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Materia Medica by Kent



ANTIMONIUM CRUDUM

(ant-c)

You will be surprised, when studying full provings of this substance, to notice that all the symptoms seem to centre about the stomach ; it does not matter much what kind of complaints he suffers from, the stomach takes part in it. The pains disturb his stomach and bring on nausea; with his headache he is sick at the stomach; with all complaints his stomach is out of order, and, on the other hand, whenever he disorders his stomach he is sick all over. Complaints that manifest themselves through the stomach very frequently need this medicine.

 

First in importance are the mental symptoms showing the type of constitution likely to need this remedy. It produces a very serious state in the mind, an absence of the desire to live. It is well known to physicians that the case is a serious one if the patient has no desire to live; life is a burden. When I hear a patient say: "Oh, doctor, if I could only die." I do not like such a case; there is some deep-seated trouble in the economy that is hard to remove. Something is threatening, and when it comes it is a common thing to see the patient actually die. "Loathing of life." You will find this especially in a low, lingering, continued fever, such as typhoid. This remedy has all the prostration of typhoid, and it has the continued type of fever as well as the intermittent and remittent. The prostration is similar to ARSENICUM, but ARS. has overwhelming fear of death, while this medicine has loathing of life; and so they both part company. ARS. has overwhelming restlessness, this remedy is seldom restless. ARS. has an intense thirst, this medicine is thirstless. So even though both these remedies have excessive exhaustion with continued fever, we see they have features dissimilar enough to make them wholly distinct. Such a typhoid will sometimes be seen in young girls about puberty who are threatening to go into chlorosis. They have loathing of life, but it is a hysterical loathing of life. Moments of great exhaustion, sudden attacks of weakness and fainting. You will commonly find another feature with this, not coming at the same moment, but alternating with it, or only present at times, namely, these over-excitable, intense, nervous, hysterical, ecstatic young girls and women are overcome by mellow lights such as flow through stained glass windows or the mellow light from the moon in the evening. That is what is meant when it says in the text: "Sentimental mood in the moonlight." It is a hysterical state, a disorderly outburst of the affections, such affections as can be aroused only in one who is sick, or one who is unbalanced in the general nervous system. This kind of patient gives us the mental state and constitution of Ant. crud., and along with such mental states the physical conditions seem to strike to the stomach, as it were.

 

We have running through this remedy a general state that you should keep in mind, that is, a gouty or rheumatic state, in which the symptoms change with the changes of the weather; worse in cold, damp weather, worse from cold bathing, better from the heat of a hot bath, worse from taking sour wine, and worse from stimulants of any kind. When you use the expression "worse from wine," it is not only important to know that the patient is worse from wine, but also the character of complaints that are worse from wine. This patient becomes easily intoxicated, but the physical symptoms are more disturbed than the mental; his gouty symptoms are worse from sour wine; all the pains and aches of the body are worse from sour wine; headaches come from this cause and the gastric disturbances are greatly aggravated from sour wine.

 

This patient is worse at night, worse in damp weather, worse from damp cold, better from lying down quietly, better from applied heat, but much worse from over-heating and from radiated heat, and in a warm room. Many of the symptoms come on in the sun's rays and from the heat of an open grate. The open fire is wholly against the Ant. crud. patient. A child with whooping cough will cough more after looking into the fire. Such things are queer; they are so strange that there is no philosophical hypothesis to explain them, no theory that looks toward an explanation, but they are facts which we must accept.

 

The whole gouty nature of the case seems to change so suddenly that you wonder where the more exterior symptoms have gone to, for all at once in a night or a day the patient commences to vomit and you have persistent vomiting, lasting days and weeks, until the gouty symptoms come back into the extremities. It is wonderful how quickly this old-fashioned metastasis will come on, this changing from one place to another. The gout suddenly ceases in the extremities and stomach symptoms come on, and you may call it gout in the stomach if you will.

 

There are catarrhal symptoms in this remedy; catarrh of the nose, stomach, rectum, etc., and an increased flow of mucus from any of these localities from drinking sour wine and from taking cold. A distressing feature of the catarrh is the stuffing up of the nose at night. As soon as he gets into an overheated room, his nose gets stuffed up. The coryza has a tendency to become chronic, because of the low and feeble circulation and the poor constitution. When it becomes chronic it is worse at night and is associated with headaches. As the catarrh slackens up and becomes dry the headache becomes worse; he has neuralgia in the head, crushing pains and dreadful sickness at the stomach with vomiting. He often has an attack of sick headache and it will be called by the family a gastric sick headache, but the condition just mentioned comes on from taking cold, which slacks up the thick discharge into a dryness of the nose and the inhaled air burns the nose like fire. Sometimes these troubles pass off after an intense vomiting spell; sometimes they do not, but the headache may remain for days not relieved by vomiting, or relieved only after prolonged vomiting. There are remedies full of headache and as soon as he vomits he feels better, but in this remedy he vomits long, and becomes relaxed and exhausted. The headache is worse moving about, worse at night, better from lying down, from keeping quiet, better in the open air, worse in warm room, worse from overheating, worse from radiated heat and light. You see now how the catarrh, the headache and gastric symptoms all belong together. It is because the patient is sick that you cannot take symptoms separately, you must prescribe for the whole man.

