Cimicifuga Racemosa. Black Snake-root. Nat. Ord. Ranunculaceae. Hab. North America and Canada.

Med. Prop. and Action. The Root from its bitterness has been deemed tonic, and from its popular use in chest affections expectorant, but recent researches have pointed out that its proper place is amongst the arterial and nervous sedatives. It has a marked effect in diminishing the force and frequency of the pulse, which effect lasts for a considerable time. In large doses it produces vertigo, impaired vision, nausea and vomiting with marked reduction of the pulse. By some it is supposed to exercise a special action on the uterus and its functions. Its activity is probably due to a resinous principle which has been designated Cimicifugine. It may be given in the form of Powder, or in Decoction (oz. j. ad Aq. Oi.) in Doses of fl. oz j. - fl. oz. iij. till from Oss. to Oj is taken daily; in Tincture (oz. iv. ad Sp. Rect. Oj.) in doses of fl. drm j - fl. drs. ij., m Fluid Extract in doses of fl. drm. j. - fl. drs. ij , or in Extract in doses of gr. v. - gr. viii. Dose of Powdered Root, gr. xx. - gr. lx.

* Materia Medica, p. 620.

51. Therapeutic Uses

In Choreait has been successfully employed by Drs. Physick, Hildreth,* Kirkbride. Young, Beadle, § Wood, || and other American physicians, who relate many cases illustrative of its efficacy. Prof. Simpson, of Edinburgh,¶ also mentions a case of anomalous and severe chorea of long standing, in which the Actea was given with excellent effect. In Epilepsy and other forms of Convulsions connected with uterine disorder, it has likewise been employed, but not with the same unequivocally good effects as in Chorea. The best form of administration in these cases is the powdered root in doses of gr. xxx. - gr. lx. three or four times daily, or until its effects are manifested.

52. In Diseases of the Lungs it has long enjoyed a high repute in domestic practice in America. It was first brought forward by Dr. Garden** as a remedy in Phthisis, and Dr. Wheeler ft found it especially serviceable in several cases of severe and protracted Cough, especially in the Chronic Cough and Bronchitis of old persons. Dr. Hildreth bears testimony to its value in these cases, and also in allaying the cough of Phthisis. Prof. G. B. Wood §§ considers that probably it is useful in these affections by allaying irritation through its sedative properties. In Cy-nanche Maligna a decoction of the root is recommended by Dr. Barton as an excellent gargle.

53. In Acute And Chronic Rheumatism It Appears To Be A Remedy Of Great Power

Its claims have been advocated by Drs. Johnson and Davis,[||| who state that they have no more doubt of the efficacy of Actea in the early stage of acute rheumatism than they have of the power of Vaccination as a preventive of Smallpox ! Dr. Davis advises in these cases grs. xx. of the powder, or gutt. xxx. - lx. of the Tincture every two hours till its effects are observable. Prof. Simpson ¶¶ states that in his own case it has repeatedly cured an attack of Lumbago with wonderful rapidity. Evidence in its favour is also adduced by Dr. M'Donald,* of Inverary.

* Amer. Journ. of Med. Sci., Jan. 1843.

Ibid. Feb. 1840, p. 2S9.

Amer. Med. and Surg. Journ., Feb. 1832.

§ New York Journ. of Med., July, 1840.

|| Therapeutics, ii. p. 167.

¶ Med. Times and Gazette, Dec. 8th, 1860.

** Amer. Med. Recorder, Oct. 1823.

Boston Med. Journ. Sept. 1839.

ft Amer. Journ. of Med. Sci., Oct. 1842.

§§ Op. cit. p. 167.

|||| Trans. of Amer. Med. Association, i. p. 352.

¶ ¶ Op. cit.

54. Other Diseases

In Protracted Labours Dr. Wheeler advises it as a substitute for Ergot. He considers that it acts not only by inducing uterine contractions but by relaxing the soft parts. This requires confirmation. Prof. Simpson mentions a case of Puerperal Hypochondriasis and Depression which yielded rapidly to its use. As a local application in Ophthalmia Dr. Brandige § regards the saturated tincture as superior to every other treatment. A strong decoction is said to be an effectual remedy in Scabies. It has also been used in Dropsy, Hysteria, and other affections, but with no certain results. It obtained its vernacular name of Snake-root from the repute in which it was held by the Indians as a remedy in Snake bites.