Piper Methysticum.

Botanical name: 

Syn.—Kava Kava.
P. E.—Root.
N. O.—Piperaceae.
N. H.—South Sea Islands.

Properties: Diuretic.

Physiological action: Piper methysticum has a pungent and burning taste, at first causing warmth and then numbness of the mouth. It will slow the heart's action but increase its strength. At first the blood pressure is increased, later it is lowered. Its action on the sweat glands is very powerful, so much so that it has caused elephantiasis in a few instances where it was used in large doses for some time. Has caused temporary impaired vision. Skin troubles of various kinds have resulted from its use. It has anesthetic effects both locally and internally. Increases secretion of saliva. It will affect peripheral ends of the afferent nerves, at first impairing and then destroying their function. It diminishes and later abolishes reflex action, therefore paralysis is caused by its direct action on the cord. The heart's force is increased by its use but beat is lessened, the result of stimulation of the cardio-inhibitory centers and to a less extent of the ganglia. It stimulates respiration at first then depresses and finally paralyzes it. Its stimulating effect is on the pulmonary peripheries of the vagi and the depressing and paralyzing effect on the respiratory center of the medulla. In small doses it will increase temperature while in large doses it depresses same.

Use: Its main influence is upon the mucous membrane of the genito-urinary apparatus, reducing the quantity of blood in the capillaries, thus reducing inflammation of the parts. One of our best remedies in gleet and gonorrhea in the sub-acute and chronic stages. Increases the power to expel the urine, relieves painful urination and often overcomes strangury. Of value in nocturnal enuresis of the aged and of children the result of muscular weakness, and in chronic cystitis. It improves digestion, correcting torpidity of the entire digestive tract; of value in gastro-intestinal neuralgia, neuralgic dysmenorrhea or neuralgic pains in labor. Has decided local and general anesthetic effects. Of value in toothache locally and internally. A valuable remedy in some forms of neuralgia, especially in the head anywhere above the ears.

The Materia Medica and Clinical Therapeutics, 1905, was written by Fred J. Petersen, M.D.