This section is from the book "A Treatise On Therapeutics, And Pharmacology Or Materia Medica Vol2", by George B. Wood. Also available from Amazon: Part 1 and Part 2.
The preparations of iron are, I believe, among the most effective em-menagogues. They were employed in this capacity at the earliest period of medical history, and have enjoyed a scarcely interrupted popularity down to the present times. iron is now universally admitted to be absorbed, and to operate through the blood. One of the most frequent sources of insufficient and suppressed menstruation is an impoverished or anemic condition of the blood; and iron is, beyond all other medicines, most effective in correcting this condition. it thus produces its emmenagogue effect by removing the cause of amenorrhoea. But I am strongly under the impression that it does something more. it certainly often exercises this power, in cases where there is no reason to suspect the existence of anaemia. it is possible, that the effect, in this case, may be owing to the enriching of the blood, which thus becomes more stimulant to the function. But why not admit that iron is one of the natural healthful excitants of menstruation, operating directly on the organs concerned, whether the nervous centres, the ovaries, or the uterus, and sustaining them in a condition best fitted for the performance of the office assigned ? I can see no difficulty in admitting this claim on the part of the chalybeates, and consequently in ranking them among the special emmenagogues.
They are contraindicated only in plethoric states of the system, and in active congestion of the generative organs.
Any one of the preparations may be used which is capable of producing the general effects of the chalybeates on the system; but the Powder of iron, or Reduced iron (Ferri Pulvis, U. S. 1850, or Fer-rum Redactum, U. S.), or the Pills of Carbonate of iron (Pilulae Ferri Carbonatis, U. S.), commonly called Valleys ferruginous pills, are those which, on the whole, are probably most efficient. But upon the choice of the ferruginous preparations, as well as in reference to their dose, and mode of exhibition, the reader is referred to the general subject of iron (vol. i. p. 440).
Iron is very often given in combination with other emmenagogues, especially with aloes and myrrh, which are conjointly indicated in very many cases. It should be given in moderate doses, three times daily, and steadily continued, either till the desired effect is produced, or until the system becomes so plethoric as to offer a contraindication to its further use.