SUGGESTION FOR “A MODEL MATERIA MEDICA”



SLEEP

Falls asleep early in the evening; awakens at 3 or 4 A.M., and cannot sleep again; or dozes for a while, and on again arousing (18) feels tired, sore and sleepy. An uninterrupted nap relieves him very much. (See Diphtheria.)

FEVER

Not synochal, but Intermittent, with accompanying gastric or bilious symptoms. Heat and chill are intermixed or paroxysms are irregular, intolerance of uncovering, even when hot; and yet covering does not relieve the coldness.

Chill preceded by aching in the limbs; blue nails; vomiting.

Chill and coldness with blue nails; skin painful, as if frozen; limbs numb.

General heat, burning hands, thirst for water and then beer; heat, headache, roaring in the ears and nausea; hot and chilly.

Sweat sour, offensive; one-sided or only on upper part of body; alternate with chill. Bathed in sweat. Worse after midnight and in the morning (18). Relieves the pains.

RELATIONSHIP (16), ANTIDOTES, &C. (16)

Similar to Bryonia, Ipecac., Sulphur, Zincum met.

Distinguished from the tetany of Aconite, Cicuta and Hydrocyanic Acid by its marked increased reflex excitability; from that of Cocculus by the spasmus glottidis of the latter; and from traumatic tetany, by the interruption of spasms and the late onset of trismus.

Antidoted: Large doses, by Chloral, Potass, Bromide, and by the maintenance of artificial respiration, Small doses, by Coffea, Chamomilla, Pulsatilla

Incompatible with Zincum met.

At considerable sacrifice, we have reduced Nux Vomica to the prescribed limits. It will occupy about six and one-half pages, brevier, leaded.

It will be seen that our plan of procedure enables the reader to keep ever before him the entirety of drug action. If, now, he reads consecutively the generalizations which preface the various headings, he will find a brief but important abridgment of the remedy, that will enable him to apply it intelligently. Particular characteristics may mislead him.

We have purposely avoided such synthetic study as would tend to present the remedy already for application to a given disease. However desirable such studies may be they can from no part of a Materia Medica, which should leave its readers free to prescribe according to the rules and laws of Institutes.

NOTES

(1) There are numerous instances of this in the symptomatology of Nux Vom., e.g irritable, irascible, worse from slight disturbances cannot bear light, noise, touch (spasms renewed ) or odors (faints)-stomach rejects all food-retching predominates over vomiting-ineffectual urging to stool-strangury, etc., etc. Here too, we may find a reason for the efficacy of Nux after abuse of drastics; it calms the irritability they induce. Sedentary habits and mental exertion aggravate, the first because they lead to the irritability of fibre so characteristic of Nux; the second for this reason, and also because it wears out the brain and spine just as does Nux in its prolonged effects. Hence, Nux is useful in fatty degeneration of the brain, coeteris paribus.

(2) Periodicity since it shows how a drug acts upon the nervous system, cannot but be of universal value in a nerve-affecting drug like Nux. So Characteristic is this morning aggravation, that we shall see it guiding us even in Scrofulous Ophthalmia.

(3) Each heading should be as comprehensive as possible, and should include a full symptom record. Just as the entire remedy is prefaced with a brief general account of the action of the drug upon the part under consideration. They should follow particulars under these generals.

(4) Ailments of the mind may be comprised under those of the will on the one hand and those of the understanding on the other. Hence, we mention one group and then the other. If there are opposite phases, as when a function is at one time exalted and at another time depressed, the contrast should be shown.

(5) Nux causes irritation and congestion of the brain and spine. and also induces congestions reflex from abdominal plethora. It is therefore suited for the initial symptoms of Apoplexy. But since the ultimate effect of irritation is paralytic weakness and degeneration of tissue, Nux bears some relation to the apoplectic seizure, especially when the history reveals such causes as abuse of Alcohol, etc., and when the attack is associated with gastric symptoms.

(6) Vertigo belongs to hundreds of drugs. To be of any practical value, then, it must be considered as to its from and origin.

(7) In arranging headaches, we refer to congestions, then to nerve forms, then to reflex kinds, and then to two sorts expressive of relaxation and depression. Catarrhal headache is referred to another place.

(8) Beginning as usual with a general account, we proceed to mention such individual and local symptoms as characterize the remedy under consideration. Such symptoms as soreness of nostrils, etc., are omitted as vague or as necessarily implied in cases in which the specified symptoms are present.

(9) After generalizing we proceed to as brief a description of the symptoms as possible. These necessarily include the expression and color of the face, condition of the mouth, pharynx, etc. They belong together, even though we may need but one or more in a given case.

(10) It is not excess alone which calls for Nux. It is also the irritability of the patient which suggests the remedy. High- living increases his over-susceptibility; and finally, the organs exhausted, he presents a picture of complete “irritable weakness”. The stomach is too weak to digest the food, yet is still irritable.

(11) Symptoms marked “11” have been many times confirmed and cannot be omitted.

(12) Symptoms marked “12” are indispensable, since they show the neurotic effects of Nux.

(13) These pains characterize the gastralgia and the colics.

(14) This distended feeling means more than flatulence. It is indicative of portal stasis, abdominal plethora, etc. and so as central in importance, cannot be omitted.

(15) Large liver, when not cirrhotic, has often yielded to Nux.

(16) In an abridged Materia Medica, “Relationships” should be confined to drugs intimately related, and not to mere symptom resemblances.

Under this heading should be mentioned homoeopathic antidotes, and also antidotes in case of poisoning. The allopathic law of “antagonism”, which is half true, because half a law, cannot apply in homoeopathic prescribing; but it can in choosing antidotes to poisons.

(17) Symptoms thus marked are selected not as an exceptional illustration; but as a good example of that harmony of action, which is to be continually kept uppermost in arranging a medicine. All marked “17” have “smarting”, or its equivalent, as characteristic; hence, they are particulars of one general effect. Speaking figuratively, they show the warp and woof of the cloth and so reveal its quality.

If the reader takes the pains, he can follow any other thread of the remedy in the same manner. Take, for instance, symptoms marked “18”. This number repeats itself nineteen or twenty times; and as this was not premeditated it becomes a sort of test. See also “19” repeated eleven times, and so on.

E. A. Farrington
E. A. Farrington (1847-1885) was born in Williamsburg, NY, on January 1, 1847. He began his study of medicine under the preceptorship of his brother, Harvey W. Farrington, MD. In 1866 he graduated from the Homoeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania. In 1867 he entered the Hahnemann Medical College, graduating in 1868. He entered practice immediately after his graduation, establishing himself on Mount Vernon Street. Books by Ernest Farrington: Clinical Materia Medica, Comparative Materia Medica, Lesser Writings With Therapeutic Hints.