ACT. RAC. Cimicifuga Racemosa. Black Snake-root.
RATIONALE OF ITS ACTION
Dr. Mears, who tried it upon himself, reports a decided impression on the brain, evinced by a distressing pain in the head, and giddiness; it also increased the force and fullness of the pulse, and produced a flushed condition of the face, followed by uneasiness in the stomach, and violent efforts to vomit.
Dr. Garden had previously mentioned this tendency to affect the brain, which he compared to that of Digitalis; he also thinks that it acts powerfully upon the secreting organs and absorbents, and, in large doses, causes nausea, vertigo, anxiety, great restlessness, and pain in the extremities.- J.C.P.
Chapman says, if given so as sensibly to affect the system, it causes first: some nausea, greater freedom of expectoration, more or less relaxation of the skin, with slight nervous tremors and some vertigo the pulse is apt to be considerably lowered, and to remain so for some time. It has also been supposed to act specifically upon the uterus.
Dr. Hildreth, of Ohio, has found it, in large doses, to cause some vertigo, impaired vision, nausea and vomiting and a reduction of the force of the circulation.- J.C.P.
Dr. N. J. Davis, of New-York, has uniformly found it to lessen the force and frequency of the pulse, to soothe pain, and allay irritability.
From experiments conducted by our friend Dr. Henry D. Paine, of Albany, we find among the most prominent symptoms: Restlessness early in the morning, containing for a week. Disposition to perspire at night, containing for three weeks; these perspirations were irregular, usually occurring three or four times a week, about three, A.M., commencing while asleep, and disappearing a few minutes after waking; never profuse. During the first week, the surface was cold with the perspiration, but, during the last ten days, the perspiration was attended by heat rather than coldness. Pain in the eye-balls was one of the most constant symptoms: it was an aching pain, situated in the centre of both eye-balls, rarely in one alone; it continued about three weeks after leaving off the drug. Another well-marked effect was anorexia, lasting for two weeks; a sensation of faintness in the epigastrium was also an important symptom, usually experienced in the morning, before eating; it did not entirely prevent eating, which was followed by a sense of repletion, as if too much food had been taken. The bowels regular at first, were followed by alternate constipation and tendency to diarrhoea. Symptoms of catarrhal fever were supposed to be among the most common effects of the remedy viz., pain in the head, coryza, sore throat, dry, short, and hacking cough, continuing night and day, for two weeks.- J.C.P.
Wood and Bache think that it stimulates the secretions of the skin, kidneys, and pulmonary mucous membrane. From Dr. Paine’s experiments, it would seem to cause perspiration and eruptions upon the skin; also frequent urination, and increased flow of pale urine; finally, it excites secretion from the nasal and bronchial mucous membranes. It is supposed, by some eminent physicians, to be a good substitute for Ergot in parturition, although it acts in quite a different way viz., by relaxing the parts, thereby rendering labor short and easy. Its action in rheumatism is said closely to resemble that of Colchicum.- J.C.P.
NERVOUS SYSTEM It undoubtedly exercises considerable influence over the nervous system, probably of a sedative character; but this power is shown rather in morbid states of the system than in health. Very large quantities cause no alarming effects. It is said to soothe pain and allay irritability.- J.C.P.
1. Nerves of Sensation- Its effects upon these nerves seem to be secondary to its action on the vascular system.
2. Nerves of Motion- It appears to exert a peculiar and specific action upon some of the disease of the nerves of motion, especially when a rheumatic irritation falls upon the motor nerves and the muscles, and causes St. Vitus’ dance.
Dr. Davis says we cannot doubt its efficacy in chorea, in all cases arising from undue irritability or mobility of the nervous system, especially when induced by exposure to cold; in short, when chorea arises from a rheumatic irritation of the motor nerves and muscles, or of the anterior column of the spinal marrow.- J.C.P.
Drs. Garden and Chapman say that, in large doses, it causes anxiety, great restlessness, slight nervous tremors, and pains in the extremities. As it requires large quantities to produce these effects, it may be possible that large doses only are homoeopathic to chorea.
VASCULAR SYSTEM Dr. Davis has never known it to produce a perceptible increase of any of the secretions; nor thinks it has the slightest stimulating powers. He had uniformly found it to lessen the force and frequently of the pulse, to soothe pain, and allay irritability. In a word, he regards it as one of the most purely sedative agents we possess, and asserts it causes a depression of the pulse, which remains for a considerable time. In acute rheumatism, the only visible effects of the Actea are: Diminution of the force and frequency of the pulse; disappearance of the arthritic pains and inflammation, with occasional vertigo, or disposition to fall on attempting to assume the erect attitude. Hence it seems to exert a decidedly depressing and sedative effect upon the vascular system.- J.C.P.
