John H. Clarke in his Dictionary of Materia Medica vol. I, presents what was known at the time of publication in the year 1900 of these remedies. Bradford, in his Index to Homoeopathic Provings, published in 1901, mentions Euonymus atropurpurea only. Allens Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica contains nothing of either, but William Boerickes Pocket Manual of Homoeopathic Materia Medica gives all there is known of both.
Agraphis nutans is the Blue Bell, Wild Hyacinth, Scilla nutans and belongs to the family of Liliaceae; a tincture is made of the fresh plant and growing shoots. The British homoeopathic physician, Dr. Cooper, seems to have been the first to introduce this useful little remedy to our profession; he speaks of it as being helpful in catarrhal conditions, obstruction of the nostrils, especially from adenoids.
Clarke states that he has seen these conditions and “throat deafness” frequently relieved by the remedy; he also says that the plant grows in sheltered places, a fact which led Dr. Cooper to deduce that an amelioration from shelter is a leading indication. This statement will be understood by a Hahnemannian prescriber, but will not make sense to any other physician. The modality is suggestive of Silicea. Dr. Cooper emphasized: “Adenoids with enlarged tonsils; frequently accompanying dentition.” Boericke repeats this emphasis.
All Hahnemannian physicians know the trials and tribulations of treating children who are possessed of enlarged tonsils and adenoids; the trials are often those of endeavoring to find the similimum, the tribulations are presented by over-zealous, officious and homoeopathically ignorant school physicians and nurses; the latter especially, being women, are likely to evince a fanatical zeal in their insistence upon immediate surgical removal, calling down the wrath of heaven upon the moronic homoeopath who is rash enough to oppose them.
Hahnemannians prescribe for individual patients, not for their diseases primarily. They look,for constitutional symptoms, hence take careful histories and endeavor to fit remedies to patients. Such remedies are to be found among the antipsorics especially, as for example, Sulphur, Calcarea carb., Lycopodium, the nosode Tuberculinum, etc. If these and other remedies correspond to the patient, good results may be expected and the tonsils may shrink, whilst the adenoids disappear; however, if marked pathological changes have occurred in these tissues, failure to cure will be the usual result, but with a decided improvement in the general health of patient; operation for removal or one of the electrotherapeutical methods, including the X ray, may then be considered.
There are cases in which the evidence of constitutional disturbance is small or even absent and it is in such instances that we may with profit think of the use of the little, non- constitutional remedies such as Agraphis nutans. These “little” remedies, for the most part, have never received a thorough proving and will, therefore, require wide reading of the materia medica upon the part of the prescriber, as well as imagination. If both have been indulged in, pleasantly satisfactory results may, and frequently do, follow. A recent case comes to mind, though not the first one to be benefited by our sheltered little Agraphis.
This patient was a robust girl, six and a half years old when first seen and examined. She presented a history of mumps at the age of six months and a mild attack of whooping cough at five and a half years, though lasting six weeks. However, she was seen three months after a severe of measles, followed by a lobar pneumonia which was vigorously treated by her orthodox physician with Sulfadiazine. Soon after the pneumonia she was taken with a tonsillitis and these attacks had recurred. Operation was strongly advised, but refused by the parents and homoeopathic physician sought. The case was taken in the usual, Hahnemannian manner, revealing an overly plump, intelligent little girl with an inordinate fondness for sweets and an indulgent mother who did nothing to correct this dietary indiscretion.
This childs weight was ninety-three pounds; bowel movements were normal and regular; she spoke of a pain in both heels at night and on rising in the morning, causing her gait to appear wadling for a short time, until she seems rather unusually bright and independent for her age, in keeping presumably, with most modern children, who regulate their parents rather than are regulated by them. vivid, bad dreams at night; emotional and shedding tears when listing to sad stories. Here no doubt, the radio “soap operas” and late hours played their baneful part. Her feet were inclined to be sweaty, though without any abnormal odor.
At birth she weighed 8 pounds and five ounces, a fact pridefully recounted by her mother; the latter is a large woman, well built, but has been subject to severe catarrhal colds of the nose and throat, accompanied by swelling of the cervical and submaxillary glands, the tendency to which has been greatly modified by homoeopathic prescribing. Examination of the child showed normal heart and breathing sounds and a normal, but distended abdomen with rolls of fat.
