The leaves of Epigaea repens, Linné (Nat. Ord. Ericaceae). A small, trailing, shrubby plant of the eastern half of the United States. Dose, 5 to 60 grains.
Common Names: Trailing Arbutus, Gravel Weed, Gravel Plant, Ground Laurel, Mayflower.
Principal Constituents.—The glucosides arbutin (C12H16O7), urson (C20H52O2), and ericolin (C26H30O3); and tannin.
Preparation.—Specific Medicine Epigaea. Dose, 5 to 60 drops.
Specific Indications.—Uric and lithic acid deposits; debilitated and relaxed bladder, with mucus in the urine; irritable vesical membrane; voiding of urine containing blood or muco-pus.
Action and Therapy.—Trailing arbutus is a useful diuretic when the urine is loaded with deposits of red, sandy material, mucus or muco-pus. It renders the urine less irritating, and is valuable to relieve irritation of the mucous membranes, vesical tenesmus, dysuria, and strangury. The urine is of higher than normal gravity and may contain, besides deposited salts, lithic acid gravel and broken down blood. It is especially useful where the bladder wall becomes dense and irritated and the condition easily lapses into a chronic muco-purulent cystitis. The specific medicine or the fluidextract may be given in hot water.
Trailing arbutus is one of the plants fast disappearing from our flora, owing to its reckless gathering by wood-despoiling vandals. Thus a beautiful wild flower, as well as a good medicine, is threatened with extermination.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.