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Homeopathic Materia Medica by Farrington


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Carbo animalis (contains phosphate of lime).

Carbo vegetabilis (contains carbonate of potash).

Graphites (contains iron).

Aniline sulphate.

Carboneum (Lampblack).

Coal gas.

Bisulphide of Carbon.

I invite your attention this morning to the medicines obtained from the carbon group. Carbon in its purity is found only in the diamond. We have it comparatively pure, however, in the lampblack, or Carboneum. Carbon will necessarily be somewhat different in its action according to the source from which we obtained it. Hahnemann used principally three carbons, CARBO ANIMALIS, CARBO VEGETABILIS and GRAPHITES. The first he derived from the animal kingdom, the second from the vegetable, while the last was an artificial product found principally lining the interior of large iron retorts. Carbo animalis is obtained principally from bones. It contains some phosphate of lime. Carbo veg. contains some carbonate of potash. It is obtained principally from a variety of the beech-tree. Graphites is always contaminated with more or less iron. Hence you see that these are not pure carbons. I have also placed on the board, the Sulphate of Aniline which behaves like a carbon and is a carbonaceous compound. Then too, we have Carboneum and Carbonic oxide. Carbonic acid gas does not seem to possess active medicinal properties. It is not very poisonous. Its main deleterious effects are due to deprivation of oxygen. Carbonic oxide is much more poisonous, producing death, not only by suffocation, by displacing the needed oxygen, but by another remarkable peculiarity. It has the property or peculiarity of displacing oxygen from the blood and taking its place there. You know that oxygen is carried along in the blood by the red corpuscles. Carbonic oxide has the power of supplanting the oxygen in these structures. For a time, it seems to act like oxygen, but soon its poisonous properties are manifested with all the inevitable results of asphyxia. Coal gas, which we obtain by slow combustion of coal, and the illuminating gas used in our large cities, are of this character. They produce serious effects when taken in large quantities, especially when the subject is deprived of the ordinary atmosphere. It is said that this coal gas is beneficial in the treatment of whooping-cough. I have known of but one case thus treated, and that one died. Bisulphide of Carbon which has also been proved has some valuable symptoms.

Now all of the carbonaceous substances have some properties in common. For instance they all have a tendency to relieve putrescence or putrid discharges or putrid exhalations from the body and offensive sores. You all know the mechanical properties of charcoal, what an absorbent it is, and how it can purify the atmosphere or substances that are undergoing decomposition. The animal charcoal, which is more porous, is here more effectual than the vegetable. If you bury a dead rat or mouse in charcoal for several months, you will not find any odor from the animal at the end of that time, but only a clean white skeleton. But this property, I would have you know, is not entirely mechanical. In the potencies, this property may be seen in the human system. Now I do not mean to say that potentized charcoal will prevent the odor from a decomposing animal, but I do say that in a potentized state, it exerts similar effects on the human system.

All the carbons act also on the skin, producing excoriations of the skin and intertrigo. They affect the glands also, causing enlargement and induration of the axillary and other lymphatfc glands, even as in the case of Carbo veg. and Carbo animalis, cancerous enlargement and infiltration. They all affect the mucous membranes, producing catarrhs of the nose, throat and lungs and also of the bowels. They all tend to produce asphyxia. We find this prominently in Carbo Veg., less so in the Carbo animalis, and very marked in Aniline and Carboneum. Carboneum may produce asphyxia with convulsions simulating those of epilepsy. Coal gas and Carbonic oxide too are calculated to produce dyspnoea from deprivation of oxygen. We find also that all the carbons act on the veins, producing varicose veins. We find too that all the carbons tend to produce flatulence. This is one of the reasons why I object to toast as an article of diet for the sick. Toast when the bread is nicely dried through by gentle and continuous heat is very beneficial, but when it is charred, it tends to produce flatulence. The flatus is offensive and has an od6r like that of rotten eggs.