English: Nitrate of silver
French: Argent nitrate, Nitrate d’argent German: Salpetersaures Silber
The essential features
In my writings, I have repeatedly emphasized the hierarchical structure of human health. In the healthy individual the mental sphere, being the most central to normal functioning, exerts its control over the physical and emotional spheres. This control can become excessive in over-mentalized patients. On the other hand, in other types of patients there is a weakening of this central, controlling influence; to this group belongs Argentum nitricum. In the neurological system, this weakness leads to clumsiness, incoordination and, finally, ataxia and convulsions. In the psychological state it leads to impulses, the hallmark of Argentum nitricum.
If we wanted to describe an Argentum nitricum case with few words, we could say that he is an over-emotional, impulsive individual with weakening mental faculties, which allow a host of impulses and fears to arise. He is an individual whose power of coordination and balance has been upset on all levels.
In the early stages Argentum nitricum individuals are jolly, extroverted and optimistic. Far from being egotistical, they are giving and attentive in conversation. They are people who enjoy life, and its comforts. They have a strong sexual appetite, as well as an appetite for tasty foods, salty and sweet foods, and “high-living.” They will avoid ordeals at any cost.
At the same time they possess a certain straight-forwardness and simplicity. These patients seem to be incapable of hiding their feelings for long. For example, a patient may be unable to hide a romantic affair from his wife for long. He confesses the transgression and feels great remorse. Argentum nitricum individuals may frequently be overtaken by a sense of guilt for their actions and will cry with remorse. They become very emotional and weep as they tell of their transgressions. Such an extroverted character tends, even at this early stage, to be impulsive. The patient may be explosively irritable. If the wife drops something, the patient impulsively shouts, “My God! Why the hell can’t you hold on to anything?!” The temper is uncontrolled by normal mental restraints; it flares but then dies away completely. The family soon learns that the individual does not mean anything by the outburst; there is no maliciousness behind the temper. After an outburst, the patient may equally spontaneously express warm, loving feelings. In some cases the patient may not show the irritability except to his wife and family. At work his uncertainty about his profession precludes his arguing with his boss; he withholds his anger because he feels inefficient.
The emotions are robust, and the person himself is not highly refined and certainly is not oversensitive. His emotions are too vital to allow wounded feelings or deep emotional scars. This type of individual can be extremely sympathetic. He may be easily moved to tears when hearing of another person’s suffering (Phosphorus). Unlike Phosphorus, he may dislike crying in front of others, but he is so expressive and incapable of hiding his feelings that he may, in fact, cry. Another similarity to Phosphorus is that the Argentum nitricum patient will accept and enjoy consolation.
In this early stage, there is little mental pathology or, at most, only hints of the extreme anxiety or strong impulses which occur later. The patient will seek attention mainly for physical complaints such as duodenal ulcer, colitis, or vertigo. It is at this point, however, that the patient may become vulnerable to mental overexertion. An entertainer or an evangelist perhaps, he gives himself very energetically to his public audience. Subsequently he notices a certain weakness in his thinking. One of the earliest symptoms of the mental-emotional pathology of Argentum nitricum is weakness of memory. The patient can no longer perform as he did previously in his work.
As he notices this inefficiency he begins to feel very much in a hurry; there is not enough time for him to accomplish the things he wants to do. He becomes impatient and can hardly wait for an appointment. He has great anxiety about arriving on time for his rendezvous and will leave home much too early for an appointment. The anticipation of any engagement brings on anxiety, sweating and sometimes diarrhea. Thus, Argentum nitricum is one of the main remedies for complaints which occur from anticipating an appointment or engagement.
At this point the patient is well aware of the weakening of his faculties and the failing of his memory. He feels incompetent and inefficient, especially when confronting some sort of intellectual challenge. This patient is of the type who, even if he knows a subject well, becomes very anxious before giving a public speech and, in anticipation of the event, may suffer a rumbling abdomen, flatulence, vomiting and even diarrhea. Even an insignificant appointment may produce similar reactions. Tyler describes a typical case:
“A poor little school girl of six, in such terrors of anticipation that, when the schoolbell rang, she put her head in her hands and vomited. Argentum nitricum finished that trouble promptly and entirely.”
As the pathology of Argentum nitricum develops, the patient seems to lose intellectual strength and control. Rather he seems to be controlled or almost overwhelmed by his emotions and impulses.
