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Solanum Carolinense

NAT. ORD., Solanaceae.

COMMON NAME, Horse-nettle.

PREPARATION.--The fresh, ripe berries are macerated in twice their
weight of alcohol.

(In 1889 Dr. Napier called attention to Solanum
Carolinense as a remedy in the treatment of epilepsy,
stating that it was used as a domestic remedy in the
South for convulsions and "that he had successfully
prescribed it in his practice." Dr. Charles S. Potts, of
the University of Pennsylvania, contributes a paper
Therap. Gazette, Dec., 1895, on the remedy, giving some
new points, from which the following is condensed:)

At the clinic for nervous diseases of the University Hospital, Solanum
Carolinense was tried in a series of twenty-five cases, twenty-one of
which were idiopathic, three organic, and one probably so. Of these,
eight of the idiopathic cases either did not return after the first
visit or else were not under observation sufficiently long to offer a
fair test. In the remaining seventeen cases the following results were
obtained--viz., five, two of them organic, were not improved. In the
remaining twelve the results showed more or less benefit from the use of
the drug. The five cases in which no improvement was noted were
afterwards placed upon other treatment, either antipyrin and bromide of
ammonium or the mixed bromides with amelioration of the symptoms in
four; in the remaining one no drug seemed to be of service. The dose
used at first was 10 drops. This dose was found to be useless, and after
the first few cases they varied from 30 drops to teaspoonful three or
four times daily. No unpleasant effects were observed, excepting a mild
diarrhoea in some cases. This was also noticed by Dr. Herdman. He also
noticed that in large doses the temperature was lowered and the pulse

In many epileptics diarrhoea is more of a benefit than otherwise.

The conclusions derived from the results obtained in seventeen cases

1. That the drug has a decided influence for good upon the epileptic

2. That this influence is probably not so great or so sure as that
obtained by the use of antipyrin and the bromide salts or even of the
mixed bromides.

3. That in those cases in which it is of service it relieves the
paroxysms, without causing any other unpleasant symptoms, such as are
sometimes caused by the use of large doses of the bromides.

4. That the dose ordinarily recommended is too small, and that as much
as a teaspoonful or more four times daily is often needed to secure

The following are some of the cases in which the remedy seemed to act

H. T., male, aged thirteen years. Idiopathic epilepsy; had his first
spell when five years of age; averages one paroxysm daily. The Solanum
was first given in 10 drop doses t. i. d. without effect. When
increased to 25 drops the spells were lighter in severity, but occurred
about as often. The dose was finally increased to a teaspoonful four
times daily. After being put upon this dose he was under observation six
weeks, during which time he had six seizures much lighter in severity.

T. H., male, aged twenty-eight years. He had epileptic seizures for the
past three years. They followed an injury to the head which rendered him
unconscious, but produced no other visible injury. Since this, however,
has had almost constant headache. First spell six month after the
injury, and have been very frequent since, averaging three to four
weekly; they are of ordinary type. Solanum in 40 drop doses three
times daily was ordered. Spells at once decreased in frequency and
severity. During the last six weeks he was under observation he only had
three spells, very mild in type.

C. R., male, aged twenty-one years. Epileptic seizures for past three
years following an injury. Had been trephined in right parietal region
before coming under our observation. After trephining the symptom
improved, but got worse again; when seen by us was having one daily.
40-drop doses of Solanum caused diarrhoea, and dose was reduced to
30 drops t. i. d., when diarrhoea ceased. Under this treatment he
had no spell for two weeks. In the following month he had three spells;
was then lost to observation.

A. N., male, aged thirty years. First spell one year ago; have since
occurred every two weeks; good deal of headache. Ordered Solanum 30
drops t. i. d. No spells for one month and headache ceased. He then
stopped attendance.

J. D., female, aged eighteen years. First spell when thirteen years old;
has one spell a month at the time of her menstrual period. About a week
before this period was given 40 drops t. i. d., and escaped the usual
spell. The following month, however, she had one.

I. K., female, aged twenty-five years. Nocturnal epilepsy for past three
years; about one spell a month. While using 40 drops t. i. d. went
three weeks longer than usual without a spell. The dose was then
increased to 1 fluid drachm t. i. d.; she then ceased her visits.

F. S., female, aged twelve years. First spell five weeks ago; has been
having them daily since. Solanum 30 drops t. i. d., ordered; this
dose was gradually increased to 1 fluid drachm t. i. d. During the
three months that she was under observation her spells averaged in
number about one a week.

H. B., male, aged eighteen years. First convulsion at age of ten years;
then had none until three months ago; has had general convulsions about
once daily since. Solanum, 40 drops t. i. d., ordered. He was only
under observation nine days, having during that time four spells, much
milder in character.

A. C., female, aged fifteen years. First convulsion one year ago; they
have been increasing in frequency; now has one about every three days.
During the three weeks she was taking 30 drops of Solanum three times
a day she had one spell, that occurring during the third week.

H. K., male, aged eighteen years. First spell when fourteen years old.
Every three or four days has several attacks in succession, an average
of about one daily. While taking Solanum in 40-drop--afterwards
increased to teaspoonful--doses he had twelve in thirty-eight days, an
average of a little less than one in three days, going six without
having any.

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