(Menispermum Cordifolium.) (Gulancha, Hind.) Nat. Ord. Menispermaceae. Linn. Syst. Dicia Decandria. Hab. the Peninsula of India, Burmah, and the Tenasserim Provinces.
Med. Prop. and Action. The root and stem (off. Beng. Ph.) are tonic, diuretic, and slightly febrifuge, and render the Indian practitioner in a great measure independent of foreign medicines of the same class. It is a remedy highly esteemed by the Hindoos, and one which might be advantageously admitted into European practice, being abundant, cheap, and efficacious as a general tonic. The Extract, called by the Hindoos Pah, is considered to be possessed of great power. The best forms for exhibition are the Decoction (oz. ij. - Water Oj., boil thirty minutes, strain, and boil down to fl.oz. iv.) in doses of fl. oz. j. with honey, thrice daily. The Infusion (oz. ij., Cold Water Oij.; bruise the stems in a little water, then add the rest: let it stand for six hours and strain) in doses of fl. oz. ij. - fl. oz. iv., thrice daily; or Tincture (oz. viij., Proof Spirit Oij.), in doses of fl drs.ij.-fl.drs.iv. Of the Aqueous Extract, the dose is gr. lx. - gr. clxxx. daily, in milk, the taste being disguised with sugar.
In Intermittent Fevers, the Extract has been successfully employed by Drs. Stewart, Campbell, Hardie, Piddington, and others; but O'shaughnessy * says that, in his trials with it at the College Hospital in Calcutta, he could scarcely attribute to it any very decided febrifuge effect. In 20 cases of ordinary Quotidian fevers, such as occur in the Tenasserim Provinces, I employed it in doses much larger than those advised in the Bengal Ph., and in every case it prevented the accession of the cold stage; but it did not appear to diminish the severity, or prevent the return of the hot stage. This is a peculiar effect, and one which I have not observed under the use of any other remedy. The Extract deserves further trials; the only forms in which I employed it were the infusion and decoction.
899. In Chronic Rheumatism and Secondary Syphilitic Affections, the decoction or infusion (ut supra) has been employed by Dr. O'shaughnessy in the same manner as Sarsaparilla; and he states that he found it of very great utility. Its action was diuretic and tonic.
900. In Debility after Fevers and exhausting Diseases, I have constantly used Gulancha for several months. In almost every case it increases the appetite, improves the digestion, gives a tone to the system generally, and proves gently diuretic. It causes very slight arterial excitement, and it does not constipate the bowels. As a general tonic, it is of great power; and what enhances its value to the Indian practitioner is, that it is procurable in almost any quantity in all parts of India.