I chanced to prescribe Vanadium a few times rather recently and noted the results with mingled gusto and self commisuration. I will illustrate by relating a few instances.
Woman of 74 with a history of suppressed malarial chills, tuberculosis in teens, obstructive jaundice of unknown cause and subject to carsickness. A specialist reported adhesions and deposits on the anterior capsule of the right eye, with sclerotic changes and senile degenerations of both fundi. A year previous to present history she had had an attack of acute or subacute iritis after which the vision had been cut down to a great extent. All this was of course due to an advanced arterio- sclerosis, the systolic pressure ranging between 200 and 250 and the diastolic pressure 90 to 140. Remedies had helped previously, especially Thuja, at intervals. Syphilinum, Natrum mur. and Mimulus lutea. But none had helped the vision after the iritis had occurred.
The patient was now complaining of constant tiredness, weak spells with trembling especially of the knees, bad breath and taste and nightly unrest. In an effort to use a remedy which would link up the failing vitality with the sclerosis and disappearing vision I gambled on Vanadium 6th, 2 tablets q.i.d. for two weeks. In a month she reported, “Feeling very well, rest well and no weak spells.” Her friends remarked her improved appearance. A month later the 12th was used in the same way and three months later one prescription of the 30th. Thus Vanadium introduced a long period of comparative comfort with the systolic pressure, according to reports, running seventy to eighty millimeters lower than before. But the vision did not improve much if any.
Man of 76, history of cardiac dilation thirty years previously from excessive exercise, chronic “heart tiredness”, a carbuncle excised from the back of the neck, a life long feeling of discouragement and aversion to exercise. For the past six years he had ups and downs with glaucoma and cataract (according to three specialists), and deposit of pigment in the left retina; also urinary difficulties presumably from enlarged prostate gland. The specialists also were in agreement as to sclerosis of the cerebral vessels.
I am unable to give any symptoms that specifically belong to even the scanty information that we have of this remedy. Nevertheless there was positive general betterment of energy, the nocturia was cut down “one hundred per cent”, difficult urination relieved and constipation abolished with Vanadium 30th and 200th to 1M over a period of a year and a half.
Then the remedy was abandoned for Causticum with renewed benefit from change. Causticum 200th then 1M then 200th again scattered over five months, then Carcinoma 1M three months ago. Yet more, it is interesting to note that on this day and date of writing I received a report from the specialist in Portland to this effect; “Operation is so far away that we need not talk about it now. The blood vessels are greatly improved.” And the patient himself said that a specialist told him at first that anything was liable to happen to him and that he though the would not be here long. Needless to say, the specialists had no part in the treatment.
“Essential hypertension” of 195 over 105 in a man of 60 had been reduced to 160/110 with Sulphur 200. But I thought something should be done for the diastolic figure for it not only had not been reduced, but even had risen under the Sulphur. The only symptoms I could obtain were easy perspiration, increased nervousness relating to his work and a feeling of inefficiency and exhaustion, feeling that he was “growing old.” Vanadium 30th was given with gratifying improvement, the tension dropping to 140/85. Three months after the 30th a dry, cracking, peeling eruption appeared on the palms. Vanadium 200. was given twice afterward and the patient discharged himself as being too well for treatment.
A gratifying result has occurred in a man, then of 60, who was fibrillating, pretty severe throbbing in the chest, dyspnoeic, digitalized, flatulence, 2 percent glucose. He had a sensation as though his heart had moved to the right and was crowding toward the right side, a rather severe pressure, throbbing and constant anxiety. He had lost weight from 230 to 204, the arterial tension being 125/75, a portentious drop evidently from that of preceding years. His lips were blue.
There were many other symptoms but the important one for the prescriber at that time and a basis that would give the X-ray man and the cardiologist “grave concern,” was “Nervousness, easily excited and worried but does not express it, never complains because he does not want to bother others.” The effect of Hottonia palaustris 200. was truly remarkable and his tension rose to 140/80, the glucose disappeared, he was able to breathe in comfort and to sleep at night. This remedy from the 200th to the 50M carried him three years. Then he fell into the care of an allopath who found neither albumin nor sugar and the blood pressure normal.
But he digitalized him again. With this we had a course of Digitalis in potencies followed by Asafoetida till that gave out, a period of nearly two years. Then he was started on Vanadium 6th, q.i.d.; then the 30th d.u., gradually working up to the 1000th, a period of a year and a half. The result, without indulging in further details has been, as stated, gratifying. In all, a man of 60, prematurely aged and apparently about to enter the last stage of arterio-cardiac decompensation if not a more drastic arterial crisis, is now a fairly hearty man of seventy despite the remaining pathological impediments.
Vanadium was named from Vanadis, a goddess of the Scandinavian mythology. I could find no references to this lady in my library but, if the quality of Vanadium is her signature, she must have been a tough number; and the quality of both is written in the aged arteries and veins of some of our patients. It is well known that Vanadium is widely used to toughen steel. The pure metal has a propensity to unite with a great number of other substances. Boericke identifies the remedy Vanadium as “The Metal,” but recommends Vanadiate of Soda as the best form to prescribe. But as he recommends crude dosage of this salt careful prescribers will take it or leave it, mostly leave. For the metal he suggests the 6th to 12th but I have flown as high as the 50,000th. This medicine is not mentioned in the United States Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia.
