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Materia Medica by Kent



ARGENTUM NITRICUM

(arg-n)

We shall find by examining the symptoms of this remedy that the intellectual feature predominates, as in the metal; that the affections are disturbed only in a limited way. There is a predominance of mental symptoms. First of all, disturbance in the memory, disturbance of reason; he becomes most irrational in his explanations of his actions and methods. He is irrational and does strange things and comes to strange conclusions; does foolish things. He has all sorts of imaginations, illusions, hallucinations. He is tormented in his mind by the inflowing of troublesome thoughts, and especially at night his thoughts torment him to the extent that he is extremely anxious, and this puts him in a hurry and in a fidget, and he goes out and walks and walks, and the faster he walks the faster he thinks he must walk, and he walks till fatigued. Strange notions and ideas and fears come into his mind. He has an impulse that he is going to have a fit or that he is going to have a sickness. A strange thought comes into his mind that if he goes past a certain corner of the street he will create a sensation, will fall down and have a fit, and to avoid that he will go around the block, he avoids going past that corner for fear he will do something strange. He is so reduced in his mental state that he admits into the mind all sorts of impulses. There is inflowing of strange thoughts into his mind, and when crossing a bridge or high place the thought that he might kill himself, or perhaps he might jump off, or what if he should jump off, and sometimes the actual impulse comes to jump off the bridge into the water. When looking out of a window the thought comes to his mind what an awful thing it would be to jump out of the window, and sometimes the impulse comes to actually jump out of the window There is fear of death, the over-anxious state, that death is near, and often at times like ACONITE he predicts the moment he is going to die. Looking forward to times he is anxious. When looking forward to something that he is about to do, or that he has promised to do, or in the expectation of things, he is anxious. When about to meet an engagement he is anxious until the time comes. If he is about to take a railroad journey he is anxious, full of fear and anxiety and tremulous nervousness until he is on the car going and then it passes away If he is about to meet a certain person on the street corner he is anxious and breaks out often in a sweat from anxiety until it is over with. Not only is this particular symptom present, but the symptoms come on as a result of his anxiety. He is excitable, angers easily, and as a result of this pain comes. When he becomes angry he becomes vehement and pain in the head comes on; cough, pain in the chest and weakness follow this anger. The anxiety he has from these circumstances will bring on complaints. When he is going anywhere, going to a wedding, or to the opera, or any unusual event, it is attended with anxiety, fear and diarrhoea. So it is we have in this a wonderful medicine. It says in the text that he gave all sorts of queer reasons for his strange conduct, endeavoring to cover up, as it were, his foolishness which he himself realizes. Sadness, melancholy and confusion. Defective memory. The sight of high houses makes him dizzy, and his vertigo is increased or comes on from closing the eyes; with the vertigo there is buzzing in the ears, great weakness and trembling.

 

Constitutional headaches from brain fag, from exertion of the mind. In such mental exhaustion, headaches, nervous excitement and trembling, and organic troubles of the heart and liver in business men, in students, in brain workers, in those subject to long excitement, in actors who have kept up a long time the excitement of appearing well in public. This state of mind progresses until there is a general state of weakness; with trembling, paralysis, numbness, disturbed functions, palpitation, throbbing all over the body, with the mental state. The nervous state continues until there is disorder of all the organs of the body. The stomach refuses to digest, everything taken seems to go into gas, and he becomes distended and suffers with pain. The circulation seems to be greatly disturbed in addition to the palpitation. Fullness of the blood vessels and throbbing all over the body. The blood vessels become diseased. Atheromatous degeneration and dilatation of the veins, varicose veins. Upon the mucous membranes and skin ulceration, and this progresses and the heart becomes increasingly feeble, and the extremities become cold and blue and the lips are cold and blue, with aggravation of all these complaints from mental excitement, from going to the opera, from meeting a friend, from keeping an engagement. The medicine is pre-eminently a nervous one, full of spinal symptoms, rending, tearing pains down the extremities; such pains are found in locomotor ataxia, fulgurating, shooting pains. There is one grand feature running through this patient modifying most of his symptoms, with few exceptions, and that is that he is like a PULSATILLA patient; he wants cold air, cold drinks, cold things; he wants ice, ice cream; wants the head in the cold air; suffocates in a warm room. He suffocates from warm clothing, wants the door and windows open; cannot breathe in a stuffy room, suffocates if other people are in the room; cannot go to church or to the opera, cannot go to places of amusement or gatherings, must stay at home. He dreads a crowd, dreads certain places

