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*[Communicated by SAVARY to the Journal de la Societe Gallicane de Med Hom., March, 1859.]

(Translated from the Allgemeine Homoeopathische Zeitung.)


[The following description of the above plant is copied from the U. S. Dispensatory.

“The root of Asclepias tuberosa. U. S.

ASCLEPIAS, Sex Syst. Pentandria Digynia. Nat. Ord. Asclepiadaceae.

Gen. Ch. Calyx small, five-parted. Corolla rotate, five-parted, mostly reflexed. Staminal crown (or nectary) simple, five-leaved; leaflets opposite the anthers, with a, subulate averted process at the base. Stigmas with the five angles (corpuscles) opening by longitudinal chinks. Pollinia five distinct pairs. Torrey.

Asclepias tuberosa. Willd. Sp. Plant i. 1273; Bigelow, Am. Med. Bot. ii. 59; Barton, Med. Bot. i. 239. The root of the butterfly-weed or pleurisy-root is perennial, and gives origin to numerous stems which are erect, ascending, or procumbent, round, hairy, of a green or reddish color, branching at the top, and about three feet in height. The leaves are scattered, oblong-lanceolate, very hairy, of a deep rich green color on their upper surface, paler beneath, and supported usually on short footstalks. They differ, however, somewhat in shape according to the variety of the plant. In the variety with decumbent stems, they are almost linear, and in another variety cordate. The flowers are of a beautiful reddish-orange color, and disposed in terminal or lateral corymbose umbels. The fruit is an erect lanceolate follicle, with flat ovate seeds connected to a longitudinal receptacle by long silky hairs.

This plant differs from other species of Asclepias in not emitting a milky juice when wounded. It is indigenous, growing throughout the United States from Massachusetts to Georgia, and when in full bloom, in the months of June and July, exhibiting a splendid appearance. It is most abundant in the Southern States, The root is the only part used in medicine.

This is large, irregularly tuberous, branching, often somewhat fusiform, fleshy, externally brown, internally white and striated, and in the recent state, of a sub-acrid, nauseous taste. When dried it is easily pulverized, and has a bitter but not otherwise unpleasant taste. It yields its virtues readily to boiling water.

Medical Properties and Uses. The root of the Asclepias tuberosa is diaphoretic and expectorant, without being stimulant, In large doses it is often also cathartic. In the Southern States it has long been employed by regular practitioners in catarrh, pneumonia, pleurisy, consumption, and other pectoral affections; and appears to be decidedly useful if applied in the early stages, or after sufficient depletion, when the complaint is already formed. Its popular name of pleurisy-root expresses the estimation in which it is held as a remedy in that disease. It has also been used advantageously in dysentery and acute rheumatism, and might probably prove beneficial in our autumnal remittents. Much testimony might be advanced in proof of its possessing very considerable diaphoretic powers. It is said also to be gently tonic, and has been popularly employed in pains of the stomach arising from flatulence and indigestion.”

The following account of its medical properties is from Rafinesque's Medical Flora.

“Properties. — Sub-tonic, diaphoretic, expectorant, diuretic, laxative, escnarotic, carminative, antispasmodic, &c. It is a valuable popular remedy, and a mild sudorific, acting safely without stimulating the body. It is supposed to act specifically on the lungs, to promote suppressed expectoration, and to relieve the breathing of pleuritic patients. It appears to exert a mild tonic effect, as well as stimulant power over the excretories. It relieves the dyspnea and pains in the chest. It often acts as a mild cathartic, suitable for the complaints of children. It is also useful in colic, hysteria, menorrhagia, dysentery, &c.

“In the low state of typhus fever, it has produced perspiration when other sudorifics had failed. In pneumonia and catarrh it is always beneficial. It restores the tone of the stomach and digestive powers. It has been given in asthma, rheumatism, syphilis, and even for worms.”

On comparing the pathogenesis as communicated by Md. Savary, with the above, we shall be able to judge whether there are any grounds for ascribing any, or all of these virtues to this plant. Translator.]

Translation. — The prover is thirty-two years old, of nervous temperament; at the commencement of the proving the stomach and respiratory organs were somewhat irritated. We give, instead of a literal translation, an abstract of the symptoms arranged according to the customary plan, as we shall avoid in this way a multitude of repetitions. The numerals indicate the days after taking the medicine. Only two drops of the tincture were taken, and these alone produced the following symptoms.

General Symptoms

Sensation of numbness in the whole body. Excessive weakness in the morning in bed. Walking seems impossible. Sensation while walking as if he were bent forward toward the left side. Aching in the bones and rheumatic pains in the extremities, principally in the joints; these pains appear in one arm and in the opposite leg at the same time; thus, if the left arm is affected, the right leg suffers in sympathy, and the left leg with the right arm. This circumstance was almost constant. Quivering and twitching of the muscles in different parts. Great emaciation.


Pimples, vesicles or pustules began to appear on the fifteenth day, and spread gradually over almost the whole body, but particularly on the arms, legs, and in the face; they are very painful and itch excessively, and continue more than eight days. A red inflamed spot on the upper part of the right thigh, as large as a dollar, painful and itching, continuing several days and leaving a dark stain. (23.) Many vesicles on the lips. (20.) Pock-like pustules on the arms.


Difficult and late sleep at night, with great sleepiness in the morning and through the day, which is relieved in the open air. Restless and sleepless at night, Confused and anxious dreams.


Feverish the first day, the pulse being at first 55, afterwards 70. Sometimes much thirst, sometimes none. On the eighth day, pulse 92. Pulse thready at 65, during diarrhea.

Mind and Sensorium.

