It is botanically known as Cardiospermum helicacabum Linn. This plant is common in eastern region of India and is used in Indian System of Medicine for its diuretic and laxative action. Externally, it is used for tumors of different types and rheumatic pains.1 It belongs to the family of Sapindaceae and is commonly known as ballon-wine. A deciduous perennial climber growing to 3 m (10ft.) with compound leaves, it has small white flowers and black seeds. It is found in tropical regions around the world. Root, leaves, seeds are used.2 Most of the Cardiospermum species contain cyanogenic glycosides, saponins, bitters and essential oils. In Indian herbal medicine its root is used for delayed menstruation, to relieve backache and arthritis. The leaves stimulate local circulation and are applied to painful joints to help speed the clearing of toxins. The seeds are also thoughts to help in the treatment of arthritis. The plant as a whole has sedative properties.3 In short the whole plant has been used internally and externally for rheumatism and lumbago.
It is an official drug of German Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia where the mother tincture is made of flowering tops. It has approximately 62% alcohol. Most of clinical work on it has been done by DHU – Germany, which has found it highly efficacious medicine for psoriasis for external use. Studies reveal that it can substitute corticosteroid group of compounds.4 These findings are in line with earlier work and reports. Short proving studies indicate that it has potential for use in odemas and kidney related problems.
30 to 50% of all dermatological conditions represent diseases of the eczematous type such as contact eczema, toxic degenerative eczema, as well as endogenous eczema. Their progression in stages is a characteristic feature, as they frequently develop from subacute to acute inflammations with erythema, erosion and secretion up to chronic and persistent hyperkeratosis and lichenificaiton. In nearly all cases, a manifest pruritus – which often assumes a critical character, particularly where endogenous eczema are concerned – is a dominant symptom.
The use of Cardiospermum externally in the therapy of inflammatory pruritic dermatosis such conditions mentioned above has proven itself to be effective in practice. The results of recently conducted, controlled clinical studies have confirmed empirical evidence regarding both the pronounced remission of eczematous foci and the rapid subsidence of pruritus under therapy with Cardiospermum. Its homoeopathic indications are mental lethargy and irritability, weeping tendency and sad mood without reason, dryness and burning of eyes and increase lachrymation, swelling and stuffiness of nose, increased salivation, sore throat with dry irritation of the throat, nausea worse after food in the morning, heartburn with belching worse at night, intense spasmodic abdominal pain, feeling of tightness in the chest, stiffness and pain in the back and inflammation of joints.
The anti-inflammatory and antipruritic action of Cardiospermum are proven not only in practice, but also in a number of different clinical studies, based on the natural active ingredients of the plant (Cardiospermum halicacabum). Up to now, adverse effect such as the inhibition of physiological processes resulting from corticosteroids are not known for this product. Consequently, it is particularly suitable for long-term therapy and use in children. This has recently been demonstrated in a large, international, multicentric study involving more than 1,200 patients with eczema of different origins, from which the results obtained from 833 patients have already been published.5
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