Alumen and Alumina: This remedy comes in very nicely after Alumen, which has much Alumina in its nature and depends largely upon Alumina, which is its base, for its way of working.
It occurs to me to throw out a little hint. When you have a good substantial proving of an oxide or a carbonate, and the mental symptoms are well brought out, you can use these, in a measure in a presumptive way, in prescribing another salt, with the same base, which has a few mental symptoms in its proving.
For instance, you have a group of symptoms decidedly relating to Alumen.
The mental symptoms of Alumen, however, have not been brought out to any extent, but still you have the mental symptoms of the base of Alumen, which is the oxide, so that if the patient has the mental symptoms of Alumina and the physical symptoms of Alumen, you can rationally presume that Alumen will cure because of the Aluminum in each.
Mind: We know the mental symptoms of Alumina fairly well.
It especially takes hold of the intellect and so confuses the intelligence that the patient is unable to effect a decision; the judgment is disturbed.
He is unable to realize; the things that he knows or has known to be real seem to him to be unreal, and he is in doubt as to whether they are so or not.
In the Guiding Symptoms this is not so plainly expressed, but in the Chronic Diseases we have a record of this which is the best expression of it that occurs anywhere.
There we read:
“When he says anything he feels as if another person had said it, and when he sees anything, as if another person had seen it, or as if he could transfer himself into another and only then could see.”
That is to say, there is a confusion of mind, a confusion of ideas and thoughts. It has cured these symptoms.
The consciousness of his personal identity is confused. He is not exactly certain who he was; it seemed as though he were not himself.
He is in a dazed condition of mind. He makes mistakes in writing and speaking! uses words not intended; uses wrong words.
Confusion and obscuration of e intellect. Inability to follow up a train of thought. Then he enters into another state, in which he gets into a hurry. Nothing moves fast enough; time seems so slow; everything is delayed; nothing goes right.
Besides this he has impulses. When he sees sharp instruments or blood, impulses rise up within him and he shudders because of these impulses. An instrument that could be used for murder or for killing causes these impulses to arise; impulse to kill herself.
The Alumina patient is very sad, constantly sad. Incessantly moaning; groaning, worrying, fretting and in a hurry.
Wants to get away; wants to get away from this place, hoping that things will be better; full of fears.
All sorts of imaginations. A sort of general apprehensiveness. When he meditates upon this state of mind he thinks he is going to lose his reason.
He thinks about this frenzy and hurry and confusion of mind, how he hardly knows his own name, and how fretful he is, and he wonders if he is not going crazy, and finally he really thinks he is going crazy.
Most of the mental symptoms come on in the morning on waking. Sadness and weeping on waking in the morning. His moods alternate.
Sometimes his mental state is a little improved and his mood changes into a quiet placid state, and again he goes into fear and apprehensiveness. Some evil is going to take place and he is full of anxiety. Anxiety about the future.
Nerves and weakness: The next most striking feature is the way in which the remedy acts upon the nerves that proceed from the spine.
There is a state of weakness of the muscles supplied by these nerves; weakness over the whole body. There is difficulty in swallowing, a paralytic condition of the oesophagus; difficulty in raising or moving the arms; paralysis of one side of the body, or paralysis of the muscles of the lower extremities, or of the bladder and rectum.
The paralytic state begins as a sort of a semi – paralysis, for a long time merely an inactivity, which grows at length into a complete paralytic condition. Everything is slowed down.
The conductivity of the nerves is impaired so that a prick of a pin upon the extremities is not felt until a second or so afterwards. All of his senses are impaired in this way until it really means a benumbing of the consciousness and appears to be a kind of stupefaction of his intellect, a mental sluggishness. Impressions reach his mind with a marked degree of slowness.
The paralytic state runs through the remedy and is observed in various parts in many ways. The bladder manifests it in the slowness with which the urine passes.
A woman sits a long time before the flow starts, with inability to press, and then the stream flows slowly. The patient will say she cannot burry the flow of urine. The urine is slow to start and slow to flow, and sometimes only dribbles. At times it is retained and dribbles involuntarily.
This slowness is observed also in the rectum. Its tone is lost and there is inability to perform the ordinary straining when sitting at stool, and so paretic is the rectum that it may be full and distended, and the quantity of faeces enormous, and yet, though the stool is soft, there is constipation.
In this remedy there is often a hard stool, but we notice that the remedy will do the best work where there is this paretic condition of the rectum with soft stool. If the mental symptoms however, are present, such as I have described, with large, hard and knotty or lumpy stool, Alumina will cure.
Now, so great is the straining to pass a soft stool that you will sometimes hear a patient describe the state as follows:
When sitting upon the seat she must wait a long time, though there is fullness and she has gone many days without stool; she has the consciousness that, she should pass a stool and is conscious of the fullness in the rectum, yet she will sit a long time and finally will undertake to help herself by pressing down violently with the abdominal muscles, straining vigorously, yet conscious that very little effort is made by the rectum itself.
She will continue to strain, covered with copious sweat, hanging on to the seat, if there be any place to hang on to, and will pull and work as if in labor, and at last is able to expel a soft stool, yet with the sensation that more stool remains.
Of course a number of other remedies have this straining to pass a soft stool, but they have their own characteristics. Take for example an individual who cannot keep awake; she says that it is impossible for her to read a line without going to sleep; that she can sleep all the time; she suffers night and day from a dry mouth, and the tongue cleave to the roof of the mouth.
Now let her describe this state of straining and struggling to expel a soft stool, and you hardly need to go any further before you know the remedy.
If that patient in addition to what she has said tells you that she is in the habit of fainting when standing any length of time, that she is disturbed in a close room and has all sorts of complaints in the cold air, it is Nux moschata.
Now you see how easy it is for remedies to talk; they tell their own story. Suppose a woman should come to you who has been suffering from haemorrhage, from prolonged oozing, who is pallid and weak and is distended with flatulence, with much belching and passing of gas, and the more she passes the worse she feels, and she has these same symptoms of straining a long time to pass a soft stool, tremendous effort with inactivity of the rectum. You could do nothing but give her China.
Now you know how easy it is for remedies to talk and tell their own story.
By allowing remedies to talk and tell their own story, individualization is accomplished.
I have said all that to show that it is not upon the inactivity of the rectum that you are to decide upon the remedy.
Individualization must be made through the patient. That is a principle that should never be violated. You may have twenty remedies all possessing a certain symptom but if you have a few real decided things that you can say about the patient, the manner in which he does business, the manner in which the disease affects the entire man, then you have something to individualize by.
You have seen the Alumina patient, the China patient and the Nux moschata patient. The sole duty of the physician is to treat the sick, which means to study the patient himself until an idea of the sickness is obtained.
Vertigo: This medicine is full of vertigo; he quivers, reels and “objects go round” almost constantly. It corresponds to the vertigo of tired-out people, old broken down patients, men worn out from old age.
Vertigo also that comes on when closing the eyes, as is found in spinal affections, in sclerosis of posterior lateral columns.
Alumina has produced affections analogous to locomotor ataxia. It produces numbness of the soles of the feet, the fulgurating pains, the vertigo when closing the eyes, and produces staggering and disturbances of coordination.
It is true that in an early stage of locomotor ataxia Alumina will check the disease process by bringing into order the internal state of the economy.