Materia Medica by Kent
(bapt)Baptisia is suitable for acute diseases. It is principally a short-acting medicine, suitable for complaints that are not long lasting. So far as we know it is not an antipsoric, does not go deep into the life. All of its acute diseases and complaints have the appearance of zymosis, like scarlet fever, diphtheria, typhoid, and gangrenous complaints. There is one thing that is unusual about it, it brings on this septic state more rapidly than most other remedies. The zymotic complaints of ARS., PHOS., RHUS, and BRY., are much slower in their pace. But Baptisia is suitable for typhoids that come on rapidly, and hence it is not so often suitable in idiopathic typhoids. When an individual comes down suddenly from cold, from malaria, from drinking poisonous waters, and from any zymotic or septic cause he is hurled into bed in a few days, instead of going through a period of four, five or six weeks. The old idiopathic typhoid fevers come on slower. Baptisia is suitable for those blood poisons that are highly septic, such as the puerperal state, such as scarlet fever. He comes down perhaps with the appearance of a sudden violent break down, with a remittent fever. But all at once it turns continued, and takes on septic symptoms. So much for its progress and its pace. Every medicine must be observed as to its velocity, as to its pace, as to its periodicity, as to its motion, and its wave. We get that by looking at the symptoms. You take an individual who has been down in a mine, in the swamp, down in the mud, in the sewers, who has inhaled foul gases, who goes into bed with a sort of stupor, from the very beginning he feels stupid. It is not gradual, but he goes down very suddenly, and he is stupid. He is prostrated. His face is mottled. Sordes begin to appear on the teeth much earlier than in the regular typhoid. The abdomen becomes distended much earlier than in a regular typhoid; that is, one who is accustomed to observing those things knows they are postponed for a number of days; while with this remedy the third day the abdomen is distended, his mouth is bleeding, and is putrid. His odors are horrible; and he is in a marked state of delirium, such as would not be expected until the typhoid is out for many days. So it has rapid running diseases. It has velocity. That is, he is going down toward death rapidly. He is increasing in his prostration more rapidly than usual. It is not a gradual decline of days and weeks. He goes into a state of stupor. When aroused he takes on delirium. It does not matter whether it is scarlet fever, or typhoid fever, or a septic surgical fever, or a puerperal fever, or what. He has fever, and if you look at him, and talk to him, and turn him over, and rouse him up, and make him realize that you want to say something to him—which is difficult— he gives you the impression that he has been on a big drunk. That is the first thought you will have in a Baptisia case. His countenance is besotted. It is bloated and purple and mottled. Blood oozes from the mouth. You have seen the besotted countenance of drunkards, and it is like an old drunkard.
His mind seems to be gone. He does not know what he is talking about. He is in confusion, and when aroused he attempts to say something, and utters a word or two and it all flits away, and he is back in his state of stupor again. No matter what disease that comes in, no matter what inflammation is present, no matter what organ is inflamed, if that state of the blood that can give rise to such symptoms and such sepsis is present, if that state of the mind is present, it is Baptisia.
All of the discharges are putrid. The odor is cadaverous, pungent; penetrating. His perspiration, if he has any, is sour, foetid, pungent, and penetrating. If he has no sweat the body gives off an odor that is unaccountable. The odor is so penetrating that on going into the front door the whole house, if the room is open, is filled with the odor. The odor from the stool is putrid and so penetrating that it can be detected on first going into the house.
