Pure Aluminium Oxide.
DRUG PICTURES: 83.
WE have been asked for a drug picture of Alumina. People are much interested in this metal and its compounds, because of its extensive use, now that it can be cheaply produced, as a strong, light, heat-defying material for domestic cooking pots. In fact, we are told that it is almost impossible, in these days, to procure anything else. A great controversy has been raging intermittently in regard to these useful cooking utensils. The public has even been officially reassured in regard to their harmlessness:- by those who have not our exact knowledge of the symptoms of any poisoning, or the smallness of the dose that may, in sensitives, give rise to symptoms.
Occasional ingestions of any deleterious substance may be practically harmless-easily dealt with by the organism and overcome, whereas constant small poisonings must tell on health:- in the way that, as we are told, the smallest quantity of lead in drinking water may produce a profound anaemia. As a matter of face, if there were no danger in the use of aluminium for cooking purposes, why should purchasers be warned that soda not be used cleansing them ? and why should we be assured that there is far less danger in the employment of the more expensive Aluminium saucepans, made of pure material. If there were no danger, could there be less.
Well, anyway, aluminium becomes interesting to us all now that we are absorbing it, most of us, all day long and every day. It is not needed in our make-up, and is at best, a foreign body.
If we have been wise, and discarded aluminium for any cooking purpose in our homes, yet in places away from home, where Londons millions get at least coffee and light foods at mid-day and in the tea hour, they are exposed to the danger of milk boiled in aluminium saucepans and to eggs contaminated in the same way. Curiously enough, cases have been reported where persons have declared that they could not eat eggs; that they found eggs absolutely poisonous: and yet, when induced to “venture on an egg” cooked in iron or enamel, it has proved to be perfectly digestible.
One had an idea that aluminophobia was just a fad about which tiresome persons were always writing and making a fuss. But ones scepticism was first shaken a couple of years ago, when a very level-headed doctor described the curious condition of her precious puppy, dying at three-and-a-half months old of what no, one, even a very eminent “vet.”, could diagnose. She had been doing his cooking herself in the best aluminium saucepan procurable, and in few days he began to vomit p.c.
After a month of incessant vomiting, he was emaciated, and after six weeks he could not stand. He was “a dreadful sight,” and vomited even after drink of water. She was going to have him “put to sleep” when the post brought a pamphlet on aluminium poisoning in dogs. She got an enamel saucepan, and the dog at once improved and never looked back. A friends dog was suffering in the same ways, and her dog-and husband-both improved in health when aluminium was banished from the kitchen.
But all persons do not seem to suffer equally from aluminium Why ? Doubtless because what we call idiosyncrasy, for want of wider, or more particular knowledge, comes in here. One man is poisoned by strawberries-by mushrooms-by dates: a thousand are not.
“One mans meat is another mans poison”:-is it not in proverbs that the collective experience of mankind is embodied ? Probably it is n individual question of certain conditions of blood, of secretion-of food or drink ingested that make for poisonous compounds of aluminium in certain persons.
A rather alarming case of supposed aluminium poisoning is given in an American medical journal-mislaid at the moment, but doubly interesting because of a similar cases just now in ones private practice. It was malignant disease of oesophagus, which cleared up when aluminium cooking vessels were discarded !It there, in the provings of Alumina, anything suggestive here ? We will quote from Allens Encyclopedia of Pura Materia Medica:
“Sense of constriction from the oesophagus down to the stomach every time he swallows a morsel of food. . . . Contraction of the oesophagus. . . . Violent, pressive pain, as if a portion of the oesophagus were contracted or compressed in the middle of the chest, especially during deglutition, but also when not swallowing, with oppression of the chest. . . . Spasmodically pressive pain in middle of chest, on swallowing food and drink.” One would point out that in these cases it is the lower end of the oesophagus that is the site of the mass, and therefore constriction-“the middle of the chest”.
Again to quote Allen, a compound of Alumina, Alum (a double sulphate of aluminium and potassium) is responsible for the following, quoted from Hufeland:.
“Alum causes induration and scirrhus uteri, if continually used for copious menstruation and haemorrhages”.
Evidently Alum may be one of the irritants of tissues on which cancer grafts itself.
Alumina, of course, is one of our greatest remedies in constipation,-that is, of he peculiar from of constipation it induces: “on desire for stool; and-no power to strain at stool, however soft”. Here one has used it from time to time with great success. And from what one has observed of the effects of Alumina, one opines that the almost universal use of aluminium cooking vessels must be worth thousands a years to the chemists who sell laxatives and purgatives galore to the public.
