The first of a series of monthly lectures, given before the Summit Country Homoeopathic Clinical Society, Akron, Ohio.
In my first paper, which bids fair to be a series of talks, or lessons on Materia Medica, I want to outline briefly the relative values and classification of symptoms. They are:
Each of which is subdivided into three grades; or first, second and third degree. Now, get this classification and dont forget it, because it is vital, if we are even going to be able to take a case and by our analysis of its symptoms, determine which remedy is the similimum.
A General Symptom is one that belongs to the whole patient, a symptom that predicates the patient himself. As for instance, the patient says “I am tired of living–I want to die”.
A Common Symptom is one that we would naturally expect to find in the majority of the sick patients of any given disease, as, for example, the eruption in case of scarlet fever, or again, it is a symptom that appears in the provings of many different drugs; e.g., Constipation.
A Particular Symptom is one that stands out as unusual, either in the patient or his malady. As for instance, the 1 to 3 A. M. < of Arsenicum, or 4 to 7 P. M. < of Lycopodium, or the 10 A. M. chill of Nat, Mur.; but be careful, as there is an exception to these particular. They can become symptoms in general. We will take for illustration, burning. The patient has a burning in his stomach, but upon further examination, we find he has other burning symptoms, burning when voiding urine, burning coryza, burning around the anus, etc. Now that would make his burning a symptom in general.
I might go on still further and show you where symptomatology is a matter of “give and take” all the way through. That to be a good symptomatologist, one must also know etiology, and pathology and many other ologies, in order to properly classify the patients symptoms.
I said early in the paper, that symptoms were general, common and particular, and that each of these was classified as a symptom of the first, second and third degree. This degree is given to them so that we may give a definite value to them in determining the strongest drug for the given case.
In Kents Repertory they are classified thus:
(2) Confirmed by reprovings
(3) Verified upon the sick.
To elucidate further, I would say that a symptom which appears in all, or nearly all, the provers, which has been verified clinically at the bedside, is a 3rd degree symptom.
A 2nd degree symptom is one which has been brought out in a proving, or several provings, but has not been confirmed clinically, or it is a symptom which has been cleared up at the bedside by several observers but which has not been recorded in the provings of the drug.
A 1st degree symptom is one which has been recorded in the drug proving without any clinical backing.
Now, all these definitions could be elaborated and many more points brought out to illustrate the different divisions, and I will be referring to them in my future talks many times, but I think that I had best take up a remedy for the rest of this paper, because you are not all interested in these philosophical talks as much as you are in the materia medica itself.
Now, in this matter, I am going to follow along the lines of the man who I think was the best teacher I ever heard.
I refer to Frank Kraft, who for years was the editor of the American Homoeopathist, and who taught materia medica in Cleveland during the last few years of his teaching career.
His idea was to teach you the personality of the drug, or study it as you would a sick patient. I cannot claim any originality for the scheme, nor can I hope to equal the brilliancy with which he put his lessons across. All I hope to do, is to so describe a patient to you, that you will know that PLUMBUM is what he needs to cure him. This remedy was not proven by Hahnemann. The first proving we have, was given us by Hartlaub.
I am not going to give you the symptoms from the reports of poisoning from the drug, other than to say that they give you an idea as to the type of cases for which you will find it the similimum. Usually violent in all its manifestations, even to spasms. This violence runs all through the patient. In the head, violent delirium, or even epilepsy. In the teeth violent pain or violent decay of the teeth.
Violent inflammation of the eyes, face bloated and red (violent); violent odor from the nose; violent thirst; violent vomitings, violent colic, violent diarrhoea or violent urge to stool in the constipation. Violent urge to urinate, even strangury, suppression or retention. Violent erections in the male; nymphomania and abortions in the female.
Now, PLUMBUM has some strong and peculiar symptoms, so called “keynote” symptoms. One is the blue margin on the gums. Dont wait until you get the blue margin on the gums before you prescribe PLUMBUM, as that is only seen in your lead poisoning cases.
Another strong characteristic well worth remembering is the collapsed abdomen, retracted clear back to the spine, during the colic pains. Sensation of a string pulling back from the umbilicus; same sensation of a string drawing up from the rectum, in the diarrhoea of this remedy. Sensation of drawing up of the testicles. Still another characteristic is the thick, sticky nasal discharge, which has to be drawn back into the throat; cant clear the nose by blowing. Erysipelas of the nose, swelling of the face, one-sided.
Emaciated with dropsical swellings. Think of this remedy in Brights Disease, paralysis, epilepsy, anaemia, atrophy of affected parts, hernias, intussusception and obstinate constipation with impaction. Alcohol is an antidote in poisoning cases. Also dilute Sulphuric acid in five-drop doses, in the severe cases of lead colic.
The antidotes for the remedy when given homoeopathically are: Alumen, Arsenicum, Alum, Ant. crud., Bell., Cocc., Hepar, Kreos., Nux vom., Opium, Petrol, Platina, Sulph. ac., Zincum.
Dr. Allen reports a case of locomotor ataxia, patient suffering acute pains due to an acute exacerbation of the disease, in which PLUMBUM Iod. gave prompt relief after his failure to relive with PLUMBUM.
This is a remedy which is not given often enough by the homoeopathic profession and I believe a careful study of its symptomatology will repay us many times.
I never give it lower than the 200th, but I wont quarrel with you if you go lower, only give it simply and dont embarrass its action by various adjuvants.