The root of Eupatorium purpureum, Linné (Nat. Ord. Compositae). Low meadows and woods of the United States. Dose, 5 to 60 grains.
Common Names: Queen of the Meadow, Gravel Weed, Gravel Root, Joe Pye Weed.
Principal Constituents.—Volatile oil and a resin (eupatorine).
Preparations.—1. Specific Medicine Gravel-Root. Dose, 1 to 60 drops.
2. Decoctum Eupatorii Purpureii, Decoction of Gravel Root (1 ounce to Water, 16 fluidounces). Dose, 1 to 3 fluidounces.
Specific Indications.—Vesical irritation; incontinence of urine, painful and frequent urination; pain and weight in loins extending to the bladder; scant and milky urine with admixture of blood and mucus.
Action and Therapy.—While of some value in chronic gastro-intestinal irritation, with catarrhal secretion, and in some forms of cough, with free expectoration, the chief use of gravel-root is to relieve chronic irritation of the urinary passages. For this purpose it is one of the most satisfactory of medicines. It is adapted to cases in which there is constant urging to pass urine, accompanied by a sense of obstruction, and the excretion is mixed with mucus and blood. Though not curative, it is often invaluable in chronic nephritis, to meet many of the unpleasant urinary symptoms. For the uric acid diathesis gravel-root is one of the best of drugs. It will not, as has been claimed, dissolve gravel, but by its diuretic action it eliminates those particles which may form the nuclei of larger concretions. Besides, its effects upon irritated or inflamed parts due to such deposits when present is to soothe and heal them. It especially relieves the deep-seated pelvic perineal aching common to sufferers from cystitis and subacute prostatitis, For passive hematuria it is one of the best drugs we possess. When hydragogues have been used to deplete the body in ascites, gravel-root, by stimulating diuresis, greatly retards the reestablishment of the effusion.
Gravel-root relieves the urinary disturbances of pregnancy so far as difficulty in voiding urine is concerned. It is also very useful in prostatitis, acting best after the acute inflammatory condition has been subdued.
Gravel-root is a neglected drug and often should be employed in urinary disorders where less efficient and more harmful agents are displayed. High-colored urine, with blood and solids and voided with pain, and milky-looking urine, should lead one to hope for good results from its use. If the specific medicine is administered it should be given in hot water. The decoction is often the best form of administration. It acts well with the special sedatives, and if fever is present or the skin is hot, dry, and constricted it may be given with aconite or gelsemium.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.