THIS invaluable remedy is one of the comparatively newer ones. One looks in vain for its most characteristic symptoms in Allen’s Encyclopedia: but one finds them in Hering’s Guiding Symptoms, in Hale’s New Remedies, and its uses are developed and especially described by Kent, Nash, etc.
It seems natural to follow Gelsemium with Baptisia. They are so alike, and yet so utterly dissimilar that no one could mistake the one for the other, and both are so very useful in influenza– that trying complaint that we have “always with us!”
Of course one associates Baptisia especially with TYPHOID– typhoid fever–typhoid conditions in any fever–the cases of influenza that exhibit typhoid conditions.
Remedies have their paces. Kent tells us that Gelsemium is slow- paced as regards its onset, but that Baptisia is of rapid onset; the patient sinks rapidly into a stupid typhoid state– dull–drugged–besotted. He considers Baptisia more useful in typhoids of unusually rapid onset.
But Dr. C. E. Wheeler, in his Case for Homoeopathy, tells us something immensely interesting and suggestive in regard to the more recent provings of Baptisia. He says, “There is no scepticism in regard to the next experiment. In typhoid fever the blood develops a substance which is not normally present in it, called an agglutinin; which causes the typhoid bacilli to clump together, and forms a stage in the defence mechanisms against the disease. If healthy people take the drug Baptisia persistently, they develop (more or less according to individual susceptibility) this agglutinin in their blood.” And Baptisia has certainly earned its laurels in the treatment of typhoid; and it will always act rapidly and surely where its characteristic symptoms are present: drowsiness, dull red face and besotted condition, not only in typhoid but in any fever.
One has seen startling examples of the prompt curative action of Baptisia in influenzas; in slight cases, and in serious. In that year of very fatal “typhoid’ ” following the 1914-18 War, one remembers being sent for urgently by a local doctor to see a case–his worst–of influenza, in a Jewess. He thought she would die. She was dark, almost purple in the face, with the Baptisia drowsiness. “Baptisia!” “But I only have it in the mother tincture.” “Why not?-give it!” And in a few hours she was out of the wood, and made a rapid recovery–so one was told.
Another case, less severe. He was red-faced, dull and drowsy (suddenly, one morning) unable to rouse himself or take any interest, his words died away in drowsiness; high temperature; just a sudden attack of ‘flu, of the Baptisia type. Happily getting his remedy, he was found practically well by the afternoon.
Again, in “gastric ‘flus” it has seemed to me to be practically specific. As here. Sudden attack of violent diarrhoea and vomiting–frightfully and suddenly ill–and a journey to go! Baptisia:–and in the afternoon, the journey successfully accomplished, and an abrupt end to the trouble This is the clinical picture:-Sudden onset, sudden great prostration and distress, apparently almost desperate conditions- with the Baptisia symptoms-Baptisia, and sudden recovery. Every medicine has its own job, and can do that job, and no other. As a friend in need, Baptisia is worth knowing!
KENT stresses the suddenness of Baptisia.
He says: “Baptisia is suitable for acute diseases. It is a short-acting remedy. It produces a violent change in the economy like a zymotic state. All its acute diseases and complaints have the appearance of zymosis, like scarlet fever, and diphtheria, and typhoid, and gangrenous complaints. There is one thing that is unusual about it, it brings on this septic state more rapidly than most other remedies–that is, its pace is more rapid than that found in most other remedies. Baptisia is suitable for those blood poisons that are highly septic, such as the puerperal state.
“Every medicine has a pace, a velocity. It is an important feature of it. Every medicine must be observed as to its velocity, as to its pace, as to its periodicity, as to its motion, as to its wave. We get that by looking at the symptoms.
“You take an individual who has been down in a mine, in a swamp, down in the mud, in the sewers, who has inhaled foul gases, who goes into bed with a sort of stupor, from the beginning he feels stupid. It is not gradual, but he goes down very suddenly, and he is stupid. He is prostrated.
“His face is mottled. Sordes begin to appear on the teeth much earlier than you would expect them in the regular typhoid.. Abdomen distended much earlier than we expect in a regular typhoid. mouth bleeding, and is putrid. His odours are horrible, and he is in a marked state of delirium.Velocity. He is going down towards death rapidly.
“Now it does not matter much whether it is a scarlet fever, or typhoid fever, or a septic surgical fever, or a puerperal fever or what. If you try to rouse him up, he gives you the impression that he has been on a big drunk. His countenance is besotted. It is bloated and purple and mottled it is like an old drunkard.
“His mind seems to be gone he is in confusion. When aroused, he attempts to say something, and utters a word or two, and it all flits away, and he is back in his state of stupor again. No matter what disease that comes in, no matter what inflammation is present, no matter what organ is inflamed, if that state of the blood that can give rise to such symptoms and such sepsis is present, if that state of the mind is present, it is Baptisia.
“Discharges putrid. Odour cadaverous–pungent–penetrating. Odour of stool putrid, penetrating ”
And then Kent graphically describes the wanderings and delirium of Baptisia.
