Nux vomica. [Nux-v]
Perhaps no remedy in the Materia Medica is oftener prescribed for anything than is **Nux vomica for constipation. **Nux vomica has peculiar and characteristic indications for constipation, and when prescribed upon these indications it will cure every time. Nothing is surer than this. But **Nux vomica is often prescribed when these indications are not present, and often does much good; in this class of cases there will almost invariably be present one of the great clinical indications of the remedy, and that is, its value in ***antidoting purgative medicines. In many cases of inveterate constipation calling for this, that, and the other remedy, it will be noticed that expected results are not obtained and will not be obtained until **Nux vomica has been given to antidote the effects of drastic medicines. Then the case can be prescribed for, the indications followed, and success result. Another thing about **Nux is the fact that while prescribed low, as in the tincture, it will frequently relieve constipation, but to cure it the drug must be given in a much higher potency.
**Hydrastis is another remedy that is sometimes useful after the abuse of purgatives, laxatives, cathartics and their like. In all these cases, however, the symptoms calling for the respective drug should be present. Hughes claims it to be superior to **Nux as usually prescribed. He recommends a drop or two of the tincture in water once daily before breakfast. **Hydrastis has a symptom, however, which is quite characteristic, that is a ***sinking, gone feeling at the epigastrium, which **Nux vomica does not have to any extent. The constipation of **Nux vomica is usually of the kind induced by lazy habits, inattention to Nature’s calls in the first place, want of exercise, sedentary habits, and a sluggish condition of the whole system. It is due not only to inactivity of the whole system. It is due not only to inactivity of the intestines, but to an irregularity of the peristaltic actions, giving rise to the great characteristic, ***constant ineffectual urging to stool, and when the stool does occur it is incomplete and unsatisfactory, as if a part remained behind. Absence of desire for defecation contra- indicates **Nux. Inflammatory symptoms or pain generally contra- indicates. Carbo vegetabilis has urging, but it is due to wind, while **Opium and Bryonia have no urging at all. According to d’Espiney, the physical signs of this inharmonious intestinal action can be felt by palpating the abdominal walls.
**Anacardium resembles **Nux vomica in many ways. It has a sensation of a plug in the rectum which cannot be expelled. There is a fitful intestinal activity, but withal a powerlessness of the rectum. Even soft stools are expelled with difficulty. Small quantities may be expelled with each attempt. The mental symptoms of **Nux are important in treating constipation, for the effect that constipation has upon the minds of some people is well known. In cases indicating **Nux vomica there will be a great crossness, irascibility and objection to all opposition. The **Nux stool is also apt to be large, and haemorrhoids are a frequent accompaniment. We may sum up **Nux vomica by calling again the attention to the mental characteristics, the sedentary temperament, the fitful intestinal action and its antidotal relation to purgative drugs.
Dr. Cartier, of Paris, well says: **”Nux vomica should never be given in constipation according to the law of similars in the low attenuations, or in the mother tincture. An opposite effect will be produced thereby, an augmentation of the spasmodic state of the intestines; the higher the dilution the better the chance success. Nor should it be too often repeated.”.