Common name: Thorn-apple, Jamestown-weed, Stink-weed; (G.), Stechapfel; (F.), Pomme e’pineuse.
Datura stramonium, L.
Natural order: Solanaceae.
Preparation: Tincture of herb in flower and fruit.
Emotional. Delirium. Violent delirium. Foolish delirium.
Delirium, furious. Joyful delirium. At times delirium with open eyes. Delirium with sexual excitement. Almost constant delirium. Sudden delirium, with ridiculous gestures. Became quite delirious, recognized no one. Delirium; an unceasing disposition for motion in all the muscles, weeping, screaming, laughter, and rapid incoherent exclamation. Symptoms closely resembling delirium tremens. (Insane delusion that he was killed, roasted, and being eaten). Maniacal delirium supervened, symptoms resembling hydrophobia. The mother and one daughter were raving like maniacs, while the other was rapidly sinking into coma. Delirium with incoherent talking. Grew violently delirious, and died comatose. Maniacal delirium. In a state of delirium, he dances, gesticulates, shouts with laughter, and sings (after three hours). He was delirious, and without memory or recollection. Delirium of fear, as though a dog were attacking him. Delirium; furious mania, requiring several persons to hold her. Violent delirium, which was alternately mirthful, furious or dolorous, directed to some imaginary source of pleasure or repugnance, and accompanied with corresponding gesticulations.
Much excited and rather delirious, under the impression of some immediate danger, clinging to the person who had him in her lap (after one hour). Delirium with uneasy movements of the eyes and hands. Delirious and unintelligible, the patient was busy with a thousand not unpleasant fantasies, made known his wants by gestures, without speaking, ran about for several days, busy with his fantasies, with a joyful mood. A peculiar delirium, a very busy delirium, especially in women, followed by sopor, after waking from which, great weariness, pain in the limbs, and disinclination to think. Merry delirium, spasmodic laughter.
Became delirious during the night, desired to get out of bed, but never uttered a sound. The delirium was of short duration, however, and he soon relapsed into the former insensible state. Noisy delirium, with hallucinations. Delirium for three or four hours before collapse. Greatly excited and delirious. Great excitement. Delirium, restlessness, constant incoherent talking, dancing, and singing. In about an hour she became delirious, commenced tossing about, picking her clothes, and talking incoherently. High delirium, furious, unmanageable, talking in an incoherent manner, and inclining to be abusive in her language; she could not be restrained in one position, but was rolling about the veranda as if she was blind. During the succeeding night an attack of delirium, which caused him to fall out of bed, on his face, as a consequence of this, a very abundant bleeding from the nose. Loss of mind. His mind was unsteady. (* Revised by Hughes. *) Wildness of manners. Symptoms were somewhat of a hysterical character (after a few hours). Violently delirious, resembling in a marked degree, the most excited stage of delirium tremens, struggling to get out of bed, and continually rolling from side to side; she was unable to stand by herself, and, unless supported, fell forward to the ground. When her hands were not restrained, it was observed that she pursued imaginary objects in the air, or picked at the bedclothes, as in the delirium of typhoid fever. The appearance of the patient suggested mania, and I might at once have pronounced it a case of delirium tremens, had I not well known the temperate habits of my patient.
