As regards physiological action, these two alkaloids show a qualitative agreement with aconitine, japaconitine, and pseudoaconitine.
Bikhaconitine has a more powerful toxic action on cats and rabbits than indaconitine; of the alkaloids so far examined, aconitine and indaconitine are about equally poisonous, japaconitine is rather more active than these, but not quite so toxic as bikhaconitine, whilst pseudoaconitine is the most active of the series. Bikhaconitine and indaconitine are equally toxic towards frogs. The greater toxic action of bikhaconitine towards warm-blooded animals is due to its more powerful depressing effect on the respiration; the respiratory activity of frogs is also diminished to a greater extent by the former alkaloid. The relative activity of the two alkaloids in abolishing the power possessed by nerve-muscle preparations of responding to stimuli, was investigated by immersing the tissues in dilute solutions of the hydrobromides, and it was found that in this respect indaconitine is slightly more active than bikhaconitine.
The pseudoaconines obtained from the two alkaloids appear to be identical in physiological action, and behave in all respects like the aconine and aconitine.
(J. Theodore Cash and Wydnham R. Dunstan, Proceedings Roy. Soc., 1905). J. Ch. S., Vol X C, pt . II., p. 41.
26. Actœa spicata. Linn. h. f. br. i., I. 29.
Habitat:—Temperate Himalaya 6,000—10,000 ft. Simla, in Narkunda forest; from Bhutan to Hazara. Shady ravines of Jaunsar and Tehri-Garhwal.
Part used:—The root.
A perennial, more or less pubescent herb, Stems 2-3 ft., erect, usually branched. Leaves 6-12 in., alternate pinnately compound, the pinnules often with 3 leaflets; leaflets ovate-lanceolate, pointed, often lobed, deeply and sharply toothed. Flowers regular, scarcely 1 in. diam., white, crowded in short terminal racemes lengthening in fruit. Sepals 4, petal-like,