Materia Medica

Materia Medica. INTRODUCTORY.-With some exceptions, the remedies prescribed in this work are restricted to the fifty in the list, pages 63, 64. Physicians s…

INTRODUCTORY.-With some exceptions, the remedies prescribed in this work are restricted to the fifty in the list, pages 63, 64. Physicians skilled in homoeopathic therapeutics, however, as a rule, have a choice of several hundred remedies, each in different potencies. A physician has, therefore, great advantage over the amateur prescriber.

A difficulty will sometimes be experienced in choosing between two or more remedies, the symptoms of which bear many points of resemblance; still, in nearly every instance characteristic differences exist which the experienced eye can detect. Remedies which, to the superficial observer, seem identical, will be found on closer inspection to possess distinctive features, determining, in the ensemble of the symptoms, the constitution and temperament of the patient to which it is adapted. Indeed, it rarely happens that either of two remedies can be selected indifferently.

A prompt and successful use of the Materia Medica can only be attained after persevering study and practical application; but the student should not be attained after persevering study and practical application; but the student should not be deterred, though difficulties surround, and occasionally failures attend, first attempts; for a deeper acquaintance with the remedies, and enlarged experience in using them, will enable him to be the instrument of restoring multitudes to health who need and claim his aid.

1. Acidum Muriaticum-Muriatic Acid.

Hydrochloric Acid.

This is a colourless liquid when pure, having a very sour taste and a suffocating odour.

LEADING USES. -Such fevers as Enteric, Influenza, Typhus, etc., when there is little natural reaction; aphthous, ulcerative, and malignant affections of the mouth, tongue and throat; Scarlatina Anginosa in the septic stage and Diphtheria (as a local application); blackish or brownish sordes on the teeth, etc. In the above conditions it rivals Arsenicum. Ac-Mur. is recommended for chronic earache following Scarlatina, and we have found it most useful in several affections consequent on Scarlatina, Enteric fever, etc., especially Deafness, offensive purulent discharge from the ears, nose, etc., more particularly in tubercular patients; burning itching eruptions, ulcers, secreting a foetid ichor, Eczema of the ear, etc.

Ac-Mur. may be used as a gargle or paint in ulceration of the throat, and in Diphtheria; taken internally, it is generally prescribed in the IX to 3X dil. but is also active in high potencies when well indicated.

2. Acidum Nitricum.-Nitric Acid.

LEADING USES.-In many chronic affections which result from infection by Tubercle, Syphilis or Gonorrhoea, especially in Syphilitic cases over-dosed with Mercury and Mercurial poisoning; chronic varicose veins, with tendency to ulceration. In certain fevers, Ac-Nit. is frequently required, especially in typhoid or malignant Scarlatina, Small-pox, etc.

EYES, EARS, ETC. Purulent Ophthalmia, Otorrhoea and Ozaena.

RESPIRATORY SYSTEM.-Chronic violent, dry, laryngeal cough, with stinging or smarting sensation on one side, as if a small ulcer was there; Whooping cough.

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM. Sore and ulcerated throat (internally and as gargle); diphtheria occasionally; Salivation, with spongy swelling and bleeding of the gums; heartburn, with sour eructations; chronic Gastritis of drunkards; some diseases of the liver of a chronic kind; Diarrhoea of children, the motions being green, curdled, mixed with mucus, and passed with straining; chronic Diarrhoea and Dysentery; Fistula and Fissure of the anus; Prolapsus ani; Haemorrhoids, with weakness of the sphincter ani.

URINARY AND GENERATIVE SYSTEM.-Enuresis, with foetid, purulent urine. Ac-Nit., sufficiently diluted, has been recommended and successfully employed, as an injection, for chronic cystitis and foul leucorrhoea; also as a local application for soft Chancre, syphilitic Ulcers, and Condylomata. Two drachms of the dilute acid to a pint of water is the strength Ringer recommends, and with this wash the Condylomata are to be constantly kept moist.