The psychological pathology may begin in a different way; often the patient may confront a type of shock which overwhelms his balance. Frequently this shock comes in the form of a death in the family, or perhaps someone close to him develops a serious disease like cancer. The patient then begins to develop great anxiety, especially concerning his own health. Also, he may develop great concern or anxiety about others, his family or friends. He becomes overly anxious or even frightened when he is alone and, consequently, seeks out company. Argentum nitricum is one of our main remedies for fear of being alone and for a desire for company (Ars., Lyc., Phos.). Fear of death when alone in the night is characteristic. As these tendencies continue, the patient can reach a state of severe anxiety neurosis with irrational behavior.
In Argentum nitricum, the anxiety about health may reach unprecedented heights. When alone he can easily fall prey to panic states during which he trembles all over, mumbles, stutters and even convulses. Many times the entire crisis is attended with frequent stools or diarrhea. An indescribable fear overwhelms the individual and renders him irrational.
At this stage he may sometimes fear that an evil force is affecting him. The patient is gullible, believing the opinions of anybody and everybody concerning his state of health. He develops palpitations and is sure that he is about to have a heart attack. He feels a palpitation, and he freezes thinking, “My God! What is that?” He seems to exaggerate his symptoms dramatically through his imagination. Although in his life he may be a practical businessman, he cannot apply this rationality when in his neurotic states. He is simply overtaken by them.
Alone at night, he is especially anxious, fearful of fainting, and fearful that some sort of calamity will befall him or that death is near. This fear increases gradually until it assumes enormous proportions, overwhelming the individual and precipitating absolute panic. This is the time when he usually ends up in a hospital emergency room. His fears about his health are not always defined, but most of the time they will either be of heart disease, brain stroke or cancer. While in the throes of this crisis of fear he will ask for and seriously consider any advice offered by anyone concerning his health. He will telephone doctors, psychics, relatives and friends alike, one after another, for advice.
For instance, he may seriously take into consideration the explanation offered by a psychic that “he is suffering now because in his past life he was tormenting his wife or cat.” He will try to seriously discuss such an opinion with somebody else he trusts, in spite of the fact that such an explanation makes no sense to him and affords him no actual relief. His agony impels him to find a solution quickly, and his anxiety renders him gullible to such suggestions.
A strange feature which distinguishes some Arg-nitricum patients from Arg-nitricum patients in general is that they do not want everybody to know about their sufferings. Arg-nitricum patients in general usually like to tell their stories and fears to anybody they meet, even asking the milkman for medical advice. These particular Arg-nitricum patients, however, confess their concerns only to people they trust and who they believe may possibly afford some relief to them in their moments of panic. They are afraid that if others know of their problems they will reject them or revoke their affection. This contrast within one remedy is striking.
An Argentum nitricum patient may feel a mild discomfort in his stomach, and the idea of cancer comes to his mind. He literally stops in his tracks and slowly brings up his hand to probe for the dreaded growth. “Oh, my God!” he thinks, “Now, here it is — cancer!” It is an impulsive fear, almost as if he imagines he has “caught” the cancer. This type of anxiety is foolish, almost laughable for others, but to the patient it causes great anxiety and is a source of great annoyance to his family. The patient may reach an intense anxiety with trembling and panic, fear of losing consciousness and flushes of heat. But with all of this fear about his health, in most cases the patient is worried only fitfully. It usually is not a constant fear such as we see in Agaricus, Nitric acid, Arsenicum, or Kali arsenicosum. Rather this patient is one who might feel a little catch in his chest while he is walking up the stairs to his apartment and then has an immediate fear for his heart. He stops on the stairway and examines his chest and his pulse. Then, he goes inside, quickly consumes some of his latest medication, and goes to watch television, hardly remembering his earlier anxiety until he gets another symptom and it starts all over again.
The Argentum nitricum patient may become the type of hypochondriac who takes every medication he can lay his hands on. When he travels, he takes with him all of his bottles of pills, blood pressure gauge, herbal medications, etc. His bathroom cabinet is stuffed with every imaginable remedy. Impulsiveness also characterizes this form of hypochondria. Every new medicine of which he hears sends him anxiously searching for the product. He tries this new preparation for one week and again becomes disappointed. He may in his anxiety make a circuit from doctor to doctor, frequently asking for an electrocardiogram or some other test to be run. His doctor, who may well have become a “friend” in consequence of the frequent visits, may ask him not to return as he finds no reason for concern about his heart. Finding no answers or solutions, the patient may become disappointed and sink into a gloomy state and a kind of apathy. When he is with company, he can escape this mood and enjoy himself. Argentum nitricum is always better with company, ready to communicate his thoughts and feelings to others and forget his sufferings. But after the social engagement, while he is alone, the gloom returns, and he sits and broods over his state of health, convinced again that something is seriously wrong with him.
