Source and Composition. The root-bark of the indigenous plant Baptisia tinctoria, or Wild Indigo, a member of the nat. ord. Leguminosae. It contains an alkaloid and a resin, neither of which have been examined critically. Baptisin, so-called, is an impure resinoid, obtained by precipitation from the alcoholic extract.
- *Tinctura Baptisiae, Tincture of Baptisia,—Dose, ♏v-xxx.
- *Baptisinum, Baptisin,—the resinoid. Dose, gr. j-v.
Physiological Action. Baptisia, in full doses, is an energetic emeto-cathartic, and may excite severe inflammation of the gastro-enteric mucous membrane. Its taste is acrid and bitter; and in small doses it acts as a cholagogue laxative. Having decided power as a hepatic stimulant, thus promoting the secretion of bile,—and also increasing, as it does, the peristaltic action of the small intestine, and the secretions of the intestinal glands, thereby preventing the reabsorption of bile, through the entero-hepatic circulation, by sweeping it onward,—Baptisia has all the qualities necessary for an efficient cholagogue. It has considerable power as an antiseptic, and also as an alterative vulnerary.
Therapeutics. The use of Baptisia in medicine is based chiefly on its cholagogue and alterative action. It may be employed both locally and internally. In—
- Gangrenous Ulcers and Sores, also in obstinate wounds and ulcers,—it is an excellent application, either in decoction or as a poultice.
- Low Fevers form its chief field as an internal remedy,—especially in the first stage of typhoid, and in those continued fevers of no particular type, but usually considered mild cases of typhoid, or "gastric fever" by the laity. In these affections, drop doses of a fresh tincture hourly, have proven of signal benefit.
- Feverish Colds of aged people, and in incipient febrile conditions, where the tongue is coated, and there is a sensation of sinking at the stomach, with entire anorexia,—Baptisia does good service,—cleaning the tongue and restoring the appetite.
- Hectic Fever of phthisis,—it is reported to be of service in reducing the fever.
- Variola, Epidemic Dysentery, Scarlet Fever, and Typhus,—are diseases in which Baptisia has been employed with benefit.
A Compend of Materia Medica, Therapeutics, and Prescription Writing, 1902, by Sam'l O. L. Potter, M.D., M.R.C.P.L.