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Echinacea Angustifolia

NAT. ORD., Compositae.

COMMON NAME, Pale Purple Cone-flower.

PREPARATION.--The whole plant including the root is pounded to a pulp

and macerated in two parts by weight of alcohol.

(This rather famous drug first came to notice as "Meyers'

Blood Purifier;" the proprietor did not know the name of

the drug used and sent a whole plant to Professors King

and Lloyd, of Cincinnati, who identified it as Echinacea

angustifolia, commonly known as "cone flower," "black

Sampson," "nigger head," etc. If we may believe all that

has been printed about it the remedy is a veritable

cure-all. The following, however, is a safe guide; it is

taken from the paper by Dr. J. Willis Candee in

Transactions, 1898, of the Homoeopathic Medical Society

of the State of New York, and credited by Dr. Candee to

Dr. J. C. Fahnstock):

He (Dr. Fahnstock) refers to the clinical application of Echinacea,

from personal experience, substantially as follows: Cases of shifting

pains in rheumatism, for which Puls. had been unsuccessfully

prescribed, rapidly disappeared under Echin. Several cases of acne

resembling that caused by Bromide of Potassium, cured. "A great

remedy." When boils progress to the stage where they appear about to

"point" then stop and do not suppurate, Echinacea is the remedy. "In

carbuncles with similar symptoms, a bluish-red color and intense pain,

it will in a few hours make your patient grateful to you." It is of

great value in very fetid ozaena. Beneficial in some cases of

leucorrhoea with discharge bright yellow, as from a suppurating

surface. Very serviceable in gangrene, where it may be classed with

Rhus and Arsenicum, perhaps ranking between them. Has attributed to

it unusually good results in a case of tuberculous disease of hip and in

an old, well-dosed case of destructive syphilis of throat. "In

suppurative processes Echin. is to be thought of."

In typhoid fever, diphtheria and appendicitis he has failed to

substantiate the claims of other admirers of this remedy.

These clinical hints have been given place as naturally following report

of the proving and also because of their coming from a closely observant

homoeopathist. It is unnecessary at this time to review in detail the

alleged field of usefulness of Echinacea. All are familiar with the

published testimonials and indications, some of which would lead one to

think that little else is to be desired with which to combat

degenerative processes in mankind.

On the other hand are those, who, having tried the drug without

satisfactory results, are willing to cast it aside as worthless. To such

it may be well to make these suggestions: 1, to ascertain whether they

have used a reliable preparation, and 2, to refrain from hasty judgment

until guides for prescribing, more accurate than perchance the label on

a bottle, shall have been found and consulted.

My own limited experience would throw no particular light on the

subject. It has, however, served to impress me with confidence in the

remedy and its future. The gist of trustworthy clinical findings may be

stated in two words, antiseptic and alterative.

(From an article by Dr. H. W. Feller, in the Eclectic

Medical Journal, we quote the following generalities

concerning this remedy):

If any single statement were to be made concerning the virtues of

Echinacea it would read something like this: "A corrector of the

deprivation of the body fluids;" and even this does not sufficiently

cover the ground. Its extraordinary powers--combining essentially that

formerly included under the terms antiseptic, antifermentative, and

antizymotic--are well shown in its power over changes produced in the

fluids of the body, whether from internal causes or from external

introductions. The changes may be manifested in a disturbed balance of

the fluids resulting in such tissue alterations as are exhibited in

boils, carbuncles, abscesses, or cellular glandular inflammations. They

may be from the introduction of serpent or insect venom, or they may be

due to such fearful poisons as give rise to malignant diphtheria,

cerebro-spinal meningitis, or puerperal and other forms of septicaemia.

Such changes, whether they be septic or of devitalized morbid

accumulations, or alterations in the fluids themselves, appear to have

met their Richmond in Echinacea. "Bad blood" so called, asthenia and

adynamia, and particularly a tendency to malignancy in acute and

sub-acute disorders, seem to be special indicators for the use of


(The North American Journal of Homoeopathy, December,

1896, contains a paper on the drug by Dr. Charles F.

