Apocynum cannabinum

James Tyler Kent describes the symptoms of the homeopathic medicine Apocynum cannabinum in great detail and compares it with other homeopathy remedies. …

This remedy comes in as a good one to contrast with Apis. You will find it analogous in its symptoms and much like the complaints cured by Apis.

You will be astonished in going over the dropsical condition, the rheumatic condition, the tumefaction of the cellular tissues, the dropsy of the sacs, the scanty urine resulting in dropsy; the inflammatory swellings with oedema, at the great resemblances; and if you were to start in with two cases and work them out from their particulars, and if one feature were left out, the aggravation and the amelioration, the cold and the heat, in many cases you would not be able to distinguish between Apis and Apocynum, so near alike are their swellings, their bleedings, their distensions, and their disturbances.

Both are remedies for dropsy; routinists will try first Apis, and then they try Apocynum, and then they will try something else that is good for dropsy.

But all the way through this medicine is aggravated from cold, the patient himself is aggravated from cold. His complaints are worse from cold applications. In his distended, dropsical state, he is chilly, sensitive to air. He is sensitive to cold drinks.

He has a pain in the stomach, and even vomits, from cold drinks. Pain in the abdomen from cold drinks. Uneasiness here and there in the body when cold things are in the stomach; you see at once how different that is from Apis.

Anyone who follows symptom hunting and does not distinguish between circumstances that relate to the patient and modalities that relate to symptoms cannot appreciate these two grand distinctions, where the one patient is aggravated from heat and the other one ameliorated by heat, in all complaints.

The excretions are all diminished. The urine is scanty. The skin is dry. No matter what his complaints are, he cannot sweat. He feels if he could only perspire he would get well. There is no out throw of water. He drinks plentifully, and it goes in-to the cellular tissues to distend them, and he becomes dropsical.

He has a water constitution, one that takes in water and lets out none. He passes little water, and he perspires scantily or none at all; his skin is dry, sometimes hot, yet he is chilly.

The skin feels husky and rough, but he is chilly. Apis suffers dreadfully from dry skin, from scanty urine; yet Apis is aggravated everywhere from heat and ameliorated from cold. That is the grand distinguishing feature in the dropsies and rheumatisms and many internal complaints.

“Dropsy of serous membranes.”

Dropsy of the brain, pericardium, pleura, peritoneum; all of these are distended with serum. And there is great suffering, great uneasiness.

The inflammatory rheumatism is again like Apis, in that it takes on dropsy with it. Inflammation of the joints, of the ankles, joints, of the toes, of the fingers, inflammation of the joints all over the body.

The swelling about the joint pits upon pressure like Apis. But with the scanty urine, want of sweat, with the febrile condition, he is all the time chilly, and wants the parts well wrapped where Apis wants them uncovered. One might say,

“Why, that is only one symptom.”

All who do not perceive the difference between symptoms predicated of the patient and symptoms predicated of the parts will see that as only one symptom with the rest of them. When he takes up a case and works it out in the Repertory he will use it as one symptom. Yet that feature will sometimes rule out all the rest, because it is predicated of the patient and not predicated alone of his parts.

We have many remedies where the patient himself is ameliorated from heat. He wants to be in the heat, he wants to be warm, and yet he wants cold applied to the part. But that which is the general is the ruling feature, and if we do not know and distinguish the things that are general from the things that are particular, we get our Materia Medica mixed up. We must distinguish the things that belong to the patient himself from the things that belong to his parts.

“Dropsy, with great thirst.”

Dropsy: This is a great medicine for the low forms of disease, such as typhoid and scarlet fever, and is useful after lingering sicknesses. Patients become greatly prostrated, very chilly, very anaemic, have great thirst, the urine becomes scanty, the skin becomes dry.

It is a bad convalescence; he has not recovered. Dropsy sets in; dropsy after scarlet fever, dropsy after typhoid fever. A low form of disease, like typhoid fever, has kept him in bed for four or five weeks, and he is emaciated and prostrated, and now he does not gain flesh, he has no appetite, but he drinks copiously; he seems to want nothing but water.

His skin commences to distended, fills up, and becomes dropsical. That is like Apis, and Apis would be indicated provided he was always hot, and wanted to be uncovered, and wanted cold things.

