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Vol. 27 No. 7, Published monthlyThe Taylors; C. C. Taylor, Publisher; Mrs. J. J. Taylor, Ed. Mgr.
Entered as second-class matter Feb. 13, 1896, at the post office at Philadelphia, Pa., under Act of March 3, 1879.

"Most Widely Circulated Medical Monthly" The American Physician continuing the quarter century of distinctive service of


Copyright 1922, by The Taylors, Publishers; 420 Walnut St., Philadelphia, U. S. A.

Vol. 27

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Are Not Remedies for Ordinary Ailments

Unduly Neglected? ?

Active Drugs Fallen Into Disuse

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LD MEDICAL LITERATURE deals with sources of modern times available arnica is going

many drugs empirically, ascribing curative out for the simple reason that it is unnecessary. powers to many substances that modern sci

Pomegranate ence shows are possessed of little definite activity. This is an exceedingly unpalatable drug which is Yet science may overlook an important point in drug usually vomited if administered in adequate dose, activity, even as science ascribed no value to the and it is quite toxic; yet there is no doubt at all tomato as a food while blissfully ignorant of the that it possesses a specific toxic action on tapeworms, role played by vitamines and that the tomato is rich a solution of one part of its proximates in ten thouin these substances. It is wise for the scientist to sand in ten minutes causing their death. The drug be becomingly modest and to make an effort to ex- contains four alkaloids naturally combined with tanplain why the clinician finds value in certain reme- nin, in which the drug is rich; and pelletierine dies concerning the activities of which science affords tannate has displaced the crude drug almost entirely, no light.

for this modern substitute for the crude drug, is alIt is not to be wondered at that many undetermined most insoluble in the stomach. Here is an instance remedies have fallen into disuse, and it is probably wherein a drug with valuable properties is too disatrue that a large number of them never will be greeable to use in the crude form and had almost justified because actually possessed of no essential passed out until its active principles became available. remedial value; but it is not that phase of the

Sparteine matter that we wish to discuss, but, rather, to direct This drug belongs to the uncertain coniine group; attention to certain drugs of defined physiologic ac- it paralyzes the respiratory and motor centers, as tivity and that have, for various reasons, failed to well as the pneumogastric, when given in large doses. obtain general favor in the eyes of the clinicians. The long use of sparteine as a heart remedy is not Arnica

based on any proved action on the heart, and its Arnica in moderate doses slows the pulse and

use therein was probably based on the definite diuretic slightly raises the blood-pressure, while in larger action of scoparius, from which sparteine is derived. doses it stimulates the vagus nerves and toxic doses

We know now that it is the scoparin in scoparius paralyze these nerves; it is also a gastroenteric irri

that is diuretic, not the sparteine, and sparteine is tant.

rapidly going out of use. Here is an instance of The vagus may be involved from neoplasms on

the wrong proximate principle being used. Yet the floor of the skull

, from the toxins of syphilis scoparin is uncertain in action and a decoction of or diphtheria, or by alcoholic excesses, for instance; scoparius is the better diuretic. but muscarine and pilocarpine also stimulate the

Senega vagus, as do other drugs, especially the anesthetics; This drug has been proved to be quite toxic, for but the action of arnica is so uncertain, and in if its glucoside is injected into the circulation in adequate doses it is so irritating, that when vagus large doses it kills promptly from paralysis of the stimulation is necessary it is better accomplished respiratory center. Yet senega is a very active by drugs with less irritating qualities than by arnica. stimulating expectorant, useful only in chronic conHere is a drug which has been recommended in a ditions. As the glucoside is absorbed very slowly host of conditions, and which really does possess from the stomach there need be no fear of toxic definite activity, yet with the extensive drug re effects when used in moderate dosage, but it aggra

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