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Homeopathic Materia Medica by Farrington



ALUMINA

(alum)

Alumina is a form of pure clay and is known as ARGILLA. According to Hering, the symptoms which Hartlaub obtained, are not pure, becaused he simply washed his preparation of clay, while Hahnemann subjected his to a red heat.

You notice by the table on the board that I have placed BRYONIA as the complement of Alumina. This is particularly true of the gastric symptoms. These drugs follow each other well in gastro-enteric affections. Bryonia, also, acts as an antidote to Alumina, as does also CHAMOMILLA. I have placed several of the concordant remedies with a few words in parentheses to indicate the points of resemblance. Thus Pulsatilla is marked with chlorosis and ozaena, showing that in these two affections particularly, PULSATILLA is concordant with Alumina. Then you notice that PLUMBUM is similar to it in colic, and NUX and SULPHUR in spinal affections, etc.

Alumina acts best in aged persons of spare habits, who are rather wrinkled and dried-up looking, or in girls at puberty, especially if they are chlorotic, and also in delicate or scrofulous children, particularly children who have been artificially fed, that is nourished by the many varieties of baby foods with which the market is glutted. Such children are weak and wrinkled ; nutrition is decidedly defective. The bowels are inactive. This constipation is characteristic. There is a great deal of urging to stool even though the fasces be soft, showing you at once that the inactivity of the bowels is the main influence at work in its causation. Here we have it exactly like BRYONIA. The child suffers from ozaena or chronic nasal catarrh, with a great deal of dryness of the nose. This you know by the dry sniffling sound which the child makes in breathing through its nose. The child, too, when teething, may suffer from strabismus. This comes from weakness of the internal rectus muscle of the affected eye. This symptom is sometimes curable by operation, and when it is so, this method is preferable to any surgical procedure. Sometimes it follows worms. Then CINA is the remedy ; when it comes from brain irritation, BELLADONNA; and CYCLAMEN when from menstrual or gastric irregularities.

The Alumina patient is very low-spirited and inclined to weep, like Pulsatilla, and this low-spiritedness is worse on awaking, here resembling LACHESIS, PULSATILLA, SEPIA, etc. At other times you find the patient troubled with an apprehensive state of mind, a fear that he will go crazy, and this is an exact counterpart of CALCAREA OSTREARUM, IODINE, etc. This shows you the irritable state of brain fibre. Another peculiarity that may be present, particularly in hysteria, is suicidal tendency when the patient sees blood, or a knife, or something of that kind.

Men in whom Alumina is useful are hypochondriacal. There is a great deal of lassitude and indifference to labor or work. An hour seems to them half a day. They are exceedingly peevish and fretful; and here you find Alumina rivalling NUX VOMICA and also BRYONIA.

Now, on the right of the board, you will notice several headings under which I propose to consider Alumina. First, what changes are made in the blood by Alumina? I cannot tell you how it alters the blood, but there are diseases of the blood to which it is applicable, and it is convenient here to bring these to your notice. We find it indicated in anaemia, and also in chlorosis, especially in young girls at puberty, when the menses are pale and scanty, and there is an abnormal craving for certain indigestible articles, such as slate pencils, chalk, whitewash, etc. The leucorrhcea to which they are subject is usually transparent, or else is composed of yellowish mucus, which is profuse, sometimes running down the limbs to the feet, and quite ropy and tenacious. This exhausts them very much, because it is rich in albumen. With these symptoms, you will almost always find the mental states that I have given you.

Now in nervous affections. Alumina has been used in nervous affections of a very grave character. Bcenninghausen used the metal ALUMINIUM for the following symptoms in that dreaded disease locomotor ataxia: Frequent dizziness; objects turn in a circle. There may be ptosis, diplopia or strabismus present. The patient cannot walk in the dark or with his eyes closed without staggering. He feels as if he were walking on cushions. There is formication, or sensation as from creeping of ants in the back and legs. The nates go to sleep when sitting. The heels become numb when walking. He has a feeling in the face as though it was covered with cobwebs, or as though the white of an egg had dried on it. He also may complain of pain in the back, as though a hot iron were thrust into the spine. Those are the symptoms indicating Alumina, and those are the symptoms which led Bcenninghausen to Aluminium, and enabled him to cure four cases of the disease.

Next, the mucous membranes. Alumina is a unique drug here. It acts in a limited but very well described class of cases. It causes unmistakable dryness of the mucous surfaces. If you keep that fact in mind you can explain all the symptoms which it causes. You have at once the key to its dyspepsia, nasal catarrh, sore throat and constipation. There is dryness of the mucous membranes. After a while, there is formation of mucus, which is thick, yellow, and very difficult of detachment. Let me show you a few illustrations of this. In the eyes, for instance, we will have it indicated in blepharitis particularly, with great dryness of the conjunctiva. The lids feel stiff; the lids crack, so dry are they. The nearest analogue here is GRAPHITES, which has the same symptom, only it has more bleeding than has Alumina.

Alumina is useful in asthenopia from irritated conjunctivae; also in granular lids and chronic blepharitis.

For dry eyes, Allen recommends, also, BERBERIS, NATRUM CARB., and NATRUM SULPH.

 

Eyes dry on reading, CROCUS, ARGENTUM NITRICUM.

Drooping eyelids, NUX MOSCHATA, SEPIA, RHUS.

Alumina also has loss of power over the internal rectus. Here it is like CONIUM, RUTA, and NATRUM MUR. The latter, according to Wood-yatt, is the best.

In nasal catarrh, you will find Alumina indicated in children with great dryness of the nose, formation of scabs and remotely, thick, tenacious yellow phlegm or mucus, which is difficult of removal.

The cough indicating Alumina is dry and spasmodic. It is worse in the morning when the patient coughs until he detaches a small amount of tightly adherent mucus, when it is better for a while.

You find it indicated in disease of the throat, in a relaxed condition the mucous membranes, too, just that condition you meet with in clergyman's sore-throat. The throat is dark red, the uvula elongated. Hoarseness appears worse in the morning, with a feeling as of a splinter in the throat when swallowing. This last symptom you find also under HEPAR, ARGENTUM NITRICUM and NITRIC ACID.

The mucous membrane of the stomach is dry, and therefore, there is defective secretion of gastric juice. Here you have the same dyspepsia as is curable with Bryonia. The distinctive symptoms for Alumina are these : There is a feeling of constriction along the oesophagus when swallowing food. The patient is always worse from eating potatoes; that is a good symptom for Alumina. There is aversion to meat and a craving for indigestible substances. The liver is sensitive to touch, and there are stitching pains in that organ, as under Bryonia. You find the already described constipation with urging to stool, even though the stool be not dry and hard. Piles itch and burn, and are moist.

Next, we consider the action of Alumina on glands. Here I have only one symptom for you, and that is the use of the drug in treating buboes. You may give it in gonorrhoeal bubo when there exists with it a yellowish gonorrhoeal discharge, with burning and itching along the urethra, particularly at the meatus.

Lastly, the skin. Alumina acts on the skin just as it does on the mucous membranes, producing dryness and harshness of the skin ; as a consequence, we find it indicated in rough, dry eruptions, which crack and may bleed, although not often, and which itch and burn intolerably, and are worse in the warmth of the bed.

You will recall here that ARGENTUM NITRICUM, NUX VOMICA, and SULPHUR, are similar to Alumina in spinal affections.

 

 

You will find MERCURIUS the most similar remedy to Alumina in the treatment of bubo.

Alumina has been used as an antidote to the colic caused by Plumbum.