ONE of Hahnemann’s flashes of genius: an outcome of Hahnemann the Chemist, and Hahnemann the Physician. FARRINGTON says, “Causticum is evidently a potash preparation, but its exact composition I do not know. Hahnemann was not able to define it and chemists since his time have not been able to tell of what it is composed. Nevertheless it is a unique remedy and is one that we cannot do without in practice.” HAHNEMANN calls it a hydrated caustic, but what is more important, he gives full directions as to the preparation of “this powerful drug”. He says:– “Take a piece of recently burnt lime weighing about 2 lbs., immerse it for a minute into a vessel full of distilled water,and then lay it in a dry cup, where it soon becomes pulverized, giving out much heat and a peculiar odour. Of this fine powder you take 2 ounces, place it in the mortar which had been previously warmed, and then mix it with a solution of 2 ounces of bisulphate of potash in 2 ounces of boiling hot water, the potash, before having been dissolved, having been exposed to a red heat, melted and cooled again, and then pulverized. This thickish preparation is inserted into a retort, to the open end of which the receiver which ought to be dipped in water to half its height, is hermetically fastened. The liquid is distilled over by gradually approaching a coal-fire to the retort, and until the preparation is perfectly dry. The liquid in the receiver is about one ounce and a half, as clear as water, and containing the Causticum in a concentrated form, which smells like the lye obtained from potash, and has an astringent and burning taste on the back of the tongue. Its freezing point is below that of water. It promotes the putrefaction of animal substances which are placed in it. With the salts of baryta it gives out no trace of sulphuric acid, nor any trace of lime-earth with the oxalate of ammonium. “One or two globules of the 30th potency are given at a dose, which often acts for upwards of fifty days.” HERING’S Guiding Symptoms says: “Whatever diversity of opinion may exist theoretically in regard to the chemical nature of this substance the unquestionable good results obtained by its use, in potentized form, by a majority of our best practitioners stamp it a polychrest of the highest order.” And NASH calls it “A very unique remedy, proved by Hahnemann. Its exact chemical composition is not known but it is supposed to be a kind of potash preparation. It has quite a long list of a peculiar symptoms, which are very reliable.” Causticum, mentally, is unhappy: weeps, cries: is melancholy — hopeless: looks on the dark side: has forebodings and apprehensions. Is peevish, irritable, censorious : very suspicious and distrustful. It is a remedy of mental alienation after suppression of eruptions. Affects especially persons dark-haired, dark-eyed, and of darkest mood and temper. No suspicion of brightness or gaiety here. Kent says Causticum “has cured insanity: not acute mania with violent delirium, but mental aberration of the passive kind, where the brain has become tired. The constitution has become broken down with long suffering and much trouble and finally the mind can be no longer co-ordinated: it is in confusion.” FARRINGTON says: “Especially suited to patients who are timid, nervous and anxious, full of fearful fancies especially in the evening at twilight, when shadows grow longer and fancies more rife. The child is afraid to go to bed in the dark.” We will quote further from Farrington: “The patient has rather an odd sensation, one not frequently met with, a feeling of an empty space between the brain and the cranial bones–relieved by warmth. Odd as this symptom may seem, it is not too uncommon for you to make a note of. “Very characteristic of the drug is paralysis of single parts or single nerves facial paralysis, especially when the result of exposure to dry, cold winds.” “These paralyses may be caused by deep-seated nervous diseases or, very characteristically, by exposure to cold, particularly to the intense cold of winter when patient is of the rheumatic diathesis.” (Acon. from the same cause–bitterly cold, dry winds). “In facial paralysis, from this cause Acon. will often cure, but if it threatens to become chronic, Causticum.” “Children, emaciated, especially about the feet, with abdomen large and tumefied. With eruption on scalp, and inflamed eyes; often otorrhoea, purulent; and the child stumbles when it attempts to walk. “Aphonia or failure of voice. N.B., the hoarseness of Phos. is worse in the evening; that of Caust. worse in the morning. “The paralytic condition extends to the cough also; cannot cough deeply enough to raise the phlegm; or phlegm, partly raised, slips back into pharynx; and, again, the urine may spurt during cough.” (“This inability to expectorate is found in every species of cough; whooping cough, etc.”) Farrington also says he has cured Meniere’s disease with Caust. (Salicylic acid.) Again: “Epilepsy, especially petit mal. Of course, during the unconscious stage the patient passes urine. Convulsions, especially when they recur at the full moon. (Sil.) “Rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis, especially where joints are stiff and tendons shortened, drawing the limbs out of shape.” (Here one remembers an old body, much benefited by Caust., who finally got Drosera, and rapidly recovered movement in almost all the joints that had been “set” for years. She had developed pain in the tibia also, which then suggested Dros. Dros. has particularly “pain in the long bones”.) Rheumatoid conditions then, with contractions and deformity; worse cold, dry winds, better warm wet weather. KENT says: “Causticum is