A Summary and Comparison of the Action of Heart Remedies.

ON THE NERVOUS SYSTEM Acts on the inhibitory nerves; does not impart nerve tone, or increase nerve force. Is a true nerve tonic, especially to the sympathetic nervous system; acts on the cardiac plexus; materially improves nutrition. Does not act upon or through the nervous system. Influence upon the nerve centers not determined; acts through the vagi. Action on nervous system not marked. It seems to increase nerve force to a degree.
ON THE HEART Acts directly on the heart muscle as a stimulant, increasing heart action. Is neither nutritional, or a tonic; overdoses decrease nutrition; contained too long during heart strain, causes collapse. Though the inter-cardiac ganglia it gives actual nourishment to the heart muscle. Raises blood pressure through increase of musculo-motor energy. In feebleness, slows the heart, but is never depressant; relieves irritability. Acts on the heart muscle by irritation of the fibrillae by direct contact. Imparts no strength; increases force and raises blood pressure, sometimes excessively. Acts permanently but mildly as a cardiac tonic. Increases heart power and raises blood pressure. A mild heart tonic; increases muscular power permanently. It acts on the walls of the arteries. It increases arterial tension to a degree.
ON THE PULSE Changes, at once, the character and frequency of the pulse beat. Influence not always uniform. Increases the size of the pulse beat, and reduces the number, especially when rapid and feeble. Lessens the number of beats, but increases their strength; overcomes irregularity. Its influence may be immediate. Increases the size and strength of the pulse, and slows a rapid, feeble pulse. Increases the size, strength and force of the beat; regulates the rhythm, slows a feeble pulse, in fevers accompanied with dropsy.
ON THE RESPIRATION It relieves dyspnea by increasing heart action and overcoming capillary stasis in the lungs. It relieves cardiac dyspnea, especially if from endocarditis, or from pulmonary congestion, from weak heart. Increases respiratory power, restores normal respiration. In over-doses the respiration is the last disturbed. Removes oppression in the chest; causes deep, regular breathing. Overcomes dyspnea from mitral insufficiency. It gives freedom to the breathing when oppressed from effusions. It facilitates the oxidation of the blood.
ON THE STOMACH AND BOWELS Is a gastric irritant; does not nauseate nor induce diarrhea. Exercises a soothing influence on the stomach; relieves palpitation from gastric irritation; induces no gastric, nor intestinal disturbance; imparts functional tonicity to all organs. But little influence on the gastro-intestinal tract; rarely over-doses induce vomiting and diarrhea. A mild gastric tonic, increases the appetite and digestion; induces no irritation. In active doses, it is a violent prostrating emeto-cathartic, inducing extreme hydragog action, and persistent gastro-intestinal irritation.
ON THE KIDNEYS Increases the flow of water actively, in proper doses; renal secretion not greatly improved. Over-doses may cause suppression. Action not marked only as the heart's action is improved. Acts directly on both secretion and excretion, causing at times marked diuresis. Action not always uniform. Is secondarily diuretic, stimulates excretion and secretion to a degree; quite active in dropsy, inducing no depression. Acts directly, most freely; acts indirectly through influence on the heart. Induces large quantities of limpid urine; solids not greatly increased.
THERAPEUTIC USES Acts at once in shock, and in sudden heart failure, increasing heart action promptly. Used in surgical shock, or shock from injury; in asphyxia and in poisoning; in heart failure from prostrating disease, as in the latter stage of pneumonia. Is of much value in selected cases of valvular incompetency. Is not so much an emergency remedy, as it requires some time for its action. Used in prolonged or progressive heart weakness; in overstrained heart; in bicycle and cigarette heart; in masturbators' palpitation; in sexual and general neurasthenia. Acts best in functional derangements. Is an emergency remedy in heart failure, but inferior to digitalis. Indicated where heart lacks contractile power. Acts well in cardiac asthma, atheroma, and fatty degeneration; in goitre, in the weak heart of Bright's; and in functional derangements. Its influence continues long after the agent is stopped. Relieves irritable heart action; restores strength to the heart after failure from shock, or protracting disease; used in cardiac dropsy and in functional derangements. Is not an emergency heart remedy, except in failure during extreme dropsy and in hydropericardium. Its influence on the heart is slowly induced; is valuable in progressive heart weakness, especially in protracted fevers. It is a most reliable remedy for dropsy.
SYNERGISTS Action enhanced by strychnin, by glonoin, and occasionally by atropin and alcohol. In chronic heart disease, by general tonics. Action improved by tonics which improve nutrition, by general upbuilding remedies, and by avena sativa. Acts well with carefully selected tonics; facilitates the appropriation of iron in anemia accompanied with heart weakness. Nux vomica, hydrastis, collinsonia, and iron increase its influence, as well as the usual gastric tonics in gastric derangements. Action enhanced by cactus, by ordinary tonics and iron. Strychnine arsenate assists materially in some cases. For its influence on dropsy, it is given usually alone.

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.