Thuja. Thuja occidentalis.

Botanical name: 

Synonyms—Arbor vitae, white cedar.

Colorless volatile oil, soluble in alcohol, with a sp. gr. 0.92, and a yellow, crystallizable, bitter principle called thujin, punitannic (Kowalier) and thujetic acid.
Extract non-alcoholic, Fluid Extract Arbor Vitae, not miscible with water. Dose, from one-fourth to one dram.
Specific Medicine Thuja. Dose, from one to ten drops.

Administration—In the treatment of local conditions involving blood changes, the beginning dosage should be small, and administered two or three times per day. If, however, the condition does not show improvement, especially where there is a cancerous cachexia, the dose may be increased, if necessary, to one dram every two or three hours. In non-malignant cases the dose may be much smaller. In warts and excrescences, two small doses per day will often remove them in a few days, especially if external use of the agent be made also. In conditions of a syphilitic character the cure in all cases will be more protracted.

Physiological Action—No extended systematic study of the physiological action or specific therapeutic application of this agent has been made. It exercises a peculiar influence over abnormal growths and tissue degenerations, especially those of an epithelial character. It was originally advised as a remedy for epithelioma, to be administered both internally and externally. It has been widely used in the treatment of cacoplastic growths, and glandular indurations of a scrofulous character, also of warts, small tumors, and incipient cancers of different varieties, and goitre. It is a remedy for perverted glandular action and certain blood dyscrasias.

Therapy—It has been used extensively by all physicians in the treatment of cancer. It is claimed to exercise an abortive influence over incipient cancer, and to retard the progress of more advanced cases. In extreme cases it will remove the fetor, retard the growth, and materially prolong the life of the patient. It should be given internally and the dosage increased to the extreme limit. It should also be kept in contact with the parts externally or injected into the structures. Epithelioma, condylomata, and all simple cancerous growths should be treated with it.

I had an interesting report from Dr. Caple who injected thuja into a giant-celled sarcoma of the hip joint. He used a teaspoonful in the structure at once, giving the remedy internally, in fifteen-drop doses, with the same quantity of echinacea. The results were more than he had anticipated.

Dr. Jones injected from twenty to sixty drops of thuja into a rectal cancer every second day, and also where there was a cauliflower variety of cancer of the uterus. He believes in this remedy if enough is used. It must be used very freely.

Thuja is given internally for cancer, and for the pains of cancer it is applied externally, when possible, occasionally with good results.

Thuja certainly exercises a direct influence upon the glandular structures and function. In what manner this influence is exercised is unknown, but in any disease that involves the gland, this remedy must be considered, and if there are no contraindications it can be tried, and in many cases as with the ductless glands, it seems to act in a direct manner.

Thuja is directly indicated, first, as a peculiar alterative, in improving diathetic conditions of the blood. Again, it acts directly upon abnormal growths-perversions, such as peculiar conditions of the cell structure of the skin, and other external structures. It is thus indicated in all abnormal growths of the skin or mucous membranes. It exercises a specific influence upon catarrhal discharges, correcting the glandular faults that are to blame for such a condition wherever they may be. It is specific to urinary irritation in aged people especially; also in childhood. It strengthens the sphincter of the bladder.

Dr. Andrews uses thuja in chronic diarrheas, and in the treatment of ulceration of the bowels. In colonic ulceration, he uses it as a high enema once or twice a day.

In a bad case of polyuria with great sensation of debility and weakness of the entire sexual apparatus and some loss of sexual strength, a man of 65 was given five drops of thuja every two hours with complete success.

Thuja is an important remedy in the treatment of spermatorrhea, especially if from exhaustion from over-indulgence, or from masturbation. The patient must avoid alcoholic stimulants. Dr H. C. Noble reported twenty-nine cures out of thirty consecutive cases. In these there was nervous irritation and usually sexual neurasthenia. In those cases in which the mind is seriously depressed by the physical condition, it is of especial service, as it stimulates the nerve forces and delays the discharge until, by general improvement of the entire nervous system, the condition is restored. The influence of the agent will be enhanced by a combination with avena sativa, saw palmetto, or staphysagria, in cases of this character, when Thuja should be given in doses of from two to ten drops, four or five times daily.

