Carbo Vegetabilis

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

We will take up the study of Vegetable Charcoal – Carbo veg.

It is a comparatively inert substance made medicinal and powerful, and converted into a great healing agent, by grinding it fine enough. By dividing it sufficiently, it becomes similar to the nature of sickness and cures folks.

The Old School use it in tablespoonful doses to correct acidity of the stomach. But it is a great monument to Hahnemann. It is quite inert in crude form and the true healing powers are not brought out until it is sufficiently potentized. It is one of those deep acting, long-acting antipsoric medicines. It enters deeply into the life, in its proving it develops symptoms that last a long time, and it cures conditions that are of long standing-those that come on slowly and insidiously.

Generalities: It affects the vascular system especially; more particularly the venous side of the economy, the heart, and the whole venous System.

Sluggishness is a good word to think of when examining the pathogenesis of Carbo veg.

Sluggishness, laziness, turgescence, these are words that will come into your mind frequently, because these, states occur so frequently in the symptomatology. Everything about the economy is sluggish, turgid, distended and swollen.

The hands are puffed; the veins are puffed; the body feels full and turgid; the head feels full, as if full of blood. The limbs feel dull, so that the patient wants to elevate the feet to let the blood run out. The veins are lazy, relaxed and paralyzed. Vaso-motor paralysis. The veins of the body are enlarged; the extremities have varicose veins.

Mind: The whole mental state, like the physical, is slow. The mental operations are slow. Slow to think; sluggish; stupid; lazy. Cannot whip himself into activity, or rouse a desire to do anything. Wants to lie down and doze.

The limbs are clumsy; they feel enlarged. The skin is dusky. The capillary circulation is engorged. The face is purple. Any little stimulating food or drink will bring a flush to that dusky face. When you see people gather round a table where wine is served you can pick out the Carbo veg. patients, because their faces will be flushed; in a little while it passes off and they get purple again dusky – almost a dirty duskiness. The skin is lazy; sluggish.

Running through the remedy there is burning. Burning in the veins, burning in the capillaries, burning in the head, itching and burning of the skin. Burning in inflamed parts. Internal burning and external coldness.

Coldness, with feeble circulation, with feeble heart. Icy coldness. Hands and feet cold and dry, or cold and moist.

Knees cold; nose cold; ears cold; tongue cold. Coldness in the stomach with burning. Fainting. Covered all over with a cold sweat, as in collapse.

Collapse with cold breath, cold tongue, cold face.

Looks like a cadaver. In all these conditions of coldness the patient wants to be fanned.

Bleeding runs all through the remedy. Oozing of blood from in flamed surfaces. Black bleeding from ulcers. Bleeding from the lungs; from the uterus; from the bladder. Vomiting of blood.

Passive haemorrhage. On account of the feeble circulation a capillary oozing will start up and continue. The remedy hardly ever has what may be called an active gushing flow, such as belongs to Belladonna, Ipecac, Aconite, Secale, and such remedies, where the flow comes with violence; but it is a passive capillary oozing.

The women suffer from this kind of bleeding; a little blood oozing all the time, so that the menstrual period is prolonged. Oozing of blood after confinement, that ought to be stopped immediately by contractions.

There are no contractions of the blood vessels; they are relaxed. Black venous oozing. After a surgical operation there is no contraction and retraction of the blood vessels. An injury to the skin bleeds easily. The arteries have all been tied and closed, but the little veins do not seem to have any contractility in their walls. An inflamed part may bleed. Feeble heart; relaxed veins.

Ulcers: Again, ulceration. If you have a case, such as I have described, with relaxation of the blood vessels and feebleness of the tissues, you need not be surprised if there is no repair, no tissue making.

So, when a part is injured, it will slough. If an ulcer is once established, it will not heal. The tissues are indolent. Hence we have indolent ulcers; body, ichorous, acrid, thin discharges from ulcers.

The skin ulcerates; the mucous membranes ulcerate. Ulcers in the mouth and in the throat. Ulceration everywhere because of that relaxed and feeble condition. Poor tissue making, or none at all,

“The blood stagnates in the capillaries,” is the way it reads in the text.

You can see how easy it would be for these feeble parts to develop gangrene. Any little inflammation or congestion becomes black or purple and sloughs easily that is all that is necessary to make gangrene.

It is a wonderful remedy in septic conditions-blood poisoning, especially after surgical operations and after shock. It is a useful remedy in septic conditions; in scarlet fever; in any disease which takes on a sluggish form, with purplish and mottled appearance of the skin.

