Incipient Stage

Role and indication of Aconite, Belladonna, ferrum phos. and ipecac in hte cases of Incipient Stage of pneumonia by D.M Borland….


In the Aconite pneumonias you will always get a history of a very sudden onset. Usually the story is that the patient has been out and exposed to cold, and the same evening he comes down with a temperature-it is a very acute, rapidly developing condition. You are much more likely to meet with it in the strong, healthy, robust patient. As a rule you will find a high temperature, very marked excitement, restlessness, and pretty acute anxiety. The patient has a full, bounding pulse, a very flushed face, and a hot dry skin. Usually he complains of a very dry mouth which feels hot and tingling and is accompanied by intense thirst. The desire is almost always for cold drinks.

Well, that is the picture as you see it. And, of course, on that you cannot make your diagnosis; you cannot decide whether the patient has an ordinary chill which will subside in no time, or whether it is going on to a definite diseased condition.

Then to take up the points that lead one to prescribe Aconite. With this intense excitement, restlessness and anxiety, in your Aconite patient you find you have contracted pupils. That is the first point you have to fix on from the prescribing point of view. The next point is that, in spite of the extremely hot, flushed face and hot skin, your Aconite patients complain of coldness of the extremities.

Another point which is an Aconite indication is that the patients very quickly develop a constant, dry, short cough, which they say is due to the dryness of their throat. Very early they begin to have pains, pretty acute stabbing ones, usually in the left side of the chest. If you see your Aconite patient after the first twelve hours you can usually make out early signs at the left apex-that is where you get your first definite clinical indication that the patient is starting a consolidation. And here a distinguishing point comes in; the Aconite patient with definite early involvement of the left side of the chest is aggravated by lying on the affected side, he is more uncomfortable turned over on the left. The most comfortable position is well propped up lying on the back.

Very early, if the patient is developing pneumonia, he begins to bring up small quantities of sputum which is streaked with bright blood, and with the effort of coughing he feels as if his chest were being cut.

If you see the patient within the first twenty-four hours, or possibly within the first thirty-six hours, you will find these Aconite indications, but if it has gone on beyond thirty-six hours at the outside you will not get your response from Aconite. Nor will you get Aconite indications. If it has gone beyond the Aconite stage there will be definite patches of consolidation in the affected lung and you will get no response to Aconite, you will have to go on to one of the drugs for the later stage of pneumonia.

That is the typical Aconite onset. And here I think it might be worth while discussing dosage and repetition in these incipient pneumonias, because the same applies to all four drugs.

In these acute conditions, if you want to abort the attack altogether it is no use prescribing under a 30. If you give 3x of Aconite you will modify the temperature, you will modify the distress, you will modify the anxiety, and you will modify the pain. But you will not arrest the progress of the disease and when you go back and see the patient next day you will be able to make out definite physical signs in the chest. If you give potencies above the 30, when you go back next day you will find that the temperature has fallen and all the symptoms are subsiding. The whole thing just fades out and you will think you have probably made a mistake in your diagnosis and it was merely a common or garden chill and was never going to be a pneumonia at all.

Douglas Borland
Douglas Borland M.D. was a leading British homeopath in the early 1900s. In 1908, he studied with Kent in Chicago, and was known to be one of those from England who brought Kentian homeopathy back to his motherland.
He wrote a number of books: Children's Types, Digestive Drugs, Pneumonias
Douglas Borland died November 29, 1960.