Chapter XII. Special Remedies for the Nervous System.
NEURITIS. For the fever, restlessness and full bounding pulse, aconite rad is the remedy. Dose, tincture aconite, gtts. v, aqua ℥iv. Mix. Sig. Teaspoonful every hour. For the hyperesthesia, the extreme exaltation of the nervous system cannabis indica should be prescribed. Dose, tincture cannabis Ind. gtts. xv, aqua ℥iv. Mix. Sig. Teaspoonful once in two hours. If the neuritis is traumatic hypericum is indicated, especially if the surrounding parts are inflamed with tingling, burning and numbness in them. Dose, add fifteen drops tincture hypericum to four ounces of water, mix, and give a teaspoonful every hour.
Neuralgia. When the pain is sharp, shooting or stabbing gelsemium should be combined with kalmia as in the following prescription:
Rx Tr. Gelsemium.
Tr. Kalmia, a. a. ʒss.
Aqua q. s. ad, ℥iv.
Mig. Sig. Teaspoonful once in twenty minutes until the pain is relieved. The above is a grand remedy in this condition.
In neuralgia of the face and eyes where the pain is of a stabbing character running through to the back part of the head, involving the eye orbit, malar bones and teeth, and the eye on the affected side runs clear water, spigelia anthelmintica is the remedy. Dose, tincture spigelia, fifteen drops, water four ounces, mix and give a teaspoonful every hour.
In ciliary neuralgia with shooting pains, worse from motion, when touched, or in attempting to sit up, bryonia is the remedy. Dose, add five drops tincture bryonia to four ounces of water and give the patient a teaspoonful of this mixture every hour.
When in neuralgia there are sharp, cutting, shooting, stabbing pains, which are intermittent—come and go like lightning, and rapidly changing their location and are relieved by heat, magnesia phos. will prove curative. Dose, add ten grains of the third decimal magnesia phos. to a cup of hot water and give teaspoonful every few minutes until patient is relieved.
In neuralgia of the head, when the pain is so intense, piercing, stabbing, that the patient screams and pulls her hair, the face is pale and cadaverous looking, mind deranged, zincum valerianicum should be prescribed. Dose, three tablets of the third decimal trituration, zincum valerianicum, once in two hours.
I have seen stubborn cases of neuralgia yield to aconitin (con) in one-sixteenth grain doses given at bedtime, and give the patient a good night's rest. In many cases of neuralgia the pain is periodic—intermittent—in its appearance showing the complication of malaria. In such patients the following anti-periodic prescription will be found very useful.
Rx Scutellarin, grs. x.
Cypripedium, grs. v.
Sulph. Quinine, grs. xii.
Mix. Divided into ten powders. Sig. One powder every two hours until all are used.
Hysteria. One dear old Quaker lady I knew had a hired girl, a strong lusty vigorous woman who had arrived at the age when a woman begins to realize what the Almighty made her for. She began to have fits; when she had these spells it took two or three young men to hold her. The old Quaker lady saw her have one or two of the fits, and then she "saw a great light." She said to the girl, "If thee has any more of those spells when those young men are around I will discharge thee." It is needless to say that the girl did not have any more fits.
I was called out one cold winter's night to see a woman supposed to be dying. When I arrived at the house the patient said, "Doctor, I am dying." I diagnosed the case hysteria and replied, "You will not die this time." I gave her a teaspoonful of "Composition Powder "(poplar bark, capsicum, etc.); a teaspoonful in a cup of sweetened water and made her drink the whole of it. When she had taken it all she forgot all about dying; it gave her something else to think of and she speedily recovered.
Another case was where a hired girl had been the rounds of the neighborhood. No one would keep her very long on account of the fits she had. None of the doctors who had been called seemed to understand the cause and could not cure her. I saw her in one of her fits and it was hysteria. I prescribed tincture valerianate ammonia, teaspoonful once in three hours in a little water and it cured her. It is an old eclectic remedy for hysteria and a very good one.
I was called into another county to see a young lady who had been an invalid for some time. She was suffering from chronic bronchitis that was complicated by "spells" as the family called them. The least noise, or if she was vexed or crossed in any way, would cause one of these "spells" to manifest themselves. I diagnosed the "spells "as hysteria. I told the girl's mother in her hearing that I understood the cause of those "spells" and that I would cure them. I said, "I will prepare a bottle of medicine and place it on the shelf at the head of her bed; when she begins to show signs of a spasm give her one teaspoonful of this mixture and she never will have another attack." The prescription was as follows:
Rx Tr. Asafoetida.