a very searching medicine, suitable, too, in old broken-down constitutions, suffering from chronic disease. Its complaints are progressive, slow, and accompany a declining state of the economy. Gradual decrease of muscular power. A paralysis. “Paralysis of the oesophagus, paralysis of the throat, such as occurs after diphtheria” (Gels.)’; “paralysis of the upper eyelids, paralysis of the bladder, paralysis of the limbs, of the lower limbs; great lassitude, muscular relaxation, indescribable fatigue and heaviness of the body” (Gels.). “And there is a tremulousness” (Gels.), “a quivering, jerking, twitching of the muscles, twitching in sleep.” Then, “contractures of tendons and muscles, when the limb is drawn up. “Also a rheumatic state of the tendons and ligaments about the joints, with perhaps swelling, but pain and shriveling of the joint, which becomes tightened up and ankylosed. Stiffness, with weakness and melancholy; hopelessness; something going to happen. “When this rheumatism, he can stand neither heat nor cold; and he is always worse in dry weather; worse cold, dry winds (Acon.). Facial paralysis from exposure to cold, dry wind (Acon.). Such paralysis will almost always recover under Causticum.” “Then, hysteria; startled easily; crampings. Convulsions if frightened. Epilepsy from fright, from being chilled or exposed to some great change in the weather; or from bathing in a cold river. Passive mental aberrations of a tired mind. Timorous anxiety: ‘something going to happen’. Lacks balance. Everything excites him. “The suppression of eruptions is apt to bring out mental symptoms. He was fairly well while he had the eruption, but when it disappeared his mind gave out the driving in of a facial eruption will frequently result in facial paralysis. Violent headaches associated with rheumatic and gouty conditions which also affect the scalp: which contracts and tightens up in places like the contractures in other parts. “Torticollis. Causticum is a curative remedy in this shortening of the tendons and muscles. “Paralysis of optic nerve. Deafness from paralysis of auditory nerve. “Fissures seem to form upon the least provocation. fissures about the lips, the wings of the nose, the corners of the eyes: fissures of the anus, of the skin about joints: old cases of salt rheum with fissures in the bends of the joints. “Stammering from paralytic condition of tongue. Complete paralysis of pharynx and oesophagus-as after diphtheria: food goes down wrong way, or enters larynx, or posterior nares. Paralysis of organs of speech: awkward at talking, awkward at chewing: bites tongue and cheeks when chewing. “The Caust. patient sits down to the table hungry, but thought, sight or smell of food takes away the appetite (Ars., Sep., Cocc.). A common symptom of pregnancy. “A queer sensation in stomach, as if lime were slaking there. “Many symptoms are better for a swallow of cold water. The violent, spasmodic cough may be stopped at once by a drink of cold water. Cold water seems to tone up the paralytic condition. “Paralytic weakness also in rectum: it is inactive and fills up with hard faeces which pass involuntarily and unnoticed (Aloe.). Stool passes with less straining when standing: retention of urine except when standing (compare Sarsaparilla). “This remedy has two kinds of paralysis of the bladder, one affects the muscles of expulsion and the urine is retained: the other, centering on the sphincter, when the urine passes involuntarily. “It is a deep-acting medicine: cures phthisis, especially’ quick consumption’. Cough with the sensation ‘cannot cough deep enough to start the mucus’: cough relieved by a swallow of cold water. Cough worse by bending forward. Cough continual, with each cough escape of urine.” One finds it difficult to stop condensing and quoting from Kent! Then WARTS. Causticum is one of the great remedies for warts (Thuja, Dulcamara, etc.). Glance down the black-letter symptoms- warts-warts-warts. Old warts on eyelids, eyebrows, nose. Warts on face. One remembers experiences here. One year on our farm in Surrey a number of calves took to sprouting warts about their faces, noses, ears, necks. My father used to go down on Saturdays, and he took Caust. in lowish potency to medicate a tumbler of water with which he soaked bran for their delectation. This soon finished the warts: and the same thing, since, with other animals. One has proved that Caust. and Thuja can both produce warts and cure them. A horse, accidentally proving Thuja in O sprouted warts amazingly about anus and genitalia-the favourite localities of Thuja for these excrescences: while a girl to whom one gave Caust. with more zeal than discretion in those early days, instead of one or two warts on her hand, produced them by the dozen on hands and arms; but when the drug was discontinued, the whole lot disappeared, including the original ones which were brought for cure. FARRINGTON records a similar experience. He writes:- “Causticum also acts on the skin, one of its most characteristic symptoms being warts, useful when they occur on the hands and face. I remember once giving Caust. to a child who had two warts on the under eyelid. At the end of the third week after taking the remedy, there was a string of warts mover the inner canthus of the other eye: I believe that these resulted from the Caust. Of course I stopped the medicine. At the end of several weeks more, all the warts had disappeared and the child has had none since. This shows you that Caust. really produces and cures warts.” NASH says: “If Hahnemann had never given to the homoeopathic school any remedy but CAUSTICUM, the world would still be to him under lasting obligation.”.
