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Parthenium Hysterophorus






NAT. ORD., Synanthereae.

COMMON NAME, "Bitter broom." Escoba amaya.

PREPARATION.--The dry plant is macerated in five parts by weight of
alcohol.

(Dr. Edward Fornias contributed to the Homoeopathic
Recorder, 1886, two papers on this remedy. The first
gave the results of physiological experiments; the second
is a resume of those results, including the proving by
Dr. B. H. B. Sleght, as follows:)

Resume of Symptoms.--If we boil down the matter, extracting only the
symptoms and changes observed during the above experiments with
Parthenina, we have the following: Heaviness and dulness of head,
tendency to vertigo, malaise, apathy, lassitude, profuse and very fluid
salivation, sensation of heat and weight in the stomach, increased
appetite, gastric intolerance, nausea and vomiting. Increased stupor,
desire to be quiet, refusal of food, and indifference. Excitation of the
heart beats, or slow beating of the heart; depressed circulation, or
general functional activity; pulse accelerated, or slow, weak, soft,
compressible, without dicrotism; progressive slowing of the pulse,
followed by syncope, cardiac paralysis (and death). Accelerated, or
slow, irregular breathing (Cheyne-Stokes); rise and fall of
temperature, tremors, shivering, diminished perspiration; dilation of
the pupils; convulsions (clonic and tonic); muscular relaxation,
anaesthesia and increased urine and saliva. The kidneys were found
enlarged and congested, with evident signs of sanguineous stasis. The
process of coagulation of the blood was retarded. The red corpuscles
increased in volume. There was a fall of the blood-pressure, and
vascular dilatation (of reflex origin). The heart was found arrested
in diastole, and the brain anaemic. A marked diminution of reflex action
in the hips and extinction of the voluntary movements, were noticed.
Also a transient excitement of the voluntary movements. And finally the
sensibility and the muscular contractility were diminished.

CASES CURED BY PARTHENINA.--In regard to the therapeutic value of
Parthenina, little is known as yet, but the plant from which this
alkaloid is derived, as said before, has been employed for years in
Cuba, both by the people and profession, against fevers of a paludal
origin.

Dr. Ramirez Tovar has reported in several numbers of the Cronica
Medico-Quirurgica, of Havana, the following cases treated by him with
Parthenina, with the best results:

CASE I.--"A lady living in the lower part of the city, where the rain
always leaves constant channels of infection, was suffering with daily
attacks of intermittent, which grew more intense every day. She
received 1 gram of the salt, divided in six powders, to be taken one
every hour after the attack. The next day she had no chill, and the
thermometer indicated the absence of fever. She was nursing at the time,
and stated that she had noticed a marked increase of milk in her
breasts; 50 centigrams more, in doses, were given to her, and the fever
did not return again."

CASE II.--"A tailor, 30 years of age, had moved to the lower part of the
city and contracted a tertian intermittent. He had four paroxysms
before the doctor saw him, the last one being attended by much pain in
the left hypochondrium. He received 1 gram, in 5 doses. There was
apyrexia on the day the attack was due, and this did not return again.
This man continued to live in the same house, under the same regimen and
hygienic conditions."

CASE III,--"A little girl, 6 years of age, lymphatic constitution,
living near the beach of the harbor, was brought to Dr. Ramirez Tovar's
clinic, suffering for 17 days with malaise, loss of appetite,
sleepiness and fever. She had taken quinine, both internally and
externally, with little benefit, and was wasting away notably. At 4
P.M. she commenced to take 50 centigrams of the salt, in 8 doses, and
the next day at the same hour the thermometer indicated a fall from
39.5 deg. C. of the previous day to 38.5 deg. C. The mother was ordered to
repeat the medicine at longer intervals, but for want of means the child
did not take any more. On the 4th or 5th day the temperature went up to
39.5 deg. again, then she was provided with the medicine, and 3 days later
the temperature was normal. The action of the alkaloid was aided here by
a tonic wine prepared from the extract of the plant."

CASE IV.--"A man 45 years of age, of delicate constitution, poorly
nourished, with a straw yellow face, yellow sclerotics, enlarged liver
and spleen, the latter somewhat painful to pressure, who had contracted
intermittent fever while in Panama, and had taken quinine, was
complaining, when Dr. Ramirez Tovar saw him (middle part of December),
of a pain in the right side (more severe in some points than in
others), which commenced at 1 P.M., with shiverings, and which
disappeared after two hours to return again the next day at precisely
the same time and with the same symptoms. He received 1 gram of
Parthenina, in 5 doses, one every hour, right after the cessation of
the pain. He was seen by the doctor the next day at 4 P.M., and up to
that time the pain had not returned. He took then 50 centigrams more, in
5 doses, one every hour, and was free of pain until the latter part of
January, when he again consulted the doctor, this time the pain being
located in the stomach, for which Parthenina was repeated (1 gram in
5 doses, one every two hours). The next day the pain had ceased, but
returned on the third, and he again received 1 gram, in the same manner
as before, and since then he has been free from pain."

