Source and Composition. The root of Bryonia alba and of Bryonia dioica, European perennial vines of the nat. ord. Cucurbitaceae. Its active principle is the bitter glucoside Bryonin. Dose of the root, gr. x-xxx.
Preparations. Only one is official, viz.:—
- Tinctura Bryoniae,—Bryonia-root 1, Alcohol 9. Dose, ♏v-℥ss.
- *Bryonin,—as a drastic purgative, gr. 1/6-1/3. Poisonous in dose of gr. iij-iv.
Physiological Action. Bryonia is violently irritant to the mucous and serous membranes; taken internally it has caused fatal gastritis and enteritis; introduced into the pleura it has produced fatal pleurisy with fibrinous effusion. It is a drastic purgative, a powerful diuretic, and very depressant to the heart. It produces cerebral, hepatic and renal congestion, with bilious symptoms, (even severe jaundice,) and vesical tenesmus.
Therapeutics. Bryonia was formerly used as a hydragogue cathartic, but in that respect it is now superseded by Jalap. By many practitioners it is highly praised in the second stage of serous inflammations, to limit the extent of the effusion and to promote its absorption. For this, small repeated doses are required. In—
- Pleuritis and Pericarditis,—it is useful, (after Aconite has reduced the pyrexia,) to check the effusion and aid its absorption.
- Rheumatism,—for the painful and stiff joints, after their swelling has been reduced by other measures, it is often an efficient remedy.
- Headaches, of "bilious " type, with vomiting,—it is an efficient remedy.
- Dropsies,—an infusion of Bryonia will remove the accumulated fluid, by its cathartic and diuretic action.
- Epilepsy, Mania and Hysteria,—Bryonia is of ancient repute.
A Compend of Materia Medica, Therapeutics, and Prescription Writing, 1902, by Sam'l O. L. Potter, M.D., M.R.C.P.L.