Sodium Chloride: Common Salt, potentized.
Natrum mur. is one of the drugs introduced and proved by Hahnemann and five of his provers: reproved by the Austrian provers, and by others: the provings being mostly made from the 1st to the 30th (centesimal) potencies.
HAHNEMANN says in regard to SALT. “If it be true that substances which are capable of curing diseases are, on the other hand, capable of producing similar diseases in the healthy organism, it is difficult to comprehend how all nations, even savages and barbarians, should have used salt in large quantities without experiencing any deleterious effects from that mineral. Considering that salt, when ordinarily used, has no pernicious effect upon the organism, we ought not to expect any curative influence from that substance. Nevertheless salt contains the most marvellous curative powers in a latent state.
“The transmutation, by means of the peculiar mode of preparation adopted in homoeopathy, of a substance like salt, which is apparently inert in its crude state, into a heroic medicine, the use of which requires the greatest discrimination, is one of the most convincing proofs, even to the most prejudiced, of the fact that the peculiar processes of trituration and succession resorted to in homoeopathy, bring to light a new world of powers which Nature keeps latent in crude substances. These processes operate, so to say, a new creation.”
But in a footnote he alludes to the fact that even apparently innocent substances, including salt, when taken to excess, may become hurtful.
BURNETT, in one of his brilliant little monographs, takes “NATRUM MURIATICUM as test of the doctrine of Drug Dynamization.” He points out that many doctors accept Hahnemann’s Law only, but regard potentization as irrational and unscientific. But, he says, “our beliefs have nothing to do with truth: disbelieving a thing does not disprove it : in the same way that the presence of nothing but asthetists in the world could not do away with the Supreme Being.” Again, “Drugs, as has been affirmed by many able practitioners, by Hahnemann himself, and as daily and hourly reaffirmed by men of sound science, DO act differently and better when dynamized. In fact many affirm, as did Hahnemann, that the doctrine” (of potentization) “is of transcendental importance; since many serious diseases can only be cured with dynamized drugs, being entirely incurable with the same drug in substantial doses, and therefore altogether incurable, unless with a highly potentized remedy.”
Burnett, “had had no great respect for Natrum mur. as a remedy and had very seldom used it; because how can any sensible man believe that the common condiment, which we ingest almost at every meal, can possibly be of any curative value: especially as some are known to eat salt in considerable quantities every day without any apparent deleterious effect.” While “to believe in salt as a remedy is almost synonymous with believing in the doctrine of drug dynamization, and a belief in this doctrine is extremely repulsive to one’s common sense. Perhaps the proper spirit would be gratitude to a beneficent Creator”, adds Burnett.
Burnett’s “conversion” was thus. He had a patient with very obstinate neuralgia, on which he had exhausted all the neuralgic drugs, as set down for that disease. Being “at the end of his tether”, he sent her to the seaside, and-she came back worse! The neuralgia had been far worse at the sea. He jumped at the idea that it might have been the salty air that had made her worse, and prescribed Natrum mur.6-and cured her promptly. Worse at the seaside was thereafter one of his great indications for Nat. mur. But this also converted him as regards Hahnemann’s claims for Potentization; this and other cases: for had not this patient been eating salt, inhaling salt, with not only no cure, but with, on the contrary, aggravation of symptoms, and lo! potentized salt immediately cured her. Burnett was no fool: with him, Prejudice bowed before Facts. In that little book-Natrum muriaticum, the test of drug dynamization, he gives a number of brilliant cures by potentized salt.
His idea was that, in the same way that an infant gets ample lime salts in its food, yet fails to assimilate enough for its needs till it gets the stimulus of potentized Calcarea; so the hunger of Natrum mur. for salt is a very real hunger; the patient is not assimilating enough to satisfy his tissue needs, till he gets the stimulus of the potentized drug.