Tr. Lobelia, a. a. ʒss.
Mix. Sig. Teaspoonful at the first appearance of a spasm. One dose was enough; she never had any more attacks.
In another case a woman had some trouble in the family which excited her so much that she developed hysteria. When I arrived at the house, I found her on the bed with her jaws tightly locked. Nothing could be given by the way of the mouth. I wasted no time but called for a cup of warm water into which I put a tablespoonful of Comp. Tr. Lobelia. I directed one of the women present to throw that into the rectum by means of a syringe. In a few minutes she opened her mouth as the enema seemed to change the current of her thoughts. She recovered rapidly.
In hysteria when there is bloating of the abdomen by gas during the attack tincture Pothos foetida is the remedy. Dose, ten drops three times a day. If the patient is extremely sensitive to all external impressions, laughs and cries alternately, has globus hystericus, passes pale limpid urine, tincture ignatia is the remedy. Dose, add ten drops to half a glass of water and give of this mixture a teaspoonful every hour.
Tincture moschus is indicated during the paroxysms, and will frequently shorten their duration if there is a feeling of suffocation with constriction in the throat at the beginning of the spasms; there is also nervous palpitation of the heart with copious urination. Dose, twenty drops of the second decimal dilution of tincture moschus in half a glass of water and let the patient take a teaspoonful every hour.
The New School physicians have been uniformly successful in the treatment of hysteria. Note the difference between their treatment and that of the Old School. In "Reynold's System of Medicine," Vol. II, page 327, the author says "he knows not one single remedy which exerts any specific action on the disease (hysteria). This is an example of many other diseases which cannot be cured by the remedies of the Old School.
Neurasthenia. When there is weakness of the nerves, brain is tired, the patient is irritable, gets excited at the least thing, urine has an excess of phosphates, there is a history of sexual excesses, and an occipital headache, I like the avena sativa. Dose, twenty drops of the fluid extract avena sativa before meals and at bedtime. It will calm and strengthen the nerves.
When there is loss of memory, a strain upon the nervous system by hard study, grief or trouble, sexual excesses, diuresis, and perspiration easily excited, phosphoric acid is the indicated remedy. Dose, ten drops of the first decimal dilution three times a day. When there is exhaustion from the slightest excitement, mental exertion or overwork, subject to nervous headaches—pain begins in the occipital region and extends down the spine you should prescribe picric acid. Dose, three tablets of the sixth decimal trituration once in two hours. When the patient is gloomy and melancholy, loss of memory, looks on the dark side of everything, there is an overstrain of the brain and nervous system by worry, too close attention to business or study, kali phos., third decimal trituration, is the needed drug. Dose, three tablets once in two hours.
Silicea is a grand remedy when the mind and nervous system show a profound weakness; the patient has lost his "nerve," his grit, he is nervous, irritable, fainthearted, gives up at the least obstacle, there is headache which begins at the back of the head and extends over to the eyes. With such symptoms silicea, the sixth decimal, will do more than any other remedy. Dose, three tablets three times a day.
Epilepsy. In adapting our remedies to the treatment of this affection we must remember the different causes from which it arises, viz.: injury of the brain, syphilis, sexual excesses, some forms of indigestion, etc. A careful study of each case must be made; first, to ascertain the cause, and second to determine which remedy will exactly fit that peculiar group of symptoms. When the face is swollen, livid or pale, the eyes are fixed, pupils dilated, frothing at the mouth, oppressed breathing, coldness of the extremities, pulse weak, spasms first tonic then clonic in character, respiration heavy and stertorous oenanthe crocata is the remedy indicated, and the experience of our best prescribers seems to prove that the third decimal dilution is the most efficacious form to use. Dose, five drops of the third decimal dilution once in two hours. When the tincture is given it is apt to produce a headache. When there is intense cerebral congestion bromide ammonium will prove useful. The following prescription has made some fine cures:
Rx Bromide Ammonium, ℥i.
Tr. Belladonna, gtts. xx.
