These remarks are a bid for table talk rather than any attempt at scholastic description of the remedies mentioned. It is simply personal experience, and personal experience in materia medica means a good deal more to me than any dry-as-dust compiling or second or third hand rehearsals. The best way to be come acquainted with the homoeopathic materia medica is to use it, always with a good eye to similitude; first prescribed and then managed according to the familiar principles necessary to obtain the full benefit of action and reaction between remedy and vitality. These few unusual remedies and the tales thereof are such as any experienced homoeopath could give, for each one has at least a few favorites that are little known to others. Although the bulk of the work is done with 150 to 200 remedies the occasional step outside the familiar group is just as important as any one of the others. What follows here is what comes to mind before it is time to stop.
I will violate the title right at the beginning and speak of a rather unusual use for a perhaps too familiar remedy, viz., Aconite. It is very helpful in certain conditions of advanced age. Many people of advanced age have learned to regulate the garrulous tendency of an earlier stage of life so that what is expressive of Aconite is to be observed more than heard. They become too silent, appear to be brooding over something, to sit in sad thought, occasionally rising and going to another part of the house with no particular aim. Asked how they are, they will shake the head sadly as having some secret which should not be disclosed.
Take them out for a ride or some little change in the open air and they brighten up for awhile. But the sadness returns, is worse in the evening, and they may even flush up and have a little circulatory quickening. They retire at evening only to wrestle with their secret, are restless and sleepless and do not stay in bed well. If you are diplomatic enough they will confess that it is dread of the inevitable that bothers them. Beginning circulatory failure from sclerosis seems to be the mechanism more often associated with this condition. It is wonderful how Aconite will soothe and brace them up for weeks or months until some other remedy is needed.
Sometimes you are hurried to a home and find it all in confusion. One or two relatives are at the bedside while others come and go from the other rooms weeping and wailing. You look at the patient and see that he is dying, he has suddenly collapsed. The skin is cold and covered with a dreadful cold dampness, the extremities especially have become icy cold. The face is pallid but not deathly yellow, the pupils are dilated, the respiration consists of an inspiratory jerk forced by the muscles of the throat.
The tongue sticks up like a board and is forced out with each inspiration. There is no pulse-better not stop for the heart beat-the nails are purplish, the ear lobes also and there is a general purplish flush of the skin. You might as well attend a hanging. It is a collapse from some severe strain, such as asthma. You pull out your Carbo veg. or your Ant. tart. and get not the slightest response. You must hurry now with a certain remedy or he will be gone; or he may have passed on before you arrived.
The remedy is Adrenalin and I have never used anything but a single dose of the 200th. The last case I had like that was a young man subject to asthma, whom I had never seen before. He came back gradually to conscious agony and through his asthma into comparative comfort in about 20 minutes. He became more comfortable than he had for days but dropped dead 24 hours later.
A remedy for some night calls and one to preserve the integrity of the office hour is Bilis insipidus. Now you surgeons need not think you should monopolize the entire polypanparacholy- cystitic arena. The materia medicist can make up just as big words and often make a better clean up of that area than the surgeon. In the first place why expect to have any but surgical findings when the liver function has been smothered with morphine? It is better to get a repertoire of remedies both in the mind and the handbag if one really desires to put the temptation to operate behind him.
The writer has become too worn out on this and allied so-called surgical subjects to boast, but he can truthfully say that in his following there ar scores of patients who had multiple diagnoses of gallstones who have not had another attack from one to twenty years back after a little homoeopathic treatment. There have been a half dozen or so operated cases and one with the stones just peeping through the musculomembrane but no fatalities, post-surgical or otherwise. The homoeopathic tenderfoot should remember that a gallstone patient must have one more attack, usually, if the first has been smothered with morphine.
The Bilis insipidus patient is one that the surgeon will have his way with if he can get at it. The patient is one who has been a little jaundiced for quite a while before the colic has arrived. He is depressed mentally and physically. The attack consists of cutting pains upward or downward and a constant dull heavy pain besides. There is a sensation in the epigastrium “as though something had stopped.”
The patient keeps in slow motion whether on foot or while lying and keeps trying both. There is cold, clammy perspiration and the hands and feet are cold. There is soreness, of course, and it is centered at the usual location of the gall bladder. A little soreness may have been noticed there for a long time. The condition is probably cystic more often than of a duct. The patient gives the impression, quite theoretical, perhaps, of one intoxicated with her own bile. A feature of the improvement which follows this remedy is the conspicuous mental brightness and the freshening up of the complexion.
There is no literature of Bilis insipidus so far as I know. It will not be used very often but occasionally is good help as aforementioned.
Sulphur, used in the right way, will cure about seven out of ten diagnoses of gallstones if you can get them before they reach the operating table. It is remarkable how the diagnosis will improve after the attacks have ceased.
A word about China. It is both a pre-operative remedy and an operation prophylactic. When used according to Hoyle it either finishes up the case that has relapsed after other remedies, or puts the patient in better shape for the necessary operation.
Mercurius dulcis. I mention this remedy in relation to catarrhal deafness merely to say that in my hands the remedy was mostly a failure until I began to use it in very high potencies, the 50M or CM. That way it has worked much better.
I suppose a remedy for coryza and hay fever is too insignificant to be mentioned in a scientific program in these days of gross pathology snatching (surgeons please do not look so solemn), but Phleum pratense will save some people a trip to Maine. Make no mistake, though, if the cases are studied individually it will be seen that red top, I think it is, will be needed only occasionally, for if the symptoms are garnered thoroughly some better known remedy will usually arrive. It is in demand more often during the warmer months and the affliction is of good seizure, being more of the hay fever type. One great peculiarity and perhaps its greatest excuse for selection is that the patients, so far as known, to me at least, are quite innocent of distinctive symptoms. A few symptoms which have run through my cases are these:
It is aggravated by ragweed and will cure patients who do not respond to Ambrosia.