 

Everywhere we find ulceration, but particularly upon the mucous membrane. The throat has ulcers in it; ulceration of the eyelids, and of the cornea; ulceration of the bladder. Ulcers of the uterus, of the vagina and of the external soft parts. This tendency to ulcerate seems rather strange, peculiar that it should have in its pathogenesis such a tendency, when the old school has been using it to cauterize ulcers, and yet it heals them up. We know that PHOSPHORUS will burn and it intensifies the tedency to ulcerate, makes the ulcer go deeper, while Argentum nitricum sets it healing. Upon mucous membranes we find red elevations, granulations, enlargement of vessels, purplish aspect. Sensitive ulcers. The complaints in women come on BEFORE and DURING the menstrual period. It is a favorable time for all her complaints to be aggravated; if she have Argentum nitricum symptoms they are likely to be at their worst at this time. She suffers from most violent dysmenorrhoea, from nervous excitement, from hysterical manifestations, and an unusually increased flow. A tendency to haemorrhages belongs to this remedy. The ulcers bleed; there is bleeding from the nose, bleeding from the chest, the urine is bloody; leucorrhoea copious, menstrual flow copious; menorrhagia; bleeding from the mucous membranes generally, from the uterus. Vomiting of blood. It has cured prolonged and most inveterate ulceration of the stomach, when there has been vomiting of blood.

 

The aggravation at the menstrual period is a strong feature and she is free from symptoms during the interim. The palpitation, the trembling, the coldness of the surface, though desiring cold open air, blueness of the. lips, coldness of the extremities, blueness and coldness of the lower extremities to the knees and of the hands and arms to the elbows, and yet the patient wants cool things, wants something cold. This may not be seen at any other time. Here is a striking feature. "Patient cannot lie on the RIGHT side because it brings on so much palpitation." We have plenty of remedies with palpitation worse from lying on left side, but remedies with palpitation worse lying on the right side are rare (ALUMEN, BADIAGA, KALMIA, KALI N., LIL. T., PLATINA, SPONG.). It is uncommon, strange, rare and peculiar. It is such a strong feature in this remedy that to a great extent it becomes quite general, because it is a HEART symptom and is intermingled with the general symptoms. With this sensitiveness he is compelled to get into some other position; must get up and walk, because of lying on the right side. The patient will say he throbs from head to foot while lying on the right side; he throbs all over, a general pulsation when lying on the right side. Do not forget in this medicine all these general things when we come to apply them in their particulars and the particulars in the generals. Do not forget that this medicine is one of the most FLATULENT medicines in the books. He is distended to bursting ; gets scarcely any relief from passing flatus or eructations.

 

He is possessed with the distressing idea that all his undertakings must fail. When walking he becomes faint with anxiety which makes him walk faster. Everywhere you will find the intellectual symptoms predominant.

 

The headaches are of a congestive character; considerable throbbing, ameliorated by cold, and tight bandaging. Headache from mental exertion, from excitement, with vertigo, nausea and vomiting. Pains in the right side of the head, jagging, cutting, stitching, pulsating. Head feels much enlarged.

 

The eye symptoms are too numerous to mention. They are of a general character such as we find in catarrhal conditions with ulceration, relieved by cold. All of the eye symptoms are worse in a warm room, worse from sitting by the fire. Wants cold applications, cold washing. Intense photophobia; aversion to light, and this is worse in a warm room; wants it cold, wants it dark. There is much swelling and tumefaction of the blood vessels of the eye, and redness, and it has a raw denuded excoriated appearance. "Chemosis with strangulated vessels." "Cornea opaque." "Ulceration of cornea in new-born infants ; profuse purulent discharge from the lids," and this is. what the "Regulars" in former days and almost up to date have been using for the eyes, treating them with Argentum nitricum. Photophobia: after long looking at fine sewing, fine print. In one who has suddenly taken on far sightedness, it has come on as a congestive condition; not of old age but something that should be cured. All at once he cannot see print at the usual distance but must hold it away off; if it occurs in some one twenty-five years of age or in a child. At close distance it is indistinguishable. Such a disturbance of accommodation producing far sightedness it has caused and cured. "Oedema of lids," etc.

