Homeopathic Materia Medica by Farrington
B. Ebullitions; pulse.
Lycopodium or club-moss has long been used in legerdemain and also in pyrotechnic displays for the production of artificial lightning. In legerdemain it is used as a coating to the hand, after which that member may be dipped in water and removed from thence perfectly dry. As a medicine, it was considered wholly inert by members of the allopathic school of practice, and was used only as a drying powder by nurses. In the experience of some it was found that quite severe symptoms followed the use of this powder. Others, on the contrary, used it for months and years, and positively declared it to be inert. Now why was this ? The Cryptogamia, unlike other plants, have, instead of seeds, spores, which are sometimes arranged under the leaves, as in the case of Lycopodium. Now these spores have a hard, shell-like covering, within which we find a small quantity of oily substance, which is the active part of the spore. As long as the Lycopodium used consisted of unbroken spores it was inert; when, however, these were ruptured, it became active and symptoms followed its local application.
In the preparation of Lycopodium, great care should be taken to see that all the spores are broken. When thus prepared, we have in it a truly valuable medicine which Hahnemann proved for us, and one, too, which we need in practice almost every day. I love to extol the virtues of this remarkable drug, for Hahnemann with his infallible LAW, rescued it from its ignominious use as an infant powder, and elevated it to the highest rank among the antipsorics.
In order that you may understand the symptomatology of the drug, I have arranged the schema which you see before you on the board.
First of all, we will study the constitution, that is to say, the general character of the drug. We find Lycopodium indicated most frequently in emaciated persons who are muscularly weak; the mind, however, is well developed. Particularly is this noticeable in children. There is a predisposition to liver troubles, and also to affections of the lungs; the face is often pale and sallow; the eyes being sunken and surrounded with dark bluish circles. Often, too, the face is furrowed with creases and wrinkles, indicating deep-seated disease. The face readily flushes, the cheeks become red. This is often so in the evening and after eating. As to temperament, the Lycopodium patient is rather impatient and irritable, easily getting angry. At other times, sadness or tearfulness is well marked. When sick, such patients are apt to become domineering and rather imperious in manner; or to consider themselves of great importance and those about them of no importance, so they order others about with an angry vehement manner. As to the intellectual part of the mind, we find the memory always weak. Thus we find the drug often indicated when there are frequent mistakes in speech. The patient forgets words or syllables.
The changes made in the blood by Lycopodium are not numerous. In febrile states we sometimes find it indicated by chill coming at three or four o'clock every or every other afternoon; this chill being followed by sweat without intervening heat; or the case may be characterized by chill coming at this hour, and sour vomiting. There may or may not be heat.
The pulse in Lycopodium is not very characteristic. In the provings the pulse is changed very little, except that it is slightly increased in frequency towards evening.
Next, I have to notice varicose veins. Lycopodium, by reason of its action on the liver, tends to produce swelling or enlargement of the veins, particularly those which are more or less imperfectly supplied with valves ; so we have varices characteristic of Lycopodium ; varices in the legs, particularly the right; varices of the genital organs; the labia are swollen by varicose veins ; this latter condition occurring during pregnancy, being a symptom which calls for Lycopodium.
So, too, we often find naevi modified by Lycopodium. Now, do not suppose that every naevus is curable by medicine, for such is not the case. It is, however, your duty to cure them by medicine when you can. For this purpose Lycopodium is one of the remedies. Still another remedy, and one, too, which is better than any other, and has also produced nsevi, is FLUORIC ACID.
So, too, carrying out a similar line of symptoms, you will find Lycopodium indicated in bleeding piles, piles which contain an immense amount of blood, a far greater quantity of blood than the size of the vein involved would warrant; also in piles which do not mature, but which, from partial absorption of their contents, remain as hard bluish lumps.
Then, again, in erectile tumors which have now an increase and then a decrease of the amount of blood in them, Lycopodium may be useful.
