RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE ELEMENTARY SUBSTANCES


The periodic law in chemistry reveals that the properties of the elements both physical and chemical are periodic functions of the atomic weights; so that when the elements are arranged in the order of increasing atomic weights, similar properties recur periodically, as we proceed from one end of the array to the other.


A study of remedy relationship has several methods of approach, for the similarity between groups springs from several sources. Just as the similarity and the complementary relationship between Belladonna and Calcarea carbonica originates from the abundance of the salts of lime existing in the earth where the deadly nightshade grow, so is the relationship between Pulsatilla and the Kali group brought about by the wealth of potassium salts in the soil where the wind-flower thrives. Carbon exists in the pure state only as a diamond.

It is comparatively pure in lampblack or carboneum. The source of carbon determines its action. Hahnemann used principally three carbons, Carbo animalis, Carbo vegetabilis and Graphites. The first, derived from the animal kingdom, using bones as the source, contains necessarily some phosphate of lime. Carbo vegetabilis, obtained chiefly from a variety of the beech tree, contains some potassium carbonate. Graphites is contaminated always with iron. Conversely, the Agaricus never grows where there is coal; hence we find no relationship between Agaricus and the Carbons.

Another source of relationship between substances is the transmission, through the product derived from the animal, of the habits and characteristics of the creature, into the prover. Thus the jealousy of the bee, the coiling of Lachesis from left to right, the constricting power of serpents in general, the leaping and running and the sudden surprise attacks and retreat of the Tarentula hispanica, are all carved deeply into the provings. Psorinum, a product of psoric soil, is linked closely with Sulphur, the king of antipsorics.

It is written in the Talmud that “the things above are as the things below.” In a broad sense all matter is related, for fundamentally all matter is proton. The proton proper, nucleus of the hydrogen atom, is primeval inertial mass, while the electron, planetary particle of the hydrogen atom, is matter solely by virtue of its proton content, its component subprotons suspended in the atomic process.

There are ninety-two kinds of terrestrial atoms, hydrogen being the simplest and lightest, uranium being the heaviest and most complex, and ninety others in an ascending scale of atomic numbers and atomic weights between these two. Each atom has from one to ninety-two exterior planetary electrons, and the number of these electrons determines the position of the atom in the table of elements. Thus an atom with one planetary electron is an atom of hydrogen. Eight planetary electrons identify the oxygen atom, nine fluorine, ten neon, and thus on up to uranium with its ninety-two electrons as planets.

Fluorine has an atomic weight of nineteen, being thus a synthesis of nineteen hydrogen atoms, with nineteen protons in the nucleus, and ten nuclear electrons serving with the nine exterior electrons, to keep the atom in a state of electrical neutrality.

The nucleus of the atom contains all the protons, and the total number of protons represents the atomic weight, the weight of a single proton being regarded as unity. Since the weight of the electron is relatively insignificant, the nucleus carries practically the entire mass of the atom.

The nucleus as a whole is positively charged, consisting of two parts; an inert core containing half the protons neutralized by an appropriate number of electrons, and apparently taking no part in the chemical behavior of the atom; the remainder of the protons grafted in some way on the neutral core, active, with their positive charges and contributing to the electrical behavior of the atom. The number of these active protons is always equal to the number of revolving planetary electrons. It is these planetary electrons which determine the chemical properties of the atom.

The atomic number of an element represents the number of active protons in the nucleus, and is usually about half the total number of protons, being sometimes less than half, and there can be no fractions. The atomic number is therefore about half the atomic weight, this number at the same time representing the number of planetary electrons.

The periodic law in chemistry reveals that the properties of the elements both physical and chemical are periodic functions of the atomic weights; so that when the elements are arranged in the order of increasing atomic weights, similar properties recur periodically, as we proceed from one end of the array to the other.

As far back as 1829, Johann Wolfang Dobereiner, a German professor of Chemistry at Jena, had drawn attention to the existence of certain approximate numerical relations among the atomic weights of elements that possess strikingly similar properties. When these similar elements are arranged in sets of threes, and if in each triad the three elements are placed in the order of their atomic weights, the middle element was shown to have an atomic weight almost exactly equal to the arithmetic mean of the other two, and exhibited properties intermediate in character between those of the other two elements.

Thus lithium is 6.94 and potassium is 39.10, the mean of which is 23.02 and the atomic weight of sodium is 23. In the triad calcium, barium and strontium, calcium equals 40.07, barium equals 137.37, the mean of which is 88.72, and the atomic weight of strontium is 87.63. The triads of chlorine, bromine, iodine, and sulphur, selenium and tellurium offer similar evidence.

