A STUDY OF LYCOPODIUM CLAVATUM


The Cyclopaedia of Drug Pathogenesis records thirtyone provings. Both sexes took part in these provings. The ages of the provers ranged all the way from one to fortyone years. Many of the provers were physicians. Both dilutions and triturations were used. The size of the doses also varied from one drop of the tincture to one hundred twenty drops; from one drop of the 30th to one hundred drops. Of the trituration, from one grain to ninty grains.


Makeup:

Poorly nourished; lethargic; lithic diathesis ; dyspeptic.

Location:

Digestive tract; especially liver; urinary organs; sexual organs; mucous membrane; blood; lungs and skin. It has a special affinity for the above, and in addition affects the brain and nervous system.

Sensations:

Fullness; distension; dryness; colicky; pressing; sharp; sticking.

Modalities:

Aggravated from eating cold foods, but especially from cabbage, beans, bread or any starchy food; before the menses; from four to eight P. M.; lamplight; in a warm close room. Ameliorated from fresh open air; after urinating ; warm drinks; nourishing food.

Leaders or Key Notes:

Red and-like sediment in the urine; flatulence while eating, or soon after; weakness due to malnutrition; dryness.

Preparation:

The drug should be especially prepared in order to become an effective remedy. Boericke says, “The drug is inert until the spores are crushed. Its wonderful medicinal properties are only disclosed by trituration and succussion”.

I never use anything but trituration, below the 30th.

Potency:

Lycopodium is a remedy which links preparation and potency closely together. The breaking up of the spores liberates the active principle of the drug. Again quoting Boericke “Both the lowest and highest potencies are credited with excellent results.” Hughes 27 says: “the highest attenuations are those most used in practice. I nearly always employ the twelfth.” Nash 36 says: “Its highest curative powers are not developed below the twelfth, hence neither the old school nor the homoeopathists who confine themselves exclusively to the low preparations, know much about it”.

I use from the 12th to the 6m, the 30th most frequently,

Proving:

The Cyclopaedia of Drug Pathogenesis records thirtyone provings. Both sexes took part in these provings. The ages of the provers ranged all the way from one to fortyone years. Many of the provers were physicians. Both dilutions and triturations were used. The size of the doses also varied from one drop of the tincture to one hundred twenty drops; from one drop of the 30th to one hundred drops. Of the trituration, from one grain to ninty grains. Five hundred drops of the tincture in four doses were taken in one day (twenty-four hours).

General Properties:

Before taking up the special groups I want to consider a few of the general properties of the drug. Hahnemann 22 called it one of the three great antipsorics ; the other two being Sulphur and Calcarea carb. Understanding Hahnemann 22 to mean by the above that these three remedies are most useful in the treatment of patients suffering from the several diathesis, my experience with Lycopodium leads me to most heartily agree with him.

The fact that it is an antipsoric makes it the ally of a large number of remedies. Allen 2 mentions sixteen. As an ally I have given it to prepare the patient for the indicated remedy; when the indicated remedy did not act or acted too slowly; and also to complete the restoration of health which the indicated remedy did not quite accomplish. This means that a thorough knowledge of Lycopodium necessitates a good working knowledge of its allies.

Lycopodium is one of our leading remedies. Malnutrition, either as a cause or effect, or both, is a prominent keynote of Lycopodium. In my study of the different groups of symptoms which make up the various conditions for which our remedy has been used, I have relied less upon textbooks which give the symptoms in a schematic form, than upon the reports of cases as found in these textbooks, and still more frequently in our medical journals. Furthermore, I have given greater weight to the writing (reports) of the busy practitioner than to those of the writers and teachers who have had little or no practical knowledge of the action of the remedy, who are theorists rather than practical men.

Only verified symptoms will be mentioned in this study and they will be given in the order of the rank they occupy in each individual group. I have always taught, that a symptom may hold the highest rank in one group and the lowest in another. This fact I have often seen demonstrated in the different groups of Lycopodium.

Digestive Tract.

There are several divisions of this caption, also sub- divisions.

Stomach:

Taking up the stomach first, let us make four sub- divisions, viz., flatulency, gastritis, gastralgia and dyspepsia. This order is not in accordance with the importance of the conditions, but because of the number of authorities who mentioned them. In fact to one inclined to generalize, the four would probably be reduced to two, viz., gastritis and dyspepsia. But then we would be obliged to divide dyspepsia into acrid, atonic and nervous, according to the cause.

Flatulency:

Although flatulency is but a symptom, yet so peculiar are its elements that eighteen of our authorities have mentioned it and a majority have stressed it. Flatulency is a prominent symptom in various groups of both gastralgia and gastritis.