Lycopodium must have some effect on the blood or on the nervous system because of its general use in typhoid states. It is not in the beginning of typhoid fevers that it becomes the remedy, but it is when the disease has gone on despite your treatment to that state in which the symptoms are very alarming. The symptoms which guide you to the selection of the drug are these: First, in regular typhoid fever it is indicated on about the fourteenth day of the fully-developed fever, when the rash belonging to the fully-developed disease does not appear and the patient sinks into an unconscious state with muttering delirium, picking at the bed-clothes, distended abdomen with great rumbling of flatus, constipation, sudden jerking of the limbs here and there, involuntary urination or retention of urine; if the urine is passed in bed, it leaves a reddish sandy deposit in the clothing. These are some of the indications for Lycopodium in typhoid fevers.
They are very similar to those calling for CALCAREA OSTREARUM. Calcarea ostrearum has been found to be the remedy in this stage of typhoid fever when the rash does not appear. But Calcarea may have either constipation or diarrhoea. Lycopodium always requires constipation. Calcarea has more hallucinations. The patient sees visions when he closes his eyes ; he cannot sleep ; although he may be fully conscious, yet he is continually frightened by some imaginary object. In such cases Calcarea develops the rash and brings the patient out of this precarious state.
We may have Lycopodium indicated in worse conditions than this; when by reason of the prolonged temperature of the typhoid we have impending paralysis of the brain, it here becomes a leading remedy. The patient lies in a stupor; the eyes do not react to light, and have a fishy look; the lower jaw is dropped and hangs down ; the breathing is snoring and rattling; you can hear mucus rattle as air goes in and out of the lungs; the urine is either passed involuntarily or is suppressed. The pulse is intermittent and rapid. In these cases Lycopodium should be given, and it will save the patient if any remedy can.
In these typhoid conditions we have an indication for Lycopodium in the tongue. The tongue seems swollen and the patient cannot protrude it, or when the patient does put it out, it rolls from side to side like a pendulum. Almost always, too, the tongue is dry and has blisters on it. These are symptoms enough to warrant you in the choice of Lycopodium.
In scarlatina, Lycopodium is not indicated by its power to produce an eruption and fever similar to those of scarlatina; it is called for, rather, in those cases which do not take a normal course but which go on to a fatal issue by reason of the constitution. You are guided here by the typhoid symptoms just mentioned and also by another symptom which anticipates these and leads you to Lycopodium long before such serious symptoms appear. I refer to the condition of the child after sleep. The child wakens cross and irritable, kicking the clothes off and striking every one about it. Although this symptom may seem insignificant it is not so by any means. Here it resembles CUPRUM, BELLADONNA, STRAMONIUM, and ZINCUM, all of which remedies have arousing from sleep as if frightened. The element of irritability and the absence of symptoms characteristic of the other drugs lead you to Lycopodium.
We may make another use of this symptom. Sometimes children have a disease called "gravel," in which lithic acid is passed in sufficiently large quantity in the urine as to cause pain on passing water. They awake from sleep screaming out with pain and kicking at all around them. Here Lycopodium is indicated by both the subjective and the objective symptoms.
Often too when Lycopodium is indicated in scarlatina you will find that one or the other parotid gland is inflamed and discharging purulent matter.
Probably the very best remedy in the materia medica for parotitis accompanying scarlatina is RHUS TOX. The next best is CALCAREA OSTREARUM, and next to that LYCOPODIUM. LACHESIS is only indicated when the swelling is purplish and the pus is not laudable, but thin, excoriating and ichorous.
In diphtheria, Lycopodium is to be thought of when the diphtheritic deposit is most copious on the right side of the throat, with a tendency to spread towards the left. There is a constant desire to swallow, amounting almost to spasm of the throat, with violent stinging pains. The patient is worse from swallowing drinks, especially cold drinks. You often find the symptoms aggravated from four to eight P.M. Generally, when Lycopodium is the remedy in either scarlatina or diphtheria, the nose is invaded by the disease. The patient cannot breathe through his nose. The tonsils are very much swollen as is also the tongue, so that he is obliged to open the mouth and protrude the tongue in order to get breath. Sometimes after you have given LACHESIS, the membrane goes to the right side. Then Lycopodium comes in as a substitute.
