The pharmacologic action of aconite indicates that the drug should be of distinct use in the treatment of heart disease. The effect of the active principle of the drug, aconitin, on the mammalian heart was studied by Matthews,1 who described two stages of aconitin poisoning. During the first stage there was slowing of the heart with weakening of systole. The heart-rate was sometimes reduced one-half or onethird of the original rate with a corresponding lowering of the bloodpressure. These effects seemed to be entirely due to central vagus stimulation, as they disappeared after the administration of atropin or after cutting the vagi. During the second stage tachycardia and arhythmia appeared, apparently caused by the action of the drug directly on the heart muscle. Matthews considers that the drug might be employed therapeutically in such doses that the effects of the first stage alone are obtained
ROBINSON GC. AN INVESTIGATION OF THE POTENCY OF TINCTURE OF ACONITE. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1915;XV(5_1):645–653. doi:10.1001/archinte.1915.00070230002001
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