odor, and both have a bitter mucilaginous taste. They are an
uncertain emetic. It is probable that the flowers of the wild European plant
are more powerful than those of the cultivated. Gerrard found in 1877 in
these bulbs a crystalline neutral principle and an alkaloid narcissine
(pseudonarcissine). This base, which occurs in a number of the
Amaryllidaceae, has been shown by Asahina and Sugii (A. Pharm., 1913, ccli,
357) to be identical with lycorine, C18H17O4N,
found by Morishima (A. E. P. P., 1897, xl). It crystallizes in colorless
prisms with a melting point of 270� C. According
to Kuiger, the alkaloid obtained by Gerrard from the bulb of the flowering
plant dries the mouth, checks perspiration, dilates the pupil, especially
when applied locally, quickens the pulse, and acts on the heart of the frog
antagonistically to muscarine and pilocarpine, while the alkaloid taken from
the bulb after flowering causes salivation and perspiration, internally
taken contracts the pupil, and topically applied dilates it slightly. (J.
P., i, 436.) In France, narcissus flowers have been used as an
2.Boericke�s Homeopathic Materia Medica.
Symptoms of nausea followed by violent vomiting and diarrhoea.
Daffodil bulbs contain an alkaloid the action of which, according to authorities, varies as to whether the alkaloid is extracted from the flowering bulb or from the bulb after flowering. Thus in the former case the alkaloid produces dryness of the mouth, checks cutaneous secretions, dilates the pupil of the eye, quickens the pulse, and slows and weakens the heart contractions. On the other hand, the alkaloid from the bulbs after flowering produces copious salivation, increases cutaneous secretion, contracts the pupil of the eye, produces slight relaxation of the pulse, and slight faintness and nausea.. The Lancet.
A remedy for cough and bronchitis. Continuous cough. Coryza; frontal
headache. Convulsive stage of whooping-cough.
3.A Modern Herbal. Mrs. M. Grieve F.R.H.S.
DAFFODIL Narcissus Pseudo-narcissus N.O. Amaryllidaceae
Synonyms. Narcissus. Porillon. Daffy-down-dilly. Fleur de coucou. Lent Lily
Parts Used. Bulb, leaves, flowers Habitat. Europe, including Britain
Description. The Common Daffodil, a representative of the Ajax group, grows wild in most European countries. Its green, linear leaves about a foot long, and golden, terminal flowers, are familiar in moist woods and country gardens. The bulbs should be gathered during the winter, and the flowers when in full bloom, in dry weather, and dried quickly. The bulbs and not the flowers of other species are used.
Constituents. Professor Barger has given the following notes on the alkaloid of Narcissus Pseudo-narcissus. 'In 1910 Ewins obtained from the bulbs a crystalline alkaloid, to which he gave the name of narcissine, and on analysis found the formula to be C16H17ON.' He notes that the alkaloid is characterized by great stability and cannot easily be decomposed. Ringer and Morshead found the alkaloid from resting bulbs acted like pilocarpine, while that from the flowering bulbs resembled atropine. Laid-law tested Ewins' alkaloid on frogs and cats, but found no action similar to pilocarpine or atropine. 0-125 gram given by mouth to a cat caused vomiting, salivation and purgation. In 1920 Asahtna, Professor of Chemistry in the Tokyo College of Pharmacy, showed that narcissine is identical with lycorine isolated from Lycoris radiata in 1899. The name narcissine has therefore been dropped. Lycorine is quite common in the N.O. Amaryllidaceae. It was found in Buphane disticha by Tutin in the Mellome Research Laboratory in 1911 (Joun. Chem. Soc. Transactions 99, page 1,240). It is generally present in quite small quantities, at most 0.1 to 0.18 per cent, of the fresh material. Chemically, lycorine or narcissine has some resemblance to hydrastine, and like it, contains a dioxymethylene group.
Medicinal Action and Uses. The following is a quotation from Culpepper:
It is said by Galen to have astringent properties. It has been used as an application to wounds. For hard imposthumes, for burns, for strained sinews, stiff or painful joints, and other local ailments, and for 'drawing forth thorns or stubs from any part of the body" it was highly esteemed. The Daffodil was the basis of an ancient ointment called Narcissimum. The powdered flowers have been used as an emetic in place of the bulbs, and in the form of infusion or syrup, in pulmonary catarrh.Dosages. Of powder, from 20 grains to 2 drachms as an emetic. Of extract, 2 to 3 grains.
