The dried root of Stillingia sylvatica, Linné (Nat. Ord. Euphorbiaceae). Southern United States growing in sandy soils. Dose, 5 to 60 grains.
Common Names: Queen's Root, Queen's Delight, Silver Leaf, Yaw Root.
Principal Constituents.—Tannin, sylvacrol, an acrid resin-volatile oil; doubtfully an alkaloid, stillingine.
Preparations.—1. Specific Medicine Stillingia. Dose, 1 to 30 drops.
2. Linimentum Stillingia, Compositus, Compound Stillingia Liniment (Stillingia Liniment). (Contains Oil of Stillingia, 1 fluidounce; Oils of Lobelia and Cajuput, each, ½ fluidounce; Alcohol and Glycerin, each, 2 fluidounces.) Dose, 1 to 5 drops.
Specific Indications.—Feeble tissues, with tardy removal of broken-down material, and slow reconstruction of tissues; mucosa red, glistening and tumid, with scanty secretion; skin lesions, with irritation and ichorous discharge; periosteal pain and nodes; syphilitic and strumous cachexia; laryngeal irritation with paroxysmal hoarse croupal cough; post-faucial irritation with cough; irritative winter cough.
Action and Therapy.—Stillingia is an important alterative when a good preparation can be procured. Much of the failure to achieve results with it has come from the use of medicines prepared from old and worthless material. Large doses of an active preparation will cause increased cardiac activity, excessive bronchial secretion, vomiting and bilious purging, with a peculiar gastro-intestinal burning sensation, and more or less resultant prostration. For a long time it has been praised as a remedy for syphilis, and discordant views are expressed by clinicians as to its value as such. We do not believe it antisyphilitic, but it is one of the best alteratives that can be exhibited in syphilitic and strumous cachexias, greatly aiding other and more powerful agents, as the iodide of potassium. In all phases of secondary syphilis—cutaneous syphilides, mucous patches, ulcers, and periosteal pain and nodular and glandular enlargements—it renders good auxiliary service through its depurative action. It must not be misunderstood, however, that any claim to a cure of syphilis by stillingia can be justified by past experience. Nevertheless, it is one of the best of remedies to modify the disease and assist other agents to cure. The best indication for it is the red, shining or glistening mucous membranes with scanty secretion, and the presence of retained debris of tissue waste with tardy repair of structure.
While sometimes used early in syphilis, during the primary stage, we can see no reason for its use before broken-down products begin to appear as it is not per se an antisyphilitic; and experience has shown the drug to be of the greatest value in the secondary stage of the disorder.
Stillingia is valuable, though less so than Stillingia Liniment (see below) in laryngeal irritation and cough, and other irritative states of the bronchi and faucial arch, with repressed secretion. Thus it may be used in chronic laryngitis, chronic bronchitis, the chronic coughs of the strumous individual, where glandular swelling and scanty elimination are evident. It is one of the most effectual drugs we have ever used for the irritable winter cough of the middle-aged and old. Stillingia may be used in chronic periosteal rheumatism, so-called, of unproved origin, but probably syphilitic; and in skin diseases having a remote syphilitic history.
Hare advises its use in chronic constipation to increase intestinal secretion, and for hemorrhoids depending upon "hepatic engorgement and intestinal atony. Likewise for 'pasty-looking', white, 'putty-faced' children, who are anemic or strumous, and who never have any appetite, or are subject to middle-ear trouble and general debility"; the remedy to be used for some time.
Compound Stillingia Liniment. This compound produces both stimulation and relaxation. Locally applied to the throat and chest and given internally on sugar or in syrup this is one of the most perfect remedies for spasmodic and catarrhal croup of young children. A cloth wet with cold water applied around the neck and covered with a dry binder enhances the value of the treatment. Many cases of acute cold and sore throat are speedily arrested by the same treatment. We would be at a loss to treat croup and croupal coughs without this admirable heritage from the Eclectic pioneer physicians. Sometimes spasmodic asthma is promptly checked by it. Pushed too far stillingia liniment causes nausea and vomiting, but it is never necessary to carry it to such a stage. A few drops upon sugar, or in glycerin or syrup, promptly relieve dry, rasping, laryngeal cough, and in chronic bronchial cough with either scant or profuse expectoration it gives splendid results. Stillingia liniment is sometimes used like other embrocations for lame, rheumatic, inflamed, and otherwise painful parts; and with very gentle massage it gives relief to the soreness of the chestwalls from difficult breathing experienced by consumptives, as well as the pains in the limbs so frequently a torture to this class of sufferers.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.