Thapsia. Thapsia garganica.
Part Employed—The root.
Physiological Action—The agent is a prompt vesicant and an exceedingly active counter-irritant. In certain cases it is singularly valuable, but the plaster must be an active one and its full influence should be obtained in from four to six hours. If it acts mildly and slowly much less good will result.
There is no pain, but in most cases an intolerable itching and if the surface is not scratched or irritated there is no spreading. It is sometimes necessary to cover the surface to prevent irritation, which may be allayed in a short time by the application of a starch paste, or by the use of the glycerole of starch.
Therapy—In stubborn, bronchial disorders Thapsia has produced immediate and permanent benefit. It is valuable in chronic lung troubles, especially where there is effusion or probability of suppuration. If the plaster is of French manufacture, six hours is a sufficient time in which to obtain its full effects, but if of American manufacture, it will require a longer time, but may be equally satisfactory. It can be relied upon wherever a strong, revulsive influence is required, and can be used in chronic inflammation of any organ, or, in fact, wherever cantharides is indicated this remedy will induce better results, without the drain upon the system induced by the latter named agent.
The application of a thapsia plaster will often cure persistent cases of sciatica, even when other measures have signally failed. in neuralgia of any kind it is of service and will be found beneficial in some cases of muscular rheumatism.
Because of the exceedingly irritating character of this agent, but little use has been made of it internally, and yet some excellent authorities claim much benefit from its action. Dudgeon speaks of this agent as a remedy for certain urinary conditions. He says it is a powerful anti-hemorrhagic and has a marked influence in correcting the uric acid diathesis. Rademacher prescribed thirty drops of the tincture five times daily in a case of dropsy with haematuria, both conditions disappearing promptly with the discharge of a large quantity of renal sand with the urine which was greatly increased in amount. A pupil of Rademacher gave the same dose to a woman suffering from strangury. She could not retain the urine, which was turbid, containing a red sediment and there was constant pain in the urethra, a cure resulting within one week.
Jousset has found the remedy useful in many forms of hemorrhage. Herr used it with success in the painful urination of old people, both with and without spasmodic retention. It apparently acts more satisfactorily where there is an excess of uric acid and in these cases it deserves further trial.
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.