The essential features
Anthracinum is indicated in patients who suffer chronically from carbuncles, boils, hydradenitis, and tumors which tend to have a malignant appearance, a reddish-black color, and cause a burning sensation and extreme pain. In Anthracinum, ulceration takes place easily, with sloughing and excruciating burning pains. Cellular tissues become edematous and indurated. Anthracinum meets septic conditions with enormous swelling, intolerable burning pains, and with dark-red discoloration of the inflamed part. Generally in this remedy there is a tendency to easy suppuration and sepsis.
For the most part, the central theme of Anthracinum is concentrated upon the intolerably painful, dark-red or blackish abscesses that resolve slowly and only with difficulty, even after days of discharging.
In its mental-emotional state, Anthracinum produces an analogous picture: we see a person who has a deeply imbedded emotional abscess. This malignant abscess is very difficult to “open.” The patient feels that there is no hope of recovery; the “abscess” will not come to the surface and discharge its contents. It is an abscess that has been formed out of a very painful emotional experience.
In its constitutional form, Anthracinum can be compared to Natrum muriaticum. Like Natrum muriaticum, this remedy retains so much deeply hidden grief that one might consider it to be the major remedy for silent suffering, its darkest emotional wound buried deeply within its psyche. It is as though all the emotional and mental suffering of the Anthracinum patient has been enclosed in one big blackish boil.
There are differences between the two remedies though. Unlike Natrum muriaticum, the Anthracinum patient does not seem to realize this suffering; it is as if he (or her) is resigned to it, as if this intolerable suffering is now his natural state of being. He (or she) will never talk to anyone about it. This remedy seems to restrict the individual’s free expression of emotions, so much so that the patient says nothing for years on end about a traumatic event that he experienced in the past. What is interesting is that the patient hardly seems to remember the incident inspite of the emotional trauma’s impact on his life and health. It seems as if its effect penetrated straight to the subconscious mind and remained there, totally hidden from consciousness, but nonetheless producing a profound effect upon the health of the entire organism. The consequence of such a grievous experience is an eventual “withering” of the psyche; it is as if a senility of the emotional level were produced in which youthfulness and joy are lost, and subsequently replaced with inexpressiveness. The patient is unable to feel, to express or to share deep emotions. She trudges through her existence in an apparent state of confusion, especially concerning her emotions, where nothing is clear, nothing is perceived properly, where she herself does not know how she feels. It is amazing how this remedy withholds emotional expression while at the same time storing the hurt emotions in an encysted wound, a malignant abscess that, once open, will cause the patient to cry for days on end, sometimes not knowing why she is crying. After the remedy has been prescribed, it is interesting to see in such cases how the enclosed emotions, which remained unexpressed and subconsciously painful for years, are poured out as tears with such intensity that one is reminded of a malignant tumor which is suddenly opened and pours forth an endless discharge. The observer may think that he has a perfect case of Pulsatilla in hand. But one should refrain from prescribing Pulsatilla in such cases; it is far preferable to wait, perhaps for even a month or two, before the daily crying completely drains the dark emotional abscess.
Unless we learn to evaluate correctly the development of a case and let it unfold by itself, without interference, we will never accomplish a real cure in difficult and complicated cases.
Actually, these patients may often display the mildness of Pulsatilla in their external conduct, while they manifest the emotional deadness of Natrum muriaticum or Phosphoric acid.
As you observe the face of Anthracinum and its lines of long suffering, you may be certain that these individuals will not tell you that they have ever experienced a deep traumatic event. It seems as if they themselves were not aware of the nature of the grief that overwhelmed them even as it occured. Perhaps their lack of awareness was the result of confusion following the experience, confusion which compromised their memory of the grief. Only the subconscious mind has registered and remembers the experience. It is after the remedy that they finally realize and talk about, and weep over their experience.
The traumatic experience in Anthracinum relates primarily to interpersonal relationships, such as losing a loved one or someone who was relied upon for help or protection – a lover, a parent, a husband or a wife, not so much a child.
