Dyspnoea, Palpitations, Asthma, etc. Argentum nitricum [Symptoms in italics are found in the provings of Argent. nit.]
J -. L -., a police officer, 54, complained that for a year past he could no longer satisfy his desire for hunting because, when ascending a hill or on moderately rapid motion he loses his breath. He stated that he suffered from piles and had always taken many powders and pills which relieved him, at most, for a day or two, and that now his digestion is so much impaired by having taken them for years, that for many months he has suffered from loss of appetite. Previously corpulent, he was now emaciated and has to complain of a constant anxious feeling in the region of the heart, periodical pains in the abdomen, burning haemorrhoidal tumours and urgency to urinate. He was most alarmed by the frequent vertigo and the weakness of the whole of the left side of his body. He has a prematurely old look, ashy pale colour of the skin, the tongue was coated white, the taste unpleasant, the region of the liver sensitive to pressure though no enlargement of the liver could be discovered. No blood or mucus was passed with the stools. Respiration 26, pulse 108; palpitation of the heart; no cough, the respiratory murmur scarcely audible in several places; only on the upper part of left lung was it dry, vesicular and manifestly more acute. When requested to draw a deep breath he did it without pain but with so little elevation of the thorax, with so small a quantity of air being inspired, and without being able to hold his breath for any time, that it was clear that the capacity of the lungs was much diminished. The hands trembled; the sleep was short and he awoke frequently with attacks of suffocation. Discharge of wind upwards and downwards always brought relief. He had lived moderately ever since he could remember.
Soup, meat, vegetables, milk, coffee and two glasses of beer a day were his food. He walked two hours every day in the open air and never smoked.
The use of coffee was forbidden and Nux vomica 2 was prescribed provisionally once a day for eight days, then set aside for eight days, and so on.
For eight days he thought he was feeling better, that is, in general only, for all his complaints remained, though in a less degree.
Four weeks later at 2 a.m. he had a violent attack of asthma, more violent than ever; this was apparently according to his statement, cause by cold although it was in the middle of summer. Arsen. 10, two or three drops every two hours. was ordered. After three hours he was quiet again, but there was still violent palpitation and short respiration. Arsen. 10 once a day. After six days he returned to his occupation as his breathing had become easier. Sulph. 30, a single dose. Better sleep followed and better appetite, and he felt stronger. But after another four weeks he still had no real inclination to work, was also tormented with anxiety, and, although not so often with vertigo, yet with confusion of the head and constipation – the latter always aggravating all his complaints.
For the next six weeks everything remained much the same. But now he earnestly begged for something against the constipation; for after two or three days without an evacuation there regularly returned intense weariness and more trembling of the hands; then also more sleeplessness and disgust for all labour; heaviness and stupefaction of the head, especially the occiput; eructations and sense of constriction in the bowels, as if tightly girt by a band, which had chiefly set in after the last asthmatic attack. The urgency to urinate also the increased, while he suffered from obstruction; also the palpitation and difficulty of breathing, as well as the sense of weakness of the left side of the body, and the left arm became then as heavy as lead.
Thus Sulphur was clearly not indicated, the improvement being too trifling.
In view of the proving of the Carlsbad springs by Dr. Porges, I thought best to advise the patient to take every morning half a teaspoonful of Carlsbad salts in half a pint of water.
This advice was followed for two weeks when, suddenly, for the fist time a haemorrhoidal bleeding ensued with great relief of all his complaints. The relief did not continue long, however. With the spontaneous cessation of the haemorrhages, during which no remedy was taken, the previous ailments came back. In this way a whole year passed and I had to confess to myself that nothing worth mentioning had been accomplished, although the patient was content.
It is certain that in this case the life of the blood was the primitive seat of attack, and it is equally certain that the insufficient nourishment of the nervous system thence arising, proved all these symptoms taking their origin in functional changes in the brain and spinal cord. With this man the entire interchange of substance was impeded by insufficient oxydation, and among those remedies which are able in any way to increase the influence of the oxygen upon the system I found only one which was at the same time indicated according to the law of Similars, Argent. nit.
Here, however, let me point out that our patient, whether they take Argentum nit, by drops in spring water (for they have no distilled water), or use pellets medicated with Argentum nit, and then dissolved in spring water, never really take Argentum nit. into their blood, but only Chloride of Silver Argentum muriaticum-and the higher the attenuations are the more certain this is, because all spring water contains no small amount of Chloride of Sodium. If a few drops of the second or even the third decimal attenuation be put into a spoonful of water a white cloud of Chloride of Silver is formed at once. How far this may go is clear from the observation that even the fourth decimal attenuation of Argentum nit., and ounce of it. for instance, clearly presents to the light a reddish-brown cast.
[I may interpolate that although the actual substance may be Argentum mur. and not Argentum nit., the Argentum mur. is in a nascent state when taken into the system, and the effect may not be identical with ARg. mur, otherwise prepared and administered.-J.H.C.]
J.L. was now ordered take for eight days, night and morning four or five drops of Argentum nit. 2x, in a spoonful of water. I prefer to prescribe it in this way because the Chloride of Silver is then always freshly prepared, as had doubtless been the case in the provings.
When J.L. presented himself at the end of the eight days, I was not a little surprised, as soon as he entered the room, by the very decided change in the colour of his face (for he was the first patient to whom I had given this prescription according to the above-mentioned indications.) His face had assumed once more the incarnadine pale red colour of healthy men, and he himself declared, with beaming face, that he had never felt as well as he did then for twenty-five years past. This alone proved that increased oxidation of the blood had taken place. Moreover, the pulse had dropped to 90 and the respirations to 22; proof enough of increased capacity of the lungs in accordance which the patient drew a deeper breath, the thorax expanded more, and the breath could be held for a longer time.
But even the reciprocal action in the nervous system was made evident by the restoration of quiet sleep, often lasting five or six hours, and the disappearance of the “band” round the abdomen, or diaphragmatic nerve.
I now stopped the medicine for eight days, but nevertheless the improvement continued, the stools became more regular and there was seldom any sign of vertigo. Without further medication of any account the cure continued and for three years thereafter he had no complaints.
Headache, Vertigo, Dyspnoea, Palpitation, etc.-Argentum nit.
A blooming girl of 19, menstruating regularly, suffered for five years without interruption from pressing pains over the whole head, sometimes only on the vertex, sometimes on the left frontal bone, which were(>) by firm pressure on the painful parts, and were ascribed to immoderate dancing in the evening, while the many physicians whose advice was sought had been able to give no relief whatever. On being questioned the patient further states that she suffers from vertigo and is easily tired, whilst at the same time she is losing her memory. On going upstairs her breathing is hurried and she has palpitation of the heart. The tongue is coated white. Appetite and sleep are very good, but she is too sleepy during the day; pains in the stomach here and there, frequently for weeks at a time, with nausea and vomiting even. On feeling the pulse I noticed a trembling of the hands; pulse 98; a burning feeling in the region of the heart; she can breathe pretty deeply without pain, but cannot hold her breath long, and on breathing only vesicular respiration can be heard, yet there is no cough. The urine is pale and poor in solid constituents. Nothing more was to be learned.
After the fourth dose of Argent. nil, 2, the girl was relieved of all her headaches and she could afterwards breathe much more easily. Her palpitation was relieved also, and her memory returned in full force, for which an interval of five days only was necessary.