Homeopathic Materia Medica by Farrington



Before proceeding with our study of Sanguinaria, I will say that there is a variety of the poppy plant which grows in Mexico called the ARGEMONE MEXICANA. It is used in Mexico in much the same manner as we use Opium. It also causes cutaneous eruptions and has been used in the expulsion of tape-worm. The juice of the plant when collected and dried has much the appearance of gamboge. I mention this, not because it is a matter of importance but as a piece of information that may in time prove beneficial.

We will now take up the study of another member of the Papaveraceae, the SANGUINARIA CANADENSIS, or blood-root. This is a plant which is readily recognized by the character of its root, which, when cut, is red, and exudes a fluid having the appearance of blood, hence the plant has been aptly named "blood-root." The seeds of Sanguinaria are somewhat narcotic. You can see a resemblance between it and Opium, not in the completeness of its symptomatology, but a family resemblance sufficient to place it by the side of Opium, yet having differences so great that there can be no danger of confounding the two drugs. In extreme narcosis from Sanguinaria, we find languor and torpor, dilated pupils, with disordered vision and irregular pulse. The symptoms are not unlike those which follow poisoning with STRAMONIUM. In studying the drug we may save all unnecessary multiplication of symptoms by attention to the following schemse:



Sanguinaria is in the first place an irritant, whether taken into the mouth, applied to the skin, or when carried by the blood to other tissues. For the primary and most important effect of the drug, then, we have irritation of tissue. For instance, the brain is irritated by Sanguinaria. This is mentioned first because of the predominant importance of air mental symptoms, be they emotional or be they intellectual. Anxiety is almost always present with the Sanguinaria symptoms. This anxiety however is not an isolated symptom. It appears qualifying the headaches, the gastric difficulties, the heart and chest symptoms, and in fact all the ailments in which Sanguinaria is applicable. Like almost all anxiety, it is accompanied by irregularities or disturbances in the circulation. There is also an irritability of temper which makes the patient morose, irritable, peevish or excitable. Then we note also that the ears are irritated by the drug. Primarily, this irritation comes from the irritating action on the circulation. It causes increased redness of the external ear, with humming and roaring in the ears from increased circulation of blood through the aural structures. It also produces a hyperexcitation of the auditory nerves with the following symptoms as characteristic : Painful sensitiveness, especially to sudden sounds; sensation as if the patient were in a railroad car or in some vehicle which was moving and jarring her, with a feeling as if all about her were talking rapidly and confusedly ; the patient desires to be held in order to remove this nervous vibratory sensation through the body. Thus you see the primary irritating effect on the ear reflected through ihe entire nervous system producing these symptoms, which by the way, are not uncommon in women about climaxis. Sanguinaria is equal to GLONOIN in these cases.

This desire to be held reminds one of GELSEMIUM, which has heart disease with tremor of the whole body and desire to be held still.

Next we come to the nasal symptoms. The sense of smell is usually increased; hence we notice a peculiar susceptibility to odors, which causes the patient to feel faint. This is not an uncommon symptom in "rose-cold." It also belongs to hysteria, and places Sanguinaria by the side of PHOSPHORUS, IGNATIA, VALERIAN, NUX VOMICA and similar remedies.

Next we come to the disturbances in the circulation. We find these first exhibited in the vertigo, there being a rush of blood to the head with this dizziness; the patient feels sick and faint as if she would fall when she attempts to rise from a sitting posture.

Then, too, we have the circulatory disturbances represented in the sick-headache, and Sanguinaria has no equal in sick-headache, especially in that form which is so common in this country as to receive the name of "American sick-headache." The patient suffers from rush of blood to the head, and this causes faintness and decided nausea, the nausea even continuing until vomiting sets in. The pains, which are of a violent character, begin in the occipital region, spread thence over the head, and settle over the right eye. . They are of a sharp lancinating character, and at times throbbing. At the height of the disease, the patient can bear neither sounds nor odors. Mark the effect on the auditory and olfactory nerves. She can not bear anyone to walk across the floor, for the slightest jar annoys her. As the headache reaches its acme, nausea and vomiting ensue, the vomited matters consisting of food and bile. The patient is forced to remain quiet in a darkened room. The only respite she has, is when sleep comes to relieve her. Sometimes the pain is so violent that the patient goes out of her mind, or she seeks relief by pressing against her head with her hands or by pressing the head against the pillow. This is the Sanguinaria sick-headache in its completeness. Not only does the remedy palliate but it cures.

