David Wember, MD, DHt
(Fall 1995 JAIH)
A Presentation Given at the Annual Conference of the
National Center for Homeopathy, Baltimore, MD, April 1995
ABSTRACT: Dr. Wember regales us yet again with a fascinating pot pourri of small remedies and some of their indications.
KEYWORDS: Thiosinaminum, Lac defloratum, Terebinthina, Teucrium marum, Petroleum, Sarsaparilla, Manganum, Senecio aureus, Graphites, Oleander, Tellurium, Formica rufa, Cinnabaris, Sambucus, Mephitis, Chlorum, Chloralum, Antipyrine, Bismuth, Dioscorea, Sinapis nigra, Anthracinum, Cement, Crataegus, Adonis vernalis, Convallaria majalis, Magnolia grandiflora, Calcarea sulphurica, Ferrum phosphoricum, cicatrices, migraine, nausea of pregnancy, aphthae and gastrointestinal symptoms; nasal polyps, nasal itching, rectal itching, tinea cruris, recurrent herpes genitalis, snuffles, sinusitis, dysuria, cough, spasm of glottis, eczema, psoriasis, herpes zoster, amenorrhea, menopause, tinea corporis, psoriatic arthritis, asthma, urticaria, gastralgia, abdominal pain, hiatal hernia, pyoderma gangrenosum, abrasions, cardiac cases, otitis
Over the years I have reported on various small remedies that have been very useful to my patients. I usually don't go about looking for new remedies, But in everyday practice, as one peruses the repertory and materiae medicae while studying a case, one can't help but scan across many facts and remedies that one has never come across before. It is these tidbits that catch my eye, that inspire my further investigation. When thinking about remedies to present for this paper, my first thought kept coming back to Thiosinaminum, from the Oil of Mustard seed. Time after time it has helped women with abdominal adhesions either from prior pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, or abdominal or pelvic surgery, including laparoscopic surgery. It is said to dissolve scar tissue. I find it to have an anti-inflammatory action as well. I say this because patients seem to respond so quickly, before any significant cicatrical absorption reasonably could take place.
D.S., a thirty year-old single woman, came to me for recurrent upper respiratory infections and acne scars on her back. She also related having several days of severe right lower quadrant pains around the mid-cycle. I gave her Thiosinaminum in hopes of resorbing the acne scars. It didn't. But the mid-cycle pains almost fully disappeared, only to recur when she discontinued the remedy and disappear again on resuming the Thiosinaminum. She also has been healthier in general without the recurrent upper respiratory infections she used to get every winter, and there have been no further recurrent aphthae she was so prone to in the past.
C.S., a thirty-two year-old married woman, came in with a four year history of abdominal pains "from ovulation to after the first few days of the flow." She had a prior history of uterine infection and two Caesarean sections. In 1991, a laparoscopy was performed for suspected endometriosis. She was diagnosed as having scar tissue, especially around the rectum, which may have been responsible for her constipation and knife-like pains in the rectum prior to stool. She was put on a trial of Thiosinaminum D3 twice daily for a month and then just at bedtime. Three weeks ago she reported what she called her 'PMS' symptoms as "great" . no further abdominal pains.
R.G., a thirty-six year-old married woman, came to see me for a myriad of symptoms, the most striking keynote symptom being burning in the urethra when not urinating. The pain was worse lying in bed, and, in fact, often woke her up at night. Mercurius vivus promptly cured this. She also complained of lower abdominal or pelvic pains, mid cycle and during the menses, worse during stool. She had had endometriosis and laparoscopic surgery in the past. Only Thiosinaminum takes away these pains. They recur periodically.