Provers and patients have characterized the flatulency of Lycopodium in the following terms: “Enormous quantities of gas in stomach: gas forming soon after eating, sometimes when first beginning to eat; gas eructated in large quantities; gas which distends both stomach and abdomen, making the stomach tender and sore to pressure; gas fills my stomach so I can not eat enough to nourish me: gas tastes sour; gas which is worse when I am tired, especially mentally; gas which is worse when I take coarse starchy foods; gas made worse by cold foods; gas which is made better by hot salt water or soda in water; gas pains relieved by belching and by free movement of the bowels.”

One patient stated that he had had several attacks of flatulency with such distension of and distress in the stomach, that he would have died if his physician had not used the stomach pump. Lycopodium 30th. trit. completely cured him.

One thing my experience has taught me about the flatulency of Lycopodium, viz., that those patients who have been in the habit of taking large quantities of bicarbonate of soda or “sour stomach” are the most difficult to cur and that the highest potencies are the best for such cases. Abdomen: Aside from the stomach conditions caused by flatulence there are only two which need mentioning besides those of the liver. They are partial paralysis of the intestines and hernia.

The former condition occurs after operations during which the intestines have been handled roughly or for a long time. On such cases an enormously distended abdomen, with hiccough but no flatus passing, are the symptoms which should be added to the personal history of the patient. For such cases, use the highest potencies and contrary to the usual rule, repeat frequently. Stomach or rectal tubes are great aids in such cases.

For inguinal hernia I have often found it useful when the primary cause was nervous weakness and the exciting cause was abdominal flatulence. Lycopodium tones up the nerves and prevents the flatulence and thus cures the patient of hernia.

Liver:

Here, as under the stomach, we find both functional and pathological changes. The bile may be increased or decreased in amount. The bile duct may be occluded by calculi or other abnormal products or by tumors about it. The liver may be atrophied or hypertrophied. It may be congested or inflammed.

Our authorities mentioned the following: hepatitis, jaundice; cirrhosis of liver; nutmeg liver; gall-stones.

Gall-stones:

The symptoms for gall-stones are: first, the make-up of the patient. I have never cured a patient of gall- stones who did not at the same time suffer from the red sediment in the urine, and many of them from renal colic and calculi. The other symptoms of this group were those usually found in cases of gall-stone colic, viz., the peculiar pain, the nausea, vomiting, yellow skin, if the attacks are of long duration, the itching, etc. The stools in this group are always hard, dry, large and in seven out of ten cases very light in color. Flatulency, the gas gas rumbling about in the distended abdomen and increasing the pain about the sore and tender liver, is always present when the constipation is present. The medium potencies are the best for these cases, i.e., 30th. and 200th.

Hepatitis:

It is the chronic form which usually calls for our remedy. Here again, the make-up of the patient is the leading symptom. The personal history will reveal the fact that the patient has had numerous attacks of hepatic colic, also renal and bladder trouble and the stomach symptoms of Lycopodium. In addition you will find pain and tenderness, also marked heaviness in the hepatic region. The peculiar constipation and hemorrhoids of the remedy will be present, and in a majority of cases there will be ascites, which condition is mentioned by six of our authorities and which I found in a majority of cases. The peculiar liver spots (brown spots) are most often found in this group.

I have very rarely found Lycopodium even palliative in cirrhosis.

Gall-stones have been found in the faeces.

Urinary Organs.

Calculi:

Sixteen of our authorities vouch of this condition under the name of renal calculi, while fifteen give nearly identical symptoms under the head of uric acid diathesis. In addition to the presence of the calculi in the urine we have the following: “Stitching, shooting, tearing, burning, pressing down pains in the urethra and all but the last in the ureters; frequent desire to urinate; tearing and burning in the ureters while micturating; interrupted flow and dribbling.” The urine is often heavily loaded with the red sand sediment and pus. The specific gravity is high and the reaction alkaline.

There is no other remedy so often indicated for babies suffering from renal or vesical calculi. My first case of this kind made a deep impression upon me and upon an old school friend of mine who also studied medicine with me, under the same preceptor. This friend graduated at Yale. He had a patient presenting the above group of symptoms, whom he had treated for over three months. The patient was the doctors nephew and eleven months of age. The babe was given a powder of the 30th trituration four times daily, just before feeding. No change was made in the diet or otherwise.

The case cleared up completely in three weeks. My friend then remarked, “According to your law this same medicine will produce these calculi in a healthy person. Will it?” With some trepidation I replied, “Try it.” HE thereupon gave some from the same bottle (Boericke and Tafel 30th.) from which we took the medicine for the baby. He gave one grain to his own daughter, ten minutes before each meal and at bedtime. The urine was examined daily for a week before the drug was given. It was also examined daily after she began to take it. The drug was continued for six days.

