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Ranunculus bulbosus was proved by Franz and some effects of its external application have been observed and results of inhaling the fumes while preparing the plant or when it has been burned. The last caused headache and in one instance epilepsy, followed by cachexia, gout, headache and death. In one prover the effect of expressing the juice with the fingers was to cause a long-lasting and recurrent eruption of vesicles on the fingers. A characteristic feature of which was the blueness of the vesicles and the horny nature of the scabs.
"Small, deep, transparent, dark blue little elevated blisters of the size of an ordinary pin's head. Crowded together in oval-shaped groups of the size of a coin with intolerable burning itching, emitting when opened a dark yellow lymph afterwards becoming covered with a herpetic, horny scurf." A complete picture of herpes. The pains as well as the appearance of herpes are met with in the pathogenesis of Ran-b.
From the acrid vapor arising while the juice of the plant was being prepared these symptoms arose: "Smarting from eyes as from smoke in evening. Smarting in eyes, nose and fauces, the eyes run and are very painful. He has to stop using them for half an hour because he cannot see anything, whites slightly inflamed, mucus runs in torrents from nose. Fauces painful as if sore during an inspiration, less during deglutition. These symptoms have led to many cures of hay fever with Ran-b.
The caustic and pain producing properties of the Ranunculacee reach their highest expression in the Buttercups themselves. Ran-b. forms a constituent of some arsenical plasters used to disperse cancers. Chronic sciatica, apply tincture to heel of affected leg, (M. Jousset).
That the plant is by no means devoid of toxic properties was recognized by Gerard who wrote, "There be divers sorts or kinds of these pernicious herbs comprehended under the name of Ranunculus or Crowfoot, whereof most are very dangerous to be taken into the body. not any of them are to be taken alone by themselves, because they are of the most violent force, and therefore have the great need of correction." However, he does admit that, "These dangerous simple are likewise many times of themselves beneficial and sometimes profitable."
Writing in special reference to the bulbosus variety he quotes from Pliny that "when drunk with wine and myrrh, it causeth a man to see divers strange sights, and not to cease laughing till he hath drunk pine-apple kernels with pepper", and adds, "I think he would have said until he be dead; because the nature of laughing Crowfoot is thought to kill laughing; but without doubt the thing is clean contrary, for it causeth such convulsions, cramps and wringing of the mouth and jaws, that it hath seemed to some that the parties have died laughing, whereas, in truth, they have died with great torment."
Furthermore Gerard notes, "Cunning beggars do use to stamp the leaves and lay it unto their legs and arms, which causeth such filthy ulcers as we daily see (among such wicked vagabonds), to move the people the more to pity."
Such somewhat crude provings reveal an affinity of toxic nature with skin and other tissues, notably the nervous system. The effect on the skin is one of violent irritation causing redness, burning, smarting, itching and a vesicular type of eruption.
Central nervous effects are seen in mental disturbances and a tendency to convulsions with grimacing. Peripheral effects, or rather involvement of nerve roots, give rise to severe neuralgic pains and the peculiar type of herpetic eruption which follows the distribution of the affected nerve.
There is also affinity with serous membranes producing inflammatory reactions which result in either adhesions of opposed surfaces or effusion. Muscles, especially those of the trunk, are involved, giving rise to pains of "rheumatic" type.
An affinity with gastric mucosa was evidenced by "four persons who had eaten the root of the Ranunculus bulbosus, boiled in chicken-broth and manifested the following symptoms; violent burning in the region of the cardiac orifice of the stomach, with great anxiety about the heart; pressure at the pit of the stomach, with painful soreness at the stomach when touched."
Amebicide, Antypiretic, Antitumor, Bactericide, CNS-Paralytic, Hypnotic, Pesticide, Sedative, Vesicant
Leaf: no activity reported
antibiotic, antileukemic, antimutagenic, antiseptic, antitumor, antiviral, bactericide, candidicide, , fungicide, herbicide, irritant, pesticide, purgative, vermifuge, viricide.
No activity reported
R. bulbosus has a peculiarly powerful irritant action upon the skin, whether applied locally or internally. Murray states (App. Med., iii, 87.) that a slice of the fresh root (bulb?) placed in contact with the palmar surface of a tinger brought on pain in two minutes; when taken off, the skin was found without signs of extra circulation or irritation, and the itching and heat passed away; in two hours it nevertheless returned again, and in ten hours a serous blister had formed, followed by a bad ulcer, which proved very difficult to heal.
Early English practitioners used the bulb to produce vesication when a "lasting blister" was judged necessary, but were very chary of prescribing the drug internally, so great was their dread of its properties.
Four persons who partook of the bulbs, boiled in a chicken - broth, suffered from violent burning in the hypogastric region, great anxiety about the region of the heart, pressure at the pit of stomach, with painful soreness of that organ when pressed.
A lady who applied the bruised plant to the chest as a counter - irritant, became ill - humored, fretful, cross and disposed to quarrel, and suffered from soreness and smarting of the eyelashes some time before its action was felt at the region nearest the application.
Violent attacks of epilepsy are recorded as having been induced by this plant; a sailor who inhaled the fumes of the burning plant was attacked with this disease for the first time in his life; it returned again in two weeks, passed into cachexia, nodous gout, headache, and terminated in death. (Stapf, Add. to Mat. Med. Pura, l. e.)