This drug, which has hardly as yet an established place in the pharmacopeia, although it is a much used and highly prized “domestic” remedy, has been but imperfectly studied, and we have nothing approaching to an exhaustive knowledge of its properties and capabilities. Enough is known, however, to give it rank beside Bryonia in regard of its febrile and gastro-hepatic symptoms.
Eupatorium perfoliatum, thoroughwort or boneset, is popularly used as a diaphoretic (a. hot infusion in frequent, moderate doses) or as an emetic (hot infusion, large doses) or as a tonic (cold infusion, small doses).
Dr. Anderson, of New York, in 1813, published a number of cases of intermittent fever successfully treated with it in the City Hospital. He proposed it, therefore, as a substitute for Cinchona bark. Subsequent experiments with it in that hospital were not so successful and the remedy fell into disrepute.
This is the history of every drug in the allopathic material medica. There call be no doubt that the Eupatorium did really cure the cases which Dr. Anderson reported. But there was, assuredly, some peculiarity about these cases, by virtue of which they exactly corresponded to Eupatorium. The cases in which it was tried unsuccessfully, unquestionably, did not possess this peculiarity, whatever it was, and which must be the characteristic of Eupatorium. But the physicians who were testing the remedy took no note of this; they regarded all cases as virtually alike, because to all of them the name “intermittent” could be applied. So regarding them, and taking no note of any peculiarities wherein one case differed from another, they could not, of course, perceive why Eupatorium might correspond to one case and cure it, and not to another.
The number of cases of intermittent fever to which Eupatorium is appropriate is not very large, except during certain seasons, when an epidemic requiring it may prevail (as has been the case in some parts of the State of New York, in the autumn of 1865).
The first proving of Eupatorium was made in Philadelphia, and was reported by Dr. W. Williamson to the American Institute of Homoeopathy (Transactions, vol. I,) in 1847. Its great action is upon the muscular system (or fibrous tissues), producing great soreness and aching, and upon the gastro-hepatic system, producing a condition resembling what is known as a “bilious state.”
It produces intense headache, throbbing and great sense of internal soreness in the forehead and occiput, with a sensation of great weight in the occiput-distress and painful soreness in the top and back of the head.
The peculiar headache, the soreness of the eyes and their yellowness, the yellowish red face, the vomiting of bile, with nausea and prostration, the soreness in the region of the liver, the constipation, etc., are one group of symptoms. The soreness all over the body, from head to foot, both internal and external, are another group. These two groups together furnish an indication for Eupatorium in certain forms of “bilious fever” (in the first stage), too strong to be questioned.
The symptoms of the gastro-hepatic region, and the character and aggravations of the pains in the body and extremities, very closely resemble those of bryonia. But a broad distinction at once appears when we consider the perspiration which, under Bryonia, is profuse and easily provoked, while, under Eupatorium, it is scanty or absent. Again the Eupatorium pains make the patient restless; those of Bryonia make him keep very still.
Rhus tox. produces pains and aching in the limbs; but these pains are worse during repose, and they keep the patient restless, constantly changing his position, whereas those of Eupatorium are not aggravated by repose.
R. D., a stout mechanic, thirty-five years old, of dark complexion, went into an ice-house one very warm morning in August, to get a piece of ice. Charmed with the coolness of the place, he foolishly remained there for a quarter-hour or longer. Suddenly he felt chills creeping over him and became quite taint. He left the icehouse as quickly as he could and went home. In an hour he had an exceedingly severe chill, lasting several hours. This was followed by burning fever, which continued without abatement until the following morning when it gave place to a severe chill. As this chill was passing away I first saw the patient.
He had already become hot externally; his face was of a dull, red color; the eyes glistened, and the sclerotica were yellowish red. The tongue had a thick, yellowish fur; there was intense headache in the occiput - an insupportable heaviness. Nausea and frequent effort to vomit, extreme tenderness in the epigastrium, fullness and tenderness in the hepatic region, with stitches and soreness on moving and coughing; intolerable aching in the back and limbs, “as if the bones were broken.” Urine scanty and of a dark mahogany color; a hard, dry cough and some dyspnea. The patient, although in so great pain, lay quiet.
I had no Eupatorium, but there was a swamp near the house, and I soon found the plant. From the juice pressed from a few leaves I prepared, with water, the third attenuation, and directed it to be taken in drop doses, every three hours until marked improvement was observed.
|The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 06 No. 06, 1865, pages 228-231
|Observations on Eupatorium.
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