Homeopathic Materia Medica by Farrington
(anac)Anacardium exerts a very depressing influence on the system, not only as to the mind but as to the body as well. It produces a weakness of memory; this symptom we often meet with as the result of acute diseases; for example, the acute exanthemata such as small-pox. The eruption of Anacardium is analogous to that of variola. Taking these two symptoms, loss of memory and eruptions simulating that of variola, we find an excellent reason for prescribing this remedy when loss of memory appears as one of the sequelae of that disease. Anacardium may also be useful when this disturbance of memory occurs in old people, or as the result of softening of the brain.
In addition to this effect on the intellect, we find the emotional mind very much disturbed ; the Anacardium patient imagines that he hears voices afar off talking to him. Here it is something like STRAMONIUM. He has a sensation as though he had two wills—one commanding him to do what the other forbids. This is not an uncommon symptom in typhoid fever, in which disease plants which poison the blood, as do those under consideration, may be exceedingly useful. This feeling, as if the patient had two wills, is also found under other remedies. You will find it, for example, under Lachesis, which, you will remember, has : "The patient thinks that he is under the control of some superhuman power." A similar symptom is also found under BELLADONNA.
Another mental condition characterizing Anacardium, is a propensity to swear. Now, do not suppose that I recommend Anacardium for the cure of profanity when it exists as the result of low morals ; far from it. When, however, the propensity to swear comes as a result of mental disease, Anacardium may do noble work. I once treated a minister who exhibited a remarkable PENCHANT for profanity; try as hard as he would, he could not help it. This trouble did not affect him until he suffered from a peculiar headache, characterized by a sensation as if a plug were in the head. Anacardium made a complete cure in his case.
Another remedy producing a disposition to swear is NITRIC ACID; but I have never seen it do any good in these cases, excepting after the abuse of mercury. The patient may imagine she has a devil in her. She has fixed ideas that her body and mind are separate. She imagines that her child is not her own. I also wish to call your attention to a symptom of the drug, on the authority of Dr. Talcott, of Middletown, New York, namely, inclination to commit suicide by shooting, a symptom which you will also find under ANTIMONIUM CRUDUM.
We also find Anacardium a remedy for the bad effects of overuse of the mind, for mental fatigue, in other words. Mental exertion brings on a tearing headache, the pains being situated mostly in the forehead and back part of the forehead. In other cases, the headache may assume a different phase, in which the patient complains of a sensation as though a plug were in some part of the head, or of a constrictive sensation as though a band were tied about the head. These headaches of Anacardium are associated with great mental irritability, which is not, however, always so great as to lead the patient to indulge in profanity.
We have also hypochondriasis developed by Anacardium. The patient is apt to be clumsy and silly in his behavior, and very much depressed. These symptoms of the mind frequently owe their origin to gastric symptoms.
The gastric symptoms of Anacardium are these, and they are very characteristic: You will note that the patient is hungry much of the time; he feels better while eating, but worse after eating. He is apt to have constipation ; there is frequent urging to stool, but when an attempt to move the bowels is made, the desire for stool passes away. The rectum seems powerless; he complains of a sensation as of a plug or of some foreign substance in the rectum; this symptom is not the mechanical result of the retained faeces. Here you notice again the sensation as of a plug or some foreign substance interfering with the normal function of the organ. Now these symptoms that I have mentioned are more common than we think. When they do occur, we are more apt to think of NUX, IGNATIA, and SULPHUR, and forget Anacardium.
Especially does Anacardium resemble NUX in the morning nausea. Like Nux, the former may be useful for the morning sickness of pregnancy; the patient is relieved while eating, but the symptoms return soon after. There is also a resemblance in the mental symptoms of the two drugs. Wherein do they differ? There is an essential difference in the pathologies of the cases calling for these remedies. While you will note that Anacardium has urging to stool, it also has in addition a powerlessness or inefficiency of the rectum, thus exhibiting a paretic state which does not belong to Nux vomica, the last-named drug being suited to irregular peristaltic action of the bowels. Then, too, that sensation, as of a plug in the rectum, is not found under Nux vomica.
SEPIA is similar to Anacardium. This remedy has urging as if some foreign substance were in the rectum; a constant full feeling in the rectum, even after stool. In addition to that, it has inactivity of the rectum, so that even a soft stool is expelled with difficulty. It is true that these symptoms of Sepia almost always require the presence of some uterine disease to make it the remedy.
