Ranunculus bulbosus. Buttercup. crowfoot. N.O. Ranunculaceae. Tincture of the whole plant.
PATHOGENESY AND THERAPEUTICS.
ALL the buttercups have caustic properties, their juices being very acrid, and ranunculus bulbosus is no exception. Other buttercups used as medicines are R.acris, R.ficaria, R.flammula, R.glacialis. R.repens, and R.sceleratus. They are somewhat similar in their action and ranunculus bulbosus may be taken as their type, as the others are rarely used and have not been so well proved.
The spheres of action of ranunculus bulbosus are : (1) the nervous system, especially the nerves issuing from the dorsal spinal cord; (2) the mucous membranes; (3) the skin.
Skin.- The juice or sap of the plant is extremely irritating, and when the leaves or shoots were applied by one prover to the lateral parts of the fingers they caused itching and blisters which ended in becoming obstinate ulcers which were flat and had an ichorous discharge. From the blisters, when opened, flowed a thin yellowish viscid serum which afterwards formed horny scabs. The ulcers sometimes spread and even may become gangrenous. The vesicles are sometimes of a blue black colour from haemorrhage into them. One of the provers, Franz, found that contact with the juice quickly produced an eruption of bullae, and a fortnight after these had healed a series of herpetic patches occurred consisting of dark blue vesicles which itched and burned intolerably. Their late appearance suggests that they may have been due to a general rather than to a local action of the drug, but no eruption has been produced by taking the juice internally. This action on the skin has led to ranunculus being successfully employed herpes zoster, especially when the eruption is in the course of the supra-orbital or intercostal nerves; the vesicles burn and sting and form horny scabs; they are very sensitive to touch. Pemphigus and eczema of the skin, with formation of horny scabs, also come under its in influence.
Eyes.- When the prover is exposed to the influence of the fumes from the preparation or burning of the plant, or when the juice is taken internally, the eyes smart, the lids are sore and burn, there is burning and soreness in the outer canthus and there may be hemeralopia.
Nose.- The skin of the nose is red and much inflamed, it secretes profusely, is stopped up, there is pressing at the root of the nose and tingling and crawling in its cavity. Violent itching, burning and scraping of the soft palate occur, with much mucus about the fauces, symptoms which, in conjunction with the smarting of the eyes, are reminiscent of hay fever, for which ranunculus bulbosus has been given with benefit.
Alimentary System.- Taste is altered and coppery, and though there is salivation there is also thirst. There are spasms in the oesophagus hiccough, great burning pain at the cardiac end of the stomach, nausea eructations, pain at the epigastrium and tenderness to pressure over all the stomach area. A sensation of pressure is felt over the live, stitches in the spleen and bruised pain in both hypochondria. The abdominal walls are very sensitive to touch, and cutting colicky pain with intestinal movements and rumbling, all worse after eating, is accompanied by acrid diarrhoeic stools.
Nervous System : Mind.- The principal mental effects of the drug are anger, ill-humour and a fear of ghosts. The patient is excitable and suffers from fight and vexation.