SKIN.-Ulcers, with rapid destruction of tissue, soft edges of greyish-green colour, and tendency to fungoid growth.

3. Acidum Phosphoricum.-Phosphoric Acid.

This is a colourless inodorous liquid, of an agreeable acid taste. It is obtained by the mutual action of Phosphorus and Nitric Acid in distilled water.

LEADING USES.-Physical or nervous debility from any cause with cold, clammy sweats or profuse perspiration; exhaustion from loss of the fluids of the body, as in haemorrhage, excessive or prolonged. Diarrhoea, Spermatorrhoea, etc.; passive Haemorrhage; consequences of grief, care too rapid growth, Onanism, etc. Phthisis, with colliquative sweats, great exhaustion, Diarrhoea and debility in any conditions of septic absorption. Spinal weakness, with great fatigue on exertion and frequent inclination to pass water; curvatures of the spine; Caries of bone. Falling -off of the hair after a sever illness or as a sign of general debility. In old-school materia medica it is considered tonic, and is administered in large doses (10 to 30 min.).

HEAD, ETC.-Headache at the back and nape of the neck, with pale face, from nervous exhaustion; dull or confused intellect, weak memory, dejection of spirits, etc. from brain-fag, seminal or other losses, or exhausting disease. Weakness of sight and deafness, during or consequent on, severe disease.

RESPIRATORY SYSTEM.-Chronic Bronchitis, with bloody purulent expectoration, and night sweats; Pneumonia with hardness of hearing, excessive weakness, pale sunken face, Diarrhoea, etc.

URINARY SYSTEM. -Too frequent desire to pass water, especially in the morning, the urine being copious and light-coloured; frequent involuntary emissions of urine, with nervous symptoms; Diabetes Mellitus; phosphatic deposits in the urine, or alkalinity of urine, milky urine in children.

GENERATIVE SYSTEM.-Seminal emissions from self-abuse; impotence, from too rapid escape of the semen after an erection, or before it is complete; general debility from sexual excesses or Spermatorrhoea; thin, acrid, chronic Leucorrhoea, with pale face and general debility.

4. Acidum Sulphurosum-Sulphurous Acid.

When Sulphur or brimstone is burnt a highly characteristic, pungent, and stifling odour is evolved, which is the odour, not of Sulphur, but of its dioxide, and when this gas is collected in water it forms Sulphurous Acid.

It has a powerful deoxidizing property, and a most destructive action on vegetable life; it is upon this latter property that is therapeutic value mainly depends. It can by used locally as a disinfectant and deodorizer; as an application to septic wounds or as a gargle or spray for infected throats in the proportion of one part of the alcoholic solution of Sulphurous Acid to ten parts of water. But agents such as formaldehyde have largely displaced it.

LEADING USES.-Throat and chest affections-septic. Sore throat, Tonsillitis, clergyman’s hoarseness, chronic Catarrh, Influenza, Cough, Bronchitis, Asthma, etc,;’ in conditions of this kind it is a valuable remedy when administered in potencies from IX upwards. The indications for its use remedies those of Sulphur and of Sulphuric Acid, and the latter is more frequently employed internally. Neuralgia and Toothache, cutaneous diseases- Ringworm, Eczema, Chilblains, Cracked and Chapped hands, Ulcers, Sores, etc. vegetable and animal Parasites-Scabies, Pediculi. Helminthiasis, etc. It is chiefly appropriate to chronic affections requiring Sulphur internally, when local medication is also desirable, and especially, when parasitic, or septic conditions are present.

Besides its use in the form of a spray, it may also be applied by fumigation, or by inhalation, a few drops being poured on boiling water, and the vapour therefrom inhaled. Further, it may be used as a paint for the skin or throat, diluting the acid with about twice its bulk of Glycerine.