As I sat observing him, he suddenly turned towards the wall, exclaiming, “There are those bugs, help me to catch them !” “What bugs ?” I asked. “There,” he replied, “a long train of bedbugs, and after them a procession of beetles, and here come crawling over me a host of cockroaches.” He shrank back in alarm. The suddenly he turned to me, saying, “I believe I know they are not really bugs; but, except once in awhile, they seems real to me !” This scene was many times repeated. It was in a state of wild delirium. It was with great difficulty that the mother could hold it in her lap. It would forcibly throw out its legs and stiffen them, and at the same time throw them wide apart from each other. The arms were being constantly thrown out, as if trying to reach and get hold of something; and sometimes it seemed as if some object had been secured, and was for a moment fumbled in the fingers. The pupils were dilated and the eyes looked wild. Its cry was a kind of scream; a little froth was in the mouth; the surface of the skin was hot; the restlessness was very great. Began to look stupid, seemed to forget herself, and gave incoherent answers (after one hour); seemed to sit like a perfect idiot, for two and a half hours (after two hours and a half); began to grow worse, biting a man’s hand, sometimes crying out that she saw cats, dogs, and rabbits, at the top, sides, and middle of the room; at other times, with great eagerness, catching at imaginary objects with her hands, and declaring that she saw many people who were not present. She suffered a continuance of these symptoms with little variation, and totally without rest for nine hours, being all this time restrained in bed by force in a raving and maniacal state. In about five minutes he became “wild, and didn’t know any one.” In ten minutes I found him seated in a chair, leaning forward on his knees, staring wildly, countenance bathed in perspiration, pupils largely dilated, talking vaguely, and perfectly unconscious of surrounding objects, pulse 90 and full, hands and arms convulsed, every few moments legs unable to support his body, and dragged after him when we tried to get him to walk. Although he changed postures a little, yet he remained stupid for six or seven hours; the he raged furiously, requiring two persons to hold him in bed; notwithstanding which, he raised himself up, tossed greatly, and seemed to catch at the bystanders with his hands, uttering incoherent sentences; at last he became sensible and more quiet, restless, and delirious by turns. She is all the time inconsolable; much affected by trifles; makes much fuss about trifles; disposed to weep, and sometimes also very easily vexed; now and then neglects her duties; now and then thinks she is not fitted for her position; after t he fall equinox; from the darkness, being alone, and in the morning her state is aggravated; she wants light (sunshine) and company. The child had the look of one suffering from the effects of alcoholic drinks; an excited condition, not a moment quiet, constant motion of the hands and feet, at one time singing, jumping, whistling, with lively grimaces, and a most jovial condition, in which she sang melodies in a perfectly correct manner; at another time she became excited, beat about her, jumped out of bed, reeled whenever she attempted to stand, and when she attempted to sit up fell over to either side; the next moment she had the most vivid hallucinations; talked much in a disconnected manner, it seemed as though her tongue could not follow her chaotic thoughts.
Complete stupefaction and general insensibility to external impressions, only interrupted by a few transient moments of recognition; as a rule, the boy noticed nothing about him, did not recognize his parents and sisters, heard nothing and felt nothing; he seemed to be in a condition of frightful excitement, with constant mental activity, as shown by the expression of the face and gesticulations, appearing to be occupied with the most vivid fancies, especially joyous, and, at times, frightful images; at times, when he was able to talk, his speech consisted of the most foolish and active delirium, with prattling; sometimes he seemed to be frightened, sometimes astonished, sometimes pathetic; but it was very seldom that he uttered intelligible words, and as a rule, there were no words, only a shrill screaming and groaning or loud laughing, with attempts to sing or whistle. She would, while held in her mother’s lap, suddenly start as if in terror with outstretched arms and glaring eyes, and with such an effort that it required much exertion to hold her. This would last but a moment, during which she would cry incoherently; then a calm would come over her, and she would laugh, grasp at imaginary objects, conveying the hand to her mouth as if eating berries, point to something on the floor, etc.
He muttered unintelligible sounds, looked wildly around, and could not be made to do what he was told, though he apparently understood all that was going on. He kept wanting, seemingly, to clutch at some person or persons, whom he imagined were before him; but he could not use his arms, though he tried to do so (after twelve hours). Complete insensibility, broken occasionally by a paroxysm, during which they would utter some indistinct sounds, and throw the hands about the head as if attempting to ward off some threatening evil; this would soon subside into a semicomatose state, not the stupidity, however, which results from Opium or its preparations, but rather a state of intense apathy, which persisted for a few seconds, when the delirium would again recur unless sooner produced by the efforts of those about to render assistance, when the state of excitement assumed such a form and violence as to render necessary a certain amount of restraint to prevent escape from the imaginary object which engaged the attention; occasionally they would grasp at something in the space in front, appear as if they possessed or rejected it, then turn the head as if called by a voice beside them and attempt to speak to it; the sound resembling a squeak more than the natural tone of the voice. Neither of them was able to support himself alone upon his feet, but would take a step or two with staggering gait, falling to the floor as if intoxicated or in a state of complete exhaustion. During the period of excitement the extremities were in constant motion, co- ordinate only so far as they related to the corresponding limb, yet wanting in that harmony of action which is found in those movements of a higher order, as standing in the erect posture, walking, etc.; there was constant action of the fingers as if attempting to pick something from the person or the bedclothes; at times they would burst into paroxysms of excessive laughter, which would persist some seconds, then suddenly cease; at times they would have a smile, so quiet and pleasant, that we could not but contrast it with the highly excited state previously witnessed. Sometimes she would appear for a moment to be relieved from her anxiety, and sit silent, with her eyes fixed on the ground, as if absorbed in contemplation; whilst her hands were employed in picking at the clothes, or anything that happened to be before her, similar to those in the last stage of some fevers.