A fear of hospitals is another common fear of this remedy. At a certain period of his pathology the anxiety about his own health and the fact that he is going to face sick people [a reminder that he may get the same disease] make it impossible to enter a hospital; the prospect generates panic. Another strong feature of this remedy is fear of fainting
(Lac-c.). This fear is connected with his fear of death and anxiety about health. A faint feeling comes as he walks or drives his car, the panic overwhelms him to the point that he has to stop and ask for assistance since he cannot drive or walk further.
In some cases, because of these fears, the patient does not want to leave the house by himself and desires to be with somebody at all times. He fears that something may happen to him if he is out somewhere without company and has no one to assist him.
As alluded to previously, impulsiveness is a major aspect of the Argentum nitricum pathology, this remedy being one of the main remedies for impulsiveness. At first, one may see only a suggestion of impulsiveness in the personality. Later, impulses of an almost superstitious nature appear. Kent describes this state beautifully when he says, “A strange thought comes to his mind that if he goes past a certain corner of the street he will create a sensation, will fall down and have a fit, and to avoid that he will go around the block. He is so reduced in his mental state that he admits into the mind all sorts of impulses…”
For example, a patient may become preoccupied with the thought that he must avoid stepping on the cracks in a sidewalk. He realizes it is silly but cannot bring himself to step on a crack. Later, this impulsive and obsessive tendency may result in paranoid superstitions and fixed ideas. Kent lists Conium and Zincum in the Repertory under the rubric “Superstitious,” but in my opinion Argentum nitricum, Stramonium and Rhus tox. should also be added.
It is at this point that one can see the development of a very peculiar and characteristic type of impulsiveness. It seems that normal thought control mechanisms are hampered in this patient. When an idea occurs to him, he is unable to push it aside. In fact, the more the patient tries to force thoughts from his mind, the stronger the impulse becomes. Some examples will be provided to illustrate this characteristic.
Kent again gives an excellent description: “when crossing a bridge or high place the thought comes that he might kill himself, or perhaps he might jump off, or what if he should jump off, and sometimes the actual impulse comes to jump off the bridge into the water.”
A patient may be sitting on a balcony when the idea comes to his mind, “What would happen if I were to jump off?” Of course, such a thought is not uncommon, but with this patient the thought does not simply pass away. Instead the idea becomes lodged in the patient’s mind, and he begins to fantasize about it. He sees himself getting out of his chair and walking to the edge. He becomes more and more wrapped up in this fantastic scenario as the impulse gains momentum, almost hypnotizing him, until he actually finds himself walking to the railing. Then, just at the moment the impulse reaches its crescendo and he begins to lift his leg over the rail, the image shatters, and the patient returns to his senses. Fearfully, he backs away from the edge and goes inside. In the interview the patient may speak of a fear of heights without volunteering descriptions of such events as the above. This symptomatology seems to be so much a part of his personality that he does not consciously think of it until the impulses reach an alarming proportion. If, however, the homeopathic practitioner describes such a possible scenario to the patient, he will stare in disbelief and exclaim, “My God, yes! How did you know that? You must be some kind of genius!” This statement is typical of the kind of impulsive exclamations frequently made by Argentum nitricum patients.
In another example, the patient may be walking on the sidewalk when he is struck by the idea that perhaps a car will weave off of the road and hit him. He begins to live the accident in his mind and becomes anxious and almost frantic. He sees the car coming toward him, and the fantasy seems to gain momentum. As the fantasy speeds up, so does the patient; he begins to walk faster and faster. As he begins to visualize the car losing control and hears the wheels screeching, he becomes hysterical and verges on breaking into a run. Suddenly he is, in his fantasy, struck by the car, and an image of his crushed and bloody body flashes in his mind. At that instant the fantasy ends with a start, and the patient pauses. “What am I running for?” he wonders and resumes his walk at a normal pace. Thus, the keynote symptom arises — “Anxiety walking, which makes him walk faster.”
