back Apocynum Cannabinum

Natural order. - Apocynaceae.

Common name. - American hemp.

Habitat. - A perennial plant growing throughout the United States, north of the Carolinas.

Preparation.- Tincture from the fresh root.


Acts upon the kidneys, skin, and serous membranes, giving rise to various dropsical affections;  also to some extent upon the mucous membranes of the digestive tract, especially the intestines, where it causes increased secretions - watery diarrhoea.  It causes weakness of the sphincters of the rectum and bladder, and produces congestion of the hemorrhoidal vessels.  It also has a depressing action upon the heart, causing great weakness and irregularity of the pulse.


Mind.- Bewildered ; nervous; low-spirited (Lyc., Natr. mur., Puls.).

Head.- Vertigo, suddenly appearing and disappearing, hydrocephalus; stupor; sight of one eye totally lost, the other slightly sensible; constant involuntary motion of one arm and leg; forehead projecting ; sutures open ; stage of exudation.

Stomach. - oGreat thirst, but water disagrees, causing pain, or is immediately thrown off (Ars.). Thirst on waking.  Short unsatisfactory respiration. Sinking feeling at pit of stomach (Hydras., Ign., Puls., Sep.).  distressing vomiting at intervals.  oGreat irritability of the stomach and vomiting.

Abdomen.- oAscites.  Abdomen distended and painful (Ars., Merc).

Stool. - Tenesmus of rectum.  Bearing down pain in anus.  Evacuations very scanty.  Watery stools. Symptoms always immediately after eating.

Urinary Organs.- Scanty discharge; no uneasiness.  Profuse light-colored urine; no sediment (Apis, Arg. nit.).

Female Organs.- oMenorrhagia continuous or paroxysmal; fluid or clotted; nausea; vomiting, palpitation;  pulse quick, feeble when moved;  fainting when raising head from pillow.

Respiratory Organs.- Cough short and dry, loose and rattling, with oppression.  Sense of oppression about the epigastrium and chest (Ant. tart., Ars., Phos.) impeding breathing, after a light meal. Short unsatisfactory respirations.

Generalities.- Excretions diminished, especially urine and sweat.  General restlessness with debility.  Pulse weak, quick, irregular.

Compare.- Acet. ac, Aloe, Ars., Apis, Asclepias, Colch., Digitalis, Elat., Hell., Oleander, Podo., Verat. alb.


THERAPEUTICS. Very useful in all varieties of dropsy, both idiopathic and secondary, especially when dependent upon disease of the liver. Not so useful in albuminuria. Has cured both hydro- cephalus and hydrothorax. In the former resembling Apis, but lacking the cephalic cry. In all dropsies the chief indications are great thirst, and extreme irritability of the stomach (Ars.). Menorrhagia with symptoms as named above under "Female Organs." Has also been used for watery diarrhoea, and for haemorrhoids where there is a sensation "as if a wedge were being hammered into the anus."

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