It has been said that a physician who knows how to apply Lycopodium is already a good homoeopath. Therefore, it always intrigued me to live up to this statement. But Lycopodium proved rather reluctant to give up its secrets to me. Naturally, I knew the symptom, “Hungry but satisfied with two mouthfuls,” but this symptom did not occur often enough in my practice to justify considering myself a good homoeopath; nor did another symptom which I later learned to use, namely, that Lycopodium is indicated in a dry, exhausting, tickling cough with an aggravation at night.
In my desire to get a better understanding of Lycopodium, I thought it worth while to study it from a miasmatic angle, and I am giving you herewith a report on this study.
Hahnemann considered three chronic diseases or miasms, as he calls them, to be the cause of all chronic and acute illness. They are psora, sycosis, and syphilis. The tubercular miasm- which is of great practical importance-is not a basic miasm, but a combination of the features of psora and syphilis. We must understand that this does not mean an established tuberculous lesion, but rather a preliminary stage where the tuberculous toxins circulate in the body causing distinct subjective and objective symptoms, but where the tubercle bacillus is not or not yet found.
Calmette has expressed this conception when he said that, “It is necessary to admit the existence of a pre-bacillary virulent stage which precedes the tuberculous localizations, so that the bacillus discovered by Robert Koch in 1882 represents only one of the stages of evolution and is a resistant form of the tuberculous virus”.
As a general characteristic of the miasms, we can say that psora gives us no physiological changes of structure, another miasm must be present in order to procure a physiological change in structure or shape of a part of organ.
In the tubercular miasm, we find a sense of weakness, the least over-exertion exhausts beyond that which is natural, they are always tired, never seem to get rested. “I was born tired,” we hear them say. They are tired at night-tired even after sleep.
The sycotic has a specific action upon the uterus and its appendages, so that when we meet acute pain or acute inflammatory processes in this region, we seldom make a mistake in attributing the cause to sycosis.
It is syphilis that has a marked destructive effect on tissues, resulting in ulcers and a great deal of scarring.
A general characteristic of Lycopodium is that it has a depressing effect on mind and body and we will find that it has elements of all the miasms in it.
In the mental sphere, the psoric mind is over-active and we have a hypersensitivity to all impressions. The sycotic is cross, irritable, disposed to fits of anger. His memory is weak in certain things. The latent syphilitic is dull, stupid, heavy and obstinate.
The mind of the Lycopodium patient presents the psoric features to a marked degree. His intelligence is keen, he has an active and penetrating mind, but he has a feeble muscular development. The Lycopodium child is apt to have a precocious intelligence, a well developed head, but a feeble body. We find great anxiety. he is afraid to appear in public, yet he fears to be left alone. He is easily frightened, in a crowd, or meeting strangers, or when any unusual ordeal is about to take place. He is very emotional. He starts to cry when he sees an old friend, or meets a relative in the street; or when he is thanked for a service he has rendered. He gets despondent and despairs of recovery. He is afraid of the darkness, e.g., entering a dark room.
All these symptoms are clearly psoric. Yet the symptoms of his temper and his weakness of memory belong to the sycotic miasm; he is irritable, especially in the morning on waking, and he gets sudden outbursts of anger at the slightest contradiction; he forgets words, sentences, and previous lines that he has just read; there is a momentary loss of thought, and he loses the thread of the conversation.
When We consider now the head, we will find that the different miasms find their expression in different types of headaches. The psoric headache, usually frontal or temporal, gets worse as the sun ascends, and better as it descends. The pain is sharp, paroxysmal, and is better by warmth, rest or sleep. The tubercular headache is better by nosebleeds. We will find that the tubercular miasm in general has a pronounced haemorrhagic tendency. The sycotic headache is a vertex headache, it is worse at night and better by motion.
This latter symptom is typical for the sycotic miasm as a whole and we will find it again in the sycotic rheumatism which is better by motion. The syphilitic headache is at the base of the brain, is dull, heavy, persistent, probably caused by a meningeal effusion, and is worse by heat, rest and sleep. Syphilitic affections in general are better by cold.
