ORIENTAL ANACARDIUM-MALACCA BEAN-MARKING-NUT TREE.
(Anacardium-ava, ava, pertaining to or resembling; kansia, cardia, heart, the fruit being heart-shaped.)
Anacardium had been a famous remedy among the Arabians, but as Hahnemann, who first proved it, says: “During the last one thousand years this powerful and sanative remedy had fallen into total oblivion” (Chr. Dis.).
The three characteristic symptoms of this remedy, one or more of which you will usually find when you prescribe it, are loss of memory, inclination to swear and plug-like pains.
I never fully understood why Anacardium was known as the “Student’s drug” until the following explanation was given me by one of our Seniors, who said: “I suppose the reason is because we are apt to develop a loss of memory, especially during quizzes or at examination time, with the resulting uncomplimentary remarks concerning the questioner; but while we may not take the prizes, if we only plug along we will get our diplomas and make damn good doctors afterwards.”
The weakness of memory (133) as found in Anacardium, ranges from forgetfulness of single names, to where he cannot remember anything or forgets what he is told immediately after he hears
The sensation of a plug is very common and varies from the feeling of a plug or wedge being driven into a part, and so causing the pain, to an urging to stool that is ineffectual because the rectum seems to be plugged up.
The tendency to use strong language, as a result of mental disease, shows itself in a state of excessive anger at slight offense, or where he takes everything in bad part and becomes violent, with an irresistible desire to course and swear (184).
It is a remedy that has been used in alcoholism (54); he is restless and sleepless and hears voices saying that he is going to die.
In melancholia there is loss of memory (133), with difficulty in collecting his thoughts, and Allen tells us that this has “been relieved in syphilitic patients but without marked relief of the general syphilitic symptoms.”
He is suspicious of everything around him, and fears that he is being pursued (53), or he has a fixed idea of demons, that he is surrounded by enemies, or that he is possessed of two persons or wills (54),”one commanding what the other forbids” (Lilienthal).
One other condition we will speak of here and that is in reference to dreams. The Anacardium patient dreams of fire, about dead bodies (62) or of being bear a tomb.
The headaches are pressing, as from a plug (106), worse on left side, digging or throbbing in character, better from eating (92), but worse from any attempt to use the mind (93) or by overwork; and Anacardium is a valuable remedy for brain0fag (93).
One of the hallucinations that we may meet with as calling for this remedy, is where they smell filth (171) wherever they go and especially when smelling their own clothes or body, or as of pigeon or chicken-dung, as the pathogenetic puts it.
Anacardium is useful for dyspepsia and for nausea during pregnancy (1530, in both conditions where there is relief while or from eating (174) but the trouble soon returns.
A symptoms found in Hahnemann’s Chronic Diseases and considered by many as characteristic of the remedy, is where the dyspeptic pains return two hours after eating (174).
Constipation is the rule in cases requiring Anacardium.
The stools are very sluggish nd the rectum seems plugged up (35) and the attempt to have a movement causes distress in the abdomen. There is frequent urging to stool (34), but it comes to nothing, for when at stool the inclination ceases.
Some of the pains peculiar to the remedy that we will simply mention are : pressure as from a plug on the upper margin of the orbit; sensation of pressure against the tympanum; sensation around umbilicus as if a blunt plug were squeezed into the intestines; dull pain on or in the chest, as from a plug.
It is useful for palpitation (111) especially in old people and for pericarditis, especially rheumatic (162), with sticking pains or stitches in cardiac region which are double, or where one stitch is quickly followed by another and then there is a long interval without pain.
Anacardium is useful in diseases of the spinal cord (172) with paralysis of single parts. We have also a sensation of a hand around the body (165) and along with this a feeling as of a plug pressing in the spine, so that any motion of the trunk causes pain as if the plug were sticking still further into the body.
We have a stiffness or paralyzed feeling in the knees making walking almost impossible, a sensation as if the knees were bandaged (165) and cramplike (71), intermittent drawing pain from the heels into the calves.
It has been found of value in injuries of tendons and in chronic rheumatic troubles.
The fruit of the Anacardium tree contains the outer hard shell and the kernel, a thickish, blackish juice which is used for marking linen. This juice is so acrid that warts or moles can be cauterized with it, and if it comes in contact with the skin it causes painful pustular eruptions.
Anacardium is a valuable remedy in skin affections, especially eczema, “neurotic eczema” (Dearborn) and pustular eruptions. In its skin symptoms it is similar to, and must be compared with Rhus tox., but it has not been prescribed often enough, or, at least the reports of its cures are not sufficiently numerous to enable one to make close comparisons of differentiations. Dearborn says that “it occupies a very much narrower space in the therapeutic field.”
We do know that there is excessive itching and burning and Dearborn, says with “morning and late evening aggravations,” but whether as a rule, better or worse from scratching or heat, I cannot tell you.
The great irritability of the mind caused by or associated with this condition would be a leading indication.
I use Anacardium 3rd.