Otis, from which we quote the following):

I doubt if there are many physicians here assembled, who are general

practitioners, who have not, at some period of their professional lives,

come in contact with one or both of these diseases either in an epidemic

form or isolated cases, and in instances, have met more than their

match; have seen their patients with tongue so swollen that it protruded

from the mouth; with membrane gradually extending from the throat into

the posterior nares, possibly protruding from the nostrils, with the

awful odor so characteristic; with a respiratory sound that told you too

plainly that membrane was extending into the air passages and that the

misery of your patient would soon cease, not because of your ability to

afford relief, but because death would close the scene.

I need not complete the picture by mentioning the enormously high

temperature, the thread-like pulse, the cessation of the action of the

kidneys, the awful agonizing expression of the face, and, perhaps, in

your efforts, intubation had been practiced without good results. It is

in just this class of cases that Echinacea is king. So reliable has

been its action in my hands that I am inclined to give a favorable

prognosis, and if I am so fortunate as to be called early the

application of the drug in question does not permit of the symptoms just

enumerated. The whole case will usually be changed to one of a mild form

followed by a quick recovery.

(This from a paper by Dr. W. H. Ramey in Medical


It is a specific, I think, for the condition of the system which sets up

the boil habit. I never have found a case so bad, and I've had some very

severe ones, that an ounce and a half of Echinacea, taken in ten-drop

doses four times a day, would not cure. Try it in your cases of

stomatitis with depraved conditions of the system, both internally and

locally. It has done me valuable service in cases of old ulcers and

unhealthy sores, both as local and internal treatment. Then in your

typhoid cases, with the characteristic indication, it is simply a

wonderful remedy. I have seen it step in and restore normal conditions

when it seemed impossible for remedies to act quick enough to prevent a

fatal termination.

(Dr. S. J. Hogan in Chicago Medical Times):

One other thing I would like to tell about it: I had a case I was

treating. Among other things, the patient had on the scalp and at the

margin of the hair on the back of the head a number of wen-like tumors;

since taking Echinacea they have been entirely absorbed.

(Dr. Joseph Adolphus in Medical Gleaner):

I have seen its very beneficial action in two epidemics of smallpox. The

remedy did certainly modify the severity of the disease, restrain

suppuration, check the severity of the symptoms, and promote

convalescence. I knew of several very desperate cases, which I think

would have terminated fatally but for the timely use of Echinacea. I

frequently saw cases of severe confluent type, wherein the symptoms were

of a very serious kind, high fever, delirium; some with coma, abominably

offensive odor of body and breath, urine nearly suppressed, eruption

confluent, exceedingly abundant pus, steadily improve under Echinacea

tea taken internally and used locally over the entire body. One of the

very striking effects of the Echinacea was to abate the dreadfully

offensive odor of the body and breath and modify the acute severity of

the eruption.

(The following proving of Echinacea, conducted by Dr.

J. C. Fahnestock, of Piqua, Ohio, was read before the

American Institute of Homoeopathy, at Atlantic City,


It becomes my pleasant duty to place before the American Institute of

Homoeopathy a collection of provings of Echinacea angustifolia.

Four species of this genus are recognized. Two of them, E. Dicksoni

and E. dubia, are native in Mexico.

There are two native in this country, E. purpurea, Moench. Leaves

rough, often serrate; the lowest ovate, five nerved, veiny, long

petioled; the other ovate-lanceolate; involucre imbricated in three to

five rows; stem smooth, or in one form rough, bristly, as well as the

leaves. Prairies and banks, from western Pennsylvania and Virginia to

Iowa, and southward; occasionally advancing eastward. July--Rays

fifteen to twenty, dull purple (rarely whitish), one to two feet long or

more. Root thick, black, very pungent to the taste, used in popular

medicine under the name of Black Sampson. Very variable, and probably

connects with E. angustifolia, described as follows: Leaves, as well

as the slender, simple stem, bristly, hairy, lanceolate and linear

lanceolate, attenuate at base, three nerved, entire; involucre less

imbricated and heads often smaller; rays twelve to fifteen inches, (2)

long, rose color or red. Plains from Illinois and Wisconsin

southward--June to August. This is a brief description of the botany of

the plant under consideration.