In the past I have reported about my favorite remedies for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy; i.e., Symphorocarpus racemosa, Amygdalus persica, Pilocarpus, Cocculus, and Colchicum, among others. Last July I saw a woman who was nine weeks pregnant with a history of nausea during her first two pregnancies and the present one. She was helping herself with Colchicum D6 (worse from the smell of food). Her main complaint was migraine headaches, worse during pregnancy. She was already being treated with Phenergan suppositories by her obstetrician. The headaches would build up all day long with vomiting in the evening, afterwards feeling some better. I considered Sanguinaria and Iris, since the migraines were preceded by a visual aura. The combination of the following symptoms lead to only one remedy: migraine with visual aura, one-sided throbbing frontal headaches, sick headaches, nausea of pregnancy, motion sickness, constipation . Lac defloratum. Allen calls it the "...American sick headache". Two weeks later the nausea was forty percent better and she had had only two migraines, and they were less severe. She told me that she no longer liked sweets. I asked her why? She said "sweets leave an after taste". Sanguinaria wrapped up the case. (Kent, p. 423: "bitter, sweet things taste: Rheum, sang.")
Six months later she returned saying the rest of the pregnancy was uneventful. She was now concerned about going into labor. The previous two labors ended with Caesarean sections due to non-progressive labor. Over the next two weeks, using Caulophyllum and Pulsatilla, her water finally broke at 6 am of the morning she was going into the hospital to be induced. In the hospital, during labor, her husband called saying the migraine had suddenly recurred. Another dose of Lac defloratum once again came to the rescue, and mother and child are both doing well.
Here is a one remedy rubric that has helped me in several cases: Kent, p.397, "Aphthae, extending through intestinal tract: terebinthina."
A thirty-five year-old woman came to see me for chronic sinusitis and allergies. She was sick from fall through spring. I was able to keep her off antibiotics and decongestants. However, she continued to get periodic epigastric pain and acidity ever since an ulcer was diagnosed in 1986. I was able to palliate these symptoms with Bis Sub Nit. It was only after she associated the acidity with canker sores and stomatitis that I gave her Terebinthina and thereafter the gastrointestinal symptoms disappeared.
A thirty-three year-old male came in for the following problems: Cough, twice yearly, lasting one month and needing antibiotics; loose stools with flatulence both up and down; anus sore with burning, itching and tearing sensation inside the rectum with stool; recurrent canker sores related to the anal burning. He was given one dose of Terebinthina 200C. Two months later he returned saying, "From my mouth right through my body I feel better." He had no further canker sores and seventy-five per cent less rectal burning and flatulence.
This reminds me of another remedy, Teucrium marum (Cat Thyme), which has symptoms on both ends of the body, this time concentrating on the rectum and the nose. Like Cina, it reportedly is a great "worm" remedy. There is itching and rubbing of the nose, but it goes much deeper in its pathology. The nose is stopped up, often from polyps, where it has been extremely efficacious. I have used it for sinus conditions where the nose is completely stopped, yet discharging thick "clinkers." In sinus congestion I have my patients use a salt water and baking soda nasal lavage. If there are nasal polyps, I add three or four Teucrium D3 triturate tablets to the nasal wash. Teucrium has itching of the rectum, worse at night from warmth of the bed and after stool. Petroleum has similar symptoms.
Petroleum is one of my main remedies in "jock itch" and recurrent genital herpes. I had a forty-two year-old male patient with a seventeen year history of chronic prostatitis. All allopathic treatments including several urethral stricture operations still left him with constant prostate discomfort, burning "hot spots" in the urethra on urination and ejaculation, severe intertrigo, and a red, irritative rash on the glans. He only felt better while on Cipro. The symptoms would return shortly after stopping the antibiotic. Petroleum in high potency would give only short term relief. I put the patient on Petroleum D6 twice daily. His symptoms have been very relieved.
A remedy with similar urinary and skin symptoms is Sarsaparilla (Smilax). It has eczematous conditions, cracked skin, especially of the hands and feet, intertrigo and herpetic eruptions. It is said to be worse in the summer, whereas Petroleum is worse in the winter. A keynote symptom is painful urination very much worse at the close of urination. The last few drops are unbearable. The child screams before and while urinating, like Rhus aromatica. A symptom of Sarsaparilla that has helped me several times is: increased frequency of urination in the cold air.
