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MEDICAL AND SURGICAL
OBSERVATIONS ON THE UTILITY OF THE GLECOMA HEDERACEA, HEDERA sylvestris, OR GROUND Ivy, IN - THE TREATMENT OF MANIA,
The medical qualities of Ground Ivy are not,
I believe, sufficiently known to the medical profession; for although an old and still a popular remedy, it is not admitted into our Pharmacopoeia. I have employed it for more than twenty years in cases of mental aberration, especially in melancholia, with the most advantageous results, and I am therefore disposed to think that it is a highly valuable remedy. It appears to act as a direct sedative. When its operation is salutary, it tranquillizes the patient; and when no organic disease is present, while the affection seems to depend on some incidental or temporary cause of excitement, I am not often disappointed in my expectations of a favourable termination of the malady under its use, B
The mode in which I have generally directed it to be employed, is, a wine-glass full of the fresh expressed juice twice or thrice a-day: in cases in which this could not be procured, I have ordered a proportionate quantity of the extract: but my observations have not led me to repose so full a degree of confidence in the latter as in the former preparation of the plant.
In mania, where the high arterial excitement requires local reduction, I have found it, conjoined with abstraction of blood, generally lead the disease to a favourable issue. In some cases it has not, however, been productive of any benefit. In such instances, I suspect, there has been organic disease.
My object in making the preceding brief observations, is to draw the attention of other practitioners to this remedy, and to extend, beyond the circle of my own private practice, the benefits that may be derived from it.
When I invited the attention of the medical world by introducing this herbaceous tranquillizer to their notice in No. 247 of the London Medical and Physical Journal, I was asked by what means I became acquainted with its efficacy? I replied, that about the commencement of my practice, a young lady, just entered into “bonds which are honour.
GLEcoMA HEDERACEA, OR GROUND Ivy. 3
able in all,” became suddenly incoherent, and, finally, a raving maniac. The amiable parties, on each side, were absorbed in dutiful and persevering attention. Dr. Monro's well-known skill was exercised for several months in vain. All the routine of medical measures made not the slightest impression: rural and marine scenery were equally inefficacious. It was hoped by us all that death would close the scene, as the patient, so long as she was sane, had her mind seriously imbued with Christian principles ;-but God is wiser than man. It was at this period that the juice of ground ivy was extra-professionally proposed. Upon being consulted, which appeared to be a necessary preliminary, I felt quite disposed to gratify the anxious circle, upon the principle of withholding the use of no means of relief which might be presented to our view. This medicine became now our sheet anchor; for though, upon forcing down the first wine-glassful, no impression was made, yet the second dose being taken with less reluctance, operated slightly in procuring sleep; and the third secured some . hours of sound repose. A continuation of a daily dose for eight or ten more periods, was ultimately successful in freeing my patient from all maniacal or even incoherent symptoms. A gradual recognition of the parties was permitted, and for fifteen years there never appeared the slightest degree of aberration, Happily she never became preg