This section is from the book "A Practitioner's Handbook Of Materia Medica And Therapeutics", by Thos. S. Blair. Also available from Amazon: A Practitioner's handbook of Materia Medica and Therapeutics.
Echinacea, Purple Cone Flower. This remarkable drug is rapidly coming into prominence. Several firms make excellent fluidextracts, but by far the best preparation is a purified, decolorized, and assayed fluidextract given the trade name of Echafolta. Its uses and doses are the same as the f.e. or ec. tr., but it is suitable for surgical purposes while they are not.
Echinacea mildly irritates the terminal nerve endings, causes a feeling of constriction of the throat, promotes the flow of saliva, is diaphoretic and diuretic, stimulates the glandular organs, actively stimulates secretion and excretion, retrograde tissue metabolism, the lymphatic system, and the hematogenic processes. Thus, this agent actively opposes septic tendencies and blood poisoning. It does not appear to possess active toxic properties, bu: is somewhat sedative to the nervous system in large doses.
This agent is used by all three schools in exactly the same doses and indications. The present author has used it largely, and esteems it most highly. It corrects blood depravation (so far as a drug can) when due to auto-infection of an acute type, progressive blood taints due to non-elimination or the slow development of toxins, tendencies to sepsis or non-traumatic gangrene, foul discharges and depraved states of the secretions, and morbid puerperal discharges. Secondarily, it opposes sepsis or zymosis from without. Naturally, this action is less marked and cannot be exercised quickly enough to be of any material advantage in most instances. It has long been the dream of therapeutists to get an antiseptic into the blood that would kill bacteria and not kill the patient. In introducing echinacea the most effective step in this direction thus far has been taken, and I have hopes that its principles will be isolated and be made suitable for hypodermic injection as we employ diphtheria. antitoxin. As an intestinal antiseptic, echinacea takes first rank, and I firmly believe it to be of the most positive use in the initial stages of typhoid fever. In the eclectic wards of Cook County Hospital, Chicago, it has been carefully studied in this connection, and is much relied upon. In puerperal sepsis, next to mechanical or surgical measures, it is undoubtedly the most generally praised remedy we have. I cannot speak from personal experience in that matter. I can speak highly of it in septic laryngeal and throat affections, and, after antitoxin, uniformly employ it in diphtheria. In this disease it seems to be of most use in the after-stages, or at least its influence is not much manifest until then. Cases recover more quickly than when antitoxin alone is used. Subacute uremic poisoning, recurrent appendicitis with a mild septic but not necrotic element, erysipelas and cholera infantum all appear to be benefited by it. It has been highly recommended in syphilis. Personally, I use it after a course of mercury, but the eclectics claim to cure syphilis without mercury. They rely upon echinacea, stillingia, iris, kalmia, and iodides, and do not use mercury unless the case fails to prosper. On the other hand, the homeopaths use more salts of mercury and for more varied conditions than we do. So there you are. My advice would be to use it and afterwards depend upon echinacea, iodides, and stillingia, but do not give iodides and echinacea at the same time unless the iodides are given in small doses.
Poisonous venoms from snakes, rabid animals, tarantulas, and insects are effectively treated by echinacea and stimulants. Locally applied, echinacea is of use in boils and septic conditions, old ulcers, bed sores, carbuncles, and syphilitic skin lesions.
Dose, "echafolta," or i.e. echinacea, 5 to 30 . Usually 5 I to 8 I every hour in acute, or every three hours in chronic, cases. Initial dose may be I teaspoonful. For surgical uses, "echafolta," I f K to water, I pint. In severe cases and in dentistry twice this proportion. Do not expect echinacea to displace the curette or to cure appendicitis.