Often the patient may experience difficulties when crossing a street. He stands at a crosswalk until the light turns green and then begins to cross. At the same time a car is coming to a halt near the crosswalk. Suddenly, the patient thinks that the car is not going to stop in time. He is just about ready to bolt into a run, visualizing the car running him down, when he returns to his senses, almost with a start. Then, realizing the car has already stopped, he crosses the street at a normal gait. At other times he may have an identical fantasy concerning another pedestrian or perhaps a child crossing the street. For example, he may, while seated in a restaurant, observe through the window a child crossing the street. He imagines the child being hit by a car and may be on the verge of rushing from his seat in an attempt to rescue the child before he looks again and sees that the child is safe.
I once had a patient whom I had treated unsuccessfully for great anxiety about his health. I was unable to find the correct remedy until we spent a few days together in the countryside. We were on a fishing boat and happened to catch a fish that was covered with poisonous stinging spines. I warned him not to touch the fish because it could be very dangerous. We put the fish in a container. Later I was alarmed to turn around and see him closely examining the creature. He had his hand dangerously close to the spines. I warned him away for a second time, but a few minutes later I looked back to see his fingers close to the fish again. It was obvious that he was fascinated by the danger and could not steer his thoughts away from the poisonous fish. When I asked him why he was doing that, he did not answer me, most probably not knowing himself. I then saw the remedy for his anxiety! Argentum nitricum cured him promptly. After several years the remedy was repeated for a relapse of his anxieties, and again the remedy acted.
There seems to be a type of attraction to imaginable, dangerous situations; the patient becomes hypnotized with the thought: “What would have happened if… , … if I had fallen down the stairs, … if I had touched the poison needles, … if I probed a wire in the plug, etc.” But Argentum nitricum will not be the type of patient who engages in really dangerous activities, such as driving at breakneck speed down a twisted highway, etc. He actually prefers cozy, easy pastimes and enjoys the pleasures of life. He will try to avoid ordeals.
In yet another example, a student may be trying to study some subject, but he is unable to really concentrate. He seems to be suffering from brain fag as a consequence of the exertion of studying. He idly looks about the room; the electrical outlet catches his eye and he thinks, “I wonder what would happen if I put a screwdriver into that outlet?” He tries to redirect his mind back to his work, but these thoughts just will not leave him. Finally he picks up the screwdriver and walks over to the outlet, catching himself just as he is about to insert the screwdriver in the outlet. If someone should walk in just at this moment and surprise the patient, he would be quite embarrassed. He understands that he was acting on an irrational impulse, out of foolishness, and that his behavior was not normal. He feels that he has to try to explain what he was doing, so he fishes around in his mind for some justification, typically coming up with some lame excuse, a foolish, illogical rationale: “I was just checking the size of the wire in this outlet.” It says in the text: “He gave all sorts of queer reasons for his strange conduct, endeavoring to cover up his foolishness that he himself realizes.”
Another patient imagines that he must not turn at a particular corner because some tragedy will befall him if he turns onto that street. He carefully avoids or becomes incapable of entering that block. He realizes the stupidity of it all but cannot avoid it. Here again one sees the superstitious element.
Sometimes the brain fag is so powerful that he feels that he is not in touch with reality; in such cases the patient becomes so irrational and obstinate that he may object to something for no reason at all, just for the sake of objecting.
All of the above are some examples of the impulsiveness and irrational thinking portrayed in Argentum nitricum. The practitioner does not have to take these examples word for word but must understand the gist or spirit behind them which can be applied in appropriate cases. It is a certainty that different cultures may present the same symptomatology in a modified manner.
As the impulses become more deeply entrenched, the patient can reach a stage of compulsive neurosis or fixed ideation. He may be alarmed by an impulse to kill someone, perhaps even his own child. Having reached this stage, when he comes to the interview, he will quickly confess all of his compulsions and will be eager to receive help. At other times, especially during acute illnesses, the patient may develop an irrational idea that he will die at some particular hour of the day (Acon., Agn. c.). He becomes certain that he will die at three o’clock, for instance, and he watches the clock with agony.
Fear of heights
Of course, Argentum nitricum has many fears which are often associated with these impulses. He has great fear of heights and an unsteadiness or vertigo when standing in high places. One distinctive feature which can be seen in this fear of heights is a fear even when looking up at tall buildings. The fear may be expressed as merely a discomfort when near a tall building or an actual fear that the building will come crashing down on him. A similar feeling may occur if there are a lot of clouds in the sky — he fears that they will fall on him.