Then, again, she would start involuntarily, quick as if a shock of electricity had passed through her body, with an air of affright, and a loud shriek; her limbs writhed with convulsive motions, and her countenance and body distorted in every direction; apparently affected with great pain and anxiety. At other times, in her intervals of ease, she would sing, and sometimes laugh, but could not be made to utter a word; neither did she appear to take notice of anything that was said to her.
In short, the functions of her mind appeared to be entirely deranged. These paroxysms occurred at intervals of five or ten minutes, and continued about the same period. She manifested a great aversion to fluids of every kind. When a cup of water was brought to her lips, she would instantly start from it, and sometimes relapse into her paroxysm; so great was her aversion to it, that it was with the utmost difficulty a teaspoonful of any fluid could be forced down her throat. The appearance of the family was extremely ludicrous. The children were laughing, crying, singing, dancing, and playing all imaginable antic pranks. They had no correct estimation of distance, or the size of objects; were reaching their hands to catch hold of objects across the room, and again running against persons and things which they appeared to view as distant. The nail-heads in the floor were pieces of money, which they eagerly tried to pick up.
A boy, apparently fancying himself undressed, caught a hat belonging to a student, thrust his foot into it, pulled with both hands on the brim, and began to fret that he could not “get on his trousers.” The parents frequently called on the children to behave themselves; but their own actions being equally eccentric, they afforded a ridiculous exhibition of family government. They turned natural fools upon it for several days. One would blow up a feather in the air, another would dart straws at it with great fury; another, stark naked, was sitting up in a corner, like a monkey, grinning and making mouths at them; a fourth would fondly kiss and paw his companions, and sneer in their faces, with a countenance more antic than a Dutch doll. In this frantic condition they were confined, lest in their folly they should destroy themselves. In eleven days they recovered, unconscious of anything which had passed. He became delirious, and knew nothing of himself until he was relieved; during this time he performed many queer antics; one time he was off to hitch up his team; again he gathered up sticks and placed them together to build a fire; then he would motion as though he would scrape lice and bugs together, shake them out of hats; pull the paper off the wall to get them out; pick them off himself and tramp them, etc.; see rats running and try to catch them; he was very talkative; did not know even his wife, nor where he was; wanted to go home, etc. (after fifteen to thirty minutes). Screaming, catching at imaginary objects in the air, or rather striking at them, for it was evident that these spectra were of a frightful nature, since at the moment of darting out the hand in the direction where the eyes were fixed, she always suddenly, and with great vehemence, withdrew herself, expressing the utmost terror in her look; at the same time screaming and sobbing violently. Her eyes would, to appearance, follow the imaginary object for a moment or two, before she made the effort to escape from its supposed approach.
She rapidly became furiously delirious, struck at, pushed, or attempted to bite, every person who came near, or any object that was offered to her. In two and a half hours she knew no person, and had been wholly insensible to surrounding objects for above an hour and a half. She remained in this condition for about three hours, when a stage of coma supervened, lasting two hours.
There was a return of the excitement, but not so severe as that which first presented itself; neither was it attended by ocular spectra, or tetanic spasm. The first symptom was a high degree of exhilaration, in which she caused much merriment by her extravagant gestures and speeches. This soon became alarming, and when I was called to see her, she was laughing, crying, and singing, by turns, proceeding from one to the other state with the greatest rapidity. She occasionally started with great force and alarm, crying out that she was going to fall, when she would cling to her mother with as much desperation as if she were about to be thrown from a precipice. She would next become calm, then whistle, and afterwards point with her finger at muscae volitantes, which she followed with the eye and hand, at last clutching at them, with an appearance of disappointment at want of success. The child was to all appearance happy, talking all the incoherent nonsense that can be imagined, laughing, and in constant motion; but labored under so great a debility, that it could not stand or walk without tottering, and several times in attempting it fell down; it was a perfect delirium mite. The unfortunate, after swallowing the powder (of Stramonium), remains for a long time out of his mind, laughing or crying or sleeping, for the most; even speaking to another and answering, so that you might think sometimes that he was in his right mind, although he is not in his senses, not recognizes the one to whom he is speaking, and does not recollect the conversation when he returns to consciousness. After sleeping a few hours he suddenly sprang up with most remarkable jumping about on his hands and feet, and talking animatedly; eight hours after this he became conscious, with trembling of the limbs, which were in constant motion; the face was red and puffy, with violent throbbing in the arteries; the pupils were extremely dilated, respiration short, rapid, abdomen meteoric and painful to pressure, tongue white and dry.
