(From vol. v, 2nd edit. 1826.)
(A drachm of the seeds of Delphinium staphisagria is pulverised, along with an equal quantity of chalk (for the purpose of absorbing the oil), and macerated, without heat and daily succession, for a week in 600 drops of alcohol, in order to form the tincture.)
The ancient may have made a very rude employment of this seed in order to excite vomiting or salivation, as we may see in DIOSCORIDES, who, however, also talks about its administration for toothache in general, the origin of which application is evidently domestic practice.
JOH. HEINR. SCHULZE (Theses de Materia Medica, editae a C.G. STRUMPFF, Hal., 1746, p. 435) when suffering from toothache took some of it in his mouth, but it gave him such a violent exacerbation that he thought he should go mad. What enormous power must not this drug possess!
As an exterminator of head vermin this seed was called by the Greeks ????okokov, and as such it still enters into the composition of an officinal ointment (unguentum pediculorum).
Now, as out new and only true healing art shows by experience that every drug is medicinal in proportion to the energy of its action on the health, and that is only overcomes that natural disease by virtue of its pathogenetic power provided it is analogous to the latter; it follows that a medicine can subdue the most serious diseases the most injuriously it acts on health human beings and that we have only to ascertain exactly its peculiar injurious effects in order to know to what curative purposes to may be applied in the art of restoring human health. Its power, be it ever so energetic, does not by any means call for its rejection; nay, it makes it all the more valuable; for, on the one hand, its power of altering the human health only reveals to us all the more distinctly and clearly the peculiar morbid states which it can produce on healthy human beings, so that we may all the more surely and indubitably discover the cases of disease in which it is to be employed in similarity (homoeopathically) and therefore curatively; whilst, on the other hand, its energy, be that ever so great, may be easily moderated by appropriate dilution and reduction of dose, so that it shall become only useful and not hurtful if it is found to correspond in the greatest possible similarity to the symptoms of the disease we wish to cure. It is just to the most powerful medicines in the smallest doses that we may look for the greatest curative virtue in the most serious diseases of peculiar character for which this and no other medicine is suitable.
For these unexceptionable reasons I anticipated a great treasure of curative action in the most peculiar diseases from staphisagria; and these reasons of which are recorded in the following symptoms. Thus, curative virtues have been elicited from this medicinal substances which are of infinitely greater value than its power to kill lice (the only medicinal property the ordinary quackish medical art knew it to possess) – curative virtues which the homoeopathic practitioner may make use of with marvellous effect in rare morbid states, for which there is no other remedy but this.
Ten drops of tincture are first intimately mixed by succession with two strokes of the arm with ninety drops of alcohol in order to obtain the first dilution (1/100); of this one drop mixed in the same way with another 100 drops of alcohol gives the 1/10000th dilution; and in this manner through thirty diluting phials in all, the dilution is brought so far that the last phial, which is that destined for medicinal use, contains a decillion-fold dilution (to be marked1/x), of which the smallest portion of a drop (a sugar globule the size is a poppy seed moistened with it) is to be employed as a dose.