The root of Polymnia Uvedalia, Linné (Nat. Ord. Compositae). Central United States to Florida. Dose, 5 to 30 grains.
Common Names: Uvedalia, Bear's Foot, Leaf Cup.
Principal Constituents.—A dark-brown, acrid resin and a straw-colored, balsam-like resin.
Preparations.—1. Specific Medicine Polymnia. Dose, 1 to 30 drops.
2. Unguentum Polymnia, Ointment of Polymnia (Uvedalia Ointment). Fresh Polymnia, 8; Lard or mutton tallow, 16. Light green in color.
Specific Indications.—Full, sodden, inelastic, flabby tissues; splenic and hepatic enlargement, with fullness, weight and burning in the hypochondriac and epigastric regions; congestion and impairment of the functions of the organs supplied by the celiac axis; impaired blood-making with tumid abdomen; low, inflammatory deposits.
Action and Therapy.—External. Uvedalia stimulates the growth of hair. Scudder advised the following hair tonic: Rx Specific Medicine Polymnia, 2 fluidounces; Bay Rum, 6 fluidounces. Mix. Sig.: Rub thoroughly into the scalp once or twice a day. Howe added to this lotion Tincture of Cantharis, 2 fluidrachms, and Fowler's Solution of Arsenic, 2 fluidrachms. Uvedalia ointment may be used, rubbed warm and well into the abdomen, for the reduction of engorged spleen (ague cake); the specific medicine must be administered internally at the same time. Its discutient powers have been taken advantage of in other painful swellings due to low inflammatory deposits and in mammitis particularly, scrofulous enlargement of the lymphatic glands, and spinal irritation.
Internal. Polymnia is one of the best of the spleen remedies reducing engorgement of that organ best when due to malarial cachexia. To a lesser degree it has a similar effect upon the liver. Its special field of activity is upon the parts supplied with blood by the celiac distribution. It is thought to favor a better splenic participation in blood-making; and may well be further studied for its influence upon all the ductless glands. In atonic dyspepsia and chronic gastritis depending upon a general cachexia, most often malarial, with a sluggish gastric and hepatic circulation, and attended by full, heavy, burning sensation it is often of signal benefit. It is still undetermined whether it exerts a specific influence upon leucocythemia; but it is certain that the correction of splenic and hepatic wrongs by this drug cannot but exert a beneficial effect. To be of any service in affections of the ductless glands it should be administered for a prolonged period. Scudder valued it for uterine subinvolution and hypertrophy of the cervix, when indicated by the sodden inelastic condition, pallid tissues and impaired circulation above referred to. Large doses of polymnia are said to produce painful emeto-catharsis, gastro-intestinal inflammation, convulsions and death.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.