Wheezing often accompanies.
The discharge is bland, less often acrid.
It is aggravated by dust, hay, odors of flowers, etc.
They almost always complain of the eyes, the itching being very troublesome and worse in the cool air and disturbing or preventing sleep.
A young woman with about all of these symptoms came to me Sep. 17th and gave afterward some other symptoms:.
Depressed, weeping without apparent cause.
Sensitive to cold; cold feet.
Craving sweets, sour, salty things.
Faint stomach at 4 p.m.
Aversion to open air, relieved by activity.
Menstruation short. Constipation.
Psoriasis of six months duration covering the hands and forearms but fairly smooth at the time, being partly suppressed by some ointment.
Phleum prat. 200th was given. In eight days the hay fever had gone and the psoriasis had come out and was truly a mess with its crusts and cracks. Sac. lac. was continued faithfully and at last report the left hand and forearm were practically clear and there was but one area on the right that was not crusty at all. I suspect failure, however, at least with Phleum because the eruption had appeared first on the left then on the right and the disappearance was going on in the same direction. Sulphur will probably be needed to overcome the suppressive tendency, especially as it corresponds to the other general symptoms and is an antidote to Phleum itself. But I am letting it run because the lady feels and appears so much better in general.
A remedy that I hesitate to speak of because it is quite unorthodox, having no proving nor any literature that I know of, and prescribed more on imagination, perhaps, than anything else, is Carcinoma. In the rare instances where I have seen it act is has produced marked constitutional benefit, leading me to think that it might equal the other nosodes if its peculiarities could be brought out.
Those of us who observe chronic conditions especially, sometimes get a patient who is ailing but presents very scanty or superficial symptoms. The tawny appearance of the skin, the disinclination to any sustained activity, a slight but persistent debility, the lack of any definite symptomatic trend or cause otherwise, would, I believe, justify one to think, at least, of Carcinoma. For I have seen such people, especially before middle age, respond beautifully, complexion and all, to that remedy.
One such, a girl of six years who had been under my observation from birth, was a sleep walker and always talking and singing in sleep and very restless. She was brought in with a quite solid lump under the right nipple, the nipple being retracted. The family, which was large, was always full of ailments of all kinds and someone was always needing an Iodide, a Mercurial or some remedy of the sycotic or syphilitic class, although there was no special history of either the parents or grandparents.
I gave this girl Carcinoma 200th and the entire trouble cleared, lump, night disturbance, complexion and all; she has been very bright and happy since that prescription of a year and a half ago.
Another remedy that I speak of with diffidence because I know so little about it is Syphilinum. I doubt that anyone knows very much about it in comparison with its range and possibilities of application. You may and should study it from the books, yet there will be places to use it that do not correspond with the books and you may sometimes have to go contrary to some outstanding symptoms in the books. The books have relief of bone pains in the legs by cold but I prescribed Syphilinum recently for very severe bone pains that were aggravated by cold, and with immediate result.
Many times, even when it is most needed, its symptoms do not stand out in bold relief like some other remedies. Just the same it is often needed not only in non-acute conditions but in acute conditions that are severe, complicated, rapid paced or persistent. You can get a good deal of suggestion from the literature but it needs something more than that because the little indications right in the midst of severe illness are unobtrusive, and masked from the unsuspicious prescriber. It is a suspicious and sly remedy itself and must be matched with the same readiness to discover. Acute rheumatic fever is one of the favorite places for it to lurk, for instance.
The subject of Syphilinum is too big and too enticing to be permitted here. But I would suggest that it is a sort of preposition remedy, a go-between (symptom influence) which carries along the more immediate or obvious symptomatology. Look out for it.
I will just mention one instance where Syphilinum did good work in a chronic case. A maiden lady of interesting personality and a unique and intelligent wit was married at the age of 42. She had a regular cycle of symptoms slowly shifting from throat to ear, to bronchi or trachea or a tooth, etc. Also pruritus vulva with boils, one thing after another. She had an intense heat or burning of the entire area between the waist and knees so that she was unable to be covered at night even in the coldest weather nor sit in a chair but a few minutes at a time. This appeared to be of trophic origin and her knee reflexes were feeble. This and an intense sensitiveness of the genitals, internal and external, had been going on for a year or more before marriage, and after marriage there was found to be a persistent and intractable vaginismus.
I prescribed with care but could not do much more than ring around the rosy with her varying symptoms. Finally she became much depressed, at times hysterical, then suicidal and watched chances to slip out at night to drown herself. Her kind and patient husband now of eleven months standing and waiting for normalcy was getting desperate. For genuine affection had always bettered the self instinct. Just then yours-very-cordially saw a great light and prescribed Syphilinum, Gradual improvement began and when two weeks had passed the lady took matters into her own hands. She volunteered to have a long dreaded tooth extraction and the initial marital operation performed, which was done, all in forty-eight hours. There has been rapid and general betterment ever since, even the neighborhood-in fact, the whole state of Connecticut is now vastly improved.
Do not repeat so long as improvement is perceptible. In acute attacks of cholera, colic, croup, etc., it may become necessary to repeat your remedy every few minutes or hours, according to the severity of the case, while in chronic disease the intervals may be extended to days, weeks or months; indeed, many brilliant recoveries from inveterate maladies have followed the curative impulse aroused by a single dose of the highly potentized drug.
-A.R. MORGAN, M.D., 1895.