How compare the Lycopodium headache with these? The Lycopodium patient is subject to periodical headache which are worse by heat and rest, and better by cold; he wants the windows open. The Lycopodium headache, therefore, represents the syphilitic type of a headache.
In the eyes we have great dryness, itching and burning in psora. The dryness is very characteristic of psora, we will find it again in the skin. The tubercular diathesis has a tendency to pustular diseases, as we find it in many cases of granular lids; styes also belong here. The chronic dilatation of the pupil in children is a tubercular sign. In sycosis we have many rheumatic troubles with the eye. In syphilis we are apt to get structural changes in the inner parts of the eye.
It is syphilis or the tubercular process that changes organs and gives us perversions of form or shape or size. Psora has many eye affections, but never a change in the structure of the eye itself.
The psoric pain about the eye is better by heat, the sycotic pain is worse by barometric changes, moisture, rainy or stormy weather, the syphilitic pain is worse by night and worse by heat.
In Lycopodium we find inflammation and redness of the eyelids, and styes. These symptoms belong to the tubercular miasm.
Regarding the ears, we can say that all organic ear troubles are either tubercular or syphilitic. The abscesses in the ear with offensive discharge have the tubercular background behind them.
Lycopodium has a yellowish, purulent, offensive ear discharge which must be attributed to the tubercular taint.
In the nose, we find that psora increases the sensitivity of smell so that patients are unusually affected by odors of any kind. We saw before that psora produces a nervous hypersensitivity. In the tubercular diathesis, we get a catarrhal discharge, thick, yellow, of the odor of old cheese, often dropping down in the throat. I mentioned before that the tubercular miasm has a tendency to pus formation and I also talked about its haemorrhagic tendency.
We find haemorrhage from the nose from the slightest provocation. In sycosis we find a stoppage in the nose which is due to a thickening of the membranes or an enlargement of the turbinate bodies rather than an accumulation of mucus. The discharge is yellowish-green, with the odor of fish-brine. In syphilis we get the destruction of the bones of the nose and ulceration with large thick crusts.
Lycopodium has a chronic catarrh of the nose with a thick discharge, as we find it in the tubercular miasm.
The taste may give us some important clues as to the underlying miasm. In psora the taste is either sour, sweet, or bitter; or just a bad taste; in other words, it is only a change of intensity from the normal. In the tubercular miasm we get a putrid taste, or the taste of blood. The expectoration tastes sweet, sometimes salty. In sycosis we find a putrid, musty, or fishy taste. All metallic tastes make us think of syphilis. Lycopodium has a bitter taste, especially in the morning, which would correspond to the psoric taint.
Morbid hunger or unnatural hunger is a very important and quite constant symptom of psora. Lycopodium has many symptoms in this respect: unnatural hunger, but easily satisfied, hunger at night, hunger immediately after a full meal.
Under the rubric, “Desires and Aversions,” the psoric patient has a craving for sweets. Psoric people like syrups, sugars, candies, while the tubercular craves potatoes and meats. It is noticeable fact that if the system is not assimilating certain things, they will crave that thing: e.g., the tubercular craves salt and has a longing for indigestible things like chalk, lime, slate pencils, etc. The syphilitic and tubercular patients prefer foods and drinks cold, while the psoric and sycotic individuals like them hot. The sycotic patient like beer, rich gravies, and fat meat.
A marked characteristic of the Lycopodium patient is his craving for sweets, which is a psoric feature, and so is the amelioration of the stomach symptoms by warm drinks.
We find the stomach symptoms mostly under psora. Most aggravations occur after eating: headache, flatulence, sleepiness, he cannot keep awake after a meal. We further find heartburn, sour and bitter eructations, and waterbrash.
We meet all these psoric symptoms in Lycopodium to a marked degree: burning and incomplete eructations, rising up to the pharynx with burning in the oesophagus for several hours. Irresistible sleepiness after meals, flatulent dyspepsia immediately after eating, the stomach is distended with gas.
