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Schwabe News Volume 5 | Issue 3-6 | March - June 2014

Ailanthus glandulosus

 

It is commonly known as Chinese sumach.  It is known for streptococcus infection, follicular tonsillitis and haemorrhagic diathesis, skin appears livid or purplish (symptoms remarkably alike to malignant scarlatina).1  Native of China and India,2 it was introduced in England and brought to USA.  According to Hering, this poisonous tree was introduced from Molucca Island and cultivated extensively as shade tree on account of its rapid growth, straight stem, shady leaves and flowers with stench.3    Deciduous tree growing up to 20 m, it has large leaves up to 12 lance-shaped leaflets and small greenish yellow flowers of unpleasant odour.2  It is cultivated in France for the sake of its leaves, upon which the silk worn is fed.  It was introduced into homoeopathic practice by Dr. Hering and Dr. Lippe in 1840-50.4  It is commonly known as tree of heaven.  The bark is antispasmodic and parasiticidal, exercising a powerful depressing influence on the nervous system similar to that of tobacco.  Reported to be useful in diarrhoea and dysentery (contains tannin 11%). Root bark is also recommended for cardiac troubles, epilepsy and asthma.  Fruit was used in eye troubles and is considered as an emmenagogue.5   Apart from tannins it has quassinoids (such as ailanthone and quassin) alkaloids and flavonols.  Quassinoids are intensely bitter, antimalerial and act against Cancer cells.  As per one Chinese research out of 82 patients of acute dysentery 81 were cured.  Abdominal pain eased within two days.2 

In toxic doses, it may cause vertigo, nausea, vomiting, pain in back and limbs, can act as purgative, lower pulse and respiration.6  However, Blackwood6 recommends 5-10 drops of the tincture.  First potency has been recommended by authors like William Boericke1 and Richard Hughes7. It is to be remembered in streptococcus infection of the throat, which may be septic and oedematous of purple colour.  It should be considered in typhoid or dysentery with blood and mucus.6 A mother tincture is made from stem bark and young shoots and well-developed flowers.

It is well proved drug covering symptoms like stupor; mental indifference, weakness, restlessness, with great anxiety, extremely irritable, confusion of intellect; loss of memory; vertigo with nausea, headache with nausea; dull headache with burning in eyes; great oppression of chest, with heavy feeling in sternal region, with tingling in left arm and hand; severe pain through temple on awaking; lachrymation in open air or brilliant light; pain in ear when swallowing; chronic speckled spotted face; a sort of acne.  Tongue thickly covered with a whitish coat, brown in centre; fetid discharge from throat; thick oedematous and dry choky feeling in throat.  Frequent belching, with sick-headache; frequent painful stool, little fecal matter, much bloody mucus, with very little fever; bronchial catarrh; rapid small pulse, great debility; in low, adynamic forms of disease, characterized by sudden and extreme prostration, pulse small and rapid and purplish appearance of skin are covered by the medicine.1,2,3,5,6,7,8

Dose: Mother Tincture in drop doses to 6th potency.

Caution: Mother tincture should be administered under professional supervision.

References:
  1. W. Boericke, New Manual of Homoeopathic Materia Medica & Repertory [with Relationship of Remedies], Second Re-Augmented & Revised Edition Based on Ninth Edition, Reprint Edition 2002, B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi.
  2. Andrew Chevallier, The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants, 1st Edition, 1996, Dorling Kindersley, London.
  3. C. Hering, Guiding Symptoms of our Materia Medica, B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi.
  4. Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States, Southeastern, PA, Homeopathic Pharmacopeia Convention of the United States (available by subscription at http://www.hpus.com/).
  5. The Useful Plants of India, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
  6. A. L. Blackwood, A Manual of Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacology, Reprint Edition 1995, B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi.
  7. R. Hughes, A Manual of Pharmacodynamics, B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi.
  8. J. H. Clarcke, Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica, Reprint Edition 1992, B. Jain Publishers, New Delhi.