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Homeopathic Materia Medica by Dunham



HYDRARGYRUM

(merc)

A metal known to the ancients. It was used medicinally by the Arabs, from whom the Europeans derived a knowledge of it through the Moors of Spain. Its general introduction into medical use is ascribed (perhaps wrongly) to Paracelsus (died 1541).

 

At ordinary temperatures, Hydrargyrum is liquid, hence its name liquid silver, or quick, that is, living silver. It freezes at 39.4 Fahr. and boils at 6620 Fahr. It is very important to know that it gives off vapor at ordinary temperatures, and that from the inhalation of these vapors serious poisonings have resulted.

 

No drug, not even Opium, is in so constant and universal use among medical practitioners of the old school as Mercury. No drug has wrought so much mischief upon the human race through its abuse. Like every other drug, it has its proper place in the treatment of disease. This place cannot be supplied by any other drug. When used in this proper place, and used in a proper manner, it is a most powerful instrument for good. These considerations require that the subject of the properties and uses of Mercury should be carefully and fully treated.

 

Mercury has been and is used in various forms:

 

1. Metallic Mercury, Hydrargyrum.

 

Mercurius vivus of Hahnemann, prepared for use by homeopathicians, by triturating Hydrargyrum with Milk Sugar, according to the rules of the Homeopathic Pharmacy, until the required attenuation is reached.

 

2. Hydrargyrum cum creta. Mercury with chalk. Trituration 3 oz. H. to 5 oz.

 

3. Pillulae Hydrargyria. Blue pill. Blue mass. Mercury 1 oz., confection of roses ii oz., pow dered liquorice root J oz.

 

Then there are combinations of (metallic Mercury with fats, for external use.

 

4. Unguentum Hydrargyri. Mercury 2 lbs., lard 23 oz., suet 1 oz.

 

5. Black oxide, protoxide; the precipitate in black wash.

 

6. The Hydrargyri oxydum rubrum: Red deutoxide. Red precipitate, used chiefly in the red precipitate ointment.

 

7. Black sulphuret, or Ethiop's mineral.

 

8. Red sulphuret, bisulphuret; cinnabar.

 

9. Dichloride, Subchloride; Hydrargyri Chloridum mite; mild chloride of Mercury; Calomelanos; calomel; prepared by treating a sulphate of the protoxide of Mercury with chloride of Sodium,—two atoms of Mercury and one of chlorine.

 

Its English name, calomel, which signifies "beautiful black," is said to have been given it by Sir Theodore Mayerne, in compliment to a negro who assisted him in preparing it.

 

The officinal compound cathartic pill contains calomel, with compound extract of colocynth, extract jalap and gamboge.

 

10. Hydrargyri chloridum corrosivum ; "bichloride of Mercury"; corrosive sublimate. Generally regarded as a bichloride, but really a chloride. An acrid poison of great activity, forming a scarlet precipitate with iodide of potassium, and insoluble compounds with albumen and fibrine.

 

11. Hydrargyrum ammoniatum. Ammonio-chloride of Mercury. White precipitate, precipitated by ammonia from a solution of corrosive sublimate.

 

12. Hydrargyrum iodidum.

 

13. Hydrargyrum biniodidum.

 

14. Hydrargyrum oxydulatum nigrum. Nitras ammoniacus cum oxydo hydrargyroso. Mercurius solubilis Hahnemann!. Ammonio-nitrate of Mercury.

 

Soluble Mercury of Hahnemann.

 

Three parts of pure quicksilver are treated with four parts of concentrated nitric acid until about two parts of the quicksilver are dissolved. To the hot solution are then added twelve parts of distilled water; it is filtered, and to it is added a mixture of one and a half parts of strong aqua ammonia, sp. gr. .95, and eight parts of distilled water. A black precipitate is formed, which is the soluble Mercury of Hahnemann.

 

It is a tasteless, black powder, volatile in heat.