Day after day for seven days the doctor repeated. “Nothing doing. It cant be done.” On the eighth day the report was: Quality reduced one- fourth, specific gravity increased, color much darker.” There was not much change from the above for four days more, but on the thirteenth day from the time she began taking the drug, the doctor brought in a bottle of the urine and exclaimed, “Its my feet.” There was a large amount of the red gritty sediment. It was six days after this before the urine became normal.

Our literature abounds in reports of such cases. The make- up of the child is scrawny, poorly nourished and constipated for the general symptoms. “Crying out of the child before and during the act of micturition” is the ranking symptom. Over forty authorities have given it.

Cystitis:

Most of the symptoms given under calculi are found in this group. In fact, I have never met a case of cystitis which had not been preceded by renal calculi. The calculi were the cause. I have never found Lycopodium indicated or useful in acute cystitis.

Nephritis:

Our remedy is very rarely useful in acute nephritis. The only case I remember helping with it, was one in a girl of eleven, who had made a slow recovery from scarlet fever. We had otorrhoea and a very bad throat during the attack of scarlet fever. A few weeks after, as a result of exposure to cold, there was pain in the region of the kidneys; albumin; scanty urine with pain on voiding; gas in the stomach and abdomen. A few doses of the 30th, cleared up this case.

For chronic nephritis it is more frequently needed. In addition to the usual symptoms of Brights disease, the Lycopodium patients suffer from the flatulency and constipation of the remedy and ascites. I am sure that this last symptom is frequently overlooked, because of the accompanying distention of the abdomen from flatulence.

Sexual Organs.

MALE:

Impotency in the male is a condition recorded by fourteen of our authorities. Most of them five old age and excessive venery as the cause. To these I want to add a third cause, viz., fear that they may be impotent because of the fact that they were masturbators during their boyhood. I have had several young, newly married men come to me because they had found themselves impotent. Some of them had waited for months before seeking advice and assistance. In none of such cases has Lycopodium failed to secure the desire result. Fear of impotency in young men is as marked as indication for Lycopodium as fear of the same condition in old men is for Strychnia phos. I use the former in the 30th, the latter in 3x trituration.

Allen 2 gives gonorrhoea and cystitis as other causes of impotency. The former I have never verified. The latter is not an uncommon symptom of the group. Whatever the cause, we have the penis small, relaxed and cold. Occasionally we have wet dreams without erections. Melancholia is the mental state in all these cases. There is always them mental desire, but the physical impossibility of coitus.

FEMALE:

Vaginitis is the condition most frequently helped by Lycopodium. It is a peculiar form of vaginitis. Dryness is the ranking symptom. By dryness it should not be understood that there is no discharge. By my materia medica 42 there is reported a case which illustrates my meaning. The three symptoms which led to our remedy in that case were the annoying flatulency, the extreme dryness making sexual intercourse excruciatingly painful and a discharge of dessicated blood.

Since publishing this case I have had three other similar ones. In the majority of cases there is an absence of the normal vaginal moisture. In a few cases there is a more or less profuse, acrid leucorrhoea.

Dysmenorrhoea is mentioned by three of our writers. I have found the following symptoms calling for it: Severe colicky pains, marked melancholia worse before and during the menses; menses late and scanty; duration of period short; constipation and the abdomen enormously bloated for several days before the flow begins and greatly relieved as soon as it was well established. In a few cases the discharge was clotted.

Mucous Membrane.

The point to bear in mind of this sub-division is that while dryness is the most marked sensation, there is moisture present in a minority of cases, This is true of the mucous membrane of the mouth and throat. Sticky mucus is found in the mouth, especially in the morning, although the patient says the mouth is as dry as a chip. In tonsillitis and diphtheria which call for Lycopodium, follicles and pseudo-membrane are in abundance, also much salty saliva. In the nose we find the same sensation of dryness, even when there is mucus enough to plug the nostrils and cause difficult breathing. Ulceration of all sections of the mucous membrane is found, usually superficial.

Blood.

Anaemia frequently exists in these conditions. Loss of weight and decrease in the number of red blood cells seem to go hand in hand. Although the patient usually has an enormous appetite and may take sufficient and proper food, the digestive organs fail to properly digest and assimilate it.

Diphtheria, which I class among blood conditions, calls for Lycopodium in a small percentage of cases. The symptoms are as follows in most of them. The membrane usually begins in the nose and spreads to the right tonsil. The membrane and discharge so occlude the nose as to make breathing through it impossible; great swelling of the throat, often oedematous; spasms of the throat causing regurgitation of food and drink; constriction of the nose, throat and chest; great apathy, often stupor; albumin and large deposits of “red sand” in the urine, which is often scanty and at times wholly suppressed. The discharge from the mouth and throat is often bloody.

