Common potash alum. Alum. Potassic-Aluminic Sulphate.
An astringent double salt, found as a mineral near the volcanoes of the Lipari Isles, in Sicily.
The essential features
This remedy should be understood as having mainly two phases, two states of pathological action upon the human organism.
In the first it produces conditions where we see extreme dryness of the mucous membranes (coition is almost impossible), and skin which becomes rough, indurations and hardening of glands and tissues of tongue, of rectum, uterus, mammae etc with a tendency to malignancy, ulcers with indurated bases, epitheliomas, scirrhus etc.
There is a tendency in this remedy to greyish black manifestations such as eruptions, stool which is black, dark pseudomembranes on throat etc.
The second phase is one of paralysis, paralytic weakness, especially in rectum (severe constipation) and bladder (no power to expel the urine, runs perpendicularly), with constricting feelings like that of a tight band especially on extremities. Also paresis, sluggish action of muscles, varicose veins that become relaxed and bleed, hemorrhages of various types especially from rectum, etc.
Sometimes we see a combination of the two phases as in the severe constipation that this remedy produces, where there is dryness of the mucous membranes and dry hard stool, with no peristalsis, a kind of paresis of the rectum where the patient will go for many days without any urging for stool. No ability to expel the stool which is as hard as a stone, dry, forming little balls like sheep dung that adhere together and come out in big masses with an unbearable, excruciating pain that extends to the thighs.
Alumen weakens the system causing the person to become very excitable, very nervous, crying or laughing easily, often with a spasmodic laughter.
Such persons cannot sustain stress; as soon as they hear something bad that upsets them even a little, they have tremors in the muscles. If they believe that something is wrong with their health they experience strong palpitations, weakness and trembling; again, thinking about their disease will immediately make them have palpitations. They cannot bear pain, which is unbearable to them, and in their despair they will express a disbelief in your medicine; they are almost certain that the medicine is not going to help. For instance you may have a case with cancer of the rectum, or very painful hemorrhoids and you may have decided that the remedy looks like Alumen; you say so with confidence, but you notice that the patient does not believe that there will be any relief, and this is another confirmation of your choice.
Alumen has no stamina, and will remain in bed all day long without much apparent reason. The whole family will be upset, they will ask why and will be given no reason.
It is actually an anxiety that produces a condition where she feels she must stay in bed, for otherwise she will not recover. She does not want to move about. The Alumen patient wakes up in the morning with depression, but his worse time is between nine and twelve noon during which time there is a strong inclination to weep. Other moods include a state of loathing of life in the evening and strong anxiety at night. Alumina cases can be very much oppressed, anxious, with a feeling of heaviness as if there is a stone on their chest with a desire to take deep breaths.
Alumina cases have an indolent mind, an aversion to doing anything at all; there is an aversion to either physical or mental labor, they just want to stay in bed. In fevers or in last stages they feel confused and have a sensation as if they were intoxicated, as if the mind were not clear.
From time to time they have a strong fainting spell which is usually associated with gastric disturbances. They may have sudden periodic flushes of heat that are very strong, as if the blood is boiling and rushing to the head. During this time they feel anxious and fearful. Ailments in Alumen usually come and go suddenly.
There is quite a lot of suppressed aggression in the Alumina patient, who will not express it until suddenly he becomes furious, and in his fury may attack people. Such crises will appear suddenly and periodically. After such incidents the patient may develop a fear, a terrible apprehension that he may kill somebody.
This kind of fury, this rage we may see during a high fever, during a delirium. During fever he may also have delusions that the blood is rushing and roaring through the veins.
A short description of an Alumen syndrome could be: Thin, spare, nervous and excitable subjects, frightened easily, with no appetite, pain in the stomach, who cannot take any food, constipated with hard, black stool, like sheep dung in large or small quantities, voided with the greatest difficulty.
Alumina children may have tremendously enlarged and indurated tonsils, (Bar-c., Bar-m.), enlarged uvula, constipated, thin, nervous without appetite, and may catch colds easily and repeatedly.
To conclude, in this remedy we see a symptomatology which, though similar to Alumina, has a distinct individuality which characterises it.
