Western Hemlock

Thuja occidentalis


Names: Thuja

Collection: The twigs of this evergreen conifer can be gathered all year round, but are best during the summer.

Part Used: Young twigs

Constituents: l% Volatile oil including thujone; flavonoid glycoside; mucilage; tannin.

Actions: Expectorant, anti-microbial, diuretic, astringent, alterative.

Indications: Thuja’s main action is due to its stimulating and alterative volatile oil. In bronchial catarrh Thuja combines expectoration with a systemic stimulation beneficial if there is also heart weakness. Thuja should be avoided where the cough is due to over stimulation, as in dry irritable coughs. Thuja has a specific reflex action on the uterus and may help in delayed menstruation, but because of this action is should be avoided in pregnancy. Where ordinary incontinence occurs due to loss of muscle tone, Thuja may be used. It has a role to play in the treatment of psoriasis and rheumatism. Externally it may be used to treat warts. It is reported to counteract the ill effects of smallpox vaccination. A marked anti-fungal effect is found if used externally for ringworm and thrush. CAUTION: Avoid during pregnancy.

Ellingwood describes it thus: “It has been used extensively by all physicians in the treatment of cancer. It is claimed to exercise an abortive influence over incipient cancer and to retard the progress of more advanced cases. In extreme cases it will remove the fetor, retard the growth and materially prolong the life of the patient. It should be given internally and the dosage increased to the extreme limit. It should be also kept in contact with the parts externally or injected into the structures. Epithelioma, condylomata and all simple cancerous growths should be treated with it.

Thuja is given internally for cancer and for the pains of cancer it is applied externally, when possible, occasionally with good results. Thuja certainly exercises a direct influence upon the glandular structures and function. In what manner this influence is exercised is unknown, but in any disease that involves the gland, this remedy must be considered, and if there are no contraindications it can be tried and in many cases as with the ductless glands, it seems to act in a direct manner.

“Thuja is directly indicated, first, s a peculiar alterative, in improving diathetic conditions of the blood. Again, it acts directly upon abnormal growths – perversions, such as peculiar conditions of the cell structure of the skin and other external structure. It is thus indicated in all abnormal growths of the skin or mucous membranes. It exercises a specific influence upon catarrhal discharges, correcting the glandular faults that are to blame for such a condition wherever they may be. It is specific to urinary irritation in aged people especially; also in childhood. It strengthens the sphincter of the bladder.

“As an external application Thuja produces at first a sensation of smarting or tingling when applied to open sores or wounds and it is usually best to dilute it with on, two or four parts of water, or to combine the non-alcoholic extract with an ointment base in the above proportion. This constitutes an excellent mildly antiseptic and actively stimulating dressing to indolent, phagedenic or gangrenous ulcers. It is of much service in bed sores and in other open ulcers dependent upon local or general nerve exhaustion. In chronic skin diseases of either a non-specific or specific character, it is a useful remedy. Vegetation’s of all kinds, especially those upon mucous surfaces, will yield to it readily. It is a useful agent in the treatment of post-nasal catarrh and nasal polypi. A small dose internally 4 or 5 times daily, with the application of fluid hydrastis in a spray, will quickly retard or remove such abnormal growths. It is also applicable to sloughing wounds and to phagedena or the venereal organs. It is a positive remedy in the treatment of senile gangrene. It causes gangrenous surfaces to dry without hemorrhage or other discharge, destroys offensive odors and influences granulation.

“The agent is especially advised in the treatment of urinary disorders’ of the aged and young. It gives satisfaction in the treatment of nocturnal enuresis when the difficulty is of functional origin. It is also valuable when there is dribbling of urine, loss of control from paralysis of the sphincter, perhaps, in the aged, where urinary incontinence is present, with severe coughs, lack of control when coughing or sneezing. Sometimes in severe cases of nocturnal enuresis, it is accompanied with belladonna, or Rhus aromatica with good results. In old men with chronic prostatitis, with constant dribbling of the urine, this agent is valuable. It relieves the weakness at the neck of the bladder. It tones the muscular structure of the bladder and exercises a desirable influence over the mucous structures of the entire urinary apparatus. It also stimulates secretion within the kidney tubules by its direct influence upon the epithelial cells.

“The remedy is valuable in the treatment of disorders of the mucous lining of the bronchial tubes. It is beneficial in ulcerative forms of sore throat, where the secretions are fetid in character. It may be inhaled in chronic bronchitis, bronchorrhea; bronchitis, with offensive discharge; chronic nasal catarrh. Hemorrhage from these organs is beneficially influenced by its use. A number of cases of spermatorrhea have been cured since our previous report on this remedy. The balanit is from cystitis with frequent urination, indicates this remedy. It is beneficial when the urine seems to burn or scald in the passing, when there is local soreness in the urethra or neck of the bladder, when the bladder tolerates but little urine at a time and the patient must rise frequently during the night. In cases or verucca on the genitalia or rectum, this agent is advantageously used, especially if preceded by a mild escharotic. In prolapsus of the rectum, especially in cases depending upon paralysis, this agent may be diluted and injected. It has stimulating properties, which restore the vitality of the part. It is good for fissure of the rectum with piles.”

Preparations & Dosage: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto l teaspoonful of the dried herb and leave to infuse for l0-l5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.

Tincture: take l-2 ml of the tincture three times a day.

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Written by David L. Hoffmann BSc Hons MNIMH

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