According to Hale, Rafinesque was the first to investigate Xanthoxylum, which was known to him as “a great article in the materia medica of our Indians”; who use the root bark in decoction for “colics, gonorrhœa, syphilis, inward pains, toothache, ulcers, etc. It is a great topical stimulant,” he continues, “changing the nature of malignant ulcers.” Xan. contains Piperin.
T. C. Duncan (Minn. H. M., ix. 340), recounting reminiscences of his boyhood, says: “There was another drug that set my youthful mouth and stomach on fire, and that was Prickly Ash. You wanted to open the mouth to let the cool air get in.” This warmth is felt as a warm glow through the entire system, with a sensation in the nerves as if gentle shocks of electricity were passing through the body.
In one of Cullis’ provers, Miss D. (there were six provers, three of them women; all took the Æ tincture), the entire left half of the body became numb, the left half of the head being sharply divided in sensation from the other half. These symptoms, with the many head pains and fulness in the head, give the correspondence in hemiplegia, in which Xan. has been given with success. Two additional provings on women appear in C. D. P. (quoting from Publ. Mass. Hom. Soc.). In these provings 20- to 100-drop doses of the tincture were taken, and symptoms of great severity were produced. Both provers had severe dysmenorrhœal pains, with increased and anticipating flow. This is the characteristic of Xan. The symptoms in each case roused the prover from sleep with pain and suffocation; the pain being confined to head, heart, throat, and pelvis. Many of the pains were radiating─from above right eye over head; from right ovary down thigh and in other directions. Left-sided numbness was present in one; who also had symptoms of levitation and disordered sensation.
In dysmenorrhœa Xan. has a wide range. Cullis, who had most success in cases of dysmenorrhœa and amenorrhœa, relates these cases: (1) Miss A., 25, brunette, had menstrual irregularity since commencement; would go three, four, or five months, and then her sufferings were excruciating. When she came under treatment had had no menses for two months. Xan. 1 was given, 5 drops thrice daily. Menses appeared in three days and were painless. (2) Miss B., fair, nervous, had menses suppressed by getting feet wet, being then a week over time. Xan. 1x, 5 drops every three hours, brought on menses next day. Cullis thinks Xan. especially Suited to women of spare habit, nervous temperament, and delicate organisations. Leucorrhœa with amenorrhœa he regards as a strong indication.
P. C. Majumdar (Ind. H, R., viii. 21) cured a case of uterine fibroid with Xan. 3x: An emaciated, feeble, wrinkled woman, 56, widow, had been advised by allopaths to have an operation for tumour. Menstruation had ceased fifteen years before. It had always been profuse and painful, and preceded and followed by leucorrhœa. She had neuralgic pain in right ovarian region; a hard nodular tumour size of a small orange, painful on deep pressure. Fetid, yellowish white discharge from vagina. Patient was nervous, depressed; lazy and sleepy even in the daytime. Appetite poor; disgust for food. Xan. 3x was given night and morning. In a week the pain was better and discharge less. In four weeks Majumdar found the patient a changed person. The tumour was much softer and reduced by half. In six months the tumour had gone, and the patient was quite well, Xan. having been taken intermittently all the time.
Xan. belongs to the Rutaceæ, and, like Ruta, has a vulnerary action, as I discovered in this case: Miss X., 28, injured her right ulnar nerve at the elbow by repeatedly striking it against the edge of a bath whilst washing some articles. For two months she had had to keep the arm in a sling. A few weeks after that the arm swelled. Some eight months after the injury I saw her. The pain centred in the ulnar nerve where it crosses the inner condyle of the humerus, though there was pain above and below as well. I gave Ruta 30, which gave some relief to the pain, and relieved a frontal headache to which the patient was subject. The arm becoming less well, I gave Xan. 12 four times a day. This made a distinct improvement in the arm, and also relieved a dysmenorrhœa to which Miss X. was subject. After persistent treatment with various attenuations of Xan. the nerve lost its sensitiveness, and the patient could use her arm freely. Xan. 1 in five-drop doses night and morning, with a liniment of Xan. Æ , proved most effective.