These facts, of whose precise significance we are still ignorant, forcibly suggest a relationship among the elements similar to that prevailing among the paraffins in organic chemistry, for the paraffins all have analogous properties, and their molecular weights form also an arithmetic series.

In 1862 De Chancourtois conceived the idea of arranging all of the known elements along a helix, each element being represented by a point, whose distance from some fixed point as measured along the helix, was numerically equal to the atomic weight of the element. He chose the unit of measurement, to be used in laying off the positions of the various points, so that a difference of 16 in the atomic weights of two elements corresponded to a complete turn of the helix. He then endeavored to show that similarity in properties in any group of elements corresponds to some principle geometric relation among the representative points. Chlorine, bromine and iodine, for example, are represented by points that lie sensibly upon a straight line parallel to the axis of the helix.

In 1864, Newlands published two papers in which he exhibited the elements in a tabular array, following approximately the order of increasing atomic weights, but not without some slight transpositions. He pointed out that the elements in his scheme fall into groups, and he compared the members of each group to the notes composing one octave in music, referring to the regularities as the “law of octaves.”.

In 1869 Mendeleeff presented a paper before the Russian Chemical Society wherein he disclosed the manner in which various properties of the elements change with the atomic weights. He concluded that the measurable properties of the elements do not, as a rule, increase or decrease continuously as the atomic weight increase, but that they exhibit a species of periodicity, increasing and decreasing alternately, though apparently not with sufficient regularity to admit of representation by a definite mathematical expression.

In 1870 Lothar Meyer, independently of Mendeleeff, published a paper on the same subject in which he demonstrated that the periodicity of the atomic volumes of the elements is especially marked, atomic volume being defined as the quotient obtained by dividing the atomic weight by the specific gravity of an element in the solid state. The atomic weights of the elements in Meyers diagram are laid off along a horizontal line or axis, and the corresponding atomic volumes are placed along a vertical line, a series of points being obtained corresponding to the respective elements, through these points a broken line is drawn, and in proceeding along the line from left to right, the different elements are passed in the order of ascending atomic weights. There are five regions in the diagram for which we possess no acceptable data concerning the specific gravities in the solid state, and for which therefore the atomic volumes remain unknown.

The broken line exhibits a marked tendency to vary in height in a periodic manner, now rising to a strongly accentuated maximum, and again sinking to a minimum. At the highest points in the diagram are the metals of the alkalis, sodium, potassium, rubidium and caesium, which exhibit a striking similarity in their physical and chemical properties. In passing down the line to the right of these elements, the first points located are those corresponding to magnesium, calcium, strontium and barium, which also form a group with marked similarity in their properties.

Moving downward from the highest points to the left, the group comprising neon, argon, krypton and xenon are located in corresponding positions, being characterized by their singular chemical inertness. Beyond these on the left lies the fluorine, chlorine, iodine, and bromine group; and next beyond these lies oxygen, sulphur, selenium and tellurium. Many other singular correspondences are observed on the diagram, and as it highly improbable that these are merely accidental, the conclusion is obvious that some fundamental unity either of structure, material, or internal motion, pervades the substances that we call the elements.

The arrangement of the elements in tabular form by Mendeleeff and by Meyer also, brought clearly into display their relationship and similarity. There is a division of the elements into nine groups, each being entered in an individual column. There is also a division into twelve series, each being represented upon one horizontal line. The atomic weights increase in passing across the table from left to right. The elements in any one column are similar to one another in many respects, the resemblance being in some cases quite striking. A proper position for hydrogen cannot be found in the table.

Copper, silver and gold, are entered in both the first and the eighth groups, this being so because of the doubt as to their true positions. The similarity between the metals that compose the eighth group is so great, that the necessity arises for their arrangement in groups of threes or fours, (depending on where we place copper, silver, gold) each little group of this kind being considered as lying upon one and the same horizontal line of the table. Between cerium and ytterbium in atomic weight there are a number of closely allied metals, the metals of the rare earths, which do not fit well into the periodic system in any natural manner, and are therefore omitted form the table. In any given group the resemblance between the elements of the even series (2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12) is greater than their resemblance to the elements in the odd series of the same group.

The full significance of Mendeleeffs table cannot be understood without an exhaustive study of the chemical department of the elements so classified. The arrangements into groups has been consummated through a study of the properties as a whole, embracing melting points, boiling points, density, malleability, spectra and magnetic properties, basicity, acidity, valence, as well as the colors and heats of formation of their salts. Other physical and chemical properties have likewise been examined in the light of the periodic law, and the arrangement of the elements is that which best represents the entire mass of relationships.

