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Strophanthus Hispidus.

Botanical name:

Syn.—Strophanthus.
P. E.—Mature seed.
N. O.—Apocynaceae.
N. H.—In the tropical regions.

Properties: Cardiac tonic.

Physiological action: Its action is upon the muscular tissues, it is claimed by direct contact of the drug through the blood. As more blood passes in a given time through the heart than through any other part of the body it appears reasonable that it should have a much more powerful action on the muscular structure of this organ. It acts powerfully on all striped muscles, increasing their contractile power and in toxic doses it is the only heart poison that will paralyze the heart in systole. It paralyzes muscular tissue, striated and non-striated, and once the contractility is destroyed, no stimulus will again excite it. It does not influence the vaso-motor -constrictors. Given in small doses arterial tension is increased, the pulse becoming stronger and slower. In toxic doses systolic contractions become very brief and frequent, and death finally results. Respiration continues after heart has ceased to beat. In physiological conditions its diuretic effect is not certain; while in pathological conditions the pulse will become much stronger and more regular and less frequent. In pathological conditions it promotes diuresis and removes dropsical effusions, by stimulating the heart muscles, thus increasing the blood pressure in the kidneys.

Indications: In any irregularity of the heart's action, frequent and feeble cardiac contraction, tremulous pulse, caused by muscular weakness and lack of contractile power of the heart.

Use: In small doses it increases arterial tension. Its action is not well understood but it seems to have an irritating influence directly on the muscles of the heart, perhaps by contact through the circulation as stated before. It increases the blood pressure in the kidneys, through its action on the heart muscles. Acts on the capillary circulation and the secreting and excreting functions of the kidneys. Thus we can explain its diuretic effect. Strophanthus does not accumulate in the system as digitalis does. We think of it in disturbance of compensation, fatty degeneration of the heart, exophthalmic goitre, cholera, to stimulate the heart's action; in praecordial pain, palpitation, dyspnea, and valvular diseases with regurgitation. It is a diuretic and therefore useful in. Bright's disease, anasarca and edema. Good in gradual heart failure, especially in the aged. Acts well in pain resembling those of angina, in which dyspnea is marked. Useful in some cases of asthma and whooping cough. For weak heart in children it is a good remedy.


The Materia Medica and Clinical Therapeutics, 1905, was written by Fred J. Petersen, M.D.



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