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Dulcamara. (Solanum dulcamara)

Botanical name:

Related entry: Solanum carolinense

The young branches of Solanum Dulcamara, Linné (Nat. Ord. Solanaceae). A vine common in Europe and the United States. Dose, 1 to 30 grains.
Common Names: Bittersweet, Woody Night-Shade, Scarlet-Berry, Violet-Bloom.

Principal Constituents.—The alkaloid solanine and the glucoside dulcamarin.
Preparation.—Specific Medicine Dulcamara. Dose, 1 to 30 drops.
Specific Indications.—Scaly skin affections; acute disorders due to cold and dampness; deficient capillary circulation; depressed secretions of the skin with urinous odor; coldness and blueness of the extremities; fullness of tissues with tendency to edema.

Action and Therapy.—Dulcamara is an active agent capable of producing poisonous effects. These are those of the belladonna type, differing only in minor particulars. Cutaneous redness and congestion of the kidneys are especially apt to result from immoderate doses. Children are sometimes poisoned by eating the berries of the plant. Scudder suggested dulcamara in small doses in "cases of chronic disease in which the circulation is feeble, the hands and feet cold and purplish, with fullness of tissues and tendency to edema." Locke advised it in acute disorders brought on by cold, dampness, and exposure. Using it in fractional doses he suggested its value in acute catarrhal disorders proceeding from cold or suspended cutaneous function; in suppression of the menses with nausea, headache, and chilly sensation, the flow having been arrested by a cold; in vesical catarrh, aggravated by dampness; catarrhal headache from acute colds; nasal catarrh; retrocession of eruptions, or primarily to develop the eruptions; and in dyspnoea, cough and pain in the chest due to exposure. Those who dwell or work in damp or cold quarters, especially children, are frequently the victims of catarrhal diarrhoea, and acute and chronic rheumatism. Such patients are benefited by dulcamara given in fractional doses. Larger doses (medium) are effective in some cases of acute mania, nymphomania and satyriasis, acting as do the more powerful of the group of solanaceous drugs. It will be observed that the therapeutic uses of dulcamara are closely allied to those of belladonna, minus the profound impression derived from atropine.

Dulcamara should be remembered as a possible remedy in chronic skin diseases of a pustular, vesicular or scaly type, particularly the latter. It may also be tried in pudendal itching.


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



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