This is merely a reminder that Hellebore is sometimes suitable for the effects of blows to the head. Allens Handbook of Materia Medica, Clinical Section, has “Effects of concussion after Arnica has failed.” Farrington relates a case where Arnica had failed “And the patient became drowsy, one pupil was larger than the other; the patient answered questions slowly as comprehension was imperfect, one leg was dragged in walking.
The pulse was scarcely fifty per minute and the patient in general was worse from 4 to 8 P.M. Helleborus cured the case.” Helmuth suggests Hellebore with Arnica, Bellad., Cuprum or Zinc when there is effusion within the cranium. Hering has “Sensitiveness of the external head from a blow, concussion of the brain.” In Kents Repertory Hellebore is not noted under “Injuries” in the Head section but is found in the second degree under the rubric “Concussion”.
The symptoms in the proving are so similar to those of certain patients who have suffered head injuries that we may well be guided by them. In general we may not prognose a permanent cure with many of these conditions. Slight symptoms of the trouble may persist even after apparently successful medication and when X-ray reports are negative. Personally, my faith in negative X- ray reports is not to strong. There is always the possibility of injury to the softer intracranial tissues, slight in degree but drastic in after effects. Anyhow, I will relate four instances where Hellebore helped in a way that the conventional method could not have accomplished.
Mr. H., 57, had been in bed a year following injuries to the head and other places. He complained of a severe sensation of a band about the head which seemed to be drawing it to the pillow. This was worse sitting up in bed and accompanied with “a throbbing dizziness and sticking in the head.” Speech had been lost for awhile and he had a degree of absence of memory and continuity of thought. He hesitated still in speech as though slow to comprehend. Had attacks of weakness in the right arm.
Visually, objects seemed to be overlapping. He had faintness with sweat from the presence of company or from conversing and if either persisted he would have a chill. There were attacks of tremor without external cause. Mentally he was evidently much retarded. X-rays (bedside) for fracture were negative. A neurologist had given an opinion of severe brain injury and prognosed permanent disability. Four doses of the 9M over the space of eleven months almost made a new man of him, that is approximately, for he had always been a man without either courage or physical stamina.
A little girl fell from an auto when two years old. She is now 5. Since the accident she has rolled her head in sleep with a sort of moaning, sleeps always on her back. She nags her sister but is sensitive to chiding, obstinate, contrary. Picks her nose even while it bleeds. Hellebore 1M was given for four months and she has been normal to the present time.
MRs. J.W.S., 48 came last March with symptoms which had gradually increased since a moderate blow on the left side of the head several months previous. Soreness and burning back of the ear and entire left side of head; stiffness as of the interior of the head if it remains too long in one position. Relieved by lying on the same side, worse form the head becoming cold; quite tender to touch and hot. She felt as if the brain dragged and pulled to the side lain on. Hellebore 9M was given the sixth of last March, the 10M a month later. There have been no unpleasant symptoms since except that the affected area is still tender.
Miss B., 64, fell, four years previously, on the right side of the head and face and according to the doctor who was called, injured a nerve branch. Since the fall she has had a noise like escaping steam which seemed to her to be deep in the brain. There was soreness over both eyes. An osteoma on the right malar where she was hit. She has or had a peculiar, dull, confusing sensation like dizziness in the frontal head when stooping. Hellebore 10M was given May 3rd. All these symptoms have cleared up, at least for the time, except the tinnitus.
Mrs. M., 33, bumped her head over the right eye on the edge of a door. This was some months previous to the call. She complained of desperation, weeping spells, tension in the head as if something would snap. A “hurting” pain behind the eyes. What she called a “real” headache occurs some days. The head is always tender. Helleb. 1M d.u. Three months later sharp pains appeared, the head felt sore inside, and numb, at times confused and dull, at other items hysterical. Numbness of the side of the head lain on. Hellebore 1M three times during four months has helped each time whatever the final outcome. A large hard swelling over the bumped area is decreasing very gradually. One pupil was dilated at first but is reducing since the treatment.
A young woman with a history of several bumps on the head, two of them causing serious concussion. She has had three attacks of unconsciousness with convulsive shuddering and many lesser spells of “blankness.” Severe headache off and on since the falls of years previous. Complains of “dark spells; things grow dark.” Headaches are irregularly periodic, accompanied with nausea.
She is very restless during two days before the headaches. There is throbbing in the occiput during the headache. Helleb. 200, was given. The next day she had a peculiar light, empty sensation of the head, could not concentrate attention and said her head felt so strange that she could not feel it with her hand. Also that the head ached so hard that she had an irresistible impulse to do things to make it worse, certainly a strange symptom that might be translated, perhaps, as “desperation”. Two days later she was “fine” and her head and general condition has been better than in years.
DR. T.K. MOORE: I notice he did not mention Natrum sulph. which has been a useful drug for me in this condition, often later after the accident of radical mastoid. That is bad accident, if you get to a man who thinks you must have, for discharging ear, a radical mastoid.
DR. WILLIAM B. GRIGGS: I was very happy to hear Dr. Hayes recommendation. I think Hellebore and cicuta are two remedies much neglected in traumatisms of the head.
I have in mind one case in particular, and I think it is perfectly legitimate to mention the name. Dr. Carl Gordon, a resident in the Childrens Homoeopathic Hospital met with an automobile accident. He was knocked unconscious. Dr. Desiderio Roman took quite a large plate of bone out of his head. Dr. Carl Gordon lay unconscious. They had been giving him Arnica, and at the end of ten or twelve days there was practically no relief. He was simply totally unconscious with a typical picture, starting in one spot, the pupils dilated, involuntary urination, and so forth.
I was asked to see him and I suggested a lumbar tap, because I felt he had an effusion into the ventricles. I did a tap on him and drained about 33 cc. of fluid, and the an got a little relief; in other words, he returned to consciousness temporarily but slumped back into the same old unconscious state.
I went to see him again and gave him Hellebore 200. I tapped him again in about four days and took 20 cc. of fluid out.
Under the influence of Hellebore Dr. Gordon regained consciousness. Finally I gave him the 1000., and his mentality came back, and he is today an assistant of mine in the wards at the hospital, and his mentality is good. One part of the brain was injured. He still has the depression there where Dr. Roman took out the bone, but his reflexes are normal, and the man is well. hellebore restored him to consciousness and practically made him a well man.
DR. A.H. GRIMMER: This is a new angle that at least a good many of us have neglected to think of, Hellebore in concussion, and it is nice to have this thing brought to our attention. There are a few things that I was interested in. A good many of us used to think of Hellebore with a rolling of the head from side to side, with sooty nostrils, but the doctors didnt describe those symptoms. It shows we dont have to get the so-called keynotes. Allen discussed those two symptoms and Dr. Griggs mentioned his case.
DR. BELLE P. NAIR: I was very much interested in the paper because I have never used Hellebore except once in a convulsion in a child, a very strong child, and the indications for it were the rolling of the head which Dr. Grimmer just mentioned. It was the only thing I could think of to give the child for the convulsion, and that led to the prescription and cured it in a very short time.
DR. C.P. BRYANT: I want to thank Dr. Hayes for that paper, because shortly I left the West I had a child who was ill with symptoms which many of you have seen, automatic motion of one arm. That was continuous, and I got a very prompt result from a dose of the 10M.