This remedy belongs exclusively to the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia. It was classed by Hahnemann among the "Antipsoric Remedies," as being more especially adapted to the treatment of chronic diseases. We shall see that it is sometimes called for in acute affections.
In his introduction to the proving, Hahnemann says:
" The purest Graphite is a kind of mineral carbon. Its slight contingent of iron may be regarded rather as an admixture than as an essential constituent, as was fully proved by Davy's conversion of the diamond into Graphites by treating it with Potassium."
" The first idea of its use in medicine was given to Dr. Weinhold, during his travels in Italy, by some workmen in a looking-glass factory in Venice, whom he saw using Graphites as an external application for the removal of eruptions. He imitated them and described the result in a little work, entitled "Graphites as a Remedy for Eruptions. 1812."
Hahnemann's proving is published in the "Chronic Diseases."
The action upon the sensorium is not marked. Upon the head, confusion and pressure, chiefly in the forehead, and a drawing pain from the forehead extending down the face to the throat. So, likewise, the pain of constriction extends down the occiput to the nape of the neck. The headache is often very violent every morning, causing cold sweat and faintness.
Externally, the action of Graphites is noteworthy. Scabby eruptions, exuding moisture, appear on the scalp; they are sore when touched, and cause the hair to fall out. This furnishes an indication for Graphites in tinea capitis. We meet here the first example of the skin affection of Graphites,—a moist, scabby eruption. Lycopodium has a dry, scaly eruption. Mezereum, a thick, hard scab, from under which, when it is pressed, thick pus exudes. Hepar sulphuris, a scab easily torn off, and which leaves a raw and bleeding surface.
Viola tricolor in tinea capitis is indicated by the peculiar odor of the urine of the patient. It smells like cat's urine.
FACE. The complexion is pale and sallow; the eye sunken. The muscles of one side of the face are contracted, and speech is difficult. Externally, a kind of erysipelas, with a burning, sticking pain.
In acute facial erysipelas, in which Belladonna and Rhus are so often indicated and serviceable, Graphites or Euphorbium or Apis may be required. If so, they are particularly indicated by symptoms, of other organs. So may Carbo animalis.
EYES. Paralytic heaviness of the lids. Vision is so affected that myopia results. Photophobia, heat, biting lachrymation, and pressing, aching pain in the globe which extends to the head. Also stitching pains in the eye from looking on white objects. Ulceration of the margins of the lids. Where hordeola recur frequently, although each one is relieved by Pulsatilla, Graphites or Staphysagria may be indicated by the general symptoms, and each has been beneficial in many cases.
EARS. Various noises in the ears, rushing, ringing and hissing. These noises and a clucking or cracking noise are produced by stooping and rising again, by eructation, by eating, and generally by moving the jaw. These symptoms point (analogous to Silicea, Lachesis and Gelsemium) to an affection of the Eustachian tube (and perhaps the meatus externus). Graphites has been of service in many cases of deafness. Itching of the external ear and of the cheek in front of the ear. Where the parts have been scratched lymph exudes, and "a raw" is established.
In a crevice behind the ear a crack, raw, moist and quite painful, similar to the cracks in chapped hands.
Similar cracks are observed in this locality in children during the age of dentition or after it. Graphites is a valuable remedy. So is Calcarea carbonica, which may be indicated in preference by other symptoms.
NOSE. Increased acuteness of the sense of smell. Scabs in the anterior nares; occasional epistaxis, with fullness of head and heat of face.
MOUTH. Around the mouth and on the lips and chin, eruption and scabby ulcers; swelling of the sub-maxillary glands. The breath is offensive, or smells of urine.
Gums swollen and sore. The toothache is worse in bed and from warmth.
A kind of spasm in the throat, as if deglutition were impossible.
DIGESTIVE TRACT AND FUNCTION. The tongue is much coated; the taste is bitter, there is much hiccough and eructation of bitter or sour green water.
Aversion to meat and to sweets; much thirst; nausea, even when there is strong hunger. Graphites produces many symptoms after eating, such as headache, sleepiness, waterbrash, burning in the eyes, colic, fullness in the abdomen. Cutting, burning and drawing pains in the abdomen. Especially, however, is the abdomen tense, as though distended with flatus, which appears to be incarcerated in various parts of the abdomen. Pressing toward the abdominal ring before discharge of flatus. These symptoms — the abnormal sensations and accessory symptoms after eating, the accumulations of flatus—indicate slow and imperfect digestion, a condition which is demonstrated by the stool so characteristic of the Graphites diarrhoea, viz., pappy, half-digested brown stool, of a most atrocious odor.
