Brief contributed articles.

Botanical name: 

A Specific Indication for Cocculus Indicus.


I have made one good proving lately, namely of cocculus indicus. In the first edition of Ellingwood's Materia Medica and Therapeutics the author says "it is suggested in all atonic conditions of the stomach, especially if due to lack of nerve power," etc.

The case, a lady living in the other end of the city, came to me recommended by her mother (whom I had attended in a severe attack of gall-stones colic and had relieved her immediately with a ten minim dose of dioscorea in hot water). The patient had been under the care and observation of a regular physician for a number of years who diagnosed the case as gastric ulcer and refused to give any medicine whatever, only put her on a rigid diet and had her in the hospital at one time for close observation, evidently expecting a perforation and anticipating an operation. She complained of a severe pain in the epigastric region at intervals of a week or few weeks accompanied by a desire to vomit. Tongue coated slightly, indented by the teeth. Very severe headaches which nothing seemed to relieve until she would lie down for several hours, when they gradually disappeared. She could not ride on a train, street car or other conveyance without getting one of these severe headaches. No history of coffee-ground vomit or tarry stools during an attack. Constipated as long as she could remember. I put her on gradually ascending doses of sodium bromide, with tincture nux vomica, 20 drops; sp. chionanthus, 1 dram; aromatic cascara, 4 drams; to 4 ounces of water. Occasionally used sodium sulphate or bicarbonate instead of the bromide. She improved a little but her headaches were as severe as ever. I prescribed:

Caffeine citrate dr. ½
Phenacetin dr. 1
Sodii bicarb dr. 1
Pulv. aromat grs. 12

M. et. ft. chartae No. 12.

Sig.: One powder when the headache comes on. If not relieved in two hours take another.

She never had to take more than one powder; but still her headaches always returned as soon as she rode on a car. I thought I was up against it, and was willing to try most anything. A homeopathic writer says of cocculus indicus among other things:

"Nausea or vomiting from riding in a carriage, boat or railroad car; seasickness, car-sickness or even looking at a boat in motion; sick headache from carriage, boat or train riding; loss of appetite with aversion to food." I procured some from Halsey Bros., Chicago, and gave her: Cocculus indicus, 1 dram; sp. chionanthus, 1 dram; sodii bicarb., 2 drachms; aromatic cascara, 4 drams, to enough water to make 4 fluidounces. M. Sig.: Teaspoonful four times a day. In a short time her headaches were less severe, and now after two months on the above formula she says she can ride on the cars all day without any discomfort whatever and has enjoyed many trips on the suburban lines. She eats anything she likes now.

I diagnosed the case as chronic gastritis on her first visit. Was the diagnosis correct?

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