CLINICAL EXPERIENCES WITH NATRUM MURIATICUM. Case histories found in our publications, together with my own experiences, have convinced me that no remedy deserves a thorough clinical study more than Natrum mur. In fact, even our best provings need supplementing by clinical observations, as it is these observations that enable us to eliminate the furtive element of arbitrariness from our prescribing.

Case histories found in our publications, together with my own experiences, have convinced me that no remedy deserves a thorough clinical study more than Natrum mur. In fact, even our best provings need supplementing by clinical observations, as it is these observations that enable us to eliminate the furtive element of arbitrariness from our prescribing. This applies to Natrum mur. in an especially high degree and is the reason for this study.

The consideration that not all people can assimilate all the sodium chloride contained in their food was my starting point. That part which is not assimilated is eliminated either by kidneys and other organs of excretion or it is retained and accumulated in the extracellular spaces and blood plasma. Whether eliminated or retained, in both cases the cells of the organs and tissues suffer from deprivation of salt. Dehydration of the tissues and hyperchloraemia result. When, on the other hand, the elimination is inadequate, over-hydration and hyperchloraemia are that result.

In the presence of too many chlorides, water is attracted and turgor of the tissues maintained or increased; in their absence water is lost with depletion, dehydration and emaciation following. Consequently we have two types of cases. One type with insufficient salt in the cells as well as in the blood plasma and in the extracellular spaces this is the dry and emaciated type with good renal function. The other type has also too little salt in its cells but the renal function, as far as salt is concerned, is poor so that salt, and with it water, is retained in the blood and in the extracellular spaces. This type is heavy, fat, semi-dropsical, puffy and chubby.

In the first type the loss of water may affect the body all over uniformly. The skin then becomes dry, thin, withered, flabby, scaly, brittle, the subcutaneous fat disappears, the mucous membranes become dry, the blood pressure falls, nervous sensitiveness develops, etc.

In the second type the lagging excretion of salt is followed by overhydration which also may affect the body uniformly. This then gradually leads to salt and water retention obesity in which the skin is tense, flesh solid, face puffy and without wrinkles, abdomen distended, etc.

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Either of these processes may also affect parts of the body only, while other parts remain normal. The two processes may also exist simultaneously in one and the same person, one of them attacking one part of the anatomy, the other another part, e.g. the neck may be scrawny and wrinkled while the legs may be heavy and oedematous. An endless number of variations of these two forms of pathology is found in our clinical cases. The distribution of salt and water is evidently not governed by the osmotic tension alone, but by many other factors.

Observation shows that individuals whose salt assimilation is below normal become salt provers. Salt is a chronic insidious toxin to them. The fact that surgeons once in while succeed in saving a life by infusing physiology salt solution does not refute this. Surgical measures of this kind restore the fluid balance in the body in a mechanical way but do not improve the chronically weakened salt metabolism. This latter can be accomplished only by the dynamic action of a homoeopathic remedy. Only because of the low toxicity of the sodium chloride are these surgical infusions possible, otherwise their harm would greatly exceed their immediate benefit.

It is known that large doses of crude salt are injurious, but it is less known that sea water in hypodermic injection gives therapeutic results if not sterilized. There is, however, no such wholesome effect if the sea water is boiled. We owe this discovery to Quinton, a French practitioner, but Hippocrates knew it also. This is parallel to the practice of Hahnemann, using only raw plant juices for his tinctures. Hahnemann found that decoctions of plants are inactive. Heat devitalizes them.

Plant life vitalizes the chemicals contained in plants. Only through this vitalization of the chemicals is their assimilation in the animal body made possible. Chemicals straight out of the ground are not assimilated, are therefore toxic. According to Quinton sea salt is not a part of the inorganic crust of the earth but a product of plants. He calls sea water an organic milieu and salt a physiologic tonic when not boiled. It may therefore be that it is not so much salt that is responsible for the proving of salt, but the cooking and refining of salt because this destroys the property of its being assimilated.

Here, most probably, lies the reason why all over the western world potentized Natrum mur. is so often indicated in chronic cases. Anything else, of course, that weakens the metabolism in general, may diminish the assimilation of the drug and start its proving. Once started, the proving usually continues throughout life and passes on to the descendants. In a dozen families under my treatment every member of three generations is an involuntary salt prover and responds to its potencies or to some related remedy.

Provings which extend over several generations of the same family must necessarily produce a greater variety of deeply seated chronic symptoms than the short voluntary provings made by Hahnemann and his followers. Long clinical observations show that especially the number of the mental symptoms developed in these long-range provings defies all imagination, while the functional physical symptoms progress in many cases into structural, degenerative, pathological changes.

It must be plain to everybody that one hundred years of a proving will necessarily produce more symptoms that only one year. Only to some extent can those voluntary homoeopathic provings which were made with high potencies compensate for the element of time. By clinical study of these long-range provings we can greatly enrich our knowledge of Natrum mur.

Natrum mur. has received a very thorough proving by Hahnemann and many of his early disciples. Its description, as bequeathed to us in Hahnemanns Chronic Diseases, in the Encyclopedia of T.F. Allen and Herings Guiding Symptoms, are masterpieces of our literature. These three works should be read and re-read many times by every prescriber. For every days perusal, however, the Guiding Symptoms are best because they are in a way more complete as they contain a number of clinical symptoms. Such as are often found only in the involuntary provings and which are not mentioned in the other two works.

Good prescribing is impossible without knowing every symptom of this remedy as given in the Guiding Symptoms. Everything there is concise, nothing superfluous; many symptoms are only faintly touched. If you study text books and pocket books alone and rely on the repertories, you will miss the remedy half of the time. In these short books too many important symptoms are deleted, which is natural since abbreviations cannot be made otherwise. Such books often leave the prescriber in darkness.

To avoid faulty suggestions, the first study of this remedy should be made with the original provings. To pounce on repertories and abbreviated books right at the start, leads into a hit and miss art, from which it may be hard to extricate oneself later. In the long run the long study is the shortest. It eliminates uncertainty and makes prescribing a pleasure.

This is by far the richest remedy of the Materia Medica. It has so many mental symptoms that it is impossible to prescribe on any of them per se. Here it does not suffice that the mental symptom characterizes the patient, the symptom itself must be further qualified. It is the way the symptom is grouped and related to other symptoms which makes its use possible and the prescribing safe.

The term “imbalance” characterizes most of its symptoms. Imbalance is the red thread that runs through its symptomatology. There is excess and unstable equilibrium in every function. Everywhere there is oscillation or fluctuation between two opposite extremes, like a pendulum constantly swinging or swinging too far away from its central position. Other natrums, in fact most remedies, have excesses and imbalances, but nine of them has this regularity of fluctuation and alternation of excessive manifestations that Natrum mur. has.

Here are some of these symptoms I see to often: the patient has two natures, one the reverse of the other. The fastest to alternate are his emotions. He may be very sad but you can make him laugh in a second. He may even have a causeless spell of laughter in the midst of the darkest depression, or may laugh involuntarily in the middle of a quarrel. When in company away from his home he is a perfect devil. One day he loves to go places, another day he enjoys to be alone at home not saying a word to anybody all day.

The Austrian Empress Elizabeth loved gay amusements but people have found her sitting on a bench in the part weeping. When asked why she wept she answered that she hated to see herself getting old. Natrum mur. would have cured her. The patient is either sympathetic or cruel. He cries when his wife has a pain but would slap her for a mere trifle. He is very much afraid to die but a slight annoyance makes him want to die. A woman falls in love and is very affectionate, but if the man is more affectionate then she, her love turns into hatred.

F K Bellokossy