As said, idiosyncrasy no doubt comes in: but whatever else the aluminium salts may do in the way of vitiating health, interference with the normal bowed function os certainly one. No power to strain even for a soft stool; and no desire for stool-for a week or two, even: and as one has observed, the hold-up seems to be in the neighbourhood of the splenic flexure, or the upper part of the descending colon.
But not only here, but in many parts of the body, Alumina is a remedy of paresis and paralysis. In the ptosis of eyelids, one thinks of Causticum. Again in its paralytic effects on intestines, one thinks of Plumbum, to which, by its similarity of symptoms, it stands in the relation of antidote.
But its pitiful, increasing, and chronic condition of weakness and heaviness of the lower limbs especially, make the drug very interesting. It weakens alike mentally and physically. In these days when national fitness is the ideal of the moment,a possible constant source of deterioration, mental and physical, dose not appeal to one as particularly helpful.
Apparently, as usual, the crude poison is antidoted, by its potencies, (200 etc.).
In regard to its appetites: Alumina is down as on of the drugs that craves indigestible things; slate pencils, earth, chalk, clay, while rags, charcoal, cloves, acids, coffee and tea- grounds, dry rice. Besides its aversion to potatoes, which greatly disagree, it has a version to meat which has no taste; to beer; and a longing for fruits and vegetables-barring potatoes.
It is worse also from all irritating things, like salt, vinegar, pepper; gets a sore throat from eating onions; gets easily drunken from the weakest spirituous drinks; and is worse from tobacco smoke. Considering its dryness and irritation of mucous membranes, one can understand some of these things.
Eyes inflamed; itching at inner canthus; agglutination at night, lachrymation by day. Burning; dryness; smarting.
Yellow halo round the candle.
Eyelids thickened, dry, burning.
Redness of nose.
Point of nose cracked.
Involuntary spasmodic twitching of lower jaw: with haemorrhage of bowels, and dark offensive stools.
In evening, dryness of throat, which induces frequent clearing of throat.
Worse from eating potatoes.
Inactivity of rectum; even the soft stool needs great straining.
Rectum seems paralysed.
No desire for, and no ability to pass stool till there is a large accumulation.
Stools: hard, knotty, covered with mucus; like sheeps dung, with cutting in anus, followed by blood; like pipe-stems.
Soft and thing stool, passing with difficulty.
Severe haemorrhage from bowels, with flow of urine. Diarrhoea wherever she urinates.
Evacuation of small quantity of hard faces, with pressure and a sensation of excoriation in the rectum.
Urine voided when straining at stool; or cannot pass urine without straining.
Constipation of sucklings.
Continual dry, hacking cough, with vomiting and arrest of breathing; with frequent sneezing.
Every morning a long attack of day cough, ends with difficult raising of a little white mucus.
Great heaviness in lower limbs; he can scarcely drag them.
When walking he staggers and has to sit down.
Great weariness of the legs when sitting.
Faint and tired; must sit down.
Seeing blood on a knife, has horrid ideas of killing herself, though she abhors the idea.
Great dread of death, with thoughts of suicide.
Fear of losing his reason.
Uneasiness, evening, as if evil impending.
Weeps constantly, without wishing it.
Sneers at everything. Peevishness. Grumbles.
Intolerable ennui: no disposition for any kind of work.
Headache; violent stitches in brain; stabs: as with a knife.
Headache, as if hair pulled.
Inability to walk, except with eyes open and in daytime.
Cloudiness and drunken feeling, alternating with pain in kidneys.
Easily made drunk, by weakest spirituous drink.
Sees fiery spots; white stars.
Objects appear yellow.
As if looking through a fog, or feathers.
Itching, corners of eyes, and of lids.
Upper lids seem to hang down, as if paralysed, especially the left.
Ears hot and red: especially evenings.
It seems as if, in right ear, he had an entirely different voice.
Skin of face tense, even round eyes, as if the while of an egg had dried upon it.
Stitches in throat on swallowing; something pointed seems to stick in throat.
Sense of constriction, oesophagus down to stomach, every time he swallows a morsel of food.
Violent Pressive pain, as if part of oesophagus were contracted or compressed in middle of chest.
Rabid hunger; or aversion to food; no desire to eat.
No taste in food; or everything tastes like straw or shavings.
Rancid eructations; pyrosis; waterbrash. Worse after potatoes; a loathing which makes him shiver.
Crawling at pit of stomach, as from a worm.
Crawling in rectum as from worms.
Dropping of blood, or a stream of blood during, or after evacuation.
(Aluminas characteristic constipation is given elsewhere.).
And, can only urinate when straining for stool. Can only pass stool when standing, is one of its curious symptoms.
Oppression, chest: constriction round chest.
Twitching and involuntary movements of limbs and fingers.
