Passive haemorrhage, everything open and loose, no action, IN THIN, SCRAWNY, CACHECTIC WOMEN.
Great coldness (objective) of the surface, yet the patient cannot bear to be covered.
Numbness, crawling and paralysis; formication as of mice creeping there, all parts of body.
SECALE CORNUTUM is a remedy capable of great good, but is, perhaps, as much misused as Quinine. Its power to contract the uterus is undoubted, and for this reason it is often given when other remedies would do better. It has power to control haemorrhages that few other remedies, if any, can surpass. It is said to do this by contracting the capillaries. But we must remember that other remedies control haemorrhages, and whether they do it by contracting the capillaries, by their action upon the blood itself, or other specific action, makes no difference, so long as they CONTROL IT. Some physicians are always giving ERGOT in post-partum haemorrhages on this contracted theory, without ever thinking of anything else. They always give it in material doses to get, as they term it, the PHYSIOLOGICAL effect. I have never, in a practice of thirty-five years, used it in this way, but have always been able to control such haemorrhages. SECALE is not often indicated in active post-partum haemorrhages. If there is a tendency to passive haemorrhage, everything open and loose, no action, IN THIN, SCRAWNY, CACHECTIC WOMEN (muscles flabby), there is no remedy like it, and the potencies are much better than the tincture or wine of ERGOT in massive doses. This is also true in menorrhagias and metrorrhagias unconnected with pregnancy. The blood is dark, liquid and flowing worse on the slightest motion.
The constitution, temperament and age of the patient are of great importance, for it is particularly adapted to FEEBLE, THIN, SCRAWNY, CACHECTIC WOMEN OF LAX MUSCULAR FIBRE, SUBJECT TO PASSIVE HAEMORRHAGES from all outlets of the body; also old, decrepid persons.
This remedy (SECALE) is often abused on account of its power to produce muscular contractions of the womb. Now in regard to this as with haemorrhages, it is capable of doing all that it ought to be called upon to do, in the potencies.
I fully agree with Cowperthwaite, who says: "To give it in parturition to hasten delivery, as is the practice of the old school, is simply inexcusable." On the other hand, I agree with Dr. H. N. Guernsey, "that it is useful when labor pains are weak, suppressed or distressing, in weak, cachectic women, in the 200th dilution," and have verified it beyond question.
The practice of giving the fluid extract in such cases, as is done by some physicians calling themselves homeopathic, ought to be sufficient cause for expelling them from a homeopathic society. It seems to me to be confession of either inexcusable laziness or ignorance.
We have a long list of remedies of undoubted value for weak labor pains with specific indications for their use, and when so indicated they are more efficacious and less dangerous than SECALE in massive doses of fluid extract with no other indications than uncontracted uterus or weak pains. The men who prate learnedly of getting the PHYSIOLOGICAL effects of SECALE in massive doses had better ask themselves if the same result gotten with the potentized remedy homeopathically applied, is not just as much in accordance with the physiological law, and much more scientific from a homeopathic standpoint. Weak pains remedied by the indicated homeopathic drug bring on NATURAL labor, while large doses for the same purpose of an unindicated one do not and never can produce NATURAL LABOR. It is nothing more or less than drug poisoning.
Here is one symptom of SECALE that is of inestimable value: "GREAT COLDNESS (objective) OF THE SURFACE yet the patient cannot bear to be covered." This is oftenest found in cholera and cholera infantum; but it is also found in senile gangrene. The feet and toes may be objectively as cold as an iron wedge, but the patient is distressed beyond endurance by having them covered. I saw one marked case of this kind. All the toes were attacked with dry gangrene. A few doses of SECALE (high) afforded great relief, and checked the progress of the disease for a long time.
CAMPHORA has the same symptom in a marked degree in choleraic disease. CAMPHORA seems to be most efficacious for the first stage or early collapse in the course of the disease, before the discharges have become offensive, putrid or dark colored. SECALE has burning in the feet (SULPHUR) and cramps in the calves (SULPHUR).
If, however, we should prescribe on this alone it would make no difference which we prescribed, but they are very unlike in their entirety. SULPHUR does not have the degree of collapse of SECALE, nor the icy coldness of surface with subjective burning. So we see the folly of one symptom prescribing after all.
We must have the keynote symptom, of course, but it must harmonize with the rest of the case. SECALE has "burning of all parts of the body, as if sparks were falling on them." It also has NUMBNESS, crawling and paralysis of the extremities. This is due to its action on the spinal chord. In addition to the coldness of the skin already noticed, we must state that the skin looks DRY, wrinkled and is insensible often, or there may be much FORMICATION under, as if mice were creeping there.