Alstonia. Alstonia constricta.
Synonyms—Australian fever bark, Bitter bark, Alstonia bark.
- Several analyses have been published, which vary somewhat. Alstonine, an amorphous alkaloid, is present in all. Alstonidine and porphyrine are also found.
- The powdered bark, dose from two to ten grains.
- The tincture, dose from ten to sixty minims.
- Specific alstonia from two to twenty minims.
Specific Symptomatology—General malarial cachexia, periodicity, fever with marked intermissions or remissions. Malarial fever, with exacerbations. General atony of the glandular organs, with sallow skin, heavily coated tongue and constipation.
Therapy—This remedy was brought to the notice of the profession by Dr. John M. Scudder. He regarded it superior in its tonic and restorative properties to calisaya bark in certain specific conditions. His indications were as follows: The tongue inclined to be dirty, skin dark and sallow, the urine depositing a sediment, with a general lack of tone.
When the above conditions are present from malaria, it is directly indicated.
It is an antiperiodic, when persisted in, in chronic cases, but for immediate effects, in acute cases, it does not replace quinine. Dr. John Fearn advises it where there are gastro-intestinal disorders, depending upon chronic malaria, such as atonic dyspepsia, lienteric diarrhoea, and dysentery. In these chronic cases, it will sometimes succeed when quinine fails. It is well to prepare the patient for its use by a hot bath, and a diaphoretic. It is a cerebrospinal stimulant and tonic. It acts directly upon the great sympathetic nervous system and stimulates the vital forces, through the improvement of every organic function. It improves the blood-making processes and assists in more perfect elimination by increased tonicity. Dr. King reported the cure of obstinate cases of tertian fever, attended with attacks of severe gastric pain, and irritability, with neuralgia, in the upper extremities. It seems to antagonize the malarial influences and to so completely destroy the malarial plasmodium that the condition is permanently cured.
The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 1919, was written by Finley Ellingwood, M.D.
It was scanned by Michael Moore for the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.