This root is the king of tonics to the mucous membrane. It is a mild, positive and permanent stimulating tonic. Its influence, though primarily given to the mucous membrane, extends to all parts of the body, wherever it may be required by the necessities of the vital force or influenced thither by its combination with other agents.
It improves the appetite and assists digestion. In the weak and debilitated stomach, especially if there be nervous disturbances or if the gastric membrane be clogged with congested or catarrhal mucus, and in cases of gastric ulceration, hydrastis given in small and frequent doses will not infrequently give relief both to the gastric membrane and to the nervous system.
In combination with biborate of soda it makes an excellent wash for children's sore mouth and other forms of sore mouth and sore gums.
Its especial function with the liver is its tonic relief to the portal system. In fact this same class of influence is felt throughout the entire venous system. It is one of the best agents for the sustaining of the venous circulation. Hence its action upon the right or venous side of the heart. Its influence is also felt by the arterial circulation, but this influence is secondary.
Hydrastis may be made to specially influence the stomach, bronchi, bowels, urinary aparata or genitalia, as it may be influenced by its combination with agents that especially influence any one of these several departments. With Aralia, Prunus, or Com-frey, it gives tone and vigor to the respiratory organs; with Juglans it forms a powerful intestinal tonic; with Eupatorium Purpureum or Capsella its tonic influence is felt upon the kidneys; and with such agents as Mitchella it promptly influences the organs of generation.
With gentle astringents it is admirable in the gastric and alvine weakness present in Cholera Infantum, and in Diarrhoea generally. It tones the membrane and enables it to cast off its accumulated mucus.
Locally in female troubles it is unexcelled. Calendula or Hamamelis may be added as required.
In intestinal weakness it may be combined with some preparation whose nature is of iron, such as Prunus Virginiana, and when alteratives are required to be used the influence of hydrastis is frequently a valuable addition.
It is of great service combined with Hepatics for the relief of the portal circulation and for its tonic influence in both the secreting and excreting functions of the liver.
Locally the influence of hydrastis is a very superior one. In erysipelas, ophthalmia, sore mouth, sore throat, leucorrhoea, vaginal and uterine ulceration, eczema, small-pox, eruptive and syphilitic sores it is excellent.
With Hamamelis and Glycerine it forms a good wash in gonorrhoea, and in infusion of Hydrastis may be used daily for uterine ulceration. The dose of the Tincture of Hydrastis is from 30 to 60 minims.