Synonym – Hydrastis Canadensis. Natural order – Ranunculaceae. Common names – Golden Seal. Orange Root. Yellow Root. Habitat – A small herbaceous, perennial plant, growing in rich woods, especially in the northern and western portions of the United States. Preparation – Tincture from the fresh root.
The chief action of Hydrastis is upon mucous membranes, more especially those of the outlets of the body, as the eyes, nose, mouth, throat, rectum, vagina, uterine cervix and urinary organs. The natural secretion is at first increased; then it becomes abnormal in quantity and quality. At first clear, white, tenacious and transparent, it becomes yellow, thick green and even bloody, capable of being drawn out in long strings (Kali bichromicum). This primary mucous flux may pass on to erosion, muco purulent discharge and ulceration. It probably causes this condition by inducing a primary capillary hyperaemia; next a passive stasis, together with a stimulation of the mucous glands. Finally, from exhaustion or atrophy, the sources of the secretion are cut off, and the mucous membrane become dry, glazed, ulcerated and its functions destroyed. (E. M. Hale.) In the treatment of such catarrhal conditions and their consequences, Hydrastis has proved of great service, chiefly as a topical application, though it may also be used internally, but with less prompt results. Hydrastis also acts upon the glandular system and upon the skin in a much similar manner, first inducing increased hyperaemia and augmented activity, followed by torpor and depression, with the usual symptoms of a retrograde metamorphosis, the whole condition being analogous to the catarrhal process, and involving the same pathological features. It thus becomes homoeopathic to erythema, moist eruptions, eczema and ulcerations on the one hand, and on the other to atony and debility, either of local organs or of the general system, the liver and digestive tract being most involved, causing hepatitis, jaundice, catarrhal dyspepsia and constipation.
Head Dull, heavy, frontal headache; catarrhal (Euphr., Pulsatilla, Sanguinaria). Dull frontal headache, with dull pain in hypogastrium and small of back.
Eyes. Ophthalmia; catarrhal; scrofulous; thick, mucous discharge (Mercurius). Profuse secretion of tears; smarting and burning of eyes and lids (Arsenicum, Euphr., Mercurius cor.). Blepharitis.
Ears. Otorrhoea; thick mucous discharges (Pulsatilla). Catarrhal inflammation of middle ear, and deafness after scarlet fever.
Nose. Constant discharge of thick, yellow mucus; frontal headache. Secretion runs from posterior nares, thick and tenacious (Kali bichromicum, Natr. ars.). Hypertrophic catarrh, with yellow, greenish, offensive, discharge. Coryza, watery, excoriating; burning, smarting and rawness in the nose (Cepa, Hyoscyamus, Mercurius cor.); discharge scanty in the room, profuse out of doors; rawness in throat and chest. Sneezing, with fullness over the eyes (Aconite, Sanguinaria); dull frontal headache. Ozoena, with ulceration; bloody, purulent discharge (Mercurius, Nitr. ac.). Air feels cold in the nose(Antim crud., Psorinum, Osm.)
Face Pale with worm, weary expression.
Mouth. Stomatitis (Acid Muriaticum); in nursing women and weakly children; especially after Mercury or Chlorate of Potash. Excessive secretion of thick, tenacious mucus.
Throat Hawking of yellow, tenacious mucus, form posterior nares and fauces (Kali bichromicum); rawness of the fauces; ulcers in the throat, especially after Mercury. Roughness in throat in morning on waking, worse from swallowing, with soreness.
Stomach Faint, sinking, gone feeling at the stomach (Baptisia, Cimic., Ignatia, Phosphorus, Sulphur, Sepia); and palpitation of the heart, preceded by dull aching pains. Atonic dyspepsia, with acidity, especially in old people. Chronic gastric catarrh; ulceration.
Abdomen. Severe cutting in the hypogastrium, extending to the testicles; occurring after stool, with faint feeling. Sharp pain in the coecal region. Intermittent acute pain in region of liver, extending to scapula. Sharp pain in the region of the spleen, with dull pain and burning in the stomach and bowels. Griping pains with the stools (Bryonia, Mercurius, Coloc., Chelidonium). Gastro- duodenal catarrh. Flatulent colic, with faintness.
Stool Profuse, light-colored, acrid stools. Intestinal catarrh, followed by ulceration; profuse mucous stools. Constipation, with haemorrhoids (Nux v., Sulphur)
Urinary Organs. Urine smells decomposed. Catarrh of bladder, with thick, ropy, mucous sediment in the urine.
Male Organs. Gonorrhoea, second stage, thick yellow discharge (Agn., Petros., Pulsatilla); gleet (Sulphur, Petros.). Debility following spermatorrhoea (Phosphorus ac.)
Female Organs. Leucorrhoea, tenacious, ropy, thick, yellow. Ulceration of the os, cervix and vagina. (Argentum nit.) Pruritus vulvae, with profuse leucorrhoea; sexual excitement.
Respiratory Organs. Laryngeal and bronchial catarrh. Dry, harsh, rattling cough. Rawness, soreness and burning in the chest. Pain under left scapula (right, Chelidonium).
Heart Palpitation of the heart; in morning.
Back. Tired aching pain in the small of back (sep.).
Limbs. Limbs tired and ache, with catarrh. Irritable, indolent, or scrofulous ulcers on the legs.
Generalities. Faintness, goneness; great weakness and prostration; secretions from mucous membranes increased, tenacious, ropy (Kali bichromicum); erosions (Kreosotum).
Fever. Gastric, bilious, or typhoid forms of fever, with gastric disturbances; jaundice, and a great debility following (Cinchona). Profuse perspiration; unhealthy odor.
Compare Arsenicum, Ammonium mur., Antim crud., Borax, Chelidonium, Coni., Kali bichromicum, Mercurius cor., Phytolacca, Pulsatilla, Sepia, Stramonium, Sulphur
Hydrastis Antidote. Mercurius, Kali chlor.
The chief use of Hydrastis is in the treatment of catarrhal diseases of various parts, usually characterized by a profuse thick yellow discharge. The various catarrhs in which the drug is useful have already been sufficiently detailed. In pharyngeal catarrh, tonsilitis, etc., Hydrastis is extensively used, especially locally, without any special indications, but is probably most useful when there is hypertrophy of the mucous membranes. Sometimes useful both locally and internally for follicular pharyngitis. Often used locally in diphtheria and in malignant ulcerations. It is a valuable local agent in gonorrhoea, as above described, and is especially useful in leucorrhoea, particularly with ulceration of the os, cervix or vagina; also in cancer of the uterus, and fungoid growths, with profuse offensive discharges. For local use the non-alcoholic fluid preparation is the best. Hydrastis is often useful in chronic inflammation of the liver, with soreness, pain, yellow skin, light-colored stools, constipation. Also in jaundice; gall-stone colic with jaundice. Ulceration of the rectum; ulcers and fissures in anus; prolapsus of rectum; especially in children. Chronic constipation; after purgatives; with haemorrhoids; during pregnancy; after parturition. Often useful in skin diseases. Has cured malignant ulcers, lupus and epithelioma. Varicose ulcers. Eczema; erythema; infantile intertrigo. Bed sore. Chronic ulcers. Variola, in all stages, with faintness and prostration. Sometimes indicated in gastric, bilious and typhoid fevers. Also retarded convalescence from typhoid fevers, with loss of appetite, constipation, etc.