Synonym. Arsenious Acid. Preparation. Triturations for the lower attenuations. General Analysis Arsenic is an irritant poison and has a specific action on almost every organ, tissue and secretion of the body. It acts directly upon the blood composition, upon the tissues, and upon the nervous system. The condition produced is one of asthenia, which characterizes the entire pathogenesis, and exhaustion of vital power, producing symptoms of impeded functional activity amounting in some cases to positive paralysis. This exhaustion giving rise to lassitude, prostration, weakness, etc., is so peculiar to Arsenic, that it becomes at all times its most characteristic and important action, not resulting in all cases, as might be supposed, from organic destruction; but being present as a “sudden and complete sinking of the forces,” due to functional causes alone. Paralysis may also occur as a result of a persistent hyperaemia and subsequent softening of the gray matter of the spinal cord. Of the tissues of the body the mucous membranes are most powerfully affected, producing irritation, inflammation, and ulceration. This is noted especially in the digestive tract, where a violent destructive gastro-enteritis is established. The respiratory mucous membrane is also involved causing at first increased secretions. Later the pneumogastrics are paralyzed. Upon the serous membranes and the skin Arsenic produces its peculiar irritated and inflamed condition; in the former giving rise to copious effusions, and in the latter causing violent itching and burning followed by squamous and vesicular eruptions and ulcerations. It excites inflammation of the kidneys, destroys the glycogenic functions of the liver, irritates the heart, resulting in vaso-motor paralysis, and causes fatty degeneration of all these organs (Phosphorus). Gla The chief use of Arnica is in the treatment of the acute or chronic bad effects, even inflammations from mechanical injuries, bruises and contusions (Allen says “of cuts rather than bruises”). Hypericum is better in spinal concussion; Calendula in wounds, with loss of substance, or with suppuration; Rhus in sprains; Symphytum in bone injuries. Arnica is especially useful in bruises with well-marked ecchymoses, and in concussion of the brain or spine (Hypericum). An excellent remedy both locally and internally for the swelling and tumefaction accompanying fractures. Compound fractures and their profuse suppuration. Haemorrhages from any part, of mechanical origin. Myalgia. Muscular pain and soreness from a strain or wrench, or after over exertion (Rhus tox.). Hypertrophy of the heart and palpitation from like causes. It is sufficient to say that Arnica is useful in any disease of any organ or tissue where the disease results directly from traumatic causes. The chief symptom of Arnica in all cases is a “bruised, sore feeling.” This symptom also often indicates Arnica in rheumatism and rheumatoid affections. In gout the patient fears being struck by those coming towards him. Arnica is an excellent remedy to administer after parturition. It relieves the soreness and lameness of the parts, especially after instrumental delivery, and tends to prevent septic infection. Farrington says that it also “promotes proper contraction of the uterus, and expulsion of coagula, and of any portion of the membranes that may have been retained.” It is also an excellent remedy for sore nipples, and for mastitis resulting from injury. The power of Arnica to prevent pyaemia is wonderful, and makes its application after injuries and surgical operations the more important. In retinal haemorrhages Arnica expedites the absorption of clots. As might be surmised from its action on the blood, Arnica is a valuable remedy in typhoid or typho-malarial fevers, and in typhoid states in general, its chief indication being an indifferent, stupid condition, the patient falling asleep when answering a question (Baptisia); feels sore and bruised; the bed seems too hard; the head is hotter than the body; suggillations; petechiae; intestinal haemorrhage; involuntary stools; also when bedsores form. Arnica is useful when boils or abscesses do not mature well and discharge, but are absorbed and pass away, new ones continually forming. Erysipelatous inflammations, and ecchymoses. Varicose veins and ulcers. Arnica is useful in gastro-enteritis, diarrhoea and dysentery with foul stools, and a typhoid tendency. Dyspepsia with foul eructations like rotten eggs, and much offensive flatus of a like odor. Angina pectoris. Pneumonia and pleurisy, especially from injuries. Whooping cough; the child cries before the paroxysm, as though in fear of the soreness it will cause; cough causes blood- shot eyes, nosebleed; expectoration of foaming blood, or clots of blood. Apoplexia; mania; delirium tremens, with characteristic symptoms. Anaemia with great prostration, after injuries or low forms of fever. Spinal irritation; paralysis. Thrombosis. Haematocele.