Head.- The head feels full and distended. There are tearing pains in the temples or over the right eye. In the latter position the pains are worse from lying and better from walking and standing, modalities which are the reverse of those of all the other symptoms of ranunculus bulbosus. There is a pressure in the forehead at the root of the nose and also in the nape of the neck, and maybe pains in the occiput
Spine.-The characteristic and distinguishing action of ranunculus bulbosus spinal cord, especially the sensory nerves. It inflames the nerves and there result sharp, lancinating, stitching, burning pains felt along the course of the intercostal nerves, mostly on the left side but almost equally on the right. the fifth and sixth intercostal nerves are especially affected. The same kind of pains are felt over the upper abdomen on each side and along the attachments of the diaphragm. The pains occurs paroxysmally and are worse from cold, any movement such as inspiration or turning the body, change of temperature, especially from warm to warm to cold, from wet, stormy weather, and from touch and pressure, so that the patient cannot lie on the affected side. There are sore spots along the tender ribs, pains between the scapulae, between the scapulae and spine and along the inner edge of the left scapula. Chilly areas are often felt in the outer parts of the chest when walking in the open air. Ranunculus bulbosus is therefore a principal remedy for pleurodynia and intercostal rheumatism and is probably more often indicated for these affections than any other medicine. In addition it has been found useful in pleurisy, for the pain caused by pleuritic adhesions and the pleuritic effusions shut off by them. It is useful in rheumatic soreness of pectoral and intercostal muscles and for painful soreness, as if bruised, over the floating ribs. Women of sedentary employment sometimes suffer from muscular pains about the margins of the shoulder-blades, associated with burning in small spots. These pains are brought on by needle-work, typewriting or piano playing. Ranunculus bulbosus relieves them. Similarly, it has in its pathogenesis jerks and sudden tearing pains in the forearm and hand while using the right hand in writing, and correspondingly is of service for writer`s. cramp and other professional neuroses.
The liver is sore on deep pressure and there may be a stitching pain in the right side which is worse from motion, breathing and walking. The fulness in the head, the vertigo, the quarrelsome, angry humour and fear of ghosts conjoined with the burning pain in the stomach, the eructations and nausea, the hiccough and the tender liver make ranunculus bulbosus a suitable remedy for acute alcoholism, even when it is manifested by delirium tremens or by epileptiform attacks.
Extremities.-In the limbs ranunculus bulbosus causes various dysaesthesiae, such as pain in the shoulders and arms, a sensation of debility in them, pains in the wrists thumb and index finger, coldness and creeping feeling in the hands and fingers, pains from above downwards along the posterior surface of the thighs, suggesting its employment in sciatica, pains in the tendo Achillis, heels and dorsa of the feet, stiffness and pain in the ankles, and icy-cold feet. The pains in the limbs are of a stitching or pressive character and have the modalities of ranunculus bulbosus pains, viz., worse from movement, touch, pressure, cold, wet weather, change of temperature and weather, especially to cold and wet. Corns become very painful; they are sore to touch, sting and burn.
Sexual.-In a female prover her existing leucorrhoea was increased and from being bland became acrid. There was a sharp pain in the ovaries at every change to cold weather; this was probably not in the ovary itself, but in its peritoneal covering, since ranunculus bulbosus can inflame the peritoneum as well as the pleura.
Generalities.-Ranunculus bulbosus subject are remarkably sensitive to changes of weather and temperature, especially change to cold, as already mentioned in the modalities of its pains. Any sudden exposure while over heated may bring on an attack of pleurisy or pleurodynia with fever, or it may cause a general aching, rheumatic soreness of all the muscles of the body, but especially those of the trunk. It should be compared with actaea and arnica in these respects. The patient is inclined to chilliness, especially after dinner, and to have feverish symptoms in the evening. He is debilitated, trembles and inclined to faintness.
(1) Inflammatory neuralgia of spinal nerves, especially the intercostals.
(2) Sensitiveness to change of weather and temperature.
(3) Pains that are paroxysmal, stitching, burning or pressing, with the modalities below (under Aggravation).
(4) Muscular soreness, as if bruised, especially the muscles of the chest and upper abdomen.
(5) Great sensitiveness of affected parts to touch and pressure.
(6) Eruptions that are vesicular, often of dark blue colour, that are followed by horny scabs.
(7) Named diseases: pleurisy, pleurodynia, intercostal neuralgia, muscular rheumatism, sciatica, acute alcoholism, writer`s cramp and professional neurosis, herpes zoster, pemphigus, eczema, ulcers.
From cold change of temperature and weather, movement (all pains except supra-orbital), touch, pressure. In the evening (most symptoms), inspiration, lying on the affected side, after eating.
Rest in an evenly warm atmosphere.