Sleep: In Carbo veg. the sleep is so full of anxiety that it may be said to be awful. On going to sleep there is anxiety, suffering, jerking, twitching, and be has the horrors. Everything is horrible. Horrible visions; sees ghosts.

A peculiar sluggish, death-like sleep, with visions. The Carbo veg. patient wakens in anxiety and covered with cold sweat. Exhaustion. Unrefreshed after sleep.

And thus the whole patient is prostrated by his sleep. So anxious that he does not want to go to sleep. Anxiety in the dark. Anxiety with dyspnoea as if he would suffocate. Anxiety so great that be can not lie down.

In Carbo veg. indifference is a very prominent symptom. Inability to perceive or to feel the impressions that circumstances ought to arouse.

His affections are practically blotted out, so that nothing that is told him seems to arouse or disturb him.

“Heard everything without feeling pleasantly or unpleasantly, and without thinking about it.”

Horrible things do not seem to affect him much; pleasant things do not affect him. He does not quite know whether he loves his wife and children or not.

This is a part of the sluggishness, the inability to think or meditate, all of which is due to the turgescence. Sluggishness of the veins. Head feels full; distended.

His mind is in confusion and he cannot think. He cannot bring himself to realize whether a thing be so or not, or whether he loves his family or not, or whether he hates his enemies or not. Benumbed stupid.

There is another state anxiety and nightly fear of ghosts anxiety as if possessed; anxiety on closing the eyes; anxiety lying down in the evening; anxiety again on waking. He is easily frightened. Starting and twitching on going too sleep.

Head: The headaches are mostly occipital. His whole head is turgid, full, distended. He feels as if the scalp was too tight. Everything is bound up in the head. Awful occipital headaches. Cannot move, cannot turn over, cannot lie on the side, cannot be jarred, because it, seems as if the head would burst, as if something was grasping the occiput.

Dull headache in the occiput. Violent pressive pain in the lower portion of the occiput. Head feels heavy. When the pain is in the occiput the head feels drawn back to the pillow, or as if it could not be lifted from the pillow.

Like Opium; he cannot lift the head from the pillow. Painful throbbing in the head during inspiration. The Carbo veg. patient takes short breaths, quietly, keeping just as still as possible, until finally he is compelled to take a deep breath, and it comes out with a sharp moan.

Headache as from contraction of the scalp. Painful stitches through the whole head when coughing; the whole head burns. Intense heat of the head; burning pain. Rush of the blood to the head followed by nose-bleed.

Congestion to the head with spasmodic constriction, nausea, and pressure over the eyes. A feeling as of an oncoming coryza from an overheated room. Many of these headaches come on from taking cold, from coryza, from slacking up of an old catarrh.

The Carbo veg. patient suffers from chronic catarrh. He is at his best when he has a free discharge from the nose, but if he takes cold and the discharge stops congestion to the head comes. He cannot stand suppression of discharges.

Headaches come on every time he takes cold; from cold damp weather; from going into a cold damp place and becoming chilled. Awful occipital headache, or headache over the eyes, or headache involving the whole head, with pounding like hammers.

These states are like Kali bichromicum, Kali iodatum and Sepia. Many of these headaches are due to stopped catarrhal conditions.

The hair falls out by the handful. Eruptions come out upon the head. School girls and boys, too, who are sluggish, slow to learn, and suffer from night terrors; they will not sleep alone, or go into a dark room without someone with them.

They have headaches, worse from pressure of the hat. A long time after taking off the hat they still feel the pressure. Sweat, cold sweat; particularly sweat of the head and of the forehead.

The Carbo veg. patient breaks out into a copious sweat, appearing first on the forehead, and the sweat is cold. The forehead feels cold to the hand, and any wind blowing upon it will produce pain; he wants it covered up. Head sensitive to cold.

If he becomes overheated and like head perspires, and then a draft strikes that sweating head, his catarrh will stop at once and headaches will come on. His knees and hands and feet get cold, and he sweats without relief.

Eyes: The eye symptoms are troublesome, and they often occur along with the headache. Burning pain in the eyes. The eyes become lustreless, deep-set, and the pupils do not react to light. He feels sluggish mentally, and does not want to think.

He wants to sit or lie around, for every exertion gives him a headache. Whenever this state is present the eyes show it. You know he is sick because the bright, sparkling look has gone out of his eyes. If he could only get somewhere by himself and lie down-provided it was not dark, he would be comfortable.

