For several years I have been in the habit of using this drug in true Rademacherian fashion as an organ remedy. The perusal of Rademacher`s Magnum Opus is one of the greatest literary treats that ever fell to my lot; based on Hohenheimian bizarries, avowedly and obviously merely an attempt at reducing his genial erratic pretended mysticism to the concrete form of a practice of medicine, by depolarizing it, if I may so speak, it is nevertheless the most genial and most original production it is possible to find in medical literature. It is the most bare-boned lawless empiricism that one can conceive, and yet there are two leading ideas running through the entire work, and these are the genius epidemicus morborum and organopathy; and considered from the pharmacological side, the other two ideas of universal (general) and particular medicines. For Paracelsus there were only three universal remedies, and so also for Rademacher and for their followers. Hahnemann has but three fundamental morbid states-psora, syphilis, and sycosis. Von Grauvogl has but three constitutions of the body-they might have all been working out the father-landish proverb Aller guten Dinge sind drei!
The genius epidemicus morborum is beyond question a fact in nature, but it is dreadfully eel-like, hard to get a grip of. The same may be said of Hahnemann`s tripartite pathology and of Grauvogl`s three constitutional states.
Rademacher`s organopathy (that an otherwise able modern writer appropriates with child-like naivete) is no more and no less than the homoeopathic specificity of seat, with just a dash of a mystic psychic something in the several organs; if we set aside this little particular soul for each organ, it is only local affinity, or elective affinity. And it is quite true in nature, and the mind that cannot, or will not recognize it, is wanting in catholicity of perception; and in practice will often go a mile when three paces would have reached the goal. Whatever else Cantharis may be, it is first and foremost a kidney medicine; whatever else Digitalis may be, it is primarily a heart medicine; and let Belladonna be what, it may, it is before all things an artery medicine, and just in this sense Ceanothus Americanus is a spleen medicine.
The spleen constitutes a dark corner in the human economy, whether considered physiologically or therapeutically.*”Qu’est-ce que la rate? Telle est la question, assez etrange, posee depuis trois mille ans dans la science, et dont, apres trois mille ans, la science a jusqu’a ce jusqu’a ce jour vainement attendu la solution.” -Bourgery. *I have heard it professorially very ably argued that the spleen is the principal manufactory of our blood corpuscles. I have heard that theory equally and professorially refuted, and in its stead the thesis set up that the spleen is, as it were, the ultinum refugium of the old and effete blood corpuscles, wherein they are broken up and their debris sent off again in the circulating medium. A third argued that all this was veritable nonsense, as the spleen had nothing whatever to do with either making leucocytes or breaking up their reddened descendants, that in fact the spleen had no other function than to act as a reservoir for the blood -being, indeed, a king of living sac in the side, to swell or shrink according as the circulation required more or less of the circulating fluid.
I fondle this latter theory myself, and like to call it mine; whose it really is I do not know. Perhaps some of my readers will be able to say what they think the spleen is good for beyond serving as the anatomical something that supposedly sends our dear fellow-countrymen in shoals off London Bridge into the Shames on a rainy or foggy day-I mean, of course, le spleen! This great bugbear of our Gallic and Germanic brethren-as applied to ourselves bien entendu! for they consider it essentially principally a morbus Anglicus, just as we like to think it is principally those naughty French who commit suicide-is really only another name for being “hipped, ” or suffering from an attack of hypochondriasis, and there cannot be any sound reason for refusing it a habitat under the left ribs, since so many have welcomed it under the right ones.
My first and only literary acquaintance with Ceonathus Americanus is the very short empirical; account of it in Hale`s New Remedies, which I read rome five or six years ago. Previously I had frequently felt a difficulty in treating a pain in the left side, having its seat, apparently, in the spleen. Myrtus communis has a pain in the left side, but that is high up under the clavicle; the pain that is a little lower is the property of Sumbul; still lower of Acidum fluoricum; a little further to the left of Acidum oxalicum; more to the right of Aurum; right under the left breast of Cimicifuga rac.
These remedies promptly do their work when these left sided pains are a part of the disease-picture, but they will not touch the pain that is deep in behind the ribs of the left side: more superficially Bryonia has it; a little deeper than Bryonia, Pulsatilla nuttal. will touch it; and so will Juglans regia, which poor Clothar Muller proved as a student. But the real splenic stitch requires China, Chelidonium, Berberis, Chininum sulphuricum or conium, or Ceanothus Americanus.
Some years since I treated a lady for “violent vomiting, pain all up the left side, cough with expectoration, profuse perspiration, and fever.” She was not a native of the place, but came only for a short visit, and took lodgings in a small house facing a meadow on the banks of the river; the locality was at one time a part of the port, but was many years ago reclaimed. At my first visit she told me she often got inflammations on the chest with cough, and finding considerable fever, cough, pain in left side, and dulness on percussion of the same side, I quickly ticketed it pleuro- pneumonia sinistra, and gave Acidum oxalicum, which seemed to cover all the symptom, and to correspond also to the supposed pathological state within. Oxalic acid some what relieved the vomiting, but nothing more, and I then gave various remedies, such as Aconite, Bryonia, Phosphorus, Ipecac., and thus elasped about three weeks, but patient remained as ill as ever. Then I went into the case with very great care, and examined my patient very thoroughly, and see, there was inflammation of the spleen. I gave her Ceanothus Americanus in a low dilution, and all the symptoms, subjective and objective, disappeared right off, and my previously ill-treated patient was sitting up in a week, and quite well in a few more days. I had never before met with splenitis in the acute form, and indeed, it is a very disease in this country.
Cases of chronic pains in the spleen occurred subsequently in my practice, and they rapidly yielded to Ceanothus, one of which I well remember; it is this:-
Chronic Splenitis.-A young lady of about 26 consulted me for a chronic swelling in the left side under the ribs, with considerable cutting pain in it. She stated that it was worse in cold damp weather, and she always felt chilly; the chilliness was so severe and long lasting that she had spent the greater part of her time during the previous winter sitting at the fireside, and now she was looking forward to the winter with perfect dread. In the summer she had felt nearly well, but the lump and the chilliness and pain nevertheless persisted, but it being warm, she did not heed it much it being quite bearable.
Ceanothus Americanus quite cured her of all her symptoms, and subsequent observation proved its permanency. Often during the following winter she called my attention to the fact that she was not chilly and felt well.
Another case which I treated at a later date was that of a young man somewhat similarly suffering.
Chronic Splenitis.-The young man had been sent to my dispensary, and was occupied in the post office in some light but ill-paid employment. His whole trouble consisted in severe pain in the left side in the region of the spleen, and he had long vainly sought relief of many, probably at dispensaries. He, therefore, put in an early appearance at my new dispensary to try the new doctor, probably on the well known principle of the new broom. He had become quite low-spirited and began to fear he would become totally unfit for work, and naturally that was a very serious matter for a young married man. He told me he had formerly helped his wife in her household matters, doing the heavy rough work, but the pain in his side had now become so bad that he could not carry a bucket of water into the house or even sweep up their little yard, as handling the broom pained him so dreadfully. I was pressed for time, and prescribed Ceanothus Americanus in pilules of a low dilution, and promised to go into his case that day week, meaning to percuss the part and ascertain whether the spleen was enlarged. He returned that day week almost well, and following week was quite well. At my request he again reported him-self time afterwards, and he still continued well.