As an external application Thuja produces at first a sensation of smarting or tingling when applied to open sores or wounds and it is usually best to dilute it with one, two or four parts of water, or to combine the non-alcoholic extract with an ointment base in the above proportion. This constitutes an excellent mildly antiseptic and actively stimulating dressing to indolent, phagedenic or gangrenous ulcers. It is of much service in bed sores and in other open ulcers dependent upon local or general nerve exhaustion.

In chronic skin diseases of either a non-specific or specific character, it is a useful remedy. Vegetations of all kinds, especially those upon mucous surfaces, will yield to it readily. It is a useful agent in the treatment of post-nasal catarrh, and nasal polypi. A small dose internally four or five times daily, with the application of fluid hydrastis in a spray, will quickly retard or remove such abnormal growths. It is also applicable to sloughing wounds, and to phagedena of the venereal organs. It is a positive remedy in the treatment of senile gangrene. It causes gangrenous surfaces to dry without hemorrhage or other discharge, destroys offensive odors and influences granulation.

Recent reports have been made concerning the very beneficial action of thuja on papilloma of the larynx and affections of that character in the post nasal region. J. Moreau Brown has reported a number of cases satisfactorily treated with this remedy. The agent is applied locally and small doses are given internally. One cases of multiple papilloma was quickly cured.

The same writer uses this agent in the treatment of growths in the posterior nares. He reports the cure of several small tumors polypi and papillomatous growths. He treats chronic enlargement of the tonsils with this remedy and has succeeded in reducing many severe cases to the normal size. He has treated some cases of disease of the turbinated bones with the same remedy. He believes that in all cases of normal hypertrophy, where there is no diathesis, underlying the difficulty, in the post nasal region, this remedy is of inestimable value.

The treatment of adenoids is greatly simplified by making an application first of Monsell's solution to the diseased structures, and then applying thuja. The use of thuja persistently in these cases is as effectual as it is when used in the same manner for syphilitic ulcerations. It may also be given internally.

Professor A. J. Howe cured hydrocele almost exclusively with this agent. The following is the course he adopted as described in his own words: "In an ounce of warm sterilized water pour a dram of Lloyd's Thuja. Mix thoroughly by drawing a quantity into the syringe, and forcing it back repeatedly for a few times, then draw up about two drams of the dilute mixture in the barrel of the syringe to be ready for use. Introduce a large exploring needle into the sac of the tunica vaginalis testis and allow the fluid to escape. Before withdrawing the needle, place the nozzle of the loaded syringe into the needle's open mouth and with a plunge of the piston force the diluted Thuja into the cavity recently distended with serum. Then in order to cause the liquid to enter every crevice of the sac of the hydrocele, pinch and knead the scrotum with the fingers quite vigorously. The needle is then withdrawn. The pain induced is quite considerable for at least half an hour, then the patient goes about his business and usually no additional treatment is required." The above method, with some unimportant variations, has been in general use among our physicians since suggested by Professor Howe, and the result as reported by very many has been satisfactory.

This agent has been used successfully in the treatment of trachoma. The non-alcoholic preparation is combined with vaseline or other unctuous substance and applied once or twice daily.

Dr. Barber uses thuja in conjunctivitis. However severe the case, he had no case especially where there was severe granulation of the lids that was so stubborn but that he could benefit it with a mild solution of thuja. He occasionally used Long's thuja with vaseline with equally good results. The use of thuja in pterygium, is spoken of by a number of our writers. It is applied directly to the growth as often as possible without inducing inflammation. Cures have been effected in many cases.

Dr. Walker for many years has injected small tumors with thuja full strength, twenty drops for the first injection, increasing the subsequent injection every day or two until in some cases he has used as high as half an ounce. An abscess forms and the tumor slowly disappears.

