Mistletoe. Viscum album.

Synonym—Viscum flavescens.

Tinctura Visci Albi, Tincture of Mistletoe. Dose, from five to sixty minims.
Extractum Visci Albi Fluidum, Fluid Extract of Mistletoe. Dose, from five to forty minims.
Specific Mistletoe. Dose, from one to ten minims.

Administration—The remedy has failed because the agent used was inert, dried and, perhaps, old. The preparations must be made from the green plant, and the dose must be sufficiently large and frequently repeated. In some cases it may be necessary to repeat the dose every fifteen minutes.

Physiological Action—Several cases of severe poisoning from eating the leaves and berries are on record. It produces vomiting, prostration, coma, contraction of the pupil, with muscular spasm. In other cases it produces tenesmus, bloody stools, convulsions, emesis, catharsis and death.

In its influence both upon the cerebral circulation and upon the womb and reproductive functions it acts similarly to ergot.

In 1880 Dr. Brodnax of Louisiana experimented with this remedy to determine its action on the final pains in labor in animals, especially with cows. The results were so satisfactory that he finally used it instead of ergot almost exclusively.

It has long been known to exercise oxytocic powers. Brodnax believes that it may be given at almost any stage of the labor without harm.

Specific Symptomatology—It is indicated where there is a flow of blood to the brain, and frequent headache and flushing of the face. In hysteria, epilepsy and other nervous diseases; in paroxysms of tearing and rending pains, rheumatic and neuralgic, it is a pain subduer of much power.

With the above conditions it is exceedingly valuable in diseases of women, in amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea and as an oxytocic. Its influence is, perhaps, more marked in labor than when prescribed for any other condition.

Therapy—In its action on the womb it is in some particulars superior to ergot. It is a drug capable of producing intermittent uterine action, as distinguished from the tonic contractions caused by some other oxytocic medicines.

It exerts its full force on the long muscles of the uterus, acting on the fundus mainly, while the cervix remains soft and uncontracted.

It may be given early in labor to give tone to the contractions; does not act spasmodically, but steadily and for a long time; it is not followed by any untoward effect; does not, like ergot, produce hour-glass contractions; has a tendency to keep the womb contracted after the expulsion of the placenta and attachments; does not act on the circular muscles of the womb; is a safe oxytocic, as the effects can be continued for hours with small doses.

Tascher, in 1892, reported the results of his observations of the action of this agent upon the heart. He became convinced that it was an agent of undoubted merit. He has used the fluid extract in doses of from twenty to thirty minims as a remedy for hypertrophy of the heart, with valvular insuf. ficiency, dropsy of the extremities, small weak pulse, dyspnea, and inability of the patient to rest in a reclining position, and witnessed astonishing relief from this agent when others failed. Under its use in the above named conditions the pulse became full, strong and regular, the cardiac dyspnea was arrested, and the patient able to obtain rest in a reclining position. In some cases, when given in large doses, it produced marked diaphoresis, increased flow of the urine and serous discharges from the bowels, results desirable in all cases where dropsy was associated with the disease, and a combination of therapeutic action not readily obtained in any other cardiac tonic.

Its diaphoretic and cathartic action cannot be relied upon in every case, but as a cardiac tonic it is most efficient.

A recent writer has used this remedy in the treatment of chorea. He has treated several cases of long standing and very persistent. He gives five drops of the fluid extract of this remedy every two hours.

In the treatment of several cases of spasm in children, he has used this same remedy as an antispasmodic, and has obtained very good results.

In the latter stages of typhoid fever, when the heart's action is weak, rapid and irregular, with a tendency to collapse, given in conjunction with strychnia, the condition of the patient rapidly improves.

This remedy is recommended for the reduction of blood pressure. A high authority has suggested that one grain of the aqueous extract of this substance be added to ten grains of distilled water and that combined with two ounces of simple syrup, from one to two teaspoonfuls can be given at a dose as indicated in that particular patient. This gives one-fifth of a grain of the extract at a dose, especially recommended where there is arteriosclerosis.

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.