ODDS AND ENDS, AND CHARACTERISTICS
“Intense sympathy for the sufferings of others.” “Apprehension of impending danger, with urging to stool.” (Compare Arg.nit., Gels.) “Cicatrices, especially burns” (Urtica urens)” scalds, freshen up, become sore again; old injuries re-open; patients say they have never been well since that burn.” “Caust. may be called for in colic, after the failure of Colocynth. The pains are griping, cutting, relieved by bending double. All the sufferings cease entirely at night.” “Menses too early; too feeble; only during the day; cease on lying down.” “Better in damp, wet weather; warm air.” “Coffee seems to aggravate every symptom.” “Must not be used before or after Phos. Always disagrees.” And Hahnemann gives a curious mental symptom-what we have come to call “Spoonerisms”. Confounds letters and syllables, for instance, says “fluent coryza, instead of fluent coryza” for several days-after proving Caust. “Haemorrhoids-burning, raw, sore; worse walking, thinking of them, from preaching or straining the voice!” Nash says all these symptoms have been verified over and over again.
BLACK LETTER SYMPTOMS
MENTAL. Hysterical weeping after spasms. The least thing makes the child cry. Melancholy mood; sadness, hopelessness, from care, grief or sorrow. Peevish, irritable, censorious. Mental and other ailments form long-lasting grief and sorrow. Excessive anxiety. Full of apprehension in the evening. Very much vexed. Indisposed to work. Weakness of memory. Absence of mind. Inattentive and absent. Rheumatic pains in HEAD so severe as to cause nausea. Tinea capitis in occipital region. Inclination to close EYES; they close involuntarily. Sensation of heaviness in upper lid, as if he could not raise it easily, or as if agglutinated to lower lid and could not be easily loosened. Paralysis of eye muscles, especially if from exposure to cold. Burning in eyes: visible jerking of the lids. Sight obscured, as if a thick fog were before the eyes. Incipient cataract Pressure in eyes as if sand in them. Dryness: photophobia. Words and steps re-echo in EARS. Deafness. Accumulation of ear-wax, sometimes offensive. Dry coryza with stoppage of NOSE. Fluent coryza with pain in chest and limbs. Itching tip of nose and alae, as well as inside. Pimples, ulcers, crusts on tip of nose; inflamed, swollen, scurfy. Old warts on nose. Violent bleeding of the nose. Acne rosacea on cheeks and forehead, in dispersed groups. Paralysis of one side of FACE. Prosopalgia and rheumatism of face. Warts on face. Yellowness of face. Tightness and pain in jaws; difficult to open mouth and to eat. Arthritic pains in lower jaw. Pain lower back tooth extending to nose and eye. Painful looseness and elongation of TEETH. Stitching and tearing toothache. Throbbing toothache. Pain in sound teeth on drawing in cold air. Swelling of gums, readily bleeding and tedious suppuration. Frequently recurring abscesses of gums. Sore place in the upper part of the palate. Stuttering, difficult, indistinct SPEECH. Speechlessness from paralysis of organs of speech. Tongue coated white on both sides, red in middle. Burning pain in THROAT, not from swallowing; on both sides, seemed to rise from chest. Rawness and tickling in throat with dry cough and some expectoration after long coughing. Pain in throat, worse by stooping. Must swallow continually, throat feels too narrow. Mucus collects in throat, cannot be raised by hawking; is obliged to swallow it. Hawking of mucus, with pain in pit of throat. Dryness of throat, constantly obliged to swallow. Bread causes pressure in STOMACH. Violent thirst for many days. A swallow of cold water relieves spasms (whooping-cough). Sour vomiting followed by sour eructations. Cramp in stomach. Pinching, clawing in stomach on deep breathing. HAEMORRHOIDS sore, painful; unendurable on walking. Haemorrhoids: impeding stool: sticking, burning, painful if touched: when thinking of them: from preaching or straining voice. The STOOL passes better standing. Frequent ineffectual efforts to stool, with anxiety and redness of face. Pain and strong pulsations in perineum. Frequent emission of a large quantity of URINE. He urinates so easily that he is not sensible of the steam: