The fresh plant Pulsatilla nigricans.—Europe.
Preparation.—A tincture of the fresh plant gathered whilst in flower.
Dose.—The dose of Pulsatilla will vary from the fraction of a drop to two drops.
Specific Indications.—The patient is nervous and despondent, cries easily; the pulse is small and frequent, but soft; the extremities cold; menses tardy and scanty, the patient feeling uneasy and depressed at this time; sense of fullness and weakness in back and hips at menstrual period.
Therapeutic Action.—Pulsatilla lessens the frequency of the heart's action by strengthening its innervation, acting in this way very much like Cactus. The circulation is feeble with frequent pulse, and this remedy gives increased strength, and thus diminished frequency of movement. It strengthens sympathetic innervation in all parts, but more especially to the pelvic viscera, and in this way, probably, exerts its influence upon the reproductive apparatus. It also exerts a direct influence upon the cerebrum, influencing the anterior and upper lobes, as well as the sensory ganglia—the mind and automatic functions.
Pulsatilla is largely employed to relieve the condition known as nervousness. The patient can not command the functions of the brain, and is uneasy and restless. Sometimes with these symptoms there will be severe headache, which the Pulsatilla relieves.
We use it to relieve the head-symptoms that are met with in spermatorrhoea, prostatorrhoea, and other functional wrongs of the reproductive apparatus of either sex. The patients' fears are a source of continuous uneasiness and suffering. They fear they will die suddenly, or early in life; they fear they will lose memory, and the ability to think well; they fear they will lose procreative power, and losing this, will have lost the "chief end of man."
This nervousness gives certain unpleasant heart symptoms, relieved in some cases by Pulsatilla, in others by Cactus. The patient complains of oppression, trembling, uneasy sensations in the praecordium, and a feeling as if the machinery of life would stop. The circulation is feeble, and the pulse frequent and irregular.
A large field for its use will be found in the many unpleasant symptoms which arise from wrongs of the uterus and ovaries. These may be local or reflected to other parts, or may influence the brain and mind. But wherever they are, the common word "nervousness" describes them. Abdominal and pelvic tremors, palpitation, uneasy muscular contractions, formications, weight, dragging fullness, frequent desire to urinate, etc., etc.
Pulsatilla is one of the most certain emmenagogues when, with such symptoms as have been named, there is arrest of, or tardy appearance of the menses. We use it alone, or in many cases associate it with the Macrotys.
It is an excellent remedy in obstetrical practice to relieve the groundless fears of the pregnant and parturient woman. We can hardly concede the homoeopathic teaching that "it will turn the child in preternatural labor." But by rectifying wrongs of innervation and relieving the mind, it renders labor easier.
The American Eclectic Materia Medica and Therapeutics, 1898, was written by John M. Scudder, M.D.