Artemisia abrotanum. Lady’s Love. Southernwood. N.O. Compositae.
Tincture of fresh leaves and stems.
The essential features
Abrotanum is the remedy to be thought of first in a case of “metastasis”, or alternation of pathological conditions. A bout of diarrhea may stop suddenly and rheumatism or uric acid arthritis set in. Later on the rheumatic pains may go away only to be succeeded by a cardiac problem. A swelling of the parotid gland disappears when the testes or the mammae appear affected. A further case of diarrhea is checked and we see blood in the urine, or anxiety and trembling with signs of paralytic weakness etc.
Abrotanum patients are especially sensitive to the stoppage of discharges, and we observe that immediately after such stoppage a new, deeper and more serious internal condition appears. Hemorrhoids are suppressed and a heart condition manifests itself, or an ulcerative colitis starts up.
The Abrotanum patient may have chronic diarrhea but does not feel bad with it in general; he does however feel most sensitive to a sudden stoppage of the diarrhoea, whether due to some strong medicine or otherwise. The stoppage is immediately succeeded by the appearance of piles, stomach pains, a rheumatic condition or a heart problem. Should the diarrhea be reestablished, by chance or through the use of some medicine, and accompanied by the immediate relief of the internal problem, then you may be sure of your remedy. Diarrhea is actually the great relief of this patient. He feels well as long as he has loose stools.
This remedy needs an outlet, a discharge and it is one of the main remedies that produces ready discharges and exudations. The most characteristic is a discharge from the umbilicus, especially of the newborn. There is an exudation of blood and sometimes an ulceration of the infant’s navel. Ready exudation in the pleura in pleurisy, or in the joints in arthritic conditions are characteristic.
The next prominent and peculiar condition we see in this remedy is an emaciation that takes place in the lower extremities and then progresses upwards. (The opposite is true forLycopodium and Natrium muriaticum.) This Abrotanum characteristic can be observed in all its glory in “marasmus” of the new born. These children, whose skin is shrivelled, look malnourished and old, with ulcerations or exudations in the navel. The baby’s head topples over because the neck is emaciated. The face looks old, and a small child looks like an old man. The whole body is emaciated and wrinkled. Abrotanum is one of the main remedies to be thought of in this condition, together with Baryta, Sulphur, Calcarea, Iodine, Silica, Sarsaparilla, Natrum muriaticum, Aethusa, and if this marasmus comes from Syphilis Aurum muriaticum etc.
The emaciation in Abrotanum occurs inspite of the fact that there is excessive appetite and that the patient eats a lot.
Another condition for which Abrotanum should be thought of is in case of anaphylaxis after T.B. vaccination. The child has boils or abscesses, commences to lose weight, develops hectic fever that can develop into pleurisy or any other tubercular manifestation.
Abrotanum in its mental-emotional make up is an angry person, not easy going, sometimes malicious and with some cruelty in his behaviour. Such people feel that they have the capacity to inflict pain on others without much moral resistance. They can be very cross and ill humored. If somebody goes against them, they can be venomous, vindictive, spiteful and fierce. They may let themselves go and become violent. Others see them as irritable, irascible and not willing to open a conversation. At other times Abrotanum cases can behave very nicely, especially with people whom they like. They can be cheerful, gay and talkative. Moods alternate, and you may encounter an element of hysteria in some cases.
They are anxious, apprehensive people, with a fear of losing their brain-power. They have a fear of idiocy. These fears manifest themselves because of the weakness and dullness of their mind, or because of memory failures. They feel that they cannot stand any mental exertion, and do not want to engage in any mental labour; the least mental work, even a conversation, fatigues them. They have anxious dreams and wake from a dream in a fright. Eventually fear and anxiety overcome them causing internal trembling.
While lying in bed they may hear a sound like distant talking which ameliorates when listening intently but returns as they turn their mind from it.
Abrotanum can also develop paralytic states where the head drops, or the hands loose their power to hold anything.
Children are irritable, obstinate and melancholic. They may sit by themselves without much involvement with others. They feel dull, sluggish, with a difficulty of comprehension.
One of the best known symptoms of Abrotanum is emaciation – marasmus in children or cachexia in adults.
The emaciation sometimes develops very quickly. It usually begins in the lower limbs and gradually spreads upwards so that the face is the last affected. The abdomen is often enlarged, bloated and distended.
