Oxytropis Lamberti (Pursh). (including O. Campestris, Hook.) “Loco” Weed. Rattle-weed. *N. O. Leguminosae. Tincture of fresh plant (without root.).
Amblyopia. Bladder, irritability of. Cough. Fever. Impotence. Locomotor ataxy. Ovary, pain in. Paralysis. Rheumatism. Spermatic cord, pain in. Sphincters, relaxation of. Testicles, pain in. Vertigo.
The “Loco-weed” or “Crazy-weed” (“loco” is of Spanish origin, and means “crazy’) has been variously identified by Gray as *Astragalus legum, by others as *Astragalus mollissimus, and by ***W.S. Gee, who made the proving, as *Oxytropis Lamberti (*M.A., xvii. 441). Probably the writer of the botanical articles in the *Century Dictionary is nearest the mark in saying that Loco-weed is “any one of several Leguminous plants producing the loco- disease in animals. Among them are *Astragalus mollissimus and *A. *Hornii, with several other species of the genus, and *Oxytropis Lamberti.” Henfry’s Botany remarks that the foliage of “*O. *Lamberti is said to be injurious to cattle,” so Dr. Gee was quite justified in taking this plant for the proving. (The Astragali are very closely related to the Oxytropis. *A. *gummifera is the source of *Gum tragacanth. A few observations with *A. *Menziesii will be found in Vol. I. of this work.) Gee’s specimens were obtained by Dr. Hawkes, of Chicago, and a tincture was made from these by Boericke & Tafel. Gee quotes from Coulter’s *Manual of the Botany of the Rocky Mountain Region a description of *Oxytropis Lamberti. ***W.D. Gentry in June, 1895, sent Boericke & Tafel specimens of loco-weed, and as this firm are extremely careful about the botany of the plants they make their tinctures from, I conclude these plants must have been *Oxyt. *Lamberti or they would have mentioned the fact. Gentry makes these remarks concerning the plants he sent (*H. R., x. 364): “My attention was first called to this plant last winter during January, soon after my arrival on the territory, as it was almost the only green thing showing itself above the snow, which covered the ground at that time for two or three days. Some cattle had been eating the weed, and as I approached them they tried to move away, but in spite of their efforts they backed towards me, and in their efforts to escape made some ludicrous manoeuvres. I observed them closely for more than an hour, and was reminded most forcibly by their actions of the symptoms of locomotor ataxy.” Gentry made provings of the O tincture of the whole plant and seeds on three persons. He gives the “leading symptoms” which will be found with his authority (Gent.) appended to each in the Schema. Gentry’s observation of loco-disease in *winter bears out what is said by other writers, namely, that it is only in winter, when food is scanty, that animals can be induced to commence eating the weed, and then they cannot leave off. An account of loco-disease appeared in *Brit. *Medorrhinum *Jour. of March, 23, 1889 (*H.W., xxiv. 177), which contains some
observations bearing on the *season at which the disease occurs, and at which the plant is poisonous. I quote from the article: “The animals affected loses flesh, has a feeble, staggering, uncertain gait, a rough coat, and general appearance which is said to be characteristic, it loses all sense of distance or direction, and is liable to fits of rearing, plunging, and wild excitement, pregnant animals drop their offspring prematurely.” The account goes on to say that the plant is generally identified as *Astragalus mollissimus. ***H. C. Wood and Mr. Kennedy, of Texas, failed to produce poisoning in animals experimented on. Later, Dr. Mary Gage Day made experiments with a decoction of roots, leaves, and stems *gathered in September. She is convinced from experiments made with materials gathered in different months that the greatest amount of poison is present in autumn and winter after the seeds have ripened _ the seasons at which the disease is most rife. The account does not give the botany of the plants she used, but cats, kittens, and a jack-rabbit were decidedly “locoed,” and died, the jack-rabbit in ten days after commencing to eat the plant, fore which he speedily acquired a liking. In Gee’s proving the O tincture and potencies from I x to 30X were used. A number of mind and brain symptoms were produced, despondency, forgetfulness, a feeling as if consciousness would be lost, fullness in the head and instability standing. Two provers had “symptoms worse when thinking of them.” Gentry’s provers had “pleasant, intoxicated feelings.” Both Gentry’s and Gee’s provers had well-marked pains in the eyes and disturbance of vision, and Gentry’s had “numb, pithy, or woody feeling about and on the spine,” and “loss of power to control movements of limbs.” In Gee’s provings there were pains both in testes and ovaries, and one male prover, naturally passionate, became impotent. The symptoms are worse on thinking of them (urging to urinate if he thinks of it), better on side lain on, worse immediately after eating, better an hour after. Sick, exhausted feeling at 10 a.m., chill 11. 40 a.m. Pain (also bladder irritation) better when moving about, better in cool air. Any little exercise causes dry cough. better After stool. better After sleep. Pains go from right to left Dyspnoea with chill.