– TESTE A, GROUP REMEDIES, GROUP I,ARNICA MONTANA
– A species of the genus Arnica, family of the radiata, class syngenesia polygamia superflua.
– This aromatic plant was described for the first time with correctness by Tabernaemontanus, naturalist of the sixteenth century.
– It grows on the high mountains of the south of Europe and in the plains of the north of France, where some varieties of it exist, distinguished by the large size of its leaves, the height of its stems, etc.
– It has black, thin, fibrous roots, which emanate from a sort of rhizoma; single stems; leaves oval, and marked with lines, entire, opposite on the stem; flowers radiate, large and of a beautiful yellow color; fruit with plumose tufts, enclosed in a common double calice or involucrum.
– Notwithstanding the acrid and bitter taste of this plant, it does not, according to Linne, exercise any deleterious action on herbivorous animals : “Oxen and goats,” says he, “eat it with pleasure.” *
– The arnica of Bohemia was the one which was formerly the most valued.*
– It was prescribed in the shape of infusions, decoctions, and locally.
– The root, stem, and blossoms were successively given a preference by physicians, who, however, gave up the root for good, for this reason, that it rapidly loses its taste and aroma by drying.
– It is this root, but fresh, that is used for homoeopathic preparations.*
– Empirical applications.–For a long time already popular empiricism had used the properties of arnica, when a Belgian physician, named Fehrius or Fehr, drew the attention of his colleagues to this plant.
– The facts which were published by this physician, tended to show that the arnica, whether used externally or internally, was a specific remedy for sanguineous effusions, sugillations, ecchymoses, etc. *
– A large number of German, Swedish, and French practitioners, among whom we distinguish Buchner, Schulz, Rosenstein, de la Marche and Collin, confirmed Fehr’s observations with great readiness, and the use of arnica son became very extensive.
– According to Murray it was successfully used against the following maladies : external lesions, such as are caused by a blow, a fall, a contusion, etc.; a certain form of fall pleurisy; cachexia; oedema; atrophy; traumatic peripneumonia; suppression of the menses, or lochia; uterine haemorrhage; calculous nephritis; gout; muscular contractions; gangrene; jaundice cased by contusions; paraplegia; hemiplegia; paralysis of the bladder; amaurosis, caused by a cerebral affection.*
– The pathogenesis of the arnica explains to us the cause of these successful applications, which were purely accidental, and which, being deprived of a fixed principle, must have remained without result to the healing art until homoeopathy was discovered.
– More fortunate than Borda and the Berlin physicians, who regarded the arnica as a calming agent in inflammations of the lungs, * Stoll used it with success in certain forms of dysentery, especially in epidemic dysentery,* and cured with this drug several cases of intermitting fever, a circumstance which induced this celebrated physician to term it the quinquina of the poor, a designation, however, which it does not seem to deserve.
– Lastly, at a more recent period, arnica has been lauded as a remedy for spasms, convulsions, tetanus, * convulsive cough, trembling, and even for the itch. *
– It is true, that in the last named disease, care was had to add a good dose of sea-salt to the decoction of the plant, which was prescribed in lotions, so that it would be difficult to say to which of these two agents the removal of the psoric eruption was due, which is of very little consequence so far as we are concerned; for the result of such a system of medication could only be pitiable.
– After having passed in review the cases where the arnica had effected cures, Murray mentions the accidents which it is capable of producing when administered out of season, or in too large doses.
– He says that it has occasioned vomiting, anxiety, sweats, an aggravation of pain around injured parts, (which, however, never lasted long), sensitiveness of the abdomen, weakness of the senses and nerves, tingling, lancing and burning pains, or shocks resembling those produced by the electric fluid.
– Hence Murray concludes, but wrongly, that the presence of fever forbids the use of arnica.
– But this as it may, nothing can be more correct than his observations, which, however, have been taken from Plenck, Diltney, Schulz, Collin, and from several other authors.*
– The arnica is undoubtedly one of those drugs, the therapeutic properties of which have been most justly valued by alloeopathic physicians.
– This is so true, that a complete collection of all the cases in which it was successfully employed by them, would almost furnish the complete pathogenesis of the drug.
– Was it mere accident that led empiricism to these successful applications of the arnica ?
– I confess that I feel disposed to view them in the light of the maxim of Jamblicus : “Medicine is the daughter of dreams.”
– But how is it possible that, in spite of such precious traditions, that arnica should have fallen into such a complete disuse that it is not even any longer mentioned in the modern system os alloeopathic materia medica ?*
– Do systems enjoy the privilege of blotting out facts which they are unable to explain ?