Studying Sanguinaria with its concordant remedies, you will find coming into your mind most prominently BELLADONNA as affecting the right side, as having throbbing pains, cerebral congestion and intolerance of light and noise. You see that the two remedies are very similar. Practically speaking, Sanguinaria is the more useful of the two in the gastric form. In Belladonna, you almost always find cold feet with the hot head, which may not necessarily be present under Sanguinaria. Then again, the Belladonna patient is not relieved by lying down, but by sitting propped up, while Sanguinaria has relief from lying down. Then Belladonna has not so characteristically as Sanguinaria, the direction of the pains ; that is, the "pain coming from the occiput over the head, etc." is not quite so prominent under Belladonna as it is under Sanguinaria.

MELILOTUS, one variety of the clover, produces a most violent cerebral congestion with headache, which drives the patient almost frantic. It really seems to the patient that the brain would burst through the forehead. The throbbing pain is almost as violent as it is under Glonoin. In one proving of this drug, a lady had this congestive headache with prolapsus uteri and violent palpitation of the heart.

Still another drug closely allied to Sanguinaria is IRIS VERSICOLOR. This drug is useful for sick-headaches, particularly when they are periodical in their appearance, recurring for instance every Sunday. This is because the strain of the preceding six days has been relieved and now the patient feels the effects of the strain and has this sick-headache. It is especially suited to school teachers, college professors, students, etc. The pains are intense and of a throbbing character and supraorbital. They often affect the eyes and cause temporary blindness. At the height of the headache, vomiting often ensues, the vomited matters being bitter or sour or both.

I wish also to mention PAULLINIA SORBILIS. This has some little history. A number of years ago there appeared a specific, in the form of pills, for sick-headache, the principal ingredient of which was this Paullinia. It proved itself to be an efficacious remedy. The objection I have to the drug is that it must be given in large doses, consequently I do not think that it has a true symptomatic relation to the ailment for which it was recommended. Its active principle is said to be identical with Caffeine and Theine.

Continuing our study of the effects of Sanguinaria on the circulation, we find it sometimes indicated for haemorrhages, not very frequently it is true, yet when the symptoms call for it you should bear it in mind. It is especially indicated in metrorrhagia occurring at climaxis. The blood is bright red, clotted and frequently offensive. Especially is it to be used when the metrorrhagia is accompanied by the form of sick-headache which I have already described, and by flushing of the face and flushes of heat which are incident to change of life in women. The face becomes scarlet. This high color passes off with moisture and faint, weak, sick feeling. Here then you must place Sanguinaria with GLONOIN, NITRITE OF AMYL and LACHESIS. The menstrual flow of Sanguinaria is bright red, clotted and offensive, later, becoming dark and losing its offensiveness.

Still another fact which illustrates these irregularities of the circulation, is the application of Sanguinaria to phthisis florida. In detailing to you the symptoms calling for this remedy in phthisis florida, I will also mention the character of the cough and also the application of the drug in pneumonia, because the symptoms in each case are similar although belonging to different diseases. You find the patient suffering from hectic fever. The fever usually comes at about two or four o'clock in the afternoon, the cheeks have a bright circumscribed flush. The cough is usually dry at first, and seems to be excited by tickling or crawling in the larynx and uppe'r portion of the chest, probably in the trachea, and perhaps in the beginning of the bronchial tubes. There is a great deal of burning and fulness in the upper part of the chest, as if it were too full of blood, which it really is. The patient complains of sharp stitching pains, especially about the right lung and in the region of the nipple. These pains are in all probability myalgia. The muscles of the chest are, of course, sore with this pain. There is also great dyspnoea. Thus early in the disease, Sanguinaria by calming the circulation, by removing the congestion of the chest, by lessening the hectic fever, will save your patient from what would end fatally in a few months.