 

This preparation was introduced by Hahnemann into medicine, long before he had made any of those discoveries and observations which afterward became known as homeopathy. It was extensively used as a mercurial preparation, more certain and less severe in its action than calomel or corrosive sublimate, and is still highly esteemed and much used in Europe, especially in Paris, at the hospital St. Louis.

 

Hahnemann's excellent proving of Mercury was made chiefly with this preparation.

 

In treating of the action of Mercury on the organism, I propose to follow Hahnemann's proving of mercurius solubilis; speaking afterward of differences in the action of other preparations.

 

 

General Analysis

The action of Mercury is most profound and extensive. It affects the entire organism. The sensorium, the nerves of reflex function, and those which preside over vegetative life, are all modified in action. The substance of every tissue is more or less altered.

 

But, in considering the action of Mercury on the vital force, we distinguish at once that its action on the sensorium, on the nerves of animal life, is subordinate to that on the nerves of vegetation. Here is a distinction at once between Mercury and the narcotics or cerebrants.

 

The nutrition is depressed by Mercury in a wonderful degree. Yet this depression is conjoined with a high degree of erethism, so great as often to mask the depression. Here is an analogy with Arsenic, and a distinction from Lachesis and Carbo vegetabilis.

 

On the organic substance, Mercury works eminent destruction in every tissue. The skin is the seat of destructive ulceration, so is the mucous membrane, so are the lymphatic glands, so are the bones, especially the alveoli. The periosteum is likewise destructively affected. Even newly organized deposits, the result of disease, are unquestionably absorbed and removed by Mercury.

 

The secretions, especially from the glandular surface (salivary and pancreas) are increased and altered. These and those from the intestines betoken destructive changes in the blood composition. The sweat is increased. The color of the blood becomes depraved,— witness the sallow complexion and the pale and flabby tongue. The albuminous constituent of the blood passes away through the kidney,—whether from change in the composition of the blood, or from change in the kidney, or from both, pathology has not yet taught us,—and we have albuminuria.

 

The subjective symptoms corroborate this view. The exhaustion consequent on the action of Mercury can hardly be expressed. It is sickening and death-like.

 

The all-pervading character of Mercury is a subject of ocular demonstration. Metallic Mercury has been found in every tissue of the body of those who have taken it as a medicine. Its persistence is likewise demonstrable. Once introduced into the system, it remains. Some remarkable instances of this are on record.

 

In cats that had been rubbed with Mercurial ointment, Oesterlen found globules of Mercury in the pancreas, liver, spleen, lungs, heart, mesenteric/ glands, kidneys, etc., and also in the bile, milk, urine and saliva. Van Hasselt has proved that metallic Mercury itself, and not merely the oxide, is absorbed.

 

It is notorious that nurses and internes in hospital wards become salivated from inhaling the mercurial atmosphere of these wards. (Colson, in "La Pitie," 1821-24; and Goulard, Van Swieten, "Comments,"' 1726.)

 

In 1810, Briickmann published an account of a lady who, a year after being salivated, having become violently heated by dancing, had dark stains appear upon her breast, and metallic Mercury was found upon her linen. Here a year had elapsed since she had taken Mercury.

 

Jourda gathered a quantity of metallic Mercury from the urine of a syphilitic patient who was taking Mercury.,

 

Elk and Buchner found it in the blood of a person who had been salivated. Colson found that a brass plate, which had lain for some time in the blood of a person treated by Mercury, became covered with a coating of Mercury. Biett, by a prolonged use of the warm bath, got Mercury from the axillary glands of a mercurialized syphilitic patient. Gmelin detected Mercury in the saliva of a person who had been salivated by mercurial inunction. So did Oesterlen and Andouard and Lehmann.

