The Resinoid Principle of the Root of Cimicifuga Racemosa.
Preparation. — Cimicifugin is prepared in a manner similar to that for obtaining Podophyllin, or Leptandrin. The saturated tincture of the root, is diluted with its bulk of water, the alcohol is distilled off, and the resinoid precipitates to the bottom of the vessel. Or it may be precipitated by alum, acids, etc., but is not so active when thus prepared.
History. — It is a dark-brown substance, sometimes yellow, being lighter-colored after pulverization, of a faint, narcotic odor, and a slightly bitter, feebly nauseous taste, soluble in alcohol. This valuable and useful remedy I have used successfully in medicine since 1835, and had the honor of calling the attention of practitioners to it in 1844, and again in the Western Medical Reformer, of 1846; but it was not received into general use among practitioners until its preparation on a large scale by our indefatigable pharmaceutist, W. S. Merrell, and it is now ranked among the standard and most important Eclectic agents. As I have dropped the name of Macrotys in this work, and adopted the one more universally used, I have also taken the liberty of substituting the name Cimicifugin for that of Macrotin, considering it more correct, and fully as euphonious.
Properties and Uses. — Tonic, alterative, nervine, antiperiodic, with an especial affinity for the uterus. It does not possess the narcotic properties of the root; which, however, is preserved in the hydro-alcoholic extract, or the ethereal extract. Used in intermittent fever, periodic diseases, leucorrhea, menorrhagia, dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, sterility, rheumatism, scrofula, and prolapsus uteri not accompanied with an inflammatory condition of that organ or its ligaments. It has also been used with success in gleet, gonorrhea, dyspepsia, etc., and the tincture has been found an excellent application in chronic ophthalmia.
Cimicifugin may be advantageously combined with any of the uterine tonics and alteratives, as aletrin, caulophyllin, senecin, asclepidin, etc. in diseases of the uterus ; it forms a useful combination, with dioscorein, for flatulency and to remove the tendency to bilious colic ; and made into a pill with equal parts of dioscorein and aqueous extract of Cramp bark, it is highly beneficial in flatulency, bilious colic, cramps of pregnant women, painful dysmenorrhea, spasmodic affections, borborygmi, and in cholera morbus to remove the cramps. As a parturient, it is inferior to the caulophyllin. Dose, from one to six grains three times a day.— In the following, Cimicifuga and Cimicifugin, have been substituted for Macrotys and Macrotin.
The late Prof. T. V. Morrow says of this article :
For several months past I have used the cimicifugin very extensively, in the treatment of a numerous class of female diseases, for the successful treatment of which I had for many years previous been in the habit of depending mainly on the Cimicifuga Racemosa, either in the form of infusion, decoction, or tincture. My confidence in the value of the Cimicifuga Racemosa, I am free to confess, has been such as to induce me to use perhaps a larger quantity of this medicine, for the last sixteen years, than any practitioner in the United States, giving it a more extended range of application in the treatment of disease, and relying with more confidence on its ultimate efficiency, than any of my medical friends. My experience in the use of this article, during the period named, has been mostly confined to cases of leucorrhea, menorrhagia, prolapsus uteri, threatened miscarriage, dysmenorrhea, and barrenness, or sterility, in all of which cases I have obtained the most satisfactory results from the Cimicifuga ; but deeming the Cimicifugin a more convenient form of the medicine for practical use, and believing it to contain the virtues of the article from which it is obtained, I have accordingly used it in similar cases, with results thus far which justify the conclusion that it will be found a satisfactory substitute.
My experience in the use of the Cimicifugin has demonstrated to my mind that there is a slight difference in the modus operandi of this form of the medicine, when compared with the usual forms in which the Cimicifuga Racemosa has been used. That difference principally consists in the increased liability of the latter to produce a heavy, dull, and aching sensation in the forehead, in connection with a feeling of dizziness, while the former appears to manifest a greater tendency to produce aching, and somewhat painful sensations in the joints and limbs generally. I have usually given the Cimicifugin in the form of pills, prepared by adding a small quantity of pulverized Castile soap, enough to make the mass properly adhesive, and forming it into pills of the ordinary size, and giving one every three hours during the day, in all the various cases above mentioned, whenever they have come under my care, since I commenced its use. In nearly all these cases, it has proved singularly beneficial, thus affording the gratifying evidence that it will soon become one of the most popular and valuable articles of the Materia Medica.
Another Professor, in speaking of Cimicifugin, remarks :
"This medicine is, in its effects, essentially the same as the Cimicifuga. It is particularly useful in chronic rheumatic affections, and in female diseases. In leucorrhea and dysmenorrhea, as well as menorrhagia, it is invaluable. It should be used, in order to get its best effects, to the extent of producing its specific constitutional symptoms, i. e. a peculiar dizziness, fullness and dull aching of the head, and more or less aching in the joints. This effect should be produced every day (slightly) during the treatment, until the disease is removed. By this treatment, and the use of hip-baths, leucorrhea will often be cured in a week or ten days, without any other remedy."
The analogous diseases, gleets and gonorrheas, are. greatly benefited, if not speedily cured by it, either alone or in combination with other appropriate remedies.
The Cimicifugin is also a most valuable medicine, especially as an adjunct of other remedies, in all pulmonary, rheumatic and dyspeptic affections, where there is a want of tone in the nervous system.
"It is also a very useful agent in the treatment of small-pox, in which it should be given during the whole course of the disease. It seems to divest it of its malignant character. I have never lost a case of smallpox where this medicine was used thoroughly from the beginning ; and during the winter of 1849 and 1850, I treated from fifty to one hundred cases, some of which were of the most severe confluent kind. The dose is from one-fourth to one grain, to be given once in three or four hours until the proper symptoms of the medicine appear."
Off. Prep. — Pilulae Leonuri Compositae; Pilulae Polygoni Compositae.