The rhizome of Corallorhiza odontorhiza, Nuttall. (Nat. Ord. Orchidaceae.) Rich woods in eastern half of the United States. Dose, 1 drachm.
Common Names: Coral Root, Chicken Toe, Crawley, Dragon's Claw.
Principal Constituents.—Has not been analyzed, but probably contains potassium nitrate.
Preparations.—1. Tinctura Corallorhiza, Tincture of Coral Root. (Coral root, 4 ounce; Dilute Alcohol [or Whisky] 16 fluidounces.) Dose, 1 to 2 fluidrachms.
2. Infusum Corallorhiza, Infusion of Coral Root. (Crushed rhizome, ½ ounce; Boiling Water, 16 ounces). Dose, 1 to 2 fluidounces.
Specific Indications.—General prostration, malaise, hacking cough, loss of appetite, reduced weight, pleuritic pain, bronchial irritation and low pyrexia.
Action and Therapy.—This is the most perfect diaphoretic we know of, duplicating the natural process of perspiration when given in small doses, and increasing the watery contents when administered in hot infusion. It even excels asclepias, is pleasant to the taste, acts kindly upon the stomach, and lacks the heart depressing qualities of jaborandi. It was once largely used in fevers. Its principal use is in subacute inflammatory disorders of the respiratory tract, being especially valuable in the declining stages of bronchopneumonia, of a low but inactive type, with much depression, prostration after cough or effort, copious, heavy expectoration, and general debility. For convalescence from such states and after bronchitis, la grippe, and pneumonia it is an ideal remedy. In those of a phthisical build-the hippocratic type, much hacking cough, loss of weight, lack of appetite, poor digestion, pleuritic pains, and general prostration yet not actually consumptive, it is one of the best tonics we have ever employed. The appetite is the first to respond, cough and pain cease, there is better action of the kidneys and skin, and general recuperation gradually takes place. For dry bronchial irritation, with wheezing, tightness of the chest, paroxysms of irritable cough, together with a dry or inactive skin, coral root is extremely effective. In respiratory debility corallorhiza acts slowly but surely. A hot infusion promotes menstruation and suppressed lochia and relieves after-pains, but as many other agents operate equally as well this agent is too expensive to use for these purposes. It is to be regretted that its extreme scarcity makes corallorhiza an almost unobtainable drug.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.