DRUG PICTURES : 78.
ONE of Hahnemanns precious medicinal legacies. He says the juice, when touching the skin, produces a very painful burning, which lasts for a long time; and he tells us that, since the medicinal power of this drug is not volatile, it is better to dry the plant and triturate it like all other dry substances. The bark, root and stem are used for making the tincture.
Mezereum is a hardy shrub, native of Great Britain and northern countries : flowers early in spring, sometimes in the snow. Was introduced by Stapf, and extensively proved by Hahnemann and his band. The proving appears in his Chronic Diseases.
It powerfully affects skin, bones, mucous membranes. Its action is characterized throughout by VIOLENCE. Violent pains : violent itching : sudden, violent pains in face during sleep; violent sensations of hunger; violent burning in mouth; violent pains in stomach and oesophagus; violent inclination to cough, lower down than can be reached by cough; “violent acute fever”.
And all its violence is more violent by night. It is one of the remedies that may be needed in the treatment of syphilis; also may be needed in a variety of skin conditions-very severe skin lesions, characterized by violent itching, and worse at night; from heat of bed : the one drug that has go into the Repertory, as “eruptions itching, worse warmth of fire”.
It has annoying twitchings : twitching of eyelid; twitchings and jerking of muscles of right cheek; twitching of muscles in pit of stomach.
It is one of the few remedies that love and crave fat ham; Mez. finds relief in drinking milk, and eating fat bacon. (Compare Tuberculinum.).
Some of its pains are violently burning :”peppery” burnings (compare Caps.) ; and it has fiery taste; salty and peppery taste; bitter and sour taste-especially beer tastes bitter (not water), and causes vomiting.
The stomach conditions (it has a reputation for gastric ulcer and even induration and carcinoma) are curious. Without hunger, there may be constant desire to eat and take something into stomach, whereby he has less pain. (Compare Graph., Chel., etc.) Constant longing for food. Nausea disappears after eating. (Compare Sepia).
In regard to its “skins”, one never forgets a recurrent experience with Mezereum cm., when doing childrens and casualty works at the hospital during the War : the children being ill- nourished, probably lent themselves to such miserable conditions. The experience was with the many cases of kerion (tinea kerion), thus described in text-books : “marked inflammatory symptoms with circumscribed boggy tumefaction of the scalp, which is covered with pustules, or with gaping orifices from which exudes viscid pus”.
And one remembers vividly, how some of the cases were “running with lice.” One is told that kerion may fluctuate, and give the idea of abscess, but when incised, instead of a pocket of pus, a number of pus points merely exude, the individual hair cells being the seat of innumerable small abscesses. Anyway, Mezereum never failed to rapidly cure the condition. So much so, that when appealed to from the country in regard to some children thus affected, one sent Mezereum cm., a few doses, which, as one was told, rapidly cured.
Specifics ?-how dare you teach specifics ? Is this the Homoeopathy of Hahnemann, which you profess to teach ?”.
As a matter of fact, it is. Hahnemann tells us, if we would only heed, that for “miasmatic” diseases, acute or chronic, i.e. for diseases caused by parasitic organisms, which have in each case the same origin, the same symptoms, the same course, “a specific should be found”.
And doubtless kerion is a specific parasitic infection, caused by micro-organisms, and having the same origin, the same symptoms and the same course; for which, so far as epidemic experience with a dozen or so cases is concerned, Mezereum is the specific; and it proved itself so by acting magnificently in the single dose of the highest potency one had been able to lay hands on.
Therefore let us once again quote Hahnemann, in regard to “Infectious diseases, caused by a peculiar contagium (a miasm of tolerably fixed character such as small-pox, measles, true scarlet fever, etc. . . . These seem so fixed in their course as to be always recognized as old acquaintances. They can be named, and we can endeavour to lay down some fixed method of treatment suitable, as a rule, for each of them”.
We may here, with advantage, give in extension Dr. Carroll Dunhams classical case of the cure of an almost lifelong deafness, with Mezereum. He traced it back to a severe attack of just such tinea capitis, in childhood; and, by treating that ancient condition-all those years later-he managed to restore hearing, utility and happiness to a boy whose life had, till then, been blasted. It was a case, evidently, of what we may venture to call, “chronic kerion”.
It bears out our contention, fully explained in No. 12 Post-graduate Correspondence Course, that, in ill-health dating from some acute illness, where the patient, apparently recovered, has never been well since, we may be really dealing with Chronic Measles, Chronic Diphtheria, Chronic Vaccinosis (Burnett), Chronic Pneumonia, etc., and we may prove our case (to our own satisfaction, anyway) by seeing the rapid leap to better life and energy, after a dose or two of Diphtherinum, Morbillinum, Pneumococcin, Scarlatinum or Streptococcin, Variolinum, or Thuja, etc., according to the “past history” of the sufferer.
