One of our little-known remedies, and not too well proved, one gathers. But a remedy for chorea and chorea and epilepsy is not to be lightly set aside.
It was one of the late Dr. Robert cooper’s cases that brought the drug to mind, and we will try to do it justice and make it available for us all.
Boger (Synoptic Key) gives it only a few lines, but says it is related to Bufo. One of his points is, “Vertigo persists after epileptic attacks”. A late edition of BOERICKE gives many symptoms; and CLARKE has a great deal to say about it in his Dictionary.
Clarke, Burnett and Cooper It is difficult to talk of them in the past tense; since they, being dead, still speak convincingly. They were a wonderful trio of geniuses in their several ways. Each seems always to supplement the others.
Actually the mistletoe is a very ancient remedy for epilepsy, for chorea, for disorders of the spleen and for “imposthumes” (abscesses) according to old Culpepper, some there hundred years ago. We shall see how far he is followed, in our day. He speaks not only of the mistletoe, but of the virtues of bird- lime made from the berries of the mistletoe, ” to ripen and draw forth thick and thin humours from remote parts of the body, digesting and separating them; to mollify the hardness of the spleen; to help old ulcers and sores, and mixed with sanderick and orpiment, it helps to draw off foul nails. Mistletoe, made into powder and given to drink, is good for falling sickness (epilepsy). The fresh wood bruised and the juice extracted and dropped into the ears is effectual in curing the imposthumes in them. Mistletoe is a cephalic and nervine medicine, useful for convulsive fits, palsy and vertigo”. These ancient use still obtain.
Viscum alb. has been proved. In one of the provings symptoms were those of aura epileptica and petit mal, which recurred frequently for two years.
Clarke has much of most interest to say in regard to the mistletoe. It cured a fine breed of horses which became epileptic at four years of age. It has cured chorea; ear troubles; spleen; uterine diseases. A number of cases of catarrhal deafness with noises in the ears” are also recorded as cured.
He gives some curious mental and physical symptoms; Feels as if going to do something dreadful while the trembling are on. Wakes in the night thinking of most horrible things. Trembling limbs. Teeth chatter; jerkings. He says it has cured whooping cough in two days. There is a sensation on dorsum of left hand as if a large spider were crawling over it then the same on dorsum of right hand. Another queer sensation, as if something dragging her down from the waist, and directly afterwards as if upper part of body were floating in air.
In fatal cases of poisoning, all muscles of body were paralysed except those of eyes. The Victims could neither speak nor swallow and died on the eight or ninth day.
This is what Dr. Robert Cooper has to say in regard to a case he cured:
“As to my reasons for prescribing Viscum alb. They are, firstly its well-known effects over choreic symptoms. Here we had a trembling heart, twitching of the limbs at night, and severe shaking fits with a cataleptoid state of insensibility for hours. The prescription of Viscum was amply justified by the Hahnemannian principle that the symptoms and not the names merely of diseases, are to correspond to the remedy”. He also quotes a writer who expresses his opinion that the Viscum is far superior, in labour cases, to all remedies he had hitherto tried.