IT is by no means an easy task to give a brief description of the remedial properties of Sulphur. Kent says: “It seems to contain a likeness of all the sicknesses of man, and a beginner might naturally think that he would need no other remedy as the image of all sicknesses seems to be contained in it”.
The typical Sulphur patient is described as a lean lank hungry individual. He is untidy, and he dislikes washing. Hering called him, “the ragged philosopher”. These symptoms or rather temperamental indications may be typical, but Sulphur is often needed by patients who are neither untidy nor philosophical. He may be very selfish, entirely absorbed in his own affairs.
He is morose, ill-humoured and peevish and sometimes suicidal. Indolence, with a great dislike of either mental or physical exertion. He wants to sit or lie down, as standing makes him feel worse. He does not like washing which irritates his skin and upsets him generally.
Complaints worse every seven days is another Sulphur characteristic. The patient is apt to be worse before eating and better while eating. Then he feels worse after eating.
It is only possible to mention a few of the local symptoms. Clarke gives fifteen and a half pages to Sulphur in his dictionary.
Headache worse stooping, often with vertigo. The headaches usually come on in the morning. They are aggravated by stooping, light, jar and eating. These headaches may be periodic. Hammering headache, and with the headaches the head may be hot and the feet cold. Nausea, vomiting, flashes and zig-zag patterns in front of the eyes may accompany the headaches.
The eyes have itching, redness, dryness and of course burning, which is worse from bathing. Many eye troubles need Sulphur but only in a Sulphur patient.
The face flushes easily from excitement or a warm room. Facial neuralgia is common, and it is usually right sided.
The Sulphur patient is usually a dyspeptic. His appetite is poor as a rule. His digestion is slow and his pains burn. His liver often troubles him. Changing weather or chill, even a bath may upset his liver. He may vomit and complain of bilious headache, distended abdomen, morning diarrhoea driving him out of bed, and flatulence with colic are some of the miseries of the Sulphur patient. Haemorrhoids burning and tender, stools which burn and excoriate. Catarrhal conditions of the intestines are also often seen.
These catarrhal conditions may affect any of the membranes. Catarrh of the bladder and leucorrhoea offensive, burning and sticky.
Sulphur has a wide field of action in respiratory troubles. It is often needed after Aconite or Bryonia when exudation is beginning, and even later to clear up the tissues when hepatization has taken place. It is a valuable drug in certain cases of tuberculosis, particularly in early cases. The general symptoms will give the required indication. A pain shooting through the left upper chest into the left scapula is characteristic. A feeling of oppression and heaviness in the chest causing air hunger he wants doors and windows open. And as always, burning.
It must be noted that the Sulphur patient dislikes heat, a hot room, warm clothing or getting warm in bed aggravate him generally and make his skin itch and burn. If his chest is affected he will want the doors and windows open. He likes an even temperature.
Burning is a Sulphur keynote. His hands, the soles of his feet, the top of his head burn. Burning itching skin eruptions relieved by scratching. Burning in the rectum, the stools burn and excoriate. The urine may burn. All the discharges from the body are liable to produce burning. Symptoms are usually worse from the warmth of the bed. He will put his feet out of bed to cool them. His symptoms are often worse at mid-day or midnight. A Sulphur patient will complain of empty hungry feelings before his mid-day meal.
Sulphur has periodicity in its symptoms. Kent gives: “Intermittent periodical neuralgia worse every twenty-four hours, generally at 12 a.m. or 12 p.m.” Clarke gives, “Worse at 11 a.m., 12 noon, morning, evening, midnight, after midnight.” The skin symptoms of Sulphur are extremely numerous. Almost any kind of skin eruption, sore, ulcer or inflammation may need Sulphur; but look for the general symptoms to decide your choice.
Sulphur is generally worse from warmth. But warm applications may relieve the headaches. The choice of Sulphur must depend on the presence of some of its general symptoms. Given a Sulphur patient the remedy has a very wide range.