Tincture of fresh bulb
The essential features
Allium sativum is another remedy to be classed among the neglected remedies in our Materia Medica. I consider it to be an important and valuable remedy in certain cases for which Bryonia, Kali bichromicum, Sulphur, Lachesis, belladonna etc. are given today.
It corresponds to fleshy people with voracious appetites, with chronic spastic colitis where there is a lot of gas that cannot come out and that causes pain. There is a pressing pain – from within outwards – in the upper abdomen and along the transverse colon which is aggravated from stepping. Walking causes excruciating pains (Bell). They have to lie down to get relief or sit in a bent forward position and press with both hands.
Allium sativum people are obliged to keep to a particular diet, for fear of immediate aggravation in their digestive problems from any deviation in their eating habits. They may develop heartburns, gas in the abdomen, eructations with much saliva, and strong pressing pains, pressure from within outward. They have a feeling as if everything inside the abdomen is dragging down (Sep).
In comparing this remedy to others, we see that it has a unique symptomatology, inspite of certain similarities to other remedies. For instance, inspite of aggravation of abdominal pain on stepping, we do not see in Allium sativum the general sensitivity of belladonna from jarring. In Allium sativum only walking or stepping causes such severe pains. Then he feels that everything inside the abdomen will be torn apart.
In this remedy we shall find a characteristic of Lach. which is a general amelioration when the flow of menses has been established. But in Allium sativum we shall see also that the symptoms return as soon as the flow diminishes, while in Lachesis they remain ameliorated until the beginning of the next flow. In Allium sativum this kind of amelioration is very prominent in conjunction with headaches and vertigoes while in Lachesis we see it also in almost all symptoms, especially mental and abdominal.
Another interesting symptom is aggravation while reading. The moment he tries to fix his eyes to read a book symptoms start appearing, especially in the eyes and mouth.
This remedy is also indicated in chronic bronchial cattarh with dyspnea where there is constant coughing associated with a very fetid breath during the cough (Caps) and with expectoration of stringy, ropy mucus (Kali-bi.) with dry lips. In some cases, you may see another type of patient: thin and emaciated with low blood pressure, empty feeling in stomach that forces him to eat, but without appetite, a kind of a tubercular patient.
The Allium sativum patient is restless and anxious, his restlessness is aggravated when he is alone. The inner restlessness is such that sometimes he may develop an impulse to run. Dromomania (Tarentulla). This tendency appears also as a psychological need to escape from unpleasant situations. Many patients are sensitive, irritable, and impatient, difficult to please and seemingly do not know what they want.
The most characteristic feature is their suspiciousness in matters concerning their own health. They occupy themselves so much with this theme that they eventually become a very special kind of hypochondriac. They go from one doctor to another, receiving all sorts of advice, but if you offer them a medicine, even when you explain to them that the remedy is harmless, they look at you with suspicion and are very cautious in taking the prescribed medicine. At home they may take the tablets or drops for some days but it seems as if that only increases their hypochondriacal anxiety and despair.
These pills don’t help me at all. They are not good for my body….. Is it possible that this medicine may be poisoning me? I canot bear any kind of medicine. Nothing can help me, I am incurable, etc., are typical remarks of Allium sativa.
These patients are sometimes really very ill, not only in their imagination, but they cannot tolerate any kind of medicine and therefore the fear or conviction finally arises that nothing can help them and that they will never get well again.
It is mainly in this situation that they are restless, sad and low spirited especially when alone and not distracted by others from their anxious wandering thoughts.
And then the above mentioned impulse to run away takes over in order to escape from all that.
Even sleep is frequently very restless and disturbed. Sometimes it may be impossible for the patient to sleep on account of darting pains in the chest, or because of a sensation of a weight in the stomach or simply just because he is thirsty. On falling asleep his muscles begin to twitch and he has shocks in the feet. The Allium sativa case may not only weep in his sleep, but may also have a feeling of oppression in the chest or may wake up frequently due to a sensation of coldness.
The general restlessness occurs in dreams as well. He has frightful, anxious dreams or he may dream for example of rapid transits from place to place or of water and storms, and the dreams may continue even after waking.
Allium sativum may also be of service in special kinds of neurological symptoms which manifest themselves mostly as lassitude and weakness of the lower limbs. This peculiar muscular weakness of the legs is sometimes so great that the patient feels that it would take too much effort even to climb a few steps.
