This article is based essentially on personal experiences with the proving of this remedy on myself. The proving was done with the 1M and CM potencies about two years apart.
Permit me here to digress slightly. It is my firm belief that one could not possibly make a finer study of the Materia Medica than by experimenting on oneself. One of the greatest benefits that will accrue to the physician-prover is the ready cognizance of the symptoms mentioned by his patient as belonging to a certain remedy. It will be obvious, then, how much time can be saved from repertorizing. Another thing, this intimate knowledge of the action of these potent remedies should prevent some physicians from prescribing them so carelessly, and often one high potency after another, until disease-picture and drug- picture can no longer be clearly distinguished.
With the 1M potency the most outstanding symptoms that developed were centered around the genito-urinary system. I woke up one or two nights after the dose feeling a great urge to urinate. On attempting this, I had the most excruciating pains in the kidney region before the stream started. There was a sensation of weakness running right down the legs, and, although I felt the urge so strongly, and the straining so painful, that I could have given up the effort, yet I could not! After a while the urine started with very great relief. It was of a deep amber color and there was a sediment like a very fine reddish-yellow dust at the bottom of the commode next morning.
This symptom only occurred once so vividly, but that was enough to give me a personal experience of the awful agony that a patient must go through on passing urinary calculi, and why the little ones will start crying before urinating when Lycopodium is their remedy.
Sexually there was libidinous increase, yet weakness after coition to such as extent that one would almost immediately fall into sound sleep.
There was great bloating in the afternoon from about 3 to 4 p.m. onwards, but with very little passage of wind. Then after dinner I would feel a little better, but later in the evening, about 10 to 11 p.m., and on walking around in the open air for a while, I would pass great amounts of flatus with much relief of this horrible full feeling. The Lycopodium fullness must be endured to be understood!.
About two years after this first proving I took two doses of Lycopodium CM in one or two days apart. The symptoms that developed then gave me the greatest respect for this powerful remedy. Some of these symptoms persist or recur even now after more than two years. No wonder that Kent rather wanted “to be in a room where a dozen niggers are slashing with knives, than be in the hands of an ignorant prescriber of homoeopathic high potencies”.
With this potency I did not experience the excruciating pains before urination, but the urine was colored a deep amber a day or two after taking the doses.
There was great increase in appetite at times, then again an aversion to the food, most times a great increase of the appetite after tasting the food, with a tendency to eat rather too much of rich foods, sweet foods, fats and starches, as well as seasoned foods and as warm as possible. With this potency there also appeared a desire for food about midnight. These midnight meals followed by a cup of hot coffee were very enjoyable!.
Again there was bloating in the afternoon hours as before. Occasionally there was heartburn, worse towards the afternoon and evening, also unusual fullness shortly after eating, altogether out of proportion with the amount of food taken. This symptom recurred fairly frequently although irregularly.
Now also there was increase in libido, but not, as with the 1M potency, followed by sleepiness after coition. I think that this is verified by some other writers, viz. that, when Lycopodium is given in impotency, only the highest potencies give the most satisfactory and lasting results.
In the extremities I experienced some pains, but numbness was more prominent, especially on the ulnar side of the right hand. The left foot was icy cold in the afternoons and gave rise to a tendency to exercise it, especially the toes, which felt very numb. The right foot stayed warm, excepting that the toes also felt numb. There also developed sweat between the toes which tended to discolor the socks. These symptoms still persist, although Pulsatilla relieved them somewhat.
Some of the most striking symptoms of this remedy occurred about the throat. There developed very gradually a feeling of tension and constriction on the right side of the throat just next to the larynx, which was never really painful, but very uncomfortable as a matter of fact, so persistently uncomfortable that I started having misgivings about the start of a possible malignancy. This symptom was better by deep rubbing and manipulation, also by drinking very hot drinks; in my own case, it was coffee. This symptom is also still persisting, although gradually subsiding.
Another symptom about the mouth was a scalded feeling of the tongue and increase of a watery saliva. The teeth, especially on the right felt blunt and sore, also better from hot drinks.
The throat was sore and sensitive, particularly sensitive to tobacco smoking, and giving rise to coughing with expectoration of small pieces of jelly-like, very salty mucus. This soreness and sensitivity of the throat were also relieved by taking hot coffee and other hot beverages.