In regard to this veritable transmutation of Sodium chloride from a common ailment into a powerful remedial agent by potentization, one remembers that the late Dr. Molson used to tell how he got the Coastguard at Brighton “because they had nothing to do” to go on triturations Natrum mur., to produce higher and higher potencies. Instead of the usual three triturations which reduce a substance to one in a million, and by which the most intractable substances, becoming soluble in water and alcohol, are easily run up into the higher potencies, he found that by such repeated trituration his Natrum mur. became so intensely- almost explosively-active, that at last he was positively afraid to administer it.
Dr. Burnett, when first experimenting with Nat. mur. used to take frequent pinches of the potentized drug, to see what it could do. Inter alia it opened a crack in the middle of his lower lip!- a thing he had never had before, and never had again after discontinuing his pinches. It was his habit to thus crudely prove remedies that interested him, on himself.
Different persons realize, or visualize the self-same drug in different ways, according to their experiences of its different powers and uses. It is therefore wise to study drugs as described by different writers; and for that reason we try to give the “cream of a whole library” in regard to any drug we are trying to picture. One finds one point emphasized by one exponent, one by another.
Burnett’s Natrum mur. was a very chilly patient, with especial coldness of knees: coldness of legs, knees to feet. This chilliness over and over again disappeared after taking Natrum mur.
Worse at the seaside.
Deep crack centre of lower lip.
Unconquerable sleepiness after dinner in the evening.
Muddy urine, or urine very pale and limpid. He found that Nat. mur. would clear the urine; or, in curing other troubles, would, in eliminating, cause the urine to become thick and cloudy.
Lachrymation with headache. Great lachrymation very characteristic.
MALARIA; and ailments since malaria and quinine. With Nat. mur., he cured fever and ague in a sailor, uncured by the salt provisions of those days, and by sea air. It needed the potentized drug to put him right.
I believe that it is to Dr.Compton Burnett that we owe this all- important use of Natrum muriaticum in malaria and quinine poisoning, even of years ago. It is one of the precious little tips that save the situation again and again for us.
Natrum mur. has “fiery zigzags” before headache (Sepia, etc.).
Emaciation, especially about the clavicles and upper parts of the body. (Lycopodium)
Face shines greasily.
Nat. mur. has very marked periodicity. In malaria, the chill starts at 10 a.m.; or 9-10; 10-11 a.m., and the drugs has other very definite hours for chill, headache, neuralgia, etc.
A Burnett tip which one has verified, -cases of apparent phthisis in patients who have had malaria and quinine, may clear up astonishingly on Nat. mur.
Mentally Nat. mur. is IRRITABLE:- hates fuss and consolation:- weeps :-weeps more, or flies into a passion if consoled.
Nat. mur. tries to remember old disagreeables-old insults-for the purpose of brooding over them and being miserable.
The Lycopodium mentality gives way on the intellectual side, that of Nat. mur. on the emotional and sentimental side. Kent says Nat. mur. is the chronic of Ignatia, and where the latter is too superficial, cures. “Falls in love with the wrong person, and breaks her heart. Is absurdly obsessed by a foolish passion for a married man-falls in love with the coachman, and Natrum mur. brings order and sanity.”
A little symptom-complex that means Natrum mur., and Natrum mur. only is:
Hates sympathy, fuss and company.
(Without the salt-craving it might be Sepia.)
But the late DR. BLUNT, a very keen and successful homoeopathic prescriber, once wrote me:
“Nat. mur. is the last remedy I would part with. I have more Nat. mur. cases than any two other drugs put together. When I get (<) heat and cold, (>) in open air, then I ask early, ‘How does wind affect you?’ ‘Eyes water.’ ‘You say you weep? from what?’ Nat. mur. will answer ‘from admonition and pity’. Is worse consolation. These people hide their tears for fear of pity and consolation. If asked, how are you? Nat. mur. will answer, ‘Better thank you’, when he is not. ‘Lachrymation with laughter’ is pure gold. As for ‘Fond of salt; aversion of fats; greasy skin; crack lower lip.’- I have found the remedy in Nat. mur. when all these are absent.”
GUERNSEY, Keynotes, gives the fever symptoms of Natrum mur. thus: “The most characteristic and reliable symptoms are: intermittent fever with the mentioned sores (herpes) on the lips, the approach of fever being heralded by excessive thirst before the chill and during the chill, no thirst during the fever; during the fever, or at its close, the above hammering headache begins (headache as though a thousand little hammers were knocking upon the brain), which lasts for a long time after the fever and perspiration have passed away. The attack comes on in the forepart of the day: after it passes off, the patient wishes to retain a recumbent position, does not ‘feel able’ to get up, or go about anything. Pulse intermitting, or irregular. Chilliness with thirst.
So one sees how different prescribers find their leading symptoms differently; and one can only learn from all.
One remembers an early out-patient case of severe asthma, unable ever to lie down in bed. Patient “worked out” to Nat. mur., which was given, and rapidly cured. Then, on further inquiries it turned out that he had been in the habit of eating large quantities of salt. One wonders, was he poisoned thereby, and did the potentized remedy antidote, as so often it does, the crude drug? or, was it a case of inability to assimilate salt, and therefore of salt famine; and did the potentized drug stimulate him to take what he needed from his food?
“Dirty, unhealthy skin”.
One remembers a malarial sailor, during the War, with a dreadful condition of the face, from blackheads and boils and abscesses, who cleared up astonishingly on Natrum mur., and went out re- humanized.
The following recent case shows the value of Natrum mur. even in epilepsy, the great indication being its curative power in diseases that supervene on malaria and quinine.
Middle-aged man, strong T.B. history: many vaccinations, the last unsuccessful: injections for enteric-plague: -many years in India, where he had dengue and malaria, and months of 30 grains of Quinine. Came for severe and frequent epileptic attacks; bites tongue. Thuja did not help much: but, with Nat. mur., the attacks lessened, and it is now a year and a half since he had an attack, while he had regained his old energy and power for full work.
Natrum mur. is one of the few remedies that has “mapped tongue”, “geographical tongue”. Here it shares the honours with Tarax., Ranunc. sc., and one or two others.
And now we will dig for a few gems from KENT:
Natrum mur. is a remedy of many hysterical conditions. Weeping and laughing: rage with cursing and blaspheming. The remedy of unrequited affections, and the inability to control affections: knows they are unwise, but cannot help it. Of awful headaches, with no relief to the head till after sweat: or, on the other hand, headache, and the greater the pain, the greater the sweat, which does not relieve.
Nat. mur. is a deep-acting, long-lasting remedy. Kent says “it takes wonderful hold of the economy, making changes that are lasting.” Like Sepia, it bears very seldom repetition in chronic cases. Kent says “it operates slowly, bringing about its results after a long time, as it corresponds to complaints that are slow and are long in action. This does not mean that it will not act rapidly: all remedies act rapidly, but not all act slowly; the longest-acting may act in acute disease, but the shortest acting cannot in chronic disease.”
BLACK LETTER SYMPTOMS
i.e. those most often caused and cured by Natrum muriaticum.
Very much inclined to weep and be excited.
Depression. Hurriedness with anxiety and fluttering at heart.
Sad and weeping mood without cause. Involuntary weeping.
Sad and weeping: consolation aggravates.
Melancholy mood, preferred to be alone.
The more he was consoled, the more he was affected.
Hypochondriacal, tired of life.
Trifles provoke anger.
Distraction: disinclined for mental work.
Head dull, heavy.
Pressing pain, as if head would burst.
When coughing, as if forehead would burst.
Redness of whites of eyes with lachrymation.
Eyes give out in reading; writing.
Pressure in eyes, when looking intently.
Unsteadiness of vision. Letters and stitches run together.
Ophthalmia, after abuse of nitrate of silver.
Spasmodic closures of lids.
Upper lip swollen.
Great swelling lower lip followed by a large vesicle.
Crack in middle of lower lip.
Blisters on tongue.
Blister taste in mouth.
Loss of taste; food has no taste.
Tongue coated, with insular patches.
Tongue heavy, difficult speech. Children slow in learning to talk. (One remembers one such very tardy child who started to talk the next day after a dose of Nat. mur.)
Very violent thirst. Unquenchable thirst.
Great longing for bitter things, beer; for farinaceous food; for sour things; for salt, oysters, fish, milk.
Aversion to meat, bread, coffee.
Acid eructations and malaise after eating.
Chronic diarrhoea, watery: with fever, dry mouth: worse as soon as he moves about, and after farinaceous food. With much flatus. Sensation of contraction in rectum during stool: hard faces evacuated with greatest exertion, so that anus is torn, bleeds and is sore.
Constipation. Obstinate retention of stool. Seat worms.
An unusually hard, dry, crumbly stool.
Increased desire to urinate, with very light watery urine.
Involuntary escape of urine while walking, coughing, sneezing.
Intermittent heart beat.
Heart’s pulsations shake the body.
Emaciation: great emaciation.
Great weakness and relaxation of all physical and mental powers from exertion or after long talking.
Paralysis from intermittents, nervous exhaustion, sexual excesses, from diphtheria, from anger or emotions; from pain: of flexors.
Dreams: anxious: vivid: frightful. Of robbers in house, will not believe the contrary till search is made.
Eruptions especially margin of hair at nape of neck.
Herpes about mouth, arms and thighs.
White scales on scalp: dandruff.
Nettlerash; large red blotches with violent itching.
Tetter, bends of joints, oozing of an acrid fluid: crusts with deep cracks. Scaly eruptions on flexor surfaces.
Fever with headache: much heat in face: great thirst, drinks much and often; with nausea and vomiting: stitches in head: unconsciousness; blindness, blurred sight; faintishness; aversion to uncover; without chill, 10 to 11 a.m.
Or chill predominates, with thirst, yawning, severe headache bursting headache; nausea and vomiting; tearing pains in bones; chattering of teeth; internal, as from want of animal warmth.
A remedy of periodicity.
7 a.m. regularly, neuralgia of ophthalmic branch of trigeminus.
9 to 10 a.m. chill.
11 a.m. hard chill, lasting till 1 p.m.
Every morning wakes with headache.
Every morning at 8 till 11 a.m. muscles of back and extremities stretched, while wrists and joints of feet are flexed.
After midnight, sweat.
Morning till noon, sick-headache: diarrhoea (<) chill.
From 1 to 3 p.m. quotidian.
2 a.m. wakened by heavy chill.
4 a.m. fever sets in.
5.30 p.m. chill begins and lasts an hour.
Daily, at regular time, lachrymation.
Attacks of sick headache, lasting 24 hours.
Neuralgia right eye, coming and going off with the sun.
Headache from sunrise to sunset, (<) at midday.
Every other day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. headache: toothache; every other day, constipation.
And so on: great periodicity: (Arsenicum-Clock-like periodicity, Cedron.)
Cold wind blowing through head.
Throbbing in head as from little hammers. Bursting.
As if stepping on air.
Dazzling before eyes.
Fiery zigzags. Eyeballs as if too large.
Plug in throat.
Has to swallow over a lump.
Lungs too tight.
Feet filled with lead.
Back as if beaten: broken.
Water trickling into joints.
Terrible pain in head. Violent pain.
Numbness one side of nose; of lips; of tongue; of arms and hands; of fingers and toes.
Fluttering of heart.
Emptiness in head: in epigastrium.
Cold sensation: vertex: in stomach: about heart: in back.
By the way, a word of warning! Nat. mur. may be needed to cure the most terrible headaches, but do not give it during a severe attack, at risk of a fearful aggravation. Give its “acute”, Bryonia, for the immediate pain, and to palliate; and the curative drug later on, when the attack is over.