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Botanical Name : Veratrum sabadilla
Synonyms: Cevadilla. Schoenocaulon officinale. Melanthium sabadilla. Veratrum officinale. Helonias officinalis. Sabadilla officinarum. Asagraea officinalis. Sabadillermer.
Common name: Cevadilla, sabadillermer, caustic barley, Schoenocaulon officinale, Melanthian sabadilla, Helonias officinalis, Sabadilla officinarum, Asagraea officinalis.
Habitat: Sabadilla is native to Southern North America, Guatemala and Venezuela.
The name Schcenocaulon indicates the habit of the scape, meaning ‘a rush’ and ‘a stem.’ The name Asagrcea commemorates Professor Asa Gray of Harvard University, the most distinguished of living American botanists. It is not quite certain whether the seeds are obtained from the Veratrum Sabadilla, a plant 3 or 4 feet high, or from the V. officinale, differing slightly in appearance and construction. Its leaves are radical, oval-oblong, obtuse, ribbed. Its stem is almost leafless. The panicle is nearly simple. The flowers have short pedicels, and are nodding.
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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. Its fruit and seeds are said to be brought from the Antilles, under the name of cebadilla, (semina sabadilla caribaeae).
Parts used: The seeds. They contain several alkaloids including veratrine, sabadillie, sabadine, sabadinine and cevadine, which hydrolyzes to cevine. They also contain voatric acid, cevadic acid, resin and fat.
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.
Drastic emetic and Cathartic, Vermifuge.
The powdered seeds have been used to expel parasitic worms and to kill and remove parasitic mites or other vermin from the hair. An extract called veratria is derived from the seeds and despite it being highly poisonous, it is occasionally taken internally in minute doses. When taken internally, it can ease acute rheumatic pain and gout and also help some inflammatory diseases. Veratria is more commonly used as an ointment for neuralgia and rheumatism. This drug has a powerful action on the heart causing it to slow and eventually stop beating entirely.
-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.
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