 

In this connection Melseus reminds us it would be improper to overlook the fact, that when Mercury has been taken so as to produce its constitutional effects, and these have entirely disappeared, they may long afterward be re-excited by the action of medicines, which, becoming decomposed in the system, form soluble compounds with Mercury. One of these is the iodide of potassium. Therefore, iodide of potassium has been recommended as a cure for symptoms which depend on Mercury retained in the economy (Melseus), and it is held by many that iodide of potassium is useful only in those cases of constitutional syphilis in which the body has been impregnated with Mercury; the action of which it certainly has the power of re-awakening.

 

These facts show the permanence of the action of Mercury; how it makes itself at home in the organism and "will not out."

 

A few more facts may be cited to show its diffusibility, and its penetrability into the tissue.

 

A quantity of metallic Mercury escaped from the bags, in which it was being conveyed, into the hold of a vessel. Not only were all the vermin on board killed, but the crew were all salivated.

 

In Idria, where the ores of Mercury are smelted, the whole population is affected. The mortality is one in forty. Premature births and abortions are very common. Even the cows are salivated and cachectic, and abort.

 

The chronic diseases, and especially the mercurial trembling, produced on gilders, are well known.

 

Even the secretion of milk in nursing women is altered; and infants who take it become mercurialized. This fact has been made use of therapeutically ; and nurses have been mercurialized in order that their milk might be the vehicle for administering Mercury to infantile victims of congenital syphilis; and this has been successful, too. (Bouchut: "Maladies des Enfans.")

 

I cannot forbear interrupting the methodical treatment of this subject to call attention to the facts that :

 

1. Mercury is shown by the above evidence to permeate the tissues, reaching every part of the body. This leaves no room for doubting that it acts on the tissues by virtue of its presence in them. When we desire the action of Mercury, therefore, upon the tissues, the indication is to minutely subdivide it, so as to facilitate its introduction into the tissues.

 

2. Mercury acts energetically on the system when presented to it in inconceivably small quantities, in a most attenuated form.

 

It is difficult to estimate the quantity of Mercury that can be contained in the exhalations from the bodies and from the saliva of persons laboring under mercurial salivation. How much more difficult is it to express the infinitesimal smallness of the dose of Mercury which salivates an infant, given in the milk of a mercurialized nurse. Two grains of calomel judiciously used will salivate an adult. Let the average weight of the nurse be 125 pounds, equal to 720,000 grains. Considering the nurse as the non-medicinal vehicle in which those two grains of calomel are distributed, you have here about what homeopathicians would call the third centesimal dilution of calomel. But remember that the tissues of the nurse are constantly undergoing change, that she is constantly secreting fluids, in which Mercury can be detected by chemical re-agents. It appears at once that the dose is equivalent to a much higher dilution. Then consider that the effect is violent salivation, much more powerful than is needed for a cure.

 

When all these things are duly weighed, is it not amazing that physicians who testify to and accept all these marvelous facts, will accord neither merit nor credence to homeopathicians, who divide the drug very minutely, in order that it may easily penetrate the tissues; and who give exceedingly small doses, even smaller than those given by Bouchut, through the intervention of the nurse.

 

PECULIARITIES. It may be mentioned as a peculiarity of Mercury, that the symptoms are aggravated just after getting warm in bed, and that they are attended by a disposition to sweat.

 

Periodicity is not strongly marked in the action of Mercury, though salivation has been known to recur regularly at certain seasons for years. (Stille.)

 

The first appreciable effect of a moderate dose of Mercury is an increased activity of the secretions, particularly of the intestinal canal ; the discharge becoming liquid and bilious. The mucous membrane of the respiratory apparatus, and sometimes also of the urino-genital, displays a similarly augmented secretion. Then the appetite fails, digestion is impaired, the secretions become still thinner and more copious, the firmness of the tissues diminishes, recently healed wounds open afresh ; the muscles waste, the skin becomes earthy-pale, the eyelids and ankles become oedematous, and even general dropsy may ensue. These symptoms seem to depend on a radical change which the blood has undergone by losing a large proportion of its normal, solid constituents, and perhaps a portion of that vitality on which its coagulability in part depends. The unwonted fluidity of the blood predisposes to haemorrhages, which may become dangerous.

