The fresh root and plant of Collinsonia canadensis, Linné (Nat. Ord. Labiatae.) Damp and rich soils of woods from Canada to Florida.
Common Names: Stone-root, Rich-weed, Horse-balm, etc.
Principal Constituents.—Resins and volatile oil.
Preparations.—1. Specific Medicine Collinsonia. Dose, 1/10 to 30 drops.
2. Aromatic Collinsonia (prepared from the plant). Dose, 1 to 30 drops.
Specific Indications.—Irritation, with a sense of constriction in the larynx, pharynx or anus; sense of constriction with tickling in the throat, with cough arising from use of the voice; a sensation as if a foreign body were lodged in the rectum, with a painful contraction of the sphincter and perineum; sense of contraction in the rectum, with constipation due to vascular engorgement of the pelvic viscera; scybalous feces; sticking pains in the heart, larynx or bladder; contracted abdomen; vesical tenesmus; hemorrhoids; varicocele; follicular tonsillitis, with chronic hypertrophy of the faucial glands; any condition with weight and constriction, with or without heat.
Action.—Collinsonia affects chiefly the venous system and the mucous membranes, particularly the hemorrhoidal venous circulation. It also stimulates the vagi, relieving irritation of the parts to which they are distributed, and is believed to strengthen the action of the heart. Small doses of the green root produce emesis, and sensible doses of the fluid preparations cause an increase in urine and slightly that of the skin.
Therapy.—Collinsonia is a remedy for venous stasis and for irritation of the mucosa. Chiefly it meets one prime condition and the many disorders dependent thereon. This is atony of the venous circulation, whether due to relaxation of the blood vessels or to lack of tone in the venous side of the heart. Therefore its best results are obtained in conditions showing feeble or sluggish venous and capillary flow. Under these conditions it specifically improves impairment of the mucous membranes, appearing to be most active in disorders of the throat and rectum, though venous stasis in any organ or part is corrected by it.
Collinsonia is the most effective medicine we have for that form of laryngitis known as "minister's sore throat"—a hyperaemic or congestive state, with tenderness, hoarseness, and cough brought on by intensive speaking or singing. It is common among public speakers, singers, auctioneers, hucksters, and others compelled to use the voice beyond the ordinary. It is also valuable in other forms of laryngitis, with congestion or hyperaemia of the vocal apparatus, in chronic bronchitis, pharyngitis, tracheitis, and aphonia, all depending upon irritation associated with venous debility. Rx. Specific Medicine Collinsonia, 2 fluidrachms to 1 fluidounce; Simple Syrup, to make 4 fluidounces. Mix. Sig.: One teaspoonful every 3 or 4 hours.
Foltz advised it in the early stage of middle ear disorders, with free nonpurulent secretions, and when complicated by follicular pharyngitis and hypertrophied Luschka's glands.
For many of the throat disorders Aromatic Collinsonia is preferred by some prescribers.
The second great use for collinsonia is in rectal venous debility. Here the smaller doses are more effectual. In hemorrhoids it usually does not cure, though it may do so early in their course. It is to be used when there is vascular engorgement of the pelvic viscera, with a sense as if a foreign body were lodged in the rectum, causing constant uneasiness and affecting the nervous system profoundly. There is weight, heat, and dull pain, with or without scybalous constipation, or sometimes with partly semifluid and partly scybalous feces. The only rational procedure is to have the disturbing hemorrhoids surgically removed, but if this cannot be done, or the patient will not consent, then recourse to collinsonia will give us much relief as can be obtained from any safe medicine. Collinsonia relieves, to a lesser extent, subacute proctitis, the tenesmus of mild types of dysentery and diarrhoea and rectal pain following operations, as well as that of fissures, fistulae, and allied conditions, though much reliance cannot be placed upon it for any of these conditions, except in the hemorrhoids of the type described. It does, however, relieve discomfort in the rectum without apparent lesion other than that of vascular engorgement.
Many value collinsonia in gastro-intestinal irritation with torpor of the portal circulation, irritation of the mucous membranes, and loss of appetite. Indigestion, spasmodic pain, gastric catarrh, and irritative dyspepsia, all with more or less constipation, appear to be benefited by collinsonia. By increasing innervation and relieving irritability it proves useful in atonic dyspepsia, with poor abdominal circulation.
Irritation of parts supplied by the vagi is relieved by small doses of collinsonia. Thus it ameliorates some cases of asthma, chronic cough, and the cough attendant upon disorders of the heart. Some value it in mitral regurgitation and in rheumatism of the heart. In all conditions the dilated capillaries showing passive engorgement will guide to its use. It was formerly regarded a remedy for gravel, but is little valued for that purpose now further than to relieve irritation and discomfort when gravel gives rise to pelvic vascular debility. Cases of varix of the vulva have been reported as modified, but not cured by it; the same is true of varicocele and varicose veins of the legs.
In whatever disorder collinsonia is helpful, there is always a sense of weight and constriction, venous engorgement, dilated capillaries, and muscular atony.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.