In Clarkes Dictionary it is written that Marc Jousset poisoned animals by intravenous injection of the salts, principally of the sodium, causing rapid development of Cheyne-Stokes breathing. Lyonet and others gave Vanadium to two hundred patients with several kinds of degenerative diseases, increasing appetite, strength and weight. They gave 2.5 milligrams of the sodium form per twenty-four hours. Clarke says the remedy should be compared with Adrenalin in Addisons disease.
Boericke attempts to pose its action as a carrier of oxygen. Where it picks up the oxygen and to what or where it carries it he does not say; but as he says also that it is a catalyser and increases hemoglobin and oxidizes toxins we may suppose it to be a stimulant to phagokaryosis. There is no hint as to where this resonant information came from but as he recommends dosage in comparatively gross form we may guess that it was inspired by allopathic philosophy as to the doings of iron. Will not any suitable remedy in potency act as a catalyst? Will it not oxidize the toxins, increase the hemoglobin, etc.? I think, interesting as it is, in practice we may safely leave all that to the vital force and observe its sensitivity and reactions for the more definite, individualizing purposes of our art.
Of this latter information we have not much and this lamentable fact was the inspiration of the complaints herewith. All that Boericke gives that is of use toward identifying the remedy is; “Sensation as if the heart were compressed; as if the blood had no room in the aorta. Anxious pressure on the whole chest.” A practical verification of this was mentioned in Case IV. Besides this Boericke can give only the names of diseases and conditions. For these I would refer the reader to the night edition of Boerickes Materia Medica.
J.B.S. King wrote in the Medical Advance, Volume 49, page 484, from which I quote in part: “Workers in it (the commercial for) become debilitated; they contract a dry, almost convulsive cough, with haemorrhage. The temperature becomes elevated with a diurnal maximum, diarrhoea soon sets in, and flesh and weight are lost rapidly. They are very apt to go from this state not genuine tuberculosis and die. Such as they are, these symptoms suggest it as a remedy for the early stages of consumption.
It agrees with the general characteristics of that state, namely, the cough, prostration, fever with daily rise, emaciation, haemorrhage and diarrhoea. In the 3x given three times a day it has had marked beneficial effect upon three cases of tuberculosis. It has also relieved a chronic irritation of the laryngeal tissues, without hoarseness, but with much scraping of the throat and expectoration of stringy phlegm, worse in the morning after rising”.
Pulfords Homoeopathic Materia Medica mentions “Deeply pigmented patches on the forehead, profound adynamia.” Where did that come from? It is noted as a clinical symptom.
At present I have a lady patient of 88 who for a long time has not been very strong and on May 22nd she complained of aversion to food, bitter flavor, bitter waterbrash, grayish coating of tongue, waking frequently at night, slightly hoarse, very sensitive to cold, weakness, unsteadiness on feet, internal and external trembling. She reports (three weeks later) that she has been stronger and able to put through extensive changes in her house.
Burnett reports a man with necrosis of the nails, severe arcus senilis, flushes to the head and buzzing in the ears. He gave five drops of the 5th, evening and morning, and in a month the arcus was notably diminished, the patient less tired and his hands trembled less. This reminds me that I had marked in my Kent repertory the symptom “Trembling spells, Van,” from what sources is not recalled.
Burnett termed Vanadium his “sheet anchor” in fatty changes to the liver; also declares it meets the atheroma of the brain or liver “to a nicety, a real remedy of this organic change,” and mentions Bellis perennis as a complimentary remedy. From my slight experience with the remedy this I can well believe. He claims that these two remedies have resorted veritable physical wrecks to health.
Now what is the paramount lesson to be derived from all this? It is this! notwithstanding all this information we do not know when to use the remedy, we can only guess at it and that in a limited province. Here is a remedy of prolific possibilities, one that certainly is related to degenerative conditions of the latter years of life and such is its power, no doubt to the earlier years as well. How much more might be accomplished could we but know when to use it! What, then, shall be done about it? Let us be practical.
We have a year before us between now and the next meeting. how many will join in finding a way to prove this remedy or some other promising substance this coming year? May we not have a group, formal or informal but devoted and determined, who will rescue the art of proving from its collapse. I think the I.H.A. has been inexcusably negligent in this important matter, a negligence in which I accuse myself as one. the I.H.A. should have had a standing (not sitting with arms folded) committee on proving from its inception. We should make amends by starting now to refine and enlarge the ancient art of using medicines. And we should publish that event to the world.
One word more. Should such a project be launched let us prove remedies specifically for use, not as an attitude of scientific appeasement. Let the generic guides be thoroughly sought out, all possible modalities with their degrees of value be explored. Let all those grand characteristics which safeguard the final choice of remedy be included. Of course if some want to amuse themselves with precipitation effects, well and good, but it is only seldom that a jewel is found in gross scientific residue, however certified by the stylistic attitude of the day. Practical clinicians cannot be limited to the strictures of a baser science than the science of insight, comparison and reason.
Finally, let us hope that the signatures of Vanadium, a remedy so appropriate to meet the degenerative influences of the age, may be elevated to its best use.