 

Oedema is a word which runs through the remedy. That is to say, it has a dropsical state wherever dropsy may occur.

 

The face is the next place we find particulars worthy of note. "Face: sweat stood in drops on his face." "Face sunken, pale, bluish." "Looks prematurely old." "Face blue, heavy breathing, pulseless."

 

Then come the throat symptoms. Another feature of this remedy is its general tendency to produce warts. There is a tendency to favor the growth of warts and in the throat there are little wart-like growths; polypoid growths in the throat and about the genitals and anus; hence its great use in sycotic constitutions It has all the discharge necessary to its use in the sycotic constitution.

 

"Felt as if he had a stick in the throat when swallowing." At once you will see its close relation to HEPAR. In inflammatory conditions of the throat with ulceration. In Argentum nitricum he wants to be in a cold room, wants cold air, and to swallow cold things. In HEPAR he wants warm things to drink, warm clothing, warm room, and cannot put even his hand out of bed or his throat will begin paining him. Things, you see, just exactly opposite, but they both have "sticks" in the throat. In dry chronic catarrh ALUMINA and NATRUM MURIATICUM have "sticks" in the throat; but in red throat with tumefaction and pain these two remedies give no relief, the former two are better. "Sticks" in the throat like fish-bones. NITRIC ACID, HEPAR and Argentum nitricum are the most striking remedies for the fish-bone sensation. Many remedies have sticking in the throat, but these are the most prominent. We know how Argentum nitricum has been used for ulceration in the throat, and here it comes in as one of the most useful remedies in congestion of the throat of long standing. Catarrhs with loss of voice. Warty growths, condylomata, etc. Loss of voice, tumefaction of the mucous membrane round about the vocal cords and paresis of the vocal cords. Condylomata on the vocal cords.

 

"Loss of appetite" and refuses drink. This is another feature. DESIRES SUGAR. He feels that he must have it and it makes him sick, brings on eructations, increased flatulence, sour stomach. He cannot digest it; it acts like a physic and brings on a diarrhoea. So marked is the aggravation from sugar that the nursing infant will get a green diarrhoea if the mother eats candy. Then is it astonishing that the baby can get a dynamized dose from the mother, when the dynamized dose can travel like lightning, and sugar takes all day to be digested and dynamized and fed as poison to the baby ? I remember a case that I figured and figured on. The baby had MERCURIAL stools, sure enough, they were grass green. Well CHAMOMILLA has grass green stools and ARSENICUM and MERCURIUS and lots of remedies have grass green stools. Routinist that I was in those days I could not get anything but MERCURIUS out of it, and although the baby had gotten MERC., ARS. and CHAM. there was no relief, until I found that the mother had been eating candy. When she was asked if she ate sweet things, sugar, etc., she said, "Oh, no." "Why, yes, you do," said the husband; "I bring you home a pound of candy every day. What do you do with it?" "Oh, that was nothing," she replied. But the baby did not get well until it got Argentum nitricum and the mother stopped eating sugar. "IRRESISTIBLE DESIRE FOR SUGAR." Quite a number of medicines have craving for sweets, but many of them can eat sweets with impunity. It is always a peculiar thing when one of the articles of diet, such as milk, sugar, salt, starch, etc., and the things of the table make sick. When it is said that "I cannot eat a teaspoonful of anything with starch, egg or sugar in it without being sick," it is always strange and peculiar, because it is not something that comes in only as a craving and affecting the stomach, tut it affects the whole patient. The patient says: "I become sick," and hences it becomes a general. When the patient gets a diarrhoea from eating sugar it is not merely a local and particular symptom, because the whole patient is sick before the diarrhoea begins; the diarrhoea is the outcome. Hence as it is a general it is necessary that it should be examined into.

 

"The vomited substances tinge the bedding black." Incessant vomiting of food. He sometimes spits up food by the mouthful until the stomach is empty. Eructations of air accompanied by a mouthful of undigested food, like PHOSPHORUS and FERRUM. Spitting it up; welling up in mouthfuls.