The agent is especially advised in the treatment of urinary disorders of the aged and young. It gives satisfaction in the treatment of nocturnal eneuresis when the difficulty is of functional origin. It is also valuable when there is dribbling of urine, loss of control from paralysis of the sphincter, perhaps, in the aged, where urinary incontinence is present, with severe coughs, lack of control when coughing or sneezing. Sometimes in severe cases of nocturnal eneuresis, it is accompanied with belladonna or rhus aromatica with good results. In old men with chronic prostatitis, with constant dribbling of the urine, this agent is valuable. It relieves the weakness at the neck of the bladder. It tones the muscular structure of the bladder and exercises a desirable influence over the mucous structures of the entire urinary apparatus. It also stimulates secretion within the tubules of the kidneys by its direct influence. upon the epithelial cells.

Where there is irritability of the bladder from the presence of uric acid, or other precipitates in the urine, or where there is chronic rheumatism or gout, the agent is serviceable. It is not advised where there is acute inflammation.

The agent is useful in urethral caruncle, and as a remedy for gleet, when granular urethritis is present. The remedy is valuable in the treatment of disorders of the mucous lining of the bronchial tubes. It is beneficial in ulcerative forms of sore throat, where the secretions are fetid in character. It may be inhaled in chronic bronchitis, bronchorrhea; bronchitis, with offensive discharge; chronic nasal catarrh. Hemorrhage from these. organs is beneficially influenced by its use. A number of cases of spermatorrhea have been cured since our previous report on this remedy.

The balanitis from cystitis with frequent urination, indicates this remedy. It is beneficial when the urine seems to burn or scald in the passing, when there is local soreness in the urethra or neck of the bladder, when the bladder tolerates but little urine at a time, and the patient must rise frequently during the night.

Homeopathists give thuja where the rectum is diseased; where there is a slimy discharge streaked with blood with dark blotches on the adjoining tissues; where there is itching and constant inclination without power to expel feces; sharp sticking pains in the rectum. It will act with collinsonia or hamamelis in this.

In cases of verucca on the genitalia or rectum, this agent is advantageously used, especially if preceded by a mild escharotic. In prolapsus of the rectum, especially in cases depending upon paralysis, this agent, may be diluted and injected. It has stimulating properties, which restore the vitality of the part. It is good for fissure of the rectum with piles.

The injection of thuja into nevi that are of a non-pulsating character, or those not too venous in structure, has been recently practiced.

In bulging nevus the remedy has been used advantageously. One case was cured in three weeks, where the nevus looked like a ring worm, and was of a fiery red color. One physician cured a case of ulcerated stomach with thuja in four-drop doses, alternated with sub-nitrate of bismuth every two hours. This patient had pain extending through the stomach to the back. No physician gave him ease. Anything warm produced great distress. The case was cured in a few weeks.

Another physician advised the agent in pruritus, whether of the anus or vulva, especially when accompanied by fissures. He uses it in warts, tumors and excrescences. He uses it for chapped and rough hands, so troublesome in the spring and fall.

Another physician reports a case of extreme prolapsus of the bowel in a child which he cured with a five per cent solution of thuja. A wet dressing was applied and a small quantity of the remedy was injected into the bowel. A greatly enlarged and relaxed uterus in a woman of fifty with severe metrorrhagia was treated with injections of thuja. The remedy should be diluted in these cases.

A doctor reports the cure of a urinary fistula by giving two drops of thuja internally every four hours.

The use of the oil of thuja in confluent smallpox given internally and applied externally was advised by Dr. Busbee who had an extensive and successful experience with it in these cases.

Thuja applied to the tonsils and crowded into the crypts is an excellent remedy. I am using it in syphilitic throat ulcerations and if I precede it once or twice with an application of Monsel's solution it has proved invariably satisfactory so far.

Thuja will prove an excellent remedy for all forms of sore mouth, especially if combined with echinacea and a mild antiseptic astringent.

Dr. Gibbs reports a case where a number of varicose enlargements about the ankle of an old washer woman broke down. He made a 50 per cent solution of thuja and applied it freely with bandages, covering the whole with roller bandages, and produced a cure.

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.