Now, a strange thing that runs through the remedy is a peculiar kind of mental confusion, in which he is in a constant argument with his parts. He seems to feel that there are two of him. He realizes a dual existence whenever he is roused up. He will begin talking about the other one in bed with him. It is said clinically that "his great toe is in controversy with his thumb." Or, "one leg is talking to the other leg." Or, one part is talking to another part; or, he is scattered around over the bed; fumbles and you ask him what he is trying to do—"why, I am trying to get those pieces together." He never succeeds; he is in delirium, of course. These are only examples; you will get a new phase every time you get a Baptisia case. Most of the time he is unconscious except when roused. Sometimes mutters. You will see his lips go, and you rouse him to see what he is about, and he is trying to get the pieces together. "Confused as if intoxicated." There are stages when he is not quite so stupid, and he is sleepless and restless. That is the exception. Most generally you will find him lying upon one side curled up like a dog, and he does not want to be disturbed. Again, when the stupor is not so great he is restless and turns and tosses. In that case he cannot sleep, because he cannot get the pieces together. He feels if he could once get matters together he could go to sleep, and these parts that are talking to each other keep him awake. His mind wanders as soon as his eyes are closed. Dullness, especially at night. Indisposition to think. Mind seems weak. There you find the whole picture of the mental aspect in all complaints, in all acute diseases—but they all come on in a hurry. They are zymotic, of a low form such as scarlet fever, such as malignant diseases; and yet it takes on a continued type of fever. These patients will die in from ten to twelve days if let alone. Whereas, ordinary typhoid will run for weeks, and sometimes die at the close of four weeks in a crisis. The bleedings are black and offensive. The putridity is marked. In the mouth, the mucus from the throat and nose is bloody and putrid. It has a diarrhoea. Thin, faecal, watery, yellow. It has a typical typhoid discharge; the most typical typhoid stool is like yellow corn-meal mush, coming on many times a day, but soft, pappy, just about the consistency of soft mush. This remedy has that stool, but it is not the commonest form—but the black, the brown, the dark. In treating a good many cases of typhoid it was my fortune to observe a large number of Baptisia cases, which the remedy cured promptly. The stool where the Baptisia did the most service was like ground up slate, slate colored, brownish. The odor was penetrating. In addition to that I have seen this medicine cure that kind of diarrhoea when it was slate colored, even thin as water, if it was horribly putrid like decomposed meat; like the cadaver, attended with great prostration—I have seen it cure that diarrhoea when there were none of the elements of typhoid fever present. A simple prostrating form of diarrhoea. Exhaustion. Exhaustion comes rapidly. In three days he has a deathly sinking coming over him.
The headaches are nondescript. Only those congestive attacks, frontal headaches—violent pains in the head, and especially in the occiput, such as occur in the low forms of disease. I hardly ever go into the details of headaches. Baptisia is not a headache remedy. It is not a remedy that we would single out to treat headaches with, except such violent pains in the head of a congestive character that are associated with this low form of fever.
It has characteristic eye symptoms. Congestion. Redness. Pains in the eyes, and back of the eyes. So it has with hearing. So it has with nasal symptoms. But associated with fevers. But as soon as we come to the face we begin to realize the Baptisia symptoms, that besotted expression. The countenance shows that. The eyes show it, the face shows it. And these are the symptoms: "Dark red with "besotted appearance. Hot and perceptibly flushed; dusky." That tells the whole story. Burning; heat in the face. "Critical sweat on forehead and face. Anxious, frightened look." On rousing from sleep looks as if he had a horrible dream.
And then comes the mouth, and the teeth, and the throat, and the tongue, all show marked Baptisia features. The tongue is swollen, painful, offensive. Covered with black blood. Raw; denuded. Stiff and dry as leather. Described as if it was made of wood, or burnt leather; ulcerated. Ulceration runs all through the remedy. Aphthous patches. These little ulcers that start no bigger than a pin-head become black and are so offensive and run together so that the whole surface of the mouth will be in a state of ulceration; raw and denuded, oozing a thick saliva that is putrid. The throat takes on ulceration; is raw and bleeding. There may be diphtheritic exudations in the throat. But, round about it there are those low, dark, offensive surfaces. The throat is greatly swollen, and it is with difficulty that he can swallow. Baptisia has been a very useful remedy in gangrenous sore mouth and sore throat. "Cancrum oris." The ulcers spread rapidly and eat rapidly. They are really phagedenic. Sordes form rapidly on the teeth. And when he is roused from sleep after a few hours of stupor there is a building up on the lips and around the corners of the mouth ridges of dry blood; very offensive. Bleeds much from the mouth, throat and nose. Thick oozing. Putrid. "Tongue red, and dry in the middle. The roof of the mouth swollen and feels numb. Foul or bitter nauseous taste in the mouth. Tongue of a dark hue. Tongue dry, brown down the centre. Tongue covered with a thick, brown crust. Tongue yellowish white, deeply furred." Ulcers all over the mouth. " Baptisia has cured the ulcerated sore throat of young mothers—and nursing sore mouth in children, when the parts become dusky and the ulcers spread, and the mouth is putrid, and prostration is coming on rapidly The child or the mother is growing weak with great rapidity, is becoming prostrated. Now, all this without fever. Many of these ulcerative states in Baptisia are not attended with fever. It seems sometimes as though there were not life enough to get up a fever. Aphthous appearance in typhoid, in children, and with nursing mothers. Canker sores in the mouth. "Putrid ulceration of the whole buccal cavity." Now, with all this trouble saliva pours into the mouth, is thick and ropy and runs all over the pillow; like we find in MERCURY.
