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Homeopathic Materia Medica by Farrington


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Today we begin our study of the medicines obtained from the animal kingdom. I desire to preface my lecture on these remedies, with a few remarks relating to their properties in general. Many of the animal poisons are distinguished by the violence and intensity of their action, and by the decided alterations which they produce in both structure and function. The blood is often changed in its composition and quality, the nervous system suffers, and even the lower tissues are affected. The whole tendency of these remedies is to produce diseases, WHICH ARE NEVER OF A STHENIC CHARACTER, AND ALWAYS OF A DESTRUCTIVE FORM, tending thus to local as well as to general death of the body. We, therefore, look upon these poisons as medicines which suit deep-seated diseases, such, for example, as are accompanied by changes in the quality of the blood; such as profoundly affect the nervous centres. Consequently they are indicated in typhoid fevers, erysipelatous inflammations, tuberculosis of different organs and tissues of the body, and many of those dyscrasias which underlie and qualify acute diseases. You will find if you devote time to the study of this portion of the Materia Medica, more time than we can spare or than these lectures will permit, that they are often necessary to arouse vitality and direct the vital forces into a proper channel.

You will find, too, that these animal poisons are apt to affect the mind, especially the emotions. They arouse the lowest qualities in one's nature, and produce a condition which is truly shocking. Some of them arouse the filthiest lust, the most intense anger, and passions of a kindred nature. So we may find many of these drugs suitable for persons affected with insanity, whether it be the result of functional or organic cerebral changes; whether or not it be reflex from irregularities in bodily functions.

You will see by the table which I have placed on the board that we have quite a number of remedies derived from the animal kingdom.


I have, for convenience of study, divided these animal substances according to their natural relations. We have first the VERTEBRATA. Within this grand division of the animal kingdom we note the first class, the MAMMALIA, below this the OPHIDIA or great variety of serpents, then the PISCES or fishes, and, finally, the BATRACHIA. In the higher order or Mammalia we have quite a list of remedies already; but these members of the animal kingdom compose only a small portion of it. There are many animal drugs of which we know nothing but their names; they have been used by one individual without any special proving. This is a field which has not been thoroughly investigated, and one, too, the investigation of which, has encountered great opposition. Especially has the CIMEX LECTULARIUS, the common bed-bug, been condemned; but this opposition has extended to other remedies of the class. Prejudice goes far. I do not wish to sanction these medicines any more than they deserve. Our notions, our prejudices, and our appetites affect us all. Reviewing the MAMMALIA, we note first the MOSCHUS, and here another and similar animal substance, the CASTOREUM. I mention these together that you may remember them as two substances which act on the nervous system somewhat similarly. The origin of MOSCHUS you all know; CASTOREUM is a similar product taken from the beaver, and is a very useful medicine for patients, especially women, who are nervous and do not react after typhoid fever. If, . after the fever has spent its force, the patient remains irritable, with weak and exhausting sweat, CASTOREUM helps her at once.

Next we have here the product from the animal which you all know as the skunk, MEPHITIS PUTORIUS. This MEPHITIS also acts powerfully on the nervous system. If taken in a low potency when one is exhausted, it tones up the nervous system and relieves the exhaustion. The main use of MEPHITIS, however, is in whooping-cough. It produces a well-described hard cough, with well-marked laryngeal spasm, and a distinct whoop. I have found in using this medicine, that it often apparently makes the patient worse, while it really tends to shorten the course of the disease. When the catarrhal symptoms are slight and the spasmodic whoop is marked, MEPHITIS is to be selected. The cough is worse at night and after lying down. There is a suffocative feeling; the child cannot exhale. It vomits its food, sometimes hours after eating. In whooping-cough you should compare with MEPHITIS, CORALLIUM. RUBRUM, which has, however, smothering BEFORE the cough, and great exhaustion afterwards. The gasping progresses into repeated crowing inspirations until the child becomes black in the face.

DROSERA should also be thought of. This remedy has spells of barking cough which come so frequently as not to give the patient an opportunity to recover the breath. They are especially worse after 12 P.M. The child holds each hypochondrium during the cough and if sputum is not raised, vomiting and retching ensue. The patient may have a diarrhoea with stools containing bloody mucus.

MEPHITIS, has also been recommended in the asthma of drunkards. It may also be used in the asthma of consumptives when DROSERA fails. In the last named condition, you may think also of RUMEX and STICTA. The former of these is to be given when there is aggravation at 2 A.M. The latter remedy has been recommended by Dr. E. T. Blake, when the trouble is associated with splitting headache. MEPHITIS seems to have the power of enabling the patient to stand extreme cold. He feels less chilly than usual in cold weather. Washing in ice-cold water causes a pleasant sensation. Other symptoms of the drug which are worthy of notice are the following: Wandering pains with pressure to urinate, fine nervous vibrations reaching to the bones, causing anxiety; awakes at night with congestions to the legs (see AURUM); legs uneasy as if they would become insensible; vivid fancies unfitting him for mental labor; talkative, as if intoxicated; violent pain in the head after a fulness which was pressing upwards; head dull and numb; head feels enlarged; heaviness and pressure in the back of the head as from a finger pressing; redness and injection of the conjunctiva; dimness of vision; letters blur and run together.

