Petroleum


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


Generals: It is one of the abused remedies.

It is used externally in rheumatism, bruises and all sorts of troubles, and the amelioration that comes is the result of establishing a disease on the surface, by counter-irritation, and not by homoeopathic action. Crude Petroleum is extensively used in the oil regions on both man and beast as a “cure all.”

Mind: It is a counter-irritant and, on the skin, produces irritation, eruptions and disturbances, like Turpentine.

Among the early things that Petroleum does to a prover is that it puts him in a state of confusion of mind and dizziness; he is dazed so that he loses his way in the street. She has strange imaginations that there are people near her who are not present; that the atmosphere is full of strange forms; that her limbs are double; that another person is in the bed with her.

Such things are found in the fevers. A woman after childbirth imagines there is another child in bed with her, and she wonders how she will take care of the two. These ideas are found in many diseases, have been often verified. In typhoids and low forms of sickness; in diarrheas; when just awakening he is in confusion; in his dreams he had the idea of being two or more and the impression remains with him while he is in a semi-conscious state. He cannot reconcile the state, but when aroused to consciousness he is able to reason it away, and when semi-conscious again it returns. This annoys him day and night.

Skin symptoms. The surface symptoms are striking. The tendency is to throw out vesicles, herpetic vesicles which are isolated, and the tendency of the vesicles is to form thick yellow crusts, with considerable moisture. The vesicles break early.

At times the vesicles do not form crusts, but break early and ulcerate underneath, and this changes into a phagedenic ulcer; this condition occurs about the fingers, scrotum, face and scalp. There is a special tendency to produce vesicular eruptions about the back of the neck.

Papular, pustular, vesicular, dry, mealy eruptions, but most commonly moist; eruptions which extend deeply. It builds up eruptions on the site of old eruptions, with an increasing hardness in the base of the old eruption.

When the crust dries down it indurates, and this induration takes place at the margin and builds up little rings about the margin. The induration cracks, bleeds, looks purple. Apply this to salt rheum, and eruptions about the hands. It is suitable when there are cracks about the ends of the fingers and on the backs of the hands.

The skin is rough, ragged, exfoliates, cracks, bleeds; the tissues are hardened; this occurs sometimes about the palms of the hands and nails. This tissue ulcerates, and the ulcers eat and spread. All eruptions itch violently. He can not rest until he scratches the skin off, when the part becomes moist, bloody, raw and inflamed.

There is also itching with no visible eruption. He scratches the skin until moisture oozes forth, and keeps on scratching until the skin bleeds and the part becomes cold.

(This word makes me remark here that coldness in spots is quite a feature of this remedy. Coldness in spots; coldness in the stomach, in the abdomen, in the uterus; coldness in a spot between the scapula; coldness in the heart – sensation as if the heart were cold.).

Various forms of eczema. Eczema of the scalp, especially of the occiput. Herpetic eruptions about the mouth (Natrum mur.), about the genitals, lips, face, and the patches become crusty and ooze much.

The mucous membrane, or internal skin, has little patches of ulcers, with induration about the patch, and hence Petroleum is useful in syphilitic ulcers. Ulcerous patches in the throat; aphthous patches in the mouth. There is inflammation of the mucous membranes everywhere, producing watery and finally thick yellow discharges.

The nose is filled by tumefaction of the Schneiderian membrane. Old catarrhal complaints of the nose, crusts, thick yellow discharge, foetid odor from the nose.

The nose, posterior nares and pharynx become thickened and there is an accumulation of thick mucus, especially in the morning.

The larynx is involved and there is loss of voice, and the trouble extends to the chest, causing a catarrhal condition with cough. He coughs especially at night, and there is emaciation of the body with pain and soreness of the chest. Dry, hacking cough, alternating with copious expectoration; emaciation about the chest. A striking feature of this drug is that the cough is worse at night, and the diarrhea is worse during the day.

Catarrh of the stomach and bowels. Catarrh of the rectum, much mucus with the stools. Diarrhœa during the day time, ameliorated at night, while the patient is quiet and at rest.

He cannot eat without pain, but he has a gnawing hunger which drives him to eat. (Lachesis, Graphites) There is an “all-gone,” hungry feeling after stool, which drives him to eat. With the diarrhea there is constant hunger, yet he cannot eat without pain; emaciation, skin eruptions, unhealthy ragged fingers which never look clean; he cannot wash them, as this causes them to chap.

Urinary and genitals: Catarrh of the bladder and urethra; chronic catarrhal discharge chronic gonorrhea. Itching is common to the internal skin, and a striking feature in gonorrhea is the itching in the posterior half of the urethra with the discharge. It almost drives him wild, keeps him awake at night. He rubs and manipulates the perineum to relieve this itching. The gonorrheal discharge is white or yellow. It is useful in that “last drop.”

Also in the early stages of gonorrhea when the itching is troublesome.

Sore bruised feeling all over the body, especially in the joint Rheumatic pain in the joints on motion; sore to touch; sensation as if bruised. It is analogous to Arnica in relation to bruises.

