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Erowid References Database

Briggs JR. 
“'Muscale Buttons' Physiological Effects Personal Experience”. 
The Medical Bulletin. 1887;9:p144-145.
Abstract
'From Notes.—At 10 a.m., June 20, 1886, I ate one-third of one of those “buttons,” or prickly plants,'--he's referring to Lopophora willemsii--'and with pencil and paper and watch before me, awaited results. In fifteen minutes afterward I felt a slight fulness in my carotids, and found my pulse had gone from 60 normal to 70. In fifteen minutes more the feeling in my head and throat was becoming very unpleasant—one of over- arterial tension—and my pulse had reached 90. My respirations had gone up to this time from 18 normal to 26. The unpleasant fulness of my head rapidly increased until 10:45, when my head began to ache and I felt dizzy. My pulse had then reached 120 and respirations 30. Soon after the forty-five minutes had passed a sudden and alarming jump in my pulse occurred—reaching 160. The peculiar and dazed feelings I then experienced, together with alarm, prevented my taking notes on respirations, and therefore don’t know the number, but they had certainly still further increased. It seemed to me my heart was simply running away with itself, and it was with considerable difficulty I could breathe air enough to keep me alive. I felt intoxicated, and for a short time particularly lost consciousness. Automatically I rushed to my able friend, Dr. E. J. Beall, of Fort Worth—my residence at the time. After giving him an idea, as best I could, of the trouble, he prescribed aro. spts. ammonia and whiskey, in large doses, every few minutes. This I took, if I remember right, one hour after having taken the “muscale button.” It seemed necessary for me to walk in the open air for me to breathe. In about half an hour I felt some relief, and my pulse and respirations gradually became less until in about six or eight hours they were about normal. No bad consequences followed. I did, however, feel much depressed for about twelve hours—a feeling of malaise. The recollection of such experience is vividly impressed upon my mind. I believe if prompt aid had not been given me I should have died. . . . Whatever may be the ultimate constituents of this poison, it certainly is the most violent and rapid of all fruits, or even medicines, known to me—manifesting its first effects in less than fifteen minutes. I know of nothing like it except opium and cocaine. The most notable point is the rapidity with which it increases the heart’s action. Next, the intoxication and subsequent depression. I think it well worth the trouble to investigate the matter. One man’s experience is worth but little, and it is to be hoped some enterprising experimenter will carry out the research. As to myself, I must admit I feel somewhat abstemious on the subject.' --John Raleigh Briggs, 1887
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