BECAUSE everything that can hurt can heal, Homoeopathic Materia Medica is really illimitable. It is only by constant reading and study that one can get an idea of the promise it already offers us in our fight with sickness and suffering. As we have previously said, even diligent repertory work may to some extent cramp our style. It can never supersede Materia Medica, to which it is merely, and only up to a point, an INDEX ;and for this reason, that it is impossible that all drugs, not only those of daily use and utility, but those of only occasional need, should be equally well represented in any repertory that it would be possible to handle, far less to compile. But most of the known drugs of unique and definite action do get a mention, if only in striking black type in some solitary rubric, and when we see an unfamiliar black type drug standing for the symptom or condition for which we are hunting, we shall do well to turn it up in Materia Medica, to see whether it does not in toto fit the case. But PHOSPHORUS is not a drug of unproved, or unrepresented symptoms: on the contrary it is one of the best proved and recorded of drugs, a polycrest–a drug of many uses. In Allen’s Encyclopedia it has no less than 3,920 recorded symptoms, each with its tiny reference number that refers to the beginning of the Phosphorus section, where, not only the authority for every single symptom is to be found, but how it occurred, whether in a child who had sucked matches (in the good old days when matches were anything but “safety”), or to workmen in match factories here or abroad, or to persons who ended their lives horribly, with rat poison, or again to the provers of more or less potentized Phosphorus from Hahnemann down ; and here the very potency that evoked the symptoms is given. The Homoeopathic Materia Medica is no fancy compilation, no haphazard collection of questionable drug symptoms. It is all so orderly, so carefully investigated, so tersely set forth, so scientific. One can only marvel at the enormous labour of the men who with patient purpose built up for us such a veritable temple of healing–not only Hahnemann and his band of provers, mostly doctors, but Lippe, Hering, Dudgeon, Hughes, Carroll Dunham, and all the rest down to Kent, who have made our work not only comparatively easy but safe, and have bequeathed to humanity a science–so unique and ordered, so simple, and accessible–and so practical that “the wayfaring men, though fools, may not err therein” Phosphorus, then, is among our best-proved–our most constantly useful drugs, and besides this, a remedy of very definite characteristic symptoms. For practical purposes of prescribing it may be useful to compare and to contrast it with Sepia and Natrum mur., because Sepia (cuttle-fish ink) must get some of its symptoms from the phosphorus and some from the salt that go towards its make-up. But, as with Ferrum, Pulsatilla and Kali sul. with Calcarea, Calc. phos. and Calc. sulph., or with Colocynth, Elaterium and Mag. phos., even when certain chemical substances are common to their elaborate make-up, and though some of the symptoms must resemble one another, the totality is not the same, and one remedy will not do for another. Phosphorus, in its poisonings and provings, and in the conditions it can cure, is markedly INDIFFERENT (Sepia; and Natrum mur. less so): is indifferent to relations and loved ones (Sepia). Is apathetic: answers slowly, has a great sense of fatigue with disinclination to work. It is a great headache medicine, with Natrum mur. and Sepia. But the head pains of Phos. are worse in a warm room and from heat, and better from cold applications, quite unlike Sepia, Phosphorus is sympathetic, craves company, and touch, and rubbing, and help. Sepia and Natrum mur. are better alone, and Sepia “only wants to get away and be quite”. And Sepia and Natrum mur. hate, or are irritated by sympathy–can’t stand it– weep. Natrum mur. and Phos. crave salt: not so Sepia: while Sepia and Natrum mur. are recorded as loathing fat, which is not the case with Phos. Phos. and Sepia are chilly drugs, i.e. suit chilly persons, while Natrum mur. is one of the drugs recorded as being better when cold. Again, it is Phos. and Sepia that fear thunder, and suffer in a thunderstorm–or even on approach of thunder–and so on. Sympathetic Phos. — — Hates sympathy — Nat. mur. Sep. Wants company Phos. — — Better alone — Nat. mur. Sep. Craves salt Phos. Nat. mur. — Loathes fat — Nat. mur. Sep. Worse cold Phos. — Sep. Chilly, but better cold — Nat. mur. — Fear thunder Phos. — Sep. Groupings of symptoms with contrasts and likenesses are a great helps to rapid and correct prescribing. HAHNEMANN tells us in regard to Phosphorus that it acts most beneficially in persons who suffer from chronic loose stools and diarrhoea. He also draws attention to the favorable reaction of the Phos. patient to mesmerism. Phos. is one of the drugs that loves to be rubbed. Hahnemann also uses Phosphorus to prove that potentized medicines “are no longer subject to chemical laws”. We all know that phosphorus when exposed to air oxidizes: that indeed when dissolved in disulphide of carbon, and deposited in finest subdivision as the latter evaporates, it spontaneously combusts. This is supposed by some to have been the ancient “Greek fire”, used for incendiary purposes, and more recently, one imagines, by militant suffragettes, when, to annoy, they burnt the letters in pillar boxes. And yet, as Hahnemann points out, a powder of Phos. in highest potency may remain for years in its paper in a desk, without losing its medicinal properties, or even changing them for those of Phosphoric acid. He gives other instances also to show that “A remedy which has been elevated to the highest potency is no longer subject to the laws of neutralization.” If this were not the case how could we carry about our little phials of medicated globules, secure in the knowledge that they would not interfere with one another, or neutralize one another, but would be always ready for use, and never fail us–provided they were correctly prescribed. GUERNSEY, that man of “Key Notes to the Materia Medica”, says “Phos. is particularly adapted for the