It is interesting to observe in these patients that they look and act as if they were old and tired. They will give you the impression, without admitting to it however, that they shoulder their misery and suffering silently, without complaining, without making a lot of fuss, while at the same time being quite emotionally dead inside.
The sense of premature old age is also depicted in the face, which looks much older than the actual age and is covered with very fine wrinkles.
From time to time they will explode with anger, and they can prove quite violent, especially before the menses. Many days before the menses they can be on edge, irritable and impatient; they will shout with the least provocation, especially at their children. Irritability during the night is seen. As soon as the menses start flowing there is relief. Actually, all discharges, whether from an abscess or otherwise, immensely relieve the constitutional symptoms.
In the mental sphere, confusion seems a prevailing state. They do not have a clear idea as to what they want or have to do, and they lack the introspective ability to peer deeply inside themselves and understand their emotions. Many times they have the feeling that death is approaching. At other times there is an inexplicable anxiety that their husband or wife has had an accident after but a few minutes’ delay in his or her anticipated arrival. They can imagine the spouse’s death and the entire scenario afterward up to and including the funeral.
It is also interesting to see the effect of the Anthracinum disturbance upon the sexual sphere. While the emotions are still ensnared as a result of their painful experience, these patients’ free expression of sexual desire is inhibited to such a degree that they no longer care about nor enjoy sex. It is as if they only tolerate the sexual act and refrain from actively participating in it. The indifference to sex, or the decreased desire, can result in an aversion to sex. We observe in the sexual sphere the same withering or dwindling that we see in the emotional sphere.
A final observation – during septic fever Anthracinum may display a state of overexcitement with a desire to bite, combined with dizziness, confusion and restlessness, and finally, stupor or unconsciousness.
In Anthracinum states we may see small ulcers and haemorrhagic infiltrations in all mucous membranes and glands. Ulcers that are deep, sloughing and have a blackish appearance. Fetid abscesses with acrid pus.
Blackness of external parts. Cancerous affections, ulcers of glands.
Patients with septic conditions who are easily and rapidly prostrated with weak pulse, depressed, anxious, and restless. Heat alternates with chills in rapid succession. A sense of constriction on the precordial region which brings on anxiety. Patients with histories of successions of boils, carbuncles, tumors, cysts, eczemas etc. Black and blue blisters, hemorrhages with black and thick blood. Hemorrhage consists of dark clots of blood; hemorrhage of non-coagulable blood, hemophilia; hemorrhage of ropy, tenacious blood.
Enormous swellings of the inflamed parts.
In the history of such patients try to find out whether they have been handling raw wool material, which can be a confirming point in your diagnosis. Paroxysms of trembling. Single muscles tremble. Epileptiform convulsions. Clonic convulsions. Clonic convulsions in drunkards. Complaints from suppression of perspiration. Benign tumors, atheroma, steatoma.
Vertigo during headache.
Indescribable very painful headaches. Headache with chills. Headache as if smoke – with a heating pain – is passing through the head. Small hemorrhages in all parts of brain. Symmetrical hemorrhages in brain. Carbuncles near ears and temples. Erysipelas.
Great dilatation of pupils.
Swelling in front of ear. Gangrenous parotitis.
Nose is red on the right side, redness extends to the cheek. Swelling and redness of nose. Offensive, fetid discharge. Imaginary and real odors that are putrid.
Abscess on lip. Black pustules on lips. Erysipelas with dark brown redness, extending from lower lip to rest of skin. Cancer of submaxillary glands. Swelling of submaxillary glands. Swelling in lower right jaw of a very hard, stony nature without much pain. Tearing pain in lower jaw. Lockjaw. Can hardly open the mouth to show tip of tongue. Stiffness of muscles in lower jaw. Swelling of parotid gland after exanthemata.
Inflammation of tonsils. Pain in throat. Laryngeal and retropharyngeal glands are swollen, infiltrated and hyperaemic. Swallowing is very difficult with much thirst. Throat is edematous from above larynx to mouth. Right tonsil painful.