 

Salivation takes place. It is often preceded by an erethism of the system, in which, beside the increased secretions already noticed, the patient loses appetite, but has a quick and frequent pulse, and manifests great nervous excitability. If the salivation is profuse, this state is strongly marked.

 

As the system is becoming mercurialized, there is a coppery, metallic taste in the mouth, and the teeth are sore when struck together. The breath acquires a characteristic fetor. The gums become puffed, with a red line along the attachment to the lower teeth. This redness gradually extends to the whole buccal, mucous surface. The tongue is coated with white slime, has a sodden, dough-like look, and bears on its margin the imprint of the teeth.

 

The salivary glands become swollen and tender, the saliva is increased in quantity, it is ropy, alkaline, and has a penetrating taste and smell. The daily discharge sometimes amounts to several pints. In bad cases it is very distressing. The mouth and tongue swell, the patient cannot speak or eat; extensive ulcers, sometimes coated with false membrane, appear on the gums, cheeks and fauces; and in healing, these sometimes cause adhesions of adjacent parts; oedema glottidis may occur, the breath is horribly fetid, the teeth loosen and fall out; and caries attacks the residue and the maxillae.

 

The digestive apparatus is affected, appetite impaired, tongue coated; there is nausea, with oppression, and sometimes pain and tenderness at the epigastrium; the bowels are loose, and the stools often contain blood. Oesterlen found metallic Mercury in the intestine of a person who had used the medicine only by inunction.

 

It used to be thought to increase the discharge of bile, though how it does so is disputed. But it does not.

 

It certainly produces enlargement of the liver. Dr. Cheyne says it actually produces jaundice. (The homeopathicians know from daily experience that it cures some forms of jaundice.) It produces green stools. (Green stools are not always bilious.)

 

It produces great depression, great sensibility to cold, pain in the limbs, irritability.

 

It causes menorrhagia.

 

It causes albuminuria (and cures it).

 

In persons long exposed to its vapor it causes a singular quasi-paralysis, the "mercurial trembling." This is gradual in its approach, beginning with formication of the hands and sometimes of the feet, and with more or less pain of the thumbs, elbows, knees and feet, which also renders the movement of these parts imperfect. After a time the hands begin to tremble, and then the arms and lower limbs, the muscles of the lower jaw and tongue, and indeed all the muscles of animal life. The muscular contractions take place rapidly, but by starts, so that the patient feeds himself with difficulty. Walking is difficult from the same cause. So are articulation and mastication. It resembles chorea, being worse from mental emotion and relieved by alcohol. Sometimes single groups of muscles are absolutely paralyzed.

 

Mercury produces also an irritative fever. The patient is weary and chilly. The pulse is frequent (not full nor hard), tongue coated, great tendency to perspire, skin very sensitive to cold, often relieved by salivation.

 

Mercury produces a skin affection, which may be a rash, closely resembling measles; or a miliary eruption, or an erysipelatous inflammation, or a gangrene.

 

Ulcers appear on the gums, on the inside of the cheeks, and on the tongue, attended with salivation. These ulcers usually advance from within outward, raising and then casting off the epithelium, and exposing a red, irritable surface, which secretes an acrid fluid. They are irregular in shape, without defined edges; they bleed readily, have a dirty, whitish surface, are surrounded with a dark halo, and are apt to run together.

 

Let me call attention to the difference between these and syphilitic ulcers of this membrane. The latter are "circular, attack the posterior parts of the mouth, have well-defined edges; the surrounding membrane has a coppery hue, and they do not extend from their primary seat." I may remark that these ulcers find their remedy more often in Nitric acid than in Mercury.

 

Haemorrhage may occur from these mercurial ulcers, or they may prove fatal by gangrene.

 

The destructive action of mercury on the glands (lymphatic) is unquestionable. Ulceration of both the inguinal and axillary glands occurs.

