NAT. ORD., Ericaceae.
COMMON NAME, Wintergreen.
PREPARATION.--The distilled oil from the leaves of Gaultheria procumbens
is used and dispensed in one or two drop tablets.
(These two papers were contributed to the Homoeopathic
Recorder, 1894, by Dr. Benj. F. Lang, York, Nebraska, on
the action of Gaultheria.)
My attention was first calle
to its use about ten years ago in southern
Ohio, where I received most pleasing results in the treatment of
inflammatory rheumatism. Afterwards to a somewhat more disagreeable
class of complaints in form of neuralgia. While I am not a champion of
any specific, I want to say that this drug has given me the quickest and
most satisfactory results of any remedy in the Materia Medica. If there
is anything that a man wants relief from quick and "now," it is from
these excruciating pains. Often was I called to treat some obstinate
cases of ciliary neuralgia, or facial, or in fact nearly every form of
neuralgia, and found my skill taxed to its utmost to bring out the balm.
Did I find it in the homoeopathic indicated remedy? I trust so, but
not in any Materia Medica. I don't say but what I got some results from
them, but I found it in this a "helper;" it came to my relief
immediately and to the great comfort of the patient. In severest cases
of neuralgias of the head and face it would do its work quick and well.
Equally well has it served me in very severe cases of neuralgia of
stomach and bowels, while for the past few years it has done faithful
work in ovarian and uterine neuralgias following or preceding difficult
menstruation. I have many a dear friend to-day whose relief from
suffering was found in this remedy.
I am satisfied that it should be given a prominent place in our Materia
Medica. Lest this article should become tedious, I will cite a few
Mr. A., travelling man from Chicago, a few years ago called on me for
temporary relief of a severe case of ciliary neuralgia; said he had
suffered for many years with it, every spring especially, and that he
had consulted great numbers of physicians of Chicago, Milwaukee and
Cincinnati, and, as he said, "had taken bushels of drugs, both old and
new school," with only temporary relief. So he expected nothing more, as
he was told he must wear it out. I told him I thought I could give him
relief. I furnished him one-half ounce of Gaultheria, with directions
to take; did not see him again for two years, when he came into my
office one day and greeted me by saying I was the only man that could
ever give him any permanent relief from his sufferings; that he never
had any return after first day taking medicine, and unlike most patrons
wanted to make me a present of a $5 (five dollar bill), which of course
no doctor refuses. I cite this first, as it was of long standing and had
tested the ability of a number of prominent men.
Miss B., dressmaker, came to me suffering terribly with facial neuralgia
and greeted me similar to No. 1; that she expected nothing but temporary
relief, as she had been afflicted for a long time. Gave her two (2)
drachms of oil W.; told her to take one dose immediately and another in
two hours if the pain did not quiet down. She was careful to ask if it
was an opiate, as she objected to that. I assured her it was not; saw
her next day, said that pain disappeared and had not returned. I was
acquainted with the lady for three and one-half years, and she only had
one return of the disease, which the same remedy relieved immediately.
Many cases more could I cite in which it never has failed me.
Mrs. G., No. 3. I was called to relieve a severe case of neuralgia of
stomach and bowels this last summer, who had been under the care of two
of my worthy competitors. They had exhausted their pill case, and for
about three weeks the poor woman had suffered everything but death
itself. After diagnosing the case I put her on this remedy, and in two
hours she was relieved and after two days was able to be about, and was
cured shortly by no other remedy than it. I want to say you will find a
true friend in this remedy in all forms of neuralgia, and only give a
few suggestions now; but if it should be necessary could give scores to
prove its value.
I mentioned in the beginning that it had been of great value in
inflammatory rheumatism. So it has, and will give later many cases of
immediate and permanent relief if it would be of any value to the
profession. A word as to the best way of giving the drug. I have found
that the dose should never be less than five drops, and if pain is
severe fifteen drops repeated in half hour; afterward two hours apart.
For adult it may be necessary to give twenty drops at first. It always
should be dropped on sugar and taken.
One suggestion: I would like to have it put in a tablet of about two to
five drops pure oil, as I think it could be taken more satisfactorily.
While the crude oil is very pleasant to take at first, yet, on account
of its strong odor, will nauseate after awhile if not removed from room.
I am confident that if you make this into a tablet and place it among
your remedies you would have a weapon that you could place into the
hands of doctors of untold value in these troubles.
(The latter part of the foregoing communication was
addressed to Messrs. Boericke & Tafel, homoeopathic
pharmacists. This was followed by a second communication
reading as follows):
Since the few lines written for the last issue of Recorder on
Gaultheria in treatment of neuralgia, I have been asked to write my
experience with it in inflammatory rheumatism.