can scarcely believe in the dark that he is urinating till he makes sure with his hand. Involuntary passage of urine when coughing, sneezing or blowing the nose; at night when asleep. Retention with frequent and urgent desire, occasionally a few drops or a small quantity may dribble away. Itching, orifice of urethra. Pressive pain in testicles. NIPPLES sore, cracked, surrounded with herpes. Sudden loss of VOICE. Hoarseness, especially evening, with scraping in the throat. Muscles of larynx refuse to perform their function: unable to speak a word in spite of every exertion. COUGH with sore sensation in a streak down along trachea, where it pains on every paroxysm of cough. Shortness of breath. Cough with sensation as if he could not cough deep enough to start mucus, with tickling and rawness. Hollow, racking cough. Cough relieved by a swallow of cold water. Cough better from bending forward. Continual annoying cough, with each cough escape of urine. Influenza with tired sensation, limbs as if beaten; rheumatic pain. CHEST tight; must frequently take a deep breath. Soreness in chest. Stitches in sternum from deep breathing or lifting. Painful compression of chest from both sides towards sternum. Sensation (chest) as if clothing were too tight. PULSE excited towards evening with orgasm of blood. Stiffness and pain in NECK and throat, pain in occiput: muscles felt as if bound, could scarcely move head. Painful stiffness of BACK and sacrum, especially rising from a chair. Pressing cramp-like pain in small of back, region of kidneys. Bruised or darting pain in coccyx; or dull drawing pain. Dull drawing and tearing in ARMS AND HANDS. Paralysis of right arm with glossoplegia. Paralysis of upper extremities. Paralytic feeling in right hand. Trembling of hands. Sensation of fullness in hand, when grasping anything. Drawing pains in finger joints. Contraction and induration of tendons of fingers. Warts on tips of fingers; fleshy warts close to nails. Soreness between THIGHS high up. Drawing and tearing in thighs, legs, knees and feet: worse open air, better in warmth of bed. Bruised pains in thighs and legs, mornings in bed. Marbled skin of thighs and legs. Cracking in KNEES, when walking or descending. Tendons of knees seem too short. Gonagra (Gout of knee joint.) Gouty tearing in region of LOWER LEG, especially in small joints of foot, with swelling. Cramp in feet, toes and soles. Emaciation of feet. Children are slow in learning to walk, with unsteady, tottering gait. Unsteady walking and easy falling of little children. Paralytic weakness of LIMBS. Weakness and trembling of limbs. Intolerable uneasiness of limbs in evening. NERVES. Chorea, even at night, right side of face and tongue may be paralysed. Weakness and trembling. Faintlike sinking of strength. Paralysis: of vocal cords; one sided; of tongue; of eyelids; of face; of extremities; of bladder. Gradually appearing paralysis. Tearing PAINS. Terrible sensation of tearing, paroxysmal: often moving forward, then remitting, again starting from same spot: neuralgia moving from occiput, upwards and forwards, over vertex. CONTRACTION of flexor tendons; tension and shortening of muscles. Disturbing functional activity of brain and spinal nerves, resulting in paralysis. During first SLEEP wets the bed. Intense sleepiness, can scarcely resist it, must lie down. Yawning and stretching. Sleeplessness at night: on account of dry heat. Cannot rest in any position. Bad effects from night-watching. (Cocc.) At night he can get no quiet position: cannot lie still a moment. SKIN. Subacute and chronic eruptions, similar to blisters from burns. Burns and scalds. Large, jagged, often pedunculated warts, exuding moisture and bleeding easily. Warts and scrofulous affections. Varicose and fistulous ulcers. Dark-haired persons with rigid fibre most affected. Children with black hair and eyes. Antidotes poisoning by lead (paralysis). Paralysis of tongue from type held between lips (compositors). Abuse of Merc., and Sulph. in scabies. But remember Causticum in those difficult “Rheumatoid” cases of arthritis, where there are deformities and contractions, and the patient suffers more in cold, dry winds, and less on warm, wet days.