Capsicum annum: N.O. Solanaceae. The dried powdered, pods from the condiment known as cayenne pepper; from them a tincture is made.
THE CHIEF EFFECT OF CAPSICUM is one the mucous surfaces with which the drug comes into direct contact after ingestion: they are those of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, stomach and bowels. It is believed that doses too small to have a physical or chemical effect, and administered otherwise than orally will produce symptoms similar to those of full doses, though less severe. At the same time the results will be more widespread; the nose and chest (perhaps by contiguity), and the kidneys, bladder and urethra (because the drug is excreted by this route) will feel its effects. In the first class there is congestion – a dark red, puffy, irritated conditions, with a tendency to ulceration: in both classes there are burning and soreness: and in the second, constriction and spasms.
General Symptoms-Three or four outstanding subjective features characterize the affected areas: (a) burning and soreness of them all are the chief kinds of pain: (b) alternating with the predominant burning is coldness of the whole body, or there may be cold patches, coming and going:(c) sensitiveness to the cold, open air and to dampness: (d) a feeling of tightness pr constriction in the nose, larynx, chest, bladder and urethra.
Aspect-The typical subject for capsicum (especially if a child) is a fat, flabby individual, with red nose, cheeks and eyes-a redness due to congested capillary areas and though red distinctly cold to the touch.
The senses-Common sensation and the special senses-sight, hearing, smell and taste-are all hyper sensitive.
Mind-Even the disposition is over-sensitive to supposed slights and the patient easily takes offence: he is obstinate and contrary. Physical strength and reactive powers are very low and the patient does not respond to remedies.
The mental state is chiefly noted in chronic cases. the patient is lethargic, physically and mentally. the fat, red- faced individual has no vivacity. School children cannot learn their lessons, they become clumsy and get home-sick; adults get sudden impulses to suicide which they find it hard to resist, though they do not want to die.
Skin-The skin is involved, a papular and pustular eruption being caused in any part of the body or all over it. It is accompanied by burning and itching.
Digestive System-In addition to the burning and soreness felt more or less throughout the alimentary tract, the following points are worthy of note. though empty swallowing is painful, swallowing food is a relief to the soreness (lach.). The drug produces a constriction or spasmodic contraction of the throat, also hiccough.
Additional stomach symptoms are heartburn, water brash, nausea and vomiting. An icy-cold fee4ling in the stomach may be experienced, followed by trembling or burning.
The abdomen is distended so that breathing is hampered, and flatulent colic is present.
The rectum, and anus are more affected than are the parts higher up; there are tenesmus, burning pain, mucous stools mixed with blood. The straining is liable to be worse after drinking and is probably “sympathetic” with that of the neck of the bladder which strikingly follows on drinking. The patient wants to drink after every loose motion, but drinking causes shivering.
Genito-urinary System.-Burning and shooting pain in the orifice and distal part of the urethra occurs during and apart from micturition, Vesical tenesmus, amounting to strangury, is also caused; straining is worse after drinking. Purulent urethritis is produced and followed by atrophy if testes and impotence.
Respiratory System.-Crawling or tickling, causing a dry cough, occurs; it is worse in the evening when lying down. The breathing is oppressed and the chest feels constricted, so that deep breathing is an effort and causes stitching or throbbing pain. A violent cough may cause expulsion of very foetid breath, as from gangrene or a septic cavity in the lung. The effects of the paroxysmal cough may be felt in distant parts, causing pain in the head, ears, bladder, and from hip to knee.
Fever.-A chilly condition, worse after drinking, is noted. If a stage of heat follows, sweat comes during the heat and does not immediately bring relief.
CLINICALLY, CAPSICUM has been used for chronic atonic dyspepsia, such as occurs in heavy beer drinkers. Stomatitis and tonsillitis, flat, painful ulcers in the mouth, with dark red, spongy mucous membrane, and redness and burning of the tip of the tongue, are amenable to its influence; burning and smarting extend to the fauces and tonsils and cause dysphagia.
The straining and heat in rectum, with blood and mucus when the bowels act, indicate the drug in dysentery and prostatitis. It is also useful in piles which protrude and burn. It will be most likely to benefit if vesical symptoms are also present.
Many of the digestive symptoms of dipsomaniacs are found under capsicum; the patient desires savoury, stimulating foods, icy-cold water, which causes shivering. The tardiness of reaction found under this drug is illustrated by slowness with which the normal is regained after an acute sore throat.
Respiratory System.-It is a valuable remedy for hoarseness, due to a relaxed condition of the uvula, fauces and laryngeal mucosa-chronic hoarseness in drunkards or singers who live too well. The cough is of throat, larynx or windpipe origin- dry, convulsive cough felt in rheumatic joints or other distant parts (see p. 316).
Old nasal catarrhs come under this head; the nasal condition may be accompanied by aching pains in the bones of the face, which are tender to touch-pain extending to the zygoma, or even the mastoid process. It has been recommended in mastoiditis. In all these conditions the typical aspect and modalities must be present.
Headache.-The head feels too full, as if it would burst; the patient presses his hands to his head to relieve the pain, which is worse with coughing, walking and stooping; pressure and lying with the head high ameliorate. Pains extend to the ears; itching and bursting pain.
(1) The aspect: Fat, flabby, round, red-faced persons- red but cold; with fair hair and blue eyes.
(2) Sluggishness, mental and physical-slowness in learning in movements, in replying, in recovering; wants to be left alone to sleep.
(3) Great sensitiveness to draughts, cold open air, dampness, or cold bathing.
(4) Temperamental sensitiveness-easily offended; special senses over-sensitive.
(5) Sudden impulses to suicide, though not desiring to die.
(6) Obstinacy and contrariness
(7) Throat and stomach symptoms of drunkards; throat relieved by swallowing food.
(8) Cough causing pain in distant parts.
(9) Drinking during fever causes shivering.
(10) Desire for strong condiments, alcohol, ice-cold water.
(11) Aversion from exercise, cold, thinking or studying.
(12) Bursting pains, constrictive pains; burning pains (of mucous surfaces).
coughing, walking and stooping (head); cold, damp, &c., drinking (fever, tenesmus); coughing (distant pains), light, noise, &c.; empty swallowing (sore throat).
Lying head high (headache), pressure (headache); swallowing food (sore throat).