Notes from the Eclectic Physicians
Properties and Uses – The White Agaric has been found useful in checking the night-sweats of phthisis, and other diseases, in the dose of eight grains, and gradually increased to a drachm during the day, and produces no inconvenience to the digestive functions. It is said to act as a cathartic with some persons, in doses of from six to thirty grains.
The Agaric of the oak is principally used for arresting hemorrhage from wounds, leech-bites, etc, it is immediately applied to the part with pressure and acts probably mechanically, by absorbing the blood and causing it to coagulate. In severe cases it is not to be relied upon. It has sometimes been applied to the purposes of moxa. Steeped in a solution of nitre, and dried, it becomes very inflammable, and is used under the name of Spunk or Punk. BOLETUS LARICIS
History – This is obtained from various fungus plants of the mushroom tribe. They absorb a great amount of oxygen with evolution of hydrogen and carbonic acid gas, and contain considerable proportions of nitrogen. They are destructive to nearly all organic matter upon which they grow. According to Dr. M.A. Curtis, of N.C., the genus boletus, as now constituted, includes only fleshy species, with a hymenium composed of sporable tubes. Those species formerly included in Boletus, and whose hymenium is composed of pores, nor form the genus Polyporus.
The Polyporus Officinalis (Boletus Laricis), known by the name of White Agaric, Purging Agaric, etcl, is procured from Asia, Corinthia, Russia, Central America, and the Rocky Mountains, where it is found growing upon the Larch. It is in masses, varying from the size of an ordinary apple to that of a large nutmeg-melon; its shape somewhat resembles a horse’s hoof; it is reddish-gray or yellow externally, whitish internally, and of a spongy, friable consistence; hymenium concrete, substance of the pileus consisting of subrotund pores, with their simple dissepiments; pileus corky-fleshy, ungulate, zoned, smooth; pores yellowish; it has a feeble odor, and a bitter, acid, somewhat sweetish taste. Braconnot found in it 72 parts resinous matter, 2 bitter extractive, 26 of a nutritious animalized principle, which her termed fungin. Benzoic acid and several sales have likewise been found in it. It is collected in August and September, deprived of its outer covering, and then dried and placed in the sun.
The Polyporus (Boletus) Ignarius, Agaric of the Oak, is a fungus found on the oak, eherry, willow, plum, and other tress; when young it is soft, but gradually becomes hard and woody. In shape it somewhat resembles the preceeding; its upper smooth surface is marked with dark circular ridges, and its under is very porous, and of a yellowish-white color. It is tasteless and inodorous. The polyporus (Boletus) Fomentarius, growing on similar tress with the P. Ignarius, when cut in slices, beaten, soaked in a solution of nitre, and dried, form an inflammable substance, known as Spunk, Amadou, or German Tiner. The Polyporus Pinicola grown upon the pine, birch, tamarac , fir, and similar trees; with absolute alcohol the fresh fungus forms a dark-red, intensely bitter tincture. A white amorphous powder, called, laricin, is obtained from some of these plants. It has a bitter taster, is soluble in alcohol and oil of turpentive, forms a paste with hoiling water, and has the formula C14 H12 04.
Properties and Uses – The dust of the Larch Agaric is irritating to mucous surfaces, causing tears when it enters the eyes, and sneezing, cough, and nausea, when the nostrils are exposed to it. It has been used in half-drachm or drachm doses as a purgative; in larger doses as an emetic. In doeses of from three to ten grains, gradually increasing to sixty grains in the course of the twenty four hours, it has been found efficacious in arresting the nocturnal perspiration of consumptives. Externally, it has been used, together with the Agaric of the Oak, as a styptic, and said to restrain not only venous but arterial hemorrhages, without the use of ligatures. It does not appear, however, to possess any real styptic power, or to act otherwise than dry lint, sponge, or other soft applications. Prepared with nitre, as for tinder, it has been used as a species of moxa.
The P. Officinalis and the P. Pinicola, in does of from three or four grains of the powder, repeated every three or four hours, or of the concentrated tincture in does of five drops, have both been found valuable in the cure of obstinate and long standing intermittents, and other diseases common to malarial districts; as, obstinate bilious remittent fever, chronic diarrhoea, chronic dysentery, periodical neuralgia, nervous headache, ague cake, and increased flow of urine. They have likewise proved useful in long standing jaundice, and in the chills and fever common among consumptive patients.
The tincture of Boletus exerts a marked influence upon the spinal and sympathetic nervous system, in certain cases of disease. It has been successfully employed in the treatment of epilepsy and chorea, and to check the rapid pulse with hectic fever and night sweats in phthisis. It has also been recommended in insanity where there is a feeble cerebral circulation and imperfect nutrition. And, also, in neuralgia, with similar symptoms.
