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.