Homoeopathic Therapy in Neurocirculatory Asthenia

Homoeopathic Therapy in Neurocirculatory Asthenia. The philosophy of medicine and of homoeopathy is a very fascinating subject and a very important subject, but after all the final test of any method of medical practice is the way in which it acts at the bedside. We may theorize all we please as to what a certain system of practice or a certain substance ought to do, but that actually counts, and what in my opinion does more for homoeopathy than anything else, is the actual curative results that we get with our patients.

EVER since the days of the Great War I have been interested in had intrigued by Neurocirculatory Asthenia (“Irritable Heart”- “Effort Syndrome”) because it was among soldiers that I first saw that could be experienced by a person suffering from this form of neurosis. After the War it was quickly realized that many people in civilian life likewise succumb to this functional disturbance. I like to think of it in terms of Stevens definition-namely, “a subconscious defence reaction to an intolerable situation” represented variously by hardships, anxiety, grief and worry. Let us pause and think how frequently and in what a variety of phases this condition can arise and we are forced to marvel that at least every second individual we meet has not fallen a victim to it. That this is not true leads us to wonder at the almost limitless resilience of most human minds and bodies.

The subject is a timely one when the nervous systems of many executives and business men are cracking under the long continuing and constant stress of our times. Eventually this persistent load of tension would surely lead to absolute breakdown in the nervous, cardiac and renal spheres especially, unless some therapeutic agent could be applied that would stimulate the various tissues of our complex human mechanism so that they became able to withstand the constant shock of these cataclysmal forces. such agents are to be found among the various invaluable remedies in the homoeopathic materia medica. Naturally any sane medical or lay observer says, “But first remove the cause.” Very wise and very true we grant, but we claim that, failing to be able to do the latter because of our impotence to control the vast economic factors at work, recourse to the former method is logical, sound and beneficial. This to my mind conforms to the best noblest in homoeopathic philosophy.

I experience considerable temerity in presenting this subject matter before an audience of homoeopathic physicians because I am able to present only known facts in possibly slightly different lights. Oftentimes, of course, one must stand in a position analogous to the evangelist who must urge his flock on toward the heavenly goal by repeated exhortation.

The symptoms are varied but classical-easy fatigue under mental or physical exertion, rapid exhaustion, excessive sighing, sense of suffocation, various types of chest pain, especially precordial, palpitation, abnormal pulsations, tachycardia, bradycardia, syncopal attacks, headache, tremors, dizziness, visual disturbance, insomnia, and symptoms of various gastro- intestinal neuroses. Having make the general surroundings as pleasant as possible, we see to it that these people have wholesome food, sufficient sleep, graduated exercise, and adequate amusement. The physician, with his milk of human kindness, can administer psychotherapy in the form of helpful suggestions, and optimistic assurances. But, strange, to say, it is often the properly applied homoeopathic remedy that acts as the synergistic agent which marshals all these forces to the end that perverted functions are again returned to normal paths.

Aconite I have found very useful where the marked anxiety and fear of death were present together with a rapid, bounding pulse and severe, knife- life pains in the intercostal nerves.

Chininum arsenicosum. General weariness, exhaustion and prostration are marked. There are palpitation and attacks of suffocation. The patient craves the open air.

Cinchona officinalis. Periodic attacks of debility, apathy, despondency, palpitation with sense of rapid irregular cardiac action. This is often associated with marked intestinal distension, profuse sweats, wandering pains in the extremities, sleeplessness or unrefreshing sleep with frightful dreams.

Natrum muriaticum. Fluttering sensation in the precordium and the feeling that the heart pulsations shake the whole body. Cannot stand consolation. Goes into a rage about trifles.

Nux vomica. Frequently applicable to the quick, active, nervous business man with his preponderance of mental work and sedentary life. He reacts poorly to stimulants, sleep poorly, has much gastro-intestinal disturbance followed by vertigo, palpitation and tachycardia.

Digitalis. Years ago Dr. Raisbeck did me an invaluable service when he pointed out that this remedy in freshly prepared homoeopathic dilutions business man who had become anxious and despondent about the future, showing weakness, vertigo, mental confusion, violent palpitation, often a weak, slow pulse, frequent stitching pains through precordium, and continued insomnia.

Donald R. Ferguson