Your chairman, T. L. Hazard, in his usual characteristic manner, went

vigorously to work and secured all the provers possible. I was also

fortunate enough to secure a number of provers, besides proving and

reproving it myself. The results of all these provings were handed over

to me to present to you in such form as seemed best.

I must tarry just long enough to preface this collection and tell you

that explicit printed directions were sent to all the superintendents of

these provings. This being of too great length, I will give you the most

important points in these directions, viz.: Let each prover be furnished

with a small blank book, in which shall be written date, name, sex,

residence, height, weight, temperament, color of eyes, color of hair,

complexion; describe former ailments and present physical condition. In

concluding give pulse in different positions, respiration, temperature,

function of digestion, analysis of excretions, especially the urine;

analysis of the blood, family history, habits, idiosyncrasy, etc.

The different colleges and universities were called upon to assist on

these provings. The following institutions responded to the call:

Cleveland, St. Louis, Minneapolis, the Chicago, Iowa City, and Ann

Arbor. None of the eastern institutions responded; don't know whether

dead or just hibernating.

I wish to publicly express my thanks to all who have taken part in

these provings. I think it but just to state that the University of

Michigan furnished the best provings. Thanks also are extended to

Boericke & Tafel for remedy furnished in the [Greek: theta], 3x, 30x,

which were also used in the provings. One lady, who commenced the

proving and had begun to develop valuable provings, contracted a severe

cold and stopped, for which I am very sorry. All the rest of the provers

were males; medical students or physicians. Only a very few symptoms

were produced by the use of the 30x attenuation, a greater number of

provers not recording any at all.

The symptoms here compiled were produced by the 3x attenuation and the

tincture, using from one drop to thirty drops at a dose. In proving and

then compiling the symptoms produced by this drug, I am fully aware of

the many difficulties to be met on every side.

The one great trouble that I find is that those who are unaccustomed to

proving do not observe what really is going on while attempting to make

a proving, and are not capable of expressing the conditions so produced.

I find that there are few who can take drugs and accurately define their

effects. In selecting and discriminating the effects of drugs there must

exist a mental superiority, and no man had this genius so highly

developed as Hahnemann.

After making three different provings upon myself, I have undertaken to

select those symptoms which to the best of my ability were found in all

of these different provings.

I have taken special care not to omit any symptoms, even though it may

have been noticed by but one prover; but in the majority of cases you

will notice the symptoms occurred two or more times in different

individuals, thus confirming the genuineness of the symptoms.

Not giving you the day-book records of these provers, a few remarks,

showing its general action, may not be out of place. As stated before,

only two recorded symptoms after the use of the 30x attenuation.

After taking the tincture, there is soon produced a biting, tingling

sensation of the tongue, lips and fauces, not very much unlike the

sensation produced by Aconite. In these provers there soon followed a

sense of fear, with pain about the heart, and accelerated pulse. In a

short time there was noticed a dull pain in both temples, a pressing

pain; then shooting pains, which followed the fifth pair of nerves.

The next symptom produced was an accumulation of sticky mucus in mouth

and fauces. Then a general languor and weakness followed, always worse

in the afternoon. All the limbs felt weak and indisposed to make any

motion, and this was accompanied by sharp, shooting, shifting pains. In

quite a number of cases the appetite was not affected.

Those using sufficient quantity of the tincture had loss of appetite,

with belching of tasteless gas, weakness in the stomach, pain in the

right hypochondriac region, accompanied with gas in the bowels; griping

pains followed by passing offensive flatus, or a loose, yellowish stool,

which always produced great exhaustion. After using the drug several

days the face becomes pale, the pulse very much lessened in frequency,

and a general exhaustion follows like after a severe and long spell of


The tongue will then indicate slow digestion, accompanied with belching

of tasteless gas. In most of the provers, however, there was a passing

of very offensive gas and offensive stools.

You will observe that the remedy exerts quite an effect on the kidneys

and bladder, but I am very sorry to say that the urinary analysis made

did not show anything but the variations generally observed in ordinary


I must say that the provers did not go into the details as much as was

desirable. Likewise, I may say the same of the blood tests made, but

what was given is very valuable.

I could give you an expression of its special action, but will merely

give you the symptoms collected and then you can make your own