Pulsatilla. Anemone pulsatilla.

Botanical name: 

Synonyms—Pasque-flower; meadow-anemone; wind flower.

Extractum Pulsatillae Fluidum, Fluid Extract of Pulsatilla. Dose, from one-half to two minims. Precipitates upon addition to water.
Extractum Pulsatillae, Extract of Pulsatilla. Dose, one-sixth of a grain.
Tinctura Pulsatillae, Tincture of Pulsatilla. Dose, from five to thirty minims.
Specific Pulsatillae, Specific Pulsatilla. Dose, from five to twenty drops in four ounces of water. Teaspoonful every two hours.

Anemonin. A crystallizable camphoraceous body; volatile, easily converted in the presence of alkalies into anemonic acid. Dose, from one-twentieth to one-fourth of a grain.

The medicinal properties must be extracted from the fresh herb, as the volatile character of anemonin permits of the rapid dissipation of these properties on drying.

Physiological Action—The agent has a direct influence upon the brain and spinal cord. In toxic doses it produces mental hebetude, dilated pupils, coma, and in extreme cases, convulsions. It lessens general sensibility.

It paralyzes to a mild degree both, sensation and motion. It increases, in proper doses, the cerebral functions and imparts tone to the sympathetic system.

In toxic doses it is a heart depressant; it lowers arterial tension, reduces the pulse rate and temperature.

It exercises an influence upon the heart similar to that of cactus, increasing its power, improving the strength and rate of the pulse and slowing the rapid and feeble pulse of nervous prostration.

The influence of full doses of pulsatilla, taken into the stomach and intestinal canal, is that of an irritant. In the mouth it acts like aconite or xanthoxylum, producing tingling, burning and subsequent numbness. It produces a sensation of rawness, and is followed by acid eructations and unpleasant taste. It produces tightness and constriction of the chest, with congestion, chilliness and great weakness. The agent is seldom given in sufficient doses to produce the physiological effects. It operates much more satisfactorily in doses too small to produce such action. It has long been popular with the homeopathists in minute doses.

In studying its medicinal influence on the circulation, pulsatilla is said to act in much the same manner as aconite during fevers, where there are high nervous manifestations. It equalizes the circulation somewhat like belladonna it is thought. Where catarrhal disorders are present, subacute in character with congestion and a free discharge of thick bland, yellow or yellowish green mucous, it seems to act directly, except in chronic catarrhal conditions. This remedy will act satisfactorily only when the precise indications for which it should be prescribed, are present.

Specific Symptomatology—Homeopathic physicians declare fearfulness as an indication, anticipation and dread of calamity, fear of trouble or death; in male patients suffering from sexual excesses, with spermatorrhea, threatened impotency, prostatorrhea, with fear of approaching imbecility. We find it indicated in amenorrhea, with mental perturbation, great apprehension of trouble. Spermatorrhea, with fear of dire results. The remedy is especially efficacious when existing disorders of the reproductive organs are a cause of extreme anxiety.

In addition to the well known indication, I might say that it is of value in disorders of the reproductive organs which depend upon defective innervation, and which are usually accompanied with manifestations of hysteria or melancholia, or which depend upon sexual derangements and menstrual disorders which are accompanied with loss of strength, chilliness, more or less headache, and gastric derangements, such as nausea, eructation of sour water and other nervous manifestations.

Its best influence is exercised in women of blond temperament, particularly of lax muscular fiber, and of mild and yielding disposition, and smaller doses with these patients will produce better results than larger doses with other patients. Some writers claim that it may be given during the progress of inflammation of the mucous membranes, prescribed in much the same manner as aconite would be prescribed, or as cactus is given.

It acts best in the catarrhal stage of inflammation rather than in the initial stage, and in this it differs somewhat from aconite.

Therapy—Its influence is especially directed to that portion of the sympathetic nervous system influencing the reproductive organs. It increases the tone and functional power of these organs, and overcomes irregular, imperfect or deficient action.

It is prescribed in uterine disorders which induce melancholia and hysteria.

