Apocynum cannabinum. Indian (American) hump. N.O. Apocynaceae. Tincture or infusion made from the whole plant, including the root.
APOCYNUM contains a glucoside similar to the glucosides found in digitalis, and has a general resemblance to digitalis in its action on heart and circulation. Its physiological range has not been the subject of much laboratory investigation and we are indebted for our knowledge concerning it to the homoeopathic provers of the tincture and infusion.
Provings.- From these it appears that its influence is exerted principally on the heart, kidneys and alimentary tract.
The heart is disturbed in its action and the first effect seems to be to lower the rate of its beat. In some provers the pulse-rate was reduced to 50,45 or 36 beats a minute, but afterwards the pulse may be quickened and there may be intermittence and palpitation; or the heart may beat regularly for a short time and them a period of fluttering feeble beats may intervene. Darting, catching pains are felt in the region of the heart and a sensation of weakness in that locality.
On the kidneys the primary action is greatly to diminish the quantity of urine secreted, the urine is hot and turbid and deposits a thick mucous sediment,and there is burning in the urethra after micturition. The secondary action is to increase the urine, the bladder feels distended, the sphincter seems to be wanting in power to contract after micturition, the urine which is copious of light golden-yellow colour, passes freely, almost without sensation, so that the patient can hardly tell that he is urinating. It may contain albumin.
Associated with the enfeeblement of the circulation and the diminished secretion of urine are the oedemas and dropsies, for the treatment of which apocynum has gained its chief reputation.
In the alimentary tract we find dryness of the mouth and thirst and both nausea and hunger. The hunger is ravenous and not appeased by eating. nausea commences in the throat and extends to the stomach and causes retching more rarely vomiting. There is much oppression at the epigastrium. The abdomen is puffed up and feels greatly distended after food and drink, a good deal of rumbling occurs, with or without colic, and is followed by a hurried desire for stool, which is passed painlessly and is copious, soft or liquid, of a light yellow colour, foetid and flatulent and expelled with much force. The sphincter ani is relaxed and remains lax and open (apis, phos) after the stool has been passed. There is left behind a feeling of weight and pressure in the rectum, as if it protrudes through the anus,and also a sensation of great emptiness in the abdomen as of being completely drained of all its contents.
The respiratory symptoms are secondary to fluid in the chest and are orthopnoea, great oppression of the chest and a feeling that a deep breathe must constantly be taken to avoid suffocation. With this is a short, dry cough and the expectoration of a scanty amount of white mucus.
The nostrils and throat are filled with thick yellow mucus on waking in the morning, or there may be a discharge of thins, watery fluid from the nose.
The principal skin symptoms elicited by the provers are itching of the back, chest and limbs, urticarial patches on the loins and waist and small boils on the face and over the kidney region, which are worse from bringing them into action, and pains occur in the scapulae and in the sacrum,which are worse on walking and are usually felt on waking in the morning and there are aching and bruised pains in the joints especially in the knees.
Great muscular weakness is felt in the whole body,the entire system is prostrated the arms especially feel powerless, a weak restlessness accompanies lassitude of mind and body.
The face is usually hot and flushed and hot flushes may occur all over the body and are followed by perspiration, but there may be pallor of the face, with cold perspiration.
Drowsiness with heavy, drooping eyelids indicates a desire to sleep, but there is inability to do so and the nights are restless.
Apocynum has been used mainly for oedemas and dropsies (ascites, hydropericardium, hydrothorax, hydrocephalus) in which the same cases as digitalis and probably relieves by helping the heart and kidneys to perform their functions. It needs to be given in material doses and the fresh infusion is thought to be more efficacious than the tincture. The dropsies are not caused by inflammation but are of the passive kind. In this respect apocynum is distinguished from apis, another great oedema remedy, and also by its general characteristic of being made worse by cold and cold applications, whereas the patient needing apis is relieved by them. The hydrocephalic cases in which apocynum has been useful are those in which the hydrocephalus has come on as a sequela of scarlet fever or typhoid; it is not indicated in the meningeal effusion of meningitis. The symptom ” involuntary movements of one arm and leg” has been given as a indication for apocynum in hydrocephalus. Renal and cardiac dropsies are often rapidly relieved by it, a profuse flow of urine and a copious watery diarrhoea quickly the waterlogged tissues. It is recorded to have cured some cases of diabetes insipidus when there has been a sensation of “sinking in the stomach” and great debility.
Apocynum has been successfully used for menorrhagia and haemorrhages at the climacteric, for stuffy colds of the head and for dyspepsia characterized by much bloating after meals. It should be curative in diarrhoea having the concomitants and modalities mentioned above.
(1) Passive oedemas of skin and serous cavities; cardiac and renal dropsies, with deficient excretion.
(2) Frequent, copious, painless stools.
(3) General weariness and prostration, with fainting on raising the head from the pillow.
(4) Menorrhagia or metrorrhagia at climacteric; or amenorrhoea in girls.
From cold and cold applications, movement, on waking in the morning.
from lying down (expect hydrothorax).