On becoming warm in bed, I felt a host of new sensation creeping over both body and mind. My whole frame was affected with a tremulous vibration, but most sensibly felt through my abdomen, attended with a prickly sensation over the whole body. My mind became extremely timid and restless, which rendered all attempts to compose myself to sleep fruitless. After a teaspoonful of elixir of paregoric, I felt every symptom getting worse; the surface of my body was bathed with a clammy perspiration; whenever I attempted to close my eyes I was assailed by imaginary spectres, in the most hideous forms and menacing attitudes; and what was still to my torment, my bed was suspended and tantalized like a feather between two floors. A clouded state of faculties, horrible obfuscation. A patient twice told me he was quite alarmed at seeing how bewildered and incapable I was; I upset everything I touched; he seemed to me to be talking out of a cloud, or as if he was a figure in a vision and not a reality, and when he ceased talking, I subsided into a sort of bewilderment, from which I could with difficulty rouse myself to attend to his case; my writing was almost an unintelligible scrawl; I lay down again till evening, dizzy and incapable, with dull headache on vertex, but not much pain; I could not realize anything; my wife sitting my by bed seemed like a phantom, and I put out my hand occasionally, to feel if she were a real existence. Before this extreme condition of bewilderment came on, I was excessively forgetful; would begin a sentence with a perfectly clear idea of what I intended to say, but forgot all about it before I had completely expressed myself; also I use d wrong words, and expressed my meaning badly. My speech was thick, as if my tongue were too large for my mouth, though I felt nothing wrong in my tongue, but only a sort of globbering articulation (ninth day). She was first discovered after drinking the tea, wandering in the backyard scrambling along the fence, as if trying to get hold of something indistinctly visible, for being called to account for her strange behavior, she could give no reply, but slave red and muttered as if drunk.
She appeared foolish, had the peculiar facetious leer often observed in drunkenness. If let alone, she continued clawing everything within reach, and seemed inclined to constant motion.
When asked, she said she had eaten Stramonium; this was all she remembered (after half an hour); her mother gave her medicines, but she continued dull and stupid the greater part of the day, till brought to the dispensary; part of the day she was unmanageable and talked wildly, so that her mother had to give her the medicine by force. On admission (after eleven hours), she had a wild appearance, was stupid, and unconscious of her state; when roused, she gave a foolish vacant look around. When pinched or tickled, he became very angry, and muttered incoherently, turning upon his face and kicking backward, with alternate movements of the feet. With horrible cries he strikes at those around him, and is furious. Hydrophobia. (* With other symptoms, restlessness, violent convulsions, the patient being so violent that he had to be tied; he rolled about in his bed, sleepless, and uttered shrill screams; he was delirious, without memory or consciousness; his pupils were extremely dilated; violent desire to bite and to tear everything with his teeth; extreme dryness of the inner mouth and fauces; the sight of a light, a mirror, or water, excited horrible convulsions; irresistible aversion to water, with constriction and conouisions of the throat; froth at the mouth and frequent spitting.- HAHNEMANN. *) Apparent dread or aversion to water or fluids of any kind. Raving, biting. Great desire to bite and to tear everything with his teeth, that comes before his mouth, even his own limbs. Excessive aversion, amounting even to rage, when it was attempted to administer any liquid, appearing like hydrophobia; he even had the spasmodic irritation of the pharyngeal muscles, so that anything taken choked him and was regurgitated. Rage. Rage; unmanageable; grasping with his hands; laughing; rolling and creeping around in bed. (Rage; he wants to kill people). (Rage; he wants to kill himself).
