Polymnia. Polymnia uvedalia.

Botanical name: 

Synonyms—Bearsfoot, leaf-cup, yellow leaf-cup.

Extractum Uvedaliae Fluidum, Fluid Extract Uvedalia; not miscible with water. Dose, three to fifteen drops every three hours, gradually increased.
Specific Medicine Uvedalia. Dose, two to ten drops.

Physiological Action—Given in large doses polymnia acts as an emeto-cathartic, producing painful evacuations, with severe emesis, and if pushed produces gastro-intestinal inflammation, dizziness, convulsions and even death.

Specific Symptomatology—It is indicated in conditions of inactivity of the organs, with passive fullness of the circulation of the parts, or of surrounding tissues which may be of a sodden inelastic character. Inactive engorgements, or stagnations of the circulation, are general conditions pointing to the use of this agent. Scudder gave as its indications full, flabby, sallow tissues, impaired circulation, glandular enlargement and other impaired functions from lack of tone.

Therapy—The older writers of our school lauded this remedy as of much importance in rheumatism. Others spoke of it favorably in the same class of cases in which phytolacca is used. Dr. Pruitt used it in the form of an ointment, in inflammation of the mammary glands, and other glandular inflammations, especially if abscesses had formed. The specific influence of the remedy, however, as agreed by all writers, is upon enlargement of the spleen. This gland is influenced in chronic malarial conditions, in scrofulous diseases and in tubercular difficulties. It is upon the malarial form of splenic enlargement that it acts to the best advantage.

It should be used freely internally, and externally the hot infusion must be applied. Other marked indications may be met with selected remedies.

It is indicated also in the glandular and structural hypertrophy of other organs. A chronically enlarged inactive engorged liver, with tenderness on pressure, is quickly and satisfactorily cured by it. A womb enlarged from subinvolution or other hypertrophy, yields satisfactorily to its influence.

It has been used in mastitis or "caked breast" so-called, to excellent advantage, but its prolonged use may suppress the secretion of milk. It is an active stimulant to the removal of waste in all the conditions mentioned. The removal of chronic inflammatory deposits stimulates the capillary circulation to better action and relieves the aching pain and soreness common to such conditions.

It has been praised most highly in the treatment of rheumatism, lumbago, myalgia, and other painful conditions dependent upon the imperfect removal of the products of retrograde metamorphosis. It is a remedy of much value in scrofulous conditions with glandular indurations or abscess.

Its external application has relieved many cases of severe spinal irritation, especially if present with the general conditions named above as indicating the use of this agent.

Dr. Scudder gave the following list of disorders, in which it had a direct influence: Chronic enlargement of the spleen, chronic enlargement of the liver, chronic hypertrophy of the cervix uteri, chronic gastritis, chronic metritis with hypertrophy, uterine subinvolution and general glandular enlargement. The remedy, no doubt, stands at the head of spleen remedies, but it is not used as it should be, the younger physicians paying but little attention to it. It influences all of the ductless glands.

Dr. Felter says, when dyspepsia depends upon a sluggish circulation in the gastric and hepatic arteries, and is attended with full, heavy, burning sensation, in the parts supplied by these arteries, this is our remedy. It has benefited leucocythemia . lts use should be persisted in for weeks. A common cause of failure in the treatment of chronic diseases is the lack of persistency.

The solid extract of polymnia is readily incorporated with any ointment base, and the external use of the agent over enlarged glands is often as important as its internal use.

Scudder claimed that it was the best hair tonic in the materia medica, in the proportions of four ounces of the tincture with twelve ounces of bay rum, to be rubbed thoroughly into the scalp. A good combination would be castor oil three parts, glycerine one part, lanolin three parts, extract uvedalia two parts, melted and rubbed together and cooled. This should be rubbed thoroughly into the roots of the hair. The addition of a very small quantity of cantharides improves this in stubborn cases.

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.