5. Aconitum Napellus.-Monk’s-hood-Wolf’s bane.

This plant is a native of Asia and of Central Europe, and grows spontaneously in the damp and covered parts of almost every mountainous country, especially in Switzerland, Germany and Sweden. On account of its beautiful flowers, not with standing its poisonous properties, Monk’s-hood is cultivated, and grows readily in the gardens of our own land.

The parts used are-the leaves, flowers and root, from which tinctures are made; but it is from the root that the most active preparation is obtained.

THERAPEUTIC VALUE.-As a therapeutic agent in the hands of a homoeopathic practitioner, Aconitum is one of the first importance. “This medicine,” says Hempel,” constitutes the backbone, as it were, of our Materia Medica”; there being scarcely an acute disease in which it is not more or less required. Had Hahnemann’s labours extended no further than the discovery and demonstration of the wide and inclusive curative power of this great remedy, they would have entitled him to the gratitude of countless myriads of his fellow-creatures in every succeeding generation. He most appropriately ranks it as first and foremost in his Materia Medica, not because its name begins with the first letter of the alphabet, but because of its transcendent power and extensive sphere of action; he terms it a “precious plant,” whose “efficacy almost amounts to a miracle.” Let the septic in homoeopathic therapeutics test its power in acute fevers in accordance with the directions laid down in this Manual, and he will witness a curative action of a most striking kind. As confirmatory of this assertion, we may cite the extensive use of Aconite now adopted by allopathic practitioners of eminence, but they were slow to recognise its value. Some striking instances of this adoption of Hahnemann’s teachings and practice by men of the old school are given in the early numbers of the Homoeopathic World. (*The Lancet regards it as an almost infallible remedy and in estimating the “cooling power f drugs,” remarks: “It is curious here to observe how really powerfully agents have been neglected, while an absurd confidence has been reposed in remedies which could not possibly have any genuine effect. Only think of the gallons of `sweet spirits of nitre’ that have been poured down people’s throats! Yet this is a medicine which may be confidently pronounced to be unworthy of the slightest confidence, were it only for the fact that no two specimens ever resemble each other in composition, and that a considerable number probably contain scarcely a vestige of the real drug. And then reflect, on the other hand, of the extraordinary neglect of Aconite, a drug which enjoys certainly the nearest approach to infallibility, as a reliever of dry heat of ski, of any remedy that we possess.” “Curious,” indeed, to this allopathic editor;but the virtues of Aconite had at that time been well known to Homoeopaths for nearly eighty years! Ringer, in the fourth edition of his “Therapeutics.” writes:”Perhaps no drug is more valuable than Aconite. Its virtues are only beginning to be appreciated” (l).)

PROMINENT USES.-Aconite is useful in all recent affections, accompanied by, or depending upon raised arterial tension and the nervous excitement that accompanies it. It is not a remedy for chronic arterial tension, although useful in temporary exacerbations of such a condition, nor is it a remedy for inflammatory processes where the natural resistance is poor and the signs of septic absorption prominent. It is very serviceable in some reactionary conditions-exhaustion after excitement, etc. It surpasses all other known remedies in its power of controlling the circulation, and triumphantly supersedes the lancet and the leech. “To enumerate the diseases for which it is suitable would be to mention the acute inflammation of every possible order and tissue of the body; and if it be not for all of these the sole remedy, it is almost always useful either previous to, or in alternation with another remedy which has perhaps a more specific relation to the part affected” (Dudgeon).

Although it may be often greatly abused, it is probably more frequently indicated than any other single remedy, especially at the commencement, and often during the course, of nearly all affections marked by pain; a rapid strong pulse; dry heat of the skin; chills, followed by burning heats; restlessness; scanty and high-coloured urine; Constipation; aggravation of the symptoms towards night; notably, Acute Rheumatism, commencing catarrhs, Erysipelas, Haemorrhage from internal or external surfaces, especially of an arterial character, with full, bounding pulse. It acts by moderating and equalising the circulation, and so removing local congestion, especially when affecting mucous surfaces. Cases within the sphere of Aconite are generally benefited at once; if, therefore, relief does not follow after a few doses, other means should be tried.