We make no apology for reproducing the case in full, together with the lessons deduced from it, by one of the past masters of homoeopathic prescribing; although it has been again and again alluded to by teachers of Homoeopathy.
DEAFNESS CURED BY MEZEREUM, WITH REMARKS.
From Homoeopathy the Science of Therapeutics.
By Dr. Carrol Dunham.
G.W.W. (17), small but well proportioned and of good constitution, healthy since his ninth year, has been deaf since he was four years old. When three years of age, he had an eruptive disease of the whole scalp, which, after resisting for a year all the milder methods of allopathic treatment, was finally caused to disappear, in the following manner : A tar-cap was placed upon the head, and when firmly adherent to the scabs, was violently torn off. The scabs came with it, leaving the whole scalp raw. This raw surface was moistened with a saturated solution of nitrate of silver. The eruption did not reappear; but from that time the child was deaf.
The condition of the youth now excites the earnest solicitude of his friends. His inability to move in society, or to get a situation in business, on account of his deafness, has produced a morbid state of mind. He broods over his infirmity, and secludes himself even from his own family.
Under these circumstances,he applied to me to be cured of his deafness. His present condition is as follows : He is quite unable to hear ordinary conversation, and has never heard a sermon in his life. A loud-ticking lever watch can be heard at a distance of three and a half inches from either ear. On application of the watch to his forehead, or to his teeth, he hears it distinctly. Occasional buzzing noises in front of the ears. A physical examination of his ears reveals the following conditions :
The external meatus is abundantly supplied with soft, normal wax. The membrana tympani is white, opaque, and evidently thickened. When the patient attempts to inflate the middle ear (which he accomplishes with great difficulty, by closing both mouth and nose and making a forcible expiration) the membrane tympani becomes but very slightly convex, and it is impossible to distinguish its distended blood-vessels. There has evidently been a deposit in the substance of the membrane. On examination of the throat, it appears that the orifice of the eustachian tube is free.
Feb. 3rd 1857. Patient received a powder containing three globules of Mezereum 30, to be taken on retiring.
Feb. 24th. Thinks he hears better-“every sound seems much louder than before.” Hears my watch at a distance of four and a half inches from the right ear, and four and a quarter from the left ear. (No medicine.).
March 1st. Has not improved during the last week. Mezereum 30, three globules.
March 27th. Hears my watch, with the right ear, six and a half inches, and with the left, seven inches. (No medicine).
April 20th. Hears my watch, with the right ear, at a distance of ten inches, and with the left at a distance of fourteen inches. Hears ordinary conversation easily, with attention. (No medicine).
Sept. 28th. Has been steadily improving until three weeks ago, when he became more deaf again, without apparent cause. Mezereum 30, three globules, on retiring.
June 26th, 1858. Hears my watch at a distance of fourteen inches from the right ear, and twenty-four inches from the left ear. Deafness returns when he takes cold, but disappears with the cold. Mezereum 30, three globules on retiring.
March 19th. To his surprise, on going to church, although seated at the extreme end of a very large building, he distinctly heard the whole sermon-for the first time in his life. On physical examination, the opacity of the membrane tympani is found to have disappeared, and its elasticity to have sensibly increased.
May 24th. Patient writes me that he has obtained, without difficulty, a situation in a store, and that he is no longer conscious of being deaf. His sole difficulty is that, as he has the reputation of being deaf, everybody shouts at him. His father writes that the sons hearing is “perfectly restored”.
REMARKS. The success of the treatment resorted to in this instance warrants a few remarks upon its rationale. Here was a case which presented to the practitioner apparently nothing on which to base a prescription. There was a thickened membrane tympani-nothing more.
The work of thickening had probably been accomplished years ago. Here was a pathological-anatomical condition,but no pathological process and, consequently, there were no abnormally performed functions- or in other words, no symptoms of disease-from which to draw indications for the treatment. The pathological-anatomical condition threw no certain light on the pathological process which had produced it-just as a knowledge of the town, at which a traveller has arrived, gives no certain clue to the road by which he reached it.
But, as Hahnemann advised his disciples, the history of a case.
is often of the utmost importance in determining the treatment. In the case before us the coincidence between the violent removal of the tinea capitis by nitrate of silver, and the appearance of the deafness, was too marked to escape notice. It could not fail to occur to the practitioner that the scalp disease was one phase of a psoric affection, as Hahnemann would have called it, or of a dyscrasia, as the modern school of German pathologists would say (for the doctrine of dyscrasias is but a rehash of Hahnemanns psoric theory), and that this affection, disturbed in its localization upon the scalp, had transferred itself to the tissues of the ear.
