Lachnanthes is a herb, growing in sandy swamps near the coast. The root is red and fibrous; leaves sword-shaped; stem hairy; flowers yellow, woolly. It belongs to the same order as Aletris, and is allied to the Irises.
There are headaches of great intensity; right-sided, as if split open with a wedge; with icy coldness of body; crying spells; < by vomiting. In the chest there are lancinating stitches, in quick succession in right side of chest below mamma. Stitches in heart with anxiety. A peculiar symptom is: Sensation of heat, bubbling and boiling in chest and region of heart, rising to head; giddy; breaks out into perspiration. Trembling of heart. There is also burning of palms and soles and burning under nail of left toe. On the other hand, there is much coldness and chilliness. Continued chilliness. Sensation as if a piece of ice was lying on back between shoulders, then a shock followed by coldness over whole body with gooseflesh. These attacks occur on moving, > after going to bed. Cannot get warm under a feather bed. A hot flat-iron > icy coldness of body. Lachn. has been largely used in cases of phthisis, often empirically, but sometimes on its indications.
Arthur Dalzell reports these cases (H. W., xxv. 158):
(1) Mrs. B., 43, fibroid phthisis of both lungs, collapse of right lower lobe. Great prostration; night-sweats; bowels alternately relaxed and confined; pain and stiffness in back; bruised all over; dry cough; roughness of throat, heart-sounds weak. Sleep bad owing to cough. Lachn. Ø, three drops every four hours. In three days the prostration was diminished, and the cough was much better, night-sweats and bruised feeling gone. From this time an emulsion containing cod-liver oil, liquor pancreaticus, eggs, cream and hypophosphites, and oil of Eucalyptus were given in addition. The case went on to recovery.
(2) Mrs. R., 45, in last stage of consumption. Right lung consolidated; left in cavities. Remittent fever. This patient had circumscribed flush on face; brilliant eyes; throat rough; felt bruised all over. Skin dry, except at night, when she had profuse perspiration. Constant dry cough. Muco-purulent expectoration. Lachn. Ø, five drops every three hours, relieved all the symptoms and procured euthanasia, the patient dying quite easily twelve days later.─Toothache is < eating and drinking warm things. With fever there is loquacious delirium, brilliant eyes, and circumscribed red cheeks (there is also a blueness about face, blue under eyes, blue lips). During the cold sensation the skin is damp and clammy. The loquacity of Lachn. is remarkable. Hering says the Indians chew the plant when they meet the white man to give them a flow of language. Lachnanthes has been used with success in diphtheria, typhoid fever, typhoid pneumonia. A peculiar symptom is stiffness of the neck, the head being twisted to one (right) side. This occurring in connection with sore throat is a strong indication. There is much dryness of throat, which is < on waking in the night, with much coughing. Sensations are: As if head enlarged; as if split open with a wedge; vertex as if enlarged; As if hair standing on end. As if a cloud before eyes; pressing as from dust in eyes. As if something had closed ear. Bridge of nose as if pinched (confirmed by E. E. Case─H. P., xiii. 76). As of something crawling over face. A curious observation is quoted in Brit. J. of H. (xxxix. 181), that the while pigs and sheep of Virginia lose their hoofs if they feed on Lachn., while the black varieties eat it without inconvenience. Reference: A DICTIONARY OF PRACTICAL MATERIA MEDICA. John Henry CLARKE, M.D.