RECTUM. In the rectum, violent stitches, a smarting or cutting and sore pain ; also much itching. The anus is swollen, the veins enlarged, protruding and sore. These symptoms have led to the successful use of Graphites in, that painful affection, "fissure of the anus," which can be cured by homeopathic remedies speedily and permanently, and needs no surgical intervention, lgnatia, Nitric acid, Platina, Plumbum, Paeonia alba, and Ratanhia, are other remedies that may be required, and have proved successful in "fissure of the anus."
STOOL. Two conditions obtain. Constipation,— the stools are hard, lumpy, and evacuated with effort, and often accompanied with mucus or blood. There is sometimes ineffectual tenesmus. On the other hand, there is diarrhoea; stools not frequent, generally in the forenoon ; pappy, brown, containing half-digested food, and of an atrocious, almost putrid odor, not attended with pain, but often accompanied by discharge of flatus. I cannot say which of these series of symptoms is primary and which secondary. In reference to a recent much-pushed theory, I am constrained to say that, as regards the dose, it makes no difference which is primary and which secondary. With the 200th I have cured constipation, and with the 200th I have cured diarrhoea.
URINE is diminished in quantity. A cutting pain accompanies the evacuation. Urine is dark and has a white or a reddish deposit.
MALE SEXUAL ORGANS. The sexual appetite is decidedly increased, but the power is diminished, ejaculation of semen taking place before the erection is complete. By virtue of this action, Graphites has been of service in sexual weaknesses, consisting of lively desire with incomplete erection, and too rapid or too early discharge of semen, such as sometimes follows the habit of masturbation, acquired in boyhood and abandoned early.
TESTES SWOLLEN. It is noteworthy that Graphites has been successfully used in treating hydrocele. Other remedies are Clematis, Rhododendron, Aurum and Spongia.
THE FEMALE SEXUAL ORGANS present many symptoms that point to Graphites as a remedy for corresponding maladies.
Menses are delayed and are scanty; they are imminent for several days before the flow fairly sets in. The onset is accompanied by a variety of accessory symptoms (as with Sepia), such as hoarseness with dry cough, headache evenings, swelling of the feet and painless swelling of the cheeks, chilliness, colic-like labor-pains, backache.
Hahnemann says that Graphites is often indispensable where obstinate constipation and delayed menstruation are wont to occur together.
Leucorrhoea copious and thin, causing a biting, smarting sensation in the vagina.
Upon the respiratory organs the action of Graphites is not marked. It produces coryza, hoarseness toward evening, attended by headache; rawness in the chest and a tickling in the throat, provoking a dry cough, the peculiarities of which, however, are not apparent. There is some dyspnoea.
Externally, the nipples are painful and tender, and disposed to become fissured.
Clinical experience has shown Graphites to be a valuable remedy in "sore nipples" of nursing women. The end of the nipple presents cracks and fissures from which exudes a limpid serum. This disposition to fissures or cracks in the integument seems characteristic of Graphites.
In the extremities, besides aching and drawing sensations and the indefinite feeling of lassitude, common to so many drugs which act profoundly on the system, we have no marked action save that on the skin, viz., erysipelas of the hands, eczema of the fingers, eczema and impetigo on the lower extremities and toes. There are sticking pains in these eruptions and much soreness. Eczema between the lower extremities and upon the male genitals is an effect of Graphites.
The feet sweat profusely; the sweat is not offensive as under Silicea, but moderate walking causes soreness between the toes, so that the parts become raw. Finally the sides and roots of the finger and toe nails become sore, ulcerate and swell and are exceedingly painful. .
Graphites is one of our best remedies in that painful affection loosely called " the ingrowing toenail." Silicea and Hepar sulphuris are also of value, and must be chosen in preference if general symptoms require it.
As regards sleep, Graphites produces great sleepiness by day; and the patient goes to sleep early in the evening, but during the night there is wakefulness, tossing, heat and anxiety (symptoms much like those of Sulphur). Dreams are anxious and terrifying. At last patient sinks into a profound and dull morning sleep. (This is not like Sulphur.)
Fever has been observed. Coldness predominates— a daily paroxysm—in the evening. It begins with shivering followed by heat of the face and cold feet, followed by sweat in the morning.
Generally a moderate exertion brings on sweat.
The disposition is excited and irritable.
The action on the skin is very marked: moist eruption, eczema, impetigo, and fissure or cracks on the fingers, at the corners of the mouth, on the nipples, at the anus and between the toes.
Already-existing ulcers become tender to touch and motion, with tearing and sticking pains.
The action of Graphites on the skin, the digestive apparatus, and the male and female sexual organs, is of great importance. It is eminently a "polychrest."