A patient to whom I gave Xan. 3x had immediately a hot pricking pain in right ovary.
Among the Peculiar Sensations are:
As if top of head would be taken off by flashes of throb-like pain.
As if bewildered with pain in back of head. Feeling of looseness or quivering of brain.
As if head falling to pieces.
As if head surrounded by a tight band. Eyes as if full of sand.
As if pepper in mouth and throat. As of a bunch in throat. Tongue as if expanding and contracting.
As if throat swollen and enlarged. Throat as if in a vice. Back of neck as if stiff. Coccyx as if elongated.
As if floating in the air. As if walking on wool.
As if sunk deep in bed. As if body expanded. Many pains are radiating; some are sudden, arouse from sleep, and cause the patient to catch her breath. Pains are excruciating, unbearable, and are accompanied with red, hot face; but the heart pains = pallor. The symptoms are: by pressure and by throwing head back. Lying down >. Drink of ice-water >. Headache is > by cold water and in open air. Pains are by hard pressure or throwing head back.─Very severe pain in cervical and upper sacral region.─Back of neck numb.─Slight pain in l. side and under l. scapula, also in l. hip.─Dull pain from nape to r. scapula.─Dragging pain in lower part of pelvis and back.─Coccyx seemed elongated, extremely sensitive to pressure and ached all the time; could not sit except on cushion.
Suddenly taken with cramp-like pains in wrists and knees.─Pain in limbs, neuralgic, shooting; numbness and weakness.─Dull pain in l. knee; also in l. elbow, extending to hand, then in l. side and top of l. foot.
Pain in r. shoulder and arm.─Pain and pricking feeling in arm, extending to third finger.─Pricking and throbbing sensation in l. arm and fingers.─Severe pain in r. arm, commencing just above bend of elbow.─Whole l. arm and shoulder numb.─Pain in l. elbow and l. side of head.─Dull pain in l. elbow, passing to palm of hand, then to shoulder.─Pain in both elbows.─Severe pain in wrist, extending to thumb.─A flash of pain in r. thumb, extending to hand.
Severe neuralgic pains in course of genito-crural nerves (dysmenorrhœa).─Excessive weakness of lower limbs (chlorosis).─Pain in l. leg, between hip and knee.─Weakness in lower limbs, with pain in knees; pain of extremities increased, accompanied by frequent chills.─Legs and feet feel tired.─Pain in l. knee very severe; pain has lasted, without cessation, a little more than half an hour.─Dull pain in r. knee.─A flash of pain in calf of r. leg.─Pain in ankle.─Pain in l. heel.─Pain in both feet, shooting up to knees.─L. foot numb.
Nerves: acts upon nervous system, mostly upon sensory nerves, but causes a marked depression of vitality, a non-reactive state; hence its use in chlorosis, measles, neuralgia, &c., when there is sensorial and bodily depression.─Paralysis of single members.─Hemiplegia (after Nux vom. failed).─Pricking sensation, shocks as from electricity.─Feeling of numbness through whole l. side of body from head to foot, the division made perceptible in the head, affecting half the nose.─Whole l. side, esp. l. foot, numb.─Body felt as though it were elastic and stretched itself out.─Seemed as if floor were soft like wool on walking.─As if floating through air on sitting; as if sunk deep in bed on lying down.─Mucous membrane smarts as from pepper.
25. Skin.─Measles, dulness, bewilderment, drowsiness, want of sufficient development of the eruption.─Old and indolent ulcers.
26. Sleep.─Continued gaping; drowsiness.─Slept hard and heavy; dreamed of flying about over tops of houses.─A dream of suffocation woke her.─Dreamed the throat grew up, and woke with fright, finding it difficult to breathe.─Awoke in morning languid and depressed.
27. Fever.─Sense of heat all over veins, with a desire to be bled; flash of heat from head to foot.─Slight chill accompanied by death-like nausea.─Frequent chills, with pains in extremities; nausea.─Typhoid fever in stage of collapse.