This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Rhododendron Chrysanthemum, Pharm. Edinb. Rhododendron Chrysan-thum Linn.syft. veg. ed. xiv. This plant, which is a new species of the rhododendron of Linnaeus, discovered by Professor Pallas, is a shrub growing near the tops of the high mountains named Sajanes, in the neighbourhood of the river Je-nifea in Siberia.
It is called by the natives of the place cheit or tea, from their commonly drinking a weak infusion of it, as we do the Chinese plant of that name. A stronger preparation of it is, however, used by them as a powerful medicine in arthritic and rheumatic disorders. For this pur-pose, they take about two drams of the dried shrub, stalk and leaves together, and infuse it in nine or ten ounces of boiling water for a night, in the heat of an oven. This is drunk next morning for a dose; which occasions heat, a degree of intoxication, with a lingular uneasy kind of sensation, and a sort of vermiculation in the affected parts. The patient is not permitted to quench the thirst this medicine occasions, as liquids, especially cold water, would produce vomiting, and diminish the effect of the remedy. In a few hours, all disagreeable symp-toms go off, commonly with two or three stools; and the patient finds his disease greatly relieved. A repetition of the dose twice or thrice generally completes the cure. This is the substance of the account given in a letter from Dr. Guthrie, of Petersburgh, to Dr. Duncan, Med. Comment. vol. v. p. 434.
The rhododendron has been since tried by Dr. Home in the infirmary at Edinburgh; and the result of his trials, as published in his Clinical Cases and Experiments, is, that it is a very powerful sedative, remarkably diminishing the frequency of the pulse; but that it was not peculiarly efficacious in removing the acute rheu-matism.