 

The bones are the seat of destructive inflammation. Periosteal nodes appear, which ulcerate, and then ulceration progresses from without inward into the bone. Canstatt says "it is most frequent in the spongy bones at the base of the cranium, and in the ends of the long bones."

 

To these details of the general action of Mercury on the human organism I shall append the finer and more exact data which resulted from Hahnemann's proving on the healthy subject:

 

1. As regards the action on the skin, the eruptions itch; the discharge from them is acrid, excoriating adjacent surfaces. Indeed, this is a general characteristic of the secretions under Mercury, from the discharge in ophthalmia to the intestinal evacuations. They cause smarting and excoriation. Intertrigo is common.

 

Further, there is a general itching about the joints and over the body in the evening and at night.

 

2. LIMBS. Tearing and drawing pains, worse at night; the limbs twitch. There are lassitude and soreness; all the bones ache.

 

Jaundice ; the perspiration stains the linen yellow.

 

Great disposition to perspire on slight exercise.

 

As a general thing the symptoms are aggravated in the evening, and during repose, when lying or sitting. Great restlessness in the limbs in the evening; cannot remain anywhere quiet nor in any position; must constantly change posture.

 

Great weakness and prostration, yet orgasm of the blood; erethism.

 

Sleepiness by day, not relieved by long sleep. Difficult falling asleep in the evening, because of restlessness, anxiety, etc. Sleep at night disturbed by frequent wakings, and dreams which terrify.

 

The fever, which is irritative, is attended with decided thirst. Very marked is the disposition to sweat, which occurs during sleep. The heat is attended by great anxiety, and by the peculiar gastric symptoms of Mercurius.

 

The disposition is restless, anxious, irritable, and yet despondent.

 

VERTIGO with nausea, distracted thoughts, momentary loss of vision.

 

HEADACHE. Tearing, burning in the temples; semi-lateral tearing in the head at night, as if the head would burst, along with soreness and a tired aching in the nape of the neck. Sensation as if the head were bound around with a hoop.

 

EYES. The margins of the lids are ulcerated and scabby. Ophthalmia and intolerance of firelight. Great lachrymation. Pain as from a cutting body under the eyelids. Biting and burning in the eyes, especially in the open air. Black spots before the eyes. Photophobia.

 

EARS. Earache, with tearing or stitching pain. Ulceration of the concha. Discharge of blood and offensive pus from the ears. Fungous growths in the meatus. Swelling of the parotids. Deafness, relieved by blowing the nose. Noises in the ears.

 

NOSE. Red, shining swelling of the nose. Epistaxis. Earthy, yellow complexion. Dirty yellow scabs in the face, which bleed when scratched. Swelling of the submaxillary and cervical glands.

 

The GUMS swell and burn, and are sore, worse at night, worse by touch and by eating. Ulceration. Teeth are loose.

 

TOOTHACHE, tearing at night, excited by cold air, by eating, and by both cold and warm drinks. Worst in the evening and at night; intolerable when warm in the bed.

 

Offensive smell from the mouth. Burning ulcers or aphthae. Swelling of the soft palate and fauces. Burning and ulceration of the fauces. Constant disposition to swallow. When swallowing, sticking pain in the throat and in the tonsils. Copious, offensive saliva. Swelling of the tongue. Induration and ulceration of the tongue. Cannot talk. Voice hoarse and rough.

 

Canine hunger. Aversion to food.

 

Insatiable, burning thirst.

 

Flat, putrid or metallic taste.

 

Nausea, with sweetish taste.

 

Weak digestion, with constant hunger, oppression of the stomach, and feeling as if the stomach were dragged down after each meal.

 

Inflammation and hardening of the liver, with stitching pains.

 

Abdomen distended, with soreness; cutting and pinching pains.

 

STOOL. Frequent desire for stool, ineffectual, especially at night. Dysenteric diarrhoea, with tenesmus. Tenesmus continues after stool. Stools acrid, of bloody mucus. Sour-smelling, green, acrid stools.

