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Homeopathic Materia Medica by Farrington
(carb-v)As I have already intimated to you, Carbo veg. contains some carbonate of potash. It is also a fact worthy of note, that KALI CARB. is complementary to Carbo veg. especially in lung and throat affections and also in dyspepsia. Carbo veg. is also complementary to Phosphorus, here too in chest affections, in the throat more than anywhere else and, too, in excessive debility, particularly in the threatened paralysis of the whole system as a sequel to severe disease. The drug is antidoted by ARSENICUM and by CAMPHOR and holds an inimical relation with CAUSTICUM. The inimical relation between Carbo veg. and Causticum is not so marked as that between the latter remedy and Phosphorus.
In analyzing the drug, we will speak first of its effects on the blood. We find Carbo veg. indicated in affections in which the blood is decidedly changed, its composition altered. There is decided sepsis or blood poisoning in many of the diseases in which Carbo veg. is the remedy. We find the drug indicated in haemorrhages, haemorrhages too of a very low type. Thus we give it in epistaxis or nose-bleed when the face is pale and sunken and almost hippocratic. The blood flows persistently for hours, perhaps for days. It is dark and rather fluid. It is apt to occur in old and rather debilitated persons and during the course of diphtheria. You find nearly the same symptoms under CAMPHOR and MERCURIUS CYANATUS.
We also find Carbo veg. indicated in haemorrhages from the lungs, not only in haemoptysis, but also in bronchorrhagia. In these cases, you will find the patient suffering from great anxiety and yet without any particular restlessness. The anxiety is very evident in the face and in the efforts at breathing, but there is no particular restless tossing about. The patient complains of burning pain in the chest. Carbo veg. is to be used especially in far advanced cases of lung degeneration.
The pulse in these cases is apt to be intermittent and thready. The face is pale and often covered with cold sweat. The patient wants to be fanned, because fanning brings more air to the lungs.
These same symptoms indicate Carbo veg. in haemorrhages from the uterus, whether metrorrhagia or menorrhagia. Here, however, you find burning pains marked, burning across the sacrum and lower portion of the spine. If the haemorrhage continues any length of time, you will notice the same trouble in the chest, with the difficulty in breathing above mentioned.
Carbo veg., you will find here, will work hand in hand with CINCHONA and ARSENICUM. ARSENICUM is useful in these persistent haemorrhages of a low type, depending upon some degeneration in the organ affected. Both it and Carbo veg. have these violent burning pains. With the Arsenicum, however, you have, as a distinction which applies all through, irritability of fibre and mind too, which is not the case with Carbo veg. Carbo veg. is a torpid sluggish remedy, while Arsenicum has irritability with restless tossing about, anxiety, etc.
IPECACUANHA should also be remembered in haemorrhages, especially in haemorrhages from the lungs and uterine haemorrhages, when the patient takes long breaths as if panting. Unless there is present a cold stage, amounting almost to collapse, you may prefer to begin with it rather than with Carbo veg. or Cinchona.
Next, we find Carbo veg. useful in varicose veins which occur on either the arms or legs or even on the female genital organs. These varicose veins tend to ulceration. Now, you will find these varices bluish or livid, looking as though the blood had long remained in them. In these varicose ulcers, you will find very similar symptoms to those in other ulcers in which Carbo veg. is the remedy; burning pains, mottled appearance of the skin around the ulcer as though the smaller capillaries had become enlarged. Ecchymoses are seen beneath the skin. The ulcers have a decidedly indolent appearance.
Carbo veg. is also useful in ulcers other than varicose when they are of a very low type. They are flat ulcers, tending rather to spread on the surface than to dip deeply into the parenchyma of an organ. They discharge not a healthy pus, but instead that which is ichorous, corrosive, thin, burning and offensive in character. The burning is worse at night, depriving the patient of sleep and keeping him in torture the whole night. Even in cancerous ulcers; in ulcerating scirrhus, you will find Carbo veg. useful.
It may also be administered in carbuncle, particularly when the affected parts are bluish or livid, and when the discharges are offensive and associated with burning pains. In these cases, it is not only your duty to give it internally, but also to apply it externally as a plaster. It tends to prevent decomposition of fluids, sweetens the sore and so prevents poisoning of the system. The same is true for gangrene.
"When carbuncles or boils become gangrenous, Carbo veg. may be indicated. In these cases, it is distinguished from Arsenicum by the absence of this extreme restlessness.
In febrile conditions, Carbo veg. is useful for the typhoid and intermittent types of fever, for collapse during fever and for yellow fever. It is a preventive of yellow fever just as Sulphur is.of cholera. If all the ejecta of the patient are buried in charcoal, the spread of the disease is sure to be prevented. When the disease is fully established, Carbo yeg. would be of no more use than would Sulphur during the course of cholera.
The intermittent type of fever in which you may employ Carbo veg. is of a low grade. The case is one of long-standing and has been abused by quinine. There is thirst during the chill. The feet are icy-cold up to the knees. That is a very characteristic symptom of Carbo veg. (MENYANTHES is the remedy in quartan fever when the legs below the knees are icy-cold.) When the heat comes, it is in burning flashes. The sweat is either sour or else exceedingly offensive, from alterations in the discharges of the skin. During the apyrexia, the patient is pale and weak. Memory is weak, the mind seems to be befogged. The patient is decidedly low spirited and melancholy.
