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Homeopathic Materia Medica by Farrington



FERRUM

(ferr)

Ferrum has two complements, CINCHONA or CHINA, and ALUMINA. Ferrum and Alumina are complementary in chlorosis; and Ferrum and Cinchona in ansemia from loss of animal fluids.

Now the best antidote I know of to Iron is PULSATILLA. And, as good fortune will have it, Pulsatilla also antidotes Cinchona, which is so frequently given in combination with Iron by old school physicians.

Ferrum acts best in young persons, male or female, who are subject to irregular distributions of blood. The cheeks are flushed a bright red, giving them an appearance of blooming health; and yet this is only a masked plethora. When they are unexcited and quiet they are apt to be pale and the face has an earthy color. Among the evidences of this irregular distribution of blood we have the following symptoms: Violent hammering headache, which is usually periodical in its return and worse after twelve o'clock at night; nose-bleed, with bright red flushing of the cheeks; the nose is filled with dark, clotted blood during an attack of catarrh; asthma, associated with an orgasm of blood to the chest, and which is worse after 12 P.M., at which time the patient must sit up and uncover the chest. He uncovers the chest to get cool, and sits up in order to breathe. Ferrum is also suited to haemoptysis, especially in young boys or girls who are subject to consumption and who are just in the incipient stages of phthisis florida. Almost all these symptoms are excited by any emotion and are accompanied by great fatigue, despite the appearance of health. Even the neuralgia which Ferrum may cure has fulness of the bloodvessels as a concomitant condition. This neuralgia is excited by washing in cold water, especially after being overheated. The pains are of a throbbing character, and are worse at night. Almost all of these symptoms, both the congestions and the pains, are relieved by slowly walking about. Now you may understand the action of Ferrum if you remember this one quality of the drug. It has the power of dilating the bloodvessels, probably by diminishing the action of the vaso-motor nerves ; hence you do not find a full bounding pulse, as under Aconite, but a full, yielding pulse. You will find, when Ferrum is indicated, that the walls of the abdomen are sore, as if bruised. This is due not to inflammation, but to dilatation of the bloodvessels. This places Ferrum alongside of Gelsemium and separates it from Aconite.

We have next to study Ferrum as a chlorotic remedy. We do not use Ferrum, or at least we should not, as allopathic physicians do in chlorosis, because in this disease there is a defective amount of iron in the blood. That is not the homeopathic principle for giving the drug. The homeopathic principle is to correct the defective supply of hasmatin which lies back of the want of iron in the blood. This deficiency is due not to want of iron in the food taken but to want of power on the part of the system to assimilate it. Therefore Ferrum is not THE remedy in chlorosis. It may, however, be indicated in that disease when the following symptoms are present: In the first place, in a general way, it is called for in erethistic chlorosis; that is, chlorosis with erethism of blood. It is usually aggravated during the cold weather, less so, however, than it is during warm weather. The face is ordinarily of a pale, waxen or earthy hue and subject, at every little emotion, to flush up red. The slightest emotion of pleasure or distress, the sudden entrance of any one into the room, the meeting of a stranger and, in fact, anything that is calculated to disturb the mind, causes flushing up of the face. The cheeks become bright red. Now this is not a true plethora; it is a masked case. The face is really of an earthy hue, but flushes up on any little emotion. The stomach is always out of order, the patient being subject to gastralgia and heavy pressure in the region of the stomach. With this there is a feeling as if something rolled into the throat and closed it like a valve. There is great aversion to meat, and, in fact, to anything that is really nourishing. Food has little or no taste. The patient has frequent spells of nausea, which come as soon as he eats, or periodically at 12 P.M. Here it reminds one of ARSENICUM. Mucous membranes are abnormally pale. For instance, the vermilion of the lips is exchanged for a simple pale pink. In the case of a male patient the glans penis is shrivelled and white, almost as pale as the prepuce. So, too, the cavity of the mouth and the gums are almost white, showing this bloodlessness. The menses are profuse and consist of watery and lumpy blood, and are attended with laborlike pain in the abdomen. The patient is very inactive; it is with great effort that she can stir herself out. She is relieved by exercise. She is chilly during most of the day, with bright red flushing of the cheeks in the evening. There is palpitation of the heart, with well-marked bellows murmur. The bloodvessels all over the body throb violently. Sometimes the anaemia progresses so far that the patient becomes affected with oedema of the feet.

