Caulophyllum thalictroides. N.O. Berberidaceae. Blue cohosh. Squaw root. A tincture from root.
CAULOPHYLLUM has a limited sphere and seems to derive its reputation from American popular usage and from a single proving of caulophyllin. It has nevertheless been used with considerable success as a gynaecological remedy, and for rheumatic pains. In either sphere it may be prescribed, but the prospects of its being curative are increased when the patient’s ailments are found in both. In this it resembles actaea. Clinically (and empirically) it is used for acrid leucorrhoea, for spasmodic dysmenorrhoea, for uterine pains which threaten abortion, or for irregular “false pains” preceding parturition, and for rigidity of the os uteri. It has been given in high dilution in single monthly doses during the last months of pregnancy, to ensure an easy parturition, with apparent benefit. Discoloured brown areas on the forehead are stated to be an indication for caulophyllum in pelvic cases.
Prolonged lochial discharge has been benefited by it in rheumatic subjects; also irregular intermittent uterine contractions after delivery-“after-pains.”
Nervous System.-It has been given for chorea where rheumatic pains are prominent or associated with amenorrhoea, especially in girls about the age of puberty, and may be useful in epilepsy at that age, or hysterical spasms under similar circumstances. For adolescent instability in girls it may be useful if confirmed by other symptoms of Caulophyllum.
Extremities.-Intermittent pains in smaller joints, especially finger-joints, changing rapidly from one side to another. The fingers become stiff and closing the fist is difficult and painful. The legs and feet do not entirely escape, but the hands and fingers are chiefly involved. In some cases a subacute condition arises, the joints being red and tender to the touch.
There are few, if any, general symptoms indicating the drug; it may be for this reason that it is ignored by Kent. Even the headaches have few features guiding to its choice beyond their being of a rheumatic nature, and being associated with pelvic disorders-leucorrhoea, &c., and with pressure at the back of the eyes, great heaviness of the eyelids, and lachrymation. Pain, as if temples were being crushed in, is also described.
Digestive symptoms are few; a white tongue, frequent swallowing of saliva, empty eructations, or sour and bitter “risings” with giddiness, nausea or vomiting, colicky pains in abdomen, relieved by passing flatus, complete the indications for the drug.
(1) Chiefly a woman’s medicine connected with puberty, pregnancy, child-birth and lactation.
(2) Acrid leucorrhoea.
(3) Spasmodic dysmenorrhoea.
(4) Irregular, ineffectual pains extending to the groins before delivery, rigidity of the os uteri, prolonged lochia.
(5) Rheumatic pains and swelling of joints, especially finger- joints, constantly changing site, redness and stiffness.
(6) Choreic or hysterical spasms.
(7) Best suited to irritable, strong-minded, dark-complexioned women.