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Homeopathic Materia Medica by Nash



COLCHICUM AUTUMNALE

(colch)

The smell of food cooking nauseates to faintness.

 

Fall dysenteries when the days are warm and nights cold; stools shreddy and bloody, like scrapings.

 

Swelling of joints moving from one place to another; they are often DROPSICAL and pit on pressure; < in extremes of wet and cold, or warm and dry (Kent).

 

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This remedy has one of the most positive and reliable characteristic symptoms in the whole Materia Medica, and one which cannot be accounted for from any pathological standpoint that I know of. I mention this here because there is a seeming desire on the part of some to base all their prescriptions on pathological indications. I have no objections to their doing so if they can and succeed in

 

curing their patients. But I claim full recognition for the value of those subjective, sensational symptoms and the modalities which cannot be accounted for. Indeed, I feel quite sure that the well-verified subjective symptoms are oftener to be relied upon in curing our patients than all the pathological conditions we know. Now for the symptom. "THE SMELL OF FOOD COOKING NAUSEATES TO FAINTNESS." To illustrate the value of this symptom I will give a case of my own practice; it was also my first experience with a potency as high as the 200th. Patient was a lady, seventy-five years of age, who was suddenly seized with sickness at the stomach and vomiting of blood in large quantities; then bloody stools followed, which were at first profuse, then became small and of bloody mucus. There was great tenesmus and pain in the bowels. ACONITE, MERCURIUS, NUX VOMICA, IPECACUANHA, HAMAMEIIS and SULPHUR, all tried as well as I knew how to select them at that time, but no relief came, and at the end of twelve days my patient was rapidly going down and it looked to me as though she must die. She had become so weak that she could not lift her head from the pillow. By actual count the number of stools passed on cloths in the bed was sixty-five, in twenty-four hours, the pains, number of passages and all symptoms were aggravated from sundown to sunrise (this is another characteristic of COLCHICUM).

 

Now during all this sickness this patient had been so nauseated and faint at the smell of cooking food that they had been obliged to keep the doors closed between her bedroom and the kitchen, which was two large rooms away. I was not so well acquainted with Materia Medica

 

then as now, and while I did not overlook the symptom did not know of any remedy that had it. But I had my Lippe text-book of Materia Medica in my carriage and I went out and got it and sat down by the bedside; determined to find that peculiar and persistent symptom and "fight it out on that line if it took all summer." I began at ACONITE, and looked at the stomach symptoms of every remedy, until, the first time I remembered ever having noticed it, there it stood in plain English under COLCHICUM. Then I looked in my medicine case for the remedy. None there, and I was four miles from home. I had a box of Dunham's 200ths under my carriage seat that had been there for over a year, but which I had never used for want of confidence in high potencies. It was the best I could do for the present, so I dissolved a few pellets in a half-glass of cold water, and directed to give one teaspoonful after every passage of the bowels. On my way home I stopped my horse two or three times to turn around and go back and give that poor suffering woman some medicine. I felt guilty, but I said to myself this is Lippe's MATERIA MEDICA, and these are Carrol Dunham's potencies, and here is a clean cut indication for its administration, and the other symptoms do not counter-indicate. Well, I got home. But I started early the next morning to try and make amends for my rashness (if the patient was not dead) of yesterday. Imagine my surprise as I stepped into the sick-room when my patient slowly turned her head upon the pillow and said, with a smile, "Good morning, Doctor." I had been met with a groan several past mornings. I felt faint myself then. I dropped into a chair by the bedside and remarked, "You are feeling better." "Oh, yes, Doctor." "How much of that last medicine did you take?" "Two doses." "What!" "Two doses; I only had two more stools after you left." "Don't you have any more pain?" "Pain stopped like that" (putting her hands together) "and I feel well except weakness." She took no more medicine, quickly recovered, and was perfectly well for five years after, and finally died at eighty years of age. I never got over that surprise. Convinced against my will, but NOT of the same opinion still.

 

Now I fell to experimenting with the 200th in downright earnest. I have cured many cases since of autumnal dysentery with this remedy on the same indication, and with the same potency. I have also cured a very severe case of typhlitis (now called appendicitis, for which they so often operate with more deaths than were ever known before the operation became popular) on the same symptom, which was markedly present in the case. Bright's disease, a bad case, was also cured by it. Rheumatism, gout and dropsies have been cured, this symptom being present, and so I have been at length in giving my experience with this remedy in order to prove three things:

 

    1st. That we should not be influenced by prejudice.

    2d. That subjective symptoms are most valuable.

    3d. That the 200ths do act and CURE.UL>

     

    Of course, there are other valuable symptoms besides the one upon which we have laid such particular stress. For instance, COLHICUM has two symptoms that are opposite one to the other, viz.: Violent BURNING and ICY COLDNESS in the stomach. These opposites are often found in the abdomen. Again, it is sometimes indicated in autumnal dysentery, the white or bloody mucous discharges having a SHREDDY APPEARANCE, looking as if the mucous membrane had been scraped off the intestines, with great tenesmus. CANTHARIS has these stools, looking like scrapings, as prominently as COLCHICUM, but with CANTHARIS the pain and tenesmus implicate the urinary organs at the same time. COLOCYNTH also has such stools, but the doubling-up, colicky pains distinguish it from both the others. COLCHICUM has great meteoristic distention of the abdomen. It is in the 200th potency a good remedy for the bloating of cows that have eaten too much green clover. In dyspepsia, when there is complaint of burning or sensation of coldness in the stomach, and much gas in stomach or abdomen, or both, COLCHICUM is excellent, taking sometimes preference over CARBO VEGETABILIS, CHINA or LYCOPODIUM.

     

    COLCHICUM is always set down in the text-books for rheumatism, articular, migrating and gouty, and I have often tried it, but never with anything like the success of our other rheumatic remedies. I have been greatly disappointed in it here. Perhaps I did not use it LOW enough. It is also said to be a good remedy for weakness or sudden prostration, but here I have no personal experience with it. However, if in any of these troubles, or others, I should find its prime characteristic present I should certainly give it and confidently expect good results.