Aethusa Cynapium, L. Fool’s parsley. Nat Ord., Umbelliferae.
1. Nenning reports vertigo, relieved on rush of heat into head, with increased warmth of whole body and redness of face; sense of swelling of head, face and hands in open air, disappearing in house; general throbbing headache;in forehead, down pressing heaviness, painful throbbing and jerking, tearing (left); in temple, sticking and throbbing in limited spot. (left); same sensations in vertex and occiput; burning i eyes; jerking and sticking in ears, and stopped feeling in them, with hardness of hearing; sudden stoppage of both nostrils for 1/4 hour, 5 morning after taking, recurring next morning; tearing in malar bones; sweetish taste; stitches in hypochondria, especially left; sense of coldness in abdomen after each dose; tearing in muscles of neck and of forearm, also in foot. There was a sensation in several parts as of a glowing hot needle being plunged into flesh. Most symptoms disappeared in open air, but soon returned in house (Hartlaub and Trinks’ Annalen, iv.)
2. HARTLAUB had violent chill and external coldness in morning after taking dose; latter continued without thirst, for 2 days. On 1st somnolence, on 2nd great good humour. (Ibid.)
3. TRINKS observed violent pains in forehead, as if head were compressed from behind and above with great force. (Ibid.)
4. Dr. T. HARLEY administered large doses of juice of entire plant, of tincture of ripe and green fruit, and of fluid extract, to eight persons of various ages and sexes, without any appreciable effect following. He himself took freely tincture of fruit and 10 grains of oleo-resin, with same negative result. (St. Thomas’s Hospital Reports, N. S., iv, 80.)
5. Dr. T. F. ALLEN took of expressed juice of plant without effect. (N. Am. Journ. of Hom., xxix, 495.)
6. T. W.-, took a drop of Aethusa every hour during day from 7:30 a.m. to midnight. Immediately nausea was produced by earlier doses. At 11 a.m., this, at first referred and gurgling there and in upper bowels, and sense of fluttering in stomach, metallic slimy taste in mouth, with dryness. forehead, feels constricted, with sense of pressure as from within outwards. At 3 p.m. felt heat and pressure in forehead; at 5, stuffy sensation right ear, with feeling of coldness, also round about it as if in bone; at 7 aching in mastoid process. Noticed all day that excretions (urine and perspiration) were increased, and secretions decreased. He also felt all in a glow, and perspired easily when walking home in a cold air. At 9 feeling in bowels as if diarrhoea was coming on. At 11 skin of hands (especially palms) dry and shrunken, as if washed in lye. On 2nd days woke with intense frontal headache, with sensation of constriction from points vertically over each eye; relieved by pressure. took 2 drops every hour from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. By 9 headache had gone. At 11, sensation of tension as from band passing round forehead and made fast at each zygoma. At noon, feeling as if he had caught cold and a violent coryza was coming on. At left sense of heat and fulness in face, and pressure in frontal sinus and upper nasal passages. Nausea; general headache excessive flow of pale urine. By 4, face was well, but he was beginning to look peaked and hollow-cheeked. Feet and limbs were cold down to knees, were more so an our later. At 11 sharp cramps in small intestines, localised in spots, and quickly shifting from place to place. At midnight took 20 drops and retired. At 7 a.m. on 3rd day woke with seething feeling in blood and heavy aching pain n lumbar and interscapular regions, also sense of indigestible load in stomach. Took 20 drops, and again at 8 Food tasteless (as also on 2nd days). At 11 a.m. mouth and lips dry; skin has a dry, white, leathery, pinched look cheeks are sunken; clothes seem loose. Felt nauseated all days at sight of food; and load remained in stomach. On retiring had numerous fine sharp stabbing pains, lasting 5 morning, some of which were so sudden and violent as to make him cry out (Allen’s Encyclopaedia, x. 266.)
7. Mrs. P-, took 5 drops of tinct. just before dinner At once complained of heated, flushed feeling, with some nausea. In 5 morning drank some milk, and had to go into open air to keep from vomiting. In 5 more repeated dose, and drank of milk; after 2 morning took 5 drops more. Violent retching ensued, with vomiting of phlegm only. After 10 morning took 5 drops more, which made her deathly sick, but the could bring up nothing but phlegm. Throughout this time she felt constant nausea, and had sensation in upper bowels as if she had taken an aperient which was operating. Eyes got watery and face flushed and hot.
8. Mr. H-, took 5 drops before supper. At once heat all over and perspiration on forehead. Drank of milk, and took 5 drops more. Had nausea, metallic taste vomit, and in a few morning ate his supper. Headache, metallic taste and nausea continued till bedtime, with heat from fauces to stomach and upper bowels, and pain in latter regions as from something hard an indigestible. Some remains of same sensations next morning, and increased flow of urine of sheet odour.
9. E. H. L.-, took 3j of tincture in divided doses during 2 days on 1st, 3vii on afternoon of 2nd. There was slight uneasiness in stomach on 1st day, and decided weight and heaviness there on 2nd.
10. E. P.M. -, took 24 drop doses at 5 morning intervals. Pulse gradually fell from 76 to 67, and became soft. After 6th dose a slight constricted sensation about head, and after 24th slight nausea, and lose discharge from bowels, of yellow colour, and sour smell.
11. Dr. ST. CLAIR SMITH took at 3:30 p.m. 180 drops. Immediately, burning in mouth, throat, and oesophagus, with profuse salivation and secretion of mucus in both mouth and throat; this secretion continued for some 15 or 20 morning, with qualmishness, and was soon followed by a feeling of dryness of tongue and throat. There was much dizziness; and burning soon began in stomach also, and gradually increased, accompanied with acrid eructations, of rancid taste; heartburn lasted some time after, with inclination to hawking. Some nausea, with water-brash of sour hot fluid: at one time vomiting seemed inevitable. Later, uncomfortable qualmish feeling in stomach; also pain in forehead, a sort of crampy feeling, with disposition to contract brows; deep seated sensation of coldness in transverse colon. Later, crampy aching in malar bones; pain in forehead increased, and is decidedly uncomfortable; occasional aching in occiput. Pulse, usually 76, after 2 hours is 90; and face is flushed. There was now weight in stomach, and uncomfortable feeling of indigestion, with uprisings of food (tasting spoiled) and hot liquid; pain in bowels as if diarrhoea would follow, but it did not; crampy constriction in heart, with feeling as if he could not draw a deep breath, pulse regular; same pain soon after in right chest; aching in small of back. AT 9 p.m. rapid sticking-shooting pain in left temple and left ear, continuing till he went to bed. (Ibid.)
12. Dr. BRUGMANS took a few grains in morning. There followed violent headache, thirst, efforts to vomit, sticking pain in epigastrium, cutting colic and flatulence, desire to sleep, and general cold feeling during whole day. Sleep was very restless for first hours. (Allg. hom. Zeit., Ixxii, 56.).
We have determined to give no cases under this heading, as it has become exceedingly doubtful it Aethusa has any virulent properties. The negative experiments of Dr. Harley would not prove this, as he has since obtained similar results with Dulcamara, which we know to contain an alkaloid (solanine) of no slight activity. But analysis of the recorded cases of supposed poisoning with fool’s parsley shows their evidence to be so unsatisfactory that they cannot be trusted; and the probability is that the plant (in which no alkaloid has been discovered) is harmless. – (Eds).