It seems futile at this time of year to waste time in describing anything so familiar as Ranunculus bulbosus or common buttercup. But the origin of the drug Mezereum may be less well known. Mezereum is the name applied to the bark from a small shrub called mezereon which is widely distributed all over Europe and which belongs to a family of tough-barked trees, shrubs and herbs. Just before this shrub flowers in February and March the bark is gathered and from this is made the tincture, and in this connection it is interesting to note that its use is adapted to complaints coming on in the earliest months of the year. In the case of Ranunculus the tincture is made from the whole plant.
Mezereum seems to be a better known and more fully proved remedy than Ranunculus bulbosus. Mezereum is one of Hahnemanns antipsorics, is the vegetable analogue of Mercurius and one of its most important antidotes. Both Mezereum and Mercurius affect mind, skin, eyes, mucous membranes and bones in much the same way. They are both sensitive to damp, cold, and warmth and subject to the same nightly aggravations.
From the clinical viewpoint the only affections in which both Ranunculus and Mezereum seem to be useful are neuralgia, herpes zoster, and rheumatism. It is with the first of these only that this paper is supposed to with the first of these only that this paper is supposed to deal, and yet in order to get a fairly complete picture it seems well to run through outstanding symptoms in the usual order.
MIND. Mezereum and Ranunculus are somewhat similar in their mental symptoms. Both have depression similar in their mental symptoms. Both have mental dullness. Mezereum takes no pleasure in anything; nothing makes a real impression on his mind. Ranunculus finds mental activity very difficult while Mezereum has a poor memory.
Ranunculus is indifferent to everything and everybody and yet desires company, but is averse to talking; dares not be alone, is afraid of ghosts, is quarrelsome and irritable and restless, especially in the evening. Mezereum has a phlegmatic temperament and yet gets angry with others over very trifling things, and is too distracted to keep anything in mind for more than a short time.
SENSORIUM. Both drugs have dizziness with tendency to fall, but with this dizziness Mezereum has contracted pupils.
HEAD. Both have severe headache; Ranunculus more over the right eye, also a pressing headache in forehead and vertex, often occasioned or aggravated by change in the weather. Ranunculus also has a feeling of enlargement of the head. Mezereum has aching pains in the bones of the skull, and burning and itching of the scalp, and eruptions of various kinds. Ranunculus has only a burning pricking of the scalp but no eruptions.
EYES. In both remedies there is pressure in the eyes; in Ranunculus with smarting of the eyeballs and in Mezereum with dryness and a feeling of enlargement. Mezereum has ciliary neuralgia especially after eye operations. It also has neuralgia about the eyes, with the pains shooting downward. A very strong indication for Mezereum is a feeling in the eyes as if a cold wind were blowing into them.
EARS. Ranunculus has no important symptoms here, but Mezereum has one somewhat similar to the peculiar one just mentioned about the eyes. This is a feeling as if the ears were too open, as if air were blowing into them, and occasionally a sensation as if air went through the ears into the throat.
NOSE. Ranunculus has hay fever; Mezereum a diminished sense of smell, sneezing, fluent coryza with excoriation of the nose.
MOUTH. Mezereum has painful teeth which feel longer than normal, much toothache worse at night and better from drawing air into the open mouth. Both drugs have burning in the roof of the mouth and in the throat, though Mezereum has his to a greater degree than Ranunculus. Mezereum also has burning in the throat and pharynx which sometimes extends down into the oesophagus.
UPPER FACE. Ranunculus has spasmodic and whirling neuralgic pains in face and jaws. There is dry heat in the face and the cheeks are bright red. Mezereum seems to be much more used in facial neuralgia than Ranunculus. It has pains which come quickly and leave the parts numb, lightning-like pains coming from the right infraorbital foramen and extending to the temples and corners of the mouth. These pains come suddenly while talking or eating. During intervals between pains there is twitching of the muscles.
In comparison with this Ranunculus has a cramping, numbing pressure beginning in the left zygoma and spreading toward eye, temple, ear, and down neck to shoulder. There is occasional pressive pain in occiput, sudden stitches in side and sensation of ants running over the chest. The pains of Ranunculus are all worse from warmth, even worse from entering a warm room.