A kind of general lassitude and torpor have also been observed. This can particularly be the case in children, who are usually very pale, topically emaciated, the bowels working only sluggishly. The back may be so weak that they do not learn to walk. These children are sometimes so drowsy that they appear lifeless.
Some general symptoms and keynotes
Garlic is a very old remedy. It was known in ancient Indian, Egyptian, Roman and Greek medicine as a very potent remedy against many diseases. The only reason why it is not used more frequently in Homeopathy seems to be the insufficient experience that we have with this plant.
Since Allium sativum has been proved by Petroz and Teste in the year 1852, homeopaths have mainly used it in chronic dyspepsia and chronic bronchial catarrh, but also in other parts of the body such as in the region of the head and of the lower limbs, where we can find interesting symptoms.
The classical description of Allium sativum is a dark complexioned, well-fed person with a strong constitution and firm flesh although he may be disposed to corpulence and obesity quite frequently.
He likes a good living, loves eating very much, this being indeed one of his favorite occupations in which he can indulge with excessive abandon. He is nevertheless rather a gourmand than a glutton. He may not in general be very fond of vegetarian food, and prefers meat, a good juicy steak for instance, which may be accompanied by a desire for butter.
But to his great regret, a time comes in his life where he can no longer tolerate this good living anymore. At first he only has complaints after overeating, but very soon he is compelled to keep to a special diet because his stomach or his bowels are disturbed by the slightest deviation, by the least change of his usual food. He may even get complaints if he drinks water which is not good enough.
After he has eaten he must belch, has heartburn and burning eructations which excite a copious salivation. The saliva is often sweetish and a great amount of it accumulates in the mouth especially after supper and during the night, although the tongue may be dry at night. He sometimes also has the sensation as if something cold followed by something hot and stinging ascends the esophagus.
He feels a burning in the stomach which is very sensitive to the least pressure but painless as long as it is not touched. Or he may have pressing pains as from a stone or a weight in the stomach. He may also feel a weight in the hypogastrium (the region of the lower abdomen) immediately after a meal and everything in the abdomen seems to drag downwards.
After a meal he is very drowsy, and complains about chest problems like palpitations or dry cough which are presumably caused by the formation of gas in the abdomen. This flatulence is connected to an incomplete emission of fetid flatus as if the wind were held back in the bowels.
The abdominal pains can really be terrible, especially the wind-colic. In a similar way to Lycopodium or Momordica he complains about a pain just below the left ribs in the region of the transverse and descending colon. Or he feels a pressure in the upper part of the abdomen – in the epigastrium and transverse colon – which forces him to sit bent forward and to press with both hands in order to get relief (like Coloc.) and these pains become unbearable while walking around. Every step causes an excruciating pain as if his intestines were being torn apart and he must lie down to get relief.
Even a constipation is connected with almost constant dull pains in the bowels. The stool itself is at first more or less normal, but then watery and hot. Prolapsus ani may also be possible.
As one would expect in chronic disturbances of the stomach and bowels the appearance of the tongue is mostly abnormal. It is either furred white or pale with red papillae or smooth with dwindling of the papillae.
After this kind of dyspepsia has lasted a long time and has become chronic, he grows afraid of never getting well, especially because every little change in his usual manner of living increases his complaints afresh.
When he is alone he feels uneasy, depressed, restless and gets more and more anxious about his state of health. But in a strange way, after going to the doctor to have a check up, he either takes the prescribed medicine for a short time or not at all as though he had a fear of being poisoned. What shall I do with this stuff? I
can’t take anything, not even my normal food. I can’t bear any kind of medicine either. He would like to escape from the whole situation but there seems to be no way out.
The Allium sativum person who in the past has loved good living so much has eventually become an oversensitive, hypochondriacal patient, restless, anxious, impatient, not pleased with anything, neither with his food nor with his medicine.
Of course, all of these mental symptoms can occur in other chronic diseases as well although they seem to be particularly typical in gastrointestinal disturbances.
Another main indication of Allium sativum are diseases of the respiratory tracts.
In earlier times, garlic had been used not only as a prophylactic but also with germicidal expectations in chronic congestion of the bronchi with phlegm, as for instance in tracheitis, bronchitis, bronchiectasia, pulmonary emphyzema, asthma, and even in tuberculosis. Besides the old herbal healers report that garlic is especially useful in general complaints like coughs and sneezes which are caused by cold air, mist, humid, or cold-wet weather and sticky air.
