Oxydendrum. Oxydendrum arboreum.

Botanical name: 

Synonyms—Sour wood, Sorrel tree, Elk tree.


Pills are made of the solid extract containing from three to six grains.
Specific oxydendron, dose from one to twenty minims.
The Wm. S. Merrell Co. make a normal tincture of which from one to ten minims may be given in water.

Specific Symptomatology—It is indicated where there is dropsy, especially in aged people, or general dropsical effusion, accompanied with loss of vital tone. Also where there is deficient renal action, accompanied with painful urination. Urinary irregularities of the aged.

Therapy—This agent has been used in dropsy in a few cases with marked results. It is not only used in anasarca and ascites, but also in pleuritic effusion, hydropericardium and hydrocele. It improves the general condition on which the dropsy depends, increasing the action of the heart and arterial tension. Dr. A. W. Smith reports several cases in which the general dropsy was relieved in a very short time. The remedy improved the general nutrition in each of the cases, overcame difficult breathing and increased the power of the heart.

In the dropsy of the aged, that follows prostrating disease, oxydendron is indicated. It is indicated where there is deficient renal action, especially if there is some painful urination, and in the urinary irregularity of old people. It is not easy to define that class of cases of dropsy in which it is specific as in some it works beautifully and in others it is ineffective.

Dr. N. A. Graves says that where there is general edema from dropsy of the heart, liver or kidneys—general dropsy—he has had good results. He gives from twenty to thirty drops of the specific medicine every four hours and could give even larger doses. He uses it with aralia, occasionally. Where there is dropsy of the serous cavities, he thinks it is not the best remedy.

Dr. Manley gives sour-wood with other remedies in the dropsy of diabetes, and believes that it improves the general condition of the patient. One of our doctors said his grandfather, an old botanic physician, gathered the leaves and boiled them in water for three hours. He would then strain the decoction and reduce the fluid until it was entirely evaporated. He would roll it up in form of pills and give one of them three or four times a day, improving his cases of dropsy very generally.

This remedy is considered valuable in the treatment of prostatic disease, chronic enlargement of the prostate, with irritation at the neck of the bladder, urinary irritation from other causes, especially the urinary difficulties of the aged. It is a diuretic, more or less active in proportion to the size of the dose. It promotes the absorption and elimination of dropsical effusions in a characteristic manner, especially those of the abdominal cavity. Given to patients suffering from protracted fever, it will make a cooling and pleasant drink, which promotes the elimination of all of the excretions and restores secretion. Felter and Lloyd state that when a frequent desire to urinate is accompanied with a burning pain at the urethral outlet, the urine passed in drops and mixed with a little blood, it is an especially valuable remedy.

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.