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Homeopathic Materia Medica by Farrington
(apoc)Apocynum cannabinum was said by Pliny to be fatal to dogs and from this circumstance, its name was derived. It has a tough fibre, like hemp, which has been used for cordage.
Apocynum cannabinum has a marked effect in increasing the flow of urine. It is not sufficient, however, in the present course, to study the drug simply as a diuretic, because it has such a decided action on the vital forces that it demands an extended notice. It depresses the vital forces greatly as evidenced in the relaxed sphincters, loss of muscular power, etc. This loss of power is an important general symptom since it qualifies, as we shall see presently, the cardiac, renal and intestinal symptoms.
In the last few years, Apocynum has come into very extensive use in the treatment of many forms of dropsy. When I give you a succinct resume of its symptoms, you will see that its indiscriminate use in dropsical conditions is by no means strictly homeopathic.
When indicated, Apocynum demands that the following symptoms be present: Bewilderment and heaviness of the head; drowsiness and debility or disturbed restless sleep. The functions are sluggish. The pulse is slow. The bowels are constipated although the feces are not hard. The kidneys are torpid, or else the urine is copious and almost involuntary from relaxed sphincters. The nose and throat gre filled with thick yellow mucus on awakening. Sense of oppression at the epigastrium and chest, can hardly get breath to speak, even after lighter meals than usual. The patient has a sense of oppression in the chest; he must take frequent deep inspirations. There are also fluttering of the heart, and dartings and prostrated feeling in the cardiac region. The pulse is irregular, intermittent and at times feeble, then slow. The heart beats regularly, then flutters and becomes feeble, then slow and labored, now and then losing a beat.
Here you may compare several remedies : and first, ARSENICUM. This remedy has the same thirst and the same sinking at the epigastrium as has Apocynum, but it is indicated in more advanced cases, and the patient always presents more irritability of fibre.
I showed you the distinctions between APIS, ACETIC ACID and Apocynum when I lectured on Apis.
HELLEBORUS and DIGITALIS are similar to Apocynum in causing torpidity, slow pulse, etc. But I think the Apocynum, as a rule, is the preferable remedy as Digitalis often proves to be treacherous.
Apocynum also has some action on the joints, producing a rheumatic condition. The joints feel stiff, especially on moving in the morning.
You will recall, too, that I mentioned Apocynum as a remedy in hydrocephalus ; the head is large; there is bulging of the frontal bone; the fontanelles are wide open ; there is squinting, and, in extreme cases, the patient is blind ; one side is paralyzed. The case much resembles APIS, but lacks the cephalic cry. It is indicated in more advanced cases than Apis. One or two cases have been cured by the continued use of the remedy.
There is a diarrhoea which may call for Apocynum. The stools are copious, yellow, watery, or brownish, and sometimes contain undigested food. They are discharged with an expulsive force like a cork from a bottle. The sphincter ani is so weak that stools escape unbidden or while the patient is passing flatus. After stool, he feels weak or has an "all-gone feeling" in the abdomen. The face is pale and covered with a cold sweat.
ALOES has a similar weakening effect on the sphincter ani, and the great prostration after stool; but the stools under this remedy CONTAIN A JELLY-LIKE MUCUS, and there is a colic which is relieved by bending double.
GAMBOGE has stool preceded by excessive cutting about the navel. The stool is expelled "all at once" after considerable urging, and is followed by feeling of great relief.
Apocynum also has haemorrhoids, which are associated with a feeling as if a wedge was being hammered into the anus.