Source and Composition. The berry and root of Phytolacca decandra, (nat. ord. Phytolaccaceae), a N. American plant. It contains a neutral principle, Phytolaccin; also Phytolaccic Acid, tannin, starch, a fixed oil, etc.
- Phytolaccae Fructus, Poke Berry,—Dose, gr. x-xxx.
- Phytolaccae Radix, Poke Root,—Dose, gr. j-v as alterative,—gr. x-xxx as emetic.
- Extractum Phytolaccae Radicis Fluidum,—Dose, ♏j-xxx.
Physiological Action. Phytolacca depresses the heart-rate and the respiration, and is a paralyzer of motion by central action on the spinal cord. It is a slow and depressant emeto-cathartic, also somewhat narcotic and alterative. It irritates the throat and tonsils; produces tetanic convulsions in animals, and death by paralysis of respiration. Several cases of poisoning by this plant have occurred. Its action is antagonized by Alcohol, Ether, Opium, Digitalis. It promotes the absorption of adipose tissue.
Therapeutics. Phytolacca is useful in—
- Mastitis, to arrest the inflammation and prevent suppuration,—the extract may be applied locally and the fluid extract given internally.
- Varicose Ulcers, and other ulcers of the leg,—it promotes healing.
- Eczema of obstinate character,—has been cured by Phytolacca extract applied locally; also Tinea Capitis, and other skin affections.
- Chronic Rheumatism of fibrous tissues,—used internally, it acts efficiently.
- Obesity,—a resinoid preparation of the berries is sold as an "anti-fat" remedy under the name Phytoline.
- Tonsillitis, Diphtheric Sore Throat and Chronic Follicular Pharyngitis,—are affections in which Phytolacca has been much employed with good results, especially when high fever and pains in the head, back and limbs. In true adynamic Diphtheria it will do little good.
A Compend of Materia Medica, Therapeutics, and Prescription Writing, 1902, by Sam'l O. L. Potter, M.D., M.R.C.P.L.