CASE V.--"A young lady, 18 years of age, complained of facial neuralgia
with periodical exacerbations, from which she was suffering four days.
She received 1 gram of Parthenina, in 5 doses, one every hour, and on
the following day she was entirely free from pain. Fifty centigrams
more, in 4 doses, were given to this lady to prevent a relapse, and the
result was a complete cure."

And to finish this report, I will mention a case which came under my
notice: "A little girl, my niece, 5 years old, living in Havana, who,
when seen by the late Dr. Govantes, of that city, had been suffering for
some time before from a continued fever, with periodical mid-day
exacerbations, which later on, assumed an intermittent type. She had
been saturated with quinine, and complained, at the time, of
malaise, lassitude, languor, headache, loss of appetite,
gastric intolerance, etc. The temperature went up as high as 40.6 deg.
C. during the hot stage, which was short and was followed by copious
sweats, giving relief. Parthenium hysterophorus in the form of an
extract, prepared and sold at Dr. Villavicenci's Pharmacy, in Havana,
was prescribed by Dr. Govantes. Three doses a day, each of the size of a
pea, dissolved in water, were given for 4 or 5 days, and at the end of
that time she was entirely free of fever and made a quick recovery."

If such results can be ascribed to Parthenium and its alkaloid
Parthenina, I think it would be unjustifiable to set them aside. An
early proving of the plant will not only enhance our therapeutic
resources, but prevent the non-scrupulous from employing it empirically.

* * * * *

Proving of Parthenium hysterophorus, Dr. B. H. B. Sleght.

February 12th.--Until a few days ago had a slight continuous toothache
due to a cavity in last molar of lower jaw; cavity recently filled.
General health has been excellent for some time.

7:40 A.M. Took 5 drops of tincture. At once have a full feeling in head,
especially vertex, pressing from within.

7:45. Ringing in ears, < left.

7:50. Took 10 drops. Ringing and fulness continue and become worse.

7:58. Upper teeth feel "on edge," with slight prickling pains in
sockets, which slowly grow more severe.

8:00. Breakfast; above symptoms continue, but grow less severe.

8:10. Loud rumbling in bowels; irrepressible eructations, tasteless.

8:20. 20 drops. A "shivery" feeling runs over limbs and back as this is
taken. Singing in ears had ceased but begins again, as does the
rumbling.

8:40. "Goneness" in epigastrium, singing ceases; some fulness in head
remains.

8:45. Same feeling in teeth as above; singing in ears; head thick,
heavy.

8:50. Sharp, aching twinges in upper molars; some sharp pains in ears.
Pulse 72.

9:10. 25 drops.

9:15. Stitching pain in left temple, of short duration. Upper incisors
tender at sockets when biting.

9:25. Sudden pain in upper teeth with lachrymation, < pressing jaws
together.

9:45. 25 drops.

9:55. Aching pain at left supra-orbital foramen. On going into open air
no symptoms but taste of drug and fulness of head. A tooth filled
yesterday aches slightly, same as before filling.

11:15. 60 drops. Renewed fulness of head. Pulse 76.

11:30. Goneness in epigastrium; vertigo while sitting, with heat of face
and blurred vision. Aching at supra-orbital foramen (left), extending to
root of nose and becoming more severe there, > eyes closed. Feel dull,
stupid. Goneness comes and goes; hunger.

11:45. Aching at lower edge of right ear spreads over side of face; ear
feels plugged up. Am drowsy, eyes "heavy;" goneness and unusual craving
for food.

11:50. Prickling in skin of back of wrists and hands. A twinge of pain
at right infraorbital foramen, gradually increases; cannot fix attention
on what I am reading. Hard, painful lump in epigastrium; better after
eructations tasting of drug. Slight nausea with some relief.

12 M. 60 drops. Requires much effort to fix attention while counting
drops.

12:15 P.M. Head heavy, brain feels loose.

12:30. Stitching pain at lobe of left ear and deep in and above external
auditory meatus.

12:45. Dinner.

1:45. 75 drops.

1:50. Hard lump in epigastrium. Head feels as if in a vise. During P.M.
only "goneness" and continued taste of drug.

9:00 P.M. 100 drops, followed at once by sudden stitching pains in left
frontal eminence, which soon cease.

9:10. Pain in frontal eminence has returned and continues. Teeth "on
edge" and tenderness at sockets. Upper incisors ache as after filling.
Teeth feel too long.

