The homoeopathist should have no specific remedies. He should individualise every case and for purposes of drug therapy ignore the disease name; but in practice we find that the name of a certain disease causes the mind to associate a group of remedies which have been useful in the past for that particular syndrome [ Conversely certain drugs connote special disease for which they are most often useful as Belladonna-scarlet fever, Pulsatilla-measles, etc.]; this is good in so far as the drugs in these groups have originally been carefully selected and will cover between them most of the cases.
The danger is routinism: that one neglects to look outside that group of medicines when none seems to cover the case perfectly. It is merely bringing discredit to homoeopathy to encourage our allopathic brethren to try out Belladonna for scarlet fever if in the next epidemic most of the cases are infected by a haemolytic streptococcus and require Lachesis, Crotalus, etc.
Now my object in writing this paper is to suggest some additional clinical uses for drugs that some of us are too apt to restrict to certain fields. I know myself to be a sinner in this respect and I suppose everyone trying to run a homoeopathic general practice is exposed to the same temptation, for lack of time.
One error which the beginner makes is to neglect the short acting remedies in chronic disease “because they are not deep enough”.
I remember one woman who came because of typical Bryonia rheumatic fibrositis. She also had marked ideas of suspicion. I gave her Bry. her pains were so like it. I remember saying, “Bry. has suspicion in top rank but I expect something else will be needed for those delusions.” However, Bryonia-a few doses at long intervals-removed both pains and delusions and the patient has been free for two and a half years now.
Another remedy whose deeper powers I early discovered was Colocynth. A tabetic with lighting pains was kept comfortable on it for months. Another was Nux vomica. One would give it at the start of case saying, “Something else will probably become indicated soon”, but the improvement went on for weeks and when another dose was needed it was Nux, and yet again Nux.
Now I must ask to bear with me while we wander through the materia medica in search of symptom which may suggest a clinical application of drugs not commonly associated with certain disease (in my mind at least).
Aconite has “Sudden excruciating pain in stomach with retching and vomiting of blood, gasping, cold sweat on forehead, white stood, red urine”. This suggests an impacted gall-stone and another Aconite symptom lends support: “stitches in the hepatic region hindering respiration”.
Ant. tart. had symptoms very like acute frontal sinusitis: “Stupefying tension over root of nose as from a band; pressive pain in the forehead, stitching extending down in to left eye; nosebleed followed by fluent coryza and sneezing”. And like stomatitis: “Mouth so sore can scarcely swallow, pain on moving the tongue, small circular patches like smallpox pustules in mouth and on tongue”.
Ruta does not spring to the mind for gall-bladder disease, but it has “Burning and gnawing in stomach; after food sudden nausea and repletion, dyspepsia from lifting heavy weights with eructations and headache. Jaundice and liver complaints. Quarrelsome and melancholy.” An interesting point here is that many of the “rheumatic” aches and pains which are helped by remedies like Rhus tox. and Ruta have as association with infected gall-bladders.
My thanks are due to my colleague. T.L. Gordon, for pointing out the superiority of Ruta to Rhus in many cases of sacroiliac strain. Ruta might also be thought of in gastric ulcer.
Mention of this condition reminds me of a point in connection with duodenal ulcer. The rubric in Kent, Pain in the stomach ameliorated after eating, is too restricted. After all it is a common pathological symptom of duodenal ulceration. Many remedies may help which are not in this rubric, such as Arsenic. alb., Nux vomica, Sulphur, Lycopodium and Ornithogalum. The first three have > from warm drinks and Ars. has > from sweet milk. Ars. is particularly well suited to this disease having all the restlessness, tension, and weakness which are commonly present in peptic ulceration.
Cadmium sulph. is another remedy which I would not well we without in duodenal ulcer. Kents tip for it, a cross between Bry. and with the vomiting and mental of Ars.
Cadmium also has crusting nasal catarrh, and asthmatic symptoms. Clarke in his Dictionary writes: “No remedy has served me better in ozaena and polypus. ” W.E. Boyd has pointed out the usefulness of the Cadmium salts in oesophageal stricture with substernal pain like Kali bi. I had one case which confirms this relationship.