Mind: The mental symptoms of this remedy have not been brought out.

We only know a few clinical symptoms, and they are of little importance. It has cured that peculiar kind of stupor belonging to hydrocephalus, but we do not know what kind of a primary case of brain disease this remedy would fit, because of lack of provings.

We only know the condition after it has existed for a long time, that is, for weeks; rolling the head and tossing about, and he is greatly emaciated. The little one has chills and fever along with it, and his skull is beginning to distend, the fontanelles are growing wider; then we begin to think of some of those remedies capable of curing dropsy in the shut sacs, and this is one of them. But we do not know the beginning. We do know the beginning of Apis, but not of this remedy.

Hahnemann’s provings are full of particulars.

He cross-examined his provers as to their modalities, the time their symptoms began, and where they ended.

Many of the symptoms he felt upon himself, because he proved many remedies. Hahnemann had a sensitive constitution and deep perception, and his provings gave him an insight into medicines that he could not have obtained in any other way.

Those who prove medicines properly, conscientiously, prudently, learn more about materia Medica than anyone else.

They become inured to hardship and live longer thereform. They are hardened to their environnements, to their atmosphere, to their associates and their surroundings.

They are made better and they may be able to perceive something of what Hahnemann perceived.

But now-a-days provings are made and nothing recorded but common symptoms, that in stomachache, nausea, headache, pain in the back, cold feet. Many of our remedies are not proved much further than that.

What, when and how much, are left out. The modalities are left out, The finer sensations are not described because they are considered emotional.

“Low-spirited and bewildered. Feels as if she could do nothing but cry.”

We do not know the affections of either the male or the female. We do not know the desires or aversions, mental or physical; and hence it may that this is only, a partial proving and suitable only for those complaints that show themselves upon the surface.

“Hydrocephalus, with great stupor.”

That is the last stage of it where there is great prostration, loss of flesh, stiffness of all the limbs, with dropsical swellings. Many times in hydrocephalus pains shoot along the nevers and attack the joints.

Then it is that such remedies as Apis and Calcarea carb. and this one take hold with wonderful depth. The first permanent and substantial indication – that the remedy is working in a hydrocephaloid case is that it increases the flow of urine, which has been scanty all the time.

For hydrocephalus study Tuberculinum.

Face: The expression of the face is that of anguish.

“Face bloated, puffed, swollen. Bloating under the eyes. Pitting upon pressure. Tongue dry; great thirst.”

There is another remedy that comes into this sphere that will be very often misunderstood, too, and will be likely in most instances to be given before this remedy. It is Arsenicum

It has all the dropsical. conditions of Apis and Apocynum. It has all the coldness and distension of the abdomen and of the shut sacs. It, too, is ameliorated in all of its symptoms, and the patient himself is ameliorated, from heat, and intense heat is required for that purpose.

He wants to be in a very hot room, but it has something else. It has a deathly prostration, a deathly anxiety and terrible restlessness, not found in either of these remedies. It has also such a cadaveric odor, discovered on entering the room, which is not common to either of these remedies.

In this way we have to take up our medicines and study them only one at a time, but we have also to study them by comparison.

The medicines that are similar in generals have to be compared as to heat and cold.

In that way we get a list of those that are ameliorated by cold and list of those that are ameliorated by heat and another nondescript list not ameliorated by either. That is the starting point, and we have to divide and sub-divide these, and so on.

“Thick, yellow mucus in the throat. Great thirst. Stiffness in the thoracis region. Fullness. A sense of distension.”

James Tyler Kent
James Tyler Kent (1849–1916) was an American physician. Prior to his involvement with homeopathy, Kent had practiced conventional medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. He discovered and "converted" to homeopathy as a result of his wife's recovery from a serious ailment using homeopathic methods.
In 1881, Kent accepted a position as professor of anatomy at the Homeopathic College of Missouri, an institution with which he remained affiliated until 1888. In 1890, Kent moved to Pennsylvania to take a position as Dean of Professors at the Post-Graduate Homeopathic Medical School of Philadelphia. In 1897 Kent published his magnum opus, Repertory of the Homœopathic Materia Medica. Kent moved to Chicago in 1903, where he taught at Hahnemann Medical College.