In the hectic type of fever, Carbo veg. is indicated by pretty much the same symptoms as those which I have already mentioned. It is particularly useful fbr hectic fever dependent upon long-lasting suppuration, whether due to abscess in the lungs or in the hip-joint or about the vertebrae.
You know that abscesses accompanying diseases of the spine may have to be opened. Sometimes, surgeons are afraid to do this before they have prepared the system for it, because reaction is so slow that the patient may be made worse by it. The danger from opening these abscesses may be greatly lessened by the use of Carbo veg. or Cinchona.
In collapse from various causes, you may use Carbo veg. There is decided lack of animal heat. The nose, cheeks and extremities are cold. The breath even may be cold. It is indicated in the late stages of typhoid fever, after protracted loss of vital fluids as after long-lasting haemorrhages, during cholera Asiatica, during pneumonia and, in fact, in any form of disease in which these symptoms appear. The body seems to be icy-cold, especially about the extremities, the breath is cool, the pulse is threadlike, scarcely perceptible, and intermittent. The lips may be bluish from cyanosis. Breathing is very weak and superficial; the patient may be either conscious or unconscious. Now, Carbo veg. in just such cases comes in as a savior, and rescues many a case that would otherwise die.
There are other remedies similar to Carbo veg. in collapse. CAMPHOR, especially, is similar to it in eholera Asiatica, but it is rather indicated in the beginning of cholera without any vomiting or diarrhoea; when the poison seems to have depressed or shocked the nervous system, so that the patient is icy-cold, dry, or in a cold sweat; the tongue is cold. If he can speak, it is in a squeaky or in a high-pitched voice, or else it is a husky, toneless voice. Camphor, in such cases, brings about reaction very quickly. Carbo veg. would be indicated in the later stage, when the prostration is the result of the drain on the system by the alvine discharges.
VERATRUM ALBUM is so similar to Carbo veg. in collapse. It has cramps in the calves of the legs and characteristically, cold sweat on the forehead.
I wish next to say a word about Carbo veg. for its action on glands. The glands, especially the mammae, become indurated. There are burning pains in the swollen glands with tendency to suppuration. When they do suppurate, the discharged pus is not of a laudable character.
We find Carbo veg. indicated in catarrhal troubles which are provoked by warm moist atmosphere, such as we have in this latitude with southwest or southerly winds. The patient is worse in the evening. He has aphonia recurring regularly each evening, associated with raw feeling down the larynx and trachea. There is dry tickling cough, at times quite spasmodic in its character.
It is here analogous to PHOSPHORUS and is often preceded or followed by that remedy. The Phosphorus aphonia is associated with rawness of the larynx and is worse in the evening.
In the morning aphonia, Carbo veg. is more closely allied to SULPHUR which has loss of voice particularly in the morning.
Still another concordant remedy of Carbo veg. is CAUSTICUM, which is suited to laryngeal catarrh in singers, with rough hoarse voice, and associated with tracheo-bronchial catarrh with rawness and burning under the sternum. This is found under both remedies. The main difference is that Causticum has hoarseness worse in the morning, and Carbo veg. in the evening. Causticum has aggravation in dry cold weather and Carbo veg. in a damp, warm atmosphere.
Another remedy is EUPATORIUM PERFOLIATUM, which I use for hoarseness with soreness in the larynx, trachea, and bronchial tubes, too. The hoarseness is worse in the morning, and is apt to be associated with pains all over the body.
Carbo veg. may also be used in asthma, particularly in the asthma of old people and of people who are very much debilitated. They look during the asthmatic attack as if they would die, so oppressed are they for breath. They are greatly relieved by belching wind. It is especially indicated in asthma which is reflex from accumulation of flatus in the abdomen.
It may also be used in threatening paralysis of the lungs in typhoid fever, after pneumonia, and in old people. The "paralytic catarrh" of old people calls for Carbo veg. There are loose rattling rales when the patient coughs or breathes, a marked symptom of emphysema. The bronchial tubes are greatly dilated. In addition to this you will find coldness, symptoms of collapse, etc.
The nearest approach to Carbo veg. in emphysema is AMMONIUM CARB., which like Carbo veg, has blood poisoned by carbonic acid, giving you the coldness, blueness, etc., incident to that condition.
In threatening paralysis of the lungs, we have a great many remedies to consider, most of which I will reserve until we come to speak of Phosphorus, which stands very close to Carbo veg. Then, too, you should also remember Moschus and Antimonium tartaricum.
ANTIMONIUM TARTARICUM applies when there are loud rales heard in the chest. It seems as if there was an immense amount of mucus there. The patient can scarcely raise auy phlegm. The extremities are cold and blue from the cyanosis developed by the blood poisoning. The patient soon becomes drowsy and passes into a stupor from which he can be aroused, but into which he readily relapses. You should also remember Antimonium tartaricum when, in the course of lung affections, whether there be bronchiectasia or catarrh on the chest in children (and here it is especially called for), the cough ceases or becomes more rare and yet there is no diminution in the mucus-production itself. Your practiced ear placed on the chest detects just as much oppression of the chest, just as copious an exudation, and just as much rattling of phlegm in the lungs, and yet the child does not cough so frequently. The mother thinks the child is better. But in reality the child is worse, for the lungs are losing their power.