Tyler describes an interesting case: “A wee boy of 4 3/4 was curiously ill- mentally. The history was: measles before he was two; then double pneumonia and (?) meningitis. He “rolled his head” and had evidently marked opisthotonos. “When he began to walk he walked backwards.” Now had “terrible nights, with much screaming” and “mad” attacks by day. Was in terror of his father, by night.-“Daddy might look at me!” He said of people, “They make me bleed, and I’ll make them bleed.” He said the next house was “going to fall on him;” that “the clouds are coming down on him.” Great fear of noise. After a couple of doses of Argentum nitricum the next report was very much better. Lost the things coming down on him. Fears all gone.”
Interestingly, during the Argentum nitricum’s depression there is an actual tendency or impulse to jump from a high window or balcony.
Argentum nitricum has a peculiar fear of narrow bridges. The patient, when confronted by a footbridge, may be totally incapable of crossing it. He becomes unsteady on his feet, vertiginous, and goes down on all fours in order to cross it. It seems that this dizziness is partially due to an actual vestibular dysfunction and partially to a fear of falling from a height.
Another classic fear of Argentum nitricum is claustrophobia. The patient may be completely incapable of entering an elevator, prefering to walk several flights of stairs instead. In some cases the anxiety about health is aggravated in a closed room. He may be comfortable sitting and conversing in a small room until his companion gets up to leave and closes the door. At that point he suddenly feels enclosed in the room. The room feels like a tomb; there is a feel of death about it, and he becomes quite anxious. The patient may also suffer claustrophobia when in a crowd or a theater (Acon.). He must sit close to the rear of the theater for he cannot bear the thought of being caught in a line when leaving. This claustrophobia will arise again in the delusions of Argentum nitricum. In febrile deliriums or in advanced mental cases the patient may have a delusion that the walls are about to crash in upon him.
It is easy to understand from the nature of these many fears that the Argentum nitricum patient may well also have a fear of tunnels. Furthermore, combining the fear of heights and the fear of narrow places, one finds that Argentum nitricum also produces a fear of travelling by airplane. It must be stressed again that it is not necessary that a patient have all these fears in order to merit the remedy; a few of the fears will suffice as long as he possesses the general qualities attributed to this remedy.
The progression of mental pathology by degrees seen in this remedy is an important element to understand. The patients first display anxiety and impulsiveness and then become more and more fitful, impulsive, fidgety and restless. From these transient states of impulsive behavior the disturbance crescendoes until the whole nervous system is in tremendous turmoil. Their memory breaks down completely; they cannot remember words, cannot remember the name of their spouse nor to whom they are married. They become very impulsive and assertive in a crazy way — shouting, demanding, slapping their own face, especially when they cannot find the right words. It is a deep degenerative process. It is similar to the picture of Alzheimer’s disease. When such an advanced state has been reached, Argentum nitricum will afford some relief, but it will not cure; the case is too far gone.
This same idea of escalation of pathology applies to chorea; Argentum nitricum covers the entire range of chorea, from slight choreic movements to states of violent choreic movement. The severe chorea can be so violent that the patient can hardly remain in his seat or bed. Similarly with regard to anxiety, these patients may progress from transient states of mild anxiety to states where the anxiety reaches panic dimensions and can cause tremendous tremblings and convulsions throughout the body. The last stage of Argentum nitricum (such as in old age) is characterized by a state of apathy with loss of memory (where they search to find the right words), a generalized trembling, ataxic gait, and an old appearance — the face looks much older than seems consistent with the chronological age.
Argentum nitricum is one of the warmest remedies in our Materia Medica. There is a marked aggravation from heat of any sort. The patient is ameliorated by cold — cold bathing, cold applications; riding or walking in cold winds all relieve the patient. In some rare instances there can also be an aggravation from the cold. Usually the complaints are worse in the summer.
Another factor which aggravates the patient is lying on the right side. Palpitations, dysphoria, flatulence and abdominal colic can all be precipitated or aggravated by lying on the right side.
As mentioned earlier, Argentum nitricum is an important remedy in seizure disorders. During the convulsion the patient loses consciousness completely. During the aura the patient may experience a sensation as if the body were expanding. Besides these actual epileptic disorders, we sometimes find trembling of the whole body, especially after breakfast.
There is a general tendency for growths — papillomas, fibromas, warts and condylomata occur throughout the body, as well as a tendency for easy ulceration, not so much on the skin as on the mucous membranes. A general characteristic of the pains of this remedy, wherever they occur, is their splinter-like quality.
