Properties and Uses of Cimicifuga Racemosa.

Botanical name: 

Selected writings of John King.


Originally an aboriginal and domestic remedy, the therapy of Cimicifuga was most largely developed by Eclectic physicians. Dr. King introduced it as a remedy for acute rheumatism as early as 1844, and for this purpose it has been widely employed, not only in our practice, but in that of the regular school. The same may be said of its use in chorea and disorders of the reproductive organs of women, in all of which it is conceded to be a remedy of first importance. This article is taken to illustrate the manner in which Professor King presented the therapy side of drugs in the various editions of the American Dispensatory. The selection is taken from one of the older editions.—Ed. Gleaner.

PROPERTIES AND USES OF CIMICIFUGA RACEMOSA (Macrotys Racemosa, Black Cohosh, Traubiges Wanzenkraut).—This is a very active, powerful, and useful remedy, and appears to fulfill a great number of indications. It possesses an undoubted influence over the nervous system, and has been successfully used in chorea, periodical convulsions, epilepsy, nervous excitability, asthma, pertussis, delirium tremens, and many spasmodic affections. In chorea it has been administered in teaspoonful doses of the powdered root, to be repeated three times a day; I, however, prefer the alcoholic extract, which I have used successfully, both alone and in conjunction with the alcoholic extract of scullcap. In phthisis pulmonalis, cough, acute rheumatism, neuralgia, scrofula, phlegmasia dolens, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, leucorrhea, and other uterine affections the-saturated tincture is the best mode of exhibition, and which exerts a therapeutic influence not to be obtained from the impure resin, termed cimicifugin. The tonic and antiperiodic virtues of this root are well marked in remittent and intermittent fevers, and I have found it very useful in other febrile and exanthematous diseases, especially among children where there exists a strong tendency to cerebral difficulty. It uniformly lessens the force and frequency of the pulse, soothes pain, allays irritability, and lessens the disposition to cerebral irritation and congestion. In febrile diseases especially it frequently produces diaphoresis and diuresis. In doses of one fluidrachm of the tincture, repeated every hour, it has effected thorough cures of acute conjunctivitis, without the aid of any local application. As a partus accelerator it may be substituted for ergot; half a, drachm of the powdered root may be given in warm water, every fifteen or twenty minutes, until the expulsive action of the uterus is induced, and which it seldom fails to bring on speedily and powerfully; or half a fluidrachm of a saturated tincture of the root may be given in the same manner. After labor it will be found effectual in allaying the general excitement of the nervous system, and relieving after-pains. In large doses it produces vertigo, impaired vision, nausea, vomiting, and a reduction of the circulation, but no alarming narcotic effects. I have known three drops of the saturated tincture given every hour for twenty hours to produce symptoms in every way simulating those of delirium tremens. Green tea is said to counteract its narcotic influences.

The saturated tincture of the root is recommended as a valuable embrocation in all cases where a stimulant, tonic, anodyne, and alterative combined is required, as—in all cases of inflammation of the nerves—tic doloureux, periodic cephalic pain, inflammation of the spine, ovarian inflammation, spasms of the broad ligaments, rheumatism, crick in the back or side, inflammation of the eyes, old ulcers, etc. If a more active preparation is desired, add tincture of grains of paradise in proper quantity, and if a more powerful anodyne be useful, add tincture of sulphate of morphia.

Cimicifuga exerts a tonic influence over both the serous and mucous tissues of the system, and will be found a superior remedy in the majority of chronic diseases. In all cases where acidity of stomach is present, this must first be removed, or some mild alkaline preparation be administered in conjunction with the remedy, before any beneficial change will ensue. Dose of the powder, from a scruple to a drachm, three times a day; of the saturated tincture, from five to sixty drops; of the decoction, from two to four fluid-ounces. The saturated tincture of this article was recommended by me in acute rheumatism, in the New York Philosophical Journal, as early as in the year 1844; to be given in doses of ten drops every two hours, gradually increasing to sixty drops, or until its action on the brain is observed, which action must be kept up for several days; it almost always removes the disease permanently, especially if it is a first attack. The fluid extract of Black Cohosh may be used in all cases where the article is indicated; its dose is from half a fluidrachm to two fluidrachms.—JOHN KING, American Dispensatory.

The Biographies of King, Howe, and Scudder, 1912, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M. D.