This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Leopards Bane: a hairy plant, with uncut leaves, and yellow radiated discous flowers, which stand solitary upon long pedicles on the tops of the stalks and branches, and are followed by small seeds winged with down: the lower leaves have long pedicles, those which grow on the stalks have none. It is perennial.
1. Doronicum five Alisma & Arnica germa-norum Pharm. Paris. Arnica Pharm. Lond. & Edinb. Doronicum plantaginis folio alterum C. B. Arnica montana Linn. German leopards bane: with oval-pointed, ribbed leaves, like those of plantane, set in pairs upon the stalk; and oblong roots. It is a native of the mountainous parts of Germany, and flowers throughout the ummer.
The leaves and flowers of this plant have a penetrating bitterish taste, and emit, when bruised, a light pungent smell, which provokes sneezing. Both water and rectisied spirit extract their virtues by infusion, and carry off a considerable share of them in evaporation. The roots are more of an aromatic nature than the other parts, and their active matter somewhat less volatile.
This plant has been greatly esseemed in different parts of Germany, as a specific for resolving coagulated blood occasioned by falls or bruises; from its efficacy in which intentions, it received the title of lapsorum panacea: the dose is an infusion of one or two pugils of the leaves, or flowers, or both, and in some cases of the roots. It is said, that soon after the taking of this medicine, a great pain is felt about the affected part, and generally a cardi-algic anxiety of the stomach, with nausea, reaching, and gripes, and sometimes extreme difficulty of breathing: that these symptoms are alleviated a little by walking about, and may be removed, if they should be very alarming, by vensesection: that in a short time, they terminate spontaneously in a copious discharge of urine, or jn a profuse sweat, and sometimes in vomiting or purging (a). This herb is recommended likewise, in consequence of its supposed resolvent power, in sundry obstinate chronical disorders. It appears, however, to be much too violent in its operation for general use, unless repeated small doses should be accompanied with the good effects, without the disturbance, which a full dose is said to produce. Simon Paulli suspects, that it is made an ingredient in the malt liquors used in some places, by the common people, against bruises and other disorders.
* In a dissertation on the virtues of the flowers of arnica, written by Dr. Collin of Vienna, a variety of cases are related of their good effects in paralytic disorders, amaurosis, and convulsive and spasmodic cases. An in-fusion or decoction of the flowers was used in the proportion of from one to four drams, to the pint of liquid. It generally occasioned pain in the affected parts, but no other disagreeable consequences of its use are mentioned.
(a) Tabernaemontanus, Herbar. lib. ii. fect, i. cap. xxii. p. 714. & fect, xi. p. 116. Fehr, Eph. nat. curios. dec.i. ann. ix & x. obs. 2. Gohl, Act. med. Berolinenf. vol. i. a. 4. p. 46. De la Marche, Dissert. de arnica verae usu.
2. Doronicum romanum: Doronicum ra-dice scorpii C. B. Doronicum graphoy dictum J. B. Aconitum pardalianches minus quod salso doronicum vocant Matth. Doronicum pardalianches Linn. Roman leopards bane: with obtufe heart-shaped leaves set alternately on the stalk, and slender knotty roots, supposed to resemble the scorpion's tail. It is a native of the Alps, cultivated in some of our gardens, and flowers in June or July.
The root of the Roman leopards bane has a sweetish somewhat astringent taste, accompanied with a weak aromatic flavour. Its medicinal qualities were formerly the subject of a considerable dispute; some affirming it to be poisonous, and others solutary. Gesner relates, that though it poisons dogs, he had himself many times eaten the herb as a grateful aromatic, and the roots also both fresh and dry, without perceiving any ill effect from them: that he had given the roots, with advantage, in vertiginous, and epileptic cases: that ne-vertheless having once taken two drams of the powdered root, a swelling of the belly and stomach succeeded in about eight hours, accompanied by a weakness of the whole body; that these symptoms continued for two days, and that he was cured by a warm bath (a). The Augustan college, after once expunging the doronicum from their pharmacopoeia, have lately received it again, and allure us, that experience has declared it innocent. It does not however appear, its innocence admitted, to be pofferffed of virtues sufficient to recommend it to practice. Among us, it has long been dis-carded, together with all the Arabian com-positions, as an ingredient in which (from a preemption, not perhaps very well grounded, of its being their duronegi) it was originally introduced.
(a) Some have alledged, that the taking of this root occasioned his death; Casp. Hoffman de medicament, officinal, lib. ii. cap. iv. §8. Boerbaa-ve, hist.. plant. Lugd. Bat. p. 151. but the epistle in which he mentions his being cured of the symptoms-which the doronicum had occasioned, is dated above five months after; and Simler, his cotempo-rary, who gives a particular account of his death, informs us that he was carried off by an epidemic disease.