The entire plant and oil of Erechtites hieracifolia, Rafinesque (Nat. Ord. Compositae.) A rank weed throughout the United States.
Common Name: Fireweed.
Principal Constituent.—A volatile oil (Oleum Erechtitis).
Preparation.—Oleum Erechtitis, Oil of Fireweed. Dose, 5 to 10 drops.
Specific Indications.—Catarrhal states and passive hemorrhages; "albuminurea, dropsy, pale waxy skin, swelling of the feet, scanty urine" (Watkins).
Action and Therapy.—True oil of fireweed (much that is sold is oil of fleabane) improves the appetite and digestion, stimulates the functions of the gastro-intestinal glands and pancreas, and causes free and full alvine evacuations, rendering it useful in chronic constipation, especially when acid fermentation and flatulence are present. Its ultimate effect upon the circulation is to raise vascular tension. It is eliminated most largely by the lungs, and to a lesser extent by the kidneys and skin. The class of disorders it benefits are those attacking the bronchial and renal mucosa, it being effective in relieving chronic bronchitis, pulmonic catarrhs with cough, and genito-urinary catarrh, pyelitis, and cystitis. It has been suggested in chronic nephritis, with pale, waxy skin and pedal edema. For this purpose the dose should not be over one drop of the oil, in emulsion, well diluted. Usually the oil is administered on sugar.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.