Heaviness of legs, can hardly lift them.
Heaviness in feet, with great lassitude of legs.
Pain in sole of foot, on stepping on it, as if it were too soft and swollen.
Lassitude: great; of whole body; slow, tottering gait; excessively faint and tired; great fatigue especially upon talking.
Different teachers emphasize one point, or another, in regard to a drug, and in accordance with their own experience of its utility: we endeavour to cull the experience of many.
HUGHES says: “In mucous membranes, the characteristic feature seem to be dryness with more or less irritation: . . . in morbid sensitiveness of nasal mucous membrane to cold; in chronic dry catarrh of conjunctivae, even when granular; in chronic pharyngitis, where membrane looks dry, red glazed; in dry, hacking coughs from pharyngeal irritation; in dyspepsia from deficiency of gastric juice; in constipation from lack of intestinal secretion. Has also cured a frequent desire to urinate during the night. Chronic affections of old people, or dry, thin persons.” He says, Dunham recommends it for violent cough excited by an elongated uvula.
GUERNSEY: “Peculiarities about rectum and stool afford hints to the use of this remedy. . . . Inactivity of her the rectum, requiring great straining to evacuate even a soft stool. No desire for stool for days, sometimes a week, until there is large accumulation, and even then evacuation seems only after great effort. Even if the accumulated stool be very soft, the same effort required to pass it. One must strain at stool in order to urinate. We see this in dysentery, typhus, and in many other disorders, when Alumina will be very likely the remedy.
FARRINGTON says: “Alumina has been used in nervous affections of a very grave character. Boenninghausen used the mental Aluminium for the following symptoms in that dreaded disease, locomotor ataxia: frequent dizziness; objects turn in a circle; ptosis; diplopia or strabismus; inability to walk in the dark or with the eyes closed without staggering; feels as if walking on cushions. Formication, or sensation of creeping as from ants in the back and legs. The nates go to sleep when sitting. The heels become numb when walking. A feeling in face as though it was covered with cobwebs, or as if white of egg had dried upon it. Pain on the back, as though a hot iron were thrust into the spin. These are the symptoms indicating Alumina, and these are the symptoms which led Boenninghausen to Alumina, and enabled him cure four cases of the disease”.
“Hypochondriacal men, with lassitude nd indifference to labour or to work. An hour seems to them half a day. Peevish and fretful, here rivaling Nux and Bry. . . .
“Alumina acts on skin just as if does on mucous membranes; produces dryness and harshness; indicated in rough dry eruptions which crack, and may bleed, but not often-but which itch and burn intolerable, and are worse in the warmth of the bed. . . .
“Feeling of constriction along oesophagus when swallowing food. Always worse from potatoes is a good indication for Alum. There is aversion to meat, and a craving for indigestible substances.
“There are diseases of the blood to which it is applicable. Anaemia, chlorosis, especially young girls at puberty. Menses pale and scanty. Abnormal craving for indigestible articles, such and scanty. Abnormal craving for indigestible articles, such as slate pencils, chalk, whitewash, Leucorrhoea may be profuse, even running down to the feet (Luet.)”.
Farrington also says, “Alumina acts best in spare aged persons, rather wrinkled and dried-up looking; and in girls at puberty, especially if chlorotic. Also in delicate children, especially those who have been artificially fed, i.e. nourished by the many varieties of baby foods with which the market is glutted. Such children are weak and wrinkled; nutrition is decidedly defective. Bowels inactive-(with the characteristic constipation as described). The child too my suffer, when teething, from strabismus; from weakness of internal rectus of affected eye”.
As so frequently, we must ask KENT to make Alumina live for us, in his graphic manner. From his we best get its mental symptoms. “It affects intellect; confuses intelligence; so that patient is unable to make a decision. Judgment is disturbed. Unable to realize; things he knows seem to him to be unreal” (for unreality, compare Med.). Kent quotes Hahnemann, in Chronic Diseases, as giving the best expression of Alumina mentality that occurs anywhere. . . . “When he says anything, he feels as if another person had said it; when he sees anything, as if another person had seen it, or as if he could transfer himself into another and only them could see. . . .” The consciousness of personal identity is confused. He is dazed; makes mistakes is writing and speaking; uses words not intended. .
“Then, another phase; gets into a hurry. Nothing moves fast enough; time seems slow, everything delayed.
“Then, impulses: when he see sharp instruments or blood, impulses rise within, him, and he shudders because of these impulses. An instrument that could be used for murder of for killing causes these impulses. Impulse to kill herself.
“Thinks surely he is going to lose his reason. Thinks about this frenzy and hurry and confusion of mind; how he hardly knows his own name, and how fretful he is, and finally thinks he is going crazy”.