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Materia Medica by Kent



COFFEA

(coff)

This drug is characterized by a general sensitivity. Sensitiveness of vision, of hearing, of smell, of touch; sensitiveness to pain. It is most astonishing sometimes about this great sensitiveness. PAINS ARE INCREASED BY NOISE. Sensitiveness of hearing is so great that sounds are painful. Pains in the face, toothache, headache; pains in the lower limbs; everywhere aggravated by noise. All the nervous disturbances possible are found in this medicine, and they are all aggravated by noise. Even the opening of the door and the ringing of the door-bell produces great suffering. Such patients are so sensitive that they hear sounds which those in a state of health cannot hear. Perhaps no medicine in the Materia Medica approximates this sensitiveness of hearing where it is accompanied with pain, unless it be NUX VOM. Those practitioners who do not know this generally resort to NUX VOM. for pains aggravated from voices in another room, or from noise or the sound of children. Many remedies have increase of nervousness from noise; noise aggravates headache, and aggravates suffering about the head, and makes some persons nervous. But pain in the extremities aggravated by noise is peculiar. It seems that the noise disturbs him so that he cannot bear pain.

 

The Coffea state is brought on by emotions or violent excitement of the mind, but especially by joy or "pleasant surprise." The result is sleeplessness, nervous excitement, neuralgia, twitching of muscles, toothache, faceache, red face and hot head.

 

You may be called to the bedside of a woman who has been laboring for some great cause. She works persistently, is successful, but goes to bed with weeping, delirium, neuralgia, sleeplessness. Her heart palpitates, her pulse flickers, she has fainting spells, and without Coffea she may die. Coffee drinkers who keep up through some ordeal and then break down are similarly affected.

 

The Coffea patient is sensitive to wine. A small amount of wine intensifies the nervousness, produces sleeplessness, flushed face, feverishness, great excitement. Not necessarily intoxication, but nervous excitement. Coffea has a painful sensitiveness of the skin beyond comprehension. I remember one particular case. A woman had her lower limb out of bed and it was as red as fire down one side. I walked toward it to put my hand on it. But she said, "Oh, don't touch it, I can't bear to have it touched; I can't touch it myself." I asked how long this had been coming on. She said, "Oh, it all came on within an hour." Such a symptom is common in coffee drinkers. There was no fever. Intense stinging, burning pains in the skin with the redness and heat with coarse rash coming on suddenly, leaving just as suddenly. The sensitive part is aggravated by cold air, aggravated by any wind or from fanning, from motion, yet aggravated by warmth. Aggravated from anyone walking across the floor. The woman I referred to scowled when I was walking toward the bed, A number of times I have seen such things relieved within a few minutes by Coffea,

 

Fainting from sudden emotions. Hysteria, nervousness, weeping. Pitiful weeping from pain; trembling and weeping from hurt feelings; the slightest neglect. The greatest mental and physical exhaustion; great restlessness; lying awake most of the night. The wakefulness produced by Coffea is well known, even to the laity. It is taken by nurses to keep them awake nights with their patients. The Coffea patient is quick to act and to think. So full of ideas that she lies awake nights making plans, thinking of a thousand things; utterly unable to banish the thoughts that flood the mind; hears the clocks on the distant steeples, as do OPIUM, CHINA and NUX VOM. Hears the dogs barking. So great is the brain activity, the mental excitement, that she hears noises that are purely imaginary. Memory active, easy comprehension; full of ideas; increased power to think and to debate. Coffea increases the mental capacity. But after a while reaction follows; she becomes stupid and sleepy. There is no end to the fancies, to the visions. Fanciful visions come before the mind. Recalls things not thought of for years; recalls poetry that was recited in childhood. Eyes brilliant; pupils dilated; face flushed; head hot.

 

With all these nervous states the patient dreads the fresh air. He is extremely sensitive to cold, sensitive to the wind and cold weather. Complaints come on in the cold weather, from the cold air. Pain in the mouth and jaws, BETTER FROM HOLDING ICE-COLD WATER IN THE MOUTH. This applies to toothache and faceache where it is deep in the jaws. Hot head; inflamed condition of the gums. Pain in the teeth; rending, tearing pain in the teeth, brought on from exposure to cold, from emotions, from excitement, from joy; aggravated from motion; ameliorated by ice or ice-cold things; aggravated by warm food. Cannot drink warm tea, it so intensifies the pain. That is a particular. The particulars contrast with the generals. In one place you may see "better from cold" in black-faced type, but it relates to the face and jaws. Worse from cold is a general. Aversion to cold air, aversion to the open air unless it is very warm and still. Aversion to wind. "Neuralgic toothache entirely relieved by holding cold water in the mouth, returning as it becomes warm. Toothache during the menstrual period. Complaints of anaemic children during dentition." Those nervous, excitable children that talk to the nurse and the mother very rapidly with brilliant eyes, red face, cannot go to sleep. It will quiet the patient and actually favor the growth of the tooth in a painless manner. That is the description of a nervous child with many nervous brain and mental troubles. This child is extremely sensitive; it takes cold. The routine prescriber gives BELLADONNA to a child who has hot head, hot face and throbbing carotids, and when it does not help he gives more BELLADONNA, and increases the size of his dose until the child has a proving. He makes a BELLADONNA child out of it when Coffea would have cured it. In most instances where BELLADONNA is indicated the child is sluggish and stupid, and would like to sleep. With Coffea there is excitement. The child hears things its mother cannot hear; sees things; imagines things. Wakes up in fright. Sees this, that and the other thing in the room. Wakes up excited as if it had visions. Looks for things, and finally sees they are not there. Such things are strong features of Coffea.

