Rumex, the yellow dock, is a neglected remedy, and one that has been only partially proved.
The mental symptoms have not been brought out, but the catarrhal symptoms have been well expressed by provers.
There is a state of sadness, low spirited; aversion to work; irritable mental excitability. This includes about all the mental state we know of this remedy, as the provings were made with the lower potencies and tincture.
The yellow dock has been used in domestic practice, as a blood medicine, to cure eruptions and boils. When used in this way it is a mild substance, and hence the provings are somewhat in this form.
The catarrhal tendency is very striking. The nose, eyes, chest and trachea, the whole respiratory tract, gives forth a copious flow, copious mucous discharge. I have seen it so copious from the nose that it seemed as one continuous flow; so copious from the trachea and bronchial tubes that the patient continually hawked up, by the mouthful, thin frothy, white mucus, so that in a little while as much as half a pint of thin mucus, as thin as water, would be in the cuspidor. It also has marked dryness of the larynx and trachea with hard, dry, spasmodic cough.
At times it has taken the form of grippe, with a copious mucous discharge; thin, watery, frothy expectoration by the mouthful. This is only the first stage. Following this the discharge becomes thick, yellow, tough or thick, white and tenacious; so ropy and stringy and tough that in spite of blowing the nose and coughing he fails to get it up. Completely exhausted from his efforts to expectorate the tough, stringy, tenacious even gluey mucus. This catarrhal state is commonly accompanied by a morning diarrhea, and these constitute the leading features.
“Catarrhal headache with great irritation of the larynx and trachea, clavicular pain and soreness behind sternum.”
Catarrhal headaches are headaches that come on during spells of dryness, alternating with a copious flux. Extreme rawness in the larynx and trachea; burning and smarting; unable to endure pressure on the throat pit.
Tickling in the throat pit causing cough. Must sit without motion; cannot breathe deeply, hurriedly or irregularly because the burning is so much increased by any change in breathing.
If he steps into the open air a paroxysmal cough takes his breath away; or if he passes from the open air into a warm room the same paroxysmal cough comes on. The paroxysm is so violent that in the morning, when he has a loose stool, he will pass it involuntarily with the cough. The urine also passes away with the cough. The headache returns when the discharges slack up.
A striking feature is pain under the clavicle; a sense of rawness under the clavicle; as if the parts inside were raw; as if the air came directly under the clavicle, producing rawness and burning. Rawness and burning from the inhalation of air.
“Nose obstructed; dry sensation even in posterior nares.”
Many times the coryza starts out by a marked dryness in the posterior nares, so that he is constantly hawking; the irritation is so great that he cannot let it alone. There is a sensation of thickening in the nasopharynx, and he produces a peculiar noise in trying to get rid of it.
“Sudden sharp tingling sensation in Schneiderian membrane.”
This is intense; tingling, sometimes described as an itching extending from the end of the nose to the pharynx; sometimes forces sneezing, blowing the nose and this peculiar noise, and sometimes a hawking to get the mucus when it isi a little lower in the pharynx; hemming to get rid of it when in the larynx. The inflammation passes to the smallest bronchi, producing a capillary bronchitis and finally a pneumonia.
It suits acute and chronic catarrhal states. In old phthisical cases every time be takes a cold, he is so sensitive to cold air and change of air that he sleeps with the bed clothes over his mouth. Every breath of air causes a spasmodic cough.
The early expectoration is thin mucus, and then it becomes thicker and tenacious, and he cannot expectorate it; he hears the rattle, after many efforts which exhaust him; he expectorates a little with hardly any relief. This is a great remedy to do patch work with in phthisis. Soreness, rawness and burning, especially down the trachea and tinder the sternum.
“Violent sneezing, with fluent coryza, worse in the evening and at night.”
Many symptoms are worse in the evening.
“Coryza, fluent, with sneezing, with headache, worse evening and night.”
Some symptoms are worse in the early morning. Certain kinds of cough are worse at 11 P.M. Lachesis and Rumex furnish a puzzle in this cough and each has to be understood.
In Lachesis young children cough in their early sleep, but if kept awake they will not cough. Therefore in Lachesis the 11 P.M. cough is an aggravation from sleep. In Rumex the cough will come on at 11 o’clock whether the child is asleep or not.
“Accumulation of mucus in posterior nares.”
“Yellow mucous discharge through posterior nares.”
“Epistaxis, violent sneezing and painful irritation of nostrils.”
“Influenza with violent catarrh, followed by bronchitis.”
“Scraping in the throat;” whenever this catarrhal state goes into the larynx and trachea, there is this continual scraping in the throat.
Hoarse; cannot speak because the vocal cords are covered with tough mucus. Chronic cases have often been cured.
Phosphorus has this hoarseness, but especially aphonia relieved by hemming up a little mucus from the vocal cords. The Causticum hoarseness is due to a weakness of the vocal cords. Phosphorus has an inflammatory state and the continual accumulation of mucus impedes speech. Rumex has the accumulation of tough, gelatinous, gluey mucus, and he continually scrapes the larynx.
“Sensation of a lump in the throat, not relieved by hawking or swallowing, it descends on deglutition, but immediately returns”; this is also a strong feature in Lachesis.
“Aching in the pharynx, with collection of tough mucus in the fauces.”
“Catarrhal affections of throat and fauces.”
This remedy shows the various stages of severe cold, but is especially indicated in constitutions that are constantly taking cold worse from change of the weather; always shivering about the fire want much clothing, want even the head covered up.