Aconite has, however, no power to control bacterial invasions, such as Enteric, Typhus, and Intermittent fever, and most cases of influenza. Even in many cases of Scarlatina its use is limited. Again, as Hughes remarks, Aconite does little for a fever which is symptomatic of an acute local inflammation. In Pneumonia, the pulse defies Aconite, but goes down quickly when Bryonia or Phosphorus touches the local mischief, “Indeed,” writes the same author, “it may be laid down that unless a fever has greatly abated within twenty-four hours of commencing Aconite, it is one for which the remedy is unsuited.” But although it cannot abridge specific fevers, its administration exerts a beneficial influence by favouring perspiration, inducing sleep, and soothing the nervous system. “In some inflammations, however, Aconite alone may effect a cure, as being a specific irritant of the part affected.” In the use of Aconite, the general recognition of these observations is necessary to prevent disappointment.

NERVOUS SYSTEM.-Neuralgia accompanied by arterial excitement of the affected part, such as occurs in persons debilitated by anxiety, over-excitement tends to local congestions. Neuralgia depending upon diseased bone, carious teeth, or tumours pressing on nerves are only temporarily, or not at all, benefited by Aconite Apoplexy with bounding pulse; recent paralysis such as facial paralysis, with numbness and congested skin, and painful pricking sensations, as from needles; infantile convulsions; spasmodic Croup’ Congestive Headache when the sensorium is not involved; nervous tremors in sensitive and weakly persons, etc.

EYES, EARS, FACE, ETC.-Acute Ophthalmia, with shooting pains, and frontal headache; pain or inflammation in the eyes after injuries or operations; acute Otitis, Otalgia, and Deafness from cold; Catarrh in the invasive stage (see “Respiratory System”); over sensitiveness of smell; Epistaxis from cerebral congestion. Facial Neuralgia (see “Nervous System”)

CIRCULATORY SYSTEM.-Recent Rheumatic affections of the heart; Palpitation from nervous, hysteric, or febrile excitement, or occurring in plethoric or sensitive persons; Congestion of the heart, with anguish, heat, depression of spirits; the paroxysms of Angina Pectoris; fainting-fits, with collapse of pulse; and the deadly collapse of Cholera.

RESPIRATORY SYSTEM.-Catarrh and Influenza in their invasive stages-dryness and burning of the air-passages, sneezing, burning and fulness over the eyes, headache, chills, weariness, and soreness; fluent Coryza; chronic Catarrh with thick mucus; acute Sore Throat; Laryngitis; Bronchitis; spasmodic, dry hard cough; Pleurisy; Pneumonia, Congestion of the lungs; Haemoptysis; the paroxysms of spasmodic Asthma.

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM.-Teeth.-Rheumatic and congestive tooth and face- ache, especially from exposure to cold and draughts of air; throbbing, pressing pains in the teeth or side of the face, relieved by cold water; fever attending dentition. Tongue, Throat, etc.-Dryness and swelling of the tongue; white or yellow- furred tongue; soreness and dry heat in the throat; Quinsy (often curative in the early stage); swollen, elongated uvula; rising of sweetish or acid water in the mouth. Stomach, etc.-Continual formation and eructation of flatulence; bilious nausea, vomiting of blood, with feverish symptoms (if due to injury Arnica should be thought of, but Aconite may supplement its action), inflammation of the stomach, bowels, or peritoneum; constipation, with fever; profusely bleeding Piles; Diarrhoea during teething, the little patient’s cheeks being flushed, with other febrile symptoms; acute Congestion of the liver (Mercurius may be subsequently required).

URINARY SYSTEM.-Retention or suppression of the urine form inflammation or congestion; high coloured urine, with or without brick-dust sediment; burning and tenesmus of the neck of the bladder; inflammation of the kidneys; Urethritis; Acute Orchitis, etc.

