The dried rhizome and roots of Spigelia marilandica, Linné (Nat. Ord. Loganiaceae). Southern United States; less plentiful in northern parts of eastern half of the Northern States. Dose, 1 to 2 drachms for adults; less for children.
Common Names: Pinkroot, Maryland Pink, Carolina Pink, Worm-grass.
Principal Constituents.—A volatile alkaloid, spigeline (resembling coniine and nicotine), volatile oil, resin, and a bitter body.
Preparations.—1. Specific Medicine Spigelia. Dose, 5 to 60 drops (full dose as anthelmintic).
2. Fluidextractum Spigelia et Senna, Fluidextract of Spigelia and Senna. Dose, 30 to 60 drops.
Action and Toxicology.—In large doses spigelia is toxic, causing increased cardiac action, cerebral disturbances, as dizziness, dimness of vision, dilated pupils, facial and palpebral spasms, general convulsions and stupor. Purgation often results from such quantities. Catharsis minimizes the danger of unpleasant symptoms, therefore it is usually administered with a cathartic, as senna.
Therapy.—Pink root is an active and very certain vermifuge, removing the round or lumbricoid intestinal worm. The powdered root (5 to 20 grains for a young child; 1 to 2 drachms for an adult) or the fluidextract, or specific medicine in equivalent dosage may be given twice a day, together with or followed by an active purgative. Senna is usually preferred. Ellingwood advises Rx Fluidextract of Spigelia, 2 fluidrachms; Santonin (powdered), 15 grains; Simple Elixir, enough to make 2 fluidounces. Mix. Sig.: One teaspoonful every night and morning, followed on the third day by a non-irritating laxative. Many who are old enough will recall the days of domestic medication when pink and senna (popularly pronounced seeny) tea was a regular feature of child raising.
Interest has been attracted to spigelia, chiefly of homeopathic origin, as a remedy in heart affections, particularly endocarditis of rheumatic origin and to guard against relapses of cardiac rheumatism. Cardiac neuralgia with palpitation and pain extending along the arm is also said to be relieved by it. For these purposes the fractional dose is to be preferred. Rx Specific Medicine Spigelia, 10-15 drops; Water, 4 fluidounces. Mix. Sig.: One teaspoonful every two hours. Large doses are said to debilitate the heart.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.