AMONG my medical armament of drugs highly prized in my dispensary I would classify Echinacea Angustifolia as one of my much used and essential remedies. Now, of course, this drug has its own field of usefulness in medical category and it is in this field only that I speak of it as being one of my most valuable remedies. It is really a drug that is worthy of great mention and of due consideration by those physicians who have never investigated its merits.
This paper is written with the purpose of renewing the professions acquaintance with a drug worthy of great consideration and in bringing under observation its desirable qualities to those who heretofore have known little about the drug. I have used it for a great many years and given it a fair trial in numerous cases in which it is claimed to be of beneficial value and have had the most gratifying results and feel that I cannot speak too highly of the great merits of this fine and most useful of drugs of the Materia Medica.
There are two species of Echinacea as the most of you who are acquainted with this herb know: the Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpura; but it is the former, Echinacea angustifolia, that I am going to discourse upon in this article.
HISTORY OF Echinacea.
This drug was introduced into the medical profession by Drs. Meyer and King. It was back in the fall of 1855 that Dr. H.C.F. Meyer of Pawnee City, Nebraska, first introduced this herb to the medical profession for identification. He had had much success with it as a blood purifier and upon its identification by Mr. C.G. Lloyd and its therapeutic qualities attested to by Professor John King, the drug was introduced to the medical profession.
Echinacea angustifolia, which is also known as Brauneria pallida (Nutt.), and Rudbeckia pallida (Nutt.), has its habitat on the elevated table hands west of the Mississippi River ranging from the north-west down into the south lands of Texas and its neighboring States. Much confusion once ensued between this species which is commonly known as Cone Flower, from its bee- hive-shaped flower-cone, and allied species of the Composite Family, such as Rudbeckia purpurea (Linn.), more commonly known as the afore-mentioned Echinacea purpurea (Moen.), as both species are widely known under synonyms of “Niggerhead” and “Black Sampson.”.
Kings American Dispensatory of 1852 chronicles Rudbeckia purpurea (Echinacea purpurea), giving its therapeutic uses practically identical with those of Echinacea angustifolia, which goes to show that the species Purpurea was known and recognised in medicine long before the therapeutic properties of Echinacea angustifolia were discovered.
Echinacea angustifolia is a perennial herb, the chief part used in medicine being the root, which is black or brownish-red and when first tasted has a sweetish taste which is followed by an acrid, tingling sensation which lingers on the tongue for several hours. The root is a much twisted and wrinkled one and the folds of the shrunken epidermis appear much entwined about the root in spiral form. If the dried root is cut transversely there will be seen the yellowish medullary rays separated by a greenish pulp and the point of fracture looks like the root was afflicted with “dry rot”.
The chief preparation of this root is the fluid-extract which is miscible with water without material precipitation. The dose of the fluid-extract is one-fourth to one-half fluid dram. Specific Echinacea has a dose of five to thirty drops, and Echafolta, which is a purified, assayed form of Echinacea, has a dosage the same as that of Specific Echinacea. The Tincture of Echinacea is transparent, and of a reddish-brown colour; but the Specific Medicine Echinacea is the original preparation from which the medicinal value of the agent has been determined.
Echinacea HAS MANY VIRTUES.
In its therapeutics uses Echinacea is an agent that is often used both internally and externally. It was formerly used as a secret antidote for rattlesnake bites and their poison, as well as for bites of various other venomous reptiles and insects and stings of lesser poisonous pests.
Noteworthy among its physiological actions is the pungent and tingling feeling felt in the mouth upon imbibing of a little of the tincture and its ejection. Soon after the swallowing of a small dose of the tincture undiluted there is set up a sensation within the throat of apparent constriction and strangulation. It is an active promoter of the flow of saliva. It produces diaphoresis and its continued use stimulates the kidneys to increased action.
Readily the stomachic fluids improve, digestion improves, the bowels act more freely, and general nutrition is materially improved. It is a wonderful stimulant to secretion and excretion, rapidly correcting the depravation of body fluids. Echinacea is one of the most powerful therapeutic agents known for use in antidoting the virus of poisonous reptiles.
VALUABLE IN ALL SEPSIS.
The use of Echinacea covers practically the whole field of Sepsis, as septic infection, septicaemia in its various forms, blood-poisoning, cellular abscesses, cancerous cachexia, and many allied conditions. Noteworthy is the fact that these conditions are usually serious and death too often results in such cases, but thanks to Echinacea we have a wonderful combatant which has given excellent results in such cases and this makes this remedy of double value.
Here is a drug well worth the trial of those who have never attempted its use. It is THE remedy in blood-poisoning. Wherever there is a tendency to gangrenous states and sloughing of the soft tissues Echinacea should be given first consideration. It also imparts a direct sedative influence over all fevers of the typhoid and typhomalarial types, as well as in sympathetic fevers from septic infection and rheumatic attacks. Lastly let me say that it allays pain especially in erysipelas and is a destroyer of odour and pain in cancerous diseases.
HOW TO USE IT.
In using this drug I would advise from my own successful experience that you begin with small doses and gradually increase the dose.
I have found a good rule to follow is to apply the remedies in accordance with the same law as when given internally, using the drugs in the form of a cerate or ointment with 3x Echinacea tablets given in conjunction with this outward applications of the drug.
A FEW Echinacea CASES.
A few examples of cases that have received treatment under the methods spoken of in this treatise follow:.
Mr. C., age 38. Had ulcerated sore mouth. Inclined to slough, lifeless tissue, bad breath. Mouth was washed with Echinacea and Thuja twice daily. 3x tablets were given every three to four hours. Sore was cured.
Mr. E., 58 years old. He had a spider bite being bitten on the back of the neck. In a few hours after being bitten by the spider the entire side of the neck was swollen, looking very ugly and black. I gave 3x Echinacea and used locally a compress saturated with equal parts of Thuja and Echinacea. After several days of freely applying the compress and taking the tablets, Mr. E. was cured.
Mr. M., age 36 years. Had a very large carbuncle on the right wrist. This man used a rusty needle to open up the carbuncle and blood poison was the result. I gave him 3x Echinacea tablets to take internally three times a day and I used a dressing of Echinacea ointment applying such dressing fresh each night and morning. This man made a good recovery.
Mr. Z., age 30 years. This man was a driver of an ice wagon and he caught one of his fingers in a door of his truck. A splinter lodged in this finger causing blood poison. I gave 3x Echinacea tablets for internal use. As an outward application I made a poultice of Flax-seed meal and Echinacea ointment. This poultice was applied freely several times and the man made a quick recovery.
Mr. N., age 45 years. A delivery man for a hardware store. He bruised his hand while delivering a keg of nails, one of the nails penetrating the second finger on the palm side of his right hand. Blood poison set in with much pain and swelling of the arm. He had tried a thousand ways and remedies so he informed me, but his condition got much worse. When he told me the arm was to be amputated, I told him I didnt think it was necessary as I believed the hand could be saved. I injected Echinacea 10 drops with 20 drops of warm water each day and gave internally Echinacea and Passiflora tablets 3x, three times a day. He experienced almost immediate relief from the treatment. The hand was thoroughly cleansed every time and covered with cotton saturated with Echinacea fluid. The hand was saved and has been in use now for twelve years.