Speaking of the skin, psoriasis is a deep-seated illness that is difficult to treat both allopathically and homeopathically. Here is a remedy that has recently caught my attention . Manganum aceticum. I have used this remedy in the past mainly for the keynote symptom of cough, better lying. I use the phosphate of Manganum, in this instance, something I learned from Dr. Rood when she taught us years ago. The skin symptoms of Manganum are definitely not well repertorized in Kent:
Chronic eczema and psoriasis especially about the joints.
Cracked skin and suppurations that are difficult to heal.
Deep-seated pains in the bones, worse night.
Shin pains: very sensitive to touch.
Ankles which get sore without explanation.
Migrating and diagonal symptoms or crosswise pains
Classic symptoms of Parkinson's Disease.
It is listed in Kent in the third degree under the Menopause rubric. So, when I saw a woman, in her late forties, who was under extreme marital stress, who went into sudden menopause and at the same time developed psoriasis about the elbows and knees, I gave Manganum 200C. The psoriasis disappeared in two weeks. She's still under stress, but mentally, she said she felt more positive and better able to cope with her situation. Remember Manganum has anemia and has been reported to bring back the menstrual flow. The association of anemia, scanty menstruation, amenorrhea or flow between the menses and eczema are prime indications of Manganum.
That reminds me of another remedy to bring back the flow, Senecio aureus. I remember Dr. Fred Schmidt telling us of its efficacy in amenorrhea after discontinuing birth control pills. Three major symptoms of Senecio are: 1. Amenorrhea 2. Sore throat prior to menses 3. Bladder irritability prior to menses.
Graphites too has similar skin symptoms and is worse at the menopause. Other similar smaller remedies that could be considered in eczematous and psoriatic conditions are Oleander and Tellurium.
Oleander has eruptions at the margin of the hair, especially on the occiput, and behind the ears. It is often associated with chronic diarrhea and involuntary stools when passing gas. I once had a case of Herpes zoster in a sixty-seven year-old woman who went on to a speedy recovery using Oleander. She presented with crusted over lesions on the left side of the head, running from the temple, behind the ear, to the occiput. What is so nice about Homeopathy is that it stimulates the healing from within so that it avoids Post-Herpetic Neuralgia. I have never had a case of Shingles treated homeopathically that went on to chronic Post-Herpetic Neuralgia. In fact, I have reported in past articles of curing cases of Post-Herpetic Neuralgia using homeopathy. I am sure that other homeopathic practitioners have had the same gratifying results.
Tellurium is usually thought of in ringworm-type lesions, whether of herpetic, fungal or eczematous nature. It comes in circular patches. It also has the same oozing eczema behind the ears and on the back of the head. There is a kind of psoriasis that erupts in circular patches over any part of the body. Try Tellurium if other polycrests fail. I had a case of psoriatic arthritis which had great palliation with Formica rufa, two major areas of this remedy being arthritic and eczematous-type lesions.
One Mercury that deserves more attention is Cinnabaris (Mercuric Sulfide). Clark says "redness predominates (color of the drug)." Very "fiery looking ulcers" anywhere in the body. I have used it most successfully in sinusitis. It has a dull pressive pain at the root of the nose with thick post-nasal discharge. In acute sinusitis the face can be red, swollen and very sensitive to touch. Dr. Hubbard gives just such a case, with cervical neck pain worse bending head backwards, cured with one dose of Cinnabaris 1M. A keynote symptom is pain in the inner canthus extending across the eyebrow to the outer canthus. Being a syphilitic remedy, it has cured many genital symptoms, including warts, and particularly any red swellings and rashes in the genital region, especially on the penis.
Allergies are a huge problem in our society. Here in the Washington, DC-Baltimore area, it seems to be endemic. Homeopathically it is very deep-seated. The best treatment is constitutional prescribing. However, I find this often takes time. Meanwhile the patient suffers with allergic rhinnitis or asthmatic symptoms. I want to comment about the recent studies by Dr. David Taylor Reilly on the homeopathic treatment of allergies and asthma. I really feel for the allopaths. Trying to believe an infinitesimal dose of anything can actually do anything takes a leap of faith. Faith is a not the usual prescription in medicine, nor in our society in general. However, unless Randy the magician again conjures up some of his voodoo, the statistics of these studies should humble even the homeopaths. For many years, in my practice I have used "spring," "tree," "grass," etc. remedies (isodes of prevailing allergens) to successfully help seasonal allergies. They work! I'm glad Dr. Reilly has corroborated my experience.
