The rhizome of Geranium maculatum, Linné (Nat. Ord. Geraniaceae). Common in the rich soils of woods and low grounds in the United States. Dose, 5 to 60 grains.
Common Names: Cranesbill, Wild Cranesbill, Crowfoot, Spotted Geranium.
Principal Constituents.—Tannin (10 to 28 per cent, according to season) and gallic acid (in dried root).
Preparations.—1. Decoctum Geranii, Decoction of Geranium (1/2 ounce to Water, 16 fluidounces). Dose, 1 to 2 fluidounces.
2. Specific Medicine Geranium. Dose, 5 to 60 drops.
Specific Indications.—Relaxed mucous tissues with profuse debilitating discharges; chronic mucous diarrheas; chronic dysentery; diarrhoea with constant desire to defecate; passive hemorrhages; gastric ulcer.
Action and Therapy.—Geranium is one of the simple and much neglected of the early Eclectic medicines. It is an ideal astringent and for conditions requiring such an action it is preferable to many other constringing drugs. Geranium is indicated in subacute and chronic bowel disorders when the evacuations are abundant and debilitating. It is especially adapted to relaxation of the mucosa following inflammation. For the summer diarrheas of older children, and especially the cholera infantum of infants, it is splendidly effective after the bowels have been thoroughly cleansed of undigested and decomposed contents. For infantile use we prefer the decoction in milk. If that does not agree, small doses of the specific medicine in water may be employed. When dysentery tends to chronicity, the thorough use of magnesium sulphate followed by geranium will render good service.
Geranium is of some value in passive hemorrhages, as haematuria, hemoptysis, and menorrhagia. It is only useful in the first two when the blood lost is small in amount, and in the latter when bleeding is prolonged, but merely oozing. Though a useful agent in relaxed conditions with catarrhal discharges other than those of the bowels, as chronic pharyngeal catarrh, relaxed uvula, leucorrhea, etc., it is no more valuable than other tannin-bearing drugs, and is often inferior to tannic acid itself.
Geranium is of specific value where long saturation of the mucosa with unhealthy catarrhal secretions favor a tendency to destruction of tissue. We have found it to quickly cure aphthous ulceration of the mouth attended by gastric acidity and acid diarrhea. For gastric ulcer it is one of the best therapeutic means we possess. Geranium, hydrastis, mangifera, bismuth subnitrate and mangesium oxide, singly, or in indicated association, have proven the most effective agents in our experience for the medicinal relief of curable cases. They restrain hypersecretion, correct excessive acidity, check hemorrhage, and relieve pain; sometimes healing appears to progress rapidly under their influence.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.