Dr. A. P. Hanchette, of Council Bluffs, Iowa, used this remedy with wonderful success in an epidemic several years ago. He used the 30th trituration. [*See my Materia Medica, page 93.] Twelve of our authorities report its use and many more have reported cases successfully treated by it. The potencies used range from the 6th to the 6m.

Typhoid Fever: A careful study of the reported cases of this disease seems to prove that our remedy is called for in those slow low types. The abdomen is also distended that one may suspect perforation of the intestines; the rumbling of flatus is great; the urine passes involuntarily and stains the bed clothes red; constipation is always a symptom; unconsciousness; muttering; delirium; carphologia and twitching of muscles. No other remedy than the one under consideration can save such cases. Muritatic acid comes nearest to it, but has diarrhoea instead of constipation. Flatulency is not marked in muriatic acid.

Scarlet Fever:

I have found it useful only in those cases in which the nose and throat symptoms corresponded to those given under diphtheria.

Lungs.

Bronchitis is mentioned by ten of our authorities and pneumonia by sixteen. All agree that the bronchitis is of the chronic form and the pneumonia of the sub-acute. Some vouch for it in pulmonary tuberculosis, especially when developing after pneumonia. Nash 36 says: “Lycopodium has often saved neglected, mal-treated or imperfectly cured cases of pneumonia from running into consumption.” Lilienthal 22 says: “Typhoid or neglected pneumonia, with continuing hepatization and purulent sputa; pneumonia with raising of mouthfuls of mucus at a time, sputa of a light rust-color; and cough loose, full of deep sounding, as if the whole parenchyma of the lung were softened; fan-like motion of the nostrils.”

I would add to Lilienthals list, profuse night-sweats; rapid emaciation; and congestion or inflammation of the liver. The right lung is the affected one in nine cases out of ten. I find that Lycopodium follows Chelidonium well if the liver has been or is a complication of the pneumonia or bronchitis. Many of the stomach and abdominal symptoms are present in these cases, especially the constipation and flatulence.

The higher and highest potencies are the best for these conditions. Great care should also be taken of the patients diet. Fruits and fats should be given in abundance. Hagees Cordial of Cod Liver Oil has been of good service in many of my cases. It seems to improve the appetite and diminish the perspiration (night-sweats).

Aneurism: While not properly coming under this heading, though a part of the circulatory system, I will mention aneurism because of two cases I have had the privilege of observing. One was of the right carotid artery, treated by Dr. W. H. Dickinson. The patient was a male, forty-two years of age, with the typical Lycopodium make-up. Dr. Dickinson gave the 30th trit. five grains, morning and evening. Although the recovery was not as rapid as in others reported, it was remarkable and all the annoying symptoms had disappeared in three months. The other was of the right sub-clavian artery in charge of Dr. A. O. Hunter, who used both the 30th and 12th trit. Hughes27 speaks very highly of it for this condition.

Brain and Nerves.

Brain: Hydrocephalis is the only pathological condition for which I can recommend Lycopodium. The ranking symptom for this group is drowsiness. I have used it a few times for chronic hydrocephalis. In one of these cases there were convulsions. It was in a child twelve years old who had typhoid fever. There was the peculiar hydrocephalic cry and the drowsiness and on account of this cry I had given Apis, because in addition, there was scanty urine. Apis in various potencies failed to produce any results.

One day the childs mother mentioned the fact that there had been scanty urine and every few days a heavy sediment in the urine. I then gave a dose of Sulphur, high and put the patient upon Lycopodium 30th, with most gratifying results. Hahnemann 22 and Kent 30 both praise it highly for this condition.

Melancholia and hypochondriasis are two conditions which have been reported as helped by our remedy. Twelve of our authorities mention these two conditions. Melancholia in women is always worse just before the menstrual period. With this form of melancholia there seems to be the inclination to be alone. The presence of company most always aggravates and very often irritates the patient.

Mental Torpor is found in many patients suffering from the liver conditions of the remedy. Loss of memory and forgetfulness are two other symptoms quite prominent in the mental group. In writing, the last syllable or the last word of a sentence, is often forgotten. People also frequently use the wrong word, saying things directly opposite to what is intended.

George Royal
George Royal M. D, born July 15, 1853, graduated New York Homœopathic Medical College 1882, served as president of the American Institute of Homœopathy, professor of materia medica and therapeutics, and also dean of the College of Homœopathic Medicine of the State University of Iowa.