Arsenic has a wide range of action and is applicable in very many forms of disease. It is a valuable remedy in all forms of malaria and adynamic fevers, and low types of disease in general, where the proper indications are present. The chief indication in intermittent fevers is the irregularity and inequality of the three stages. The chill is not well defined, though the fever is, and often the sweat does not bring relief. Often the chill and heat are intermingled. Withal we usually have present the characteristic prostration and restlessness of Arsenic, and more or less gastro-enteric irritability. In long-standing cases the apyrexia is marked by symptoms indicating a bad state of the system cachexia. Often dropsical indications are present due to an enlarged liver or spleen. Arsenic is also useful when in such patients neuralgia or headaches supervene, evidently due to the malarial poisoning. It is said to be most often indicated in malarial fevers after the failure or abuse of quinine. In typhoid fever Arsenic is indicated in the later stages where there is profound prostration, great restlessness and other characteristic symptoms. Also in pyaemia, hectic fever, yellow fever and low types of disease. In eruptive fevers, especially scarlet fever of a malignant character, with similar symptoms; the eruption delays, or becomes pale, or livid with petechial spots. Tendency to gangrene of throat. Haemorrhagic measles. Malignant diphtheria. Arsenic is used by nearly all schools of practice, in the treatment of skin diseases. Its characteristic eruption is bran-like, dry and scaly, with desquamations; also black eruptions, vesicles, pustules. Petechia. Gangrene, particularly the dry gangrene of old people. Ulcers. Carbuncles. Cancers. In all skin diseases, especially those last named, Arsenic is indicated by the severe burning lancinating pains so characteristic of the drug. In all conditions characterized by great exhaustion and rapid sinking of strength, even collapse, Arsenic may be indicated. This may be present in the diseases already named, but is especially liable to be associated with gastro-enteric troubles. Gastralgia, gastro-enteritis, diarrhoea, dysentery, even Asiatic cholera, where Arsenic is a valuable remedy, the symptoms agreeing. Hepatitis. Enlarged liver. Inflammation of the abdominal viscerae. In general, dropsy of the thoracic and abdominal cavities, whether resulting from heart, liver or kidney diseases, Arsenic is a most important remedy. Also in oedema, from simple puffiness about the eyes to swelling of the feet and limbs, and ending in general anasarca. In all such cases the general symptoms of Arsenic will be more or less present, according to the locality of the dropsical effusion and the nature of the disease causing it. Arsenic is often the remedy for a week irritable heart with palpitation; also for endocarditis, hypertrophy and hyper-pericardium. In angina pectoris it will often give relief, when the dyspnoea is very great and the patient shows extreme anguish. In catarrhal affections of the respiratory tract Arsenic may be useful when the symptoms correspond. It is especially useful in asthma, worse after midnight, must spring out of bed, sits with chest inclined forward. Hydrothorax from Bright’s Disease. Emphysema with excessive dyspnoea, suffocative cough, etc. According to Allen a valuable remedy “for the cachexia which leads to chronic disease of the lungs.” General anaemia with prostration, with or without cachexia. Catarrh of the eyes and upper air-passages; ophthalmia and other eye inflammations, oedema, etc.; fluent coryza characterized by burning pains, photophobia, profuse acrid lachrymation, oedema, etc.; fluent coryza characterized by sneezing and a profuse acrid discharge, causing burning and smarting in the nostrils; often an excellent remedy in influenza, with these symptoms. Inflammation of the oesophagus, with burning and spasmodic constriction on swallowing food. Epithelioma of mouth, tongue or throat with burning pain. Aphthae; ulceration and gangrenous sores in mouth. The nervous affections in which Arsenic is useful are mostly neuralgic headaches and often neuralgias due to malarial influences; chorea; epilepsy; paralysis, especially of lower extremities; spinal paralysis from myelitis; hysterical paralysis; convulsions. Delirium tremens. Bad effects from tobacco chewing; abuse of quinine, iron or iodine. Effects of poisoning from decayed or morbid animal matter, by inoculation, inhalation or swallowing.