He wants to be let alone; he is tired; his day’s work wears him out. He comes home with a purple face, lustreless eyes, sunken countenance, tired head and mind. Any mental exertion causes fatigue. Weight in the head, distress and fullness in the head, with cold extremities.

The blood mounts upward. Hemorrhages from the eyes; burning, itching and pressing in the eyes. The eyes become weak from overwork or from fine work.

Ears: Carbo veg. is one of the medicines for discharges from the ears. Offensive, watery, ichorous, acrid and excoriating discharges, especially those dating back to malaria, measles or scarlet fever, particularly to scarlet fever.

A sluggish condition of the venous system. The veins seem to be most affected in all old complaints, especially whenever a patient says of himself, or a mother says of her child, that he has never been quite well since an attack of malarial fever.

The daughter has never been quite well since she had the measles, or typhoid fever, or scarlet fever; Carbo veg. is one of the medicines to be thought of when symptoms are in confusion, and the patient has been so much doctored that there is no congruity left in the symptoms.

Old ear discharges, or old headaches, when all the symptoms have been suppressed. It is then Carbo veg. often becomes one of the routine remedies to bring symptoms into order and to establish a more wholesome discharge from that ear. it brings about reaction, establishes a better circulation and partially cures the case, after which a better remedy may be selected.

Inflammation of the parotid glands, or mumps. When mumps change their abode, from being chilled, and go in the girl to the mammary glands, and in the boy to the testes, Carbo veg. is one of the medicines to restore order; very often it will bring the trouble back to its original place, and conduct it on through in safety.

Pains in the ear. Passive, badly-smelling discharges from the ear. Loss of hearing. Ulceration of the internal ear. Something heavy seems to lie before the ears; they seem stopped; the hearing is diminished, especially in those cases that date back to some old trouble.

Nose: The Carbo veg. patient is always suffering from coryza. He goes into a warm room, and, thinking he is going out in a minute, he keeps his overcoat on.

Pretty soon he begins to get heated up, but he thinks he will go in a minute and he does not take off his coat. A procedure like that is sure to bring on a coryza. It will commence in the nose, with watery discharge, and he will sneeze, day and night.

He suffers from the heat and is chilled by the cold; every draft chills him; and a warm room makes him sweat, and thus he suffers from both. He can find no comfortable place, and he goes on sneezing and blowing his nose.

Perhaps he has bleeding from the nose. At night he is purplish. The coryza extends into the throat and brings on rawness and dryness in the mouth and throat. A copious watery discharge, filling the posterior nares and the throat.

Larynx and chest: Then he begins to get hoarse, and in the evening he has a hoarse voice, with rawness in the larynx and throat. Rawness in the larynx on coughing; soreness to the touch. The more he coughs the worse the rawness becomes.

This condition extends into the chest. Secretion of much thin mucus, finally becoming thick yellowish-green, and bad-tasting. Such is the coryza. Now, with it there comes a stomach disturbance that is commonly associated with Carbo veg. complaints.

Great distension of the abdomen with gas. With this coryza he has belching, and sour, disordered stomach. Every time he disorders his stomach he is likely to get a coryza. Every time he goes into an overheated room he is likely to get a coryza, with sneezing, chest complaints, and catarrh.

This catarrhal state in the nose is only a fair example of what may occur anywhere where there is a mucous membrane. Catarrhal conditions with a flow of watery mucus and bleeding. Carbo veg. has catarrhs of the throat, nose, eyes, chest, and vagina.

Old catarrhal conditions of the bladder; catarrh of the bowels and stomach. It is pre-eminently a catarrhal remedy.

The woman feels best when she has more or less of a leucorrhea, it seems a sort of protection. These discharges that we meet every day are dried up and controlled by local treatments, by washes, and by local applications of every kind, and the patient put into the hands of the undertaker, or made a miserable wreck.

If these catarrhal patients are not healed from within out, the discharges had better be allowed to go on. While these discharges exist the patient is comfortable. It is quite common for the Carbo veg. patient to be feverish with the coryza, but with many other complaints he is cold; cold limbs; cold face; cold body; cold skin; cold sweat.

It is not so common for the earlier stages of the coryza, and the catarrhal conditions to have these cold symptoms. He is feverish in the evening and at night. But after he passes into the second stake, when the, mucus is more copious, then come the cold knees, cold nose, cold feet, and cold sweat.

Face: The face of Carbo veg. is a great study. In the countenance and in the expression we see much that is general.

The patient shows his general state in his expression, especially in the eyes. He tells you how sick he is; he tells you the threatening points.

