Acts pre-eminently upon the venous system of blood vessels, giving rise to varicosis, venous congestions, haemorrhages, and even structural lesions, its most important local action being upon the rectum and the generative organs.
Dr. Hale says that Hamamelis “may be called the Aconite of the veins, acting upon those vessels as Aconite acts upon the arteries. Its primary action appears to cause a spasm of the vaso-motor nerves which supply the veins (if a drug is capable of causing spasms of those nerves, and not at the same time of the arteries). It also acts as an irritant to those vessels to such an extent as to cause a condition favorable to, if not actually ending in inflammation of their coats. The secondary action leads to the other extreme, and we have paresis of those nerves, and thence paralysis of the coats of the veins, leading to varicosis, venous congestions, haemorrhages, and even structural lesions.”
The provings of Hamamelis do not entirely warrant these conclusions ; but there is no question as to the clinical virtue of the drug in these conditions, which Dr. Allen presumes to be due to the gallic acid contained in the bark.
The chief characteristic of Hamamelis is a passive, venous haemorrhage from any part.