 

There is another feature belonging to the mucous membranes, and an important one; these membranes have a tendency to throw out a milky white exudation or deposit, and it is especially noticed upon the tongue. The whole tongue is covered with a milky-white coating. This you find In all diseases where the remedy is indicated. In the stomach disorders of children, in gastric fevers, in complaints with fever and much vomiting, great irritation of the whole nervous system and in irritation of the stomach in typhoids, the tongue looks white. Upon the slightest provocation he will retch and gag. Everything seems to disturb him. He has loathing of food; the thought and smell of food disturb him. This is like ARSENICUM.

 

He takes a cold bath at night on going to bed and gets up in the morning voiceless; cannot speak a word. This has come on in an apparently painless manner; he does not know that it is present until he attempts to speak in the morning. This may be present with spasms of the larynx, clutchings of the throat. Colds sometimes go down into the throat and into the trachea, producing a bronchitis or pneumonia.

 

Dry, hacking spasmodic cough in diminishing paroxysms, I will explain that: The first paroxysm occurs with great violence, racking his whole frame, and lasting a longer or shorter period, to be followed by one with less violence and another with less violence; perhaps after a dozen or less paroxysms of diminishing violence, he ends up with a dry, hacking cough which is not. a paroxysm. When this first cough shakes the whole body, whether it is a bronchitis or whooping cough, and the tongue is white, and there are more or less gastric disturbances, Ant. crud. is the remedy. It will change the whole aspect of the case at once. The chest remains sore, lame and bruised from the violence of the cough.

 

The stomach symptoms must be particularly considered. Constant nausea, lump in the stomach, feeling all the time as if he had an overloaded stomach, as if he had eaten too much, and that is when he had not eaten at all. The stomach feels distended although the abdomen is flat. He feels distended and vomits the contents of the stomach; he vomits slime after he has emptied the stomach of its contents; prolonged retching, nausea, sickening load in the stomach and it seems to go on and on. The vomiting does not relieve and there is increasing exhaustion.

 

Inflammation and hardness of the liver or any portion of it. Pain in the region of the gall bladder. Great pain in the region of the liver, rending, tearing pains in the liver. Jaundice is associated with these symptoms at times.

 

In the abdomen we have a group of symptoms; violent abdominal pains, burning, great distension; there appears to be an increasing distension as if by a screw, gradually forcing down upon something gradually increasing the tension. We find this state in the tympanitic condition of typhoid fever, we find it in cases of flatulence, we find it in summer diarrhoeas. It will be associated with gastric symptoms and the white tongue, especially if such disturbance had been brought on by drinking sour wine, by taking a cold bath, in one who has a gouty constitution, where the nodules in the finger joints become painless and the stomach and bowels become distended and painful.

 

This remedy has a nondescript diarrhoea, but also a lumpy and liquid diarrhoea. Diarrhoea from sour wine. It seems to take a long time to empty the bowels. He hurries to stool and passes a little lump and some liquid, and is soon hurried again to stool and more lumps and liquid are passed, and this goes on in summer diarrhoeas until finally the bowel is emptied and then there is great tenesmus. It is a diarrhoea ending in dysentery; inflammation of the rectum and colon, with suffering, much tenesmus, prolonged efforts and great exhaustion.

 

Troublesome haemorrhoids in old gouty constitutions. They are always sore and inflamed from a cold, wet day, from cold bathing and are always worse if he is foolish enough to drink sour wine or take sour food. The stomach, bowel, rectum and haemorrhoidal complaints are all worse from disordering the stomach with sour wine, sour fruit or indigestible substances, from cold bathing and wet weather.

 

The pelvic viscera become greatly relaxed, especially in women, so much so that there is a dragging down in the pelvis. It seems as though the contents of the pelvis would be expelled, or would fall out. There is prolapsus of the uterus and a discharge resembling leucorrhoea. Disturbances of various kinds at the menstrual period. Irritable and painful ovaries, such as we find associated with hysterical girls; those who suffer from unrequited affections; dreamers.

 

This medicine produces sweating; copious, exhaustive sweats, night sweats, such as we find in lingering diseases. Sweats from the slightest exertion. If he becomes slightly overheated he fairly boils with perspiration and then takes cold.

 

The skin is ulcerated and has a tendency to grow warts, callosities, bad nails and bad hair. Hard, horny excrescences grow under the nail and are extremely painful. From the ends of the fingers little horn-like excrescences appear. The slightest pressure will produce a callosity, or a sore place, and in working men you will find an unusual tendency to thickening of the skin on the soles of the feet. They are very sore to walk upon, because these callous places are sensitive and have numerous centres of little-corns. The tendency to build up and indurate belongs to the remedy. Warts grow upon the hands. The hair is unhealthy. Pustules form upon the skin with red areola. Pustular eruptions have an inflamed base that is red, and sensitive.

 

Now, if you will study the proving and get the particulars of the remedy, and fit them into this framework, you will understand something of Ant. crud.