 

"Eructations relieve." "Flatulence passes upwards, in quantities." Frequent eructations. Eructations do not always relieve. It is more like CHINA in its eructations. The eructations of CARBO VEG. relieve for some time and he feels better. This is the way with CARBO VEG.; he is distended almost to bursting and he cannot get up any wind, but finally after much pain and distension it wells up in empty eructations and then he gets relief. With CHINA he is distended, and every little while getting up gas, but with no relief. It does not seem to help, and sometimes patients will say they seem to get worse after it. So it is with Argentum nitricum at times. It evidently has both. "Most gastric ailments are accompanied by belching." "Belching difficult; finally air rushes out with great violence." "Nausea after every meal; nausea with troublesome efforts to vomit." I have seen these Argentum nitricum patients vomiting and purging in the same moment, not vomiting one second and purging the next, but gushing out both ways with great exhaustion like cholera morbus, so relaxed, prostrated and weak. "Vomit; streaked brown, flocculent, like coffee grounds."

 

The stomach, liver and abdomen are full of pain. The abdomen distended with all this troublesome flatulence. Inflammation of the stomach, ulceration of the stomach, most troublesome diarrhoea. Diarrhoea with copious flatus. Stool with copious flatus in nursing children, with tormina and viscous sanguinolent stools and tenesmus. "Diarrhoea of children after weaning." Another feature in connection with the diarrhoea and dysentery is that casts are passed with the stool, like diphtheritic membrane or deposit; casts like the rectum, strings of membrane, come with the stool. Stools of green, foetid mucus with noisy flatus at night.

 

"Urine passed unconsciously and uninterruptedly." "Urging to urinate; the urine passes less easily and freely". "Bleeding of the urethra; painful erections; gonorrhoea." It has most painful gonorrhoea with painful erections in the male. In the female the vagina is extremely sore, and the external soft parts are swollen; tumefaction. Vagina feels sore on urinating; bloody discharge. In the male, orchitis from suppressed discharge. In the female, ovaritis, inflammation of all the pelvic organs. Great soreness all over the pelvis. Bleeding from the vagina. Ulceration of the uterus. Coition is painful or impossible. "Pains like sticks or slivers in and about the womb," etc. This sensation prevails wherever there are ulcers. "Prolapsus with ulceration of the os or cervix." Haemorrhage of short duration; shooting pains through abdomen and stomach. Metrorrhagia. Complaints of nervous women and at the menstrual period. Menses suppressed or scanty. Complaints during pregnancy.

 

Under the symptoms of the heart and pulse: "Anxiety with palpitation and throbbing through the whole body." "Violent palpitation from the slightest mental emotion or sudden muscular exertion. Palpitation obliges her to press hand hard against heart for relief. Heart's action irregular, intermittent," etc.

 

Pain in the lumbar region comes on while sitting, but is better when standing and walking. Pain in the back from flatulence. Sore pain in the spine. Pain in back at night. Great weight in the lumbar region. It is a very useful remedy in locomotor ataxia.

 

Great restlessness. The nervous symptoms are very numerous. Periodical trembling of the body. Chorea, with tearing in the legs. Convulsions preceded by great restlessness. Nervous, faintish, tremulous sensation, etc.

 

The sleep symptoms are quite general. Distressing nightmares. The dreams are horrible. Wakens in excitement and with starting. All sorts of strange, horrible things in sleep. Dreams of vicious and violent things, and that everything is going to happen to him. Dreams of departed friends, etc.

 

On waking in the morning limbs feel bruised; aching in the chest, etc. Cannot sleep at night because he is so nervous.

 

Erysipelatous bed sores. While riding, palpitation and anxiety compelling him to get out of the wagon and walk, and that real fast.

 

Purplish rash, such as appears in the most serious forms of scarlet fever and zymotic diseases.

 

Its most natural antidote is NATRUM MURIATICUM. When you have the ulceration where the throat has been cauterized or the cervix uteri or eyelids have been cauterized by Nitrate of Silver study NATRUM MUR. and see if the symptoms of the case would not justify its administration. It is the most common natural antidote for these vicious practices.