Lobelia, cont'd 2.
Dr. King says its action is somewhat modified by a combination of Ipecacuanha, but I must strongly advise all Herbal practitioners, as well as all my readers, to leave the Ipecacuanha out and use only the Lobelia Inflata mentioned in the articles, and the preparations recommended therein. By leaving it out you will run no risk of being landed in an awkward situation, as otherwise you might do, as it is a most dangerous drug, not safe to use. Ipecacuanha, when administered, if it does not produce vomiting, acts as a poison, and may produce or cause death within an hour or so of its being given, especially in children. Where it does not cause vomiting, its action is to produce nausea, sickness, retchings, faintings, very great prostrations, and a state of lethargy lasting sometimes for two or three hours. Therefore, I say, leave the drug alone, and use Lobelia, which is a safe remedy, and can be depended upon in all cases, no matter what it may be given for.
Dr. Samuel Thomson says, on page 29 of his "New Guide to Health, or Botanic Family Physician":—"In the course of my practice a number of doctors discovered that the medicine I made use of produced effects which astonished them, and which they could not account for. This induced them to conclude that because it was so powerful in removing disease it must be a poison. This, I think, can be satisfactorily accounted for, they having no knowledge of anything in all their medical science which is capable of producing a powerful effect upon the human system except what is poisonous, and therefore they naturally form their opinions in accordance with this erroneous theory. There is a power to produce life and a power to produce death, which are, of course, directly opposed to each other, and whatever tends to promote life cannot cause death, let its power be ever so great."
The sanative influence of Lobelia Inflata in many instances seems to be electrical, and I would mention here in connection with this idea that the patient, while under the influence of a Lobelia emetic, frequently experiences a sensation as if a strong galvanic current was passing through the system, or, rather, the stomach seems to be the centre from which radiate numerous currents passing along the limbs and to the periphery of the entire nervous system. These sensations resemble a series of rapid galvanic shocks, accompanied sometimes by a feeling of numbness which passes off with the operation of the medicine, so there need be no anxiety or alarm on that account.
Now for a word or two about James Wallis and the slight error he made in advising a greater quantity might be taken than was specified upon the label. He ought to have said, "But in the event of you doing so, take plenty of hot water, as this will make it easier for her to vomit and bring away the phlegm;" then it would not have lodged in the throat. I would advise all my readers who think of using the different preparations of Lobelia to always give at the same time plenty of composition, Hyssop, Balm, Pennyroyal, Mint, Sage, Betony, or other herb tea; but in the event of none of the above being on hand, then give plenty of hot water, the object being to give it freer play and to enable it to circulate through the system. Then, if sickness and vomiting take place, it will be quite easy, and bring the obstructing substance away with it without any trouble.
The Lobelia preparations mentioned in these articles are neither narcotic nor dangerous, and may be employed with perfect safety for fulfilling any of the indications embraced within its range of therapeutic properties. Experience in its employment will confirm the confidence of every practitioner in its utility, and he will learn to look upon it as an indispensable agent of the non-poisonous Botanic Materia Medica. I am far from holding it to be a specific; yet it is as near as one can possibly be, and quite capable of fulfilling specific indications with far more certainty and safetv than any other remedy, and one for which there is no substitute. We should feel lost without it, and I feel sure that such will be the opinion of all who become acquainted with its true value.
Dr. Skelton's Composition Powder.
Poplar Bark, 4 ozs.
Bayberrv Bark, 8 ozs.
Ginger, 4 ozs.
Cloves, 1 oz.
Cinnamon, 1 oz.
Cayenne, 1/4 oz.
(All in powdered form.)
Common Plants and their Uses in Medicine was written by Richard Lawrence Hool, F.N.A.M.H., in 1922.