(The entire fungus Boletus Laricis – Europe )
Preparation – Tincture of Boletus.
Dose – R Tincture of Boletus gtt. v. to gtt. x., water 3iv.; a teaspoonful every hour.
Therapeutic Action – Boletus influences the nervous system, strengthening innervation, and through this blood-making and nutrition. It has been used in itermittent and remittent fever where the patient lacked nervous energy, with good results. Probably its use will be restricted to these cases, as for the ordinary purposes of a tonic we have much better remedies.
Chills alternated with flashes of heat, bearing down pains in back. Ten drops to four ounces water; teaspoonful every two hours.
Polyporus officinalis exerts an influence on the hepatic and intestinal structures, proving a good remedy in some cases of jaundice where there is torpor of the biliary functions, and of diarrhoea and dysentery when these are of malarial origin or depending on such influence.
The antiperiodic power of the polyporus is not to be forgotten. It is in cases manifesting periodicity that it will do its best work as a corrector of gastro-intestinal troubles.
Form for Administration- The tincture from a homeopathic pharmacy.
Dose- From the fraction of a drop to five drops.
SYNONYMS – Larch Agaric, Purging Agaric
BOTANICAL ORIGIN – The fungus Boletus laricis , Jacquin ( Polyporus officinialis, Fries; Agaricus albus) Nat. Ord., Fungi . This fungus grows in Asia, Europe and South America . It is remarkable in containing 79 per cent of resinous matter; it also contains agaric acid , better know as agaricin.
The chief medicinal value of boletus is in malarial affections, the cases of ague benefited being hose presenting alternate chills and flashes of heat, accompanied with heavy bearing-down pain in the back. It is a decided nerve stimulant, and may be used in cases with impaired nutrition and feeble cerebral circulation. For its control over the diarrhoea, cough, and debilitation sweats of phthisis, it may be given with confidence, the dose being from the fraction of a drop to five drops of specific boletus. Agaricin, in doses of 1-16 to 1/3 grain, is very useful to allay thirst, cough, and sweating in phthisis.
History – The various medicinal substances, included under the elastic name Agaric, are obtained from various plants of the fungous tribe. These plants afford a great diversity of form and structure, being in their simplest character little articulated filaments composed of chains of cellules, as in the mildew of the rose bush, and in moldiness, mucor; again, they may present an even and imperforate surface, and another separated into plates or cells, in which the sporules are deposited. They absorb a great amount of oxygen with evolution of hydrogen and carbonic acid gas, and contain considerable proportions of nitrogen. They are destructive to nearly all organic matter upon which they grow. According to recent nomenclature, “the genus Boletus, as now constituted, includes only fleshy species, with a hymenium composed of separable tubes. Those species formerly included in Boletus (many of which have corky or woody tissues) and the hymenium of which is composed of pores not separable from the pileus or from each other, form the genus Polyporus.”
The Polyporus officinalis, Fries (Boletus laricis, Jacquin), is procured from Asia, Corinthia , Russia , and Central America , where it is found growing upon the larch. It is collected in August and September, deprived of its outer covering, and then dried and bleached in the sun. It is exceedingly difficult to pulverize in a mortar, but may be readily powdered by grating through a sieve.
This substance is generally known in Eclectic medicine as Boletus laricis, hence that term is here retained though the fungus is properly a Polyporus, and should be known by that name.
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage – Polyporus officinalis and the P. pinicola (see below), in doses of 3 or 4 grains of the powder, repeated every 3 or 4 hours, or of the concentrated tincture in doses of 5 drops, have both been found valuable in the cure of obstinate and long-standing intermittents, and other diseases common to malarial district, as obstinate bilious remittent fever, chronic diarrhoea, chronic dysentery, periodical neuralgia, nervous headache, ague cake, and increased flow of urine. They have likewise proved useful in long-standing jaundice, and in the chills and fever common among consumptive patients.
