Apocyanum cannabium is said to be fatal to dogs, thereby getting the last part of its name, cannabium. It is sometime called Canadian Hemp, or Indian Hemp. This last name is apt to be confusing as it may be confused with Cannabis Indica, the hashish of India. The name Indian Hemp was given because in the early days the Indians used it to make cordage, fish nets and even a rough cloth from its tough bark. In homoeopathic literature it is often referred to as the vegetable trocar, thereby very aptly defining its chief sphere of action. It has so often been used empirically by loose prescribers for all dropsical conditions, that a careful study of its modalities may be well worth our while.
Apocyanum was first proven by Dr.Freitag in 1833, later in 1856 by John C. Peters who used large doses of the tincture. It was also proved in the 3rd. potent by Dr.,. Marcy. The provings of the drug are incomplete and little is known about the mental symptoms, most of which are clinical.
In trying to visualize the Apocyanum patient we expect to see a low-spirited, nervous, bewildered patient, with a bloated face, dropsical, hydrocephalic, with hydrothorax and abdominal ascites, and very likely rheumatic. In infants there is hydrocephalus, with restlessness, involuntary movements of one arm or one leg, harsh dry skin, thirst, but water is soon vomited, urine nearly suppressed, bowels loose, perhaps with involuntary movements.
The chief modality here is the patient is cold and craves heat. Arsenicum craves heat and water in small quantities and does not vomit it when taken in that way, it has a real prostration not present in the APOCYANUM patient. Apis must be ruled out by the desire for heat but diminished, the skin is dry and can not perspire, he drinks plentifully but the water all goes to dropsy of the cellular tissues, cranium, chest, scrotum, etc. These dropsies are apt to be preceded by a rheumatic fever. The joints swell and pit on pressure as in Apis, but again that modality of heat will distinguish the two.
Do not carelessly overlook this one symptoms because it predicates the patient ad is of far greater value than any particular. Another peculiar Apocyanum symptoms is that the bloated face is relived as soon as the patient sits up.
There is amenorrhoea in young girls with dropsy in the abdomen and legs, metrorrhagia, continuous or paroxysmal, which may go on till they faint if they raise their heads from the pillow. These haemorrhages are often followed by a dropsical condition for which the routinist is very apt to give China instead of Apocyanum. Here we may have to eliminate Phos., Ipecac. or Secale; and here again, you must remember the picture of the Apocyanum patient, worse from cold, weak, pulse almost imperceptible, dyspnoea when lying, dry skin, thirst for water which is soon vomited. There may be a loose cough with rattling or wheezing that makes you think of Antimonium tartaricum.
The materialists have used this remedy in the tincture or infusion until it, like Dig. and Gels., is not often considered in the higher potencies. To my way of thinking a large percentage of its value is lost by this method of using the drug. Personally I prescribe it in potencies not lower than the 200th. and from that up. In conclusion let me say the if you have never used it above the 3rd., try my way not he next clearly indicated case you come across, and I believe you will be gratified with your results.
The third great mistake which the homoeopathic physician can not too carefully avoid in the treatment of chronic diseases, is the too hasty repetition of the dose. This haste is highly indiscreet. Superficial observers are very apt to suppose that a remedy, after having favorable acted for eight or ten days, can act no more this delusion is strengthened by the supposition that the morbid symptoms had shown themselves again on such or such a day, if the dose had not been renewed.- HAHNEMANN.