It has never failed me in this terrible disease to give relief. My
experience with it dates back to the fall of 1884, in Ross county, Ohio,
where I was called to treat a very stubborn case, then under the
treatment of one of my old school friends. The patient, a lady about
fifty years old, had suffered with two previous attacks, lasting about
three months each time. At the time I was called to treat her she had
been confined to bed about four weeks. She was suffering intensely, the
joints of upper and lower limbs being swollen and extremely tender; in
fact, so sensitive that one could scarcely walk about the bed without
causing great suffering; temperature, 103; pulse weak and intermittent.
At my first visit, 2:30 P.M., I ordered all of the joints to be wrapped
with cotton, to exclude all air. I then gave her Bry. On my return,
next day, I did not find much improvement, excepting the nausea, which
was due to heroic drugging she had been subjected to. Continued Bry.
The next day the appetite some better, but joints still very tender;
temperature and pulse about the same; some difficulty in respiration. I
then resolved to try Gaultheria. I left one drachm vial of the remedy
and ordered the same to be divided into two equal doses, one-half at one
o'clock P.M., the balance at five o'clock P.M.
At about 7:30 of the same evening a messenger came into town in great
haste, saying my patient was failing very fast, and requested me to come
out as soon as possible. On my arrival at the home I found the patient
sitting by the fire. The husband informed me that he thought she was
losing her mind. I asked her why she was out of bed; she said she saw no
reason for staying in bed after a patient was well, and further said
that about one hour after taking the first dose she began to move
easily, and after taking second dose all of the soreness and swelling
left the joints. She also said she was all right; that we need not feel
alarmed about her. I made only one visit after; continued the same
remedy; there were no relapses.
No. 2. A prominent woman in Nebraska had been under treatment for ten
days with free old-line medication, Dover's powders and Morphia as
palliatives. Husband consulted me to know whether anything could be
given to relieve her suffering. I called and found her with temperature
102, pulse 105, left (hand) fingers and elbow joints swollen, very
sensitive to touch or movement. I at once assured her that I thought she
would get relief without any more Morphia. Gave her one-half drachm
Gaultheria and requested her to take twenty drops in two hours if pain
and soreness was not relieved. This was about 4 P.M. I met her husband
next morning on street on my way to visit her again and he said "that he
hardly thought it necessary, as his wife was relieved in about one hour
after taking first dose and felt no pain after second, and that she was
up dressing her hair when he left home." She had a slight return on
account of overwork, but remedy always gave relief and made firm patrons
of one of our best families for me. I always advise patients to wrap
the joints with cotton to exclude air and advise them to keep quiet.
No. 3. Young man, twenty-eight; had two attacks before, one lasting
three months, the second ten weeks. This was the worst case that I have
ever treated. As the heart was very weak, pulse intermittent, I put him
on the remedy, Gaultheria, with almost immediate relief, but second
day there was relapse, which again responded immediately to treatment by
same remedy; with this, or in connection with this remedy, I used some
Bry. 3 and Rhus tox. 3. I dismissed him in ten days, more than
pleased, as we were always able to control the pain immediately without
any other remedy than Gaultheria.
I cite these cases among the many that I have had, and have never failed
to get good results in any; will say that I give any other remedy after
soreness and swelling are removed that may be indicated, always taking
the necessary precaution to exclude all air from parts affected and to
keep them warm. About three hours apart is as often as I give remedy,
and always careful to give it on sugar and remove it from room, with
No. 4. Since my article on neuralgia I had a quite severe case of
sciatica that had taxed the skill of one of my worthy competitors for
nearly two months without any good results; he was about to go to Hot
Springs for some relief. Meeting me on the street, wanted to know if I
thought any of my "little pills or drops would give any relief." I
assured him that I was quite positive that I could. He could hardly move
about, and suffered very much if he did; he came and got a prescription
and found relief to his great astonishment almost immediately; has had
it refilled twice and has worked every day; he takes the remedy morning
and night; there is no pain or soreness, nor has there been any after
first day, only if he sneezes or gets the leg cramped there seems to be
slight contraction of nerve, but the remedy has done most satisfactory
work in this case and gained a valuable family.
I hope these few cases may be of some benefit to the readers of the
Recorder: 1. Be careful to observe the rule that if remedy should
nauseate cease giving for twelve or twenty-four hours. 2. Always give on
sugar or in tablets. 3. Remove it immediately from room after
administering. 4. Cover joints to exclude air and keep them warm. 5.
Give any other indicated remedy.