9:30. Lump in epigastrium. Severe plunging pain in left frontal
eminence.

9:45. Stabbing pain runs up rectum after passing flatus.

Mushy stool at 10:30 P.M. (Usually have passage at 10 A.M.; to-day no
desire.)

February 13th.--Passed restless night, waking at 3 or 4 o'clock, then
dozing and dreaming until 7:30; rose with throbbing deep in brain, as if
it would push through top of head; "big" head, > after moving
about and washing face. 7:45. 120 drops. 7:55. Breakfast. 8:20. Aching
in eyeballs. No further symptoms all day.

9:30 P.M. 5 drops. 9:35. 5 drops.

Same tenderness at sockets of upper incisors when biting.

9:40. 5 drops. Sudden darting pains in right, then in left frontal
eminence, with dull heaviness in forehead, gradually increasing.

9:45. 5 drops. Sudden return of pain in frontal eminence. Fulness and
aching in ears, coming suddenly. Upper teeth all ache, and feel too
long.

9:50. 5 drops. Beating ache in middle of forehead. Bursting pain in
right malar bone. Tingling in tip of tongue. Sudden motion increases
frontal pain.

9:55. 5 drops. Slight colicky pain at navel. Eructations of drug.

10:00. 5 drops. Same frontal pain, and brief feeling as if blood would
burst through face; this returns in a few minutes, especially about nose
and root of nose.

10:05. 5 drops. Same frontal pain, and head feels swelled. Pulse, 72.

10:10. 5 drops. Heart-beat all over head, < motion, and over
eyes.

10:15. 5 drops. Splitting pain over both ears in spots the size of
silver dollar.

10:20. Must look intently to see the words; as I write, letters look
pale and eyes ache.

10:25. 5 drops. Eructations tasting of drug. Colicky pains about navel.

10:30. 5 drops. Aching in left lower molars.

10:35. 5 drops. Stabbing pain in left ear. Teeth "on edge."

10:50. All the upper jaw aches, especially at sockets of teeth and on
biting. Fulness and pressure in ears. Temples feel as if in a vise. All
symptoms < after going up stairs.

February 14th.--Again awoke early, 3 or 4 A.M., and rose at 7:30, after
a dreamful sleep, with headache. Felt better after going about. No
symptoms during day.

February 15th.--Passed restless night. Fell asleep late, with headache
at vertex--a pushing out. Awoke at 4 or 5 A.M. heavy and stupid; then
again slept.

February 17th.--5:00 A.M. Took 2-1/2 drachms.

5:02. Eructations taste of drug. Goneness in epigastrium. Pulse, 72.
Some rumbling about navel.

5:10. Head heavy; pressure at right frontal eminence, which increases to
sharp, penetrating pain, going to root of nose, then to end of nose,
where it is most severe. At root of nose, stuffed feeling, as with dry
coryza. Pain in nose gets more and more severe; restlessness succeeds;
never had such a pain; seems now all in bones of nose and worse on left
side. Forehead has ceased to ache. Pain seems to start from
supra-orbital foramen now.

5:15. Upper incisors commence to ache. Aching and bursting pain in nose
remains; nose feels swollen. Teeth "on edge." Epigastric goneness.

5:25. Sharp pain in left upper and lower molars. Pain in nose has
ceased. Bursting pain in left frontal eminence. Upper molars tender at
sockets.

February 23d.--12:30. Took 6 No. 40 pills saturated with 6x dil. 2:00
P.M. Same dose. 4:20. Same. 5:00. Sharp, aching pain deep in left ear,
gradually grows worse.

5:10. Singing and dull aching in right ear.

5:15. Singing and a pushing out in left ear. Fulness of frontal
eminences; thence pains go to root of nose and nose becomes tender to
touch. Sharp pain again deep in right ear. Aching of "bridge" of nose
and of upper left molars. Hands feel numb, especially dorsal aspects.
Rumbling in bowels about navel. Pain again at root of nose. Colic deep
in pelvis; pains run down back of thigh to knees.

5:15. Pains again in frontal eminences.

5:25. Aching over eyes; feel like closing them; aching pains run up from
above left eye-tooth to eye and over face; occurs by starts and stops.
Frontal headache and pains down nose recur at intervals.

5:30. Aching, very severe, at the left side of "bridge" of nose. Sharp
stitch deep in left ear. Throbbing in vertex. Sockets of upper teeth
tender. Aching at end of nose, which feels full of blood.

5:45. 6 pellets. All pains continue as above. Brain seems loose,
< moving head. Front of head feels big.

6:00. P.M. Stabbing deep in left ear, < by pressing teeth
together.

6:30. Various pains gradually subside.






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