SKIN.-Dry, hot, harsh, and yellow colour; ephemeral itching and burning of the skin. Aconite is well indicated in the dry, burning heat of children, or red rash, with thirst, etc. Perspiration occurring after this remedy marks its favourable action, and is the token for its discontinuance.

6. AEsculus Hippocastanum.- Horse-chestnut.

This remedy has been well proved in America, and considerably used both there and at home.

LEADING USES.-Our own experience with this drug, and our prescription of it in this Manual, have been chiefly restricted to affections of the rectum and anus.

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM.-Haemorrhoids, with small discharges of blood, but much pain, swelling, and rigidity of the rectum; Constipation, with very distressing sensations-aching, constriction, fulness, pricking, itching, and protrusion-in the rectum and anus, the pains also extending to the back. It is inferior to Nux Vom. and Sulph. when there is much abdominal congestion, and to Hamamelis when the haemorrhage is copious, and there exists a general varicose condition of the system. The chief symptoms, then, for AEscul. are piles, with Constipation, severe pain, and but little haemorrhage; and for these it is a precious remedy.

GENERATIVE SYSTEM.-Leucorrhoea with the characteristic pains and lameness in the small of the back. Lumbar and sacral pains which accompany Leucorrhoea or Haemorrhoids, erroneously supposed to be of a rheumatic character, are specially under the control of Aesculus. The provings and clinical reports collected in the latest edition of Dr. Hale’s New Remedies are both interesting and satisfactory.

7. Agaricus Muscarius (Fly agaric).

Agaricus is a poisonous member of the mushroom family, and is used by Kamskatkans for making an intoxicating drink.

LEADING USES.-Nervous disorders, neuralgia, St. Vitus’ dance, spinal irritation; also in skin affections, especially chilblains and frost-bite.

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM.-Offensive smell from mouth, offensive tasting, empty eructations; heavy sensation at stomach; stitches in liver and spleen; Rumbling in bowels; Diarrhoea, mostly in the morning, after rising, with much rumbling; passing much inodorous flatus.

NERVOUS SYSTEM.-Twitchings; spasmodic movements of eyelids and eyeballs; Chorea; movements ceasing during sleep; symptoms worse at approach of thunderstorm; spine sensitive to touch; every motion causes pain.

SKIN.-Burning, itching, redness, swelling as in frost-bite.

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM.-Offensive smell from mouth, offensive tasting, empty eructations; heavy sensation at stomach; stitches in liver and spleen; Rumbling in bowels; Diarrhoea, mostly in the morning, after rising, with much rumbling; passage much inodorous flatus.

NERVOUS SYSTEM.-Twitchings; spasmodic movements of eyelids and eyeballs; Chorea; movements ceasing during sleep; symptoms worse at approach of thunderstorm; spine sensitive to touch; every motion causes pain.

SKIN-Burning, itching, redness, swelling as in frost-bite and chillblains. Agaricus patients are very sensitive to cold air.

8. Aloe Socotrina-Aloes.

This remedy, so much used by our “orthodox” brethren, is also very valuable to us; but we use it with much greater precision of aim and specific curative results.

LEADING USES,.-Haemorrhoids, with profuse discharge of blood, great straining, burning, and cutting pains, and rush of blood to the head; Dysentery, with similar symptoms. Diarrhoea like that produced by drastic doses of the drug, having a bilious character and foul smell, and accompanied by an uneasy sensation about the liver, a continual inclination to stool, as if Diarrhoea were about to come on. Menstruation, when profuse, and associated with Haemorrhoids as above described.

Aloes, 6th dil., is reported to have cured falling off of the hair.

Hempel states that Aconite is the best antidote for allopathic doses of Aloes, but Sulphur, which has been rightly called the chronic counterpart of Aconite, is even more effective in this respect.