The next keynote is emaciation with ravenous, gnawing hunger, losing flesh while eating well. (Calc., Iod., Nat-m.,Tub., etc.). The baby cries all day for milk and drinks a lot but the food is not assimilated properly and passes in large, frequent and undigested stools. Total loss of appetite may be possible in some cases. The children are at first mostly cross and irritable, crying constantly. As the emaciation proceeds they become more and more depressed and despondent. The skin becomes flabby, loose, shrivelled and lies in folds. Their face becomes wrinkled, dry, pale and cold with blue rings around the dull, sunken eyes and distended veins on the forehead. It is an old face, a face that looks much older than the actual age of the patient.
The weakness becomes more and more pronounced. The patient may be unable to stand or cannot hold up his head because of the weakness of the neck. (Aeth., Calc-p.,) This whole state, which naturally never shows itself in such a marked degree, can accompany many different diseases; for example a chronic tuberculous or cancerous peritonitis with enlarged abdominal glands. (Abrotanum has a special affinity to the mesenteric lymphnodes.) It doesn’t matter what the name of the disease is as long as the characteristic symptoms are present.
The weakness and prostration combined with a kind of hectic fever can also occur after an influenza especially in children. (One should not only think of remedies like Gels., Chin., etc. in such cases.)
Abrotanum is not only an important remedy in marasmus and weakness of children but also a good one in other children’s diseases such as hydrocele or nosebleed in little boys. In addition it is almost specific in discharges from the umbilicus of the newborn with oozing of serous or bloody fluid if the general symptoms are at least partly present. (Calc., Calc-p.,)
A great characteristic is the so-called metastasis and the alternation between different disease symptoms i.e. one diseased condition completely disappears and another takes its place.
Inflammation of the parotids changes to inflammation in the testes or mammary glands. (Puls.,) Hydrocele after supressed eruption. Headache alternates with hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids alternate with rheumatism. Rheumatism alternates with diarrhea or dysentery. Diarrhea alternates with constipation.
Another great characteristic of Abrotanum is complaints or diseases after suppression of discharges, in particular after a suddenly checked diarrhea. This suppression can occur after medical treatment but also spontaneously i.e. the discharge or the diarrhoea can slack off by itself without visible reason. The consequences are diverse: general weakness, emaciation, nose bleeding, or bleedings of the urinary organs, dry cough, gastric disturbances, rheumatism, etc.
An ill Abrotanum patient cannot bear not to have loose stools and a diarrhea often relieves all his other complaints. (Nat-s., Zinc)
Many internal diseases can supervene after suppressed hemorrhoids, as after their extirpation. The hemorrhoids themselves are inflamed, protrude, burn when touched or while pressing at stool and like in Aesc. or Nux-v., they are accompanied by sacral pains. Sometimes the patients have a frequent inclination to stool although hardly anything but blood is passed. During a “hemorrhoidal colic” the patient is restless, sleepless and in some cases one may see ebullitions with general heat and distended veins on forehead and hands.
Abrupt suppression of rheumatism or receding gout are other important causes of many ailments. This suppression can happen either spontaneously or after a local treatment with strong ointments, liniments or injections into the painful joint. One of the most frequent consequences of this suppression is endocarditis with violent pains, and other more or less severe heart diseases. Catarrhal symptoms like hoarseness with painful throat, pleurisy, bronchitis and many other diseases are also possible consequences.
If you have given a high potency of Abrotanum in this situation and see that the internal problems get better but the joints begin to get painful again, don’t change the remedy but wait. After some days or weeks you will often find that the rheumatism disappears too.
During the rheumatic complaints all joints can be affected: shoulders, elbows, hips and knees, hands, feet and especially the wrists and ankles. The joints are inflamed, painful, or swollen and stiff with a prickling sensation.
Another aspect of this remedy has not until now been taken into account sufficiently. The disturbances of the nervous system which possibly have a central origin and produce a kind of paralysis and anaesthesia.
The extremities can be very weak and lame, as if paralysed. The arm may feel as if tied to the body and it may be almost impossible to move the arms or legs. (This symptom may also be caused be severe rheumatic pains.) At the same time, together with this paresis a numbness of the arms or legs occurs with prickling, numbness and coldness of the fingers or toes.
