ECHINACEA. I desire here to say a few words in favor of echinacea angustifolia. I have found this remedy most useful in septic conditions. If it were not for echinacea I would be embarrassed in treating certain of these conditions. I am entirely unable to find any substitute which will take its place in pneumonia except when the temperature is very high and the skin very dry. In which case I prefer the creosote carbonate.
Echinacea is an eclectic, and now homeopathic, medicine, and is not much known outside those ranks. I have found it an ideal antiseptic in many other septic conditions besides pneumonia, both externally and internally.
Six years ago, I was called to a German woman on the fifth day after confinement. I found her temperature 107°F. She had a terrible chill a few hours before my arrival. I immediately irrigated the uterus with a warm boric acid solution. I applied undiluted echinacea on iodoform gauze to the endometrium, and an ice bag on the region of the uterus. This treatment was repeated three times a day, for three days, when the woman made a prompt recovery.
I had another case of puerperal sepsis one year ago. A two-year-old child in a family developed erysipelas during the confinement of the mother. On the fifth day, in spite of all precautions, the mother developed sepsis. The temperature was 106° F. Fortunately I had the opportunity of seeing her several times a day. I was very much afraid of the outcome of this case and I knew that an infection from erysipelas at this stage was a serious matter.
I treated her with irrigations of warm boric acid solution and echinacea to the endometrium, as I did in the former case. Fortunately the sepsis had not time to extend into the tubes and broad ligaments, and she got well, but it took her longer than the former. Echinacea was administered in teaspoonful doses internally also in both of these cases.
The above treatment in puerperal sepsis with echinacea must be pushed immediately after the initial chill. If the tube and broad ligament are involved, then echinacea is of less benefit, as the case has then become surgical.
I had two cases of gunshot wounds, relics of the Fourth of July, which, after properly cleansing, I dressed with echinacea. The result was satisfactory. Last July I saw a case of rattlesnake poisoning. I incised the wound and dressed it with echinacea. The result was good. Echinacea is an ideal antiseptic in all forms of blood poisoning.
I had a case of carbuncle a few weeks ago. I made a deep incision into the carbuncle, applied carbolic acid to the bottom of the wound, and afterwards dressed it with echinacea by wetting a piece of iodoform gauze in echinacea and applying it as drainage. Echinacea was also given internally.
I also had a case of septic abscess of the palmar surface of the hand; the lymphatic gland of the axilla was also involved. Was treated in same manner with good results.
In the February number of THE THERAPEUTIST, I saw an article from my old friend Dr. Lewis of Canton, Pa., on his experience with echinacea in the treatment of a severe case of anthrax. I know Dr. Lewis personally, he being my friend and classmate at college in 1872. The experience I have derived from the use of echinacea in septic conditions fully corroborates the statements of Dr. Lewis and I will vouch for their veracity.
Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.