 

Prolapsus ani, when straining at stool and after stool.

 

Frequent, rapid urination, with scanty discharge, often followed by discharge of mucus. Urine dark red, offensive, or it may be very abundant and light.

 

Menses too copious, with anxiety and abdominal cramps. Leucorrhoea purulent and acrid.

 

Violent fluent coryza, with an acrid watery discharge, making the nose and lip red, and very sore.

 

Dyspnoea on rapid motion.

 

Dry fatiguing cough—as if the head and chest would burst—from tickling in the larynx. Hemoptysis.

 

Burning in the chest; palpitation.

 

Secretion of the mammary gland repulsive to the infant.

 

UPPER EXTREMITIES. At night, tearing in the shoulder and arms. Hot, red swellings in the forearm. The fingers crack. Paronychia.

 

LOWER EXTREMITIES. Tearing in the legs at night. Dropsical swelling of the feet and legs. Painful swellings on the bones of the feet and legs.

 

The warmth of the bed increases all the symptoms until they become intolerable.

 

The practical applications of Mercury are very diverse.

 

 

Practical Application

The discussion of the practical application of any remedy in the treatment of diseased persons should always be opened by the reminder that each diseased state is to be regarded as a new case, distinct from all others, and different from every other; and that a remedy must be selected for it in accordance with the similarity which the symptoms produced by the remedy in the healthy subject bear to the symptoms of the sick person for whom it is selected. This cannot be too often repeated, nor too strongly insisted on.

 

This being premised, I may call attention to a few cases in which Mercurius is more especially likely to be required and useful.

 

And first, of general diseases.

 

That in which Mercury was first employed, and in the treatment of which it has acquired the dignity of a specific, is syphilis.

 

Touching this disease I desire to say, that in so far as my experience in the treatment of it is concerned, I have not found it less amenable to treatment than other constitutional maladies. The patient, otherwise in vigorous health, who presents himself for treatment, without having previously saturated his system with drugs, and without having undertaken to eradicate the morbific poison by caustic applications to its primary local manifestation, the chancre—such a patient, if Mercury be indicated by his symptoms, will be cured as readily and by as small doses as though his disease were something of a totally different character. (A prejudice to the contrary exists.) And my professional experience satisfies me, that in these, as in other cases, the high potencies, and infrequent doses, produce a more speedy and a more effectual cure than low potencies and frequent doses do. But inasmuch as I do not regard the chancre as the "fons et origo mali," but rather as the blossom and product of a constitutional infection which already pervades the system, I am not in so great haste as some are to destroy the chancre, well satisfied if, under internal treatment, I perceive it gradually heal by healthy granulations, no other symptoms meanwhile appearing. Above all, I dread the local treatment by caustic, the much-vaunted method of Ricord. For observation has satisfied me that even a majority of his patients, discharged as cured through the local cauterization, present, after the lapse of from one to eight weeks, all the signs of secondary syphilis, and become candidates for, and victims of, the "constitutional treatment."

 

It is not every case, however, of so-called chancre, for which Mercury is indicated.

 

That which is now denominated chancroid, and which, being a shallow and flat-bottomed ulceration, shows a disposition to spread irregularly and indefinitely, having never well-defined outlines nor a lardaceous bottom ; but exuding a thin, serous discharge, and which is probably not at all syphilitic in its origin, does not call for Mercury, and is not benefited by it; indeed is rather aggravated. I have found the totality of the symptoms to indicate Nux vomica more frequently than any other drug, and under this a speedy cure to follow.

 

The form of chancre in which Mercurius is indicated is the regular indurated Hunterian chancre, with the lardaceous base.

 

In continued or remittent fevers, particularly those which are complicated with enlargement or sub-acute inflammation of the liver, Mercurius may be indicated by the symptoms.

