Asarum. Asarum canadense.

Botanical name: 

Synonym—Wild Ginger.

Dose, from one-half to one dram of the specific medicine.

Dr. Houts, claims that asarum is a reliable emmenagogue, and perfectly safe. He gives it alone when he needs to restore the menses, and says he needs nothing with it. It has a direct influence on the uterine system. For young girls with their early menstruation and in cases of painful menstruation, he uses an infusion of the fresh root and expects to get satisfactory results. He takes one ounce of the root and lets it steep slowly for one hour in a pint of water and sweetens it. He gives from one to two drams every half hour or hour. He takes from five to ten drops of the fluid extract to a cupful of hot sweetened water and gives this every half hour or every one or two hours as the patient needs. The results have established his confidence.

The stimulant properties of this agent are of a local character, acting directly upon the mucous lining of the intestinal tract, and overcoming flatulence. It is also a stimulant to the secretory function of the skin, acting as a mild but efficient diaphoretic.

In inflammatory conditions it should be avoided, but after the inflammation has abated, it will mildly stimulate the function of digestion and food appropriation.

The late Dr. R. S. Newton was quite enthusiastic concerning the action of this remedy. Other of our writers believe that it has a more important place than that given by most of our authors. It is advised in strong infusion, freely given, as a stimulating diaphoretic.

Therapy—In acute nasal catarrh, where the discharge has not appeared, or has been suppressed, with the usual symptoms of headache and general oppression, muscular aching and general discomfort, it is given with good results. Inflammation of the conjunctiva, from taking cold, where there is profuse and constant lachrymation, will be relieved by it.

In painful or longstanding spasmodic affections of the pulmonary region, as in whooping cough or bronchitis, it will be advantageous and, at the same time, it influences the digestive apparatus, correcting nausea, cholera and diarrhea, which may be present.

Dr. Newton considered its most important influence to be exercised upon the generative apparatus. It is a stimulant to the muscular structure of the womb and to the ovaries, and is abortive and an active parturient, and may be given to good advantage in recent cases of amenorrhea from cold. During labor, when the pains are excessive, and when there is extreme erythism, a few drops of the tincture may be put in half a glass of water and a teaspoonful administered every five or ten minutes. It will induce quiet and render the labor more natural. It works in perfect harmony with small doses of cimicifuga.

In metrorrhagia and in menorrhagia, where the flow is steady but not free, where there are cutting pains in the abdomen and groin, extending down the thighs, with aching in the back, the patient nervous and irritable, this remedy will restore the flow to its normal proportions, will relieve the nerve tension and subdue pain. Violent pain in the small of the back on the approach of the menstrual epoch, which seems to interfere with the breathing, is said to be a diagnostic indication for this remedy.

Where there is melancholy and nervous disturbance in the early part of pregnancy, so that miscarriage seems to be threatened, a teaspoonful of asarum every two or three hours will sometimes restore the patient to normal condition.

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.