The genus Droseraceae are known mainly by their leaves being clothed with gland-bearing hairs which exude drops of a clear gelatinous fluid that glitters in the sun, hence its name Drosera (drosos, dew, juice) or in English, sundew. These glandular hairs hold the small insects that touch them and exude a fluid, under the operation of which the insects are dissolved or digested. One species of this family, the North Carolina fly-trap, is supposed to be a carnivorous plant. As regards the sundew, we only know that the plants allowed insects as “food” appear to flourish better and ripen more seeds than those deprived of that nourishment.
Drosera, which is used only by our school, was known as early as the sixteenth century, when it was supposed to be curative in consumption; but, like many another good thing that is used empirically, it fell into disrepute and we find it stated that those who use it die sooner than those who abstain form it (from Millspaugh).
Hahnemann, who first proved Drosera, after speaking of its use by the older physicians, says: “The moderns who, guided by tradition, had no knowledge of any other than large doses, knew not how to employ this uncommonly heroic plant without endangering the life of their patients, hence they rejected it altogether” (Mat. Medorrhinum Pura). He also says that he first employed it in the 9th dilution,”but latterly in still higher potency, and at last in the 30th dilution.”.
The greatest interest in Drosera centers about the action of the remedy on the respiratory apparatus, and especially its spasmodic cough, which closely resembles whooping cough.
The especial features of the cough are, the spasms or paroxysms of cough, with catching of the breath and inability to expire (25). The paroxysms recur at irregular intervals, but are worse at night on first lying down and after midnight (40); they end with choking, vomiting and cold sweat (185) and are associated with pain in the hypogastrium, or convulsions of the muscles of the chest or abdomen, so that he must sit up and hole his sides with his hands (49).
The cough is often provoked by tickling in the larynx as from a feather (43) or from a collection of mucus that must be expectorated, or it may seem as if the cough started from the abdomen (44). Sometimes we find after coughing a sensation as if some of the mucus remained, or as if the chest were oppressed, with catching inspiration and inability to expire (25), with aggravation from attempting to speak or cough.
Drosera is of great value in bronchitis and whooping cough (48), with a good deal of mucus and the two periods of especial aggravation, on first lying down and after midnight (40).
In whooping cough Hahnemann, after calling our attention to the other symptoms of the remedy, lays especial emphasis on the fact that “the impulses,” of cough,”follow one another so violently that he can hardly get his breath” (Mat. Medorrhinum Pura). It is frequently called for in the bronchitis of old people (147) and in phthisis, with profuse expectoration and necessity to hold the chest or abdomen with the hand.
Drosera often affords great relief in laryngeal phthisis (191) with great hoarseness, secretion of tough mucus, sore, bruised feeling in the chest, paroxysmal cough, and breaking into sweat when coughing (185).
I use Drosera 3d.