That "Crow" Cough
M. F. BETTENCOURT, M. D.
There is one quite common condition in which I desire to emphasize the combined action of bryonia and sanguinaria. For the permanent relief of that one condition, which is usually difficult to cure readily, the combination brings about results with the utmost certainty.
The typical case presents a short, dry, hacking cough, almost invariably worse at night after getting warm in bed and accompanied by a peculiar tickling sensation in the laryngeal region. The cough reminds one of the call of the crow. "Hack-hack-hack" it goes, then ceases for a minute or two only to go "hack-hack-hack!" again and thus repeat itself for hours at a time in spite of the patient's restraining efforts. Each paroxysm in coughing, like the crow's call, seldom consists of more than three "hacks" in succession.
Imagine a crow overhead uttering his call as he goes through the air—saying, "Hack-hack hack!" at regular intervals, "Hack-hack-hack!" as he goes on his way and the impression given will be a close imitation of this cough, common in the summer and about as much so in the winter. It is very harrassing to the patient and very annoying to those about him who are endeavoring to sleep. The cough syrups which flood the market have no beneficial effect upon it but it is invariably relieved by a few doses of the bryonia-sanguinaria medicament and a cure rapidly follows.
After all it is but specific medication—the dry, harrassing cough calling for bryonia and the laryngeal tickling for sanguinaria. Close experimentation proves, however, that the two combined yield results that either one singly fails to accomplish. The dose must be small—for an adult, not more than five to ten drops of each to the four ounces of water and of this a teaspoonful hourly.
If a preservative is added, let it be glycerin and of this but a small quantity that it may not increase the tickling by its depletive action upon the affected parts. In this condition, chloroform water as a vehicle is not satisfactory. Rarely there might be occasion to use aconite or ipecac with the combination, but better try the two alone than a general mixture of which they form a part.
Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.