(From Journal of then American Institute of Homoeopathy)
(Continued from last month.)
MERCURIUS. This remedy is best suited to light-haired people with lax skin and muscles; there is a tendency to glandular swelling and cold abscesses. Nearly every complaint under this remedy is accompanied by profuse sweating and by unusual flow of saliva, which may pour from the mouth during sleep. There is marked weakness and even trembling from the least exertion, and breath and body smell foul. The conversation is hurried, so fast that the listener can scarcely understand what is being said.
The discharge from the nose when afflicted with a catarrh is thick and yellow or yellowish-green, with a great deal of sneezing; and the discharge from the nose may excoriate the parts. The nose feels raw and is ulcerated. The nasal bones are swollen and worse in damp weather and at night.
The tongue is flabby and large and shows marks of the teeth.
In diphtheria the tonsils are inflamed, uvula swollen and elongated, causing a constant desire to swallow. The diphtheritic membrane is thick and gray, with the flow of offensive saliva. In diphtheria the red iodide of mercury is preferable to Mercurius vivus.
The stools in dysentery are slimy and bloody and there is great straining after the passage. He feels as if he could not get done. In this disease Mercurius corrosives has given me better results than the Mercurius vivus. The more blood the patient passes with the stool and the longer he sits and strains, the surer you can be that this is the right remedy.
The breasts may be very sore at each menstrual period.
The cough may be either moist or dry. If the latter it is fatiguing and racking and paroxysmal, worse at night and from warmth of bed. There are ulcers on gums, tongue, throat and inside of cheek with the same profuse flow of saliva. In this condition, too, I prefer the Mercurius cor.
This remedy is sometimes useful in paralysis agitans.
Aggravations of this remedy are at night; in damp weather; in autumn when the days are warm and the nights cool and damp. From perspiring.
I man say that the characteristic symptoms calling for Mercurius vivus are found in the mouth: spongy gums, which are swollen, and sometimes bleeding. Tongue also swollen and flabby, taking imprints of the teeth; it is usually moist and offensive saliva runs from the mouth.
I recall a lady whose child was fiend for strawberries in season. Every year she would get a sore mouth from eating them to excess. This lady had a few homoeopathic remedies which she tried to prescribe and sometimes with good results. She was visiting and wrote her husband that the little girl, who was two or three years old, had a sore mouth, but that she was giving her some medicine and she thought she would be all right in a few days. The husband telegraphed her at once to take not chances, but to hunt up a homoeopathic doctor at once.
She obeyed instructions and I examined the child, and it was a clear case for Mercurius vivus, with swollen, flabby tongue and gums and foul saliva. I gave her the medicine and as she was going she turned to me and said: “Oh, Doctor, I forgot to tell you that I was giving her Mercurius vivus; will that interfere with the medicine you have given her now?” I told her it would not, but to give her any more of it now, as she was taking my medicine. At any rate, I thought the young mother was doing some pretty close prescribing.
I recall a case of typhoid fever where I used this remedy quite successfully: a young man with a severe attack, who presented a good picture of this remedy. It was the latter part of the first week when I was called to see him. He had been ailing, but as he said, “Tried to work it off”; but finally had to give it up, go to bed and seek medical aid. His tongue was so swollen that it almost filled his mouth and it was very sore. His gums were in about the same condition and bleeding slightly, or rather the blood with the horrible-smelling saliva was oozing from the gums.
His mouth certainly looked as though he were salivated. Tongue had a dirty white coating. The odour from his mouth was nauseating. His liver was sensitive to touch as was also the ileocaecal region. The tongue showed imprint of the teeth. He has frequent passages from the bowels which were slimy. Pulse was 120 and temperature 1042. He wanted to sleep most of the time and was ill tempered when disturbed. Mercurius vivus every three hours made a wonderful improvement in his condition, and if memory serves me right it was the only medicine he received throughout the course of the disease.
Some physicians may think that I should have given the doses at more frequent intervals, but my father once told me that Mercurius was like a big engine in that it was slow to get to working, but when it got started it kept on acting for a long time; consequently to not give it at too frequent intervals.
In my early practice in a mill town, in the days when sanitary conditions were anything but good, every summer we had many cases of cholera infantum. Many of the cases I treated called for Mercurius vivus, as they had dark green, slimy passages, sometimes mixed with blood. Often the mother would not get the child redressed after one stool until the bowels would move again. In such cases I would direct that medicine be given after each stool. Of course that was giving it too often at first, but with such frequent passages the medicine passed through the child before it had much time to be absorbed; but as it gradually improved it needed less of the medicine, so did not get it so often.
A man came to me two weeks ago with an extremely annoying skin eruption. His chest and arms were almost covered with an eruption of very small transparent vesicles, and the pricking and itching almost drove him wild. It was worse at night and he could not sleep on account of the intense itching. He has an unusual amount of saliva and that led me to think of this remedy. I told him to see me again the next evening and to my surprise and to his delight he was greatly relieved and a week later had completely recovered. The only remedy he had taken was the Mercurius vivus.
I have found Mercurius vivus useful in children having a chronic, moist cough with a tendency to be croupy.
I recall a case last winter of a child about three years old, who had had measles. No physician was called and, as the mother put it, the cough hung on, but they thought nothing of it, as there always was a cough after measles; until the child was in really serious condition suffering with capillary bronchitis. The child was breathing about fifty times per minute, and pulse was so fast I could hardly count it. Temperature was not so very high although some above normal, about 1022, I think. There was considerable perspiration which did not seem to relieve the child in the least. There was an alternation of chilly feeling and heat.
The child noticed every little change of temperature. There was a feeling of dryness and soreness in the chest. Voice was hoarse. The nose was discharging a thick, yellow matter. The tongue was characteristic of the remedy. There was some diarrhoea, slimy, yellowish and watery. Cough was violent and wearing, especially worse at night. There was not much expectoration, but it was hard to get up and was yellowish and sometimes slightly streaked with blood. Although I considered the child in a grave condition when I first saw her, she made a rapid improvement when she started to take Mercurius vivus, and ultimately a good recovery without changing the remedy.
Mercurius vivus is useful in many forms of old syphilitic cases, but as I have always avoided the treatment of syphilis in any stage, I do feel that I have anything to offer along that line.