9. Antimonium Crudum-Crude Antimony.

This mineral is often found combined with small quantities of Lead, Copper, Iron and Arsenic, and consequently requires great care in its preparation for medicinal purposes. We use the crystalline tersulphide, and prepare it for use by trituration.

LEADING USES.-The beneficial action of Antimony is chiefly limited to the mucous membrane of the digestive tract, and the skin, more especially when those surfaces are concurrently diseased. The characteristic mental condition of ill-temper and peevishness is a strong additional indication. The ill-temper is aggravated by attempts at consolation.

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM.-When this remedy is indicated, the lining membrane of the stomach and alimentary canal is loaded with mucus, and there are-foul, bitter eructations, tasting of the food; nausea, and sometimes vomiting; foetid flatulence; loss of appetite, milky white tongue; slow digestion, with drowsiness, loss of strength, etc.; Constipation, alternating with Diarrhoea,. It is an excellent remedy in that morbid condition of the intestinal canal which favours the development of worms.

URINARY ORGANS.-Chronic Catarrh of the bladder, with turbid, foetid urine, and sometimes painful micturition.

SKIN.-Pimples or blotches; Nettle-rash associated with Indigestion; ill-conditioned, unhealthy appearance.

A simultaneous affection of the mucous membranes and the skin, as before remarked, is an additional indication for Ant-Crud.

10. Antimonium Tartaricum-Tartarated Antimony.

-Tartar Emetic.

Though less violent as a poison than was at one time supposed, this salt has, nevertheless, been highly destructive to life, and our chief knowledge of its physiological action has been derived from allopathic experience with it in large doses. For homoeopathic purposes it is prepared by trituration or solution, in the lower potencies triturations are to be preferred.

LEADING USES.-The chief sphere of action of this medicine lies in the mucous membranes, the lungs and the skin.

RESPIRATORY SYSTEM.-In large doses it produces a kind of catarrhal inflammation, beginning in the lining membrane of the throat, and extending to the trachea and bronchial tubes, and even exerting its irritant influence on the lung tissues themselves. We should, therefore, expect Tartar Emetic to be a valuable remedy in certain inflammations involving these parts, and experience has amply justified this expectation. In Bronchitis, especially Capillary Bronchitis, and Pneumonia and Broncho-Pneumonia, it has proved a most useful remedy; in the wheezing, breathing, and coughs of children and aged persons, where there is much mucus and defective ability to expel it; also in chronic cough, with profuse and easy mucous expectoration. Orthodox authorities now recommend Tartar Emetic for similar conditions.

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM. The vomiting to which this remedy is homoeopathic is nervous and sympathetic rather than gastric, and is attended by nausea, great straining, pale skin, and much depression and prostration.

SKIN, ETC.-When applied locally to the skin, (* “In the form of ointment, ” Ringers writes, “Tartar Emetic excites in the skin a characteristic inflammation, which at first forms papules, then vesicles, and lastly pustules. The rash thus runs the course of the eruption of Small-pox, and in each of its stages simulates this very closely.”) or during its internal administration, as in allopathic uses of it, Ant-Tart. produces a pustular eruption much resembling Small-pox; and in this disease it has proved to be of great value. “Not only does it cause a specific pustular eruption, closely resembling that of Small-pox, but it has also the vomiting, the pustules of the mouth and throat, the viscid mucus clogging the air-passages, and the initial severe backache, which no less characterise the disease. Correspondingly with this close homoeopathicity, the power of Tartar Emetic as a remedy for Variola is very great. Testimonies to its value are collected in the New Materia Medica; it is said to be especially useful in cases where the respiratory mucous membrane is much affected” (Hughes.) Sycosis (Barber’s Itch) and a variety of cutaneous eruptions, especially Ecthyma, are amenable to this remedy.

Edward Harris Ruddock
Ruddock, E. H. (Edward Harris), 1822-1875. M.D.

Author of "The Stepping Stone to Homeopathy and Health,"
"Manual of Homoeopathic Treatment". Editor of "The Homoeopathic World."