In an incomprehensible way, in spite of all these empirical experiences, we rarely use it in these diseases, although garlic has also produced very clear symptoms in homeopathic provings:
In coryza, there is either an increased secretion with slight stoppage of both nostrils or the coryza is rather dry than fluent with pressive pain from above the root of the nose… Heaviness in forehead…. Pressing pains in head from within outward. These symptoms indicate that Allium sativum is probably a good remedy in frontal sinusitis.
Catarrhal deafness of the left ear. In addition the auditory canals are sometimes stuffed up by hardened earwax or hardened crusts.
Accumulation of mucus in throat with heaviness of head in the morning. Voice rough and hoarse. Chronic catarrh of windpipe without fever but with difficult breathing and moist cough.
In chronic bronchitis with continuous mucous rales the expectoration of extremely copious mucus occurs especially in the morning after leaving the bedroom. The expectoration may be a thin, yellowish, purulent-looking, blood-streaked mucus of putrid odor but often the sputum is tenacious, glutinous or even ropy and very difficult to raise.
Also without much expectoration the cough gives rise to a perceptible fetid smell.
The cough itself is not only aggravated in the morning, but also by bending the head, after eating and in the open air. Especially while smoking a cigarette the patient has sudden paroxysms of a hard, dry cough. (Herbal healers use garlic as a kind of antidote against the consequences of chronic smoking.)
In the region of the head there are some keynotes too. For example dull pain in occiput in morning when lying on back. That is interesting because it is a pathognomical symptom of high blood pressure. And indeed garlic is one of the few plants which is well known for having an influence on hypertension. Low blood pressure with transient vertigo on rising from a chair may be also be possible.
Another important symptom is a heaviness in the head, particularly in the forehead, almost preventing him from opening the eyes. In women this heaviness of the head ceases with the onset of menses but returns after the flow has stopped. Vertigo too ameliorates as soon as the menses appear.
Another characteristic symptom is that vertigo comes about when the patient looks long and steadily on anything, fixing the eyes or exerting them, (like in Nat-m. and Phos.).
Not only the vertigo, but also some catarrhal symptoms of the eyes with agglutinated lids, smarting, burning lacrimation may be caused or at least aggravated if he exerts his eyes by reading at night.
Even some mouth symptoms like drawing in the teeth, swollen gums and a sensation of a hair on the tongue may be worse from reading.
These days, it is probably possible that all these symptoms also occur while staring steadily at a computer screen or watching television. (As you can see garlic is not only good against vampires and Count Dracula)
The feeling of a hair on the tongue is another Keynote (like in Kali-bi. and Sil.) which for example may occur during the night or in the morning, especially on waking. Some symptoms of the bladder and of the female genital organs are also worth mentioning.
Bladder distended, can bear no pressure, with continual urging to urinate, but only a few drops are passed.
Ulceration of bladder caused by calculi. (This is only one of the many symptoms which we can find in Kent’s Repertory although it is not an observation of homeopaths, but rather of the “Old School” i.e. of herbal healers.)
During menses pustules may develop on the vulva or a soreness of vulva and the inner side of the thighs. Also bright red spots with itching and smarting on the inside of the labia majora and at the entrance of the vagina have been repeatedly observed. The mammae may be swollen and painful to touch.
Apart from the symptoms of the lower limbs which have already been described at the end of the first chapter I also want to draw your attention to a special kind of hip-pain against which we do not have any remedies.
Allium sativum has a special affinity to rheumatic, sometimes tearing pains in the hip, in particular when they are connected with pains of the common tendon of the iliac and psoas muscles. On the attempt to cross the legs the pain in the tendon of the Musculaus iliopsoas becomes so severe that the patient has to cry out. Also when lying in bed he cannot change his position, turn to the other side for instance, without pains. The least active motion causes or aggravates the pain
i.e. when the affected muscles are actively tensed. Therefore the patient has no pains by passive motion when for instance he lifts his leg gently with the hands. Incidentally, some pains of the lower limbs are worse from change of temperature and moist heat. But damp cold weather can also cause tearing and stinging in different parts of the body.
The most interesting symptoms of the upper limbs are presumably the tearing pains in the fingers extending below the nails, the dry heat on back of hands and the peeling off of skin on the hands.
Before I conclude the description of Allium sativum I would like to point to the importance of this remedy for old people. In nearly every country, even in ancient Indian medicine, garlic is known as a rejuvenating and life prolonging plant. Modern phytotherapists sometimes call garlic a geriatricum with a definite effect on arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, hypercholesterinemia, diabetes mellitus, disturbances of stomach and bowels and other diseases of the aged.