Let us now study a few remedies which cause and cure itching of the skin caused by the abnormality of other tissues or organs than the brain and nerves. Left which, in the second edition of his Index of Symptoms, page 79, gave sixty-one conditions in which the word itching or its synonymous formication or tingling appear. The list includes diseases all the way from anaemia of the brain to worms. Among them may be found drug rashes and arsenicum poisoning.
W.L.Kitchens in his Symptoms and Diseases Applied, states on page 105, Part II, that general itching of the skin is found under twenty diseases. Among these are carcinoma of the common duct and haemolytic jaundice. On page 531, Part IV, Dr.Kitchens puts general itching of the skin of the skin and enlarged liver, also jaundice, under the head of catarrhal jaundice and then adds, stools clay colored. Then, under cardiac decompensation he gives enlarged liver. The above shows that itching may be a prominent symptom of conditions of the liver, varying from a simple irritation to a most profound structural change.
Mrs. B.E., grandmother and mother of healthy children. There had been menorrhagia during all her menstrual life. After the menopause, she was object to severe attacks of epistaxis, which was controlled only by plugging the nostril with cotton saturated with common table vinegar, one part vinegar to two parts of water. Three years ago I was called in haste because a dish had fallen on her head and cut a blood vessel. She had bled till she failed. Tying the artery and a diet for anaemia, plus Phos. 30th restored her to normal in seven months. About eighteen months later I was called and secured the following: “Beginning about two weeks ago I began to itch all over but more on my legs and feet. That has grown so much worse that I have not slept for three days and nights. I itch worse when undressing for bed or dressing when I get up.
Also, worse the two damp days of last week.” The skin and white of the eyes were light yellow, and there were little red spots on the legs and arms. The urine was loaded with bile. The patient said, “The stools are changeable, soft and hard, but almost white”. She ended with, “I must get some sleep tonight or I wont be here tomorrow”. I wrote a prescription for four ounces of chloroform and sweet oil, equal parts, to be applied to the red spots. I gave Natrum sulph. (B.& T.) 30th, five disks three time daily. Her diet to be mostly fruits and vegetables. She was herself again in six weeks. She used the chloroform and oil only three nights. The Natr. sulph. was continued, at longer intervals, for nearly four weeks. I have used Nat. sulph. in the 12x and 30th with success in many cases, but more for functional changes.
I have never been able to cure a patient of carcinoma of the liver though I have had several, including the case of my former partner, DR. A.M. Linn, who suffered intensely from itching insomnia, and rapid prostration. Post-mortem revealed carcinoma of the duct which was completely obstructed by three nodules. Nothing by way of drug therapy or artificial feeding seemed to check the rapidity of the course in Dr.Linns case.
In only one case have I been able to prolong life and allay pain in carcinoma of the liver.
Mrs. M.G., age 42, with history of cancer in three generations; mother of healthy children; with good personal history until three years ago, when there developed pain and soreness over the liver, after an injury. The pain was at first an ache, but later burning. Some vomiting, green and bitter, followed; then jaundice and intense itching. The stools were dark and watery. Seven months after the injury, there were burning pain in the pelvis and a surgeon operated for ulcers of the cervix. The wound never healed and a vaginal-urethral fistula followed. She then took Kochs treatment, but without improvement. Two months after the operation she came into my hands Ars. alb. 6x (B. & T.( internally and a solution of the 1x and water, equal parts, externally gave some relief to the thing, the burning and also diarrhoea. She lived nearly eight months after the Arsenicum treatment was given.
Mrs. B.N.W., age 74, dark, swarthy skin, sluggish temperament; F.H.good; P.H. “Always had liver had uterine trouble”. Patient gave the following, “Dr. A.M.Linn was my doctor until he dies. He used to give me Sepia 30th. I had some on hand and took it, but it does not help this time. My bowels became constipated, with hard and large stools, also light colored; then I began to bloat; then dull pains about my waist; worse on right side; then the skin became yellow, also the whites of my eyes; then a tight pain from the liver to pubis; and last of all a feeling as if everything would fall out. This time there is a new symptoms, a most violent itching, with a few pimples all over my body, and the more I scratch the more I itch.”.
Chelidonium, 3x (B. & T.) on disks, five, every three hours. six doses daily, cleared up the case. She took the Chel. five days. The itching was the first symptom to yield.
Sepia. Two years ago last spring a tall, slender, dark skinned woman came in with: “Doctor, give me something to stop this terrible itching or I will go crazy.” When asked for the location, she answered, “Everywhere, on my face, joints, body, but worst on my abdomen, low down to the pelvis. You remember I have had brown spots all over me before, but never this itching. My mother insisted it was my sluggish liver and six weeks ago had me take sulphur and molasses. It has made me neither tetter or worse. Scratching does no good, but I do scratch and make sores. Sometimes I think hot water makes it better, then again cold, either helps a little. The spots are worse on my abdomen. My bowels are always constipated. They were loose while I was taking the sulphur, but have been worse than ever since. I want to get off by myself and cry.”.