“A strange thing that runs through the remedy is a peculiar kind of mental confusion, in which he is in a constant argument with his parts. He seems to feel that there are two of him. He will begin talking about the other one in bed with him. It is said clinically that `his great toe is in controversy with his thumb’. Or, `one leg is talking to the other leg’ or he is scattered around over the bed; fumbles and you ask him what he is trying to do. `Why, he is trying to get those pieces together.’ It is that dual* *A like dual consciousness (Physical) occurs with Pyrogen and Petrol: a mental one in Anacard. idea, that attempt to reconcile something. You see his lips go, and you rouse him to see what he is about, and he is trying to get the pieces together.
“As soon as we come to the face, we begin to realize the Baptisia symptoms, that besotted expression. The countenance shows that. The eyes show it the face shows it. And these are the symptoms, `Dark red with besotted appearance. Hot flushed, dusky.'”
Even her head “feels as though scattered about, and she tosses about the bed to get the pieces together.” (Hale.)
In bad cases, the mouth and tongue–swollen, raw, denuded, stiff and dry, ulcerated, foul–such as we saw in some of those post- war cases of ‘flu-pneumonias.
“The darker it is, the more likely would I be to think of Baptisia–but never a bright red. I have never seen the Baptisia mental state associated with a bright-red appearance. That low form of mental state is associated with blood decomposition, with duskiness, with a dark appearance of the skin, and of the mucous membranes.” (Kent.)
“One peculiar symptom indicates Baptisia in some sore throats. The throat may look dark-purple, livid, and as if very painful, but it is not. Dr. Miner cured an inveterate sore throat which was not painful (with the 30th).” (Hale.)
HALE gives indications for Baptisia:
“Soreness all over the body; mouth and tongue very dry.
Feverishness, with feeling all over as if bruised; the parts on which he is lying soon ache, and feel sore and bruised. (Arnica)
Typhoid fever, in the premonitory stage of bilious, gastric, or catarrhal origin–or from impure exhalations. It will often prevent the access of fever.
Typhoid fever in the first stages; it will often arrest the disease, and bring about a rapid convalescence.
Typhus fever, with heavy sleep, unconsciousness, delirious muttering, etc.
Fevers, with drowsiness; pulse 120 and thready; lips parched and cracked; pasty tongue heavily coated; great thirst; mind wandering; could not give a direct answer to any question; falls asleep in the middle of a sentence; delirious at night, and low muttering.
Gastric fevers, with nausea, vomiting, dry, baked tongue, rapid pulse, tenderness of abdomen, diarrhoea.
Scarlet fever, with dark-red eruption; dry, brown tongue, inclined to be red in the centre; fetid breath; stupor; fever; dysenteric stools.
Catarrhal fever or influenza, when the prostration is excessive, and the sore, bruised pains and sensations predominate.
Bilious fevers; gastric fevers; enteric fevers; septic fevers.
Puerperal fevers, from absorption of purulent matters, or from infection.
Cerebro-spinal, or spotted fever.
Fevers setting in during dysentery, or any intestinal affection, and assuming a low type. (Arnica)
In typhoid fevers, and typhoid conditions, Baptisia vies with Pyrogen and Arnica.”
One remembers a very bad case of typhoid, during the 1914-18 War, contracted in France, at a place where a very severe type of typhoid was raging. This patient gave great anxiety, till “Ca va si bien, Mademoiselle! si bien.” And the symptom, “says she feels well, when desperately ill,” led to the administration of Arnica which cleared up the case.
Arnica has not the drowsiness, or the redness, or the besotted condition of Baptisia, though they both have the hard-bed sensation, markedly. (Pyrogen.)
Baptisia has the Arnica “sensation, all over body, as if bruised or beaten”. And in one prover, “Lying in one position for a few minutes, or upon the back, caused the sacral region to become exceedingly painful, as though I had lain on a hard floor all night, and induced the conviction that a short continuance of the same position would cause bedsore; when turning on the other side, the same sensation was produced on the hips.” (Baptisia should be useful in bedsores.).
BLACK LETTER AND CHARACTERISTIC SYMPTOMS
Stupor; falls asleep while being spoken to, or answering; heavy sleep until aroused: wakes only to fall asleep again in the midst of his answer, which he vainly endeavours to finish.
Confusion of ideas. Confusion as if drunk.
She cannot go to sleep, because she cannot get herself together.
Feels scattered about, and tosses about to get the pieces together.
Aversion to mental exertion. Indisposed to think : mind seems weak.
Dull bruised feeling in occiput.
Face sallow : dark-red; with a besotted expression: flushed: dusky.
Sordes on teeth and lips : tongue ulcerated.
Fetid odour of mouth (Mercurius).
Fauces dark-red: dark, putrid ulcers unusual absence of pain.
Tonsils and soft palate swollen : not accompanied by pain.
Can swallow liquids only. The least food gags.
Oesophagus feels constricted from above down to stomach.
Paralysis of organs of deglutition (Gelsemium).
Right iliac region sensitive.
Abdominal muscles sore on pressure, with acute intermitting pain.
Fetid, exhausting diarrhoea, causing excoriation.
Drowsy : stupid : delirious stupor.
Cerebral forms of fever.
Typhoid and cerebral forms of fever, with delirium, drowsiness.
Feeling head, or limbs, scattered, etc. Involuntary scanty stool, difficult breathing.
Prostration with disposition of fluids to decompose.
Discharges and exhalations fetid; breath, stools, urine, sweat, ulcers.
Ulceration, especially of mouth; also with tendency to putrescence.