Published through the courtesy of Dr. S. L. Guild-Leggett, Syracuse, N. Y.
Zincum is one of those peculiar metals, antipsoric in character, that enter deeply into the life, and make a profound impression upon the nervous system. It is long-acting, affecting the body profoundly.
It has a wonderful effect upon assimilation. The general vital functions seem to be impaired or lowered. It so obstructs the natural order of development of disease, that it prevents the throwing outward of such manifestations as have a natural tendency to go outward, as in measles, scarlet fever; there is an inability to develop the disease symptoms. There seems to be an enfeebled vitality, a lowered tone to the system, a sluggishness in the nerve centres.
Such being the case, we observe that those constitutions are feeble; we see feeble children with pallid skin; we find feeble circulation in the skin; it is unhealthy looking; there are torpid secretions from the skin; there is dry skin.
We find in Zincum, accompanying this pallid, nervous, weakly, sickly constitution, a lack of reaction from general conditions; a lack of vital reaction; sluggishness; slow convalescence. Such patients are deeply impressed, deeply shocked, and yet with this sluggishness, there is over- excitability of the nervous system; there is increased sensibility or sensitivity of the patient to pain and distress of all kinds.
Early in the proving there were rending, tearing pains throughout the body, radiating from the spine centres, shooting downward. Zincum, then, is an over-sensitive, weakly, delicate patient, one who suffers from reflex nervous irritability and cardiac weakness. It produces the highest order of hysteria, going even to great emaciation; nymphomania, with extreme sexual excitement, an inability to resist masturbation; protracted sleeplessness, and paralysis.
It affects the brain to great extent, producing great nervousness, loss of sensation, motion, slight and hearing.
The patients are extremely fidgety, particularly about the feet; the child, woman or man will keep one foot going all the time, pat, pat; or still another will keep the foot swinging. This peculiar fidgetiness of the feet is found in various nervous conditions.
There is involuntary discharge of urine and stool, with weakness of the sphincters; loss of tone of the sphincters, such as appear in the lower types of brain trouble; involuntary discharges with great weakness; the last stages of cerebral and spinal disturbances. There is involuntary urination when coughing.
I once cured an eleven-year-old child of a troublesome involuntary urination. The mother gave the following symptom: She said to her daughter while in church, “Why dont you keep your foot still?” Her daughter replied, “Mama, if I do I shall lose my water!” I observed that the feet were going all of the time. Zincum cured the involuntary urination and made a healthy, rugged child.
It is easy to make a routine prescription upon a keynote, such as “restlessness of feet,” but sometimes it is wisdom to think further. A lady came to my office with extreme restlessness of the lower extremities. “Well, I think, “that is pre-eminently Zinc.,” but do not stop there. Upon further inquiry I find that a few days before she had been out in the rain and “got very wet.” “Where, your feet?” “Oh, no! My feet were protected, but my head got very wet”.
That sounds like Bell. I must see if Bell. has restlessness of limbs. Sure enough, Bell. has it, and Bell. cures without further trouble.
The extreme sensitiveness of Zincum is like that of Nux vomica, and yet the two remedies are inimical, because of much alike. This is one of the mysteries of inimical remedies. One would suppose that as they are similar, they would become antidotal, but there are instances in which very similar remedies are inimical. In Nux vomica the patients are sensitive to all manner of treatment, the highest potencies excite symptoms rather than effect a cure. The over-worked and over- excitable belong to Nux vomica and Zincum. Opium and Sulphur when there is lack of action, inaction from well indicated remedies. There is in Opium a diminished sensitivity. This is natural to Opium.
In over-sensitive patients, all sorts of medicines are proved; first, they have a slight amelioration, and then they prove the remedy. They apparently “take” the remedy as a child “takes” measles, or scarlet fever. Give a remedy to one of these sensitives after working upon the case days and nights, believing it to be the remedy most similar to all the symptoms of the case, and find that although the symptoms for which it was prescribed are gone, the symptom of the drug has appeared, and you get a proving. The sensitives prove everything with which they come in contact; they prove Rhus, they prove roses, golden rod, or turpentine if they venture to approach within hailing distance of those substances.
