A name applied in Central and South America to several plants, especially of Nat. Ord. Aristolochiaceae, which are supposed to possess alexipharmic properties. The one, however, to which this name properly belongs, and to which the following remarks apply, is Mikania Guaco, H. et B., a plant, Nat. Ord. Asteraceae, indigenous in intertropical America, and now naturalized in some parts of the West Indies. Dr. Hancock, however, refers it to a species of Aristolochia.
Med. Prop. and Action. The leaves have long been held in high repute amongst the natives of South America as an antidote against the venom of serpents: for this purpose the expressed juice of the,leaves, or a strong infusion of them, is given internally, whilst the bruised leaves are applied to the wound. Mutis bears personal witness to its powers in the bites of the most venomous snakes, and his testimony is supported by that of Bertrero. To be successful it should be employed in the fresh state; but even when dried, it is also considered to be a powerful febrifuge, and anthelmintic. (Griffith.) Setting aside the laudations at one time heaped upon Guaco, there is every reason to believe that it is a good tonic and stomachic, and a gentle stimulant of the secretions. Much of the power of the remedy is destroyed by drying. For internal use it may be given in Infusion (Dried Leaves j., Aq. Ferv. Oj.), or Tincture (lb. ss. ad Spt. Vin. Rect. Css.).
1322 Therapeutic Uses. In Cholera it was proposed in 1832 as a certain remedy by Dr. Chabert, a French physician settled in Mexico. It obtained considerable repute, and was fairly tried by Dr. Pereira* in the cholera epidemic at Bourdeaux in 1832; and the results were, on the whole, satisfactory, only three out of eleven cases treated with it proving fatal. It failed, however, subsequently in the hands of Duges and Dubreuil.t The treatment consisted in administering a small teacupful of the warm decoction every half-hour until diaphoresis and warmth of surface were induced: this state was kept up for some days, when the remedy was gradually discontinued. In dangerous cases a dose of the Tincture was given alternately with a cupful of the Infusion.
E. Pritchard found good effects follow the employment of the Tincture in doses of f3ss. - f3j., largely diluted, taken every four hours The Tincture was at the same time applied locally. Dr. Duvon, of Guayaquil, found it exceedingly useful in Chronic Rheumatism and Sciatica, and Dr. Donnett speaks favourably of it as a tonic in the Convalescence of Bilious Remittent Fevers of the tropics. (Pritehard.)
* Pamph'et, Bourdeaux, 1832, 4to. Mem. de l'Acad. Roy. de Med., Sept. 1, 1S35. Pharm. Journ., Oct. 1860.
1324. The other diseases in which it has from time to time been recommended are Yellow Fever (Chabert), Chronic Diarrhoea, and some forms of Chronic Dyspepsia: in the last-named condition it may probably prove a valuable remedy. Locally, it has been employed with alleged benefit in the Bites of Insects, Bruises, Sprains, Paralysis of the Extremities, and Atonic Deafness. At one time it was lauded in Hydrophobia both as a curative and as a prophylactic; but in none of these cases have its alleged virtues been supported by experience.