Below, we have the OLEUM ANIMALE HIPPOMANES. This is similar in its origin to CASTOREUM and MOSCHUS. It is the secretion of the mare, which tends to excite the passion of the opposite SEX.

Next we have the CASTOR EQUI, which is the red substance growing on the inside of the legs of the horse. The principal use that has been made of this in medicine, has been in sore nipples when they are cracked and ragged, almost hanging in fact.

Now, we come to the milk preparations, I am not going to uphold these. You are to be the judges. No editor of a journal, however brilliant he may be, should decide for you. Try them, that you may know them by your own experience. I have been making experiments with them. The first is LAC VACCINUM or cows' milk ; the next is LAC DEFLORATUM or skimmed milk. The latter has gained such a foot-hold that less objection has been made to it than to any of the others. It has been used largely in the treatment of diabetes. Patients are directed to drink a pint of milk morning, noon and night, while all food containing starch and sugar is prohibited. The quantity of milk just mentioned is gradually increased until the patient consumes four or five quarts daily. Provings of LAO DEFLORATUM have been made. It has cured intense headache, located principally in the forepart of the head. The pains are of a throbbing character and are associated with nausea, vomiting and the most obstinate constipation. It is especially suitable in anasmic women. Remember these symptoms—anaemic women, throbbing frontal headache, nausea, vomiting and obstinate constipation.

Next we come to the dog's milk, LAC CANINUM. Of this, I can say nothing. It has been used largely in diphtheria by a New York physician. Koumyss, another of the milk preparations, is CERTAINLY no humbug. It is prepared by fermentation from asses' milk. It is used largely on the plains of Asia. It is claimed that it is an excellent food for the weak and anaemic and especially for the consumptive. It is readily digested and is well tolerated by weak stomachs.

Next we have two substances, FEL TAURI and FEL VULPI, which have been used in constipation and in accumulation of flatus in the intestines.

PULMO VULPIS was introduced by Grauvogl, who acting according to the law of "SIGNATURA RERUM" recommended PULMO VULPIS in asthma because foxes were long-winded. I give you this without indorsing it.

We next come to the OPHIDIANS. Here we have the large class of serpents the consideration of which I will omit now, because we will take them up for study at our next meeting.

Among the PISCES or fishes, I will mention only the cod-diver oil or OLEUM JECORIS ASELLI. This is known as a great remedy in scrofulosis, tuberculosis, and debility. It is used, as you know, by physicians of both schools of practice. Many physicians claim that it acts physiologically. This is a mistake. It is a medicine. It does not act by the oil contained as Dr. Hughes claims. If it does, why is it that other oils do not produce as good effects? It is a compound drug, and contains Iodine, Phosphorus and other substances. Dr. Neidhard of this city has made provings of it. He gave the drug in the lower potencies to provers, until he obtained a list of symptoms which he found to be characteristic. I will here give you an outline of the symptoms. You may use it when there are chills running down the back, hoarseness and soreness through the chest. How many times you will see these symptoms as the beginning of tuberculosis! There may be sharp stitching pains here and there through the chest; the patient complains of burning pain in spots or in someone portion of the chest. Fever is particularly marked towards evening with burning of the palms of the hand. The cough is dry with an expectoration of a somewhat slimy mucus such as we notice in the initial stages of tuberculosis. These are symptoms which have been noticed in the provings conducted by a conscientious observer, Dr. Neidhard; they are symptoms which, when occurring in the sick, have been cured by the drug. When they are present, you may give OLEUM JECORIS ASELLI either in potency or in the crude form, and give it, too, on a scientific basis.

Next we come to BUFO RANA, a variety of toad indigenous to South America. The surface of its body secretes an oily substance which has the reputation of being poisonous. The native women, when tired of the importunities of their husbands, mix this oily secretion into their husbands' drinks for the purpose of producing impotency. Provings have been made of BUFO, and it has been found to produce a very disgusting set of symptoms. It causes a sort of imbecility in which the person loses all decency. He becomes a confirmed masturbator and seeks privacy to indulge his vicious habit. Masturbation and even sexual intercourse seem to cause convulsions which simulate those of epilepsy. The aura that begins the epileptic paroxysms starts from the genital organs. The patient may even be thrown into violent convulsions during coitus. That form of epilepsy for which BUFO has done the most is that which occurs from over sexual excitement or else seems to start from the solar plexus. These symptoms are often preceded by a singular irritability of the mind during which the patient talks incoherently and is then vexed because his gibberish is not understood. The convulsions themselves are usually followed by profound sleep. Some years ago, Dr. Wm. Payne cured a case of peritonitis with this remedy in which there were repeated convulsions, finally followed by stupor, unconsciousness, cold limbs, copious sweat, etc. I have recently successfully treated a woman with this drug, the indications being spasms, with suppurating blisters on the skin, in the throat, and in the vagina. The abdomen was exceedingly sensitive, feeling to her as if. the same sort of sores were also in the bowels.

