6. Principal Remedies

These homeopathic medicines are used in ponderable doses. They are used in Homoeopathic doses only when the law of equilibrium becomes related to the law of similars. They are used more to give relief to the patient than to cure….

Dr. Fortier Bernoville to-day completes a series of lectures on the drainage of the circulatory system by the study of principal tonicardiacs. The most important point to note that the remedies described are no more Homoeopathic than Allopathic. They act before all in a physiological manner. Neither they act according to the law of similars nor according to the law of contraries. They act according to the law of equilibrium, added to the law of similars. They are much more palliatives and some physiological agents than remedies proper. These medicines are used in ponderable doses. They are used in Homoeopathic doses only when the law of equilibrium becomes related to the law of similars. They are used more to give relief to the patient than to cure. But they are of such practical importance that one should know fundamentally their physiopathology and their clinical indications. All these remedies are of vegetable origin.

Digitalis purpurea. It is according to the opinions of all, the king of tonicardiacs in chronic affections of the heart in opposition to Ouabine the most important remedy of acute heart conditions. Side by side with Digitalis purpurea there are other varieties of Digitalis but Digitalis purpurea is well known and more used.

1. Physiological action of Digitalis:

Two principal actions: Tonicardiac and secondarily diuretic. (a) Tonicardiac action: Digitalis in ponderable and sufficient doses cause bradycardia, action on the bundle of intracardiac conduction of Hiss and on the pneumogastric (intra and extra cardiac action).

The second important fact. Digitalis prolongs diastole. Thus the myocardia has more time to rest between the systoles, the ventricles are filled up and are emptied completely and if there is arrhythmia, the rhythm is regularised.

The third important fact. Digitalis acts specially on the right heart.

Given by mouth its action begins after 10 to 11 hours. The action is more clear in physiological doses if the patient is asystolic.

(b) Diuretic action: It is a result of tonicardiac action of the remedy. However, it has a direct action on the kidney by slight vaso-dilatation.

2. Toxicology of Digitalis

Since longtime the heart specialists have noted that when one goes beyond the useful dose of digitalis specially in some sensitive subjects there is produced: tachycardia with tachyrhythmia. Some extra-systole with bi-or trigemination and auriculo-ventricular blockage. The patient is pale, cyanotic, has low temperature, vomiting and diarrhoea. His liver is big. He has oliguria and anuria.

3. Action and indications of digitalis in homoeopathic doses Of all the tonicardiacs, which act very often according to the law of similars, is Digitalis. We must know that in homoeopathic doses, Digitalis has four important symptoms of its action from the point of view of four clinical Homoeopathic indications of the remedy.

(a) Tendency to oedema. Almost always with oliguria. More or less marked oedema, anasarca, ascites or slight oedema of the malleoles or of the lower eye lids. It is the tendency of oedema which clearly distinguishes Digitalis from Eel Serum in which there is oliguria or anuria without oedema.

(b) Action on the liver: A big liver, accordion liver which also indicates Digitalis, China and Phosphorus.

(c) Bradyarrhythmia: With bigeminal or trigeminal pulse. In grave cases alternate pulse.

(d) A subjective symptom of great value: Sensation: The patient thinks that he must remain immobile, if not, the heart will stop by the least movement. In Digitalis arrhythmia is clearly ameliorated by immobility. These symptoms are inverse of Gelsemium in which the patient thinks that his heart will stop if he does not move. Gelsemium is a remedy of less grave state than Digitalis and it is rather a remedy of palpitations with erethism of the heart, often with erethism of the heart after the abuse of tobacco or after a stay in a hot country.

Method of application of Digitalis and clinical dose of Digitalis Digitalis is a heroic remedy of asystole in chronic cardiac patients. It is used in various doses according to the different preparations. Digitoxin 5 drops during 5 to 10 days or 15 to 20 drops for several days. In tincture homoeopathically prepared with the fresh plant growing in the mountains (plants that grow in plains are less active), finally in the form of maceration or infusion of the leaves.

We must know that a gramme of powdered leaves of Digitalis is equal to 100 drops of Homoeopathic tincture and to 50 drops of Digitalis in 1,000 th. However, the maceration of leaves contains the property of the entire plant and is more active than digitalis (one will give for example 75 centigrams of the macerated powder of the leaves to be absorbed during 48 to 72 hours).

Of all the tonicardiacs it is Digitalis which in homoeopathic doses is interesting. Among the Homoeopathic doses one should distinguish between 3x and 6x for example where the action of Digitalis is very similar to that of gross doses and the centesimal 6,30,200 which are used according to special clinical indications which we have already described. The 3x or 6x will be given as palliative in chronic cardiac patients whose hearts are somewhat decompensed or in persons having myocardia due to fatigue of old age or senility. These dilutions may be continued for a longtime. The patient does not become habituated to these dilutions and at the same time one may get favourable action while at the same time the ground remedies are used: Phosphorus, Psorinum, Carbo vegetabilis, Lachesis, Naja, etc… On the contrary one must know how to use Digitalis 30 or 200 in Cardiac liver, portal congestion, prostatic congestion.