In the past I have used Sambucus nigra mainly for the keynote symptom of "Snuffles of infants." I have recently learned to make more broad use of this remedy. Allen talks of the "suffocative feeling" as a primary indication for Sambucus. That suffocative cough that wakes children up at night around or after midnight will often yield to Sambucus, if Spongia has not already done its job. Or like Mephitis (Skunk), the child sits up, blue in the face, with cough. Like Chlorum (Chlorine gas in water), it has a special affinity in spasms of the glottis. Epiglotitis might also be a prime indication. Sambucus, Mephitis and Chlorum all are worse expiration. Sambucus has a keynote symptom of perspiration on first waking in the morning, or only while awake. The perspiration disappears on falling asleep.
Don't mix up Chlorum with Chloralum. Chloralum (Chloral hydrate) has asthma and respiratory distress with the sensation of constriction of the chest, but I use it mainly for urticaria, especially worse from alcoholic drinks and exposure to cold. I cured a case with alternating respiratory and hives symptoms with Chloralum. You might consider adding Chloralum to the alternating rubrics in the respiratory and skin sections of Kent. Antipyrine (Coal tar derivative) has helped me in several cases of urticaria with large red patches. It tends to come and go frequently and is especially applicable in erythema multiforme.
The allopaths have recently lauded themselves for a new discovery. After all these years, peptic ulcers have finally been associated with a bacteria in the stomach, Helicobacter pylori. The "cure" being a triple "whammy" - two or three antibiotics and Pepto-Bismol, all taken simultaneously. Here is a quote from Pierce, which to me epitomizes, more than anything else, the difference between Allopathy and Homeopathy: "...allopaths brag about how much they can give without poisoning the patient, while homeopaths boast as to how little they can give and effect a cure."
Bismuth subnitrate has been around since Hahnemann first prepared it, but it has not been given its due homeopathically. I first encountered Bismuth in a homeopathic OTC preparation labeled for "Nausea of Pregnancy." This preparation included Cerium oxalicum and Ingluvin, both remedies worth studying, but that can be a topic for another paper. Actually my first recollection of Bismuth brings me back to childhood where two preparations stand indelibly in my mind . Vicks Vaporub and Pepto-Bismol: Vicks in the nostrils and rubbed on the chest for any respiratory problems, and Pepto-Bismol for any gastrointestinal problems.
Boericke says its chief action is for "irritation and inflammation of the alimentary canal...," and so it is. Gastralgia typifies this remedy. There is a burning pain or pressure as from a lump or a load in the stomach. The pain often extends backwards towards the spine. The gastralgia can be associated with neuralgic-type headaches, especially about the face, better vomiting or alternating with neuralgia. Bismuth is better from cold drinks and, like Phosphorus, often vomits after drinking or when the stomach gets full. A good keynote symptom is pain in the stomach, better bending backwards. Here it rivals Dioscorea in this modality. But whereas Dioscorea centers its flatulent colic in the abdomen around the umbilicus and the right hypochondria like Chelidonium, Bismuth centers its action in the cardiac end of the stomach, where it is found in the cardialgia rubrics. Condurango, too, centers its action at the cardiac end of the stomach. In Boericke's Repertory, under the rubric "Cardiac Orifice," there is a sub rubric of "Dilatation." I take this to cover gastroesophageal reflux and hiatal hernia symptoms.
Last year a woman came in to see me with a multitude of symptoms. Among the most distressing was the dyspepsia from a chronic hiatal hernia. She had severe burning pain in the epigastrium, worse bending over, being treated with Zantac. I started her on Bismuth sub nitrate 3x. She came back two months later. She was very appreciative. "I can now bend over to do my housework and gardening without that terrible burning in my chest." In my last paper I briefly mentioned Hydrastin muriaticum in similar conditions. I have not had the opportunity to further check this out. I think this deserves more attention. Lecithin, in physiologic doses, is helpful in tightening up the cardiac sphincter. Bismuth also has perspiration, daytime only, like Sambucus.