Many complaints are worse in the evening, from a bath, from becoming cold, from inhaling cold air. Rheumatic complaints are common and are aggravated by cold. Every cold seems to affect the joints. This is a marked feature of Calcarea phos.; every change to cold is felt in the joints; from bathing and getting chilled afterwards.
“Tight, suffocative, heavy ache in epigastrium, through to back clothes seem too tight; weak feeling in epigastrium, all aggravated when talking; frequently takes a long breath.”
“Shooting from pit of stomach to chest; sharp pain in left chest; slight nausea; dull aching in forehead.”
“Aching and shooting in pit of stomach and above it on each side of sternum.”
Stomach: The stomach will not digest food, or only the, simplest food; the mucous membrane of the stomach is affected by this remedy like other mucous membranes.
Various pains in the stomach; aching, shooting pains in the pit of the stomach.
“Aching pain in the pit of stomach gradually becoming very severe; sharp stitching pains in stomach extending into chest, and below a sensation of pressure like a lump in pit of stomach, sometimes rising up under sternum, greatly aggravated from motion and somewhat from taking a long breath; generally aggravated after eating, ameliorated by lying perfectly quiet.”
It is strange how the stomach symptoms are aggravated by talking.
The stomach feels sore, aggravated by talking, walking, inhaling cold air; wants warm things. Very flatulent; full of flatulent pains; pains relieved (Carbo veg.) by belching and passing flatus. Stomach and abdominal pains aggravated by talking, irregular, breathing; must sit in a chair and breathe with perfect regularity. Irregular breathing will cause cough or suffocation.
In the morning hurried to stool like Sulphur.
“Stools, painless, offensive, profuse; brown or black, thin or watery; preceded by pain in abdomen; before stool sudden urging, driving him out of bed in morning.”
“Morning diarrhea with cough from tickling in throat pit.”
It is common for phthisical cases to have a morning diarrhoea, and many of them look like Sulphur. When the morning diarrhea is gushing, Rumex will palliate; it will allay the extreme sensibility of the lungs, will ward off the sensitiveness to cold and will patch him up.
Rumex is not so deep as Sulphur, but it is an antipsoric. It is limited however, to the early stages; will carry a chronic case so, far, but it will require to be followed by another antipsoric. Calcarea follows it well.
Rumex is as sensitive to cold, to baths and chilly surroundings as Rhus, but it is aggravated by motion. Bryonia may be confused with it in this aggravation from motion and from talking, but Bryonia is not so sensitive to cold air, is often relieved from cold air and worse in a warm room; the complaints subside if the room becomes cool. In Rumex the nerves are sensitive to the open air; a nervous sensitiveness to open air as marked as Nux.
“Brown, watery diarrhoea, chiefly in morning, having stools from 5 to 9 A.M.”
“Serious attack of diarrhea in an old man of seventy, after failure of Sulphur“.
The Sulphur patient with a cough, especially in phthisis, commonly wants cool air, cooling things; though the stomach symptoms are sometimes ameliorated from hot drinks, yet he wants cool, refreshing air.
“Aphonia after exposure to cold.”
“Tenacious mucus in throat or larynx, constant desire. to hawk.”
“Tickling in throat pit causing cough.”
He fights off the cough as long as he can because of the burning and rawness. In the most violent coryza there is a lack of the febrile symptoms of Bryonia, Rhus and Aconite. It has not the constitutional symptoms, the aching of the limbs, the general soreness, the high fever and thirst. The condition seems to have localized itself.
“Hoarse, barking cough, in attacks, every night at 11 P.M. and at 2 and 5 A.M. (children).”
“Cough, with pain behind midsternum.”
“The most violent cough occurs a few moments after lying down and at night, in some cases, complete aphonia”.
“In women, every fit of coughing produces the passage of a few drops of urine.”
Rumex is one of the most valuable palliatives in advanced phthisis it will often carry a case through another winter. With Rumex, Pulsatilla, Senega, Arsenic and Nux vomica you can patch up the last years of a phthisical patient.
I would caution you also about the diarrhea that occurs in most cases of phthisis.
You will see Acetic acid recommended for the diarrhoea in phthisis. You had better let such conditions alone, unless they are very marked. If the diarrhea is very exhausting use some simple medicine, like this one, to slack it up. But the phthisical patient is better off with a little diarrhea, a loose morning stool. It is the same with night sweats; if he does not have them he will have something more violent.
The allopath stops the diarrhea and night sweats, and then has to feed Morphine to his patient because of the consequent sufferings. The more you undertake to relieve these outward conditions, these vents, the more harm you will do the patient, and if you go on you will have to abandon your Homoeopathy and give Morphine, which is really a crime.
You will remove the sore, bruised, aching all over the body of a consumptive by Arnica, and it will suit the cough and gagging and retching, and make him sleep.
Later Pyrogen may be needed for the aching in the bones and distressing cough. You patch him up year after year; sometimes Arsenic is the remedy, and it has to be more frequently repeated; sometimes it is Lycopodium, Pulsatilla, Pyrogen or Arnica.
These medicines help him along and they have often to be changed, but finally the break down occurs, and these medicines are no longer suitable. An awful dyspnoea gradually creeps on the patient; there is craving for air; the breathing space is becoming diminished.
Dropsy comes on in the extremities. The heart gives out; there is emaciation; the hippocratic countenance is seen; there is cold sweat, blue face, sinking. Even now we can palliate with Tarantula Cubensis. Sometimes it has to be repeated. It will relieve for days and give an euthanasia, not a stupefaction as produced by Morphia, benumbing his senses, but an actual comforting.