She was given Sepia 30th (B.& T.) tables, five in a glass of water every third morning. This restored her to normal, but not to a well woman. I had known her for twenty-three years and she was never in good health. She always complained about her liver.
Croton tig. T.F.Allen says Croton tig. is “a powerful drastic purge”, and compares it to Jatropha and Gambogia in this respect.
Allen also says: “When applied to the skin it produces an eruption of small pustules with inflamed areolae.” Boericke, under skin, has “feels hide-bound, intense itching, but scratching is painful.” Douglas says, “Croton tig. Any form of eczema unaccompanied with disease of other organs; watery diarrhoea, gushing our forcibly; excessive itching, but the patient cannot bear to scratch very hard or it hurts; a mere rub suffices to allay the itching.” Dearborn, page 353, writes: “Croton oil applied to the mucous membrane or the skin excites a catarrhal inflammation. Given internally it seems to have an elective affinity for the skin of the face and external genitals, producing a dark red erythema, vesicles and pustules, accompanied with corrosive itching, smarting, burning, tickling and other pruritic sensation. These are worse night and morning, from waking, touch, washing and exposure to air.”.
The only use I have made of Croton tig. is for poisoning with poison ivy, and eczema. With the former I give the 3rd of of diluted carbolic acid, two drams to a pint of water, applied to parts involved. For the eczematous patients, I give the 30th internally and a solution of the 3rd, one part to one hundred parts of water, locally. Next to the itching the urgent, watery, gushing stool is the ranking symptom of the group.
Arsenicum alb. Many of my diabetic patients have come to me and stated that though the amount of sugar was no larger than normal, yet for some unknown cause there was much more itching of the entire body, also that the skin and mouth were a good deal dryer than usual.
Such patients (including myself) always secure relief from the itching (which changes to burning on scratching) by Ars. alb. in potency suited to each individual.
Arsenicum bromatum will often excel the Ars. alb. in relieving the pruritus of the diabetic patients, who have syphilis as a complicating factor. I have used it only in the 1x, five drops in a teacup of water, three times daily.
Arsenicum alb. The two of the many conditions of the kidneys in which I have found itching a marked symptom are chronic interstitial nephritis and uraemia. In these, again Arsenicum alb. ranks first in frequently and effectiveness.
Ammonia carb. is the second in rank for Des Moines patients, due to the sudden rise and fall in temperature which causes patients of Ammonia carb. type, who are very susceptible to atmospheric changes, to suffer uraemia.
T.F.Allen says “Ammonia carb. is indicated in uraemia with the characteristic symptoms of the drug”, and Boericke gives these characteristic symptoms as follows: “Frequent desire; involuntary at night; urine white, sandy, bloody, copious, turbid and foetid.”.
In addition to what the patients usually call “a fresh cold”, I have found Ammonia carb. of great value for patients of low vitality when the eruption is caused by measles, scarlet fever, chicken or smallpox, and fails to appear at the proper stage or time, and there is a violent itching and the eruptions of the skin as ranking symptoms of the uraemic group. For the many cases I have had, the 3rd has always been used, and repeated at hours intervals, one to two hours.
Hydrocotyle: J.H.Clarkes gives it as useful in the following conditions: “Acne rosacea, elephantiasis, ichthyosis, lupus, follicular inflammation of uterus, pruritus of vagina.”.
T.F.Allen had the following: “Spots almost circular, with raised scaly edges. Yellowish spots on legs. Erysipelatous redness. Papules on face. Pustules on chest. Pricking on different parts, itching in several places.” Above in italics.
Under clinical be hives: “Suppurating lupus, lymphatic tumors, leprosy, elephantiasis, psoriasis, and dry eczema” as either cured or exfoliation of the epidermis is a strongly marked indication for its use (|Kreos.)”.
Wm. Boericke3 has the following in italics:” “Heat within vagina.
1. Dictionary, page 924, vol.I.
2. Handbook, page 458.
3. Materia Medica, page 384.
Glandular ulceration of womb. Great thickening of epidermoid layer and exfoliation of sales. Intolerable itching, especially of soles.” Boericke names the following conditions in which some or all of the above have been prominent, “Pruritus of vagina, psoriasis gyrata, acne, leprosy, and elephantiasis.”.
The three conditions for which the patients entrance complaint was itching and that I have successfully used Hydroc. in, are pruritus of the vagina, psoriasis and elephantiasis.