When pneumonia calls for Sanguinaria, we have in addition to the symptoms already mentioned, rust-colored sputum with the cough (just as you find in the stage of red hepatization), a very distressing amount of dyspnoea, and the hands and feet burning hqt, or else just the reverse, cold. Sometimes, even before the amount of hepatization will account for it, you have failure of the heart's action. The heart becomes weak and irregular in its action. There is a weak, faint feeling about the heart. The patient is faint. He is covered with sweat and he suffers from nausea.

Localized congestions are frequent enough in the symptomatology of Sanguinaria. You have seen how it causes cerebral congestion, circumscribed redness of the cheeks, etc. You may also use it for a teasing cough compelling the patient to sit up at night. The cough ceases so soon as the patient passes flatus by the bowels. Connected with this form of cold, there is a feeling as of awarm current running from the chest to the stomach. The disease may be transferred from the chest to the abdomen, the whole difficulty ending in diarrhoea.

Sanguinaria resembles several drugs in pneumonia. It bears a resemblance to VERATRUM VIRIDE in the engorgement of the lungs and in the intensity of the symptoms. Veratrum viride has, more marked than Sanguinaria, arterial excitement. As yet, hepatization has not taken place. Veratrum viride given then lowers the pulse, reduces the congestion and modifies the pneumonia. It also resembles Sanguinaria when the engorgement is so profound as to threaten the deatli of the patient. The pulse becomes rapid and quivering, the face livid, and every symptom of approaching paralysis of the lungs is present. When hepatization lias taken place, Veratrum viride is not indicated.

PHOSPHORUS resembles Sanguinaria in pneumonia. Its symptoms, I will mention when I lecture on that drug.

ANTIMONIUM TARTARICUM resembles Sanguinaria when the face becomes livid, the blood is surcharged with carbon, rattling cough, etc.

SULPHUR resembles Sanguinaria during the stage of resolution when the hepatized lung does not break down properly, and the sputum becomes purulent. In these cases, either remedy is indicated, Sanguinaria being preferable when the expectoration is very offensive, even to the patient himself.

Returning to Sanguinaria and reviewing its action on the mucous membranes, we find that it has a highly irritating effect causing at first extreme dryness, whether it be the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane of the mouth, nose or any other mucous surface. Alternating with this dryness and indicating the drug in another phase of the case, is rawness with burning, as though the mucous membrane was denuded of its epithelium. This is common enough in catarrhs. You find the nose sore and raw with fluent excoriating coryza. The cough is as I have described, and seems to depend upon this dryness or irritation of the mucous surfaces.

When the laryngeal mucous membrane is affected, we have very distressing symptoms. There is aphonia and, in addition, a feeling of swelling in the throat as though the patient would choke. Sanguinaria is indicated in laryngeal catarrh, whether it be from phthisis or from simple cold or exposure.

The croup for which we may use Sanguinaria, is one in which there may be a formation of pseudo-membrane with dryness, burning and swollen feeling in the throat, and metallic croupy cough which cannot be characterized by any other words than wheezing-whistling. It is too shrill to be only "wheezing," and it is too moist to be "whistling" alone. If it is associated with the dryness and burning, andsome of the other catarrhal symptoms, Sanguinaria will quickly cure the entire affection.

Sometimes, we have ulceration of the mucous surfaces with the qualifying symptoms already mentioned.

Another effect on the mucous surfaces is the formation of polypi. These may be found in the nose or in any other part of the body. Sanguinaria is especially useful for mucous polypi when they bleed profusely. When occurring in the nose, they are associated with the form of coryza already referred to. There is also profuse salivation, showing that the drug irritates the salivary glands.

The skin is also affected under Sanguinaria. It produces acne on the face, particularly in women who have scanty menstruation and are subject to irregular distribution of blood.

Lastly, we find the drug affecting the muscles, inflaming them and giving a picture of acute muscular rheumatism. The pains are erratic, sharp and stitching, with great soreness and stiffness of the muscles, especially those of the back and neck. Sanguinaria exhibits a special affinity for the right deltoid muscle. The pains are intense. Sanguinaria holds the same relation to the right deltoid that FERRUM does to the left.

So much for Sanguinaria Canadensis.