This drug, which has hardly as yet an established place in the pharmacopoeia, although it is a much used and highly prized "domestic" remedy, has been but imperfectly studied, and we have nothing approaching to an exhaustive knowledge of its properties and capabilities. Enough is known, however, to give it rank beside Bryonia in regard of its febrile and gastro-hepatic symptoms.
EUPATORIUM PERFOLIATUM—thorough wort or bone-set—is popularly used as a diaphoretic (a hot infusion in frequent, moderate doses), or as an emetic (hot infusion, large doses), or as a tonic (cold infusion, small doses).
Its history and its uses by allopathic and eclectic physicians are well detailed in Dr. Hale's work ('"New Remedies," etc., p. 159 ET SEQ.).
Eupatorium is said to have been a principal remedy for intermittent fever with the Indians.
Dr. Anderson, of New York, in 1813, published a number of cases of intermittent fever successfully treated with it in the City Hospital. He proposed it, therefore, as a substitute for Cinchona bark. Subsequent experiments with it in that hospital were not successful and the remedy fell into disrepute.
This is the history of every drug in the allopathic materia medica. There can be no doubt that the Eupatorium did really cure the cases which Dr. Anderson reported. But there was, assuredly, some peculiarity about these cases, by virtue of which they exactly corresponded to Eupatorium. The cases in which it was tried unsuccessfully, unquestionably, did not possess this peculiarity, whatever it was, and which must be the characteristic of Eupatorium. But the physicians who were testing the remedy took no note of this; they regarded all cases as virtually alike, because to all of them the name "intermittent" could be applied. So regarding them, and taking no note of any peculiarities wherein one case differed from another, they could not of course perceive why Eupatorium might correspond to one case and cure it, and not to another.
The number of cases of intermittent fever to which Eupatorium is appropriate is not very large, except during certain seasons, when an epidemic requiring it may prevail (as was the case in some parts of the State of New York, in the autumn of 1865).
The first proving of Eupatorium was made in Philadelphia, and was reported by Dr. W. Williamson to the American Institute of Homeopathy ('"Transactions," vol. I.) in 1847. Its great action is upon the muscular system (or fibrous tissues), producing great soreness and aching, and upon the gastro-hepatic system, producing a condition resembling what is known as a "bilious state."
It produces intense headache, throbbing and great sense of internal soreness in the forehead and occiput, with a sensation of great weight in the occiput, distress and painful soreness in the top and back of the head.
Soreness of the eyeball; redness of the face, with dry skin.
Tongue coated whitish or yellow.
Loss of appetite; thirst for cold water.
Eructations tasteless or bitter.
Vomiting after drinking; vomiting of bile, with trembling and with pain in the epigastrium.
Nausea and sense of extreme prostration (this is not real prostration).
Soreness around the epigastric zone; soreness and fullness in the region of the liver.
Constipation; urine high-colored and scanty. Roughness and rawness in the trachea. Hacking, dry cough, with flushed face; the patient supports the chest with the hand (like Bryonia).
Weakness in the small of the back; deep-seated pain in the loins, with soreness on every motion; pain in the back and lower extremities.
Soreness and aching in hands and wrists, as if broken and dislocated; the same in arms. Stiffness and soreness of lower extremities, as if beaten, worse on motion and touch.
Fever, commencing generally in the morning; thirst begins several hours before the chill, and continues during chill and heat. There is vomiting of bile at the end of the chill.
During the heat the face is of a dull, mahogany-red color, and the eye glistens, the sclerotica being yellow.
It is a distinguishing peculiarity that little or no sweat follows the hot stage.
The peculiar headache, the soreness of the eyes and their yellowness, the yellowish-red face, the vomiting of bile, with nausea and prostration, the soreness in the region of the liver, the constipation, etc., are one group of symptoms. The internal soreness and the external soreness all over the body, from head to foot, constitute another group. These two groups together furnish an indication for Eupatorium in certain forms of "bilious fever" (in the first stage), too strong to be questioned.
The absence of much perspiration after the heat, showing an imperfect resolution, points to the type of fever as the remittent.
Experience has confirmed these views. I regard the severe bone pains and the absence of much sweat as especially characteristic.
The symptoms of the gastro-hepatic region, and the character and aggravations of the pains in the body and extremities, very closely resemble those of Bryonia. But a broad distinction at once appears when we consider the perspiration which, under Bryonia, is profuse and easily provoked, while, under Eupatorium, it is scanty or absent. Again, the Eupatorium pains make the patient restless; those of Bryonia make him keep very still.
Rhus toxicodendron produces pains and aching in the limbs; but these pains are worse during repose, and they keep the patient restless, constantly changing' his position, whereas those of Eupatorium are not aggravated by repose.
R. D., a stout mechanic, thirty-five years old, of dark complexion, went into an ice-house one very warm morning in August, to get a piece of ice. Charmed with the coolness of the place, he foolishly remained there for a quarter hour or longer. Suddenly he felt chills creeping over him and became quite faint. He left the ice-house as quickly as he could and went home. In an hour he had an exceedingly severe chill, lasting several hours. This was followed by burning fever, which continued without abatement until the following morning, when it gave place to a severe chill. As this chill was passing away I first saw the patient.
He had already become hot externally; his face was of a dull, red color; the eyes glistened, and the scleroticse were yellowish red. The tongue had a thick, yellowish fur; there was intense headache in the occiput—an insupportable heaviness. Nausea and frequent effort to vomit, extreme tenderness in the epigastrium, fullness and tenderness in the hepatic region, with stitches and soreness on moving and coughing; intolerable aching in the back and limbs, "as if the bones were broken." Urine scanty and of a dark mahogany color; a hard, dry cough and some dyspnoea. The patient, although in great pain, lay quiet.
I had no Eupatorium, but there was a swamp near the house, and I soon found the plant. From the juice pressed from a few leaves I prepared, with water, the third attenuation, and directed it to be taken in drop doses, every three hours until marked improvement was observed.
In about ten hours the fever was gone; the chill and fever never recurred, and next day the patient was free from pain. On the third day I found him convalescent.
In many cases of influenza, a review of the symptoms will show why Eupatorium proves, as it does, a speedy curative.