It has proved curative in dyspepsia of several months’ standing, with severe pain in the forehead, over the right eye, and extending to the temple and vertex, with fullness, heat, and throbbing; and, when going up-stairs, a sensation as if the top of the head would fly off; coldness and chills, particularly of the arms and feet; faintness in the epigastrium; pain and regurgitation of food after eating. Also to various neuralgic pains incident to the critical period of life, and severe pains in the head, particularly in the forehead and eye-balls. Also to dull pain in the head, fullness in the forehead and eyes, pain in the eye-balls, increased secretion of tears; fluent watery coryza, frequent sneezing; soreness in the throat, causing difficulty in swallowing; cough, particularly at night, caused by tickling in the throat. PAINE. Dr. Davis says it will relieve many cases of severe headache, from simple irritation of the brain, in delicate females. It has cured ophthalmia, with pain in the eye-balls, a sensation as if they were enlarged, most severe in the morning; prickling in the inner canthus, aggravated by reading; inflammation of the eye-lids; slight secretion of mucus only in the morning; sore throat; headache caused by reading. It seems homoeopathic to rheumatic and catarrhal ophthalmia; it may prove useful in sclerotitis and iritis. Some authors assert that they have never known it to produce a perceptible increase of any of the secretions; others say that it operates powerfully upon the secreting organs and absorbents, and that it is expectorant and diaphoretic. It certainly seems homoeopathic to catarrhal affections. It has cured chorea, when attended with almost complete loss of the power of swallowing. In the sore throat and cynanche-maligna, a decoction of the root is recommended by Dr. Barton. It is an excellent remedy against dryness of the throat, or a dry spot in the throat, causing cough; also in dry coughs proceeding from irritation and tickling at the lower part of the larynx. It is peculiarly homoeopathic to a faint and sinking feeling at the pit of the stomach. It has been supposed, by some eminent physicians, to be a good substitute for Ergot in parturition: being dissimilar, however, in its mode of action, relaxing the parts, and thereby rendering labor short and easy. Hence it is useful where there is great rigidity of the soft parts, such as occurs in females who have their first children late; or in those who are remarkably firm and muscular, or in whom the os-uteri dilates slowly, from great muscular resistance and rigidity. In cases of parturition where the vagina is dry, and the os is rigid, this remedy will do good service. It facilitates labor, by rousing into increased action the mucous membrane, and thus supplying the parts with a lubrication. In domestic practice, it is occasionally employed to produce abortions, and in a few instances with success. In these cases a decoction of the root is used. Chas. Sumner, M.D., while attempting to obtain provings of Actea-racemosa, did not observe any decided symptoms from the medicine, yet was relieved of a very troublesome hacking cough, of some months standing. Dr. Garden thought highly of it in consumption. In some parts of the country it has become a very popular remedy for coughs. Dr. Wheeler has found it useful in several cases of severe and protracted cough, especially in the chronic cough or bronchitis of old people. Dr. Hildreth advises it in acute phthisis or galloping consumption; he had often seen the most prompt relief from the decoction alone against the febrile excitement or hectic paroxysms; also in allying the cough, reducing the rapidity and force of the pulse, and promoting gentle perspirations; he has often seen the same happy influence exerted against those intercurrent congestions and inflammations so frequent in the second and third stages of consumption, especially when caused by taking cold. Actea is a useful remedy in rheumatic inflammations of the lungs, and especially in that form of consumption which arises without any especial hereditary tendency, from carelessness and exposure to cold and wet. Dr. Garden used it successfully for twenty years. He says, shortly after commencing its use, the hectic paroxysms are entirely checked, the night- sweats begin to diminish, the purulent expectoration is speedily improved, the cough becomes less troublesome and frequent, the pulse falls from 120 to 130 to the natural standard, the pain in the breast and sides abate, strength and appetite improves. It is supposed to possess the peculiar power, in an eminent degree, of lessening arterial action, and, at the same time, imparting tone and energy to the system. The efficacy of Actea in chorea has already been dwelt upon. The evidence of a favorable influence over rheumatism, is of a decided character. Very many cases, including the severest forms of acute inflammatory rheumatism, have been treated with results satisfactory in the highest degree; every vestige of the disease disappearing in from two to eight or ten days, without inducing any sensible evacuations, or leaving behind a single bad symptom. It is particularly useful in the early and severe stages of acute rheumatism. It is comparatively of little use in sub-acute and chronic rheumatism; the more acute the disease, the more prompt and decided will be the action of the remedy. In large doses, it causes vertigo, dimness of vision, and a depression of the pulse, which remains for some time. It seems somewhat homoeopathic to rheumatism, or at least to rheumatic pains, us it caused in one case, that of Dr. Jesse Young, an uneasy feeling, almost amounting to an ache, through all the limbs, occurring after each dose, and lasting for three or four hours; while Dr. Garden says it causes great restlessness and pains in the limbs. Still it requires large doses to cause these effects. A strong decoction is said to be an effectual remedy for scabies. J.C.P.
