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Homeopathic Materia Medica by Farrington
(cimic)WE have in the homeopathic materia medica, two varieties of the Actea, ACTEA RACEMOSA and ACTEA SPICATA. The last named of these may be dismissed in a very few words. It acts upon the joints, especially upon the smaller joints as those of the hands and feet. It is useful in rheumatism affecting these parts especially if the hands and wrists are involved.
Actea racemosa acts upon the cerebro-spinal nervous system and especially on the motor nerves. It seems to have a decided influence over the nerves distributed to muscles, producing a perfect picture of myalgia.
Actea racemosa is also valuable by reason of its reflex nervous symptoms. It has neuralgia of any part of the body as a reflex symptom from uterine or ovarian disease. One of its most important symptoms arising from this cause is a sensation of heat on the top of the head just back of the centre. Other symptoms which you may note about the head are feeling as if the top of the head would fly off, sharp lancinating and neuralgiform pains in and over the eyes, supra-orbital pains shooting up to the top of the head. These symptoms indicate Actea racemosa in some of the diseases peculiar to women and in diseases of the eye proper. In any disease of the eye when pains of the above-named character are present, Actea is one of the first remedies to be thought of.
SPIGELIA has similar pains. Under this remedy, the neuralgia comes and goes with the sun, that is it reaches its height at noon and subsides in the evening. The Actea pain is worse at night rather than during the day. The Spigelia pain begins in the back of the head and comes forwards and settles over one or the other eye. This remedy also has a sensation as if the eye-ball was enormously large. When, however, this last-named symptom is traceable to uterine displacement, Actea is preferable.
CEDRON is an invaluable remedy in neuralgiform affections when the pains involve the supra-orbital nerve and the eye, and are worse on the left side. The eye burns as if it were on fire. The pains recur regularly at the same hour each day.
Another remedy to be mentioned in this connection is KALMIA LATIFOLIA, which has supra-orbital neuralgia worse on the right side.
Actea may also be used for headache attended by a feeling as if the patient were going crazy. Especially is it of value when uterine symptoms are present.
It is also called for when there is pain in the left infra-mammary region when dependent upon uterine disturbances.
We come now to the action of Actea on the female sexual organs. It is indicated in labor or in threatened miscarriage when the pains fly across the abdomen from side to side (LYCOPODIUM, from right to left; IPECAC., from left to right and associated with nausea). The pains seem to double the patient up. It may also be used in the early months of pregnancy for those pains in the abdominal walls which so distress the patient.
When there is a great deal of soreness in the abdomen, the local application of a solution of HAMAMELIS is a good remedy.
The labor pains seem to be associated with fainting spells or with crying out in agony, so severe are they.
In after-pains it is only useful when they are intense, when the patient is exceedingly sensitive and cannot tolerate them, and when they are worse in the groin.
Actea may also be used in puerperal mania. The patient declares that she will go crazy and her every action apparently indicates that she is keeping her word. She is suspicious. Her talk is nonsensical, and yet she seems to be conscious of what she is doing, and she says she cannot help it. Sometimes she has visions of rats, etc. These symptoms may also indicate the drug in delirium tremens.
Here you may compare LACHESIS, which has "awakening from sleep and springing from bed not only with superhuman strength but in great terror."
Also ARSENICUM, which often follows Lachesis when the patient is afraid to be left alone.
CALCAREA OSTREARUM, visions of rats and mice as soon as the patient closes his eyes.
Another symptom that we find indicating Actea in labor is "rigors or nervous chills" in the first stage of labor. GELSEMIUM is also useful in this condition.
Actea racemosa does not cause phthisis, yet it may be one of the first remedies that we may use, when the disease is not of hereditary origin, especially if the trouble has been brought on by exposure or in any case in which the well-defined cough of Actea is present, and that is a dry, teasing cough, worse at night, with little or no sputum and usually associated with pleurodynia.
In pleurodynia associated with tuberculosis you will find GUAIACUM to be a remedy that rarely fails.
You may use Actea in angina pectoris when the pains radiate all over the chest and are associated with cerebral congestion and unconsciousness. The face is livid and the arm feels as if bound tightly to the body.
Another use that we may make of Actea is in that condition known as spinal irritation. Especially is it indicated when the upper and lower cervical vertebrae, particularly the latter, are sensitive to pressure; hence the patient will not lean back in her chair because of the uneasiness which it produces. This symptom of Actea is usually reflex from uterine irritation.
Now we have several remedies similar to Actea in spinal irritation. One of these is NATRUM MUR., which also produces sensitiveness between the vertebrae. The main distinction between it and Actea is that under it the patient finds relief from lying flat on the back, and that, too, even when there is a uterine displacement. Another indication calling for Natrum mur. is a partial paralysis from weakness of the spine. Especially is it indicated when these symptoms arise from grief, anger, etc.
PHYSOSTIGMA, or the Calabar bean, develops a perfect picture of spinal irritation. It produces all sorts of burning and twinging sensations referable to the spinal column, with numbness of the feet and hands and other parts of the body, crampy pains in the hands, sudden jerking of the. limbs on dropping off to sleep. The muscles of the back become rigid and even a tetanic condition may ensue.
AGARICUS MUSCARIUS produces a perfect picture of spinal irritation, with well-marked tingling or formication in the back, with itching or burning of the skin as if frostbitten, twitching of the muscles, especially of the eyelids, and sensations in different parts of the body as if needles of ice were being thrust into the skin.
This spinal irritation may develop a partial paralysis, in which case we have two remedies to fall back upon. One of these is ZINCUM METALLICUM. This produces a perfect picture of irritable spine with aching in the back at about the last dorsal vertebra, which is worse from sitting than from either walking or lying. Along with this it produces weakness of the legs, especially at noon when the patient is hungry. You should also remember that the spinal symptoms of Zinc are made worse by wine.
The second remedy is COCCULUS INDICUS. This we use in females with weak spine when there is paralytic aching in the small of the back. The patient feels as if she could scarcely walk. Along with these symptoms there is also an empty, gone feeling in the abdomen, which feels as if hollow or empty.
Among men we do not find these symptoms present except as a result of sexual excesses, in which case NUX VOMICA is the remedy.
KOBALT is of use for spinal irritation from sexual excesses when this symptom is present: Backache worse when sitting, with weakness in the legs.