Horace T. Dodge, M.D., Denver, Colorado
There are many varieties of echinacea, and some are inert; but if a reliable preparation of the angustifolia is obtained the results from its administration will be highly gratifying. It is indigenous to Northern and Central United States, and the most desirable specimens are found in Nebraska, the home of the introduce. It has long been used for medicinal purposes, and has been handed down to us from the aboriginal settlers of that section by the backwoods country doctor.
The history of many important preparations of our Materia Medica reveals that they have passed through the same process of crystallization, and much credit is due to the early users of this drug for their efforts in bringing it to the notice of the profession. Dr. Finley Ellinwood (Chicago Medical Times) considers Echinacea of greater value than any single remedy now known. I think myself that it is a remarkable remedial agent in the treatment of all septic conditions, such as Carbolic acid, Baptisia, Mercury bi-chloride, etc., Witch on account of their poisonous action, must be used with caution.
The homoeopathic pathogenesis is as yet undetermined, but we hope to soon have a reliable proving.
From reports received since its introduction the range of therapeutic usefulness is wide indeed, and if the testimony of those who are using it can be relied upon, it will yet displace many antiseptics, anti-ferments and antizymotics. The systemic action of Echinacea is similar to Baptisia, but Echinacea produces no toxic effect. When taken into the mouth there is experienced a burning sensation so long as if remains in contact with the membranes, and when ejected it leaves a tingling, reminding one of the action of Aconite of Pyre-thrum. I attribute to this peculiarity its power to destroy the disease germ. If the plant is gathered at flowering time and care exercised in the preparation of the tincture it will exert a wonderful destroying and purifying influence upon such complaints, which have for their origin bacteria, such as typhoid and typhus fevers, malaria, diphtheria and kindred affections of the mucous membranes, and in the treatment of those diseases of a septic character, as boils, carbuncles, cancerous and erysipelatous conditions, it has been used with flattering results.
It has been recommended in scrofulous and syphilitic affections, eczema and many obstinate skin, bone and blood affections, in wounds of a poisonous nature, caused by the introduction of he virus of serpents and insects into the blood remarkable claims have been made for it, and it is said hydrophobia has been cured and prevented through its use. Some time ago I had a typical case of tetanus, the symptomatology of which was exceedingly rare, and with great faith in the healing properties of Echinacea I began its administration. The patient, I believe, was doing well under its influence, and I insisted that the remedy should be pushed to the limit. The parents, however, through the knowledge of the dangerous fatality attending such cases, become alarmed and requested a consultation. I was, much against my judgment, persuaded to consent to a trial of titanic antitoxin (The patient died a few hours after.) As with many new additions to our armamentarium, the claims made for Echinacea in some cases may be unreliable, yet the testimony of many of the leading scientific and careful observers has been rather in favor of guying credit to the drug when the reports were of a doubtful character. It behooves every homoeopathic physician to find just where this plant belongs, and to give any experience worthy of detail, in the interest of the profession.