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No. 1



Comes in the passing along an occasional addition to the therapeutic armamentarium of the physician. Usually the item appears unexpectedly, and often establishes itself in the face of authoritative opposition. Indeed, the remedy that lives may be utterly neglected, or violently opposed, by those who stand supreme as therapeutic authorities; when "not a poison," few drugs meet present authoritative favor

This article is not designed to illustrate these facts, but rather to call attention to features connected with the introduction of a selected number of remedial agents that in themselves, being ron-toxic, practically parallel the class as a whole.

Let us, with this thought in mind, turn to the agents known largely as being favored by Eclectic practitioners. Let us take from that list, as in alphabetical order and in a reminiscent mood we study them, first:

Aletris. This agent, confused as it has been with helonias, is one of the remedies highly valued by Dr. John King. In his practice it was continually prescribed for ailments in which it served, with him, a useful purpose. No theorist was he; the action of a remedy established in his practice was, in the opinion not only of himself but of a great circle of physicians, authority. Aletris occupied a very high position in his armamentarium, and notwithstanding continued attempts to discredit it by parties interested, for one reason or another, in resisting its use, it stands today as one of the most valued remedies of a great circle of practicing physicians.

Apis.-Well does the writer of this article remember when apis was to Eclectics "a new remedy," not appealing very favorably to many of the physicians who afterward became its admirers. Introduced by Dr John M. Scudder from a Homeopathic source, his followers rather unkindly for a time resisted its employment, both by reason of the fact that it was of insect origin, and that it was Homeopathic. Prejudice, however, gave way; gradually apis wedged itself into increasing favor, and today is well founded as a valuable remedy.

Asthma Weed (Euphorbia pilulifera).—This member of the euphorbia family came into conspicuity about forty years ago, being introduced by

Parke, Davis & Company. The Eclectic profession considered it favorably, and today employs it, where indicated. To the majority of the readers of this article asthma weed cannot be called a "new remedy," but to this writer, even though several decades in use, it appeals as such.

Baptisia.-One of the choice Eclectic agents of half a century ago is the drug baptisia. Kindly in its action, pronounced in certain chemical directions in which its constituents appeal, baptisia was yet theoretically opposed by the famous surgeon, Prof. Howe, whose discussions with Dr. Scudder are probably familiar to the older class of our readers. Prof Howe claimed that because baptisia was not a local antiseptic and disinfectant, it must be valueless in the direction it was employed by Dr. Scudder. Scudder, in his inimitable manner, called attention to the fact that when administered internally he knew that it alleviated septicemia, and acted as a preventive of disintegration. Scudder's views, based on experience, were accepted, and still stand as authority, with practicing physicians who employ the remedy. Its extended use, however, was interrupted by the introduction of echinacea, which has largely displaced it in practice. Echinacea in turn is opposed somewhat after the manner that Howe opposed baptisia, but not very successfully. In the practice of many physicians baptisia is considered invaluable.

Black Haw.-Present readers will remember the controversies that have come over the subject of the two viburnums, black haw and cramp bark. Black haw is of comparatively recent introduction as contrasted with cramp bark, which came into use in the days of Samuel Thomson. Be it said that the resistance made to the use of black haw has been without avail. Arguments have not as yet induced physicians who employ the remedy in their practice, and believe that they are competent to judge of the value of therapeutic agents, to abandon it for any synthetic product of the laboratory or by-product of the slaughter house.

Cactus. To the Homeopathic school must be credited the original introduction of cactus to general therapy. Over half a century ago it became a prominent Eclectic remedy, maintaining its standing to the present. Being non-poisonous, it naturally is not favored by "authorities," who judge a remedy's value by its harmful action in overdoses It would be very difficult to prevent its use in the practice of a great circle of physicians by any theoretical or physiological experimental argument. Nor does an attack because of its Homeopathic origin avail to its discredit.

Carbo vegetabilis.-Introduced into Eclectic medicine about the time that cactus became prominent, the use of this remedy, also to be credited to the Homeopathic profession, was resisted by many Eclectic physicians, who argued that charcoal in the doses given must be inert, and that it could serve no purpose in the face of its constant employment as a contamination of food. These arguments might now be somewhat dispossessed by reason of the intrusion of colloidal activity in materials pulverized to the utmost degree, as is the charcoal triturates where it is employed. Possibly pure science may in a time come refute the theory that charcoal triturates cannot be serviceable,

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as being different from ordinary lump charcoal. Many are the discarded theories based on time-gone-by opinions.

Chionanthus.—When Dr. Goss introduced chionanthus to practice he little thought that, nearly seventy-five years afterwards, the drug would be 11. such universal use. And yet chionanthus is increasingly employed, and mcreasingly considered valuable, by physicians, regardless of the source of their schooling. One of the complications met with at the present time is that of obtaining chionanthus root bark true to name and free from admixtures, in the quantities needed to supply the demand The occasional gelatinization of a pharmaceutical product sometimes yet disturbs the observing physician, which process (gelatinization), however, is generally understood to be simply a jelly separation, not detrimental in a therapeutic direction.

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Crataegus. When crataegus was introduced by the New York Medical Journal, 1896, the question arose as to whether such a common berry-frun could properly be placed in the list of medicinal agents. One argument was made to the effect that the fruit was eaten freely by hogs, without deleterious effects, which rendered it improbable that crataegus could have any activity whatever. In this it will be observed that the person making the argument rested his claims on the necessity of a poison as a heart remedy, and not on the curative influence of a kindly agent where abnormal conditions prevailed.* Crataegus became rapidly more than popular; it is now used in confidence, the country over, and probably will need be damned by "authority" afar from clinical practice. Its non-toxic qualities seem to act not in its disfavor, but rather to the contrary, as the dose may be much increased without danger. When comes the attempt to discredit crataegus with physicians who employ it, will unquestionably result the futile effort shown in echinacea's record.

Echinacea -Echinacea was first used by Dr. King in his own family as an alleviating agent in an incurable disease (cancer), from which his wife was suffering. This experience led him to introduce it to the profession. This writer recalls Dr. King's enthusiastic praise of its kindly service as applied to the afflicted part. That was over thirty years ago, but echinacea stands yet one of the growing favorites with practicing physicians. After forty years of service, and notwithstanding well-meaning, carefully-made laboratory experiments on animals, altogether negative, and yet made by talented and uninpeachably careful men, echinacea is increasingly employed by physicians engaged in clinical practice. In one direction they all agree, viz., that echinacea is not a poison, which fact prejudices those who rest their opinions on the toxic action of drugs, or experiments on animals in health. As with chionanthus, the greatest echinacea question, seemingly, is the present and future supply of the authentic drug.

Euphorbia hypericifolia.—This drug came forty years ago, within the

* Let the writer concede his error in this direction. For over two years after the New York Journal's article appeared, the house heads refused to either make or consider the placing of crataegus in its list of therapeutic agents.

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