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Rhus Aromatica.

Botanical name:

Related entries: Rhus glabra

The bark of the root of Rhus aromatica, Aiton (Nat. Ord. Anacardiaceae). A small shrub of the rocky regions of eastern United States. Dose, 5 to 60 grains.
Common Names: Fragrant Sumach, Sweet Sumach.

Principal Constituents.—Volatile and fixed oils, tannin, and several resins.
Preparation.—Specific Medicine Fragrant Sumach. Dose, 5 to 60 drops.
Specific Indications.—"Stools profuse, skin cool and sallow, pulse small and feeble, loss of flesh, abdomen flabby, tongue pale, trembling and moist, trembling in lower limbs; general sense of lassitude and languor" (McClanahan). Painless diarrhea nocturnal enuresis, from weakness of sphincter vesicae; and malarial hematuria.

Action and Therapy.—Rhus aromatica is a remedy for excessive discharges of urine and painless but profuse forms of diarrhoea. It is also serviceable in some forms of passive hemorrhage, particularly malarial hematuria, a disorder quite prevalent in the Southern States. Occasionally it will serve a useful purpose in purpura hemorrhagica and in very mild cases of hemoptysis of phthisis, but is a better agent for the diarrhea and night sweats of that disease.

The principal use of fragrant sumach is to control bedwetting in children with weak bladder. In some instances its action is more satisfactory than that of any other drug; in others it fails. When irritability of the urinary passages is due to sphincteric weakness it is usually successful; when due to colds, worms, and various other extraneous causes it is likely to prove ineffectual. Polyuria is one of the conditions markedly-improved by this drug, and some have thought it to have a restraining effect both upon the hypersecretion of urine and the output of sugar in diabetes. Apparently it is only in exceptional cases that it displays this power, and too much reliance should not be placed upon it in severe cases. As an aid to control some of the phases of diabetes, as excessive urination, it should be used in conjunction with other approved methods. While chiefly of value in the enuresis of children, it sometimes proves of service in that of the elderly, and especially when there is much irritation, occasional passages of bloody urine, and evident relaxed habit of the urinary tract. It is sometimes useful in chronic, painful, vesical catarrh. It is also useful in chronic bronchitis with profuse blood-streaked expectoration.

Fragrant sumach often restrains diarrhoea of the free and painless type, notably in cholera infantum. In all disorders fragrant sumach should not be used where there is inflammation. The drug is best dispensed in glycerin as follows: Rx Specific Medicine Fragrant Sumach, 1/2 fluidounce; Glycerin, 3 1/2 fluidounces. Mix. Sig.: From one-half to one teaspoonful, in water, every three or four hours.


The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.



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