The name Lycopodium comes from the Greek words lykos, meaning wolf, and podos, meaning foot, so it is sometimes called Wolfs foot or more commonly club moss. The moss grows in all parts of the world, especially in the northern countries.
Lycopodium in mass, is a pale yellow powder, so very mobile that its behaviour is like that of a liquid when the vessel holding it is inclined from side to side. Under microscopic examination, each sporule is seen to be a roundish or nearly globular body, having three well defined facets on one side forming a short three sided pyramid. The surface presents a honeycombed appearance, and the angular edges of the pyramid are furnished with small projections, yellow in colour which resists the action of such solvents as boiling water and strong potassium solution.
Sulphuric acid does not affect in the cold even after prolonged contact. It affects the membrane, however, in a manner analogous to its action in producing parchment paper, for the pollen grains become transparent; at the same time numerous oil drops exude.
Trituration of the sporules alone, results in a darkening of the colour and increased consistency with evident greasiness of the mass.
To obtain an efficacious tincture of Lycopodium a previous trituration for hours, at first dry, and then with the addition of as much alcohol as is necessary to form a thick paste, will be found a great advantage. After this is done a sufficient amount of strong alcohol is added to make five parts by weight of alcohol to each part by weight of Lycopodium used. This preparation is allowed to remain eight days in well stoppered bottles, in a dark, cool place, being shaken twice a day.
The tincture is then poured off, strained and filtered. This gives a tincture of 1/10 drug power. One part of this tincture added to nine parts of alcohol and shaken with ten powerful strokes give a 2x. solution. This is one of the drugs which must be used in the higher dilutions and should be used at least in the 12x, or higher to obtain the full value of its healing properties.
Lycopodium acts powerfully on the vegetative system, depressing its action and causing slowly advancing weakness of functional power and decay of tissue. It acts especially on the mucous membranes of the respiratory, digestive, and genitourinary organs, and upon the skin, but shows its most important local action upon the liver and digestive tract, where it produces a disturbed digestion, hepatic congestion, constipation, etc., and upon the kidneys causing a “uric acid diathesis.” The lymphatic system becomes weakened and the glands, especially of the neck, are swollen and indurated and the skin is sluggish. The chief characteristic of the remedy is the excessive accumulation of flatulence in the abdomen.
Lycopodium acts favourably in all ages but especially upon old people and children. It acts upon people of keen intellect, but feeble muscular development, lean people leaning toward lung and liver troubles. Such people are apt to suffer form “uric acid diathesis” for which this is also a great remedy. The Lycopodium patient is sallow, sunken, with premature lines in his face; looks older than he is.
The children are weak with well developed heads but puny weak bodies. All are irritable and when sick awake out of sleep ugly and kick and scream and push away the nurse or parents. These temperament remedies are not always appreciated by those who do not understand the true spirit of our own art of healing; but when appreciated the skillful observer can often see the picture of the right remedy in the face and build of his patient before he speaks a word.
This is one of the leading flatulent remedies. There seems to be an almost constant fermentation of gas going on in the abdomen, which produces a loud croaking and rumbling. In Lycopodium this flatulent condition is very apt to occur in connection with chronic liver troubles. Again this rumbling of flatulence is often found particularly in the region of the splenic flexure of the colon.
A feeling of satiety is found under this remedy which alternates with a feeling of hunger of a peculiar kind. The patient sits down to the table very hungry, but the first few mouthful fill him right up and he feels distressingly full. This alternation of hunger and satiety is not markedly found under any other remedy.
Constipation predominates under Lycopodium and there may be a frequent and ineffectual desire for a stool which seems to be caused by spasmodic contraction of the anus which prevents the stool and causes great pain.
Lycopodium should be thought of in any troubles associated with chronic liver troubles especially if with much flatulence. The liver troubles of Lycopodium are more apt to be of the atrophic type.
This remedy has almost if not quite as marked action upon the urinary organs as upon the liver. It is the chief remedy for “red sand in the urine.” this is not simply a reddish sediment which is generally termed “brick-dust sediments” but is actual sandy, gritty sediment which settles to the bottom in the otherwise perfectly clear urine.
If this condition is not removed we have sooner or later renal calculus or gravel forming and terrible attacks of renal colic. In children this sand is sometimes found on the diaper after severe crying spells, and in the adult much pain in the back in the region of the kidneys which is relieved after the discharge of the urine containing the sand. No remedy helps these cases more promptly nor permanently than Lycopodium.
Lycopodium is also one of our best remedies for impotence. An old man marries his second or third wife and finds himself not “equal to the occasion.” It is embarrassing for the whole family. A dose of Lycopodium sets things right and makes the doctors a warm friend of both side of the house. Young men from onanism or sexual excesses become impotent. The penis becomes small, cold, and relaxed.
The desire may be as strong as ever or perhaps more so but he cant perform. Apparently hopeless cases of this kind have been cured by the use of this remedy. But it must be used in the higher attenuations; the same results cannot be obtained when used low.
Lycopodium affects the right side mostly, or left-sided troubles which began on the right side. Swelling and suppuration of the tonsils have been aborted more than once in old quinsy cases, by the early use of this remedy. Pains in the abdomen, ovarian and uterine regions also begin on the right side, running to the left side: right foot cold when the other remains warm.
Eruptions begin on the right side and travel across to the left. Sciatica the same; any complaint that begins on the right side and goes to the left makes me think of Lycopodium. The “sides of the body” subject is of more account than some imagine. Drugs have an affinity for particular parts, organs and even sides of the body.
Upon the respiratory organs this remedy also has a strong influence. It is one of our best remedies for chronic dry catarrh of the nose, which becomes completely closed so that the patient has to breathe through the open mouth, especially at night.
Lycopodium has often saved neglected, maltreated or imperfectly cured cases of pneumonia. It may even come into the latter stages of an acute attack itself, and here as usual the disease is apt to be in the right lung and especially if liver complications arise. The disease has passed the first or congestive stage and generally the stage of hepatization or is in the last part of this stage, and is trying hard to take a favourable turn into the breaking-up or third stage, the stage of resolution. Just here is where so many cases die, neither free expectoration nor perfect absorption of the diseases products taking place.
There is extreme dyspnoea, the cough sounds as if the entire parenchyma of the lung were softened; even raising whole mouthfuls of mucus does not afford relief, the breath is short and the wings of the nose expand to their utmost with a fan-like motion. Now is the time that Lycopodium does wonders. Again, even when this stage is imperfectly passed and the patient still coughs and expectorates much thick yellow purulent or grayish yellow purulent (sometimes fetid) matter, tasting salty, with much rattling in the chest, Lycopodium is indispensable.
The characteristic aggravation as to time, of this remedy, is 4 to 8 p.m. and this is not confined to any one set of symptoms, but applies to the whole body as well.
Lycopodium profoundly impresses the sensorium. We see by studying its pathogenesis that it depresses. This is found particularly in typhoid. The patient lies stupid, eyes do not react to light; lower jaw drops; apparent impending paralysis of the brain. This condition may also be found in the advanced stages of many of the acute diseases, such as cerebrospinal meningitis, pneumonia, etc.
Now if you get the 4 to 8 p.m. aggravation, this remedy surely comes in. But this depression of sensorium is also found in chronic forms. You remember what was said of this remedy in the impotence of old men. If you find a corresponding failure of the sensorium of old men, the memory fails, they use the wrong words to express themselves, mix thing up generally in writing, spelling and are, in short, unable to do ordinary mental work on account of failing brain power, remember Lycopodium.
Many more things might be written of this wonderful remedy but these are the most important points and if given when these conditions are found, will never fail you.