back Hydrastis Canadensis

Synonym. - Hydrastis Canadensis. Natural order. - Ranuneulacese. Common names.- Golden Seal. Orange Root. Yellow Root. Habitat -h. small herbaceous, perennial plant, growing in rich woods, especially in the northern and western portions of the United States. Prep aration.- Tincture from the fresh root.


The chief action of Hydrastis is upon mucous membranes, more especially those of the outlets of the body, as the eyes, nose, mouth, throat, rectum, vagina, uterine cervix and urinary organs. The natural secretion is at first increased; then it becomes abnormal in quantity and quality. At first clear, white, tenacious and transparent, it becomes yellow, thick green and even bloody, capable of being drawn out in long strings (Kali hi.). This primary mucous flux may pass on to erosion, muco- purulent discharge and ulceration. It probably causes this condition by inducing a primary capillary hyperemia; next a passive stasis, together with a stimulation of the mucous glands. Finally, from exhaustion or atrophy, the sources of the secretion are cut off, and the mucous membrane becomes dry, glazed, ulcerated and its functions destroyed. (E. M. Hale.) In the treatment of such catarrhal conditions and their consequences, Hydrastis has proved of great service, chiefly as a topical application, though it may also be used internally, but with less prompt results. Hydrastis also acts upon the glandular system and upon the skin in a much similar manner, first inducing increased hyperemia and augmented activity, followed by torpor and depression, with the usual symptoms of a retrograde metamorphosis, the whole condition being analogous to the catarrhal process, and involving the same pathological features. It thus becomes homoeopathic to erythema, moist eruptions, eczema and ulcerations on the one hand, and on the other to atony and debility, either of local organs or of the general system, the liver and digestive tract being most involved, causing hepatitis, jaundice, catarrhal dyspepsia and constipation.


Head.- Dull, heavy, frontal headache; catarrhal (Euphr., Puls., Sang.). Dull frontal headache, with dull pain in hypogastrium and small of back.

Eyes.- oOphthalmia; catarrhal; scrofulous; thick, mucous discharge (Merc.) oProfuse secretion of tears; smarting and burning of eyes and lids (Ars., Euphr., Merc. cor.). oBlepharitis.

Ears.- o0torrh(Ba; thick mucous discharges (Puls.). oCatarrhal inflammation of middle ear, and deafness after scarlet fever.

Nose.- Constant discharge of thick, yellow mucus; frontal headache. Secretion runs from posterior nares, thick and tenacious (Kali bi., Natr. ars.). hypertrophic catarrh, with yellow, greenish, offensive discharge. Coryza, watery, excoriating; burning, smarting and rawness in the nose (Cepa, Hyos., Merc, cor.); discharge scanty in the room, profuse out of doors; rawness in throat and chest. Sneezing, with fullness over the eyes (Acon., Sang.); dull frontal headache. oOzoena, with ulceration; bloody, purulent discharge (Merc, Nitr. ac). Air feels cold in the nose (Ant. crud., Psor., Osm.).

Pace.- Pale with worn, weary expression.

Mouth. - Stomatitis (Mur. ac); oin nursing women and weakly children; especially after Mercury or Chlorate of Potash. Excessive secretion of thick, tenacious mucus.

Throat. - Hawking of yellow, tenacious mucus, from posterior nares and fauces (Kali bi.); raAvness of the fauces; ulcers in the throat, especially after Mercury. Roughness in throat in morning on waking, worse from swallowing, with soreness.

Stomach.- Faint, sinking, gone feeling at the stomach (Bapt., Cimic, Ign., Phos., Sulph., Sep.); and palpitation of the heart, preceded by dull aching pains. oAtonic dyspepsia, with acidity, especially in old people. oChronic gastric catarrh; ulceration.

Abdomen.- Severe cutting in the hypogastrium, extending to the testicles; occurring after stool, with faint feeling. Sharp pain in the coecal region. Intermittent acute pain in region of liver, extending to scapula. Sharp pain in the region of the spleen, with dull pain and burning in the stomach and bowels. Griping pains with the stools (Bry., Merc, Coloc, Chel.). oGastro-duodenal catarrh. Flatulent colic, with faitness.

Stool.- Profuse, light-colored, acrid stools. oIntestinal catarrh, followed by ulceration; profuse mucous stools. oConstipation, with hemorrhoids (Nux v., Sulph.).

Urinary Organs.- Urine smells decomposed. oCatarrh of bladder, with thick, ropy, mucous sediment in the urine.

Male Organs.- Gonorrhoea, second stage, thick yellow discharge (Agn., Petros., Puls.); gleet (Sulph., Petros.). debility following spermatorrhoea (Phos. ac).

Female Organs. - o Leucorrhoea, tenacious, ropy, thick, yellow. o Ulceration of the os, cervix and vagina. (Arg. nit,). oPruritus vulva?, with profuse leucorrhoea; sexual excitement.

Respiratory Organs.- oLaryngeal and bronchial catarrh. Dry, harsh, rattling cough. Eawness, soreness and burning in the chest. Pain under left scapula (right, Chel.).

Heart. - Palpitation of the heart; in morning.

Back.- Tired aching pain in the small of back (Sep.).

Limbs.- Limbs tired and ache, with catarrh. Irritable, indolent, or scrofuluous ulcers on the legs.

Generalities. - Faintness, goneness; great weakness and prostration; secretions from mucous membranes increased, tenacious, ropy (Kali hi.); erosions (Kreos.).

Fever. - oGastric, bilious, or typhoid forms of fever, with gastric disturbances; jaundice, and a great debility following (Cinch.). oProfuse perspiration; unhealthy odor.

Compare.- Ars., Amm. mur., Ant. crud., Borax, Chel., Coni., Kali bi., Merc, cor., Phyt., Puls., Sep., Stram., Sulph.

Antidote .-Sulph .

Hydrastis Antidotes.- Merc, Kali chlor.


The chief use of Hydrastis is in the treatment of catarrhal diseases of various parts, usually characterized by a profuse thick yellow discharge. The various catarrhs in which the drug is useful have already been sufficiently detailed. In pharyngeal catarrh, tonsilitis, etc., Hydrastis is extensively used, espe cially locally, without any special indications, but is probably most useful when there is hypertrophy of the mucous membranes. Sometimes useful both locally and internally for follicular pharyngitis. Often used locally in diphtheria and in malignant ulcerations. It is a valuable local agent in gonorrhoea, as above described, and is especially useful in leucorrhoea, particularly with ulceration of the os, cervix or vagina; also in cancer of the uterus, and fungoid growths, with profuse offensive discharges. For local use the non-alcoholic fluid preparation is the best. Hydrastis is often useful in chronic inflammation of the liver, with soreness, pain, yellow skin, light-colored stools, constipation. Also in jaundice; gall-stone colic with jaundice. Ulceration of the rectum; ulcers and fissures in anus; prolapsus of rectum; especially in children. Chronic constipation; after purgatives; with haemorrhoids; during pregnancy; after parturition. Often useful in skin diseases. Has cured malignant ulcers, lupus and epithelioma. Yaricose ulcers. Eczema; erythema; infantile intertrigo. Bed sores. Chronic ulcers. Yariola, in all stages, with faintness and prostration. Sometimes indicated in gastric, bilious and typhoid fevers. Also retarded convalescence from typhoid fevers, with loss of appetite, constipation, etc.

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