NATHAN CASH, M. D.
The object of this paper is to call special attention to Coccus cacti as a remedy for whooping cough in particular and other coughs in general. Being the pioneer of Homoeopathy in this section of the State of Ohio-a section in which the people had been taught that little or nothing could be done for whooping cough.
Soon after locating here a whooping cough came; a few cases treated homoeopathically with marked success created quite a stir among the people, so that nearly all cases sought the new treatment and afforded good and frequent opportunity to study the disease. There has been more or less whooping cough either in the village or surrounding country since 1876, and most cases “came to this mill”.
It is needless to go into the history of whooping cough.
Of its nature I wish to say that I regard it as essentially of an inflammatory character, and I feel justified in this view after a protracted study of its characteristics. Observations of the beginning of whooping cough shows the following symptoms in infants as well as adults. A single light cough or hack, caused by a tickling irritation one to three inches below the larynx, and with each little cough there is a small quantity of mucus loosened and detached and in most cases, even in the adults, is swallowed. At the first these little coughs will occur from three to five minutes apart.
Most people attribute the cough to a cold and will likely apply for medicine for a cold, but if you can discover on the patient these peculiar hacks, or short coughs, you will save the patient trouble by giving Coccus cacti. The act of swallowing will occur after each cough.
This condition may last a whole week, but more likely three to five days, when one more little cough will be added to the spell and the swallowing occur after the two, not between them, because there is no perceptible interval between them or at least there is no rest between them. Some of the same mucus will be detached, as a result of the coughing and swallowed. The mucus at first is not colored in the least nor is it stringy, until in the second week; the viscid character of the mucus is a gradual process, just as the cough increases in severity and the inflammation extends over the mucous membrane.
Scarcely before the end of the second week is the fourth or fifth cough added to the paroxysm. As the disease progresses there are more coughs, and each cough becomes more powerful, until the lungs are exhausted of air; with each cough the mucus is propelled forward, but the effort to inspire drives it backward until some of it hangs over into the oesophagus, irritates the epiglottis and strangulation ensues. The whoop occurs at the very moment the glottis opens to admit air into the lungs, after the spasmodic closure in convulsive efforts to allay the irritation by expelling the mucus.
The spasmodic character increases as the irritation approaches the glottis.
The expectoration becomes tougher as the disease progresses. Seldom is the mucus changed from the transparent, before the third week. The paroxysms of cough are, as a rule, worse at night after the first week; up to this time some may sleep all right but cough considerable when waking.
As near as I can determine, the period of incubation is fourteen days, but some may run twenty-five days. I can not say that any case came under my observation in which the expectoration was not stringy and tough, until it became purulent; but never before the latter end of the second week. It is more likely to become so in the third week.
Coccus cacti has all of the characteristic symptoms of a fully developed case of whooping cough, but you will find all of the earlier symptoms as well and may be given with confidence; not only in whooping cough, but in many coughs in which the larynx, trachea and bronchi are involved.
As a curative in the conditions named it is very satisfactory for, without exaggeration, I have treated as may as five hundred cases, with not more than two deaths, in the last thirteen years.
As a preventive, Coccus cacti may be given with as much confidence for whooping cough as Belladonna for scarlet fever, which every Hahnemannian has proved to be a preventive.
When I give Coccus cacti as a preventive, I give four powders with medicated pellets in, one to be taken on retiring every third day.
When given as a curative, I give two powders of the remedy, one to be dissolved in a third of a glass of fresh water, giving one teaspoonful every three or four hours until used, if awake; Sac. lac. to follow.
In ten or twelve days, or when improvement cases, I direct the second powder given like the first. If but little cough remains I give the second powder dry, and repeat Sac. lac. If given at the beginning one powder in solution is sufficient. Occasionally a repetition of the prescription is necessary, but the great majority get but one. Very seldom are there any sequelae or anything more than a slight sensitiveness of the larynx to colds for a week or two.
A word as to potency. I have tested and used the 30th, 60th, 100th, 200th, 500th, 1m,50m. and cm, beginning with the 30th. As I obtained the higher potencies I prescribed them. I find the higher potencies I prescribed them. I find the higher potencies are quicker in their action and without aggravation, while the lower will sometimes produce aggravation.
I know there are other remedies useful, you even necessary, in the treatment of whooping cough, but until there is a change in the characteristics of whooping cough or some peculiar constitution demands some other special remedy, few remedies will be needed besides Coccus cacti.
If treatment begins with the disease or first week, six days will do; if in the second week ten days; but in nearly all cases will improvement show in three days, and it is usually progressive.
As for treatment you may first, second and third stages.
In the first age give Coccus cacti. In the second stage give Coccus cacti. In the third stage give Coccus cacti, and report the failures, if directions above are followed.
I wish to say a few words to those who may think I am too exclusive in the choice of remedial means for whooping cough. Just refer to Hering’s Guiding Symptoms or Allen’s Cyclopedia. Occasion has placed it in my course of observation, and experience has done the rest. I trust this paper my help others to be successful in treating this formerly troublesome and often very dangerous affection.