Coccus Cacti

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

There is a little remedy and will be a relief after the study of so many difficult ones. With fuller proving it will doubtless show itself a deep-acting constitutional remedy.

Although it has cured some deep-seated chronic troubles, it has been used chiefly in acute affections. This is only because of the scantiness of its provings and our lack of knowledge concerning it in a general way.

Very few mental symptoms have been brought out. Its use, so far as demonstrated, is mostly in catarrhal conditions of the air passages, and whooping cough, with copious, ropy, jelly-like mucus.

Great quantities of this mucus form in the nose, in the throat, in the air passages generally, and in the vagina. The routine practitioner, whenever be sees thick, ropy, gelatinous mucus, thinks only of Kali bichromicum

That comes from the study of key-notes. But it must be remembered that other remedies besides Kali bichromicum have this.

Cough: Spasmodic cough; whooping cough; the cough of drunkards. The chronic catarrhal state of the Coccus cacti patient comes on especially in the winter. It comes on when the cold weather begins and lasts till the warm weather comes.

The patient is cold, and his complaints come on in cold weather. He is sensitive to cold, easily takes cold. But you must distinguish between the patient himself and his complaints, because they are entirely opposite to each other.

When he once becomes sick from exposure to cold, he is always worse in a warm room and better in the cold air. His cough is brought on in a warm room; from being too warm in bed; from drinking warm things. It is better from drinking cold things in a cold room; worse from exertion; from getting heated up; from becoming warm; that is, after the complaint has once set in, it reverses itself.

This is not unlike many other remedies. I have received many letters from doctors, saying:

“Why is it that in your repertory and in Boenninghausen’s, certain remedies are put down as better from cold and worse from cold?

They certainly cannot have both.”

But they do have both, sometimes under different conditions and sometimes under the same conditions. Sometimes these are primary, sometimes they are secondary symptoms. A remedy must be examined to ascertain how it is that these circumstances can be the very opposite of each other.

But commonly Boenninghausen registers both those things that belong to particulars and those things that belong to generals, and if the symptom, in his judgment, is strikingly worse by a certain circumstance, even if it is the very opposite of the general, he had that symptom in boldfaced type. Phosphorus is a good illustration of what we have been talking about.

If you make a careful study of Phosphorus you will see that the complaints of the chest are all worse from cold, from cold air and from being cold. He catches cold and it settles in the chest, and the cough and irritation in the chest are worse from cold and being exposed to cold air.

But he wants cold things in the stomach. His stomach feels better from cold things. Let him have head trouble and his head is better from cold, he wants cold things in his stomach. If he has stomach trouble, it is made worse by anything hot; he wants cold water to, drink, and as soon as it gets warm, he vomits it up. You see Phosphorus is worse from cold and worse from heat. The pains in the extremities are better from heat.

The chronic cough, as has been said, is likely to begin with cold weather and last all winter, with a copious formation of mucus in the chest. It is a spasmodic cough, forcing the patient into the most violent efforts. The face becomes purple. Finally he retches and vomits long strings of tough, ropy mucus filling the mouth and throat and causing him to choke.

This is due to the fact that the mucus is so tenacious that it cannot be ejected from the pharynx in the usual way, therefore he must vomit. Now, there is a striking feature of this remedy. Anything coming in contact with the pharynx, the inside of the mouth, or even the gums, produces gagging and retching and will bring on the cough.

Chest: We find this in the chronic states of sensitive persons, who are unable to brush the teeth or rinse the mouth without gagging and sometimes vomiting.

There is a general hyperesthesia of the skin and mucous membranes. Sensitive to the pressure of the clothing.

With the chest troubles there is much dyspnoea. He cannot walk without bringing on difficult breathing. He cannot ascend a height without suffocation. After the quantities of mucus are cleared out the cough is better and he goes on for two, three or four hours, when another one of these awful attacks comes on.

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.