A study of the elements in the same vertical column shows their similarity to each other in valence, base- forming properties and so forth. Lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium, and caesium are all univalent, from strong hydroxides, and nearly all their compounds are characterized by ready solubility. Moreover the free metals all react violently with water, displacing hydrogen. It can be no accident that an arrangement in periods of nine brings these elements in the same vertical column to constitute a group., It can be no accidents, too, which places sulphur, selenium and tellurium in the same group.

Proceeding from lithium to the right, the chemical and physical properties steadily change. The base-forming property decreases from lithium to fluorine, but with sodium this property returns to full strength. Beginning with sodium, the base-forming property again decreases until potassium is reached, demonstrating the properties of the elements to be periodic functions of their atomic weights.

There is a steady change of properties vertically as well as horizontally in the table, the density, for example, as well as the metallic character, increasing from above downward in any given vertical column.

The modern explanation for the phenomena summed up by the periodic law is that the atom is a system of very small negative electrons in a relatively large sphere of positive electrifications, that the atomic weight is proportional to the number of electrons in the atom, and that the stable arrangements of electrons are in a general way periodic functions of the number of electrons to be arranged. The properties of the elements changed with increasing atomic weights, and this change is a periodic one, so that similar elements occur again and again as the hours repeat themselves in different days or the seasons in different years.

A study of the periodic table reveals the close relationship in the pathogenesis and symptomatology of elements which are closely allied in physical and chemical properties.

GROUP I-THE ALKALI METALS.

The alkali metals in Group One act as the univalent cations of salts in the lithosphere as well as in the organism. Our study of salts in the lithosphere as well as in the organism. Our study can be restricted to lithium, sodium and potassium, because rubidium and caesium bear at present neither physiologic nor pharmacologic significance. Lithium is not vital to life, and has much less reactive power than either sodium or potassium.

A study of the carbonates of these elements yields the most comparative picture, for in these salts we can find most purely the characteristic properties of the alkali constituent.

The radioactivity of potassium characterized by the emitting of beta-particles or rapidly moving electrons, is a property not possessed by any other constituent of the organism.

KALI CARBONICUM.

Kali carb., like all the potash salts, enfeebles the system and produces anaemia. The constitution of this salt is characterized by chilliness, sluggish circulation, weakness and relaxation of muscles and a tendency toward oedema. The vegetative symptoms corresponds in general to an increased excitation of the parasympathetic nervous system, called a state of vagotonia. The rapid physical and mental exhaustion is accompanied by irritability.

Kali carb. is one of the cold remedies, a characteristic of all compounds with cation preponderance. Being sensitive to cold, he seeks the warm room. Besides coldness in general, he feels cold in single parts characterized especially by neuralgias, the pain shooting here and there, especially in the cold parts; by the application of heat, the pain migrates to other parts. This rapid shifting of pain in general is characteristic. Profuse sweating in general on slight provocation, is evidence of parasympathetic stimulation.

The pale, cold, and puffy skin with bag-like swelling between the eyebrows and the upper lids, the sleepiness after eating dependent on circulatory weakness, the anxiety and vague apprehension felt in the gastric region, the giving out of the legs and back on walking, the predominantly sticking pains, which are contrary to Bry. aggravated from lying on the affected parts and being also aggravated from becoming cold, the improvement from moving around and the change in location of the pain by applications of warmth, and the spasmodic and choking cough coming on between three and five in the morning, are distinguishing characteristics. The distended feeling in the stomach and abdomen with eructation and gas accumulation accompanied by the feeling of coldness and the aggravation form cold drinks and after eating is similar to Carbo veg., this being so because the plant charcoal contains some potassium carbonate.

NATRUM CARBONICUM.

The Natrum carb. type is characterized also by chilliness, yet there is intolerance to heat of the sun. There is, too, physical relaxation and a state of mental exhaustion, together with digestive weakness.

Like the Kali salt, the coldness of Natr. carb is characterized by sensitivity to the least draft. The chilliness, headache and palpitation are ameliorated by eating. Music causes melancholia and crying. He awakens about five a.m. with weakness and hunger. The extreme weakness of the joints of the feet causes easy stumbling and spraining of the ankles. The face is pale with puffy lids and dark circles under the eyes. The tendency to sweating on the painful parts, and from the slightest exertion, is similar to Kali carb.

The predominance of symptoms referable to the respiratory system with Kali carb. contrasts with Sodium carb. where the digestive organs are more profoundly involved. The derangement of the digestive system is characterized by acid eructations, severe heartburn, distension, and pressure in the stomach as from a stone, all the symptoms being worse after eating, and better after food has left the stomach, while the general symptoms, such as chilliness, headache and palpitation are improved by eating. Cold drinks aggravate. Milk and vegetables produce diarrhoea. a peculiar symptoms is the sensation of hunger at five a.m. and eleven p.m.