Tr. Oenanthe Crocata, gtts. xxx.
Tr. Pulsatilla, ʒii.
Simple Elixyr q. s., ℥xvi.
Mix. Sig. Teaspoonful once in three hours. When the attacks become less frequent give the dose only two or three times a day. In full blooded plethoric men with a hardness and tension to the pulse—showing nerve tension, veratrum viride should be prescribed to relax this nerve tension and relieve the blood pressure in the brain. Dose, five drops of the first decimal dilution three times a day.
When the patient is low spirited, sad and timid, and the attacks seem to be caused by worms, indigo is the needful remedy. Dose, three grains of the second decimal trituration once in three hours. When the convulsive seizures are induced by fright, or some violent emotion, and follow each other in rapid succession you should not forget artemisia vulgaris. Dose, five drops of the first decimal dilution once in three hours.
In epilepsy that is caused by suppressed emotions the sixth decimal of kali mur. will be found useful. Three tablets once in three hours, of this preparation is the dose.
My experience has taught me that if you can see your patient at the very commencement of an attack the compound tincture lobelia is the very best remedy that can be given to reduce the violence of the convulsive seizures. It also seems to lessen the frequency of the attacks. Many convulsions in children are called epilepsy when in reality they are due to "worms." Treat the child for worms and the epilepsy soon vanishes. Some epileptics are pretty sure to have an attack following a hearty meal. Here there is some form of indigestion. If you will cut down the quantity of food eaten and treat the indigestion you will promptly cure your patient.
Tincture solanum carolinense is indicated in epilepsy occurring at or near the menstrual period. Dose, from ten to fifteen drops three times a day. If the attacks occur from nervous exhaustion or sexual excesses you should prescribe the third decimal trituration of calcarea phos.—giving three tablets in the morning—and kali phos. and magnesia phos. in addition, during the day. These two drugs should be used as follows:—Add five grains of the third decimal kali phos. and five grains of the third decimal magnesia phos. to a cup of hot water and of this mixture give two teaspoonfuls every hour.
In epilepsy with mental defects caused by injury of the cranium when there is osseous depression, the sixth decimal trituration of natrum sulph. is the indicated remedy. Dose, three tablets once in twelve hours.
Chorea. For the spasmodic twitching of the muscles the third decimal trituration of magnesia phos. should be prescribed. Dose, put ten grains in a cup of hot water and give two teaspoonfuls every hour. The sixth decimal trituration of calcarea phos. should be given as an intercurrent remedy. Dose, three tablets three times a day.
Tincture cimicifuga is one of the old Eclectic remedies for chorea and is just as good to-day as it ever was. It acts more especially with girls at puberty about the time they begin to menstruate. The following prescription will be found beneficial:
Rx Tr. Cimicifuga.
Tr. Gelsemium, a. a. ʒss.
Fowler's Solution, gtts. xxx.
Mix. Sig. Teaspoonful every three hours.
When the muscular twitchings begin to diminish leave out the gelsemium and continue the prescription.
Girls at puberty are often anemic, nervous and flighty. They need a good tonic and some form of iron. The following prescription has served me well in such cases:
Rx Tr. Scutellaria.
Tr. Cypripedium, a. a. ʒiv.
Ferri Carbonas, ʒi.
Port Wine, ℥viii.
Mix. Sig. Teaspoonful after each meal.
When there is twitching of the eyelids, spasmodic movements of the single muscles and dancing of the whole body, symptoms worse during a thunder-storm, ceases when patient is asleep, uncertainty in walking, stumbles over everything, we should remember agaricus muscarius. Dose, twenty drops of the first decimal dilution in half a glass of water and give a teaspoonful of this mixture every hour.
Catilepsy. When the symptoms of this disease simulate hysteria and the cause is unknown you should give cannabis indica. Dose, five drops, tincture cannabis three times a day. If the condition is caused by obstruction of the menses Pulsatilla will be needed. Dose, five drops, tincture Pulsatilla once in two hours. If the attacks are caused by religious excitement prescribe stramonium. Dose, tincture stramonium, five drops three times a day.
Paralysis (facial). In the acute stage of this affection aconite is the remedy. Dose, twenty drops of the third decimal dilution put in a glass of water and teaspoonful doses administered every hour. If the paralysis is caused by exposure to cold winds causticum, the third decimal is the remedy. Dose, three tablets once in three hours.