They are most difficult to prescribe for, they need most careful selection, and not too high a potency; the 200 or 1m. are much better suited to them, especially in the earlier prescriptions. They are difficult cases for the inexperienced to treat. Healthy persons are benefited by homoeopathic aggravations and provings, of course with proper selection of the individual. Improperly selected subjects have been made invalids for life, viz., the Rubini of Naples in proving Cactus g., and the Thuj. provers.
It is not easy to recognize these subjects in the beginning. A pallid, extremely excitable, nervous, fidgety man or woman is to be suspected. Women, who have had much trouble, are lean, have wrinkles, and are extremely excitable, are wonderfully relieved by Silica, when the symptoms agree, it gives tone, it has a tendency to throw out the manifestations of disease, and it builds.
Zincum produces a profound impression upon the brain and spinal cord, bringing about many symptoms, mental and hysterical. It is suitable in conditions analogous to hydrocephalus, and hydrocephaloid complaints. After spinal congestions that may have come through the period where Bell. had ceased to help, where Hellebore had continued as far as possible, and the patient had reached a point of unconsciousness, where even patting the soles of the feet is not felt and the reflexes cease to respond, then loss of sensation in cornea, rolling of the head, paralysis of one hand or foot, or of all the limbs; involuntary stools and urine; at times with a paralysis of rectum that requires the fecal matter to be scooped out; constant motion of the jaw; twitching of the muscles of the face and eyes; screaming out with sharp pain, but the scream less piercing than that of Apis.
It is the termination of the stage that precedes death. In Hellebore the rending, tearing pains, radiating from the spinal cord, are relieved only by cold applications, while in Zinc. they are relieved by heat applied.
Zincum is applicable where there has been congestion of the meninges or cerebro-spinal meningitis, with Bryonia or Belladonna symptoms. Now, with the hot, flushed face, throbbing carotids, bright eyes, dilated pupils, spasms, full bounding pulse, intense heat, great restlessness and some thirst, if the trouble is not deep-seated Belladonna will be sufficient for its cure, but if the condition is deep-seated, if the trouble is tubercular, Belladonna will give no decided amelioration of the case, except to reduce the intense heat and restlessness. The
rolling of the head; the crying out in sleep; the jerking of the muscles; the tendency to unconsciousness, until the involuntary discharges of stool and urine come on, while yet the child can be aroused, in Helleborus. We have passed the stage where Belladonna, Bryonia, Gelsemium can be made useful. The Helleborus patient can generally be aroused, but he rolls his head night and day.
Now, both Hellebore and Zincum have grating of the teeth and motions of the jaw, but when the patient reaches that state where the reflexes are abolished, the Zincum is indicated. The paralysis is more profound, the child is pallid, ghostly and hippocratic.
After the dose of Zinc., there may be an aggravation of copious vomiting, diarrhoea, or sweating. If this is prescribed for, look for trouble. The case will need careful watching for several weeks before it will come about. No case was ever cured without a knowledge of sequences in the process of healing about to be described.
After several weeks of this unconsciousness, the child begins to be nervous and irritable, he rolls across the bed like a “hoop- snake,” he screams so that the neighbors hear him, and come in to see what is the matter, and why that miserable doctor will not give that child “an opiate” to stop his sufferings. There is no doctor between this and kingdom-come, who could wait, when a child comes out of this awful coma, without knowledge. The mother will say, “Doctor, my child is in constant agony, moaning, and groaning; cant you do something?” Dont take such cases if you cannot stand these anxieties; let them die a natural death. This irritability means the return through the veil of shadows, to recovery. At the return of the symptoms of stupor, it is time for another dose of appropriate remedy, it may be Zincum. When he begins to scream he is a good way from death.