We may here institute comparisons between BUFO and its concordant remedies. INDIGO is indicated in epileptiform spasms which seem to be reflex from the irritation of worms. It is often useful in children) when they are aroused at night with this horrible itching at the anus. But it never does any good unless the patient is low-spirited or sad or timid. If he is vehement or excitable, recourse must be had to a vehement remedy like NUX VOMICA or BUFO.

ARTEMISIA VULGARISIS an excellent remedy in epilepsy, especially when it has been caused by fright or some exciting mental emotion. The attacks are repeated one after the other, and are followed by profound sleep.

I may say that BUFO RANA seems to cure blisters on the skin, such blisters as are termed bullae. These rupture, leaving a raw surface from which there oozes an excoriating ichorous fluid.

From the MOLLUSCA, we obtain two remedies, SEPIAE SUCCUS and MUREX. These I will leave for the present, as I shall have more to say of them by and by.

From the RADIATA, we obtain four medicines, the first of which for mention is the CORALLIUM RUBRUM or red coral. It has several uses, but I shall only mention two. CORALLIUM RUBRUM is useful in a combination of SYPHILIS and psora. There are smooth spots on the surface of the body, mostly on the palms of the hands. At first they are of a coral-red hue, but they finally become darker and assume the well-known copper-color characteristic of syphilis. CORALLIUM is also useful for chancres when they have this coral-red hue.

The whooping-cough of CORALLIUM RUBRUM has been styled the minute-gun cough, the paroxysms, as already described, coming very close together. During the day, the cough is short, quick, and ringing in character; when night comes, decided paroxysms of whooping appear. These seem to take the child's breath completely away, so that when they have ceased, he falls back completely exhausted. In this whooping-cough it is similar to MEPHITIS, which I have already described to you.

SPONGIA we shall speak of along with the HALOGENS, Bromine, Iodine, etc.

MEDUSA or the jelly-fish has effects which are nearly identical with those of URTICA URENS. It produces a nettle-rash and also has some slight action on the kidneys.

BADIAGO, the fresh-water sponge of Russia, has two principal points of attack, the first of which is on the lymphatic glands. It causes an enlargement of these with induration. It has been successfully used in indurated buboes, especially when they have been maltreated. Here it is similar to CARBO ANIMALIS. It also has an action on the heart. It is of service in palpitation of that organ caused by any pleasant excitement; it is thus similar to COFFEA and PHOSPHORUS. It is not indicated in organic heart diseases.

NITRITE OF AMYL is likewise indicated in functional cardiac affections. It acts paralyzingly on the vaso-motor nerves. It is useful in congestions to various parts of the body, to the head or to the chest. The face becomes flushed and even puffed and red. Respiration is greatly oppressed. The heart beats more frequently but loses in force. A constrictive sensation about the heart is experienced. The patient must sit up. The urine ordinarily contains a small quantity of albumen. So susceptible is the person, that the opening of a door causes flushing. NITRITE OF AMYL is indicated in flashes of heat at change of life.

Next we come to the ARTICULATA, insects whose bodies are in segments, the wasps, bees, etc. We have in this group a great many remedies, some of which have been placed on the board. To the Hemiptera belong


COCCUS CACTI is a little insect infesting the cacti of South America. The principal use of the drug is in whooping-cough with morning aggravation. The child awakens in the morning and is immediately seized with a paroxysm of whooping-cough, ending in vomiting of clear ropy mucus, hanging in great long strings from the mouth. That is a symptom which you all should remember. I can assure you that it is a positive one, for with this condition present, COCCUS CACTI has, when administered in the beginning, cut short the whole disease. Still further, COCCUS CACTI affects the chest. The apices of the lungs are sore, and the patient coughs up this ropy mucus.

KALI BICHROMIOUM and SENEGA are concordant remedies of COCCUS CACTI in these conditions. KALI BICHROMIOUM has a dry barking cough, worse in the morning. The expectoration is stringy, but it is yellow in color— not clear, as under COCCUS CACTI.

SENEGA is useful in chubby children. It has tough expectoration which is clear like the white of an egg, but the cough is worse towards evening. The expectoration is difficult to raise. If the child is old enough, it will complain of a crushing weight on the chest.

CIMEX is a remedy that I have never used. It has been recommended in intermittent fever.

From the HYMENOPTERA, we obtain such important remedies as APIS MELLIFICA, VESPA and FORMICA. This order we must leave for the present.

The order COLEOPTERA gives us CANTHARIS ; this we will have to leave for a future lecture. From this order we also obtain the DORYPHORA DECEM-LINEATA or potato bug. This is highly poisonous, and has been used successfully in inflammations of a low grade, for instance, gonorrhceal inflammation when the parts are purple or dark red.

Under the order ORTHOPTERA, we have one remedy mentioned, the BLATTA or cockroach. This is the last agony of all. Journals have contained many accounts of cases of dropsy cured with it. Lastly we have the ARACHNIDA, or spiders, the consideration of which we shall leave for a future lecture.