As we have already said in this remedy we see indurations of glands, of tonsils, of uterus, of mammary glands etc… Indurations that are really very hard. We see ulcerations on mucous membranes, especially cervix, vagina, urethra, mouth, stomach, intenstines, lupus erythematodus, cancer, epitheliomas, scirrhus. It is important to perceive this tendency of the remedy for hardening, infiltrating, indurating the tissues. In studying this medicine one perceives easily that this is a remedy that can produce malignancy.
It is indicated also in old people, susceptible to common colds with a lack of reaction, with bronchial catarrh, with lung abscesses or cancer of the lungs, with hemoptysis.
Another striking feature of this remedy is the paralytic weakness of the muscles. The muscles lose their tone, their strength. Paralysis from lead poisoning.
Weakness during pregnancy.
Faintness, fainting due to a feeling of emptiness in the stomach in chronic gastritis, has to lie down to feel better.
Flushes of heat upwards from the hips to the head, very severe, blood feels like boiling.
Worse from the cold, except for the headache which is ameliorated by very cold applications and hard pressure. Aggravation before breakfast. One of the keynotes for this remedy is strong palpitations when lying on right side while the vertigo is ameliorated lying on the right side. Periodicity, every other day in the morning
Frequent, fast pulse on waking in the morning
Weariness after menses. This remedy should be thought of in diphtheria, or diphtheria-like fevers, where there are grayish membranes, extreme prostration entailing loss of voice, excruciating headache on vertex, vomiting, fetid breathing and thirst for cold water that ameliorates.
Vertigo when there is darkness, on entering dark room, or vertigo on closing the eyes, better with eyes open. Vertigo with weakness in pit of stomach which ends in fainting.
Vertigo on lying on left side ameliorated by turning to the right side.
There is a characteristic headache on vertex, which is burning and pressing as if there were a heavy weight there ameliorated by hard pressure and very cold applications.
The head feels burning and wants cold applications applied with strong pressure and frequently changed.
The headache sometimes alternates with cystitis or with pain in the throat.
During the headache a desire to drink very cold water that seems to ameliorate the headache. Headaches may appear after dinner or in the morning on waking; or at 4 a.m. , in bed at night.
The rest of the headaches are not so peculiar:
Shooting headache in temples on waking in the morning.
Drawing headache in the temples in the evening.
Jerking headache on left side of forehead; in the evening.
Pressing headache in the forehead, over the eyes, in the morning; on waking.
Shooting headache extending from temple to temple.
Stitching headache in vertex on stooping.
Sensation of twitching of muscles of the head, as if in the brain.
Corneal staphyloma resulting from injury.
Lupus, eyebrows; lids
Strabismus, the right eye is turned in.
Purulent ophthalmia. Trachoma.
Varicosities of conjuctiva.
Acute hearing during sleep, can hear almost everything. Inflammation with pus. Heat in both ears and left side of the face at night.
Crusts, scabs inside posterior nares.
Polypus on left side.
Sneezing in open air.
Formication in lower jaw.
Heat on left side of nose.
Profuse bleeding of gums after extraction of teeth. Gums swollen and spongy, inflamed, surrounded by a greyish coating. Tongue is folded like little bags on edges – in lead colic.
Spreading ulcers in tongue. Scirrhus of tongue with stitching pain in the tip Profuse saliva. Teeth loose, surrounded by proud flesh.
Very enlarged and indurated tonsils. Recurrent inflammation of tonsils.
Greyish thick coating of mucus that looks like membranes.
Swallowing is impossible because of constriction of esophagus.
Dryness in throat from talking.
Complete aphonia. Loss of voice from a low state of the economy and from taking colds frequently. Rawness in larynx on talking.
Sensation of skin in larynx.
Tickling in air passages in the morning; on talking.
Heat in larynx.
Irritation in air passages after rising in the morning.
Copious mucus in larynx.
Changeable voice; higher voice.
It has been useful in those people who have easy hematemesis due to using a lot of alcohol. The text says: vomiting of blood in drunkards; the idea is that there are small ulcers that bleed easily under the influence of alcohol.
