Ice Plant; Frost Weed.
THE first thing one notices about Cistus, “Ice plant” is that it has not earned its common names for nothing. CLARKE says “It has a peculiar property of favouring the formation of ice about its roots in early winter”. HERING says, “It is said that in the months of November and December these plants send out near the roots, broad, thin, curved ice-crystals, about an inch in length, which wilt in the day and are renewed in the morning.”
HERING refers to various published papers about this plant, showing its uses-in sore throat:-in Colic after acid fruit:-in Chronic Dysentery:-in Mastitis:-in Cough with tumours on neck:-in Goitre and Erysipelas:-in White swelling of knee joint:-in Intermittent Fever:-in Scrofula, etc.
A truly amazing remedy for catarrh of nasal and postnasal passages, throat and larynx. A recent acquaintance-or rather friend: but rapid and deep-acting-where symptoms agree.
One’s first experience has been already told in HOMOEOPATHY, but must be retold because it belongs here. A wee girl was brought to Out-patients in the summer-August 1931-because she was always catching cold-and these colds lasted such a long time: bad now, but worse in winter. She was worse in cold weather, had an aversion to fat, to meat, to salt. She had one great craving-for cheese.
This was so marked that one went to the Repertory for drugs that craved cheese, and found.
(Arg-n.) (Ast-r.) Cist. (Ignatia) (Mosch.) (Pulsatilla)
Cist being the one, evidently, that had the strong craving.
So one turned up Cistus in Materia Medica, and discovered that it fitted the case all round.
It has “Frequent and violent sneezing-chronic nasal catarrh. Worse for cold: for inhaling cold air, etc., ” and she got Cistus 6 t.d.s. for a few days. She was speedily better and growing fast. In the winter the report was, “Not catching colds.” Seven months later she came for ” a cold again”, when the remedy was repeated. One learns, inter alia, that even the low potencies hold-when you get the correct remedy; or rather, the reaction to low potencies may also be lengthy.
These cases of chronic catarrh, and everlasting colds are sometimes difficult to treat.
Since then, there have been other cases; another little school girl, everlasting colds, got Cistus-she also had a great love of cheese!-and her mother reported her freedom from colds-her enablement to stick at school without constantly being pulled up by colds; later, that “all the other children had streaming colds, while she remained free”. Here again, many months later, there had to be a repeat.
In our Journal HOMOEOPATHY we have given other striking cases, but a drug like this is worth further consideration, and chronic catarrh of nose and throat is not the measure of its usefulness, as we shall see.
In regard to Cistus, one notices its prominent sensations, COLDNESS.
Forehead cold, with sensation of coldness inside forehead.
Cold feeling (or burning) in nose.
Sensation of coldness of tongue, larynx and trachea: saliva is cool: breath feels cold. Inhaled air feels cold (Phosphorus, Rumex) in larynx and trachea.
Sore throat from inhaling the least cold air: not from warm air.
Cool feeling in stomach: in abdomen.
Sensibility to cold air in chest.
Tips of fingers sensitive to cold air. Cold feet.
Very sensitive to a draught of air.
But Cistus has also burnings. Most drugs have opposite conditions.
Next the catarrhal symptoms:-
Pressure above eyes in forehead.
Frequent and violent sneezing, mostly evening and morning.
Chronic nasal catarrh.
Left nostril more affected: burning sensation in left nostril.
A feeling of softness in throat: or as if sand were in throat.
Continuous dryness and heat in throat; (<) after sleeping, eating and drinking.
A small dry spot in gullet: (<) after sleeping: (>) eating.
Throat looks glassy with stripes of tough mucus.
Itching throat and fauces. Rawness from chest to throat.
Stitches in throat cause cough.
Tearing pain in throat when coughing.
Tickling and soreness of throat: sore throat from cold air. Or, fauces inflamed and dry, without feeling of dryness.
Hawking of mucus, tough, gum-like, tasteless or bitter.
Relief from expectoration.
In black type, SCROFULOUS SWELLING AND SUPPURATION OF GLANDS OF THROAT.
Feeling as if windpipe had not space enough.
Chronic itching in larynx and trachea.
Respiration asthmatic in evening after lying down and at night.
Loud wheezing. Sensation as if trachea had not space enough.
A curious sensation: As if ants were running through the whole body (after lying down), then anxious, difficult breathing. Obliged to get up and open window: fresh air relieves. Immediately on lying down these sensations return.
Pressure on chest. Chest hurts when touched.
Cough-with symptoms previously detailed.
Besides the craving for cheese. Cistus longs for acid food and fruits, which give pain and diarrhoea. Diarrhoea also from coffee and in wet weather.
Glands are affected: goitre: has even a reputation in cancer. Mental excitement and agitation increase all the sufferings, including cough.
KENT in his small lecture on Cistus, adds some interesting points. He says it is a deep-acting remedy; runs close to Calcarea, but is milder in action. It has Calcarea’s exhaustion from exertion-dyspnoea-sweating and coldness.
He tells his first experience with Cistus, because “often what will forcibly call your attention to a remedy will be the curing of a bad and typical case. A girl of nineteen, with glands of neck large and hard, the parotids especially. She had foetid otorrhoea; inflamed and suppurating eyes, with fissures at the corners; lips cracked and bleeding, and “salt rheum” at ends of fingers. He could not make Calcarea fit, and at last this little remedy seemed just what he needed, and it cured-though she had had an immense amount of Homoeopathy. Kent says he has studied it since, and once or twice tried to prove it-without success. “It should be proved.”
He says, the glands inflame, swell, suppurate. Causes caries and cures old ulcers. Affects all mucous membranes, which throw out thick, yellow, offensive mucus; suitable to old and troublesome catarrh. Chest fills with great quantities of mucus, better for expectoration, but after he empties the chest it feels raw. Cold feeling or burning in nose; in acute coryza the nose fills up with thick, yellow mucus, and when this is blown out, it leaves the nasal cavity empty and in a state of irritation: raw-cold or burning. There is relief when the nose fills up again. In this remedy, when the nose is empty there is burning or rawness, caused by inhalation of air.
Shooting, itching, thick crusts; with burning on right zygoma. Has cured lupus on face; caries of lower jaw; open, bleeding cancer on lower lip. Cures old, deep-seated, eating ulcers about ankle and shin, with copious acrid discharge; worse from bathing. sensitive to open air; only comfortable when very warm.
Every cold settles in throat; hot air feels good everywhere. “He goes to register, and turns the heat on, wants to feel the heat in nose, throat and lungs.”
Chronic induration and inflammation of mammae. Growths with enlargement of glands all round. The glands of the neck are enlarged in lines like knotted rope, as in Hodgkin’s disease. “Only a limited number of remedies have this knotting.” and so
Cistus needs further proving. We have stressed what is known and most marked, because, in its sphere, it is evidently a heroic remedy.
By the way, Cistus is also a rheumatic medicine. One patient, a doctor, who “ate cheese with every meal”, and had been cured by Cistus of chronic catarrh and sudden uncontrollable fits of sneezing which would last for ten to twenty minutes unless stopped by sniffing up cocaine or chloroform, developed pain in his right shoulder, “unaffected by weeks of treatment, electric, etc., but was getting worse and more distressing”. Cistus was found to have produced just such pain, and after a dose of Cistus “it was gone in an hour.”
Clarke says, “Cistus is a very ancient remedy for scrofulous affections, and also in scorbutic states with gangrenous ulcerations.”.