Carbo veg. is an excellent remedy for the terrible dyspnoea of chronic aortitis, especially when the patient has become very anaemic, dropsical, etc. Here you should compare ARSENICUM, CUPRUM and LACHESIS.
Still farther, I want to speak of the action of Carbo veg. on the stomach and bowels. We find it here, rivalling other well known remedies in dyspepsia or indigestion, and those of a rather low type too. We find it indicated, too, for the bad effects of debauchery, for excessive indulgence in table luxuries, and for bad effects from wines and liquors and all kinds of dissipation. As a result of dissipation we may have just such symptoms as call for Carbo veg. ; headache, particularly in the morning when the patient awakes from sleep, having spent the best part of the night carousing; dull headache referred to the back part of the head, with a great deal of confusion of mind. There is humming or buzzing in the head as though a hornet's nest had taken its place there. The patient feels worse in the warm room. The pains also seem to go from the occiput through the head and into and over the eyes, giving a dull heavy aching in that region. There are nausea and weakness referred to the stomach, usually a burning sort of distress referred to the epigastrium. He is unable to take any fat food, whether meat, gravy, or fried food. He cannot drink milk because it produces flatulence. The stomach feels heavy as if it were dragged down after eating. The abdomen is distended with flatus. Both belchings and borborygmi are offensive. The wind belched has a rancid taste. Sometimes it has a putrid taste and a decidedly offensive odor when passed from the bowels. He suffers from constipation with piles. The piles get worse every time he is on a spree. Sometimes they protrude and are bluish, they are so distended with blood. At other times, he has morning diarrhoea with stool which is watery and thin and accompanied by a great deal of straining. We find Carbo veg. particularly indicated here after the failure of Nux vomica. The patient is peevish, easily angered. Vertigo reflex from the gastric disturbance is present. It is especially worse after a debauch and after excessive indulgence in high living. It is often associated with syncope, especially at meals or after eating.
The nearest concordant remedy here is Arsenicum. Both remedies have bluish protruding piles, both have burning in the epigastrium, both have anxiety, and both have ailments after the excessive use of liquors, and both are suited for the bad effects of ice-cream, and ice-water in hot weather. The difference between the remedies may be expressed in these few words : Carbo veg. is torpid, Arsenicum is always irritable; of the two remedies, Carbo veg. has the burning most marked especially in internal parts, as in the stomach.
NUX VOMICA impinges on Carbo veg. in the bad effects of over-eating and high living. As I have already said, Carbo veg. comes in when Nux has ceased to act. The Nux toper is a thin, spare, yellow, wiry fellow. That of Carbo veg. is sluggish, stout and lazy.
Next we are to distinguish Carbo veg. from CINCHONA. That ought to be easily done, because the two drugs meet only in the flatulent dyspepsia and in debility. Cinchona is suited to a peculiar functional debility, when the system is devitalized by loss of animal fluids. Carbo veg. is the better remedy when the debility arises from organic causes, when we have a picture of collapse with hippocratic face and coldness of the body, particularly of the knees. This last is an excellent indicating symptom for Carbo veg. It may occur in almost any disease. Both remedies produce great flatulence. Cinchona, however, does not have this rancid belching with burning. Belching temporarily relieves the symptoms.
LYCOPODIUM also typifies perfectly this state of tympanites. The abdomen is enormously distended. The distinction to be made between it and Carbo veg. is this: Carbo veg. produces more flatulence of the bowels, Lycopodium more of the stomach. Again, Carbo veg. produces rancid belching or else passage of offensive flatus with bitter taste in the mouth. Lycopodium has more of a sour taste with its belching. Carbo veg. may be indicated in dysentery. Here it is called for in very severe cases. There are burning pains situated deep in the abdomen, usually in one or the other of the bends of the colon. The abdomen is greatly distended and tympanitic. The pulse is weak and intermittent. The discharges from the bowels are horribly offensive and brown, watery and slimy in appearance. You see what a desperate case we have here, one that calls for great skill in prescribing. You must distinguish between two other remedies and Carbo veg. These are Arsenicum and Cinchona.
ARSENICUM helps when there is, as I have said, that irritability of fibre. The patients are just as sick and just as near death's door as is the Carbo veg. patient, but they are restless, and complain of burning thirst and yet have an intolerance of water. The discharges from the bowels are about the same in character under the two remedies. Arsenic, however, has not such marked tympanitic distension of the abdomen.
CINCHONA and Carbo veg. are also similar in these cases. Both have these dark offensive fluid discharges, both have the distension of the abdomen, both have great weakness and hippocratic face. With Cinchona, however, the movements from the bowels are provoked by every attempt to eat or drink. Belching gives but temporary relief. Again the flatus is not so offensive as with Carbo veg. nor are the burning pains so marked as under Carbo veg. or Arsenicum.