From Journal of the American Institute of Homoeopathy, February, 1932.
THE remedies, in general, which come to ones mind when first thinking of suppuration are not many. Nevertheless, any remedy in the materia medica may be used if the symptoms demand it. For suppurating conditions, whatever the nomenclature, we prescribe, just as we prescribe for a person with any other ailment, upon the “Totality of Symptoms” whether or not the digression from health be a simple boil, or an abscess of the lung, spleen or liver. We must shun the idea of prescribing for this or that, and must cultivate the attribute of prescribing for the individual.
Belladonna is one of the first remedies that comes to ones mind when inflammation is encountered – inflammation with its redness, swelling, pain, throbbing and burning-when suppuration, maybe, is commencing. The affection comes on suddenly and with great violence. There are painful, hot, shining, erysipelatous swellings, intensely inflamed about their bases.
The part swells rapidly, becomes bright red, throbs and pus develops speedily; the swelling increases, the redness radiates – red streaks radiate from the part. Here it is in close relation with Hepar and Mercurius, but comes in earlier than either. It corresponds most closely to the active, sthenic variety of abscess be fore pus is matured. Aconite or Arnica may be needed at the beginning, or they may be alternated if symptoms are mixed or are not clear.
Belladonna will be of use if the symptoms agree for alveolar abscesses, acute glandular abscesses-glands swollen, tender, red- cervical, inguinal, salivary, mammary; for beginning otitis media, membrane tympani bulging and injected, pain causes delirium, child cries out in sleep; for beginning suppuration in any part.
The wonderful thing about Belladonna is that cases requiring it rarely go on to suppuration. Remember the modalities; worse, touch, jar, draft, noise, lying down. Better, semi-erect.
Hepar sulphuris is likely the most often thought of remedy in connection with suppuration. It comes not use after pus formation is inevitable, and especially, when heat furnishes the only comfort. It suits best the lymphatic or phlegmatic type, the dull, sluggish, apathetic patient. The parts affected are exceedingly sensitive, which is the leading indication.
It has chilliness, throbbing, sharp sticking pains, is worse at night and from cold draughts. (Mercurius is worse from warmth.) Its suppurating glands are very sensitive and sore. A Hepar patients skin is very unhealthy-every little injury suppurates. (Sul., Graph., Sil.).
Hepar sulphuris will limit the extent of suppuration, greatly reduce the pain or sensitiveness, or will help open the part with little or no pain. It ill suppurate foreign bodies out from under the skins. (Sil.) – (Calc. carb. incases them in a fibrous deposit).
Calcarea sulphurica. Similar to Hepar, is though of in suppurative processes after pus has forced a vent, but continues indefinitely as in fistulous abscesses about the anus, gum, boils, etc., Hepar and Calcarea sulphurica, given in low potencies, favour suppuration; given in high potencies, might abort. You may expect to the use of this remedy for suppuration in any part of the body-about the eyes, ears, throat, nose, glands. In quinsy, retropharyngeal abscess, any suppurative condition of the throat, it is often indicated. The sensation of a fish bone in the throat is a good characteristic.
Remember that the Hepar patient is “Chilly, oversensitive (like Belladonna), quarrelsome, hard to get along with; nothing pleases; everybody disturbs; oversensitiveness to persons and place.” The general symptoms will guide to the remedy and will cure. Hepar follows well after Mercury; Silicea, after Hepar. As Silicea does not do useful work when Mercury is still acting or has been acting, Hepar thus becomes a useful intercurrent in the series.
Silicea is the remedy generally required in scrofulous and tuberculous patients. As it is a slow-acting remedy, it is suited to complaints that develop slowly. It is full of suppurative abscesses, and it will ripen them, if the symptoms agree. Every little injury suppurates. It has felons, boils, old, long-lasting fistulous ulcers. Especially is it famous for its old, sluggish, indolent, fistulous burrowings.
The skin is delicate, pale, waxy. It has abscesses with much cellular infiltration where suppuration continues and the wound refuses to heal. Its pus is generally thin, watery, offensive. Tuberculous swollen and suppurating glands are within its field of action.