MIND AND SENSORIUM.
Vertigo, impaired vision, dizziness, dullness in the head. Vertigo, fullness, and dull aching in the vertex. Vertigo, anxiety, and great restlessness.
Acute pain generally through the head during the day; at times more severe on the left side. Remittent headache, of long standing, more or less severe every day, but increased every second day. Dullness of the head, and pain in the forehead and occiput. Dull boring pain in the forehead, over the left superciliary ridge continuing for two hours. Pain form the eyes to the top of the head which seemed as if the nerves were excited to too much action, laying three hours. Pain in the forehead; dryness of the pharynx aching in the eyes, apparently between the eye-ball and orbital plain of the frontal bone. The pain in the head is always relieved by the open air. Dr. Mears reports a decided impression on the brain evinced by a distressing pain in the head, and giddiness, with increased force and fullness of the pulse, and flushed face. Dr. Garden had previously mentioned the tendency top affect the brain, somewhat like Digitalis. J.C.P.
Aching of the eyes. Aching pain in both eye-balls, rarely in one alone, continuing for three weeks after discontinuing the drug. Pain in the eye-balls; increased secretion of tears; constant dull aching pain in the right eye-ball and across the forehead, accompanied with nausea. Stinging in the eye-lids; dullness and heaviness of the head and eyes, as if produced by cold.
Frequent sneezing and fluent coryza during the day. Copious coryza. Fluent coryza, aching and soreness in the nose during the day. Fluent watery coryza; frequent sneezing; soreness in the throat, causing difficulty in swallowing. Very profuse greenish and slightly sanguineous coryza after rising; fullness of the pharynx, and constant inclination to swallow; dullness of the head, and pain in the forehead and occiput.
Offensive breath. Dryness and soreness of the lips. Unpleasant taste in the mouth; accumulation of thick mucus upon the teeth.
Dryness of the pharynx, and inclination to swallow. Fullness of the pharynx, and constant inclination to swallow. Soreness of the throat when swallowing; sensation of fullness and stiffness of the neck. Sensation of rawness in the throat; hoarseness, which increased towards night; constant unpleasant fullness in the pharynx. Palate and uvula red and inflamed.
APPETITE AND STOMACH
Eructations and slight nausea. Pain and regurgitation of food after eating. Loss of appetite. Repugnance to food. Nausea and vomiting. Sense of internal tremor in the stomach after breakfast. Faintness in the epigastrium, with repugnance to food. It requires large doses to produce nausea, and then almost only when taken on an empty stomach.
Flatulence, causing a sensation of fullness in the abdomen. Rumbling of flatus below the umbilicus. Fullness and pressure in the lower part of the abdomen.
Disposition to diarrhoea.
Increased flow of urine.
Hoarseness. Unpleasant fullness in the pharynx. Constant inclination to cough, caused by a tickling sensation in the larynx, which almost prevents speaking. Short dry cough in the evening, and at night; fluent coryza.
The pain in the head continuing for ten days, followed by coryza, with sore throat, and gradual extension of the disease to the bronchial mucous membrane; dry, short, and hacking cough, night and day, continuing two weeks, which was uncommon; the prover not having had a catarrh or cold for several years. Acute pain in the right lung, extending from apex to base, aggravated by inspiration. Lancinating pain along the cartilages of the false ribs, increased by inspiration. Soreness of the chest. Cold chills and prickling sensation, during the day, in the (female)mammae. Prickling sensation in the breasts.
SUPERIOR AND INFERIOR EXTREMITIES.
Dull pain in the right arm, deep in the muscles, from the shoulder to the wrist. Dr. Garden experienced pains in both the upper and lower extremities, from the use of large doses.
Stiffness of the neck. Drawing pain in the lumbar region. Pulsating pains in the region of the kidneys.
Eruption of white pustules, and large red papulae on the face and neck.
Occasional cold chill. (See Vascular System).
Very restless at night.