Synonym – Polygala Senega. Natural order – Polygalaceae. Common name – Seneca Snake Root. Habitat – An indigenous perennial plant, most common in the Western States. Preparation – Tincture from the dried root.
Chief action is upon the mucous lining of the respiratory tract, where it produces catarrhal inflammation. It produces a similar effect upon the conjunctiva, and also acts upon the eye itself. It causes irritation of the gastric and intestinal lining, resulting in vomiting, colic, and diarrhoea, and has a marked action upon the pleura and joints, as shown by the chronic exudations from these parts. It also produces paralytic symptoms, which are most pronounced in the eye and larynx.
Head Confused feeling in head. Slight vertigo before the eyes; reeling sensation in head. Dullness of the head, with pressure and weakness of the eyes. The head feels heavy. Sort of aching in forehead, sinciput and occiput; comes every day, is felt when sitting in a warm room, and is accompanied by pressure in eyes, that does not bear touch, though headache is not worse from pressure, better from exercise in open air. Pressure pain in forehead and orbits after dinner, especially in left side of head; relieved in open air.
Eyes. Aching over the orbits; eyes tremble and water when he looks at any object intently or steadily; eyes weak and watery when reading. Burning in eyes when reading or writing. Drawing and pressure in eyeballs, with diminution of visual power. Dryness, with sensation as if balls were too large for orbits. Weakness of sight and flickering before the eyes when reading; must wipe them often. When walking toward the setting sun, seemed to see another smaller sun beneath the first, assuming a somewhat oval shape on looking down disappearing on bending the head backward and on closing the eyes. Double vision relieved by behind head backward. Cilia hand full of hard mucus; smarting of the conjunctivae, as if soap were in the eyes; mornings; blepharitis; sometimes lids stick so after sleep they must be soaked before they can be separated.
Nose. Troublesome dryness of Schneiderian membrane. Sneezes so often and so violently head grows dizzy and heavy; followed by thin coryza.
Face Paralytic feeling in left half of face.
Mouth. Tongue coated white, yellowish-white, or slimy, in morning, with slimy, unpleasant taste.
Throat Mouth and throat dry; tenacious mucus difficult to hawk up; scraping and roughness; constriction in fauces; hawking; rawness; burning. Irritation and roughness in oesophagus; burning sensation as if abraded.
Stomach Eructations which relieve the mucus and hawking. Pressure below pit of stomach; sense of gnawing hunger; burning; deranged digestion.
Stool Watery stools spurting from the anus (Crot. tig., Gratiola, Thuja).
Urinary Organs Diminished secretion of urine; dark-colored and frothy; acrid. After cooling, urine becomes turbid and cloudy, or deposits a thick sediment, yellowish-red, with upper stratum yellow and flocculent.
Respiratory Organs. Tenacious mucus, causing hawking or coughing. Sudden hoarseness when reading aloud. Tearing and stinging in larynx and trachea. Hacking cough from irritation in the larynx. Short breathing and oppression of chest on going up stairs. Dry cough, with oppression of chest and roughness in throat; short, hacking cough from mucus, or from irritation or tickling in larynx, worse in open air, and from walking fast. Cough ends in a sneeze, as in a common cold. Soreness of chest, dry cough, throat dry, hoarseness; later much mucus in bronchi and trachea. Cough worse evenings, at night, during rest, sitting, lying on (left) side, and in warm room. Orgasms of blood; oppression, with flushes of heat; oppression especially during rest. Tightness and oppression of the chest (Mercurius cor.), worse during rest. Violent aching pain in chest, especially at night and while at rest. Walls of chest sensitive or painful when touched, or on sneezing; better from deep inspirations; often remaining after colds on chest (Ranunc.). Certain movements cause pain, as if chest were too tight; disposed to expand the chest this leaves soreness. Burning, sore pain under sternum, especially during motion and on deep inspiration. Shooting stitches in chest, worse during inspiration, and during rest. Accumulation of much mucus in larynx, trachea, and chest (Ant. tart., Ipecac., Stannum).
Heart. Violent boring pain in region of heart (Stil.).
Generalities. Great debility, with stretching of the limbs, and confusion in head. Lassitude and slight trembling of upper limbs. Faintness when walking in open air.
Fever Chilliness; shuddering over back; heat in face; weak; burning eyes; beating headache; difficult breathing; body feels bruised; hot skin; accelerated, hard pulse.
Aggravation During rest; walking; in open air.
Amelioration From sweat.
Conditions. Best suited for the phlegmatic, also for fat children predisposed to catarrh; or to the sluggish, who react from colds imperfectly. – Hering.
Compare Baryta c., Bryonia, Calcarea c., Causticum, Hepar s., Phosphorus, Spongia, Squilla.
The chief use of Senega is in the treatment of catarrhal affections of the respiratory tract, with symptoms above outlined, especially laryngeal and bronchial catarrh. Catarrhs that tend to leave sore and tender places in walls of chest, as though there had been left circumscribed spots of inflammation. Bronchial catarrh in aged, especially during cold weather, much tough mucus, which cannot be raised, difficult breathing. Anxiety. Whooping cough, with characteristic expectoration. Congestion of lungs. Pneumonia, especially right side. OEdema of the lungs. Hydrothorax after pleuro-pneumonia. Exudations in pleura, after Bryonia with tightness and great oppression. Useful in various affections of the eye. Promotes the absorption of lens fragments after operations for cataracts. Iritis. Catarrhal conjunctivitis. Hypopion in scrofulous subjects. Double vision, relieved only by bending the head backward. Muscular asthenopia. Catarrhal pharyngitis. Catarrhal cystitis.