The pruritus case was a woman. Married, two children, age 37, dark skin. F.H.cancer in two generations. P.H.suffered with a profuse leucorrhoea since puberty, always had pimples on face at menstrual periods, also pimples and vesicles on inner side of thighs. But of late the skin on the soles of feet has grown thick and cracks appear between the toes and on the heels. “These cracks are painful but I could stand that were it not for the terrible itching of both feet and around the vagina, worse on feet.” Questioning failed to secure anything about the gastric or intestinal canal. She was given Hydrocotyle, B.&.Ts 30th, five (5) drops on disks night and morning. She was also to use a solution of one part of Hydroc. to ten parts of water as a douche and topical application night and morning.
Graph. first came to my mind but the results of the quizzing soon caused me to decide for Hydroc.
The improvement was slow, but without any other treatment she became normal. Yes, better than normal because she was cured of her leucorrhoea.
A psoriasis case with a dry skin generally and profuse thick scales on elbows, legs and feet, with intense itching, was sent to me by her physicians, who said Sulph, and Ars. alb., high and low had utterly failed to make an impression. This case was cured by Luyties Hydroc. the 6th, five drops on disks. before each meal and at bedtime for two weeks, then once a week for two weeks, Her physician wrote up the case for me, I never saw the patient.
Elephantiasis of the scrotum very pronounced, and of the feet less pronounced with “no itching of the feet compared with that of the scrotum” was greatly improved by a course of Hydroc. the 6th.
The scrotum completely cleared up and remained so, but the swelling of the feet, and especially the itching will return now and then without any known cause that we can find.
Rumex crispus. Dearborn mentions Rumex under prurigo and urticaria but gives no symptoms.
Douglas gives the following for prurigo: “Itching better from warmth, contagious prurigo.”.
Bartlett, page 617, Vol. III, has: “The utility of Rumex appears to be limited to acute tracheitis with hyperaesthesia of the mucous membrane of the larynx and trachea.”.
T.F.Allen has : “Prurigo worse from cold, better from warmth; excessive itching on undressing. Chronic urticaria. (compare Rhus tox., Caust.)”.
Wm. Boericke has: “Intense itching of skin, especially of lower extremities; worse, exposure to cold air when undressing. Urticaria; contagious prurigo.”.
I am including Rumex because of the large number of my patients which it has cured. The make-up of the Rumex patient is of all varieties. The symptoms are, according to my experience, INTENSE ITCHING, caused by cold air both when undressing for bed or when undressing for bed or when getting out of bed. The “better from warmth” I have never found in this group but often in he respiratory organ group. I use the 3rd and 30th. People of the mid-west call contagious prurigo “prairie itch”.
Carbo veg. is like Rumex in a few symptoms but unlike it in a great majority of symptoms, vix., the Rumex patient (skin) is never seriously sick, while the Carbo veg. patient (skin or otherwise) is always seriously sick; the skin symptoms of Rumex are seldom accompanied by those of other tissues, while those of Carbo veg. are always accompanied by other conditions like carbuncle, gangrene, etc.; the Rumex itching is aggravated by cold air while the Carbo veg. coldness is aggravated by cold of any kind; the cough of the Rumex patient is better from warmth, and the coldness of Carbo veg. is better from warmth.
Use B. & Ts 1M or higher.
My purpose in presenting the articles on pruritus and prurigo is not to present a complete study of either condition and remedies used, but rather to give the authorities to which the reader used, but rather to give the authorities to which the reader may go for further information. I have given many of the tissues or organs effected so that our principle of elective affinity may be applied.
DES MOINES, IOWA.
An invaluable piece of advice the master gives us concerning the examination of patients, its to let the sufferer tell of his pains, sensations and so forth, without interruption, for, he cautions us, if the patient be questioned before he has told his whole story he may, through confusion or timidity, forget some essential symptoms. Another equally important suggestion is to note down in writing all that falls from the lips of the patient, relating to his symptoms, and these, he counsels us, to take down as much as possible in the patients own words in the order given. Subsequently his statements may be corrected or corroborated by the attendants or friends.
The master also particularly warns us, not to put leading or suggestive questions; or, in other words, we are to avoid making inquiries which may be answered simply in the affirmative or the negative. It may be necessary, unless the patient be in danger or in great distress, to defer prescribing until some of the effects of the medicine have passed away. Every one of these suggestions is worth its weight in gold-aye, a hundred fold more-as the observing homoeopathic daily realizes.-PROSPER BENDER, M.D, 1895.
Let us then say it-emphatically, loud and frankly-that the determining symptoms may appear in many respects to be insignificant and unimportant, and let us proclaim it to be a requisite condition, that in proving drugs and in examining patients, the insignificant are not to be neglected, but even to be noted and regarded with especial care.- PROF. DR.J.HOPPE, 1864.