Kent has summarized both remedies in saying that they are useful in “old dyspeptics with constant eructations, sour stomach and rheumatism; the bent back is weak, sensitive to cold, their digestive and rheumatic-gouty complaints become worse from change of weather.”.

LITHIUM CARBONICUM.

Lithium carb. is of great value in the treatment of rheumatism and gout, especially acute arthritic inflammation of the small joints. It is useful also in irritation of the bladder with dysuria where the urine is scanty and acid. In the provings we find that there is frequent urination which disturbs the sleep, and burning in the urethra. The urine is turbid with a reddish-brown sediment. The rheumatic-gouty component which Lith. carb. shares in common with the other alkalis should be noted. A gradual stiffness develops over the entire body. A characteristic of the cardiac complaints is that they are worse before micturition and cease after it.

The dyspeptic symptoms in particular show the alliance of Lith. carb. with the other alkalis, especially Nat. carb. There is gnawing and uneasiness in the stomach, with a feeling of fullness in the temples, and headache. The headache, as with the Natrum salt, improves after eating. The fullness of the stomach makes this region sensitive to even the slightest pressure. The acidity of the stomach is prominent.

GROUP II-THE EARTHY ALKALIS.

MAGNESIA CARBONICUM.

In a study of group two comprising the earthy alkalis we note that Mag. carb. is relaxed and sensitive to cold, as are all the alkalis and earthy alkali carbonates. And in Nat. carb. the relaxation is associated with great sensitivity to contact, cold air and cold water. In general there is a tendency to chilliness and emaciation (later in contrast with the Calcareas and offensive greasy night sweats. As with Kali carb. the relaxation involves a great part of the musculature. There is sudden weakness in the extremities. The neuralgias of Mag. carb are darting, tearing and boring, while the pains of Mag. phos are usually spasmodic.

The pains are worse during rest, so that he is compelled to move about. Cold and contact aggravate while warmth and firm pressure relieve the pains. The severe pains in the nerve trunks of Mag.carb are worse at night, as with all Magnesium salts, and are relieved by moving about. These neuralgias appear chiefly in the head and face, particularly at night. The toothache occurs at every change in the weather, and is worse before the menses and during pregnancy. As in the Calcium salt, Mag. carb. has much acid in the gastrointestinal canal with sour taste, sour eructations, sour vomiting, sour belching.

In the diarrhoea of children, the entire child smells sour, and the stools are sour. As with Calc., milk passes through undigested; the stool is watery and contains tallow-like clumps, probably due to the saponification of fats by the earthy alkalis. The green appearance of the stool like a scum in a frog pond is characteristic of Mag. carb. Diarrhoea prevails, but also hard, crumbly, dry stools, difficult to evacuate are noted. Constipation is more characteristic of Mag. mur. The menstrual blood of all the Magnesium salts is dark and tar-like. Characteristic of the carbonate is that the blood flows markedly at night, and ceases when walking. Many complaints exist before and during menstruation.

MAGNESIA MURIATICA.

Mag. mur. has the same modalities as Mag. carb., but has also features which show its relationship to Nat. mur. The headache is relieved by firm pressure and warm covering, corresponding to the usual Magnesium modalities. The stools resembling sheep dung are so dry they crumble in emerging from the body. This syndrome is merely incidental in Mag. carb while with Mag. mur. as in the Natrum salt it is a strong indication.

Mag. mur acts powerfully on the liver. There is jaundice with a grey-white stool, with enlarged indurated liver, and a pressing pain in this region made worse by lying on the right side. There is always evidence of biliary stasis.

The menstrual blood is characteristically black. During these episodes fainting is common. The urine can be voided only by pressure on the abdomen, indicating an atonic state. Cardiac palpitation appearing on sitting and disappearing on motion is a characteristic of Mag mur.

MAGNESIA PHOSPHORICA.

Mag. phos. is a nervous, easily exhausted, thin, dark individual who is sensitive to cold in every form. It affects chiefly the right side. The neuralgias come and go suddenly, in severe attacks. The attacks of pain are often periodic. coming chiefly at night. The spasmodic character predominates, especially in the gastro intestinal tract and uterus, but the characteristic neuralgias are sharp, cutting, sticking, piercing, the site changing often and rapidly. The abdominal colic is relieved by bending double, by pressure and external warmth. On becoming cold, the attacks of pain are renewed. These modalities held in general also for the dysmenorrhoeas. The cutting, drawing, pressing, cramp-like intermittent pains are relieved when bleeding occurs; the improvement from warmth differentiates Mag. Phos. from Pulsatilla.

Joseph L. Kaplowe