Appetite is wanting. Averse to eggs and worse from eating them especially when slimy, averse to odor of eggs, averse to meat fats. Desires sweets, chocolate. Flushes of heat in the stomach. Violent pain; burning pain in stomach. Extreme thirst; thirst during heat. Vomiting followed by diarrhea; vomiting of bilious and slimy masses. Nausea and vomiting with chill.
Painless diarrhea, bloody, following vomiting. Painful bloody diarrhea. Diarrhea worse after eating. Collapse with the diarrhea similar to cholera states. Pasty, papescent stool. White stool.
Kidneys swollen with small spots of hemorrhages. Copious clear watery urine at night. Suppression of urine. Scanty urine.
Accelerated respiration. Respiration quick and laborious.
In the extremities we observe a lot of the characteristic manifestation upon the surface of the human organism of Anthracinum. Always bear in mind the malignancy, the fury of the appearance, the color, the enormous swelling that takes place so rapidly, the intolerable pain, the sloughing of the affected area.
Carbuncles. Burning ulcers on lower limbs. Gangrenous ulcer on leg. Lower limbs have ulcers, ulcers with a black base. Leg has ulcer which is painful at night. This remedy is indicated in the worst cases of felon. Felon beginning in nail with panaritium. Felon beginning in nail with sloughing. Malignant felon (onychia, paronychia, panaritium, etc.) with burning.
Brown, bluish discoloration on leg. Blue discoloration on thigh. Livid discoloration on thigh. Boils on the leg. Gangrene of the leg. Black blisters on thigh. Black vesicles on thigh. Blebs on knee. Edematous swelling of foot. Swelling of knee. Extremities feel cold. Leg feels cold. Anthrax.
Exhaustion, weakness felt in upper or lower extremeties. Eruption of arms and hands, crusty and full of cracks, discharging pus and an acrid fluid with painful itching. Large vesicles on palm of hand. Yellow vesicles on the palm of the hand beginning in the nail. Red streaks on forearm. Itching of the hand worse at night. Swelling of upper limbs. Black pustules on upper limbs. Scales on upper limbs.
Gangrene – like swellings of the extremities. Dark, red inflammation of the hand.
Cramps in the hands when washing them. Tetanic convulsions of upper limbs. Pain; Burning pain of fingertips, tearing pain on tip of fourth finger.
Comatose sleep. Restless sleep. During chill has restless sleep. Before chill restless sleep. Unrefreshing sleep
Feels cold in general. Creeping chills alternating with cold. Septic fevers. Fever in the evening. Continued fever, typhus, typhoid. Has continuous fever [typhus, typhoid] that is petechial. Zymotic fever. Weakness during fever. Has perspiration at night; perspiration is cold; sticky; there are complaints from suppressed perspiration. Clammy, sticky, viscid perspiration. Weakness from perspiration.
Black pustules on the skin. Malignant pustules. Black ulcers on skin. Burning ulcers on skin. Bluish-red spots on the skin. Blue boils on skin. Carbuncle. Skin is crusty and moist. A sensation as if skin was touched by nettles. Black vesicles on skin. Bluish vesicles on skin. Erysipelas. Gangrenous erysipelas. Itching. Cancerous ulcers; deep ulcers. Ulcers have blackish, albuminous bloody discharges; brownish albuminous discharges. Ulcers foul; gangrenous; phagedenic. Bluish spots on the skin. Fetid pustules; itching pustules; lumpy pustules; vesicles on skin; yellow vesicles on skin.
Acne; boils; carbuncles; erysipelas. Malignant pustule. Phlegmonous inflammation and ulceration. Small pox. Ulcers. Whitlow.
Parotitis gangrenosa. Splenic fever. Cynanche cellularis. Epileptiform convulsion. Insect bites with swollen glands.
Dealing with raw wool even many years before the appearance of symptoms.
It is followed well by: Aurum muriaticum natronatum and Silicea. It follows well: Arsenicum album and Phosphoricum acidum.
It is antidoted by: Camphor, Coffee, Arsenicum album, Rhus toxicodendron, Silicea, Lachesis, Cargo vegetabilis, Pulsatilla, Kreosotum, Carbolic acid, Salicilicum acidum and Apis mellifica.
