THE indications for Anacardium are so striking and so definite that it seems hardly necessary to Drug picture it.
But, a word of warning. We once complained to a very wise and learned homoeopathic chemist that Anacardium, in some digestive troubles, had failed to work. Of course there may have been one of two reasons for this: the drug may have been wrongly prescribed, or it may not have been a good preparation. The old man was too polite to suggest any but the second alternative, and he proceeded to explain. He said, the dark juice from which it derives its name is not in the nut but in the husk. Whereas ignorant persons put tinctures on the market made from the nut itself; useless for medicinal purposes. A successor of that same chemist with whom we were discussing the point the other day, sent us two samples Anacardium O which lie before us as we write: the potent preparation nearly black: the reputed Anacardium, a pale brown. So once again we reiterate the warning:–Get your homoeopathic remedies from homoeopathic chemists who know what they are selling, and do not pick up cheap, ill-prepared, perhaps vitiated drugs, just anywhere. To get results, remedies must be made from the medicinal parts of a plant, grown in its own habitat, culled at its best, and prepared and preserved without contamination. We are absolutely at the mercy of our chemists; and we are very grateful to them.
Anacardium is best known for its peculiar and extreme mental symptoms: its loss of memory : its senses of duality and duality and unreality (the latter makes one think of Medorrhinum); its perversions, blasphemous and cruel: its illusions, delusions, and fears; its peculiar sensations– bursting, binding, plugging. We will call on various outstanding prescribers to describe the manner in which they have found it useful, and the indications on which they have come to rely.
But, first, Anacardium, one of Hahnemann’s drugs, is to be found in Vol. II of his Chronic Diseases. Here we read, that “Caspar Hoffman has called the Confectio anacardina seu sapientium (celebrated as a distinguished remedy against weakness of mind, memory and the senses) a Confection of fools: because many had lost their memory and had become mad on account of using it too often and inconsiderately.” “Hence it was only the improper and too frequent use of Anacardium that made it hurtful,” as Hahnemann points out. “If applied correctly it became curative.” In other words, just another illustration of his discovery:– “That which can cause, can cure and, in order to cure, seek out that which can cause.”
Hahnemann tells us that this is one of the drugs that come from the Arabs. He says: “This powerful drug, together with others of which the ancients availed themselves with great benefit, had been completely forgotten for the last thousand years.” And he identifies and describes it thus: “Between the external black, shining, heart-shaped, hard shell, and the sweet kernel which is covered with a brown reddish thin skin, there is a thickly, blackish juice contained in a cellular tissue with which the Indians mark their linen in a indelible manner, and which is so sharp that moles may be etched away by means of it. A wrong Anacardium `occidentale’ is kidney-shaped,” he says.
BLACK LETTER SYMPTOMS
Great weakness of MEMORY.
Loss of memory.
Irresistible desire to curse and swear.
When walking he felt anxious, as if someone were pursuing him: he suspected everything around him.
He is separated from the whole world: has no confidence in himself; despairs of being able to do that which is required of him. Weakness of all the senses.
Pain HEAD, relieved entirely when eating : worse during motion and work.
Gastric and nervous headaches.
Dull pressure as from a plug, left vertex.
Dull pressure as from a plug, upper border right orbit.
Flat, offensive taste in MOUTH.
Symptoms disappear during dinner, but begin anew after two hours.
Pain about NAVEL as if a blunt plug were squeezed into intestines.
Great and urgent desire for stool, passes without evacuation.
Rectum powerless, with sensation as if plugged up.
Dull pressure as from a plug in right side CHEST.
Cramp calves when walking.
Sensation as of a hoop or band round the part.
CURIOUS OR ITALIC SYMPTOMS
Recollections only come after the time he is in need of them.
Has a devil in his ear, whispering blasphemous words.
Everything perceived has no reality.
Thinks he is double: that mind and body are separated: that a stranger is at his side: that strange forms accompany him.
Her husband is not her husband: her child not her child.
Screams loudly: swears: thinks himself a demon.
Contradiction between reason and will: has two wills, one commanding to do what the other forbids.
In one ear a devil, in the other an angel prompts him to do murder, or acts of benevolence.
Takes everything in bad part and becomes violent.
Sensation of obstruction as from a plug in ear.
Abdomen feels as if it would burst when coughing. Dull pressure like a plug in right chest.
Two quickly succeeding stitches, pierce through and through the heart at night.
Sleepiness after coughing.
Legs stiff, as if bandaged: tense, as if too short.
Wave-like twitches here and there in legs.
Pressing or penetrating pain as from a plug in different parts.
Frequent tenesmus during the day for many days, without his ever being able to expel anything.
Any part which he leaves unmoved, immediately goes to sleep.
GUERNSEY says:–“There are few remedies in the entire Materia Medica having `impaired memory ‘ as so marked a characteristic. In restoring the memory, it often cures the patient of all other troubles.”
Forgets everything: consciousness of this takes away the appetite.
Feels blasphemous words constantly suggested, with desire to curse and swear.
Fixed ideas: that he is double: that there is no reality in anything: all a dream : mind and body separated: a stranger at his side, one to the right, the other to the left: her husband is not her husband, or her child her child is being pursued: suspects everyone: constantly expecting trouble.
Two different influences exerted on him at the same time, the one to do murder, the other to do good.
Frequently screams loudly, as if to call someone.
Objects appear too far off.
All the symptoms disappear while eating, returning afterwards.
(Then the ubiquitous plug sensations, and the sensations of a hoop or band round parts.)
KENT emphasizes the following points:–Full of strange notions and ideas. Feeble mind, to complete imbecility. Disturbed by everything: cursing. In continuous controversy with himself: controversy between two wills, two impulses. Hallucinations: a demon sits on one shoulder an angle on the other. Contradiction between will and reason.
“I have learned much from Anacardium, Aurum and Argentum, of the strange action of medicines on the human mind. By this means we get at facts and lay side many hypothesis.”
Nothing real: all seems in a dream. Fixed ideas: that he is double: that a stranger is by his side. One moment he sees a thing and understands it and another moment he does not understand it. One moment sees it is her child and another that it is not. One moment thinks it is so, and next moment has enough reason left to know that it is not so. Delusion is an advanced stage of illusion. In the repertory we have the same remedies, often, for illusion and delusion; it is a matter of grade. He sees demons, and at first he knows from his intelligence that a demon is not there, but later he wants to drive him out.
Fears everything and everybody : he is pursued: expects enemies: internal anxiety: no peace. All moral feeling is taken out of him. He feels cruel. Can do bodily injury without feeling. Cruel, malicious, wicked. Suitable in religious mania when the conflict between external and internal will is kept up. “Skins” like Rhus. Tetanus. Epilepsy.
NASH says:–Anacardium orientale is a very valuable remedy, not generally appreciated by our school. It ought often to be used in that hydra-headed complaint called dyspepsia, for which Nux is so indiscriminately used. And he stresses that Anacardium has a pain in stomach only when the stomach is empty, and is relieved by eating, while Nux is relieved after the process of digestion is over. Nux is at its worst two or three hours after meals, but only till digestion is accomplished, then comes relief: whereas with Anacardium this is the time when the suffering is worst. Nash found almost as many Anacardium as Nux cases: and found the 200th here more efficacious than the lower potencies. “The potency here as well as elsewhere and with all remedies has more to do with success in curing than some imagine.”
In regard to stool, he says, Nux has the desire, but with irregular or overaction. Anacardium has the desire, with not sufficient action to carry it out. Then Anacardium has a sense of lump or plug in anus which ought to come away: which does not appear in Nux.