It further occurred to me that, since in this latter localization there were no sufficient indications for a prescription, I might find such indications in the phenomena of the former localization upon the scalp. I accordingly addressed myself to the task of getting a complete picture of this affection, which had disappeared thirteen years before.
By good fortune the mother of the patient was possessed of a good memory, and of very excellent powers of description, and from her I learnt that “thick, whitish scabs, hard and almost horny, covered the whole scalp. There were fissures in the scales, through which, in pressure, there exuded a thick, yellowish pus, often very offensive. There was great itching, and a disposition to tear off the scabs with the finger-nails-especially troublesome at night”.
The remedy which corresponds most closely, in its pathogenesis, with the above group of symptoms, is undoubtedly Mezereum. In the introduction to the proving of that drug, in the Chronic Diseases, Vol. IV, Hahnemann recommends it for moist eruptions of the scalp.
In the proving, in the Archiv., Vol. LV, many symptoms point to a similar eruption-itching, especially at night, but the conclusive group of pathogenetic symptoms is the following, from a new proving of Mezereum, by the late Dr. Wahle, of Rome, of which the manuscript was shown me by his son, the present Dr. Wahle. .
“Head covered over with a thick leather-like crust, under which thick white pus collects here and there, and the hair is glued together; on the head, great, elevated, irregular, white scabs, under which pus collects in quantity, and becomes offensive and breeds vermin. The child keeps scratching its face and head at night, and continuously tears off the scabs”.
The resemblance between these groups of symptoms was so striking that Mezereum was at once selected as the remedy for this case of deafness, just as if the scalp affection had been still in its original form, and has been the immediate object of the prescription.
It not infrequently occurs that we are called upon to prescribe for what seem rather results, of morbid actions, than active diseases. In such cases it would seem that we may often successfully base a prescription upon the symptoms of a diseased condition which no longer exists, but which form, in reality, a part of the case.
It may not be amiss to call attention to the completeness of the corroboration which this case affords (were any needed) of Hahnemanns psora theory. It is hardly necessary to say that Hahnemann had no idea or restricting psora to itch, as we understand that term, that is to the disease caused by the acarus. On the contrary, in his Chronic Diseases, Vol. IV, he expressly includes under it various forms, as “Itch, Tinea Capitis, herpes, etc.
BLACK LETTER SYMPTOMS.
Hypochondriac and despondent. Takes no pleasure in anything.
Everything seems to him dead, and nothing makes a vivid impression upon his mind.
Very violent HEADACHE : head painful to slightest touch (after a slight vexation).
Bone pain in bones of skull, especially aggravated by contact.
Cranial bones pain,. are swollen and sensitive to cold and contact : worse from motion and in the evening. Caries.
Itching and burning of SCALP.
Head covered with a thick leather-like crust, under which thick white pus collects here and there, and hair is glued together.
On the head, great elevated white scabs,under which ichor collects in quantity, and which begins to be offensive and to breed vermin.
EYES : sensation of dryness.
Obstinate jerking of the muscles of left upper lid.
EAR : Sensation of air distending the external meatus. (Then left.).
TEETH feel blunt and elongated : painful on biting or from fresh air.
Violent burning in mouth.
Heat and scraping in fauces.
Burning in THROAT and pharynx : dryness in fauces, hacking cough; anxious oppression of breath, loosening of scanty mucus on coughing.
Vomits BEER, which has a bitter taste (not water).
Pain in periosteum of long BONES, especially tibia : worse at night in bed ; least touch is intolerable. Worse in damp weather.
Bones inflamed, swollen, especially shafts of cylindrical bones; after abuse of Mercury and venereal disease.
Eczema, itching intolerably, copious serous exudation.
Neuralgia and burning after zona.
The SKIN of face is of a deep inflammatory redness, and the eruption is “fat” and moist.
The child scratches the face continually; it becomes covered with blood.
In the night the child scratches its face so that the bed is covered with blood in the morning; and the face is covered with a scab which the child keeps constantly tearing off anew, and on the spots thus left raw, large (fat) pustules form.
Ulcers covered with thick whitish-yellow scabs, under which thick, yellow pus collects.
Vesicles appear around the ulcers, itching, violently and burning like fire. After eight days these vesicles dry up, leaving scabs, the tearing off of which causes great pain and retards healing.
SOME QUEER, OR ITALIC SYMPTOMS .
Irritable; averse to everything; desire to run away. (Bell., etc).
Apprehensiveness in pit of stomach (K. carb., etc.) as when expecting some very unpleasant news.
Everything vexes him; he wants to say all kinds of annoying and vexatious things.
Unable to recollect : or understand. Every intercurrent remark of others disturbed and confused his ideas.
Head dull, as if intoxicated : as of he had been up all night.
