Carbonate of soda. (Na2CO310H2O). Triturations. Solutions.
Carbonate of soda is soluble in less than 2 per cent. in water and efflorescens in the air. In solution it has a desiccating influence on the skin, dissolves epidermic scales and makes the skin dry and cracked. It is a solvent of mucus and forms the alkaline basis in most soaps. Workmen who have to pound the crude3 soda are covered with soda suspended in the atmosphere as fine dust and, in consequence, suffer from keratitis with ulceration of the cornea. They also exhibit the following general symptoms: earthy, wan complexion, slight puffiness of the face, swelling and pain of the glands of the throat and of the axilla, oedema of the lower extremities, anorexia, constipation or diarrhoea, palpitation and bellows murmur of the heart.
Taken internally it acts on the mucous membranes, especially of the eye, the nasal cavity and the digestive tract, producing symptoms of catarrhal inflammation. It is an antacid and neutralizes the acidity of the gastric juice. When absorbed it increase the alkalinity of the blood and modifies, when excreted, the acidity of the urine and in large doses may render it alkaline.
In general practice carbonate of soda has been used mainly as an antacid to neutralize the gastric juice in hyperchlorhydria and lactic acid in fermentation in the stomach. Large doses are given by the mouth in acidosis of the blood, such as occurs in diabetes and starvation. In diabetic coma intravenous injections of 3 to 4 per cent. solution of carbonate of soda are administered. A 1 per cent. solution is used as a mouth wash and nasal douche to dissolve adherent mucus. It is used in a 2 per cent. solution as a lotion for eczema. Instruments are boiled in a 1 per cent. strength to prevent rusting and for sterilizing.
Mind-In homoeopathic practice natrum carbonicum, like all the natrum salts, is indicated by much general and mental depression. It is a valuable remedy in some forms of mental weakness. There is in these cases a state of apathy and nervous exhaustion so that the patient cannot think consecutively or do any form of mental work. The body symptoms, too, are aggravated by any attempt to exercise the mind. With the mental weakness there are depression, melancholy and despair. The patient worries over the future, about trifles, dreads meeting people, cannot bear strangers and becomes estranged from his family and friends. There is also great sensitiveness to all impressions, to lift, noise and music. Music causes melancholy and weeping, playing the piano makes him worse and exhausts him. Sudden noises like the banging of a door or a pistol shot make him start violently, even small noises like the crumpling of paper annoy or anger him. He is much affected on the approach of a thunderstorm and during its continence, not from fear but from a peculiar sensitiveness to electricity. Sometimes he displays for a short time a gay and merry mood but soon sinks back into depression.
Cold and Heat-The natrum carbonicum patient is a cold subject, sensitive to cold air, to draughts and to any change in the weather; he is averse from open air and has cold extremities, especially the feet and legs, which are icy cold up to the knees.
He is also sensitive to heat, especially to the heat of summer and of the sun, which prostrates him and causes headache.
Head-Natrum carbonicum is a remedy for headaches from the heat of the sun (bell., glon., lach.), or for those originating from a former sunstroke or from working under gaslight. The pain is mostly in the forehead and temples.
Muscle-All symptoms are aggravated by mental and bodily exertion and yet the patient is restless and wishes to move and for a short time is relieved thereby. The muscles jerk, especially on going to sleep, the limbs are heavy, weak and unsteady. It is a remedy for weak ankles that are always being trodden over or sprained.
The pains of natrum carbonicum are mostly stitching and pressing and are relieved by pressure and rubbing. The glands swell and are indurated. Symptoms are worse in the forenoon, in the forenoon, in the evening and at night.
Digestion-A hungry feeling comes on at 11 a.m. and 5 a.m. when the patient gets up to eat biscuits or other food. This is connected with the disordered digestion that the drug causes and that again reacts on the mental condition. Aphthous patches occur in the mouth, and toothache comes on from eating, especially from sweet thing: there is a sensation of a foreign body in the throat and a disposition to hawk mucus. Acidity, pains and flatulence occur in the stomach, with the accompanying symptoms of hunger, sour eructations, heartburn and thirst. These symptoms are aggravated by drinking anything cold. Natrum carbonicum is a good remedy for stomach disorders brought on by drinking cold fluids when heated. Retching may come on or vomiting of bilious or sour matter. Food, while it aggravates the stomach and mental symptoms, relieves the headache, chilliness and palpitations. Milk, starchy food and green vegetables disagree and may cause diarrhoea. There is aversion from coffee, fats, meat, milk; and desire for beer, cold drinks, delicacies and potatoes. The abdomen is distended, worse in the morning, after food, and during menstruation, and there are griping, cutting pains felt in the hypochondria, in the hypogastrium and round the umbilicus. The bowels are usually inactive with no desire for stool. The stools are large, hard, like sheep’s dung, and require great effort to expel. An orange colored lump of mucus may pass separately from the stool. Itching in the anus occurs. In acid dyspepsia with the above symptoms and characteristics natrum carbonicum is curative.
Urine-The symptoms of the urinary system are not important; there may be burning and cutting pain in the urethra before and during urination and cracks in the meat’s. The urine is light- colored and copious, or may be hot and scanty with an offensive odour, like horse’;s urine (benz. ac., nitric acid).
Sexual-In the male sexual organs vesicular and herpetic eruptions occur on the penis and prepuce with swelling of the parts. In women there is a copious greenish or yellow, thick, offensive leucorrhoea, the menses are too frequent and scanty and are accompanied by bearing-down pains. Respiration-In the respiratory system natrum carbonicum causes dryness in the larynx and tickling, exciting a cough which is dry and exhausting, is worse on entering a warm room (bry) and better from sitting upright.
Circulation-Palpitation comes on from slight exertion, from eating, whilst lying on the left side (nat mur., phos), during sleep and from a startling noise.
Skin-The skin is dry and cracked, the backs of the hands are especially rough and there are vesicular eruptions on the knuckles (sep) and finger-tips which may grow to small ulcerations Ulcers occur on the heels and eruptions in the bends of the joints. Excoriations between the toes, stinging corns and warts are common.
Sleep-The natrum carbonicum patient is often sleepy during the day, sometimes overpoweringly so, and this is worse during hot weather. He is sleepless at night before midnight and wakes early, when he is often hungry. Sleep is full of frightful dreams, from which he wakes and goes to sleep again and repeats the same dream.
He Perspires from any exertion and perspiration accompanies pains. All discharges tend to be thick, yellow and offensive.
Natrum carbonicum has been found useful for dry catarrh of the conjunctive and for keratitis, chronic inflammation of the middle ear with deafness and roaring noises, and for chronic nasal catarrh and ozaena with thick, yellow-green discharge, foetid, and worse from the slightest draught of air.
It has a close resemblance to natrum muriaticum but is a medicine for patients more sensitive to, and aggravated by, cold.
(1) Great sensitiveness to electricity, to thunderstorms, to noise, to music.
(2) Effects of sunstroke and of heat of the sun.
(3) All conditions aggravated by mental exertion.
(4) Catarrh, with thick, yellow or green-yellow offensive discharge.
(5) Dyspepsia, with acrid eructations and flatulence.
(6) Dry, rough, chapped skin, especially the dorsal aspect of hands and feet.
(7) Vesicles, with shooting pains: herpetic eruptions.
From summer heat and heat of the sun, before and during a thunderstorm, from cold air, cold drink, bodily or mental exertions, while sitting, after food (stomach and mental symptoms), lying on the left side (palpitation), at 11 a.m. and 5.a.m., from music, milk, vegetable diet.
From gentle motion, pressure, rubbing, after food (chilliness, headache, palpitation).