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The substances that deaden the effects of the poisons of this class are vegetable acids, which should be thrown into the stomach in large quantities. After the operation of emetics, cream of tartar is also considered of great use, as also oxymuriatic acid, infusions of nut-gall, oak bark; warm spices are considered also of use, for they may separate some part of the deleterious matter, as is shown by their effect when mixed with decoction of these plants; acerb and astringent wines are also of great use.
632. Aethusa Cynapium. Fool’s parsley.—Fool’s Parsley seems generally allowed to be a plant which possesses poisonous qualities. Baron Haller has taken a great deal of pains to collect what has been said concerning it, and quotes many authorities to show that this plant has been productive of the most violent symptoms; such as anxiety, hiccough, and a delirium even for the space of three months, stupor, vomiting, convulsions, and death.
Where much parsley is used, the mistress of the house therefore would do well to examine the herbs previous to their being made use of; but the best precaution will be, always to sow that variety called Curled parsley, which cannot be mistaken for this or any other plant. We might also observe, that the scent is strong and disagreeable in the aethusa: but this property, either in the plant or the poison, is not at all times to be trusted in cases of this nature.
Parsley. The lobes of the leaves are larger in this plant, and are not quite so deep a green. The leaves of fool’s parsley are also finer cleft, and appear to end more in a short point.
Celery, being much larger, cannot easily be confounded with it.
Chervil. Fool’s parsley, when young, differs from this plant but very little, being much the same in size, and the laciniae of the leaves of a similar form. Chervil, however, is much lighter in colour, and the flavour more pleasant, both to the taste and smell.
Hemlock is commonly a larger plant; and, exclusive of the generic distinctions, may be generally known by its spotted stalk.
When fool’s parsley is in bloom, it is readily known by the length of the involucrum.
633. Atropa Belladonna. Deadly nightshade.—Some boys and girls perceiving in a garden at Edinburgh the beautiful berries of the deadly nightshade, and unacquainted with their poisonous quality, ate several. In a short time dangerous symptoms appeared; a swelling of the abdomen took place; they became convulsed. The next morning one of them died, and another in the evening of the same day, although all possible care was taken of them.