complaints of tall, thin persons having dark hair.” He draws attention to the characteristic stool, long, slim, hard and dry, evacuated with great difficulty. He calls attention to the WEAK, EMPTY, or GONE SENSATION, felt in the whole abdomen, especially when accompanied with a burning sensation between the shoulder blades. And a striking stomach symptom, when cold drinks are tolerated till they become warm in the stomach, when they are vomited. (Opp. to Ars. Ars has burning pain in stomach, relieved by hot drinks. With Phos. the burning pain is relieved by cold.) Also, he emphasizes the hard, dry, tight cough, which racks the patient, and the saltish sputum. To Lach. belongs the worse on waking: worse from sleep: fear to go to sleep for the aggravation of symptoms. The exactly opposite belongs to Phos. and Sepia: they have great relief from sleep, even a short sleep: headaches cured by sleep. “In Phos. wounds bleed very much, even if very small: wounds that appear to have healed break out again.” Phos. is a bleeder, and bruises easily. NASH paints his vivid little miniature of the Phos. patient, i.e. the person who needs Phosphorus. “Tall, slender, narrow-chested, phthisical persons, delicate eyelashes, soft hair; or nervous weak persons who like to be magnetized. Waxy, anaemic, jaundiced persons. “Anxious; universal restlessness, can’t stand or sit still: worse in the dark, or when left alone, or before a thunderstorm. “BURNINGS everywhere, mouth, stomach, intestines, anus, between scapulae, intense, running up spine, palms of hands. “Craves cold things, ice-cream which agrees, cold water, which may be vomited when it gets warm in stomach. Must eat often or is faint. Gets up to eat in the night. “Sinking, faint, empty feelings–everywhere. “Diarrhoea, profuse, pouring out as from a hydrant; with wide- open anus. “Cough, worse lying on left side. In lungs, right lower lobe most affected. Cough worse going from warm to cold room. Worse inhaling cold air” (Rumex), etc. He says, “Zincum had fidgety feet, Phos. is fidgety all over.” He says, “Phosphorus is bound to bleed” and “Phos. attacks the bones in the form of necrosis.” What about “phossy jaw”? GUERNSEY’S typical Phos. is dark-haired: NASH has “tall, slender persons of sanguine temperament, fair skin, blonde or red hair, quick, lively, sensitive.” Both are right. Abnormal craving from salt (Nat. mur., Nit. a., Arg. nit., but Nat. mur. craves salt with a loathing for fats. Nit. a with a craving for fats, and Arg. nit. with a craving for sweets and sugar). And now we will turn to KENT, that fine observer and great teacher, to help us to see Phosphorus in the patients that need the help of that remedy. We will merely run through his lecture on Phosphorus, just picking and choosing, and taking and leaving, as seems good. “The complaints of Phosphorus are most likely to arise in the feeble constitutions–born sick, grown up slender, and grown too rapidly–persons emaciating, rapidly emaciating—who have the seeds of consumption fairly well laid.” “Violent pulsations and palpitations; haemorrhagic constitutions: small wounds bleed much bright blood. Haemorrhages from all organs and tissues. Petechiae and bruisings.” Phos. complaints are worse from cold and cold weather, better from heat and warm applications, except the complaints of head and stomach, which are ameliorated from cold. In Phos. the symptoms of chest and limbs are relieved by heat, those of the stomach and head by cold. (It is such symptoms, contradictory in regard to the patient in general, and his parts in particular, that are of great value as pointers to the remedy that exhibits them.) He gives the fears of Phos., one of the hypersensitive remedies. “Fear something will happen: anxious at twilight: fear of thunderstorms: trembling: attacks of indigestion from fear. Fear in the evening: fear of death” fear of strange faces looking at him from the corner. Full of strange, insane imaginations.” Apathy, indifference, to friends and surroundings, even to his children (Sepia). Will not answer, or answers slowly, thinks slowly. Vertigo and staggering. Worse from mental exertion, from noise: worse in the dark: worse alone. Phos. may come in for fatty degenerations,and for softening of the brain. The deafness of Phos. is especially for the human voice. Better for eating: better for sleeping. Nausea and vomiting from putting hands into hot water, from warm room, from taking warm things into stomach. Regurgitation of mouthfuls of food are very characteristic of Phos. “Phos. is the surgeon’s friend–the great remedy for vomiting after chloroform.” ALLEN (Keynotes) gives a curious Phos. symptom during pregnancy. She is unable to drink water. The sight of water makes her vomit: must close her eyes while bathing. He says the perspiration of Phos. smells of sulphur. And, remember, Phos. has not only burnings in stomach, etc., but also burning in lungs. A symptom that might be helpful in some cases of pneumonia. Phos. affects the liver (one remembers the acute yellow atrophy of phosphorus poisoning) and is one of the remedies of hepatitis and jaundice (Chel.). In some of its symptoms Phos. reminds one of Crotalus hor., rattle-snake poison. Phosphorus affects all the organs and tissues, but its great spheres of action, for hurting and for curing, are lungs and bone–and liver. We will give a selection of the black letter symptoms of Phos.–somewhat condensed. They afford a key to its most useful possibilities and to the organs is most markedly affects. By the way, in regard to the relation of Phosphorus to haemorrhages. One has seen a case of cancer of tongue where pretty severe bleeding stopped quickly after a dose of Phos. 200 and did not recur. On the other hand we are warned that it is dangerous to give Phos. in high potencies to persons with advanced phthisis, as it may start a haemorrhage that may endanger life. Here keep to the lower potencies, 12 or 30. One remembers a youngish woman suffering from purpura haemorrhagica. She had numerous big blood blisters, and bruises. She had been warned that she must not become pregnant, and she was pregnant. Phos. cured the condition, and she went through a normal confinement.
