Dr. Bernoville after having studied in his previous lectures the important remedies of temperament that should be considered in the treatment of cough, proposes now to describe the symptomatic remedies of cough that he classifies into two groups: remedies of dry cough and the remedies of moist cough. The medicines of dry cough are generally the remedies of derivation and reequilibrium. They have a calming action and have generally an action of polarity, acting for example on the one hand on the respiratory system and, on the urinary system or on the skin and digestive apparatus. The medicines of humid cough act in a centrifugal or centripetal sense or as a check to expectoration. The same remedy acts in one sense or the other according to the dose. To-day Dr. Bernoville speaks about the remedies of dry cough.
Symptomatic remedies of dry cough
These remedies are useful in the syndrome of the acute stage and in some cases in the chronic stage, for example in the case of laryngitis. But I must say that our classification is very schematic and that some medicines may according to the case be applied in a dry or in a most cough. I insist especially on the local and multiple elective actions of these remedies on the polarity, so as to be able to use them by understanding their action.
Let us consider at first a first group of remedies: remedies of dry cough of the first stage of an acute affection.
1. Remedies of dry cough in the first stage of an acute disease.
They are Aconite, Belladonna, Bryonia, Ferrum Phos, Chamomilla, Veratrum viride, Hepar sulphur, five from vegetable kingdom and two from mineral origin. These remedies oppose Mercurius, Ipeca, Antim crudum, the Kalis, Hydrastis and Pulsatilla, remedies of coction of acute bronchitis or of an acute coryza which we will study later on.
Bryonia is the limit between these two groups of remedies.
Aconite is the remedy of brutal affection in acute stage having a sudden start after taking generally dry cold; the subject is agitated, anxious and has fear of death. The indications of Aconite appear just at the beginning of a respiratory affection: ordinary cold, acute laryngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia. They also appear in certain chronic stages of congestion. Asthma in hypersensitive persons with hypertrophy of the heart and mediastinitis. Aconite acts essentially in all acute or chronic manifestations beginning violently affecting the circulatory system. Aconite is first of all a Remedy of Circulation. It is, we know, acute of Sulphur. If it acts on cough, it is by decongestioning the arterioles (sub-mucous) of the whole respiratory tree and specially of the larynx.
Belladonna-It very often follows Aconite when begins sweat (skin dry in Aconite). Belladonna is either broken down and delirious but there is no anxiety. The remedy acts also on the circulatory system causing the vascular erythism to diminish, though it is less marked than Aconite, but it is before all an antispasmodic. The patient coughs because he has the sensation of tickling by a feather in the larynx. The throat is red. Belladonna is much more interesting than Aconite in pharyngeal cough or bronchial cough (sensation of dry heat in the throat)
Bryonia-It comes after the two preceding remedies. The cough is dry or with very little expectoration but the stage of coction and of catarrh is very near. Bryonia has no special action like Belladonna and Aconite on the circulatory system. Its sphere is much more vast. It acts on the whole economy but specially on the mucous membranes and serouses and on the liver. Let us not forget its action on the pleura, in dry pleuritis, sero-fibrinous pleurisy before the stage of effusion (Apis, Cantharis), on the peritoneum, in chronic tubercular peritonitis (with Silicea, Senecio and Magnesia phosphorica); on the articular serouses, in acute articular rheumatism. The Indication of Bryonia is always dominated by a Fundamental in Modality, every movement causes cough. Either in acute or chronic stage. An important fact is that Bryonia has important polarity while Belladonna and Aconite have not. Bryonia is not only an important remedy of respiratory system but also it is an important remedy of digestive apparatus and specially of the liver. In course of an acute or chronic respiratory troubles, having dry cough aggravated by the least movement some digestive phenomena with yellowish tongue, great thirst, big liver, yellowish face etc…are seen. Bryonia seems to reenforce the defense of the organism acting on the insufficient liver.