BLUE COHOSH–BLUE GINSENG–SQUAW-ROOT–PAPOOSE-ROOT.
(Caulophyllum–Kavos, kaulos, a stem; phyllan, a leaf, the stem of the plant resembling the stalk of a large leaf, or so called because the leaf stalks appear like a continuation of the stem. The word Cohosh is an Indian name, the meaning of which I have been unable to find. The word Blue refers to the color of the pod. The word Squaw refers to its main sphere of action, while the word Papoose refers to a time when its action is exhibited beneficially.)
While Caulophyllum is a drug that was officinal in the old school pharmacopoeia, it was dismissed from that of 1905 and is but little used by those physicians.
Dr. Burt, of this country, first proved Caulophyllum for us, but it is only a fragment of what we should have in order to properly understand the remedy, it occupying but two pages in Allen’s Encyclop.
One of the authors, Millspaugh, says : “There is hardly an American remedy in our Materia Medica that needs, and probably merits, a more thorough proving, upon females especially, than Caulophyllum; and the sooner it is done, the better able will we be to cope with many of our most obstinate uterine diseases.”.
The most prominent effect of Caulophyllum, as we know it all present, is its power of causing “intermittent contractions of the gravid uterus” (Hale) (155). It is a plant that grows all over this country, and was known to our Indians as “their most valuable parturient; an infusion of the root, drank as tea, for a week or two preceding confinement, rendering delivery rapid and comparatively painless” (Millspaugh).
A great many homoeopaths use Caulophyllum as a remedy previous to confinement (152) on the principle that it prevents too tedious and too painful labors, when not caused by mechanical obstacles. Give it t. i. d. for two or four weeks previous to the expiration of the term.
Hale says, in reference to this : “My experience has been so uniform on this point, that I do not hesitate to assert that it prevents not only a too painful labor, but it prevents those premature labors which are so common among the wealthy women of his age.” It may cause the woman to over-run her time, but other things being equal, this is rather an aid to easy labor than otherwise.
It is to be thought of in threatening miscarriage (13), with spasmodic uterine pains and more or less haemorrhage, and for “habitual abortion from uterine debility, with passive haemorrhage” (Lilienthal).
It is a very useful remedy for the false, annoying pains (153) a few days or weeks before labor sets in. If the patient is already taking Caulophyllum t.i.d., she can be informed that if these false, spasmodic pains appear she is to take the remedy at hourly intervals; it will be of benefit and stop the pains, give the patient something with which to occupy her mind, as well as saving her doctor the making of unnecessary calls.
During labor Caulophyllum is very frequently called for. It is needed when the os is rigid (154) and the labor pains are deficient (153), for while they may be spasmodic and severe, they do not press downward but fly about in all directions and accomplish nothing except that they tire the patient out.
It is of great value when the labor pains are too weak, due to atony or to the exhaustion of the patient (153), when they do not press downward but pass off with a kind of shivering.
It is one of the remedies useful in subinvolution of the uterus (204) after child-birth, with general debility and loss of power in the extremities.
It may prove useful in prolapsus of the uterus (203) due to atony, and in retroversion (203) attended with periodic spasmodic pains.
The leucorrhoea of Caulophyllum is profuse (126) and it may prove useful for the leucorrhoea of “little girls” (Minton) (126).
It is indicated in spasmodic dysmenorrhoea, with hysterical convulsions (139), pains shooting to various parts of the body and with great debility.
The second prominent action of Caulophyllum is on the short muscles and small joints of the extremities, and it is useful in rheumatism of the small joints (161), especially of the hands, with stiffness and cutting pains on closing the hands; it is especially useful in conjunction with uterine or ovarian troubles. It is of value, says Lilienthal, for “arthritis deformans (161) in women.”
I use Caulophyllum in the tincture.