Aconite Homeopathically Considered
E. B. NASH, M. D., PORT DICKINSON, NEW YORK.
The following is the leading homoeopathic characteristic of this remedy. Too great stress cannot be placed upon it as a guide in prescribing.
FEAR. General fearfulness; fears approaching death which she predicts. Fears to go into a crowd; or into the streets. Fears many things, but is fearful of death the most of anything.
In regard to other remedies having the symptoms of fear, ARSENIC ALB. comes the nearest, perhaps, to Aconite of any other remedy. And it has anguish and restlessness equally; but Aconite fear takes place in the beginning of acute inflammatory affections and before organic changes have occurred, while Arsenic come later, and after, or when such changes are present. The Aconite patient is sure death is imminent, right at hand, while Arsenic is sure of impending death from his disease, from which he can never recover. Aconite is on the move with more than usual activity, throwing himself about, while Arsenic is just as restless, but cannot move so freely on account of too great prostration. Aconite has no great changes, as of decomposition of blood, while Arsenic has it very positively; and, also in many instances, even malignant degeneration. So it is not very easy to confound these two remedies, or necessity for alternation, or combination of them.
2nd. Anguish and restlessness. Hering put it in his original Materia Medica Cards —Excessive restlessness and agonized tossing about for hours. It could not be much better expressed. Like the fear which we have described, this condition is found in the first stage of inflammatory affections, though it may exceptionally appear during the course of sub-acute affections and in such cases a dose of Aconite may be interpolated with great advantage. Here, again, Arsenicum comes out prominently for comparison, for it has anguish as well as restlessness in a fully equal degree. In my "Leaders in Homoeopathic Therapeutics," I placed in trio Aconite, Arsenicum and Rhus tox., and so far as restlessness is concerned they belong there, but the anguish or as Cowperthwaite aptly terms it—the "Mental Distress," is not prominent under the Rhus tox., for the patient may here be more or less indifferent.
3rd. PAIN must be considered as belonging to Aconite as a characteristic. The pains are intolerable and drive him to desperation with loud cries and lamentations. Like Chamomilla and Coffea, they seem unendurable and are often wonderfully met and relieved by one or the other of these three remedies. The subject of pain in disease is of paramount importance to the homoeopathic physician and guides to the choice of the curative, where the pathological hobby rider is helpless. These are only a few of the many instances of characteristic indications, which guide to the choice of similia in prescribing.
4th. Aconite has another condition which is equally characteristic with that of pain numbness and tingling.
This may occur in the left side, tongue, lips, spine, left arm and fingers. If you want to test this chew fine a leaf of the "Monk's Hood" and you will probably be satisfied within twenty minutes.
5th. Aconite centers its action most positively in the region of the heart and respiratory organs. No remedy more excites or depresses the circulatory system. Aconite for accelerated circulation, such as is generally present during the first stages of high grade inflammatory affections, and especially when located in the respiratory organs so contiguous to the heart. Of course such inflammatory affections are not confined to these organs, but a general affection like inflammatory rheumatism may call for its employment to the exclusion of all other remedies, but even here the quick pulse and rapid breathing will be prominent. Indeed the mental distress upon which we have put so much stress is almost always in connection more or less with heart and circulatory disturbances.
6th. Chill, fever and sweat.
All schools acknowledge the importance of this part of our subject. Not many serious complaints either acute or chronic but have indications more or less pronounced under one or all of these heads. Chas. J. Hempel, of old "dubbed" Aconite, the "back bone of homoeopathy," because it was so generally (as he supposed) the remedy with which to begin the treatment of most diseases having high grade inflammatory fever present, so he placed great reliance upon his concentrated tincture of Aconite, and became a routinist in regard to this remedy. Now while we would not estimate lightly this property of Aconite, we would most earnestly protest against its use simply for inflammatory fevers.
7th. THE MODALITIES. We have already mentioned the cause—exposure to cold dry air, and will add by way of putting them all together—checked perspiration; fright; operation.
The diseases most common after these causes are croup, pneumonia, pleurisy, rheumatism, jaundice, suppressed menses, etc. Aggravation, evening and night, warmth, covering, rising, lying on offended side; Amelioration, open air, assurance, encouragement .
To recapitulate, under seven heads we have: 1st. Fear; fright, and effects of it. 2d. Anguish and restlessness with agonized tossing about. 3d. Pain; tearing, cutting, driving to desperation. 4th. Numbness and tingling; left side, tongue, lips, spine, etc. 5th. Heart and respiratory organs (location). 6th. Chill, fever and sweat (especially synochial fever). 7th. Modalities, causes (exposure to dry, cold air or checked perspiration; fright; operations, increase in evening and night, by warmth, covering and rising. Decrease in open air, assurance and encouragement.
Around these seven revolve the whole pathogenesis of this remedy. It will be noticed that of the seven, five are subjective symptoms, and two might be properly classed as objective.— Homeopathic Record.
Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.