The root of the Apocynum cannabinum.—U.S.
Preparations.—Whilst the powder or a decoction might be employed, we recommend a tincture for all the uses of this remedy.
Dose.—Of the powder as an emetic, grs. xx. to grs. xxx., repeated; as an hydrgogue cathartic, grs. x. to grs. xv. Of the tincture gtt. xx. to gtt. xxx., with a stimulant infusion, as an emetic; as a cathartic, gtt. x. to drops xv. For its specific use gtt. x. to gtt. xv., to water ℥iv., a teaspoonful every one to three hours.
Therapeutic Action.—The Apocynum is an emetic, cathartic, expectorant, diaphoretic, diuretic, alterative, tonic, and errhine. In full doses it causes nausea, with a reduction of the frequency of the pulse, and a tendency to sleep, vomiting, etc., succeeded by large watery discharges from the bowels with general perspiration.
The medical properties of the Apocynum are various and important. In suitable doses it is a mild, safe and tolerably active emetic. It produces more or less drowsiness, and a reduction of the pulse, which seems not to depend wholly upon the exhaustion which follows from vomiting.
Although this agent is emetic, yet it is not very often used for this purpose, being more frequently employed as an aperient and hydragogue cathartic, diuretic, and in small doses as a tonic. It is not unfrequently prescribed by physicians in the country as a substitute for the ipecacuanha. It may be used in the early stages of intermittent and remittent fevers, as well as in many other cases in which emesis is indicated.
If administered in doses not sufficiently large to cause vomiting, and repeated every two or four hours, it acts as an efficient hydragogue cathartic. It is by no means an unimportant agent in dropsy; we have used it in many cases of hydrocephalus with unequivocal advantage, and in hydrothorax and ascites, much benefit may be expected from its employment. As a hydragogue cathartic, diuretic, diaphoretic, and tonic it seems to gjve promise of becoming a highly valuable therapeutic agent in this class of diseases; indeed there are those who regard it almost as a specific. When combined with the bitartrate of potassa and the spearmint, its efficacy is increased. In this form it should be given so as to keep up frequent purging, for several days in succession. Its tonic properties counteract to a great extent the debility which might otherwise arise where used so profusely. At the same time that it stimulates the intestinal exhalants, it promotes active diuresis and absorption.
Specific Indications.—The tissues are full, as if infiltrated with water—oedema. Uterine hemorrhage, with full, relaxed uterus. Hemorrhage from the lungs, with sense of fullness and oppression.
Specific Uses.—It may be used in any disease having the characteristic symptom—watery fullness of tissue, oedema. It is especially the remedy in many cases of dropsy, removing the fluid and curing the diseased condition upon which the dropsical effusion depended. It is a prominent remedy in rheumatism presenting this symptom. In uterine hemorrhage with oedema of feet, or in hemorrhage of the lungs with same symptom, I should not think of another remedy.
The American Eclectic Materia Medica and Therapeutics, 1898, was written by John M. Scudder, M.D.