The dust of the Larch agaric is irritating to mucous surfaces, causing tears when it enters the eyes, and sneezing, cough, and nausea, when the nostrils are exposed to it. It has been used in 1/2 drachm or drachm doses as a purgative; in larger doses as an emetic. Small doses, unless long continued, check diarrhoea, as well as excessive broncho-pulmonary secretions; hence the value of agaric and agaricin in phthisis. Boletus is also said to arrest the mammary secretion. In doses of 3 to 10 grains, gradually increasing to 60 grains in the course of the 24 hours, it has been found efficient in arresting the nocturnal perspiration of consumptives. For this purpose, however, agaricin (see below) is now preferred. Owing to its power over the sympathetic and spinal nervous system, certain cases of epilepsy and chorea have been controlled but it; and in neuralgia and insanity it has been found of value where nutrition was imperfect and the cerebral circulation feeble. As a remedy for ague it is adapted to those cases presenting alternate chills and flushes of heat, with heavy bearing down pains in the back. The patient perspires freely at night and has a yellow-coated tongue, bitter taste, poor appetite, slight fever, and has for some time been experiencing a dull, languid feeling. Not only does it check phthisical night-sweats, but it also controls the rapid circulation and reduces the hectic fever. Externally it has been used, together with the Agaric of the oak (Polyporus fomentarius, Fries) as a styptic, and is said to restrain not only venous, but arterial hemorrhages, without the use of ligatures; it does not appear, however, to possess any real styptic power, or to act otherwise than dry lint, sponge, or other soft applications. Prepared with nitre as for tinder, it has been used as a species of moxa.
Agaricin (agaric or agaricinic acid) is irritant to the gastro-intestinal tract, occasioning, in doses of 5 to 15 grains, purging and vomiting. Upon the lower animals it depresses the nervous, respiratory, and circulatory systems. According to Riegel 1/2 grain of agaricin is equal, as an antihydrotic, to 3/4 grain of atropine. In doses of 1/16 to 1/3 grain it has been remarkably effectual in colliquative sweating, especially in phthisis, where it also allays thirst and controls the cough and diarrhoea in some cases. Long continued use of it will produce looseness of the bowels.
Tincture of boletus, 1 to 5 drops; specific boletus, fraction of a drop to 5 drops, agaricin, 1/16 to 1/3 grain.
Specific Indications and Uses -Ague, with alternate chills an dflushes of heat, with heavy bearing down pain in the back (Sp. Boletus, gtt. x to aqua, fl3iv. Mix. Teaspoonful every 2 hours). Stimulant to nervous system, when nutrition is impaired and cerebral circulation feeble; colliquative sweats.
Night sweats of consumptives, diarhea of consumptives, profuse secretion, yellowness of the skin, aching of the back and joints, chills alternated with hot flashes of heat, chils confined to the back.
In the night sweats of of consumptives, agaricus is a superior remedy. It is also of value in periodical fevers, especially when the chills are brief and the fever almost continous, and followed by little or no sweating. It also hastens the drying up of milk in weaning.
Agaricus albus is is anidrotic, antiperiodic, stimulant to the nervous system, and, in large doses, cathartic and emetic.
Synonyms – White Agaric (Agaricus Albus), Larch Agaric, Purging Agaric, Fungus Agaric, Spunk.
Constituents -There is found an excess of resin, agaric acid, agaricol, cholesterin, and agaricin.
Preparations – The tincture, dose from one to five drops. Agaracin, from one-sixteenth to one-fourth of a grain. Specific Boletus, from one-fourth of a drop to five drops.
Specific Symptomatology – Chilliness at regular intervals, followed by marked fever. Alternate chills and flushes of heat, with severe aching in the back, colliquative sweats, night sweats of phthisis.
Therapy – The remedy is applicable to all conditions of malarial origin. It is especially useful in those localities where malaria and the results of malaria prevail. The symptoms are languor, dullness, and general malaise, long continued, with the usual results, such as disordered digestion, lack of appetite, heavily coated tongue, pale mucous membranes. usually there is a bitter taste in the mouth, often persistent, with constipation, and a dull, persistent headache. The temperature will be quite erratic. In some cases there is a little fever always present. In others, there is a marked intermission. The intermission, or remission, may be irregular, not only in time, but in amount.
The agent is astringent apparently, and overcomes all excessive secretion. The broncho-pulmonary secretion of incipient phthisis, or the night sweats of the protracted cass, are benefited by this remedy. It also controls the rapid circulation and seems to exercise a favorable influence over the hectic fever. It also favorably influences the diarrhoea of this disease. It seems to allay the thirst and control the cough with many of these patients.
It will arrest the flow of milk, in the nursing woman, and will correct in many cases the tendency to passive hemorrhages. Some claim that it will check arterial hemorrhage, making the application of a ligature unnecessary.
Dr. Henderson uses boletus as a treatment for alcoholism. Those who are constantly under the influence of alcohol, trembling, weak with cold skin, he gives one or two drops of the specific medicine every two hours.
Agaricus acts upon the nerves of the skin, controlling involuntary twitching of the face and eyes. It is effective in night sweats and prostration. While agaracin, or agaric acid, is most commonly used in consumption, and the observations have been made from its influence, it is doubtful if it is superior to the specific boletus if the latter remedy is given in proper doses, and persisted in.
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