Do not forget the distinction I have given you between Anacardium and Nux; I admonish you again, because I know we often give Nux when we should have given Anacardium.
A French physician has recommended Anacardium as an invaluable remedy in internal haemorrhoids. He administers the drug in the thirtieth potency, several times daily, for several weeks. He claims to have made many cures; I have not been able to confirm his experience.
The same physician uses LAMIUM ALBUM for external piles.
Let us now study the action of Anacardium on the skin. We find it useful when the face is swollen, particularly on the left side, and covered with small blisters which have a pock-like appearance. These blisters are umbilicated ; they may also occur on other parts of the body. They discharge a yellowish serum which hardens into crusts in the open air. The itching is extreme, so great, indeed, as to almost compel the patient to dig the nails into the skin. These cutaneous symptoms are often accompanied by some of these gastric symptoms just mentioned.
The ANACARDIUM OCCIDENTALE, or cashew nut, causes a vesicular eruption on the face usually, but on other parts of the body also, and itching almost intolerably, as you might expect, and with the formation of umbilicated pustules, as in small-pox. It produces an erysipelatous eruption on the face, and this spreads from the left to the right. Now, this is in the proving. You remember that I said in my lectures on Institutes, when in a proving the symptoms move in one direction, that the remedy producing the symptoms ought to cure a disease going in the opposite direction. For instance, in the proving of Rhus the erysipelatous inflammation goes from right to left, hence it cures erysipelas going from left to right. As this Anacardium has symptoms like Rhus, but moving in an opposite direction, it may act as an antidote to Rhus tox.
We will now speak of the action of Anacardium orientale on the heart. Anacardium is indicated in palpitation of the heart, especially in the aged, when it complicates such slight difficulties as an ordinary coryza. This palpitation is often associated with defective memory.
We also find it indicated in rheumatic affections of the pericardium, in rheumatic pericarditis characterized by sharp stitches through the cardiac region, these stitches being double, that is to say, first one stitch comes and this is quickly followed by another, and then there is a long interval.
Next we will say a few words about the action of Anacardium on the spine, back, and limbs. Anacardium may be selected in diseases of the spinal cord. The symptoms which indicate it here are, sensation as though a band were tied around the body, a feeling as though a plug were stuck in the spine so that any motion of the body gives rise to a pain as if the plug were sticking still further into the body. The knees, particularly, seem to feel weak in these spinal affections. They feel as if paralyzed. The patient is scarcely able to walk, and in addition has a feeling as though the knees were bandaged tightly.
Looking into Boenninghausen's works, you will find that Anacardium has an action on the knee-joint. You will find, too, that PULSATILLA acts on the same locality. The swelling of Anacardium is of a chronic character, and is attended with a sensation as of subcutaneous ulceration. Anacardium, you should remember, will not be antidoted by Rhus tox., although, under some circumstances, it is an antidote to this remedy. But it is antidoted by the JUGLANS— also by strong coffee without sugar or milk.
Next, we come to the different varieties of the Rhus. Rhus toxicodendron, as I have already intimated, will be considered in full in my next lecture. I will now say a few words concerning Rhus radicans, and the antidotal treatment of Rhus poisoning. RHUS RADICANS is highly recommended for occipital headache associated with rheumatic stiffness at the nape of the neck.
Manyantidotes to Rhus poisoning have been suggested. Oneof the best is CROTON TIGLIUM. This, when applied locally, and also when taken internally, produces an eruption almost identical with that of Rhus tox. First, an erythema, with decided inflammation and pitting on pressure appears. Small vesicles form, very close together, attended by almost unbearable itching, burning, and stinging. The vesicles fill with a yellowish serum, and finally break and form more or less thick crusts.
AMMONIUM CARB. has also been suggested. It may be used both internally and locally. It produces a fine red eruption, with great burning and itching, and worse at night.
Western physicians have of late been using GRINDELIA ROBUSTA. It is not much used here.
ARSENICUM is to be thought of when the eruption is attended by fiery, burning pains in the skin, great restlessness.
Chronic Rhus poisoning finds its remedy in GRAPHITES.
This Grindelia robusta, to which I have referred so briefly, is a wonderful remedy by reason of its action on the pneumogastric nerves. It seems to produce a paresis of those nerves, so that when the patient drops off to sleep he stops breathing and, of course, is aroused by the desire for oxygen. You see that it is allied here to LACHESIS and GELSEMIUM.