TUPELO TENTS FOR DILATING THE UTERUS.—Dr. Landau ("Medical Times and Gazette," vol. i, 1881, p. 327; from "Volkmann's Samml. Klin. Vorträge"), in a lecture on methods of dilating the cervix uteri, strongly recommends the tupelo tent, made from the root and stem of the Nyssa aquatica. He says these tents expand more uniformly than laminaria tents, and their coefficient of expansion is somewhat greater than that of any other tent. In expanding they produce the same softening and infiltration of the uterine tissues as other tents. They do not tend to septic infection; and therefore antiseptic precautions need not be rigidly carried out where they are used. One tent may be kept in three or four hours, and then replaced by another. The cavity of the uterus may thus be made accessible to the finger within twenty-four hours. In two years' use Dr. Landau has seen no ill effects from their employment.—Phila. Medical Times, June 4.
SLIPPERY ELM ROOT DILATORS.—Dr. L. B. Tuckerman, of Austinburg, Ashtabula county, O., gives the following information about the making of these dilators in the Boston "Med. and Surg. Journal," Jan. 13, 1881:
"The fresh root is cut into lengths, and can be bent at any desired curve, and thus dried. When thoroughly dry, the rough exterior is scraped off. The end is dipped about two inches into water, and heated over a lamp. A series of parallel longitudinal cuts is then made, nearly perpendicular to the bark, and through it to the wood beneath. The cuts are from one-eighth to one-twelfth of an inch apart, and reach from the end of the stick about one inch to an inch and a half back. The end, so far as the cuts run back, is again dipped into water and heated. The strips of bark made by the cuts are lifted from the wood, care being taken not to break them from their attachment at their base. They are again dipped and heated, when they can be bent back at right angles, to allow the end of the wood to be cut off nearly as far back as the bark is slit up. The end of the wood is trimmed to a conical shape. It is again dipped and heated, and with a strong twine the bark, now a hollow cylinder, is wound down firmly to the conical end of the wood, and beyond it into a solid cylindrical tip. When thoroughly dry, the tip is rounded and the whole surface of the root finished with sand-paper. It is ready for use by soaking about five minutes in carbolized water.
"If it be desirable to use the same dilator again, it is to be wiped immediately after using, and when dry finished again with sand-paper. This can be repeated so long as the tip remains. The smaller sizes can be bent when seasoned, by wetting and heating, but not so readily as when green. The roots are almost perfectly cylindrical, and are found of any size from two inches in diameter down."
AN EXHILARATING MIXTURE. (Sounds familiar—MM)—Professor Luton, of Rheims, relates ("Bulletin de Therapeutique") that having administered to a patient a mixture of tincture of ergot and of phosphate of sodium, he was greatly surprised to find it after a while produce the most exhilarating effects, exciting loquacity and irresistible laughter, which lasted for several hours and much resembled the slight intoxication produced by light wines and champagne. The mixture was tried on some other persons, always with the same effects, these being producible, however, only in women, especially those of a nervous temperament. Men resist its effects, probably requiring, as the author supposes, stronger doses in consequence of their being more accustomed to alcohol. The formula employed in the production of these curious effects was for a medium dose, in a person sufficiently excitable, as follows: Tincture of ergot five grams, and solution of phosphate of sodium (at one-tenth) fifteen grams. This is poured into a little sugared water and taken fasting. As a therapeutical agent, Prof. Luton suggests that it might prove useful in some cases of hypochondriasis and in the algidity of hysterical subjects and those who are very liable to spasm. The algidity of the early stage of fever or cholera might also be favorably influenced. So also in various cases of anemia and adynamia, the mixture, in reduced doses, so as not to excite excessive hilarity, might prove useful.— Mod. Times and Gazette; Louis. Med. News, June 18.
SOME RECENTLY DISCOVERED MEDICINAL PLANTS.—If a very little of what is heralded as the medicinal virtues of plants turned out true, it would be a most gratifying fact. However, it is well to record all for trial.