Under the rubric, “Abdomen,” we find different forms of diarrhoea expressing typical features of the miasms. The diarrhoea of psora are often induced by over-eating, as the psoric patient is always hungry, or they occur from fright, grief, bad news, or when making preparation for an unusual event. Constipation is very marked preparation for an unusual event. Constipation is very marked, with a dry hard stool, difficult to expel, in round balls like sheep dung. We also have an alternation of constipation and diarrhoea. In tubercular children we have diarrhoeas produced by the least error in diet. A tubercular child cannot use cows milk in any form, the casein has to be modified before they can digest it.
There is great prostration after stools, and the child does not want to be touched or even looked at. The stool shows much slimy mucus and there is apt to be blood after the stool. Haemorrhages from the rectum always call our attention to the tubercular element in the system. Pin worms or intestinal worms are found most plentiful in children with a tubercular taint. Sycosis usually gives us colic, a severe griping colic with the diarrhoeas. The colics are better by firm pressure or lying on the abdomen, and the child wants to be carried, rocked, or moved about in some way. A typical sycotic stool is yellowish-green, with white or green mucus, it is expelled with much force, it is acid and corrosive, has a griping colic, and has the sycotic mental symptoms: namely, impatience and irritability.
In Lycopodium we find bleeding haemorrhoids, which on account of the haemorrhage, would constitute a tubercular symptom. Constipation dominates in Lycopodium, there is frequent but inefficient urging to go to stool The stools are hard and small. These symptoms belong to psora.
Considering now the urinary organs, we find the psoric individual pass his urine involuntarily when sneezing, coughing or laughing. We find a deposit in the urine white or yellowish- white in color, phosphates or similar deposits. In the nervous patient of the tubercular taint we find a urine which is pale and copious. We get nocturnal enuresis in children with a tubercular background.
Under sycosis we find the symptom that children scream when urinating, on account of the sandy deposit in the urine.
A great characteristic of Lycopodium is “red sand in the urine,” which is a psoric symptom, or might be considered as sycotic as the other symptom, “the child cries when urinating.” We also find difficulties in passing water, nocturnal enuresis, nocturnal polyuria, and retention of urine, which are to be considered as psoric. We have kidney stones and kidney colic which are more apt to be sycotic.
In the sexual sphere, we find in the male many difficulties with the tubercular background, such as nightly and involuntary discharges of semen, or a constant loss of prostatic or seminal fluid. The great exhaustion accompanying these troubles is typical of the tubercular miasm. In the female, we can say in general that the flows of psora are bland, while in the sycotic they are acrid, excoriating, biting and burning the pudendum, and in the tubercular individual they are exhausting and apt to induce an anemia.
The menstrual flow in psora is scanty or intermitting, it stops and starts. In the tubercular we are apt to find the haemorrhagic form, the flow is extensive and often prolonged and the blood is bright red, or pale and watery. In the sycotic we find severe menstrual pains, spasmodic, extremely sharp or colicky. The blood is dark, and there are large clots. The leucorrhoea is psora is scanty, in the tubercular it is purulent and debilitating, and in the sycotic it is excoriating and has the odor of fish-brine.
In Lycopodium we find sexual weakness or complete importance, which would correspond to the tubercular taint. In the female we find a state of dryness of the vagina. we find dryness to be a characteristic feature of psora. Lycopodium has further an astonishing power to help in cases of retarded puberty with a lacking development in the sexual features. These cases have a tubercular background. Lycopodium is a great friend of the woman in cases of inflammation and neuralgias of the ovaries, especially the right ovary. It is also credited with having cured cystic tumors of the right ovary. These are typical sycotic features.
The cough of psora is dry, teasy, spasmodic. The expectoration is mucous, scanty, tasteless. The cough of the tubercular is deep, prolonged, giving the lower chest tones, is worse in the morning and on first lying down in the evening. The least exposure to cold causes hoarseness. The expectoration is purulent and sweetish or salty to the taste.