Excessive dejection. (15.) Weakness of memory. (2.) Difficulty in thinking collectedly. Sensation of weakness after smoking a little while walking, in the morning, before and after rising, particularly in the legs. Feeling of drunkenness after smoking a very little, with debility of the sense of sight.


Pain in the forehead with a feeling of heaviness in the side, continuing the whole day. (1.) Head-ache is present almost daily, generally most severe early in the morning. Head-ache in the morning while rising with weakness, so that he must lie down again; it continued the whole day and the following night, and was somewhat relieved by a warm footbath. (7.) Pricking as if with nails in the head, and at the same time in other parts. (2.) Pain in the scalp, on the left side of the occiput, like touching a pustule, continuing one day. (16.) Falling out of the hair. (30.)


Transitory pain behind the left eyeball, in a few minutes. Broad dark spots before the eyes with a very slow pulse of 55. (1.) Itching in the angles and lids of the right eye. (3.) Inflammation of the conjunctiva for many days; (this, however, is not an unusual symptom with the prover.) Pain in the eyes by gaslight. The eyes look languid and fatigued. Feeling as if sand were in the eyes. The lower lids are painful as if ulcerated.

Nose and Face

Itching in the nose and in the face. Pustules on the nostrils. Stinging in the nose as if from a flea. Yellowness of the face. (15.) Facies hippocratica, (after violent diarrhea on the fifteenth day.)


Yellow coating on the teeth. Pain in the right inferior molars. (24.)


Itching of the lips. Lips inflamed and covered with herpetic vesicles. Gums very pale and almost yellow; they bleed easily and repeatedly. Yellow, tough coating on the tongue. Putrid taste.


Transitory constriction and stinging in the throat, extending to the larynx, (1.) Pains in the throat. Angina. (26.)

Appetite and Gastric Symptoms

Deficient appetite, especially in the morning. Insatiable hunger. (2.) Eructations; frequently, immediately after taking the medicine, continued the whole day with the odor of the drug; less frequent the second day. Nausea in the morning, when rising. (17.) Taste of blood in the mouth.


Burning in the stomach, (after twenty-five minutes.) Pains in the stomach; nervous, even amounting to violent gastralgia; also cramp-like. Sensation as if the stomach would burst, while laughing. The pains in the stomach continue, almost without a day's intermission, until the forty-second day.


Pain in the intestines, (after twenty minutes,) subsequently attended with burning in the right hypochondriac region, and stomach. Throbbing in the left hypochondriac region. Much flatulence, smelling like the medicine, with colic-like pains; with a sensation, when walking, as if the belly would drop. Violent pain in the hypogastrium, as if the region were ulcerated, with tenderness to pressure. Colic, while going up-stairs; while walking; after eating, especially violent at night after one o'clock (8 and 14), and also in the morning; during each Stool.


Fluid, painful stool (2), of very strong smell. (37.) Clammy stool, of green color and smelling like spoiled eggs, followed by pain in the anus. On the fourteenth day, at one o'clock at night, a painful and tolerably copious stool with violent colic and a sensation as if the bowels would come out; half an hour afterwards, a very small but excessively painful stool. At two o'clock, the same kind of stool, but with increased pain. (Veratrum3 relieved the pain immediately until morning.) In the morning, at eleven o'clock, another stool almost black in color, clammy, with many ascarides and yellow spots like fat, attended with, a feeling as if a stream of fire passed through the abdomen. In the afternoon, a stool of intense yellow color, with green and yellow flakes. In the evening, a stool exactly like the white of an egg, with no fecal matter whatever. The following day, the feces are entirely enveloped in froth. Tenesmus.


During the first twelve days the urine is red to saturation. On the seventeenth day, it looks as if mixed with blood; after standing a short time, small, dark red, almost black points of the size of a pin's head rise to the surface, and much mucus is deposited on the bottom of the vessel. The urine remains more red than normal during the whole of the proving.

Male Sexual Organs

Painful stitches in the urethra, repeatedly. Ulcerous excoriations on the glans, resembling chancre, with a pus-like secretion, (disappearing in a few days from washing with urine.) Copious perspiration of the genuine Erections without lust, particularly in the morning.


At first dry, then fluent coryza during the first few days, with much sneezing. Subsequently, a blowing out of some blood from one nostril for several days.

Larynx and Chest (Heart)

Pain in the larynx. The breath smells like pepper. Necessity to inspire hurriedly, followed by a sensation of oppression. Want of breath like asthma, often very great, particularly after eating and after smoking a little. Pain in the right lung. Pain like the pricking of a needle in the region of the heart. Contracting pain in the heart.


Stinging, transitory stitches between the shoulder-blades. Itching and red blotches on the back. Pain in the loins like lumbago.

Superior Extremities

Pain in the left shoulder and soon afterwards in the right, like rheumatism. Pain in the bones of the left arm. Rheumatic pains in the fore-arm down to the fingers. Numbness of the right hand. Violent itching in the hands and fingers.

Inferior Extremities

Pain in the hips like coxalgia. Rending pains in the knees and up to the hips, especially while walking, and also in the morning when rising. The ankle feels as if it were sprained. Pains in the bones of the left ankle; drawing in the soles and in the toes. Pain as if from corns, so that the bed-cover seems too heavy. Violent itching on the legs, particularly on the knees.

The duration of the action of Asclepias tub. appears to be very long. The indications of the foregoing proving extended to the forty-second day; but it must be added that symptoms were excited until the sixtieth day at least, which circumstances did not allow to be recorded.


Source: The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 02 No. 09, 1860, pages 406-412
Description: Asclepias Tuberosa.
Remedies: Asclepias tuberosa.
Author: Rhees, M.J.
Year: 1860
Editing: errors only; interlinks; formatting
Attribution: Legatum Homeopathicum
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