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Lycopus.

Botanical name:

The herb of Lycopus virginicus.

Preparation.—A tincture of the root.

Dose.—The dose will vary from the fraction of a drop to ten drops.

Therapeutic Action.—The Lycopus is sedative, tonic, astringent, narcotic, and diaphoretic; it is one of our many valuable indigenous medicinal agents. In a certain class of diseases we regard it as a valuable therapeutic agent; yet it is not extensively employed, and by the majority of practitioners, it is not used at all. The properties which it possesses seem to be happily blended together, and to adapt it to the relief of certain morbid symptoms in a remarkable manner. It is a mild sedative narcotic, feebly tonic and moderately astringent.

The Lycopus may be associated with the Eupatorium and other pectoral agents, and administered in pulmonary complaints with great advantage. In drop doses it frequently proves an admirable remedy for the relief of irritative cough in chronic disease of the lungs.

It is employed in all cases of excessive vascular excitement with great advantage. Its mild and congenial sedative properties render it a remedy of great value in lessening tumultuous action. For this purpose it has been employed in febrile and inflammatory affections; more especially in the various forms of pneumonia. In these diseases its mild sedative and narcotic properties render it peculiarly valuable in lessening general irritation and diminishing exalted organic action. In acute diseases of this character, and in the chronic diseases of the respiratory organs attended with hemorrhage, it is very useful. In those diseases of a chronic character, in cases where there is a frequent hemorrhage or a tendency to hemorrhage from these organs in the incipient forms of phthisis, or even when the complaint is somewhat advanced, and even in the confirmed stages of that complaint, the sedative and tranquilizing influences of the Lycopus, together with its mild tonic and astringent properties, render it an agent of very great importance. It somewhat lessens the momentum of the circulation, the irritability and excitability of the nervous and vascular systems, and hence controls febrile excitement, and lessens the heat of the body; it lessens irritation in the lungs and consequently the harassing and exhausting cough; and if the patient is the subject of hemorrhage from the lungs, it lessens vascular excitement, and the quantity of blood that circulates in the lungs in a given time, and in this way the irritation and the cough; and in the advanced stages of the disease, when the expectoration is copious and debilitating, the sedative, astringent and tonic influences of the Lycopus point to it as an invaluable palliative remedy, if not a curative agent in all such cases. Its properties can not injure under any circumstances of the kind, and it may be resorted to with a strong probability of at least mitigating all the urgent symptoms, and even of effecting a cure.

It may be used in debility and irritability of the nervous system, and in either acute or chronic diseases attended with wakefulness and morbid vigilance. It has been used as a tonic in general debility, and also indigestion, though but seldom used in this case unless attended with pain and distress in the epigastric region. It is used by some to purify the blood in cases of old ulcers, and at the same time the ulcers are to be washed or cleansed with the infusion. It is also simmered in fresh butter, sweet oil or linseed oil, and a little beeswax added to form an ointment, which has been found useful in burns and irritable ulcers.


The American Eclectic Materia Medica and Therapeutics, 1898, was written by John M. Scudder, M.D.



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