 

At times the head is hot, the face is flushed and the eyes so brilliant that one fears apoplexy. Patients will often tell you that they hear a "noise" in the head, a ringing and roaring in the occiput. The ear is the one organ capable of registering sounds. But strange to say, the ears are sometimes very deceiving. Roaring in the ears sometimes seems as if it were in the occiput. Sometimes it is accompanied with a sensation of tingling or bubbling in the head. When patients say, "I have a roaring in the head," you know that means in the ear; many times accompanying roaring, ringing in the ears, buzzing in the ears, is a peculiar sensation of vibration in the head that is mistaken by the patient for a sound. I mention that because the Coffea patient feels a crackling or a bubbling in the occiput. The head feels badly; it feels too small. Headache, as of something pressing hard upon the surface of the brain. You would naturally suppose there was a pressing because of the congestive state heretofore described. "Headache as if the whole brain were torn and bruised, or dashed to pieces. Worse from motion, noise or light." The eye and the head symptoms are worse from noise and light. "Headache intolerable. Head feels small, and as if filled with fluid. Nervous hysterical headache. One-sided headache." There is another head symptom which is quite common. A feeling as if a nail were driven into the head. Coffea headaches are worse from walking, from motion; from the mere moving across the floor, he says he feels a draft of air on his head. And that is true of the pain in any part of the body. If a Coffea patient should have a pain in the hand, swinging of the hand through the air will aggravate. It is worse both from the motion and from the air. I want to illustrate that in this way in order to show how sensitive he is to air, and especially the painful part to cold air; when he moves against the air, against even still air he feels it. But the amelioration of the toothache from cold is an exception, is a particular.

 

The neuralgia of the face is a common feature of old coffee drinkers. Sensitive persons take coffee and finally become habituated to it. They say they cannot get along without it. They must have coffee. Such individuals should stop coffee. When coffee furnishes a crutch it is a sure indication that drinking it must be stopped. So it is with tea or any beverage. Such persons sometimes become sensitive to coffee, and they drink it in great quantities; the face becomes red; headaches come on, and other symptoms of Coffea. Stopping coffee brings out quite a proving, and you have to study CHAM. and NUX for an antidote. In all these remedies you get opposite effects. Now OPIUM will illustrate that. The first effect of OPIUM is to constipate. Let several doses be given, and as the effects of the OPIUM wear off he may have diarrhoea. OPIUM eaters can seldom stop because a diarrhoea comes on. If you should ever have an OPIUM case and diarrhoea comes on PULS. will nearly always control it. But there are individuals who reverse that. Often small doses of OPIUM will bring on dysentery, and if it is increased, bloody dysentery and inflammation of the bowels come on. Of course, one is action and the other the reaction.

 

A woman who is a confirmed coffee drinker will have menses too soon and lasting too long. Uterine haemorrhage is not uncommon. Another feature of Coffea is that the woman can scarcely wear the napkin during menstruation (PLATINA). The parts are in a state of hyperaesthesia. The vagina is hot and sensitive, often preventing coition. In the text it reads "Great sensitiveness of female genital organs, with general excitability. She is in a state of ecstasy. Uterine haemorrhage with excessive sensitiveness of organs and voluptuous itching, Metrorrhagia; large black lumps." Sometimes large bright red lumps. "Worse from every motion, with violent pain in the groins, and fear of death." Excessive sensitiveness about the vulva with voluptuous itching, is a strong feature of Coffea, and you will often find such symptoms in coffee drinkers.

 

During and after labor we also see this great excitement, all these nervous manifestations. The nervous system is in a fret, and such a mental state as described comes on with after-pains; extremely sensitive to pain, cries out; sees visions; hears all sorts of noises. Pains aggravated from motion; aggravated from noise. Wants everybody to keep still in the house.

 

Convulsions of children. "Puerperal convulsions. Extreme excitability." "Palpitation of the heart, pulse fluttering." "Strong, quick palpitation of the heart with extreme nervousness, sleeplessness and cerebral erethism caused by unexpected news of great good fortune." Let a woman about to go into confinement hear suddenly some unusually good news and she becomes almost ecstatic; carries the symptom all through confinement. The child is affected, the milk is affected. The milk flows away. Haemorrhage is likely to come on. Great nervousness, excitability, fear.