Liatris spicata. Dense button-snakeroot. Gay feather. Devil's bit. Colic root. N. O. Compositae (tribe Cichoraceae). Tincture of powdered fresh root.
Clinical.-Diarrhoea. Dropsy. Renal dropsy. Ulcers.
Characteristics.-Liatris is an old botanic remedy for indigestion and colic. As T. C. Duncan explains (H. R., xiii. 110), it is called "Devil's bit,"-a piece is missing from each tuber, just as if it had been bitten out. It has the reputation of being aromatic, stimulant, diaphoretic, diuretic, anodyne, and carminative; particularly useful in colic, headache, and flatulency. It was introduced to homoeopathic medicine (H. R., xiii. 35) because of its action in two cases of dropsy under eclectic treatment: (1) Dropsy from material enlargement of liver and spleen. (2) Dropsy with almost total suppression of urine. After other remedies had failed Liatris was given, and on the second day the patient passed a gallon and a half of urine. A. E. White wrote in Minneap. Hom. Mag. (date not noted) of another use of Liatris. It has a popular repute as specific in chronic diarrhoea following exposure in camp life; and also as an application to non-granulating ulcers. For this purpose the root is to be chewed and then applied. White was invited to chew a piece, which he did. The result was, in six or eight hours he had three successive calls to stool, very urgent, a little griping in lower back, and some straining at stool. He has confirmed its use in camp diarrhoea, but says it acts better if Sul. or Merc. cor. is given first. He gives this case. Mr. X, 56, had chronic diarrhoea since the war. Had tried treatment of all kinds, homoeopathic included. Had twelve to sixteen stools a day. Had fallen from 18o to 120 pounds in weight. Was all run down and had made up his mind he had only a short time to live. He was given Sul. 30x two doses, one each night; then Merc. cor. 3x, a dose each night for five nights; then Liatris 1x, four pellets each night for five weeks, by which time he was completely cured.