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Fucus Vesiculosis

NAT. ORD., Algae.

COMMON NAMES, Sea-wrack. Bladder-wrack. Sea-kelp.

PREPARATION.--The fresh alga gathered in May or June are pounded to a

pulp and macerated in two parts by weight of alcohol.

(The following letter, by Dr. J. Herbert Knapp to the

Homoeopathic Recorder, was published in 1896):

After treating many cases of exophthalmic goitre, I have come t

conclusion that I have found a specific for that disease in Fucus

vesiculosis (sea-wrack). I might record one case. Mrs. Mary B., aet. 24

years, German, came into my clinic at the Brooklyn E. D. Homoeopathic

Dispensary to be treated for swelling of the neck of several years'

duration. I gave her the tincture of Fucus ves., thirty drops three

times a day. The treatment began December 1, 1895, and patient was

discharged cured, on October 2, 1896. Would be pleased to hear from any

others who have had any experience with Fucus vesiculosis.

(The foregoing brought out this by Dr. R. N. Foster, of


It gives me great pleasure to be able to say a word confirmatory of the

remarks made in your December issue by J. Herbert Knapp, M. D.,

respecting the above named drug.

Twenty years ago, while turning over the pages of that very useful book,

"The American Eclectic Dispensatory," by John King, M. D., I chanced to

notice the following sentences: "Fucus vesiculosis, sea-wrack, or

bladder-wrack,... has a peculiar odor, and a nauseous saline taste....

The charcoal of this plant has long had the reputation of a deobstruent,

and been given in goitre and scrofulous swelling."

So far as I now remember, this is the only hint I ever received which

led me to try the drug in goitre. At the same time, I do not feel sure

of this. Perhaps I had met in some medical journal a statement

respecting the relation of this drug to goitre, which fact led me to

look it up in the "Eclectic Dispensatory." But if so, I cannot recall

the authority. At all events, I was led to try the remedy in a

pronounced case of goitre, with such good results that I have never

since given any other remedy for that disease, either in the

exophthalmic or in the uncomplicated form. And what is more, I have

never known it to fail to cure when the patient was under thirty years

of age. After that time of life, or about that period, it seems to be no

longer efficacious.

I have now used it on more than twenty-four cases, with the same

unvarying result, and never with any other result--that is, no

unpleasant consequences have ever accompanied or followed its use.

I published this fact in the Medical Investigator after I had used it

in a few cases, and again announced it in the Chicago Homoeopathic

Medical Society still later; and again have frequently repeated it with

growing confidence and of greater numbers of cases in medical societies,

in colleges, and in private conversation with physicians.

And yet the fact is so utterly unknown that your journal publishes Dr.

Knapp's inquiry respecting it, which shows how easily a good thing may

be forgotten, and how readily a genuine specific may be superseded by a

host of abortive procedures right under the eyes of the profession. It

is most probable that more real good things have been forgotten or cast

aside in medicine than it now, or at any one time, possesses.

Respecting this Fucus vesiculosis and its use in goitre, I would like

to add a few words. The drug is of variable quality. If one specimen

fails to give satisfaction it ought to be discarded and another tried.

The pharmacist must be importuned to make special efforts to give us an

article that is not inert, but contains all the activity that belongs to

the drug.

Time is required for effecting a cure. This varies according to the age

and size of the goitre. Three months may suffice for a small goitre of

one year's growth. Six months may be required for one twice as large and

of longer standing. A year and a half is the longest period during which

I have had to continue the medicine. But during all that time the goitre

was manifestly diminishing.

The dose is a teaspoonful of the tincture twice or three times daily, in

a well-developed case. Half a teaspoonful twice a day will answer in

recent cases.

Smaller doses seem not to produce any effect.

The medicine is very unpleasant to the taste, but causes no disturbance

after it has been taken. It ought to be taken, each dose in about two

ounces of water, and preferably between meals.