Paraplegia. When there is spinal weakness, pain in the lumbar region, weakness of the legs, vertigo, poor eyesight, the indicated remedy is argentum nitricum. Dose, three tablets of the sixth decimal trituration once in three hours. When the trouble is caused by damp, cold weather and there is sudden loss of power in the lower extremities with rigidity of the legs, spastic gait—often tremulous you should prescribe lathyrus sativus. Dose, three tablets of the third decimal trituration three times a day.
Painless paralysis with swelling, burning and stiffness of the fingers calls for oleander. Dose, twenty drops, third decimal dilution, in a glass of water, and give a teaspoonful every two hours. Kali phos. is indicated in all forms of paralysis, especially those attacks which come on suddenly. Dose, three tablets of the third decimal trituration once in two hours.
In the paralysis that extends from below upwards, gradually involving new structures; there is vertigo, the patient staggers when walking. These cases require conium maculatum. Dose, ten drops tincture conium in half a glass of water, teaspoonful once an hour. For the paralysis that follows diphtheria gelsemium is the remedy. Dose, ten drops of the third decimal once in three hours.
Hemiplegia. In one case of this condition which followed apoplexy that I saw in Massachusetts I gave ten drops tincture avena sativa (Keith's) in hot water before each meal and twenty drops at bedtime. It helped the patient to get the use of her legs. In paralysis of the left side of the body—due to apoplexy with great weakness, faintness, prostration, mental and physical, trembling of the tongue, worse in the morning, lachesis should be prescribed. Dose, ten drops of the sixth decimal dilution in half a glass of water, teaspoonful once in two hours.
In paralysis of local portions as the larynx, tongue, face, bladder, etc., generally on the right side, also in paralysis of the right arm and leg, you should prescribe causticum. Dose, three tablets of the third decimal every three hours. In hemaplegia I have had good results with the following pill:
Rx Sulph. Strychnine, gr. 1/30.
Xanthoxylin, gr. i.
Mix. Ft. one pill. Sig. Give one of these pills four times a day. I also use this prescription as a local stimulating liniment in paralyis.
Rx Oil Originum, ℥ii.
Oil Capsicum, ʒi.
Oil Stillingia, ℥ii.
Mix. Sig. Bathe the affected part three times a day with brisk friction.
In paralysis from softening of the spinal cord, phosphide zinc is the indicated drug. Dose, one-tenth grain three times a day.
Paralysis Agitans. In this affection there are three remedies which have assisted me to produce good results. The third decimal trituration of hyoscinate.hy-drobromas; dose, one grain once an hour. Fl. Ext. gelsemium, ten drops once in three hours, third decimal trituration of magnesia phos., three tablets once in three hours. The two latter should be given in alternation.
Writer's Cramp. If the hand trembles while writing, crampy pains, aching in the wrists, rheumatic tendency, natrum phos. is the remedy needed. Dose, five grains of the third decimal trituration in half a glass of water, teaspoonful every hour. The third decimal of magnesia phos. should be given with the above remedy. Add five grains to half a cup of hot water and give a teaspoonful every half hour. Tincture conium mac. first decimal dilution, given in three drop doses once in three hours has cured some cases.
Puerperal Convulsions. Some cases of eclampsia are purely hysterical and in such instances viburnum prunifolium is the remedy. Dose, ten drops of tincture viburnum once an hour. Headache that precedes the convulsions is a warning symptom of their onset. The head feels heavy, but cannot lay it down on the pillow, the blood vessels are distended, there is congestion and a throbbing headache, face is red, patient froths at the mouth. In such conditions glonoin is indicated. Dose, ten drops of the second decimal dilution in half a glass of water, teaspoonful every hour until relieved.
If the pulse is hard and tense, very marked cerebral congestion, veratrum viride is the remedy. Dose, ten to fifteen drops tincture veratrum once an hour until the convulsions are controlled.
If the pregnant woman has a proper preparatory treatment before her confinement she probably will not have convulsions. If at any time before her expected confinement there is albumin present in the urine the woman should be given Fl. Ext. eupatorium purpureum. Dose, fifteen drops three times a day to clear the urine of albumin. (See Preparatory Treatment of the Pregnant Woman.)