Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Scutellaria laterifolia

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About the first introduction of this plant into medicine was the experiments of Dr. Vandesveer, in 1772, who claimed to have found it curative and prophylactic in canine rabies, his reported cases being fourteen hundred; this seems a large number to fall to the lot of one physician; his son after him claimed the cure of forty cases more in three years. On account of the apparently slight properties inherent in this species by physical examination its worthiness was greatly doubted and the plant much railed against, even by many who never tried it. Following Vandesveer, many empirics and regulars used the remedy with success, while many others wrote essays against its being relied upon as an antihydrophobic. Dr. White, of Fishkill, assured Rafinesque that the plant preserved him from rabies after being bitten by a dog from whose bite others died. Rafinesque states his full belief in the prophylactic prowess of the plant, and adds that many laymen and physicians claim that the plant never fails to ward off or cure the disease. The dose given was a gill of the infusion four times a day, and the plant applied to the wound. Dr. S. W. Williams, whose cry of "charlatan" and "quack" was always raised upon the slightest pretext, lends his support to the probable virtue of the plant. Mr. Youatt, a distinguished veterinary surgeon, spoke highly of its virtues in this direction, but omitted it entirely from his treatise on canine rabies. The natural order Labiatae yields species of many of its genera that are valued by the aborigines of countries in which they grow as antihydrophobics. Some value should at least be considered under these circumstances, as native medication is always the result of long and more or less successful experiment.
     The plant has proved itself a useful antispasmodic, nervine, and tonic in chorea, convulsions, tetanus, tremors, delirium tremens, wakefulness in chronic disorders, and many other diseases when a tonic combining nervine powers might be deemed necessary; it is also considered diaphoretic and diuretic.