Indomitable rage. After fifteen minutes, giddy; loss of senses; sleepy, finally asleep with more or less open eyes. When disturbed, she jumped up in a rage, and said a few unintelligent words; when others sang she commenced to dance. Her pulse was slow and full; mouth very dry; lasted twenty-four hours, without eating or drinking anything. Periodic raving; he attacked the people in the room with great violence and endeavored to bite them. Raving (after six hours); sometimes reasonable answers.
Raving. She began to cry, when her mother taking her up, she became furious, and began to scratch and bite (after one hours), Easily excited to anger, and is then very vehement and furious (after two months); had been, previous to the poisoning, quite mild and gentle. Raving furiously; screaming, tossing his hands, and striking at whatever approached him. One became furious and ran about like a madman, the other died, with the symptoms of genuine tetanus. Very passionate and great feebleness (second day). The child wanted to bite and strike at those around her.
Great cerebral disturbance, accompanied with starting, muttering, occasional screaming, and catching at imaginary objects; frequent maniacal paroxysms, alternating with moaning, apparently occasioned by the condition of the epigastrium and the abdominal distension. After emetics and purgatives, the stage of excitement passed away and was succeeded by a state of depression and strong comatose tendency. They got wild, ran about the room, jumping, talking nonsense; saw chickens and cats, spoke to them, also to their toys. After the usual treatment, for about twenty minutes, the child went to sleep, and woke in about twenty minutes, and was like a mad child; it would hold out its hands as though it wanted a glass of water, then bring them to its mouth and sup as if it were drinking water or other fluid; it would put its fingers into its mouth and even bite them, and also its mother’s fingers, whenever she put them about its mouth, also screaming incessantly. Their attention could not be aroused to anything which was said, and they resisted all attempts at interference with piteous cries and violent struggling. Child so wild and restless as to be controlled with difficulty, and in raging delirium, biting with fury at those who restrained him.
Very noisy when shaken, and sat up with his eyes open, with a fixed dilated pupil, quite insensible to a lighted candle. He made numerous signs which could not be interpreted by those about him. Some had twitchings, startings, and catching at imaginary objects, and other symptoms of cerebral disturbance. In all the graver cases, the stage of excitement was succeeded by excessive drowsiness and depression of pulse, with much prostration.
Restless, uneasy, tossing, throwing herself suddenly forward; striving to get out of bed; grasping with her hands vaguely, as though under the influence of spectral illusions; picking at the bedclothes. While in bed lying on right side, screamed and said that the bed was being drawn from under her, and that everything was falling on her; kept holding on to the walls; asked her mother not to leave her, as something was going to hurt her; all this lasted from 9.30 P.M. till midnight, when she slept. Since then she has not liked to be left alone in the dark. While sitting on a sofa, fancied she was falling off, kept holding on to everything; at the same time was sick, about 2 P.M. In his conscious moments he asked to be held because he was falling.
There seemed at times to be motions indicating that the patient thought she was falling, and used every exertion to prevent it.
Constant staring about, then a fixed gaze (in one direction) for one or two minutes, with sudden startings (not interrupting the fixed look) of the arms and lower extremities, accompanied with low mutterings, then sudden and furious screaming, biting, scratching, and tearing with the hands, and kicking (after six hours). When allowed to get up she staggered, and appeared quite blind. He hurries off too fast, with all his might, if he wants to go to another place. Great exertion of strength; a strong man could scarcely restrain him. (He jumps out of his bed, at night, and exclaims the disease will break forth from his head).
Constantly springing up in haste, restless, twitching, grasping about with hands and beating the air. He grasps at things quickly and in a hurry and thinks he has seized a thing before touching it, and if he does hold the object, he does not feel that he has hold of it (after four and five hours). He makes all motions hastily, with great force and hurriedly, so that he feels an anxiety if he cannot finish them at once. From the expression of his face and movements, he seemed at times to be chasing or fleeing from imaginary objects. He can nowhere obtain rest, he is terrified by fanciful delusions (even though his eyes are open), they appear to him to grow out of the ground at his side, in the form of large dogs, cats, and other horrible beasts, from which he springs away to one side, with signs of terror, and cannot get rid of them. Continually strange objects intrude upon his fancy, frightening him. (Frightful fancies, he sees ghosts).
(Frightful delirium, as if a dog took hold of her). He sees in general more horrifying images at his side than in front of him, and they all occasion terror (between three and four hours).