From 12c up to the highest potencies.
- Results of Antitoxin – Anthracinum. John Herman, 38 years old
June 21st. Was antitoxined in March, because his children had diphtheria and has been sick ever since. -Carbuncles on shoulders, from roots of hair down, large and small.
-Discharging, stinking pus.
-Enlarged cervical glands.
-Dull pain in abdomen, begins after eating and ends in diarrhea.
-Diarrhea worse after eating.
-Yellow, thin slimy, sputtering stool.
-Dull pain in head; begins in bridge of nose and extends above eyes.
-Weakness in lower limbs; numbness; Worse from exertion.
-Soreness and tired feeling in arms.
-Profuse perspiration on forehead and face.
-Worse from light exercise.
-Chillines, worse from drafts.
-No desire for food.
-Eggs and odor of eggs aggravate.
He began working about ten days after taking the medicine. I saw him August 1st and he said the one prescription cured him.
High school girl minus tonsils and history of diphtheria. Recently had toxin-antitoxin followed immediately by “grippe.” Remained very pale, white and exhausted, unable to attend school. The exhaustion was especially sensed in the hands which were also numb. Cramps in the hands when washing them or whenever flexing the fingers; could not lift anything. Constantly spitting mucus from the throat; easy perspiration. Anthracinum CM, Fincke, acted exceedingly well.
May 17, 1900. Mrs. -, of medium height and size has had a small, hard swelling at the edge of and beneath the right lower jaw in the sub-maxillary region for two weeks, which has gradually been increasing in size. She also has a swelling of the palmar surface of the tip of the left thumb, and a suppuration at the base of the nail of the left third finger.
The swelling under the jaw was as large as a small hen’s egg, not sore to touch, but quite painful at night. Her tongue was large, flabby and white; she was weak and had no appetite. No other symptoms could be obtained.
Her general health has always been good. One dose, dry, of Merc, sol. 50m. F.
May 21, four days later, she sent for me to come and see her. The swelling had increased to double the size and was still hard and painful, especially at night, but was better from warm applications. She now complained of chilliness. One dose dry of Hepar. 200.
May 23, two days later; the swelling was still increasing. There was a constant dull pain with throbbing, with the same aggravation at night. A red spot had appeared under the chin with soreness to touch. Otherwise the conditions were the same, the relief from warmth and the general chilliness. One dose, dry, Sil. 200.
May 25, two days later; the swelling was now as large as a fist, very hard, throbbing pain with occasional burning, stinging pain. Almost no sleep the last two nights.
The redness had increased and there was a soft spot in the centre. She was still chilly but had a profuse general sweat last night. One dose, dry, Anthracinum 1m. F. May 27, two days later, there was a marked improvement, less swelling, less pain and less redness, which was less sore to touch. Has had two fairly good nights, but with the same general sweat. Appetite better and feels better generally.
May 29. The swelling is constantly decreasing, but is still hard; there is no pain. The skin over the red spot is peeling off and the redness has about disappeared. June 8. Very little swelling left, but is still hard. Most of the edge of the lower jaw can be felt.
A week later the swelling was about gone.
George M., farmer, age 65 years.
Chills alternating with heat in rapid succession and loss of appetite preceding the rapid growth of a purplish tumor on the chin. The base of the tumor and the surrounding tissue indurated. Discharge watery and bloody. Submaxillary lymphatics swollen large as a hickory-nut — painful.
Given Anthracinum 30th, immediately subsidence of all symptoms. Disappearance of the tumor in ten days.
Dr. N.M. Choudhuri relates an interesting case of anthracinum in his materia medica: “I saved a man’s arm from amputation. His troubles started with an ordinary felon. Alarming symptoms very soon made their appearance and his whole hand from the elbow joint to the fingertip became one huge mass of swelling. Amputation was the only thing they thought that might possibly save the man’s life. Under the action of anthracinum, within an incredibly short time the swelling got dispersed, the pains vanished, the sloughing stopped and he became his old self minus the loss of his big finger which had sloughed off before he came to the homeopath.”