The Ferrum patient is subject to frequent congestive headaches, with pulsating pain in the head, worse usually after midnight. The face is fiery red during the attack, and the feet are cold. It is here very much like BELLADONNA, but is indicated in a very different class of cases from those calling for that remedy. Such patients always complain of vertigo or dizziness, which is worse when they rise suddenly from a lying to a sitting posture. Walking over a bridge or by some running water or riding in a car or carriage also causes this vertigo. These are the cases in which you will find Ferrum to succeed. An English physician has advised that Ferrum be administered after a meal instead of before. He thinks it acts better then. I do not know whether this is so or not. Another use that we may make of Ferrum, arising from its tendency to produce ebullitions of blood, is in phthisis florida. It is indicated in young people who are subject to tuberculosis, here rivalling the well-known Phosphorus. It is indicated more than Phosphorus when there is this apparent plethora, with great oppression of the chest from any little exertion. The nostrils dilate and work hard with the efforts to breathe. There is frequent epistaxis or nose-bleed, and also haemoptysis, the blood being bright red and coagulated. The cough is of a dry, teasing character, and is made worse after drinking anything warm. It is usually associated with bruised, sore feeling in the chest, and with dull, aching pain in the occiput. In addition to this erethistic phthisis, we may have Ferrum indicated later in the case when expectoration is purulent and greenish and has a very bad odor, and is mixed with blood streaks.

This reminds me of a salt of Ferrum, FERRUM PHOSPHORICUM. This is a remedy which was suggested by Schiissler in all cases of inflammation before exudation has taken place. He bases his prescription on the combined effects of Ferrum and Phosphorus. Ferrum phos. stands midway between Aconite and Gelsemium. In fact it develops that stage of inflammation which the pathologists describe as indicated by enlargement of the bloodvessels, with paresis of the vaso-motor nerves.

Schussler proposed Ferrum phos. as a substitute for Aconite. It has been given so many times that I now offer it to you with these qualifications. The indications for Ferrum phos. are these: The pulse is full, round and soft; the inflammation has not yet gone on to exudation; the discharge, if it is a mucous surface that is affected, is blood-streaked. In other words, the condition calling for it, is surcharging of the bloodvessels. If a patient with phthisis should take cold, and so become greatly prostrated, and have this blood-streaked expectoration, Ferrum phos. even in the two hundredth potency will quickly quiet the pulmonary congestion. So, too, in the secondary congestion following pneumonia. The right lung, for instance, is inflamed, when suddenly the left becomes congested. Here Ferrum phos. again acts. Or, again, on a warm summer's day, a child is exposed while perspiring, and the perspiration is checked. In consequence of this, inflammation of the bowels sets in. The stools are watery and bloody. Here, again, is a case for Ferrum phos. In the beginning of dysentery, Ferrum phos. never does any good if there is tenesmus. Then you will have to give MERCURIUS or some other remedy.

We may use Ferrum metallicum itself in diarrhoea. The stools contain undigested food, and come so soon as the patient attempts to eat. In summer complaint of children or cholera infantum, we find these symptoms recurring quite regularly or periodically just after midnight, when the lienteric stools may be accompanied by periodical vomiting. These symptoms of Ferrum place it with Cinchona and Arsenic in a little group of diarrhoea remedies and rather in advance of OLEANDER, this last-named drug being indicated when the lienteric stools occur hours after eating. For instance, the child passes one day that which he had eaten the day before. With CINCHONA and ARSENIC, the stool appears more after than during eating.

ARGENTUM NITRICUM may also be thought of in these cases of diarrhoea. It seems as if the child had but one bowel, and that extended from mouth to anus.

In uterine haemorrhages, Ferrum is useful when there is a flow of bright red blood, often mixed with coagula, and this is associated with a great deal of flushing. The face, which is ordinarily earthy and sallow, becomes bright red and flushed, breathing becomes rapid and a little labored, just as it is in IPECAC. The pulse itself is very much increased in frequency and in strength. Ferrum in haemorrhages seems to stand between Cinchona and Ipecac. Like CINCHONA, it is suited to very much prostrated cases in persons naturally anaemic. It is allied to Ipecac, in the bright red gushing flow of blood and the difficulty of breathing.

IPECAC, suits haemorrhage that comes with a gush. It may be associated with nausea and it may not, but there is very apt to be loud, hurried breathing.

Lastly, Ferrum is indicated in intermitting types of fever, particularly after the abuse of quinine. You find during the heat, distension of the bloodvessels, particularly about the temples and. face, throbbing headache, enlargement of the spleen, and even dropsy.