This drug, derived from the opium poppy of the Orient, has been in use since the drawn of civilization as a means of escape from the sufferings, toils and struggles of life. Through this use and misuse of opium and its derivatives we find its primary function, that for which it is most generally known, in the field of narcosis. Through the action of the homoeopathic law, then, we shall find that the indications follow in order, and that many of the complaints in which Opium is indicated are marked by a withdrawal from normal regulated activity and sensation, so that there is the state of inactivity, painlessness and torpor.
Opium is one of the most complicated substances in the materia medica. Chemical analysis has isolated mucilage, albumen, fat, sugar, the salts of ammonia, calcium and magnesia; eighteen alkaloids, among them apomorphine, codein and morphine; two neutral substances and meconic acid. Thus it will be seen that Opium potentially has a pathogenetic range that might affect any or every cell in the body, and that correspondingly it must have a wide therapeutic range.
Clarke tells us that: distinguished from a fully developed attack of apoplexy–absolute unconsciousness; complete muscular relaxation; pupils contracted to pin-point aperture; turgid, bloated, very red or bluish face; stertorous breathing; pulse slow and full. Death takes place by asphyxia, the heart continuing to beat after breathing has ceased.
Painlessness, inactivity and torpor have been noted above as characteristics of the drug. There is inactivity of the body, organs, tissues, cells, and most notably, of the mental state. Many of the provers developed, from the small doses, torpor, inability to realize their surroundings or to comprehend the places they were in. With this mental state may be found its development in deception, both self- deception and the very inability to be truthful. He can neither understand nor comprehend the actual location, condition or circumstances; he is deceived as to his own state in which he exists and in his own realization of it; his vision, taste and touch deceive him. There is a perversion of the senses with a strong feeling that the perversions are the true circumstances, and the very moral nature is affected so there is no impulse to express truthfulness outwardly.
There is paralysis of parts, organs or cells. We find this in the paralysis of accommodation of vision; paralysis of the intestines with flatulent colic (like Plumbum) with constipation like hard round black balls, or a diarrhoea which doubles up the patient. This diarrhoea may be brought on by sudden joy, then becomes involuntary. There is paralysis of the bladder, brought on by childbirth or from any other cause, with dribbling of the urine. In the mental state we find loss of will power to be the summation of the paralysis, inactivity and torpor which characterize the remedy, and this is manifest in sick conditions and in the addicts to the narcotic. Another manifestation of this paralysis is that all secretions are locked up. Healing is suspended in ulcers, and there is no feeling. Suppurations are painless and inactive. The paralysis and inactivity reach even to the ability to throw outward the manifestations of disease.
On the other hand, now and then the alternate state is manifest: pain, activity and exceeding nervousness–the very opposite of conditions produced in the majority of cases. With this inactivity we find constipation, yet in some of the provers there is severe diarrhoea and tenesmus. These patients are usually drowsy, yet at times the drug produces sleepless nights and increases sensitiveness to noise to the point where the tickling of the clock worries them and they must have it stopped.
These alternating states seem like two entirely unrelated reactions, yet they are parts of the same proving. Sometimes the excitability is the first to appear, then the quite state follows. These alternating states seem puzzling at first and blind one to the need for the remedy, but they are all part of the complete identity of the drug.
Opium is particularly adapted to the extremes of life, as is Baryta carb., to children and to old people; or to those who lose control of mental and muscular processes through intoxication, sudden emotional shock, or physical illness. This is another way of saying that loss of power to direct the will, through age or any other cause, is an outstanding indication for the remedy. We might say paralysis of the will rather than loss of will power.
There is paralysis after apoplexy; numbness and insensibility; they complain of nothing and ask for nothing; they lie half-dazed and want nothing; they say they are perfectly well (like Apis).
Voluntary muscles are excited, while involuntary muscles have lost all excitement; jerking, twitching, trembling; involuntary contractions of muscles. Trembling in whole body. Starts at least noise, even when unconscious. Convulsions from emotion, especially anger or fright; in children, from approach of strangers.
Complaints when the fear of the fright remains.
In child life Opium may be indicated in marasmus. The babys face is that of a little old person, with emaciation. The remedy may also be indicated in chorea and epilepsy with convulsions after emotional shock, especially fright.
In meningitis with hot sweat, when extremely sensitive to noise, light or odors. If also there is marked vertigo with fainting when attempting to rise from the bed; dilated or pin- point pupils which are very sensitive to light, paralysis of accommodation, with flushed, livid, purple or besotted face, cold sweat on the forehead and stupid look, with hanging jaw, the picture cannot be other than that of Opium.
Perversions of sensations are manifest in the sensation as if intoxicated, as if floating in air, that the bed is so hard (Arn.) or that the bed is so hot.
These patients are better from cool air; < from heat and from warmth of the bed or from becoming heated, but sensitive to cold air.
Opium ranks with Psorinum for use in conditions where seemingly well selected remedies fail to act. Opium stands among the highest of the “do nothing” remedies. The provings have periods of absolute rest from all appearance of symptoms, then the cycle begins again. This is perhaps the most important manifestation of the loss of ability to direct the dynamis to throw out the symptomatology in natural order, manifesting the very paralysis of the vital energy itself as well as in the various muscles, organs and cells.
Opium is perhaps one of the most striking examples of development of personality of the drug through the homoeopathic method of preparation, through its recording on the prover and the manifestation of the power of the homoeopathic laws. DERBY, CONN.