There were infra-cardiac pains and discomfort, but these, I think, I am safe in putting down to flatus pressing up against the diaphragm, because there was usually much rumbling in the abdomen with these symptoms, and they were most apt to occur in the afternoon hours.
However, other symptoms which may have been related to cardiac function were palpitation while lying on the left side, especially at night, and a certain amount of dyspnoea on exertion with palpitation, a possible oxygen debt due to insufficiency of the oxygen-carrying blood. These symptoms were relieved by Pulsatilla.
Dryness of the nose was a prominent symptom, with elastic-like and hard discharge, soreness of the nostrils and stuffiness, often necessitating rubbing of the nose.
The ear symptoms that developed were internal itching and tinnitus of the right ear, and possibly a diminishing of the hearing, as my wife complained many times of my “deafness” during this time. This symptom is also still somewhat persisting, but has been much relieved by Cinchona.
The eyes often felt stiff, with a blurring of the vision which was particularly worse at night.
There were for quite some time soreness and tenderness, with some sensation of burning, in the region of the third to the fifth dorsal vertebrae, and a feeling at times as if this extended deep into the chest and giving rise to some coughing.
On the skin hardly any symptoms developed, excepting a little patch of hard, dry skin area about an inch above the right eye which itched slightly and could be peeled off with the finger- nail. The nature of this symptom gave me an idea that Lycopodium may prove useful in rodent ulcer. Also some fine varicose veins developed on the legs about the ankles, worse around the left. There also appeared to be some atrophy of the large veins on the dorsal part of the feet especially worse on the left. It may have been this partial constriction of the circulation of the foot that accounted for its coldness.
Around the neck on the right side, about the region of the clavicle and slightly above, two brown flat, soft moles developed, which have now almost completely disappeared.
A rather outstanding symptom produced by Lycopodium and which came late, after months, was an involuntary jerking of the head, at no other time but when in animated conversation, and probably when normally strain is thrown on the muscles about the throat and face. This very occasionally still recurs.
Some mental symptoms that were very definite, were such as undue annoyance at small irritations, a loss of self-confidence and great apprehensiveness. A symptom which still bothers me much, although I could probably say that there may be at times real physical grounds for this on account of extremely heavy practice, is a very fear of breaking down and not being able to carry on, as well as the sometimes great timidity and almost aversion with which I tackled anything new, saw a new patient or undertook a new venture. I sometimes almost felt I could pray that the new patient would not come in. These symptoms only developed after a long time.
When I undertook this proving, I was working on a rather difficult thesis and I often found that, while writing, I had left out letters in a word, had left out whole words, or again had difficulty momentarily to grasp the meaning again of the sentence I had just written. Another thing, whereas I was very fond of writing before, for more than a year, I could only write down my patients symptoms. I even found myself averse to correspondence of any magnitude, although before I was fond of it and had correspondence with many people in many lands. Even a book that I was writing on homoeopathic materia medica, and for which the publisher was very keen, was abruptly left off. No matter how I decided that I would start on it again, I could not bring myself so far, and yet I enjoyed writing the first half very much! The desire to write again was improved by Cinchona, and this article is my first literary effort again after Lycopodium!.
In conclusion I would like to say that there are few remedies in the materia medica for which I have greater respect, not with- standing that I have reproved most of the polychrests during the last thirteen years on myself, because of the great persistence of its symptoms. Hence we may safely say that Lycopodium would be most useful in the most persistent and inveterate conditions. Practice has borne this out many times.
There are probably many other little points I could jot down, but then these minor symptoms are not necessarily of great or significant prescribing value.
Also I have found that the best all-round antidote to Lycopodium seems to be Pulsatilla. Sulphur seems to increase its irritability. Cinchona seems to help the tinnitus and aversion to writing. Carbo vegetabilis relieves some of the bloating undoubtedly.
Another matter. Once sensitized to the action of Lycopodium, look out how you handle it. I spilled some 1M tincture on my hand while preparing a graft, and probably got in some by olfaction or through absorption through the skin, but the whole unpleasant proving started anew, which I was very fortunate enough to terminate by a CM potency of Pulsatilla.
I have indeed respect for Lycopodium clavatum!.
SPRINGS, TRANSVAAL, UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA.