Brief Contributed Articles.

Botanical name: 

Echinacea in Femoral Abscess.


I consider this one of the most important agents of any school of physicians that is before the profession today. My opinion is based upon the results of my experience.

I desire to give to the readers of THE THERAPEUTIST the history of a case in which I used this remedy with success. I was consulted by a young man who had a very painful knee. He had received an injury some three weeks previous, but he thought he had also been bitten by some insect. This opinion was based upon the presence of two small, open ulcers.

There was some swelling, but no evidence at that time of serious infection. Two days later I was called to his home to find him suffering greatly. The swelling had increased and was involving the thigh. I ordered hot applications to be applied and directed a mixture of echinacea and thuja to be given every four hours. At the same time I gave ¼ grain of calcium sulphate every six hours.

The following day there was no relief. The pain and swelling were extreme and it was evident that an abscess was forming above the external condyle of the femur. This was opened later and about four ounces of pus was evacuated. The cavity was cleansed with sterile water and with a solution of creolin, ½ dram to the quart. Antiphlogistine was applied to the swollen limb. The pus cavity was irrigated twice daily.

Two days later the quantity of pus had increased and had burrowed down the course of the vastus externus muscle. Another incision was made into the most dependent portion of the sac, and the irrigation was continued through the upper incision, down and out through the lower opening. The internal treatment was continued as before.

The leg became almost black, would pit on pressure; the tongue was coated with heavy, yellow fur; there was great pain in the stomach. As I had no other cathartic at hand, I gave some pills which contained one grain of calomel, one-fourth grain of podophyllin and two grains of bicarbonate of soda, every two hours until six doses were taken.

I gave what seemed to me to be the indicated remedy for the pain in the stomach, which immediately gave relief. All the cavities were opened and irrigated. Another physician was called in, but he made no changes, only suggesting that I make the incision to the bone and examine the bone. It seemed that there would be no way to avoid an amputation of the leg. The outlook was, indeed, most unfavorable.

I then decided to try echinacea as an irrigating fluid. I used one dram of this remedy to the quart of water, to be introduced after the cavity had been thoroughly cleansed with sterilized water. When introduced, the apertures were closed and the solution was allowed to remain in the wound at least five minutes.

The pus cavity had increased until it held nearly a gallon of this solution. After the introduction of the first quantity, I found that the pain had abated, that the boy was able to turn himself in the bed, and that the pain and soreness were both relieved. Vomiting, which had been a troublesome symptom, had abated and the stomach retained some food.

The following night the boy slept well. Upon my visit four days after this solution was begun, I found the patient sitting in a chair by the fire. The swelling and soreness had entirely disappeared. All treatment was discontinued except the echinacea and thuja internally, and irrigation with the echinacea solution.

It is now three weeks since I began this treatment and the boy comes to town and desires my permission to go to work. The pus cavity has filled up until it now holds only an ounce.

The boy claims that the last medicine saved his leg. Is he not right?

Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.