This reminds me of Sinapis nigra. This remedy, which is most applicable in upper respiratory infections and hay fever, has three peculiar symptoms that have helped me with several cases: 1. Abdominal pains, better bending backwards 2. Cough, better lying down 3. Sneezing, worse at night.
In the past two years I have had two cases of pyoderma gangrenosum. There are two reasons I bring this up. First, this is a deep-seated internal malady presenting on the skin. It is important not to be suppressed. It is usually an extra-intestinal manifestation of inflammatory bowel disease, but in the present case it occurred in a forty year-old woman with chronic arthritis. Interestingly enough, the lesions only began after she started gold treatments. I saw her in June,1994. Two years earlier she had a boil on the right calf which enlarged to a golf ball size and finally opened, leaving a large crater which refused to heal. Even in the hands of a dermatologist, treatment with antibiotics and cortisone injections were of no avail. The ulcer was sensitive to touch, but not excessively. Because of the history of it being a boil that burst, I gave one dose of Hepar sulph 200C. In addition, I asked her to mix the following in four ounces of water: one tablespoon Betadyne one tablespoon sugar one-half tablespoon calendula tincture.
I asked her to wash the wound with this solution twice daily. She returned five weeks later. The ulcer was sixty percent closed and half as deep. However, a small satellite ulcer had developed about an inch from the original. This had happened several times in the past. Because of the satellite lesion and the burning pains she felt while cleaning out the sloughing tissue each night, I gave one dose of Anthracinum 200C. Five weeks later there was only a pinhole size opening remaining in the satellite lesion. The main ulcer had healed.
The second reason I brought this up was to comment on two other remedies that have been helpful in dealing with infections. Clark talks of Gun Powder as a powerful agent for sepsis, especially in wound infections. Dr. Boysen praised it highly and used it effectively during the war where there are many stories of miraculous wound healings. Clark also says it has helped Herpes zoster of the right trigeminal area.
Here is a remedy that I have had personal use of. Has anyone had the experience of falling and scraping themselves on a cement surface? The abrasion seems to fester and take an indomitable time to heal. Years ago I came across Cement as a remedy. It was suggested for an irritative rash in cement workers. I potentized it myself to a 12x and have used it on the basis of similars for healing abrasions, especially when having fallen on cement. Try it. It works.
Crataegus is our great heart tonic. Two other remedies with similar action deserve our attention: Adonis vernalis (Pheasant's Eye) and Convallaria majalis (Lilly of the Valley). Adonis has been helpful in strengthening a heart that has been weakened by valvular lesions. There is a weak, rapid pulse accompanied by oliguria, pulmonary edema, and peripheral edema. Convallaria has rapid and irregular pulse, fluid retention; marked dyspnea, worse walking; and inability to lie down. Nash talks of using it successfully in heart pain and "dropsy" when accompanied with uterine soreness. It is similar to Lillium tigrinum in this respect. It has the peculiar symptom of a sensation as if the heart had ceased to beat. This leads me to the remedy Magnolia grandiflora, which has the same sensation as if the heart had ceased to beat. It has angina and dyspnea, worse walking fast and when lying on the left side, and which is often accompanied by rheumatic symptoms: shifting articular pains and stiffness, worse dampness and first motion, like Rhus toxicodendron and Dulcamara.
Finally, I would like to comment on otitis. There have been many good books and articles published recently that have been helpful in discerning the proper remedy selection. I am indebted to Dr. Richard Moskowitz for reminding us in his speech last spring at the American Instituteof Homeopathy meetings of the efficacy of Calcarea sulphurica in recurrent otitis media. I use it in the 200C or 1M potency. It tends to stop the recurrences while one works, over time, on more constitutional remedies. Lastly, in acute otalgia, I use a Ferrum phosphoricum DMM potency. This was taught to me by Dr. Panos when I was her student. I believe the original source is Dr. Boger. In my experience, no single remedy has been more effective in relieving ear pain than this one.