[ This article appeared in The Eclectic Medical Journal, January, 1924, and it adds still further to our knowledge of the uses of this great remedy.].
Pleasant Ridge, Cincinnati, O.
I REALISE the fact in reading a paper on the above-named subject any remarks that I might make are likely to be criticised by our regular brethren, on the ground that nothing of a scientific nature has been brought to light that would substantiate my claims on the drug. Notwithstanding the fact that the so-called leading lights in the profession have ridiculed the claims made by many physicians regarding its use, both locally and internally, the sale of the product continues to grow, and, according to a statement made by Lloyd Brother, the sales are seven times greater than those of any other product of their make.
Not only do the Eclectic physicians use and prescribe it, but it is used by the regular school quite as much as by those who introduced it, in spite of the fact that it has been pronounced worthless by the powers that be.
It might be well to say something regarding the plant itself at this time. It is found all through the prairie region of the United STates-Illinois, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Texas. The dried root is used in making the specific medicine as well as various fluid extracts on the market. It is called the Cone Flower, and sometimes foes by the name of Black Sampson. It is best known by its true name, Echinacea angustifolia.
Internally it is given in doses of one to thirty drops, or even more. We have given 4 c.c. at a dose. Locally I generally use it in 1 25 per cent. solution. I happen to be situated so that the internal administration of the drug is not often resorted to locally, however, I have occasion to use it almost every day.
About four years ago I became very much interested in Echinacea because I was casting about for some remedy that could be used safely by the patient, one that would not cause pain, and one that would do away with the necessity of large quantities of solutions that are used to immerse an infected hand or foot in, such as bichloride, etc. I had used Echinacea occasionally for several years previous to this time, but only took a passing interest in it.
At this time the various chlorine antiseptics became popular, and we gave them a thorough trail, but soon discarded them, for we found that unless the part is kept saturated with the solution the would does not heal well. We finally resorted to Echinacea, and a trial of a 25 per cent. solution was made on an infection that had followed the amputation of a distal phalange of the left index finger. The infection had followed the tendon up to the carpal articulation, and several openings had been made to allow drainage.
The finger was kept covered with gauze bandage and the dressing thoroughly saturated at all times with the Echinacea solution. Within twenty-four hours a decided improvement was noticed, and healing of the entire finger followed rapidly, without any further surgical interference or other infections. Since that time I have kept on may dressing table a bottle of 25 per cent. Echinacea solution. I have had a number of deep palmar abscesses that have healed rapidly under the Echinacea treatment. The dressing is always kept saturated and the patient is supplied with three of four ounces of the solution, with directions to use it as often as necessary. I instruct them to leave the dressing intact and not to remove it.
I have used, it on infected burns, old ulcer, various skin infections, boils, carbuncles, suppurative middle ear disease. In the last-named condition a 5 or 10 per cent. solution is used in irrigating the ear. I have used it locally as a deodorant and antiseptic in carcinoma with pleasing results. I frequently use it in Rhus poisoning, but do not get the results that I do from Macrotys locally.
In perusing the literature on the subject we find it not only useful in the conditions above named, butt we find that one of the earliest uses was for the bites of snakes, spiders and other poisonous reptiles and insects. Eclectic literature is full of reports of cases of this kind treated with Echinacea internally and locally. Large doses are used, and bad results following its use have never been reported. It is non-toxic. There are not poisonous local manifestations following its use as a wet dressing.
In conclusion, we can say that as an antiseptic it is (1) Non-toxic and not destructive of healthy tissue; (2) it does not coagulate albumen; (3) it has a marked germicidal action; (4) it is not expensive if used diluted; (5) to keeps down bad odours; (6) it promotes the healing process, stimulating granulation and repair; (7) it can be used internally as well as locally.