Let us finally note that the ground remedy of Digitalis is Phosphorous.

Strophanthus and Ouabain. The Strophanthus differ from Digitalis in the following manners

1. Predominance of asystole on the left heart which explains that its ground remedy is Sulphur (Strophanthus would be an old Sulphur who had at first hypertrophied heart, then the heart has become dilated specially on the surface of the left cavitus).

2. By the predominance of tachycardia instead of bradyarrhythmia of Digitalis.

3. By its systolic action and not diastolic (Strophanthus slows down the pulse less than Digitalis)

4. By its less toxic effect, it produces less easily extrasystole and blockage.

5. Its more rapid and ephemeral action. Strophanthus has also a diuretic action.

Strophanthus gives good services in hyposystole of the left heart with hypertension in cardiac asthma, and cardio-vascular insufficiency. It is used in Homoeopathic tincture or in official tincture or in 1x to 3x dilutions.

Ouabain has such an importance here that the alkaloid become more important and goes much further than the plant itself. In cardiology Ouabain is more used than Strophanthus.

The important indication of Ouabain is the acute asystole and the insufficiency of the entire heart, right or left. It is to be applied intravenously in classic doses: 1/4 ml. and sometimes 1 mlg in 24 hours. Its action is almost immediate and becomes apparent within a few minutes by an amelioration of the dyspnoea and oedema of the lungs. When Ouabain does not act the prognosis is grave. Secondarily Ouabain may have other indications: Progressive insufficiency of the right heart after mitral lesion. Generally let us keep in mind that when it is necessary to act soon use first Ouabain and then Digitalis. Let us also keep in mind that hypertension is not a counter- indication. Let us also know that Ouabain is not used when the patient is saturated with digitalis. Some time must elapse. In the case of embolism one must be prudent to use Ouabain or digitalis.

The tonicardiacs will have their full effect if the patient is not kept immobile and kept on a strict vegetarian and fruit diet, diminishing the mechanical action of the heart.

Let us now consider three more remedies of less importance which are successors of Digitalis:

Crataegus: The indications of Crataegus are very different from those of Digitalis. It is a mild tonicardiac, having slow but sure action and it is non-diuretic. It acts more on the left heart and is indicated in tachycardia and in tachycardia and in tachyarrhythmia. It is at the sametime an interesting nerve sedative having a marked action on the extra-cardiac nervous system acting well on cardiac erethism and extrasystolic palpitations of the nervous persons. It is an excellent remedy of arterial hypertension and arteriosclerosis. It is to be used in 1x to 3x where it seems to act better in high dilutions. A curious fact is that it acts as well in hypotension and increases the blood pressure as in hypertension and decreases the blood pressure. With Hamamelis it acts favourably as a drainer of aerocyanosis. In hypertension it may be associated with Passiflora or Valeriana.

Adonis vernalis. It is more related to Digitalis. It has a weak tonicardiac and diuretic action. Like digitalis, it acts rather on the right heart. Adonis is less toxic and is easily tolerated. It is used in physiological doses or homoeopathically in lower dilutions 1x or 3x in persons suffering from mitrals and in whom Digitalis is stopped from time to time or in persons having hypertrophied heart losing tonus.

Mauritius Fortier-Bernoville
Mauritius (Maurice) Fortier Bernoville 1896 – 1939 MD was a French orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy to become the Chief editor of L’Homeopathie Moderne (founded in 1932; ceased publication in 1940), one of the founders of the Laboratoire Homeopathiques Modernes, and the founder of the Institut National Homeopathique Francais.

Bernoville was a major lecturer in homeopathy, and he was active in Liga Medicorum Homeopathica Internationalis, and a founder of the le Syndicat national des médecins homœopathes français in 1932, and a member of the French Society of Homeopathy, and the Society of Homeopathy in the Rhone.

Fortier-Bernoville wrote several books, including Une etude sur Phosphorus (1930), L'Homoeopathie en Medecine Infantile (1931), his best known Comment guerir par l'Homoeopathie (1929, 1937), and an interesting work on iridology, Introduction a l'etude de l'Iridologie (1932).

With Louis-Alcime Rousseau, he wrote several booklets, including Diseases of Respiratory and Digestive Systems of Children, Diabetes Mellitus, Chronic Rheumatism, treatment of hay fever (1929), The importance of chemistry and toxicology in the indications of Phosphorus (1931), and Homeopathic Medicine for Children (1931). He also wrote several short pamphlets, including What We Must Not Do in Homoeopathy, which discusses the logistics of drainage and how to avoid aggravations.

He was an opponent of Kentian homeopathy and a proponent of drainage and artificial phylectenular autotherapy as well.