The tonsils were visible, but without signs of infection and not unduly enlarged. Speech was of the adenoid type, thick and many words difficult to understand. Calcarea carb., 30., was given in daily doses for two weeks, then later repeated in single doses of higher potencies such as the 1000, 10M, and 41M, F. However, occasionally there were calls for intercurrent remedies, such as Hepar sulphur., Pulsatilla, Ammonium carb., and Lycopodium.
In spite of these remedies, given over a period of two years and with an improved general state of health, the thick speech and mouth-breathing which had always been a feature of the childs condition, continued. Insistence upon the part of the school physician, admittedly entirely proper, demanded that something be done. A letter to the school doctor requested a little more time, which was graciously granted and Agraphis nutans 3x, q. 24 hrs. was now given with slight improvement; this was continued at intervals and given for periods of fourteen days each.
Marked improvement now became very evident, with normal speech at this date. July 21, 1947 and no return of mouth breathing. The prognosis seems excellent for the gradual development of this child, now about nine and a half years old, into a healthy young woman, with a normal breathing apparatus and natural speech and clear enunciation.
In any morbid condition in which pathological change is in evidence, provided that such change has not destroyed function, good results and even cures can be looked for from the administration of our homoeopathic remedies; after constitutional remedies have removed the basic, general symptoms, yet without curing the purely local ones, the little non-constitutional medicines such as Agraphis nutans, are often capable of removing the local manifestations, especially when given in the lower potencies and in frequent doses. However, care must be taken lest, in susceptible patients, a proving be produced, in which case the remedy should be immediately stopped, but after a reasonable period again given, though in infrequent doses. There is a genuine need for careful research in this interesting field of homoeopathy.
This remedy is known as Wahoo, Spindle-tree or Burning Bush and was mentioned by Macfarlan in his High Potency Provings, also by Hale in the second edition of his New Remedies. Allens Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica does not mention it, but gives a very brief account of the European variety of the Spindle-tree. Stauffer, in his very valuable Klinische Homoopathische Arzneimittellehre, published in Regensburg, Germany, in 1926, gives a short sketch of the remedy, giving such uncommon symptoms as “sensation as if hovering above the ground (Asarum europ.; Lac caninum); sensation as if the body or parts of it are too large; frontal or occipital pain; feels that he cannot step out and stand firmly.”
Stauffer mentions that the remedy induces an increased flow of bile, also that it produces profuse diarrhoea, with much noise and force, stools deficient in bile, bloating, with a sick feeling, weakness, cold sweats. Liver disturbances due to damming of bile, with heart diseases.
In May of this year a widow of 62 years presented herself with the following story: about every two weeks she is taken with hunger and sour stomach, coated tongue and a sensation of congestion in the head; the eyelids are agglutinated in the morning and feels sticky during the day; the stools are described as white in color; there is bursting sensation in the glands of the neck and she feels hot inside, but has no fever; mentally she feels dull and sluggish; the urine burns and later there is a slight, excoriating vaginal discharge. The previous history concerns itself with eustachian catarrh and partial deafness, relieved by Manganum aceticum in single doses of the 200. and CM potencies.
Assuming that the liver was at fault and in the absence of decided or characteristic symptoms of any of our customary remedies, Euonymus atropurpurea 200., a potency made by Dr. Gorton of Austin, Texas, many years ago, was given three times a day for one week, with decided benefit. Two months later she did not feel quite so well, complaining of a burning sensation in the back. One dose of the same remedy was given, in the 45 M potency, but with little result.
Three weeks later the remedy was repeated in the 500.potency, also made by Dr. Gorton, a dose three times a day for three days. She was then complaining of several additional symptoms such as, fullness in the abdomen, soreness in the right hypochondrium with a desire to have a pillow under this side while lying in bed; she finds herself with her knees drawn up to the body, on awakening from sleep; the burning sensation in the back had returned. Decided improvement followed within a few days and has since continued.
This particular case is cited as evidence that in euonymus we have a remedy which apparently has a sphere of useful action in functional liver disturbances, though unfortunately one which has not been fully or thoroughly proved. The case in itself is inconclusive and of no special importance, though it is indicative of clinical possibilities. Were research facilities available, both Agraphis and Euonymus could be given their definite, unmistakable places. It is to be hoped that the homoeopathic school may eventually be in a position to engage in this much needed work of scientific investigation.