Next we come to the action of Lycopodium on the liver. Lycopodium acts very strongly on. this organ, producing quite a number of symptoms. First beginning with the mouth, we find the tongue coated, sour or exceptionally putrid taste in the morning on arising, violent hunger almost amounting to canine hunger, a few mouthfuls of food seem to produce fulsomeness as though the patient were "full up to the throat," quickly followed by hunger again, distress in the stomach IMMEDIATELY after eating, NOT SOME LITTLE TIME AFTER like NUX VOMICA, cannot bear the pressure of the clothing about the waist, here being somewhat like LACHESIS, but it is distinguished from Lachesis in that the latter has the sensitiveness all the time, but Lycopodium only after a meal. The region of the liver is very sensitive to touch. Sometimes there is a feeling of tension there, and this feeling of tension is a subjective symptom which leads you to the choice of Lycopodium in chronic hepatitis when abscesses have formed. The diaphragm is very apt to be affected in this state. There is a feeling as though a cord were tied around the waist. There is marked collection of flatus. Possibly that is the reason why a small quantity of food fills the patient up. This flatulence tends upwards rather than downwards; rumbling of wind in the splenic flexure of the colon with distension of that portion of the intestinal tract. MOMORDICA also has this. There is great fermentation in the intestines, this being followed by discharge of flatus and even by diarrhoea. The bowels are usually constipated, however, with ineffectual urging to stool. After stool, there is a feeling as of a great quantity remaining unpassed.
Now these symptoms, especially if associated with ascites, will lead you to the choice of Lycopodium in that disease known as cirrhosis of the liver.
Lycopodium in these gastric and hepatic symptoms has many analogues, one of which is NUX VOMICA. Nux may be distinguished from it by the following : Although Nux vomica has sour taste in the mouth, aggravation in the morning and fulness after eating, yet the immediate distress is more prominent under Lycopodium. In the accumulation of flatus of the two remedies, Nux has more pressure downwards giving frequent urging to stool and pressure on the bladder. Both remedies have prominently constipation with ineffectual urging to stool. The difference between the two remedies is this : Nux vomica has this ineffectual urging' from its fitful action ; under Lycopodium it arises from contraction of the sphincter ani.
SULPHUR is also similar in the accumulation of flatus and in the sour and bitter taste ; but the characteristic place for the accumulation of flatus in Sulphur is in the sigmoid flexure, and is referred by the patient to the left groin.
RAPHANUS is also to be thought of in cases with accumulation and retention of flatus. Dr. Jas. B. Bell of Maine, one of our most eminent surgeons, performed an operation on the abdomen. The patient was decidedly tympanitic and yet he passed no flatus whatever although the bowels moved. That symptom is under Raphanus. Dr. Bell gave that remedy and the patient recovered.
Next we come to the dropsies curable by Lycopodium. We find the remedy indicated in dropsies particularly in the lower half of the body. The upper part of the body is emaciated, the muscles of the arms and chest are shrunken, the abdomen is distended and the legs swollen and covered with ulcers from which serum continually oozes. Now there are three remedies which may be given when ulcers form on the legs in dropsy. They are RHUS TOX., LYCOPODIUM and ARSENIC The cause of the dropsy indicating Lycopodium is liver disease. It has also been used successfully for hydropericardium in heart disease, after the. failure of Arsenic.
We next come to the catarrhs of Lycopodium. Lycopodium may be thought of in catarrh affecting the nasal mucous surface, particularly when the nose is "stuffed up" and the child cannot breathe. The child starts up from sleep rubbing its nose.
You may also think of it in bronchial catarrh whether the larger or smaller tubes are involved, when there is accumulation of mucus as indicated by rales, rattling breathing, cough and dyspnoea. It may also be given in hectic fever with suppuration of the lungs, particularly when the right lung is worse than the left.
It is also useful in pneumonia when the hepatization is so extensive that the patient has great difficulty in breathing, and there is alternate contraction and dilatation of the alae nasi. It may also be employed in typhoid pneumonia, the symptoms agreeing, and also for the bad effects of maltreated pneumonia, particularly if suppuration of the lungs impends.
In diseases of the kidneys we find Lycopodium indicated for a trouble to which I have already referred, the presence of lithic acid in the urine, and also in renal colic affecting the right side.
There is one symptom for Lycopodium that I would yet like to add, a symptom not uncommon in typhoid fever, pneumonia, and scarlatina, and that is coldness of one foot while the other is warm or even hot. This symptom may appear insignificant on paper, but I can assure you that it is of inestimable value in practice.
Lycopodium is complementary to LACHESIS.