Usually "one swallow does not make a summer" but a correct observation may be made of some unknown remedy, which will determine its being placed correctly in therapeutics if followed by further observations. The following unusual remedies have been suggested from time to time in the lines specified, but the observations have not been confirmed. Further experiments in these may yet prove some of these to be valuable remedies.
Cynara scolymus is the garden artichoke; the leaves should be prepared as a tincture in gin. This has been used in domestic practice in some localities as a remedy for general dropsy. It has produced good results in ascites. A wine glass full of this tincture is given three or four times a day.
Phyllocactus latifolius, commonly known as the queen cactus, has been used in heart troubles. A tincture made from the flowers has been advised as an excellent nerve tonic, supplying nutrition to the brain, cord, and to the heart, much like cactus grandiflorus, but claimed to be more potent. It has sustained the vital organs through periods of great depression.
Symphoricarpus racemosus, commonly known as snowberry, was at one time reported as producing excellent results in the vomiting of pregnancy, or in reflex gastric derangements from ovarian or uterine irritation. In a series of many cases of nausea or stomach derangement caused by irritation of these organs it produced excellent results.
Black noble palm, a tree of Central Africa was reported by a returned German doctor who visited that country to yield a remedy which would cure all forms of poisonous bites of snakes, venomous animals and insects. It was used by natives of certain localities freely, they allowing themselves to be bitten or poisoned with impunity.
Jatropha stimulosa, commonly known as bull nettle, a plant which grows freely in the South, was recommended twenty years ago by Dr. Pugh, and more recently by Dr. Burgess, as a stimulating alterative, specifically applicable to the treatment of syphilis. Quite enough patients have now been treated with this remedy to confirm the statements made of it by early investigators. It should be prepared for general use.
Cladonia pixidata, a species of the lichen islandicus, was recommended at one time for the treatment of whooping cough, as a paroxysmal disorder, and in convulsive nervous disorders, including hysteria. It was claimed to allay other bronchial troubles, and spasmodic bowel disorders, soothing excited peristaltic action. It was also used in agues and in other forms of infectious fevers.
Cradina was the name given to a digestive ferment which was obtained from the juice of the common fig tree. The substance was dissolved in either an alkaline or acid liquid. The solution proved to be quite a potent digestive. It dissolved fibrin and albumin in a complete and perfect manner. It deserves further investigation.
Coronilla varia, prepared from the juice of a plant of southern Europe, was reported by Poulet to act positively as a heart sedative, especially when the irritation was due to a neurosis. Those forms of excitable heart action caused by tobacco, dissipation, and sexual excesses were found to be directly influenced by this remedy.
Blatta orientalis, should hardly be classed with those above named, as it is better known. The homeopathists give the remedy in asthma not only during a severe attack but for the terminal asthmatic cough, wheezing, and dyspnea which follows these attacks. They give it in the high potencies.
Celery was recommended in an Australian paper as a preventive of rheumatism. The writer claimed if this agent was cooked and eaten freely with a little milk, the excess of acids in the system would be neutralized and rheumatism would be impossible.
Yerba del pasmo. (generally a Baccharis sp—MM) This remedy is mentioned by Webster as valuable in the treatment of chorea, eclampsia, tetanus, and other spasmodic affections. It has been used in effusion and has produced excellent results in many cases. It certainly deserves careful testing and more complete observation.
Pambotano (Calliandra spp.—MM) is recommended among the Mexican doctors as an excellent substitute for quinin. In malarial conditions it improves the appetite, restores a normal condition of the intestines, and cures some forms of chronic malaria. We have mentioned it before in these pages.
Tacopatle—aristolochia mexicana.grows in the hot lowlands of southern Mexico. It has a direct influence upon the post nasal mucous membrane. Its specific influence is yet to be determined, but if it can be depended upon it will occupy an important place.
Carduus marianus (Silybum) is not a new remedy. Rademacher advised it in hemorrhages due to disorders of the liver or spleen. Wherever there is congestion of these organs or of the kidneys, it has been used. It deserves thorough trial. In certain conditions it acts with much promptness. It relieves pain in the spleen when there is no enlargement. It has recently been advised in other conditions.
Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.