Lobelia Inflata Applied Locally

By Eli G. Jones, M. D.

During the past six years I have used lobelia in many hard cases, and I can truly say that it never failed in the time of need. It has its place and power for good to the patient. I will give a few illustrations of its local use in my daily practice.

Not long since I was called to see a man who had been knocked down by either running against something or having a substance pretty solid thrown at him, striking him in the eye. The eye was badly swollen; the conjunctiva so much inflamed that I could with difficulty obtain a view of the eye-ball, which was "blood shot" and very painful.

I ordered a solution of

  • Tr.(tincture) Arnica
  • Water, . . . . 3iii (number of doses: 3)
  • Mist. (mix)

Apply to the eye-ball as soon as the swelling of the lids abated.

To the injured part I applied a poultice of equal parts of lobelia and slippery elm. Change once in two or three hours. This treatment pursued for twenty-four hours, and the patient could open his eye as well as ever. The slight redness of the ball that remained gave way by the continued use of the above solution and applied once in two or three hours.

Another case of a man kicked by a colt in one of his testicles. This important member swelled up to a large size, accompanied with fainting and vomiting by the patient. I applied a poultice of lobelia seed and slippery elm wet with tincture of lobelia. In a few hours the pain and inflammation subsided.

Some of my patrons get poisoned with what is known as poison ivy. For these cases I use equal parts of tincture lobelia and plantain leaves locally.

This spring I have had some hard cases of rheumatism of the neck. The patient would wake up in the morning unable to move the neck at all. The muscles of the back part of the neck swelled and were painful. Internal remedies had but little effect. Various liniments were used with no good results. Something must be done, or the allopath would soon be called "to put them to sleep."

So I put on a poultice of equal parts of

  • Pulv. (powder) Phytolacca root.
  • Lobelia seed (1 part)
  • Slippery Elm (2 parts)


Have the poultice wet with tr. (tincture) Lobelia.

This was all the local treatment necessary in these cases.

A man working in a saw mill had strained the muscles of the arm by lifting and overtaxing them so that a hard swelling had formed in the auxiliary space. The poultice of lobelia seed and slippery elm took down the swelling in one night.

Carbuncles are easily managed with this poultice if we can see them in the forming stage.

In diphtheria and scarlet fever the local application of lobelia to the throat is always attended with benefit. I use a poultice like the above, wet with equal parts of hot drops and tr. (tincture) lobelia.

As a local application for erysipelas I use equal parts of (infusion)

  • Lobelia seed
  • Pussy Willow buds (genus Salix)
  • Elder flower

Have this applied to the inflamed surface once in ten or fifteen minutes.

In the swelling of the face that accompanies dental neuralgia this remedy can always be depended on.

Probably all I have written may be familiar to some of your readers, yet it is well to have a review once in a while.

Enfield Center, N. H.

Editor's Note: This article is drawn from The Physio-Medical Journal and Reform Advocate 1875. The 1875 Journal was the published proceedings from the Indiana Physiomedical Convention of June 1874. Eli Jones is familiar to some as an Eclectic herbal medical doctor, but actually studied a number of different systems of medicine including homeopathy and Physiomedicalism. According to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eli_Jones, he eventually developed a synthesis or syncretic system of medicine using low dose herbal remedies. Pharmacy notes in parentheses in this article by Laurence Layne.

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