– Homoeopathic applications.–See the pathogenesis of arnica in Hahnemann’s Materia Medica Pura, Vol.*
– It is enough to read this pathogenesis, in order to perceive how far the low of similitude explains and justifies the surname of panacea lapsorum, which was formerly given to the arnica by those who used it empirically.
– The sphere of arnica comprises, then, all traumatic lesions, (contusions, cut and torn wounds,) with their immediate consequences, (internal or external haemorrhages, fractures, luxations, sprains, traumatic fever, syncope, tetanus, paralysis, pneumonia, hepatitis, etc., etc.,) or their remote consequences, (partial emaciation, neuralgia, intermittent fevers, encysted tumors, etc., etc.
– But since we now cure these maladies also by ledum, rhus, and other analogous remedies, it is important to determine the cases where arnica deserves a preference.
– The arnica is particularly adapted to sanguine, plethoric persons, with lively complexions, and disposed to cerebral congestions.
– It acts but feebly on persons that are positively debilitated, with impoverished blood, and soft flesh.
– This may be the reason why it is eaten with impunity by herbivorous animals, as Linne remarks.
– It does not do them any harm, and probably, would not do them any good in diseases where it might otherwise seem indicated.
– The case would be different in regard to spigelia, whose general action, which tends to depress vascular action, is, so to say, diametrically opposite to that of arnica.
– The latter would destroy life by exciting the vital force to excess, whereas the former would produce death by depressing the vitality.*
– Hence I conclude, as a general rule, that arnica is particularly useful in the inflammatory period of the maladies to whose symptoms it corresponds.
– This drug acts principally on the muscles and the cellular tissue.
– Hence the boil is the one of all cutaneous affections which arnica most readily occasions, and, of course, cures.
– Hence again, it is more particularly adapted to the treatment of phlegmonous erysipelas and deep burns, diseases in which rhus generally deserves a preference.
– It is evident that, in such cases, the alternate use of these two drugs must be frequently indicated.
– From the fact the arnica frequently cures acne and boils, independently of any traumatic cause, we infer that it likewise cures internal maladies which emanate from the retrocession of these cutaneous efflorescences.
– I have treated a man of 30 years and a sanguine temperament, in whom the formation of boils constituted a veritable diathesis.
– For months a large number were seen in the face, on the neck and shoulders.
– Afterwards they disappeared in order to give place to an intense angina.
– This process had been going on for several years.
– I prescribed arnica, which arrested in a few days the throat-disease, and the boils which had disappeared when this disease wet in, have not reappeared since.
– This fact is another proof of the importance which the historic development of the disease possesses for the physician.
– I doubt not that, by carefully investigating the antecedents of arnica, one would have hit upon some cutaneous affection which arnica cures, and the previous existence of which would have accounted for the efficacity of arnica in the pretended fall pleurisies.
– We may be allowed to ask in this place whether the pleurisies were any thing else than simple pleurodynias, accompanied by pulmonary engorgement.
– Every body knows what success has been obtained with the arnica in the homoeopathic treatment of gout, (especially of the foot;) idiopathic rheumatism, that is to say, a rheumatism which is not preceded by the affection of some viscus, and of certain kinds of neuralgia, (especially of the head,) characterised by the cutting, tearing, or wrenching pains which the arnica produces.
– Arnica may, after rhus, prove useful in the painful engorgements of the subcutaneous glands, and even of the vesical glands in persons with a lymphatico-sanguine temperament, but not really scrofulous.
– It is especially in individuals thus constituted that arnica has effected cures of intermittent fever combined with hypertrophy of the liver or spleen, which was painful to contact.
– In its general action arnica exhibits some distant points of similarity to the action of Belladonna.
– It is one of those drugs, small in number, the external use of which is allowed in homoeopathic treatment (only in traumatic, or strictly local affections.)
– But it must not be supposed that, in such cases, it is absolutely necessary to employ the mother-tincture.
– Experience has demonstrated to me that the sixth, twelfth, and fifteenth alcoholic attenuations of arnica, spigelia, colchicum, were, as a general rule, preferable, both externally and internally, to the mother-tinctures of these drugs.
– “Camphor,” says Hahnemann, “is the antidote of arnica when administered in large doses and in cases where it was not homoeopathic.
– Wine aggravates its hurtful effects.”
– Positive experience has convinced me that, in many cases at least, cocculus indicus antidotes arnica much better than camphor.