BLACK LETTER SYMPTOMS
Respiration very difficult. Great apathy: unwilling to talk. Answers slowly and sluggishly. Fatigue, disinclination to work, without cause. Disinclination to study, or work, or converse, or think. Slow ideas. Vertigo: as soon as he made any effort to rise, the vertigo returned (Bry.). Could see better when pupils were dilated by shading the eyes. (Phos. has great photophobia.) Nose-bleed. Nose swollen and dry. During the prostration (of Phos. poisoning) tuberculosis frequently develops ;at times also lobar pneumonia, terminating in gangrene of lung and pyaemia. (Here one sees the great use of Phos. in severe pneumonias.) Vomiting of food. Pressure, as from a hard substance, in stomach. Emptiness and sensation of weakness in abdomen. Diarrhoea. Eructations as if involuntary the moment anything entered in rectum. Stool grey–whitish grey. Menses earlier and scantier. Rawness larynx and trachea, with frequent hacking cough and hawking. With suffocative pressure in upper part of chest. Voice rough—husky–can hardly speak above a whisper. Cough with oppression of chest. Violent dry cough when reading aloud. Frequent dry cough, with slight dullness in right lower portion posteriorly, with diminished respiratory murmurs and fine vesicular rales. (Both lungs, especially right side.) Tenacious, purulent mucus. Violent oppression of chest. Cough from constant tickling in throat. Cough with difficult respiration. Bloody expectoration with mucus. Bloody expectoration from the lungs. Mucous rales both lungs, more noticeable in lower lobes. Respiration anxious, panting, oppressed. Very laboured. Difficult. Respiration is impeded by rapid walking. Great dyspnoea. Tubercles of the lungs develop, with hectic fever. Great dyspnoea. Great oppression of chest, so that the patient, during attack of cough, must sit up in bed, when she experiences great pain, with a constrictive sensation under sternum. Heaviness of the chest, as if a weight were lying on it. Distressing anxiety and pressure in chest amounting to real suffocation, so that deep inspiration was difficult, but not impossible. (If Phos. can cause all this, what wonder that it is one of our greatest remedies for pneumonias, and phthisis.) Anxiety about heart and a peculiar sensation of hunger, some what relieved by eating, distressing her even in bed. Violent palpitation. Burning pain between scapulae. The spinous processes of the dorsal vertebrae between the scapulae become extremely sensitive to pressure. Weakness of all limbs. “Fingers all thumbs.” Extensive gangrenous periostitis of tibia, with severe febrile disturbance, periosteum peeled off from a large area upwards, as far as knee-joint ; the bone was rough. Emaciation. Lay constantly on the right side. He lay only on the right side at night. Mucous membranes pale. The blood from the haemorrhages was very fluid and difficult to coagulate. Sense of suffocation. Small wounds bleed very much. Lax muscular system. Great weariness. Weakness. Weak and oppressed. Weak and prostrate. Excessive exhaustion. Heaviness of whole body. Lying on left side causes anxiety. Ulcers bleed. Constant sleepiness. Great sleepiness, even by day. Cannot fall asleep before midnight. Flushed cheeks (in fever) especially the left one. Evening chilliness. Cold knees constantly, at night, in bed. Heat at night without thirst. Febrile heat and sweat at night with ravenous hunger. Profuse perspiration over whole body. Profuse sweats on slight exertion. Exhausting profuse sweats every morning. Perspiration in the morning in bed–with feeling of anxiety. “Of one hundred and seventy workers in match factories (mostly boys) one hundred and twenty were attacked with typhus, often complicated with pneumonia and bronchitis, that often developed into consumption” (Russian Med. Zeit., 1850).