In Lycopodium we find a dry, tickling, hard cough, at night and even during the sleep, with great exhaustion after the coughing spell. This latter feature might indicate that this cough corresponds to the tubercular diathesis. cough remaining after a previous pneumonia, especially in young emaciated people. This state of emaciation of the upper part of the body is one of the great characteristics of Lycopodium and strikes us as an expression of the tubercular miasm. Lycopodium also applies to pulmonary lesions with an abundant, thick, yellow or green expectoration. The expectoration has a salty taste. All these features are unmistakably tubercular.
In disturbance of the heart, the psoric and sycotic elements strongly prevail. The psoric patient suffering with cardiac troubles has more or less anxiety, more or less fear, while the syphilitic or sycotic have very little mental disturbances. We have many psoric symptoms that manifest themselves in sensations of weakness, fullness, heaviness, or soreness about the heart. The heart troubles of the tubercular are accompanied with fainting and weakness, they are worse sitting up and better lying down. In the sycotic we have palpitations from reflex rheumatic troubles. There is seldom much pain or suffering in sycosis, unless in rheumatic difficulties, when we may find severe pains, but they are not as constant as those of psora.
In Lycopodium we have palpitations of the heart during the digestion due to a reflex from the stomach, which symptom is psoric. Lycopodium has proved valuable in certain cases of aneurysms; this is a syphilitic feature. We find varicose veins in Lycopodium especially in the right let, and in the genital organs, especially vulva. Those sign of venous stagnation have a tubercular background.
The skin gives us many clues as to the underlying miasms. The skin of psora is dry, rough, dirty or unhealthy looking, and has an unwashed appearance. Scales and crusts are thin and small. The tubercular skin has a certain clearness about it. It is fine, smooth, and has a transparency so that the veins and capillaries reflect through the tissues. Eruptions in psora are apt to be papular and itching while they are pustular in the tubercular, in keeping with the tendency of the tubercular towards pus formation.
The skin of sycosis is apt to be greasy and exhibits moles and warty eruptions. The eruption of syphilis is found about the joints, in the flexures of the body, or arranged in circular groupings. The color is significant; they are copper-colored. There is typically no itching in syphilitic eruptions, and very little soreness. The scales and crusts are heavy.
The skin of the Lycopodium patient is usually dry which would correspond to psora. He is apt to have copper-colored spots in his face, reminding us of the syphilitic miasm.
Under the rubric “Extremities,” the psoric patient complains of neuralgic pains which are better by rest and warmth, as all psoric troubles are. In the tubercular diathesis, we have joint troubles with an increase in the osseous tissue, nodular growths, pointing to the syphilitic taint in the tubercular miasm. Bones are soft and rickety. In sycosis we find a rheumatism in the joints or periosteum, due to gouty concretions or chalky deposits in the tissues themselves. There is stiffness and lameness with the typical modalities of better by moving or rubbing and worse by rest and the approach of a storm. There is also aggravation by humidity. In syphilis we expect lancinating pains in the long bones with a nightly aggravation, worse by change of weather and by cold and damp.
In Lycopodium we find chronic gout with chalky deposits in the articulations, and a sciatica, especially at night, which is better by motion and worse by rest. These features are clearly sycotic. The characteristic symptom of Lycopodium, “One foot hot and the other cold,” is a psoric symptom.
Our survey shows that Lycopodium corresponds to the features of all three of Hahnemanns chronic diseases, and indicates ;by it a wide range of usefulness.
Lycopodium shows psoric symptoms in the mental sphere (a keen mind in a weak body), and in all the stomach symptoms. The tuberculous diathesis is represented in the inflammatory changes of the mucous membranes of the eyes, ears, and nose, in the chest symptoms, and certain circulatory symptoms, such as venous stagnation. We find sycosis in certain mental symptoms (irritability, weakness of memory), in symptoms of the kidney, right ovary, and those of the rheumatism. Under syphilis, we find most prominently the particular headache of Lycopodium. Thus the knowledge of the underlying miasm will guide us in certain cases to the successful use of Lycopodium.