Every time that a physician has a patient before him, whether in the consulting office or at the bedside, there are two problems he must solve, two different studies he has to undertake: to make a diagnosis and to select a remedy. And I say a remedy, diagnosis and to select a remedy. And I say a remedy, meaning internal medication, because it is the duty of the practitioner, in my opinion, to begin his treatment with a remedy even if his case falls within the field of a surgical procedure or any other physical aid. For surgery, as well as any form or method of physiotherapy, should be nothing else but auxiliary measures to the fundamental treatment which is the internal medication.
In making the diagnosis of his case the physician comes to a point when he has to draw his final conclusions from a differential study of the conditions which bear similarity to his case, unless it is to simple as to be diagnosed at first glance.
In studying his case for the selection of the remedy he also has to make a a differential study of remedies in order to find the similimum. It is very seldom that the picture of the case is so clear that none other but the indicated remedy comes to mind.
The success of the prescriber depends on his ability to rapidly establish the differences between the remedies that come to his mind while studying his case, in order to determine which is the one that covers the greatest number of symptoms. And while considering the symptoms it is not only a matter of numbers, but he must also be able to properly distinguish their importance and classify them accordingly.
Thence the study of the materia medica should be by means of comparisons between remedies, that is, a study of a Differential Materia Medica.
Complying with the wishes of our Chairman we must endeavor ourselves to study here the Differential Materia Medica of Nitric Acid.
To make a differential study of a remedy is to bring out its characteristic nature or conditions among all other remedies that may resemble its mode of action. There are two different kinds of remedy relationship: the natural relationship and the clinical relationship. The latter may be complementary, antidotal, inimical, compatible, before and after the given remedy, or incompatible.
We find the natural relationships of Nitric acid among the acids, and especially among the mineral acids.
All acids, cause great debility, but it is greater when producer by mineral acids which also originate a scorbutic state of the system, with manifest tendency to ulcers and low forms of disease: typhoid diseases. Vegetable acids show more of a tendency to produce membrane exudations in the throat.
Besides Nitric acid we have among the mineral acids: Muriatic, Sulphuric, Carbolic, Arsenious, Fluoric, Hydrocyanic, Benzoic, Phosphoric and Picric.
Muriatic or Hydrochloric acid affects mainly: the blood, the mucous membranes, the brain center which regulates the supply of hydrochloric acid to the gastric juice; the Peyers patches in the small intestine, the salivary glands, the skin.
Sulphuric acid acts mostly on the mucous membranes of both the alimentary canal and the respiratory tract.
Carbolic acid affects: the respiratory center in the brain and the peripheral nerve endings, the gastrointestinal mucous membranes, the blood and the skin.
Arsenious acid or Arsenicum album, one of our great polychrests, with a much wider sphere of action, acts – mainly on the nervous system, altering the function of the pneumogastric, the respiratory centers, the fifth nerve, the motor and sensory endings, the vasomotor centers and nerves, the motor tract of the spinal cord, the solar plexus, the ganglia of the heart and the emotional centers, also affecting the functions of the heart and the emotional centers, also affecting the functions of the heart, kidneys, lungs, digestive and generative organs. It also acts on the mucous and serous membranes and the blood.
Fluoric acid has an action principally on the bones, skin and lymphatic glands.
Hydrocyanic or Prussic acid affects the nervous system in its respiratory center; the origin of the pneumogastric, the motor centers including the vasomotor and nerves, the automatic nerve centers of the heart and the peripheric sensory nerves; it also has a disorganizing effect on the blood, destroying its fibrin element.
Benzoic acid acts mainly on the urinary organs producing a strong smelling urine, and on the small joints, heart and bowels.
Phosphoric acid manifests its effects on the nervous system, especially on the motor and emotional centers; on the bones and mucous membrane of the digestive tract and on the generative organs.