 

The peculiar headache of Mercurius—dullness in the forehead, stitches through the temples, a band around the head, and aching and weariness in the posterior cervical muscles, from the occipital ridge downward—is often found conjoined with gastric symptoms and a state of the tongue which clearly call for Mercury.

 

A catarrhal or superficial otitis often exists, which is promptly relieved by Chamomilla or Pulsatilla, according as the characteristic indications for one or the other may be present. But there is another form, in which the inflammation is deeper seated, affecting the sub-mucous and sub-cutaneous cellular tissue, extending to the parotid gland, which becomes swollen and tender, and accompanied by throbbing pain, worse at night on getting warm in bed; accompanied, too, by the tongue and gastric symptoms peculiar to Mercury ; in which Mercury is the proper remedy.

 

The throat affection that calls for Mercury is a parenchymatous tonsillitis, in which the pain is throbbing, the tonsil and fauces yellowish red, often covered with a thin, false membrane; the breath fetid, the tongue pale, flabby, and indented by the teeth ; the pain on deglutition much greater than on empty swallowing. Salivation increased; the throat sore externally when pressed. The difference from the sore throat of Belladonna is evident. From that of Lachesis it will be differentiated in the lecture on Lachesis. It closely resembles that of Hepar sulphuris, which, however, has the sharp, sticking pain in the tonsil, as from a splinter.

 

The stomatitis has been described.

 

I may mention that qualmishness and a peculiar sense of weakness and tenderness at the pit of the stomach, are very characteristic symptoms of Mercury.

 

To be distinguished, however, from Calcarea carbonica, which has soreness and intolerance of pressure from the hand or by clothing; and from Sepia and Murex purpurea, which have a " sinking," an " all-gone feeling," and a faintness and die-away sensation at the pit of the stomach.

 

The stool of Mercury is a symptom of great importance.

 

In large doses, Calomel produces copious semi-fluid, pasty evacuations of dark green or greenish brown faeces, with great weakness and prostration at the epigastrium, griping and soreness in the abdomen, moderate tenesmus and burning in the rectum, with exhaustion after the evacuation. If the administration be continued, the discharges become frequent but small in quantity; consist of mucus and blood mixed together, and often containing shreddy substance, like strips of mucous membrane; and are attended by tenesmus, which is not relieved by the evacuation of stool, but continues almost without interruption; also with burning and soreness in the rectum and anus, as if the secretions were acrid.

 

This describes a form of dysentery of which every year furnishes examples in practice. The chief point is to distinguish such cases from those which correspond better to Nux vomica or Podophyllum or Sulphur than to Mercurius.

 

Under Mercurius the desire for stool is not relieved by the evacuation ; the patient would gladly sit and strain for an indefinite period. Under Nux vomica the tenesmus is relieved by stool; and the patient enjoys a respite from suffering.

 

Under Sulphur, likewise, the tenesmus is relieved by stool, and the Sulphur stools have the peculiarity that the blood is not uniformly mixed through the mucus, but occurs in thready streaks.

 

It is needless, I hope, to remark that to those who are capable of looking at the entire condition of the patient, and of keeping their attention from being engrossed by the one group of symptoms made prominent by the patient's complaints, the general symptoms furnish an unfailing guide. For excellent distinctions between remedies for dysentery, I refer to Dr. Wells's articles in the "American Homeopathic Review," iii.

 

Homeopathic preparations are: Mercurius solubilis ; Mercurius vivus ; Mercurius corrosivus sublimatus; Mercurius protiodide and biniodide; Cinnibaris.

 

Proto iodatus. THROAT SYMPTOMS.

 

Tongue thickly coated, yellowish white at the back part, the front and edges being clean and red.

 

Empty deglutition; is painful. Desire to swallow ; sense as of a lump in the throat.

 

Posterior wall of the pharynx red and irritated, and dotted with patches of mucus and spots which look ulcerated.

 

Patches on the tonsils and soft palate, easily detached. Worse on the right side. Great thirst.