On waking in the morning all limbs feel sore and lame which only improves after the patient gets up and moves his arms and legs.
Also severe neuralgic pains causing great restlessness are only relieved by motion.
The back is weak and lame as well and the nightly, sudden pains in the back are also ameliorated by motion.
Abrotanum has also been used in suddenly appearing myelitis and inflammation of the spine. One should think of that if one sees a patient with spinal symptoms which occured after a suppressed rheumatism of the joints.
It has long been known that Abrotanum has a definite effect on the skin which seems mainly to have to do with the cutaneous capillaries.
Herbal healers for instance have used the tincture externally and internally against copper colored nose and nevus flammeus and report that they have often seen a success after some weeks or months. Also homeopaths have treated successfully angioma of the face in particular hemangiomas in children. It has also been observed that the skin becomes purplish-colored after an eruption of the face has been suppressed.
Even the homeopathic provings seem to affirm these empirical experiences. Abrotanum produces blue-red, blotchy, indistinct limited discolorations on the cheeks with a very fine venous drawing/patterning (teleangiectasies) in the affected area.
In addition this remedy has frequently proven its worth in itching chilblains. Anemic patients with tendency to hemorrhages Numbness and prickling externally.
Formication of external parts.
Sensation of external constriction
Paralysis with neuralgia.
Shortened muscles and tendons.
Trembling on waking.
Benign tumors: angioma, fungus hematodes, hemangioma; nevus.
Has effects from abscesses, suppurations.
The great amelioration comes from loose stools and motion though there may be an aversion to move. Crossing of limbs both aggravate and ameliorate symptoms.
An aggravation of symptoms can take place in the morning from 5 to 9 A.M. , and in the evening from 6 to 9 P.M. But the general trend is to be aggravated during the night.
There is restlessness at night.
Weakness, enervation in the forenoon, especially after influenza. In such states they have frequent, accelerated, pulse and desire to lie down.
I had almost forgotten – Abrotanum is a cold remedy. The patient is sensitive to cold air and cold, damp or foggy weather and many (but not all) symptoms are aggravated during the night.
This remedy has yet other indications – like, for example, in nightly stomachache or in pleurisy when a pressing sensation remains in the affected side which impedes the breathing – but in conclusion I will only describe three or four symptoms which are peculiar enough to be mentioned:
Sensation as of creeping chills along convolutions of brain accompanied by prickling.
Sensation as if wind rushes out of right ear.
Sensation as if stomach was hanging or swimming in water with a peculiar feeling of coldness….
Feeling as if bowels could be kept from passing out at anus only by keeping legs close together.
Sensation as of creeping chills along convolutions of brain, accompanied by prickling.
Falling of hair. Itching of scalp.
Headache in general alternating with hemorrhoids.
Headache sensitive to pressure.
Unable to hold up head, in infants.
Wrinkled, emaciated, marasmic. An infant looks like a little old person, with face wrinkled, neck emaciated, the temples marked with distended veins. Old looking expression.
Cold and pale with blue circles around the eyes which have a dull hollow look. Comedones. Acne with emaciation of the whole body. Angioma.
Bluish discoloration of face when eruption is suppressed. Distended veins on temples and forehead.
Ears are sensitive to wind. Has a sensation of wind passing in and out of ears. Sound of wind in ear. Humming; rushing noises in ear.
Dryness inside nose
Epistaxis in young boys.
Mouth feels hot in the morning.
Slimy taste in mouth.
Sour taste in mouth.
Pain felt on sides of outer throat.
Sudden hoarseness of voice.
Abrotanum has a sensitive stomach with impaired digestion but the main problem is bad absorption of food. It is for this reason that we see the great keynote of this remedy: ravenous, canine, excessive appetite with emaciation; with marasmus.
He may describe this hunger as: gnawing appetite, a feeling of emptiness, a weak feeling, faintness, goneness, hungry feeling in stomach, sinking feeling in stomach.
Here we have a peculiar symptom: sensation as if stomach is swimming in water. Has sensation that stomach is relaxed, hanging down. The pains in the stomach appear mostly at night: cutting pain; burning pain; cramping, griping, constricting pain; gnawing pain. Stomach feels sore, bruised, beaten in the evening.