In Carbo veg. there is great pallor and coldness, with lips pinched and nose pointed and drawn in. Lips puckered, blue, livid, sickly, deathly. Face cold, pale, and covered with sweat.

As the tongue is protruded for examination it is pale and cold, and the breath is cold, yet he wants to be fanned. This is true whether it be cholera, diarrhea, exhaustive sweats, or complaints after fevers.

Sometimes, after a coryza has run its course and ended in the chest, there is great dyspnea, copious expectoration, exhaustive sweat, great coldness and the patient must be fanned.

Cough followed by dyspnea, exhaustion, profuse sweats, with choking and rawness and he wants to be fanned. Cold face; pinched face. So the sufferings are expressed in the face. The pains and aches, and anxiety and sorrow are all expressed in the face.

The study of the face is a delightful and profitable one. The study of the faces of remedies is very profitable. It is profitable to study the faces of healthy people that you may be able to judge their intentions from their facial expressions. A man shows his business of life in his face; he shows his method of thinking, his hatreds, his longings, and his loves.

How easy it is to pick out a man who has never loved to do anything but to eat: the Epicurean face. How easy it is to pick out a man who has never loved anything but money: the miserly face. You can see the love in many of the professional faces; you can single out the student’s face.

These are only manifestations of the love of the life which they live. Some manifest hatred; hatred of the life in which they have been forced to live; hatred of mankind; hatred of life. In those who have been disappointed in everything they have undertaken to do we see hatred stamped upon the face.

We see these things in remedies just as we see them in people. The study of the face is a most delightful one. A busy, thoughtful and observing physician has a head full of things that he can never tell: things he knows about the face.

So the face expresses the remedy. In Carbo veg. the face flushes to the roots of the hair after a little wine. This is a strong characteristic. All over the body the skin will become flushed. Sometimes a flush appears in islands, which grow together and become one solid flush, creeping up into the hair.

So great is the action of this remedy upon the capillary circulation that sometimes a tablespoonful of wine is sufficient to cause this flushing of the skin.

Gums: The old books talk about “scorbutic gums;” now we call it Rigg’s disease: a separation of the gums from the teeth. Bleeding of the gums; sensitiveness of the gums. Separation of the gums from the teeth.

The teeth get loose.

We hear about “the teeth rattling in his mouth.”

The Carbons produce just such a state, a settling away and absorbing of the gums. They get spongy and bleed easily, and hence looseness of the teeth with bleeding of the gums, which are very sensitive.

Teeth decay rapidly. Bleeding of the gums when cleaning the teeth. Teeth and gum affections from abuse of Mercury,Teeth feel too long and are sore. Drawing and tearing in the teeth. Tearing in the teeth from hot, cold or salt food; pain from both heat and cold. This is in keeping with the general venous condition of the whole system.

Sensitiveness of the tongue. Inflammation of the tongue. In certain low forms of fever, like typhus and typhoid fevers, the gums turn black; that is, they throw out a blackish, bloody, offensive, putrid exudate. If disturbed or touched they bleed; and the tongue piles up that blackish exudate – that oozing of black blood from the veins.

This is present in putrid forms of fevers like the typhoid-in zymotic states. This remedy is rich in those zymotic symptoms, such as are described in common speech as “blood-poisoning.”

Carbo veg. is a sheet-anchor in low types of typhoid; in scarlet fever where a typhoid condition is coming upon the case, and in the last stages of collapse; in cholera, and in yellow fever at the time of collapse, where there is coldness, cold sweat, great prostration, dyspnoea – wants to be fanned. Great prostration with cold tongue,

Mouth and throat: The mouth and throat are filled with little purple aphthous ulcers, which were little white spots to begin with, but they have grown purplish and now ooze black blood. These aphthous patches bleed easily, burn and sting. Blisters form. Smarting, dryness of the mouth with bleeding aphthous ulcers. These are common features of Carbo veg. in any of the mouth and throat conditions.

Tough mucus in the throat; bloody mucus in the throat. These little ulcers run together, spread and become one solid mass. A large surface will become ulcerated, denuded of its mucous membrane, and then it will bleed. Little black spots come upon it. Food cannot be swallowed because the throat is so sore. Generally the throat feels puffed.

The Cargo veg. patient has a longing for coffee, acids, sweet and salt things. Aversion to the most digestible things and the best of food. For instance, aversion to meat, and to milk which causes flatulence. Now, if I were going to manufacture a Carbo veg. constitution I would commence with his stomach.

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.

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