Headache from root of nose into forehead as if everything would press asunder.
On pressing frontal bone it pains and draws down to the feet.
Heat and perspiration on head; chilliness and coldness in rest of body (morning).
Sensation upper part of head, as if pithy.
Pressing pains as if skull would split.
On head, great elevated white scabs : chalky scabs, extend to eyebrows and nape of neck.
Violent biting on head,m as if from lice.
Pressure in eyeballs, as if too large.
Moist, itching eruption on head and behind ears. (Graph.).
Dry eruption on head, with intolerable itching, as if head was in an ants nest. (Favus.) (A case of favus cured recently with puls.-in a typical pulsatilla child.-ED.).
Eczema of lids and head; thick hard scabs, from which pus exudes on pressure.
Ears feel as if too open, and as if air was pouring into them; or as if tympanum was exposed to cold air; with desire to bore with finger into ear.
Oozing eruption behind ears.
Fluent coryza, scabs in nose-soreness. Constant excoriation of nose. (Compare Aur., Sulph.).
Facial muscles drawn tense : troublesome twitching of muscles of right cheek.
Feeling as if eyes were drawn backward into head. Wind blowing in the right ear.
Honey-like scabs about mouth.
Sensation as if tooth was being lifted out of socket.
Teeth decay suddenly above gums; crowns remain intact.
Peppery sensation on palate and in fauces.
Canine hunger noon and evening. Loss of appetite.
Desire for ham fat, coffee, wine.
Beer tastes bitter and causes vomiting.
Burning in whole mouth as from pepper.
Ulcer of stomach.
Induration of stomach.
Burning, corroding pains in stomach, as if it were raw inside.
Stool contains glistening bodies. Small,white, shining grains in brown faces.
Anus becomes painful and constricted about fallen rectum.
Stools hard as a stone and large; as if they would split anus.
Sticking in kidney, and pain as if torn.
Dyspnoea as if from adhesions or contraction of lungs.
Cough spasmodic : yellow viscid mucus : tastes saltish.
Cough : when eating or drinking anything hot must cough till he vomits : from beer.
Intercostal neuralgia, follows herpes zoster. (Ran. bulb., Ars.).
Limbs feel as if shortened.
Right had cold, left warm; or both cold.
Paralysis of flexors of fingers; finger-ends powerless, cannot hold anything.
Violent pain in tibia as if beaten, or as if periosteum were torn off, after midnight.
Leg, from knee to instep, covered with thick yellow scab, from cracks of which thick, yellow matter oozes on pressure.
Scabs fall of in pieces, leaving skin deep-red, sore, itching violently and exuding a thin, clear, fluid, forming a thin scab under which pus again collects; skin round scab dark-red, tense, hot, itching. At night intolerable itching and burning in eruption. Foul odour. (Herpes crustaceous).
Violent nightly pains in bones of feet.
Feeling of great lightness of body.
Especially indicated in January and February.
Worse from heat and cold.
Head especially worse cold : cranial bones, pains in scalp, etc.
Yet worse heat of bed : of fire : itching of scalp and feet. (Like Puls.), is chilly and drowsy in a warm room.
Hands and feet cold : nails blue. With hot spot on top of head.
Sensations : as if drunk. As if upper part of head were pithy. As if skull would split. As if top of head were gone.
Eyes drawn backward : ears open.
Teeth too long : ants running over chest.
As if skull would split : stools would split anus : kidneys as of torn. Periosteum torn.
Throat narrowing. Chest too tight : limbs too short.
Sticking like needles : Millions of insects crawling on him.
Twitching pains : in hollow teeth; from hip joint to knee; in cheek : in eyelid.
Like fire darting through muscles.
Constriction, throat, stomach, round prolapsed anus.
Bones feel distended.
HUGHES (Pharmacodynamics) tells us that Mezereum was one of the vegetable substances. . . with which it was attempted to replace mercury in the treatment of syphilis. He refers to its influence over nodes and nocturnal pains.
He says, Hahnemanns pathogenesis in the Fragmenta, mentions such pains as caused by it in the cranium, clavicle and thighs, and several of the later provers report the same experience : in homoeopathic practice we use it with much confidence in these affections, and in simple or rheumatic periostitis. “Whether it acts on the bones themselves, I hesitate to say.” But he says there is on re cord a case in which it seemed to check the necrosis of jaw produced by phosphorus.
The Homoeopathic method, he says, has added another valuable application of Mezereum-to cutaneous affections. The plant is a violent acrid, and irritates the skin when externally applied, and the throat, stomach and intestines when swallowed. He tells of intolerable itching over the whole body caused by the internal use of the drug; and of the reputation of Mez. as “about the best medicine for shingles; and not only for the eruption, but also for the consecutive neuralgia.”