Poison and Antidotes. It may be noted that Henry states that lycorine or narcissine in warm-blooded animals acts as an emetic, causing eventually collapse and death by paralysis of the central nervous system. There have been several cases of poisoning by Daffodil bulbs which have been eaten in mistake for onions. In one case the points observed were:1. the speedy action of the poison; 2. the fact that the high temperature did not destroy the toxicity of the poison; and 3. the relatively small quantity of Daffodil bulbs which caused the trouble.
Other Species.The bulbs of N. poeticus, N. odorus, and N. jonquilla possess similar acrid and emetic properties. See NARCISSUS.
NARCISSUS N.O. Amaryllidaceae.
The chief of these is the DAFFODIL, or Lent Lily (Narcissus pseudo-narcissus, Linn.). The botanical name of the genus, Narcissus, is considered to be derived, not as is often said, from the name of the classical youth who met with his death through vainly trying to embrace his image reflected in a clear stream, but from the Greek word narkao (to benumb), on account of the narcotic properties which the plant possesses. Pliny describes it as Narce narcissum dictum, non a fabuloso puero, 'named Narcissus from Narce, not from the fabulous boy."
Socrates called this plant the 'Chaplet of the infernal Gods,' because of its narcotic effects. An extract of the bulbs, when applied to open wounds, has produced staggering, numbness of the whole nervous system and paralysis of the heart. The popular English names Daffodown-dilly, Daffodily Affbdily, are a corruption of Asphodel, with which blossoms of the ancient Greeks this was supposed to be identical. It is in France the fleur d'asphodele, also 'pauvres files de Sainte Claire.'
Herrick alludes in his Hesperides to the Daffodil as a portent of death, probably connecting the flower with the asphodel, and the habit of the ancient Greeks of planting that flower near tombs.
The bulbs of the Daffodil, as well as every other part of the plant are powerfully emetic, and the flowers are considered slightly poisonous, and have been known to have produceddangerous effects upon children who have swallowed portions of them. The influence of Daffodil on the nervous system has led to giving its flowers and its bulb for hysterical affections and even epilepsy, with benefit. A decoction of the dried flowers acts as an emetic, and has been considered useful for relieving the congestive bronchial catarrh of children, and also useful for epidemic dysentery.
In France, Narcissus flowers have been used as an antispasmodic. A spirit has been distilled from the bulb, used as an embrocation and also given as a medicine and a yellow volatile oil, of disagreeable odour and a brown colouring matter has been extracted from the flowers, the pigment being Quercetin, also present in the outer scales of the Onion. The Arabians commended the oil to be applied for curing baldness and as an aphrodisiac.
An alkaloid was first isolated from the bulbs of N. pseudo-narcissus by Gerard in 1578, and obtained in a pure state as Narcissine by Guẻrin in 1910. The resting bulbs contain about 0.2 per cent, and the flowering bulbs about 0.1 per cent. With cats, Narcissine causes nausea and purgation. N. princeps also contains a minute quantity of this alkaloid.
A case of poisoning by Daffodil bulbs, cooked by mistake in the place of leeks, was reported from Toulouse in 1923. The symptoms were acute abdominal pains and nausea, which yielded to an emetic.
The bulbs of N. poeticus (Linn.), the POET'S NARCISSUS, are more dangerous than those of the Daffodil, being powerfully emetic and irritant. The scent of the flowers is deleterious, if they are present in any quantity in a closed room, producing in some persons headache and even vomiting. The bulb is used in homoeopathy for the preparation of a tincture.
From the fragrant flowers of the JONQUIL (N. jonquilla) and the CAMPERNELLA (N. odorus), a sweet-smelling yellow oil is obtained in the south of France, used in perfumery. The ease with which most species of Narcissus can be grown in this country is remarkable, since, being mostly natives of Southern Europe and Northern Africa, they have to adapt themselves to very different conditions of soil and climate. No genus of flowering plants is more readily cultivated and less liable to disease, and the presence in its leaves and roots of innumerable bundles of needle-shaped crystals of calcium oxalate, termed raphides, protect it from injury of browsing and gnawing animals, rendering the plants indigestible and possibly poisonous to cattle and smaller animals.
The Crocus and Lily are not thus equipped for defence against browsing animals. Rabbits often fall prey to it. The only insect enemy from which the Narcissus seems to suffer is the fly Merodon equestris, the grub of which lays an egg in or near the bulb, which then forms the food of the larva. This pest causes serious damage in Holland and the south of England.
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