The rhizome and rootlets of Asarum canadense, Linné (Nat. Ord. Aristolochiaceae). A native perennial of the United States found in rich soils in woods, mountains, and along road sides. Dose, 5 to 30 grains.
Common Names: Wild Ginger, Indian Ginger, Canada Snakeroot.
Principal Constituents.—An acrid resin, a spicy volatile oil, and thought to contain among other fractions, methyl-eugenol, a principle not before found in nature.
Preparations.—1. Tinctura Asari, Tincture of Asarum. Dose, 1/2 to 2 fluidrachms.
2. Infusum Asari, Infusion of Asarum (1/2 ounce; Water, 16 ounces). Dose, ad libitum.
3. Syrupus Asari, Syrup of Asarum. Dose, 1-2 fluidrachms.
Action and Therapy.—A very pleasant stimulating carminative, diaphoretic and emmenagogue, of considerable value in amenorrhea from recent colds, in atonic dysmenorrhea, and in flatulent colic. A warm infusion is a very good diaphoretic with which to "break up a cold". Asarum may be added to cough mixtures, and with syrup forms a very agreeable vehicle for the administration of pectoral medicines to be used in the chronic coughs of debility to aid expectoration. It is contraindicated by gastro-intestinal inflammation.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.