Petroleum is suitable in old stubborn occipital headaches. Silicea is the routine remedy for offensive foot sweat and periodic occipital headaches. Petroleum has also offensive foot sweat; offensive sweats all over, and especially so in the axilla, where it is so pungent that it can be observed on the patient entering the room.

The pain often remains in the occiput, but when very severe it extends up over the top of the head to the eyes and forehead (Silicea has that condition). Petroleum is not so closely related to Silicea as it is to Graphites and Carbo veg., which are carbonaceous substances; and all carbonaceous products affect the back of the head.

“Pain from occiput over head to forehead and eyes, with transitory blindness; he gets stiff; loses consciousness.”

“Circumscribed pain in the occiput, aggravated on shaking the head.”

This remedy, unlike Carbo veg., has oversensitiveness of the senses, bearing, touch and smell.

Ears: The Petroleum constitution produces a peculiar vertigo which comes on under regular circumstances, when on ship-board, or riding in a carriage, or on the ears.

It suits occipital headache from riding on the ears, or from such motions, with nausea like seasickness. Seasickness is a trouble we cannot always meet, yet most people, when constitutionally treated, can be directed into a better state, so that they will not be troubled under ordinary conditions, such as riding on the cars or in a carriage.

To a great extent the above condition is due to a lack of accommodation, a visual trouble; coming on, for example, from focusing the eyes on the waves as they retreat from the rear end of the ship, or on passing objects, the patient being relieved while in a dark state-room. Occipital headache, with the vertigo above mentioned, and an all gone hungry feeling or pain in the stomach, driving him to eat, will be mitigated by Petroleum.

The most common form of seasickness I have found to be the following:

Awful deathly nausea pallor, cold body, profuse sweat and exhaustion, ameliorated by fanning, by the open air, by closing the eyes, by quiet and darkness, and aggravated by warmth. Tabacum is generally the remedy of such cases.

In Petroleum there is much disturbance of vision, but the catarrhal the eyes is striking. Vesicular formations, ulcerations, inflammation, redness and copious discharge; granular lids, thickening mucous membranes, cracks in the lids, fissures in the corners eyes with great itching.

This itching is present in all congestions of the mucous membrane. Eustachian tubes. The mucous membrane is thickened, and deafness results. It is a catarrhal state, attended by great itching in the tube, which be cannot reach method; itching deep in the ear. He rubs the ear and tries to it, but he cannot reach it. Itching in the pharynx; also in the I canal of the ear. Ear discharges.

Induration and inflammation of the glands of the body. In ear troubles, the parotids enlarge; in troubles about the jaw, the sub-maxillary and sub-lingual glands are involved; they become hard and tend to remain so.

Face pale or yellow; sickly.

“Nausea and qualmishness all day”.

Stiffness in the back. Pain in the back on rising from a seat.

Heat and burning. Skin hot in places; with sensation of coldness. Burning and itching of palms and soles; face and scalp. The itching and burning often go together; parts that burn much. Feet burn and have a sensation as if frozen. Chilblains itch, burn and become purple. Parts frozen will, years after, itch, burn, sting and become red and hot. The patient can tell when it will thaw because of the itching in the chilblains.

Petroleum cures the itching and burning in frozen parts, but not as prominently as Agaricus leads all other remedies, especially when the condition affects parts where the tissues are thin over the bones, as over the back of the toes.

Paretic conditions, especially left-sided., Weakness of muscles, weakness of the lower extremities, especially left-sided.

The eruptions on the surface and the state of induration are like Graphites, but the oozing in Petroleum is thin and watery, and in Graphites it is gluey, honey like, sticky, viscid. You have indurations and cracks of the fingers, and rhagades in both remedies, but the horn-like warty growths, lifting up the quick of the nails, you will find only in Graphites.

It is of wonderful use and competes with Rhus in eczema of the genitals of either male or female. Eruption on the scrotum, penis, vulva.

Rhus produces violent inflammation of the skin of the genitals in male and female; erysipelatous inflammation; nodules vesicles and large blebs. Petroleum produces small vesicles which itch, sting and burn.

Herpetic eruptions which tend to become erysipelatous. Petroleum and Rhus are the most common remedies for eruptions on the scrotum and genitals.

“Herpetic itching, redness and moisture on scrotum; skin cracked, rough and bleeding; extending to perineum, and thighs.”

“Obstinate dry eruptions on genitals and perineum.”

“Sweat and moisture of external genitals of both sexes.”

Scurfy nipples; white, bran-like scurf; itching; always peeling off. If the woman is in run-down health, then the nipples inflame and become oversensitive to the touch of clothing.

Very sensitive to change of weather, like Phosphorus and Rhododendron; aggravated before a thunder storm. Often sensitive to air and cold. Lean, emaciated subjects; threatening consumption. Eruptions disappear of themselves or are suppressed. Hands and feet burn; wants the palms and soles out of bed.

Do not be too sure Sulphur because the soles burn, or too sure of Silicea because the feet sweat. Sweating of single parts. Eruptions in patches. Itching in patches. Coldness in parts. Complaints come in single parts.

The most striking offensiveness is about the feet and in the axillae. There are many strange sensations which are peculiar and striking. Study closely the skin symptoms and compare with Graphites and Sulphur.

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.