Homeopathic Materia Medica by Farrington
Spongia is not a chemical substance. It is derived from the animal kingdom, but because its symptoms are closely allied with those of the halogens, it is convenient to study the drug here. Spongia contains iodine, also some bromine and some calcareous matter, and probably other ingredients of minor importance. Spongia has not the same symptoms as Iodine. In the first place, it is adapted to light-complexioned persons and it has not the same property of producing plastic or fibrous exudates that Iodine has. It acts, however, on very similar structures to those influenced by the halogens, especially the glandular system and mucous surfaces. We find it of service in tuberculosis, and we shall find it invaluable in the treatment of heart disease.
First, let us study its action on the gland's: It is indicated just as are the halogens in indurations and enlargement of the glands. Thus we find it indicated in goitre. The swelling is hard and large, one or both sides are swollen sometimes even with the chin, and particularly is this associated with suffocating spells at night. This suffocation does not come alone from the size of the goitre, because some very small goitres give rise to this symptom in a very great degree. I would also call your attention to the fact that goitres will vary in size at different times. They will be larger at one time than another. It is said that they increase and decrease with the moon. It has, therefore, been suggested that you give Spongia, or whatever drug you select, with the waning moon. In this way you hurry its decline.
Spongia acts just as powerfully as the halogens on the testicles, producing hardness and swelling of these glands. It is particularly useful in cases of maltreated orchitis or inflammation of the testicle after checked gonorrhoea. There is a peculiar sort of squeezing pain in the testicle and cord, worse on any motion of the body or clothing.
In cases of orchitis, our first remedy is not Spongia. PULSATILLA stands at the head of the list, and next to it, we may rank HAMAMELIS or witch-hazel. The latter drug should be used both locally and internally. It relieves the intense soreness and enables the patient to attend to his duties. Still another remedy is MERCURIUS SOLUBILIS, particularly when what little gonorrhoeal discharge is present, is yellowish-green.
Still another remedy in the very beginning is GELSEMIUM.
When, however, you have this peculiar screwing-like, squeezing pain in the cord and testicle, with hardness there, Spongia comes in as one of our best drugs.
We find Spongia indicated in acute laryngitis. This is an alarming disease. We find Spongia indicated after Aconite when there are harsh, barking cough and suffocative spells during sleep arousing the patient.
The larynx is extremely sensitive to the touch. Do not give LACHESIS in these cases, for the sensitiveness is not due to hyperaesthesia of the cutaneous nerves, but it is the result of the inflamed condition of the laryngeal cartilages. If the patient turns his head, the movement will bring on a suffocative spell.
Now there is another remedy that I would have you remember in this connection, and that is SAMBUCUS. This is useful when these spasms of the larynx occur frequently during the course of acute laryngitis.
You will find the same symptoms that suggest Spongia in laryngitis, also indicate it in laryngeal phthisis.
I will not speak of the application of Spongia to croup, because I gave that to you in the early part of this lecture when speaking of Bromine and Iodine.
We come next to the lungs. We find Spongia indicated in consumption of the lungs, in true tuberculosis. It is especially called for in the beginning of the stage of solidification of the lung tissue. You find the apices of one or both lungs dull on percussion. The cough is of a hard, ringing, metallic character. It is excited by deep breathing or by talking, by dry, cold winds, seldom by damp weather or by any little excitement. It is relieved for awhile by eating or drinking. ANACARDIUM also has this same symptom, eating relieves the cough. There is a great deal of congestion of the chest, especially when the patient is moving about, walking in the street for instance. This is accompanied by sudden weakness as if the patient would fall. In such cases, Spongia has cured when given early.
It is well followed by HEPAR when the same kind of cough continues, but with rather more rattling of mucus, more production of phlegm, whether blood-streaked or not. The symptoms are worse towards morning, while with Spongia they, are worse before midnight. You find, too, that the Spongia patient is subject to frequent flashes of heat in these phthisical cases, and these return whenever he thinks about them. He also experiences a chill which usually commences across the back. He shakes even when near a warm stove. The heat which follows is all over the body except the thighs, which remain numb and chilly.
Spongia is useful in organic affections of the heart. The patient cannot lie flat on the back with the head low without bringing on a spell of suffocation. He is frequently, aroused from sleep as if smothering. He sits up in bed with an anxious look and flushed face, and rapid, hard breathing.
You will find a loud, blowing sound over one or the other valve. Spongia is particularly indicated after ACONITE. Here there is the same arousing from sleep with great distress, the face is red and there is probably great congestion of the chest. Aconite suits only the hyperaemia that precedes endocarditis. Spongia comes in when exudation has commenced and the mischief has been already done. While it does not remove the deposit, it prevents the disease from advancing. In treating heart cases do not begin too soon with LAOHESIS, HYDROCYANIC, ACID or ARSENICUM. Begin rather with ACONITE, SPONGIA, SPIGELIA, BRYONIA or PHOSPHORUS. Arsenic and such remedies come in later. If you give them too soon you weaken the patient. Unless you have a complete picture for the remedy, do not give in the first stages one usually indicated in the last stages of a disease.