You may see coldness in the stomach or heat flushes.
Desire for bread boiled in milk, or simply bread or milk.
Aversion to sweets.
Distension and eructations mostly in evening.
Vomiting of liquids.
Indigestion with vomiting of large quantities of offensive matter.
The great keynote we have in this area is a discharge, an oozing from the umbilicus. Bloody, fluid discharge.
Abdomen is distended.
Sensation as if bowels were falling down. Sensation of hard lumps in abdomen. Sensation of retraction in abdomen. Enlarged glands in emaciated abdomen.
Flushes of heat in tubercular inflammation of abdomen.
Aching, dull pain.
Twitching and jerking in inguinal region; extending to back.
Constipation alternating with diarrhea. Frequent desire to stool but only a little bit of blood passes. Diarrhea at night.
Diarrhea with rheumatism.
But do not forget: diarrhea may ameliorate other unrelated symptoms.
External hemorrhoids, protruding with burning pain, worse from touch. Hemorrhoids become better as soon as the rheumatism appears and start to bleed as the rheumatic pains disappear.
Ascarides, worms in rectum
Ulceration of meatus.
Has many frightful dreams, anxious dreams; about dogs; about mad dogs.
Genitalia – male
Hydrocele in boys after suppresed eruption.
Metastasis of swelling in testes from parotid gland.
Pain in testes.
Nightly seminal emissions without erection.
Genitalia – female
Pain in left ovary extending to back. Burning pain in left ovary. Stitching pain in ovaries. Piercing pains in the ovaries more on the left. Painful menses. Metrorrhagia.
Difficult respiration because of rheumatic heart.
Impeded, obstructed respiration.
Anxious; difficult respiration.
Dry cough alternating with diarrhea.
In the chest we see a lot of symptoms but what is mostly affected with inflammation and exudations are: the pleura, the endocardium and the pericardium. Heart is affected after rheumatic affections.
Stitching pain in heart. Cutting pain in heart.
Pains on right side of the chest coming mostly from right sided pleurisy.
Burning pain on right side of chest.
Drawing, digging pain in chest worse from motion.
Pain in the afternoon.
Pain on waking; in the cervical region; in the lumbar region extending to testes; in sacral region. Aching pain; aching pain in the afternoon.
Lameness; on walking.
In the extremities we have a lot of paralytic feelings, as if extremities are weak and paralized. Emaciation of lower limbs.
Rheumatic pain in extremities from suppressed hemorrhoids.
Pains and aches in all joints.
Gouty pain in joints. Swelling of joints
Inflammation of joints; arthritis; arthritis deformans. Arthritic nodosities.
Burning pain in joints. Pressing pain externally.
Joints feel sore, bruised.
Stitching pain in bones.
Lameness and pains of all kinds, especially on waking from sleep in the morning.
Numbness; in upper limbs; hands; fingers.
Rheumatic pains alternating with diarrhea; alternating with hemorrhoids; ameliorated by motion.
Extremities feel sore and bruised.
Joints are sore, bruised; on waking in the morning. Stiffness in all joints.
Fingertips are cold. Cold feet.
Restlessness in upper limbs at night during sleep.
Paralysis of extremities.
Awkward, he drops things from a sense of paralysis.
Sensation as if upper limbs were tied.
Contraction of muscles and tendons.
Sleeplessness; from anxiety; from excitement; from restlessness. Restless sleep. Unrefreshing sleep.
Sleeps on abdomen.
Waking in sleep as from fright with trembling, covered with cold sweat.
The characteristic here is that once an eruption is suppressed then the skin is left with a purplish colour at the area where the skin eruptions were. The texture of the skin is loose and flabby; shrivelled.
Marasmus in children. Wasting diseases from malnutrition. Chronic diarrhea. Ulcerative colitis. Gastralgia. Indigestion. Worms.
Furuncles; boils. Chilblains.
Inflammatory rheumatism; gout. Hydrocele of children. Chronic myelitis. Nose bleed. Oozing from umbilicus.
Compare: Absinthium, Chamomilla, Cina, Gnaphalium, and other Compositae.
Nux vomica and Agaricus for chilblains; Bryonia and Baryta carbonica. Follows well: Aconitum and Bryonia [for pleurisy]; Hepar [for boils].
Dosage: From the very low to 200.