The sore throat may be gangrenous. A strong feature of it is that the ulcers are rapid and painless, as if numb, without sensation. But it has a painful sore throat. "Fauces dark red; dark, putrid ulcers; tonsils and parotids swollen. Putrid sore throat. Tonsils and soft palate swollen, not accompanied by pain." Great swelling; great tumefaction ; purplish. The darker it is the more likely would I be to think of Baptisia—but never a bright red. I have never seen the Baptisia mental state associated with a bright red appearance. That low form of mental state is associated with blood decomposition, with duskiness, with a dark appearance of the skin, and of the mucous membranes. Not bright red, not pink, as we find in BELL. BELL is more commonly bright red, although it has duskiness, but nothing to the extent of Baptisia. There is nothing like the putridity in BELL, that there is in Baptisia. "Oesophagus feels as if constricted from above down to stomach." Now, we have another phase of it. From the sore throat the trouble extends into the oesophagus, and the oesophagus is at first in a state of spasm. Later it is paralyzed. Fluids will at first go down the throat, but he cannot swallow a particle of solids, The bolus of food will go into the upper end of the oesophagus and there it chokes him and feels like a lump, and he "chokes and struggles and gags and throws it back, and then takes water or fluids. He can swallow fluids but he cannot swallow solids. Every particle of solid food gags; but he can swallow liquids. NATR. MUR. and quite a number of other remedies have spasms of the oesophagus coming on with nervous complaints, but in this low state I know of no other medicine having that one symptom, having these features, and the paralysis, and the spasmodic condition of the oesophagus. "The oesophagus feels as if constricted from above down to the stomach." Constrictive feeling causing frequent efforts at deglutition; throat sore, feels constricted. CAN SWALLOW ONLY LIQUIDS. Children cannot swallow solids. The smallest solid substance causes gagging, thus he cannot use anything but milk; sometimes, thin, watery, offensive passages day and night; associated with putridity, with the offensiveness, with the duskiness and with the prostration. You need to know no more, if it is diphtheria, or scarlet fever, if it is typhoid fever, that will lead you to a certain remedy. "Paralysis of the organs of deglutition." To draw out from every remedy that which is positive, to get the associations that make up a particular remedy, and that only is the duty of every clinician.
The abdomen is distended; the stomach is distended. We may have these symptoms in inflammation of the liver, when this remedy would be useful. Along with the diseases that I have mentioned, tympanitic abdomen. Great soreness in the right iliac fossa; so sore and tender, no bigger than a fist; but all of this putridity, I am sure, would prevent you from using a knife to cut off that little appendix.
"Foetid, exhausting diarrhoea. Aphthous diarrhoea;" which means that the parts of the anus that roll out are ulcerated, little aphthous patches inside of the margin. "Involuntary diarrhoea." Involuntary urine and stool in these low forms of disease. "Dark brown, mucous and bloody stools. Foetid stools." It has dysentery. After confinement the lochia stops. Great tenderness of the abdomen. All these putrid signs—breaking down of the blood, the appearance of the face, the sudden prostration, suddenly becoming stupid; and add to that the mental symptoms—these are all signs for Baptisia in puerperal fever. Now, intermingled with this after the case has been running on a few days the limbs become helpless and tremulous. The tongue when it is put out is tremulous. The hand when it is raised is tremulous, and the limbs are tremulous. Quivering all over the body. Prostration increases. The jaw drops and he lies upon the back unconscious, with the mouth wide open. He gradually slides down toward the foot of the bed. A peculiar sort of paralytic weakness. This is how the prostration increases with the disease; but even yet when he is as low as this, with the signs present, Baptisia will break that fever. Baptisia will stop the typhoid fever, when it is indicated. Prostration and trembling. Huddles down in bed, feels as if sinking away. Lies in a semiconscious condition when she appears dying. Excessive drowsiness. Delirious stupor. Lies in a semi-comatose state. "Discharges and exhalations foetid." Breath, stool, urine, ulcers; all putrid. Ulceration of mucous membranes.