Emptiness in stomach with a feeling of faintness before eating.
Flushes of heat are ameliorated by drinking cold water.
Loathing of food with nausea worse in the evening. Nausea on waking at night; at 4 a.m. Vomits everything he eats. Pain in the stomach that is aggravated by jar or walking and ameliorated by lying on back. Lying down ameliorates nausea also.
Cramping, griping, constricting pain at noon; in the afternoon at 4 P.M.
Cutting pain in the afternoon at 4 P.M. ; while sitting.
Pulsation in the evening; while lying on one’s back.
Desires indigestible things.
Desire for soft food.
Flatulence with colicky pains. Retraction of the abdomen and drawing in of the navel. Dull pain from lead poisoning.
Dull pain in abdomen extending downwards to penis.
Cramping, griping pain at noon; after taking cold.
Stitching pain extending to pelvis; extending into penis
Here we see the most important symptoms of this remedy.
Malignant constipation, the patient will wait for several days before he has a stool that consists of small hard balls adhered together which come out in a big mass creating excruciating pains that extend to thighs especially if the rectum is affected with small ulcers due to hemorrhoids.
The rectum feels very sore for a few hours after passing of stool, but inspite of massive evacuation the rectum still feels full because it does not have the power to expel all the amount of stool present.
Dryness of rectum.
Ulceration with bleeding. Hemorrhoids ulcerate and are very painful especially after stool; the pain remains for a long time.
Black hemorrhage from anus, large masses of coagulated blood, is something that can be seen in the last stages of typhus where this remedy has to be considered. Lying on back ameliorates pain.
Stitching pain extending to inner side of thigh; extending upward after stool. Bending forward or lying on back ameliorates the tearing pain in rectum. Pulsation in rectum after stool.
Stool black like balls.
Stool is first hard then soft.
Kent again gives us the best description: “Catarrhal conditions prevail throughout the remedy. In old scrofulous, psoric patients, who are subject to chronic yellow bland discharges from the eyes, with enlarged veins, chronic yellow discharges from the vagina and from the urethra in the male. Chronic painless gonorrhea. In addition to the catarrhal discharges there is a tendency to ulceration, so that there are little ulcerative patches in the vagina, little aphthous patches on the vagina and on the cervix of the uterus.
When a patient is suffering from a chronic gonorrhea, instead of the discharge becoming white, as in a gleet, it remains yellow and there are little indurations along the urethra, which the patient will call the physician’s attention to as “lumps.”
Discharge with “little bunches” along the urethra. These are little ulcers, and beneath the ulcers are indurations.
When this state is present you have an Alumen gonorrhea. In a little while the patient will have two or three strictures unless he gets this remedy, because these little ulcers will each end in a stricture narrowing the canal.”
Weakness of sphincter, the urine is falling down perpendicularly.
Muco-purulent catarrh in old people. Frequent urination in the afternoon.
Chronic, acrid, yellow discharge.
Itching of meatus in the evening.
Bloody clots in urine.
Urine has a bluish iridescent color.
Looks as if cheesy milk had been stirred in it. Cheesy sediment.
Genitalia – male
Stricture of the urethra.
Erections in the afternoon at 2 P.M. ; during dinner.
Itching in scrotum in the evening, a dry eruption on the back side of penis.
Genitalia – female
Scirrhus cancer of uterus.
Copious leucorrhea in daytime.
Leucorrhea that stiffens the linen.
Kent writes: “It has been useful in the treatment of old people who suffer from copious ropy, morning expectoration, catarrh of the chest, haemoptysis and great weakness of the chest, so that it is difficult to expel the mucus. In this it is similar to Antimonium Tartaricum. Cronic morning cough.
Dry cough in evening after lying down. Cough is not a very important thing in this remedy. It is the general state of the economy that is to be looked at. The cough will not interpret the nature of the disease to the physician, because when these little ulcers are present they must cause some kind of a cough. This patient may go into phthisis or be affected by any of the ultimates of the disease.” Difficult respiration during stool.
Difficult respiration after supper. Asthma
Fullness in the afternoon; in the evening after eating.