Chamomilla is not often used for tonsillitis but Kent recommended it, where the pains were > heat and extended to the ears and the tonsils felt swollen. Of course the Cham. mental state should be present. The provings of Cham. suggest more pharyngitis than tonsillitis, and Kents > from heat must be a clinical addition. It is in marked contrast to the typical Cham. toothache > cold drinks.
A symptom which I only recently discovered in Chamomilla is “oedematous unhealthy skin, injuries suppurate”. This makes another point of contact with Sulphur.
Colchicum is one more remedy not often thought of for tonsillitis but it has a definite follicular inflammation of the tonsils. The gastroenteric symptom are remarkably like ars. but there is > from lying still, and marked nausea, especially from odors.
Looking over China I am reminded of the suicidal promptings which, to quote Gibson Miller, are “hidden, shamefaced, and mixed with fear”. China also has asthma, oedema and congestion of the lungs and tenderness of the chest wall.
Crotalus horridus is gaining steadily in my favor as one of the most valuable remedies we possess for combating haemolytic streptococcal infection and influenza. There is an excellent account of it in Herings Condensed Materia Media. The mental and general symptoms portray beautifully the debility and confused nervous depressed for weeks before the patient or doctor realises what is wrong.
In the very acute cases, too, Crotalus may save a life. This occurred several times in my practice last winter. For instance, a young man was ill until one dose of Crotalus 10M. was given with rapid amelioration. The most marked feature of the case was persistent epistaxis. If this occurs in a septic case it is hard to do better than Crotalus. But it may cure in the absence of epistaxis, and in our practice actually became the epidemic remedy for influenza last year.
I am indebted to my partner. T.L. Gordon, for his clinical observations on Crotalus and for another use of it, viz.: in axillary furunculosis where the boils are indolent, bluish and chronic. Hering prefers Elaps to Crotalus in otorrhoea. I have no experience of Elaps here but I know Crotalus to be effective in the otitis media of influenza.
On looking through the provings of Hepar sulph. I notice a symptom which Kent has omitted from his Repertory: Unusual hunger in the forenoon. It is in Hahnemanns proving in Chronic Diseases and therefore worthy of note, but perhaps clinical use has not confirmed it. I am also struck with the intensity of the loathing for fat in Hepar. It has both desire for fat and aversion from it but the aversion figures more prominently in the provings. Hitherto the desire for fat had predominated in my mental picture of Hepar.
Graphites has a group of symptoms very like Causticum. Evening hoarseness, pain, chest like raw flesh, spasmodic tickling cough. There is not the Causticum > from cold drinks.
Kali bi. runs very near to Graphites at some points: eczema capitis, blepharitis, stomach ulcers. On looking over Kali carb. I am reminded of the severe constipation, of the dyschezic variety, with piles. The weak cardiac muscles almost always present.
Ipecacuanha has an interesting mental state which might be summed up in the word “cynical”. Other conditions for which I do not use if often enough are ciliary neuralgia, intense inflammation of the eyes, and coronary thrombosis.
Ipecac suggests coughs and coughs suggest Drosera, but I suppose everyone is familiar with Dr. Tylers brilliant work with Drosera in bone disease especially where the tubercular diathesis is present. It would be a pity if Drosera were used only for coughs.
Another remedy not thought of in bone diseases is Stramonium which has an effect especially on abscesses about the hip joint with great pain. Hering also recommends it for septic finger. An interesting point is that Stramonium has a cough resembling whooping cough.
Of Lycopodium, that great polychrest, I shall say nothing except that it figures alone for Carbuncle of the chin, in Kents repertory. Stoneham reports a case where this site preference led to a rapid cure.
Hypericum, besides its invaluable power over injured nerves, has spasmodic asthma and coughs. I have seen it do good here, and it should be thought of especially when there is a history of injury.
I am afraid these few clinical points I have attempted to make will be tinkers news to the learned Hahnemannians present, but such as they are, I offer them with my sincere good wishes. GLASGOW, SCOTLAND.