It has an apparent antispasmodic or nerve-soothing influence, which renders it valuable in hysteria and general nervous irritation with convulsive phenomena, in the absence of acute inflammation, blood determination or fever. A few physicians laud it highly in hysterical convulsions and in convulsive conditions due to uterine disorders.

In general nervousness due to chronic uterine disorder, with or without hysteria, with despondency and nervous irritation, pulsatilla is an excellent remedy. It may be given in doses of one drop, frequently repeated. In deficient, suppressed and irregular menstruation, with the above symptoms, it is of rare value. It will quickly promote a normal and regular flow.

It is an excellent agent in small, frequent doses when the mental conditions above named are present during pregnancy, with a general relaxed and atonic condition. Its influence in these cases is enhanced by combination or alternation with cimicifuga. It certainly improves the general condition and conduces to a normal and easy labor.

It is needed during the pregnant state. to correct hysterical manifestations and urinary irregularities. It acts better in the catarrhal stage of inflammation rather, than in the initial stage.

In nervous exhaustion, with feeble pulse and deficient capillary circulation, cold extremities and a generally relaxed physical condition, it will serve an excellent purpose combined with other nerve tonics, or in conjunction with the directly indicated remedies.

Dr. Strauss adds two drams to two ounces of water, and gives a teaspoonful every hour in his irritable cases, especially in low forms of headache, light and dull; restlessness, patient rolling and tossing until worn out; a rambling mind with an occipital headache; mild ovaritis; mild neuralgia with irritation of the brain; dragging headache frequently occurring in women.

Pulsatilla is a remedy for nervous headaches, especially if of the anemic variety, characterized by pallor of the countenance—the headaches of the menstrual epoch, of pregnancy, and also those of gastric origin with this specific character. It relieves the constipation, enuresis and dysuria of hysteria and pregnancy. It is excellent for the urinary irregularities of the pregnant condition, with ammoniacal urine, catarrh, pain, tenesmus, burning or sharp shooting pains. Its influence in this is facilitated by hydrangea, gelsemium or the benzoate or salicylate of lithium.

Where there are menstrual disorders of any kind, if there be loss of strength, chilliness, headache, gastric derangements, sour stomach, and melancholia, pulsatilla is directly indicated.

Leucorrheal discharges, attended with pain in the loins, weariness, depression of spirits, loss of appetite and general derangement of the nervous system, are also satisfactorily relieved by pulsatilla taken internally in five-drop doses of the tincture three times a day, and continued for a few weeks.

Pulsatilla has been frequently suggested in the treatment of phlebitis. Its indications should be looked for. Dr. Halbert of Nashville gives pulsatilla for the eye complications of diabetes. He finds it a reliable remedy although he does not explain its action.

Our observers in many cases combine pulsatilla with heart remedies and nux for heart trouble, and nervous weakness, especially if there be despondency, or with the alkaline salts in acid stomach. The combinations work very good results if correctly made.

Homeopathists advise pulsatilla in catarrh of the stomach where the patient suffers most when the food is taken, or where the most benefit is derived from taking the food cold. Dr. Huffman prescribed it for the mental symptoms in a patient suffering from chronic catarrh of the stomach. The tongue was heavily coated. It was dark-brown in the center. The tip and edges were red; there was fullness and pain always after eating. Sometimes there was vomiting of the meals. There was a large quantity of mucus in the vomit. This was followed by a burning sensation from an excess of acids.

This case was not permanently benefited by the ordinary treatment. The administration of pulsatilla and echinacea before meals finally completed the cure. Pulsatilla was given in large doses, from eight to twenty minims.

Another writer cured the excessive acidity of these cases with five-drop doses of passiflora, every two hours.

It is given in bronchial and pulmonary irritation and in bronchial asthma.

It is used in eruptive fevers, and in those cases of measles in which the eruption produces excessive irritation of the post-nasal cavity, throat and bronchial tubes.

It has been lauded in rheumatism, but any specific influence in this condition is not ascribed to it.

In gonorrheal epididymitis or in gonorrheal orchitis, the agent may be given with excellent results, especially if there be gleet and stricture. Small and frequent doses are better than large infrequent doses. It speedily relieves the pain and nervous excitability. It is advised for internal use for frost bites.

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.