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
(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 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