A Silicea patient eats well, but is not well-nourished. Under Silicea, if the symptoms agree, the suppurating process becomes healthy, the pus benign, and granulations appear. You may then need another remedy, such as Fluoric acid, which antidotes the over-use of Silicea. Silicea is better from warmth; Fluoric acid is better from cold. Silicea as well as sulphur is a dangerous remedy to use in tuberculous patients. They will break down well-encysted tubercles and abscesses quickly and kill, especially if given too low and too frequent.
Silicea, by its power to kill, has strengthened my faith in the power of the potentised remedy, more emphatically than any other observation I have ever been able to make. I have seen it cure quickly, fistulous conditions of years standing, and Ive seen it kill one patient and almost another, it failing to bring euthanasia to the latter because he didnt have initiative to take a second dose-of the 6x. So before you prescribe Silicea in a tuberculous case, be sure to have your patient under close observation. Study Kent or some other authority on the subject and be cautious.
Always keep Silicea in mind when dealing with patients who have the scrofulous diathesis-patients with malnourished constitutions due to impaired assimilation. These are oversensitive to noise, are despondent, have a disgust for life, have unbearable dread of undertaking anything, which dread is imaginary. (Lycopodium has the same dread, but it is due to stupidity and from a general knowledge of inability.) Silicea has styes and other pustular affections about the eyes.
It has abscesses about the roots of the teeth and dental fistulas. It may be useful in suppurative ear troubles accompanied by caries of the mastoid cells; in suppurative conditions about the tonsils when the abscess is broken, but gland will not heal. It is often the remedy for suppurating affections of the breasts, cervical, inguinal and salivary glands; other suppurating surfaces which refuse to heal, such as abscesses of the hip, hip-joint disease, Potts disease, felons, boils and carbuncles; abscesses of the lungs, liver, or any other organs; suppurative skin diseases. Remember its relief from heat and warmth and its aggravation from the cold air.
Mercurius (vivus or solubilis) is another important remedy to help form and evacuate pus, but unlike the rapid, violent, sthenic action as is that of Belladonna and Hepar sulphur, it corresponds more closely to the condition when the life force is so low that there is no tendency to repair. It has slow and long-continued pus formation, no irritability in the part, no tendency to granulate. Such an abscess opens, keeps on discharging, seems dead. There is suppuration without heat, profuse perspiration which does not ameliorate, great nocturnal aggravation, sensitiveness to cold air, yet aggravated by heat, hot poultices, etc. Marked loss of flesh, trembling and weakness, are other characteristics.
When Mercurius is needed you will find other guiding symptoms, such as fetid breath, flabby tongue which shows imprints of teeth, offensiveness of sweat and of all other discharges. From the ears, nose and affected parts comes horribly stinking, green, thick, acrid pus-stinking, purulent, offensive otorrhoea. With inflammation and suppuration of any part, there are generally found associated swollen and indurated adjoining glands; salivary and cervical glands, with inflammation of ears, nose and throat.
Glands anywhere in the body may inflame, swell, indurated, and then suppurate. Abscesses become dark red from asthenic, venous engorgement (Lachesis, purple), take on an intense shining appearance, have throbbing, burning and stinging pains. Pus will form in inflamed joints or pleural cavity, and may be thick, greenish, yellow, putrid, or may be thin and fluid, streaked with blood.
Mercurius may be indicated where pus is flowing from a fistulous opening, but Silicea and Fluoric acid are most often indicated. A thick, greenish-yellow gonorrhoea discharge, with stinging and burning in the urethra, calls for Mercurius. Mercury is scarcely ever indicated after Silicea and does not follow Silicea well. In high potencies, if indicated, it may arrest the process of suppuration. Lets remember the picture of Mercurius, and prescribe for the patient.
Lachesis is another important remedy often called for in the treatment of suppuration. It has many symptoms like Mercurius, having abscesses aggravated by hot poultices, hot-water applications; has the same sadness, despondency, hypersensitiveness, weakness and trembling; is worse from touch or light pressure, from constriction about the affected parts (hard pressure may be agreeable), from exposure to the sun, from heat and sleep.