Pain in heart extending to right leg.
Lying on right side aggravates heart palpitation.
Stitching pain extending downward. Palpitation of heart after sudden excitement; after lying in one position for too long, after thinking about her disease.
You may sometimes see old people who are suffering with a chronic cough which appears every morning in paroxysms with a copious ropy expectoration, having from time to time some blood in the sputum, who will tell you that they have been constipated all their life, that they are weak, nervous, easily trembling with easy palpitations, who have a history of suppressed gonorrhea. and now have difficulty in urination because of a stricture in the urethra, and you have a case of Alumen in hand.
Cough before or during breakfast is ameliorated after breakfast.
Paroxysmal cough followed by copious mucus
Tickling cough in the morning; after rising in the morning.
Copious expectoration after each paroxysmal cough.
White expectoration in the morning.
Expectoration after dinner.
Expectoration of much yellow mucus.
Kent again writes: “It is well known that it has a weak spine, with coldness of the spine, a feeling as if cold water were poured down the back.” Pain, feels as though back would break.
Gnawing pain in lumbar region.
Rheumatic pains in the edges and below the scapulae, worse when breathing or sitting still. Such pains are ameliorated by motion.
Weakness in dorsal and lumbar region.
Here the keynotes are constrictions: Pains like a band tied around the arms or the legs. Constricted feeling around limbs. This constriction is mostly felt in the right upper arm. Sensation as if lower limbs are bandaged and weakness of all muscles, especially arms and legs.
Paralytic weakness of the hand during menses. Awkwardness of hands during menses.
Paralysis in upper limbs from lead poisoning.
Coldness of extremities. Heat in hand in the morning but cold after motion, walking.
Numbness in extremities, worse lying on them. Rheumatic pain in fingers.
Pain in the ankle in the morning; while walking; on ascending stairs.
Trembling in upper limbs after rising.
Restlessness of the knee.
Hands are cold in the afternoon.
Eruption on shoulder.
Sleep is disturbed by frightful dreams.
Sleeplessness from sensation of blood rushing through the body.
Restlessness in bed.
Lack of reactive power exhausted, voice can scarcely be heard, pseudomembranes with a blackish colour in throat. In typhoid fevers when there is hemorrhage from the bowels, exhaustion etc. Feels as if water is running down back.
Ulcers with indurated base. Varicose veins that bleed easily.
Colic. Hemorrhages. Lead colic. Stricture of esophagus. Constipation. Diarrhea.
Affections of anus. Noma [gangrenous stomatitis].
Gleet. Gonorrhea. Leucorrhea. Uterus affection. Relaxed uvula. Vaginismus. SKIN
Indurations of glands, tonsils, tongue, uterus. Chillblains. Eczema. Pruritus.
Scurvy. Rough skin. Polypus.
Paralysis. Multiple sclerosis. Locomotor ataxy.
Eye affections. Traumatic conditions after operations on eyes. Strabismus.
Bronchitis. Catarrh. Cough. Hoarseness. Throat affections.
Effects of alcohol. Cancer. Diabetes. Hemorrhages. Ulcers. Hemorrhages in typhoid.
Bad news. Operation on eyes; on teeth.
It is similar to: Alumina, Aluminium; Aloe [rectum], Capsicum [long uvula], Ferrum [relaxed abdominal walls, prolapsed uterus], Kali bichromicum [stringy discharges],
Mercurius [prolapsed uterus, vagina, rectum, tenesmus], Mercurius corrosivus, Muriatic acid, Nitric acid, Nux vomica, Opium, Platina [lead poisoning], Plumbum, Rhatan., Stannum, Sulphur, Sulphuric acid, Zinc [eyes]
It is complementary to Bryonia and Ferrum
Remedies that follow well: Argentum metallicum, Bryonia
It is antidoted by Bryonia, Camphor, Chamomilla [cramps in abdomen], Nux vomica, Ipecacuanha [nausea and vomiting], Sulphur, coffee It is an antidote to lead poisoning, calomel, other mercurials and aloe. Foods inimical to it: Alcoholic drinks.
From 6c upwards to the highest.