Geranium. Geranium maculatum.

Botanical name: 

Synonyms—Cranesbill, Crow Foot, Alum Root.

Tannic acid, gallic acid, red coloring matter, a resinoid.
Extractum Geranii Fluidum, Fluid Extract of Geranium. Dose, from ten to sixty minims.
Specific Medicine Geranium. Dose, from one to ten minims.

Physiological Action—A tonic astringent, with alterative properties. It influences the mucous structures, directly improving their tone and function, overcoming relaxation and debility with a marked improvement of the capillary circulation.

From long experience, I have learned to esteem geranium more highly than any other vegetable astringent, where a simple tonic astringent action is needed. It is palatable, prompt, efficient, and invariable in its effects, and entirely devoid of unpleasant influences.

Specific Symptomatology—Where there are relaxed, atonic or enfeebled mucous membranes, in the absence of inflammatory action; debilitated conditions remaining after inflammation has subsided; excessive discharges of mucus, serum or blood with these conditions, this agent is indicated.

Therapy—In sub-acute diarrhoea, geranium exercises an immediate influence, a single full dose producing a marked impression and improving the tone of the entire gastro-intestinal tract from the first. In chronic diarrhea, no matter how stubborn, it may be given with confidence if the specific conditions are present. In doses of ten drops every two hours, diarrheas of the above described character will promptly subside. Active inflammation must be subdued before the agent will act readily. It is the remedy for the general relaxation of the gastro-intestinal tract in childhood, with protracted diarrhea. Any extreme activity, or hyper-activity of the. liver, must be corrected, and this agent will usually do the rest. In catarrhal gastritis, where there is profuse secretion with a tendency to ulceration, with, perhaps a mild hemorrhage, this agent is very useful.

It has been claimed that incipient gastric cancer has been cured with geranium, and there is no doubt that it takes precedence over many other remedies, when a diagnosis between severe gastric ulcer and incipient cancer cannot be made without exploratory operation. Its range seems much wider than that of a simple astringent, as it controls pain and rapidly improves the general condition. Half of a dram may be given every three hours, but smaller doses may do as well.

It has an influence over passive hemorrhage unlike that of other agents, but in violent cases of recent origin it is not the best remedy. The author treated a case of haematuria for nearly two years with absolutely no permanent impression upon the condition. Tubercular bacilli were found in abundance in the blood, which was usually arterial in character and steady in quantity. All of the usual remedies were used. Finally fifteen drops of geranium were given every two hours, and in two weeks the blood was absent and had not returned at the end of three years, except mildly when the patient persistently overworked. The patient improved slowly in general health and so continued after several years.

Others of our writers refer to its use in phthisis pulmonalis. They claim that all the symptoms are retarded by its use, and that it improves the general tone and overcomes night sweats. It may have a subtle influence upon tubercular bacilli or the conditions induced by them, not understood, which would account for its phenomenal action in the conditions referred to.

One physician gives geranium in chronic dysentery by enema. He uses a dram in sufficient warm water, repeating it as often as necessary. If it induces colic, he adds a little colocynth to the enema. It does not check gastric secretions, nor suspend peristalsis. It is a positive tonic to the mucous linings of the entire intestinal tract, especially in colliquative diarrhea.

I used geranium in a case of cirrhosis of the liver with ulceration of the duodenum, with fine results. The disease was held in check for many months.

Dr. Davy treated a case of habitual menorrhagia with geranium associated with trillium. Of all concentrations, he would add one-half to one grain to each dose rubbed up with a little sugar, three or four times a day during the menstrual periods, continuing through the period in bad cases in slightly increased doses.

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.