Hieracium venosum.—Observations are given by Dr. W. Stump For-wood in the "Quarterly Transactions of the Lancaster (Pa.) Medical Society," April, 1881, to show that this may prove of value in phthisis. At least, it seems to have a well-deserved reputation for that disease among cattle. The infusion is used.
Euphorbia villosa.—In the Ukraine and Gallicia this plant is said to be regarded as an unfailing remedy against hydrophobia, provided it is taken within five or six days of the infection. Unusually good evidence seems to be in its favor.—Allg. Med. Cent. Zeitung, March 26, 1881.
Convallaria majalis.—Clinical and physiological experiments with this herb are reported in the "Centralblatt fur Klin. Med.," by Dr. Bojojawlensky and Troitzky (No. 47, 1880; No. 1, 1881). In organic heart disease its effects equal those of digitalis; the urine is increased, serous deposits are rapidly absorbed, nervousness is diminished; cumulative effects were not observed.—Med. and Surg. Rep., June 4.
ADVANCE IN THERAPEUTICS IN 1880.—New remedies many, a few good, many bad, most indifferent. Tonga valuable in facial neuralgia; sulphide of calcium in suppuration—its action marked and reliable, grain doses now admitted; the nitrites of potassium and sodium have the action of amyl nitrite, but milder; ergot (again?) found useful in diabetes; pilocarpin useless in hydrophobia, which still defies all treatment; this last drug, tried in many directions, gave meagre results; benzoate of sodium commended in scarlet fever and gonorrhoeal ophthalmia; salicylate of sodium, according to Dr. Greenhow, mitigates but little the complications of rheumatic fever, while it maybe a positive injury to the heart; salicin is inefficacious, while salicylate of quinia is highly praised by Dr. Hewan; the value of cold baths in typhoid fever have become more than doubtful.—Chicago Med. Jour. and Exam., April.
PSYLLIUM SEED IN CONSTIPATION.—We read in "Paris Medical" that Mr. Noel Gueneau de Mussy proposes using psyllium or sarragota seed, besides white mustard seed, the use of which is excellent, or flax seed in the natural state.
Psyllium is a species of plantain, commonly called fleawort, because of the appearance of its seeds, which are quite small and very mucilaginous. A tablespoonful in half a glass of water is taken before dinner. He says that with a number of persons this method has proven as successful as with the Spanish lady, from whom he obtained it. In other cases, however, he was obliged to alternate with more powerful laxatives, such as aloes or rhubarb, so as to keep up the effects. It is probable that psyllium seed, like others of its kind, is not persistent in its effects, although in a number of cases it seems to have been so.—Med. and Surg. Reporter.
JUGLANS NIGRA IN DIPHTHERIA.—Dr. C. R. S. Curtis, of Quincy, Ill., reports to the Boston "Medical and Surgical Journal" of March 10 the results of his trials of black walnut leaves in the treatment of diphtheria. He was led to employ them by reading of Neaton's success with the leaves and bark of the European walnut as a topical application in malignant pustule. Not having access to the European species, he substituted for it a strong decoction of the leaves of the native black walnut in a bad case of diphtheria, to be used as a gargle, and, to his agreeable surprise, with very good effect. Since then he has used the remedy in about thirty cases, many of them bad ones, and all have recovered, a result he is inclined to attribute in great part to the walnut decoction. He has used the remedy in the form of a preventative, in spray with the atomizer, as well as in a gargle. Besides the leaves he employs the hulls of the green walnuts, which make the decoction still stronger, and he finds it not painful or especially disagreeable to his patients. The remedy is so readily accessible to most physicians that further reports may be expected as to its utility in diphtheria and allied troubles.—Chicago Med. Rev., April 5.
JAMAICA DOGWOOD.—The use of Jamaica dogwood as a substitute for opium has been highly recommended by those who have investigated its properties. It is more decidedly hypnotic than opium, produces no anorexia headache and does not constipate the bowels or interfere with digestion It acts rapidly, but its effect is less durable than opium, and requires to be given more frequently. The dose is 20 minims of the fluid extract every three hours.—Southern Med. Record.
The American Journal of Pharmacy, Vol. 53, 1881, was edited by John M. Maisch.