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Baptisia. Baptisia tinctoria.

Botanical name:

Synonym—Wild indigo.

CONSTITUENTS—
Baptisin (a bitter glucoside), baptin (a purgative glucoside), baptitoxin (a poisonous alkaloid), resin, fixed oil.

PREPARATIONS—

Extractum Baptisiae Alcoholicum, Alcoholic Extract of Baptisia. Dose, from one to four grains.
Specific Medicine Baptisia. Dose, from one-fourth to ten minims.

Physiological Action—When fresh and taken in a sufficiently large dose Baptisia causes violent vomiting and purging. In poisonous doses there is an acceleration of respiration and reflex activity followed by death from central paralytic asphyxia.

The agent has a bitter, somewhat acrid and astringent taste. In large doses it is somewhat violent in its influence upon the gastro-intestinal tract, producing increased intestinal secretion of the entire glandular apparatus. It especially influences the liver. In overdoses it is emetic and cathartic, in some cases causing an excessive flow of viscid saliva. It is laxative in small doses, producing soft, unformed stools. It increases the biliary secretion, sometimes most excessively. It exercises its influence more satisfactorily in asthenic fevers than in sthenic fevers.

Specific Symptomatology—It is especially indicated where, with suppressed secretion and marked evidence of sepsis, there is ulceration of the mucous membranes of the mouth, or intestinal ulceration.

In low fevers with dark or purplish mucous membranes of the mouth, tongue dry and thin, with a dark coating, face dusky and suffused, circulation feeble.

Fyfe gives as its specific indications those much the same as were given in the previous writing on this remedy—dusky discoloration of the tongue and mucous membranes; full and purplish face, like one who has long been exposed to the cold; protracted typhoid conditions, with continued moist, pasty coating on the tongue; sleek tongue, looking much like raw beef; dark, tar-like fetid discharges from the bowels-prune juice discharges; general putrid secretions.

Dr. Fearn called attention to the indication of a dusky, purplish color often distinctly marked in typhoid patients upon one side of the face. Ten or fifteen drops of baptisia in water during twenty-four hours has corrected that condition quickly for him, improving the patient.

The indications for baptisia are often present in infectious exanthema such as smallpox or scarlet fever.

These indications resemble those also which call for acids. Selections should be made between hydrochloric, nitric, hydrobromic, or hydriodic acid, to be given in conjunction as required.

Therapy—With the above indications the agent has been widely used for many years by our practitioners in the treatment of typhoid conditions, and has established its position as an important remedy.

It has an apparent dynamic influence upon the glandular structure of the intestinal canal, directly antagonizing disease influences here, and reenforcing the character of the blood, prevents the destruction of the red corpuscles, and carries off waste material. In malignant tonsillitis and diphtheritic laryngitis it has been long used with excellent results. In phagedena with gangrenous tendencies wherever located, it has exercised a markedly curative influence.

It is useful in dysentery where there is offensive breath and fetid discharges of a dark prune juice character.

In scarlet fever, with its specific indications, it is a useful remedy. Large doses are not necessary, but it should be employed early and the use persisted in.

In the treatment of low fevers this agent is said to exercise marked sedative power over the fever. Homeopathic physicians prescribe it to control the fever. There is no doubt that in proportion as the cause of the fever is destroyed, the temperature abates. Any inhibitory influence directly upon the heart and circulation cannot be attributed to it, yet it soothes cerebral excitement to a certain extent, having a beneficial influence upon delirium.

It is advised in all diseases of the glandular system, and in hepatic derangements especially, with symptoms of this character. In the various forms of stomatitis, putrid sore throat and scarlatina maligna; in inflammation of the bowels, where there is a tendency to typhoid conditions, especially ulcerative inflammation of any of the internal organs; in dyspepsia, with great irritability and offensive decomposition of food; in scrofula and in cutaneous infections, the agent should be long continued. In the long protracted and sluggish forms of fevers, with great depression of the vital forces; in ulceration of the nipples or mammary glands, or of the cervix uteri, it is spoken highly of.

There is a dynamic influence exercised by baptisia upon the entire glandular structure of the body when adynamia is present, more particularly upon the intestinal glands. This influence directly reinforces the blood in its effort to throw off the disease, and restore normal conditions. It is because of this influence that it is of value in typhoid.

Dr. Hainey says that in whatever condition the patient complains of difficult respiration where the lungs feel compressed, where the patient cannot lie down because of fear of suffocation, if he sleeps, he has found baptisia in small doses every hour positively curative. He got this suggestion from a homeopathist, and he has proven it to be reliable.

Others have found typhoid cases with the characteristic symptoms, where the brain seems to be overwhelmed with toxines, where the patient has times where the breathing is rapid or panting, alternated with slow respiration, in which this remedy is very prompt. The condition may also be present in diphtheria, and in the so-called black measles or other highly infectious disorders.

Fyfe advises it in all diseases of the glandular system, and in hepatic derangements especially, with symptoms of this- character, in the various forms of stomatitis, putrid sore throat and scarlatina maligna, and in inflammation of the bowels, where there is a tendency to typhoid conditions, especially ulcerative inflammation of any of the internal organs. In dyspepsia, with great irritability and offensive decomposition of food. In scrofula and in cutaneous infections the agent should be long continued. In the long, protracted and sluggish forms of fevers, with great depression of the vital forces, in ulceration of the nipples or mammary glands, or of the cervix uteri, it is spoken highly of.

It will thus be seen that the agent is properly classed among the alteratives, as its alterative properties stand first, but its pronounced tonic influences will be quickly observed. It overcomes weariness, "that tired feeling," produces a sense of vigor and general improved tone and well-being.


The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 1919, was written by Finley Ellingwood, M.D.
It was scanned by Michael Moore for the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.



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