There is general trembling and weakness. There is also a peculiar type of periodical weakness. The patient may be completely well and strong, but then, frequently at the time of the menses in women, a weakness overtakes her. The weakness may come with exact periodicity or at more irregular intervals. The severity of this debility can be so extreme that one may suspect adrenal insufficiency. Sometimes the weakness may be so pervasive that the patient cannot even dress herself. In fact, one patient said that she was so weak that she was unable to lift a newspaper. The patient may become extremely upset after suffering from such attacks; everything will irritate her at these times. Finally she may sink into a despairing state about this condition, crying because she feels that nothing can be done to help her.
This remedy covers diseases of the nervous system very well: multiple sclerosis, ALS, myopathies, demyelinating diseases, epilepsy and chorea.
There is a sensation of enlargement of the head which is felt as a painful congestion and fullness, especially during pregnancy. The sensation is ameliorated by wrapping the head. Congestion of the head with throbbing of the carotids and a feeling of discomfort around the throat.
Headaches may be produced by emotional excitement, but more especially from frights and also from mental exertion. The headaches frequently have a slow, gradual onset but then decrease rapidly. On the other hand, Argentum nitricum also produces a violent headache which starts very suddenly. Here again we see an amelioration from pressure; often the patient may find relief by wrapping or binding the head. Headaches, once they reach their peak, end in vomiting many times. It is characteristic that with the headache the patient feels extremely disturbed, miserable and very weak.
The headaches may be accompanied by transient blindness. They are often worse at night from the warmth of the bed. There may be aggravation from strong odors, even if they are agreeable. Boring headache in left or right frontal eminence, extending to the nape of the neck, worse from motion (Bry.). Headache in temples, extending to upper jaw. Stupefying headaches. Lies with eyes closed, senseless.
Feels as if bones of scalp were separated. A peculiar sensation as if the brain were stirred with a spoon.
Vertigo from heights or when closing the eyes. Vertigo when crossing a narrow bridge. The patient may experience a type of vertigo as if drunk. There is a syndrome of vertigo, with inner trembling and tachycardia, and a fainting feeling. Sometimes in epilepsy vertigo precedes the attack.
Argentum nitricum produces many eye complaints. These complaints generally occur from overuse and heat, as in warm rooms. The complaints are, conversely, ameliorated by cold applications. There is a peculiar granular inflammation of the conjunctiva which produces a sharply delineated red area which is bright red and raw, like raw meat. If this condition progresses, one finds the formation of ulcers either on the conjunctiva or the cornea, with pain as from a splinter. In general, there is redness of the eyes ameliorated by open air, redness of the conjunctivae and the eyelids. Also, one sees purulent discharges from the eyes.
Argentum nitricum is an important remedy for photophobia. The photophobia may occur after straining the eyes. Also, the photophobia may be aggravated in a warm room, and, in fact, Argentum nitricum is the main remedy for that symptom. Dim vison of the left eye with headache on the right side. Sudden presbyopia in younger persons.
Violent purulent opthalmia, especially of the newborn. Inflammation of the eyelids with thick crusts. Acute granular conjuctivitis. Ulceration of cornea. In epileptic conditions a dilation of the pupils may be noted before the convulsion. Sensation as if the eyeballs are enlarged.
Noises in the ear with vertigo. Ringing in the ears accompanied by partial deafness; ringing in ears in the morning in bed. Pain in the morning after rising.
Ulcers in posterior nares with yellow crusts and pus. Epistaxis from right nostril on blowing the nose. Sore, bruised pain externally when compressing wings.
Pain in right wing; clawing, tingling pain in posterior nares. Violent itching in hay fever, with lachrymation, headache and chilliness. Twitching, creeping sensation under skin, left side. Itching: rubs constantly. Acute sense of smell; smells real and imaginary odors; sensitive to the odor of coffee.
I have found that the traditional description of the Argentum nitricum face as looking “old” is misguiding. The face is usually dark red with full red lips, giving the impression of a strong circulatory system and a strong vitality. Also, there may be a bluish tint to the face, especially during the menses. In advanced cases or cases of nutrient malabsorption the face may appear prematurely old with a shrivelled appearance (Ambra grisea, Secale). The aged appearance of Argentum nitricum contrasts with Calcarea carbonica, which may appear old due to a furrowing of the face created by fine squares of wrinkles; it also contrasts with Lycopodium, in which the upper half of the body seems to be aging.
Condylomata in the pharynx and mouth, found predominantly on the palate.
The papillae on the tongue may stand out erectly and become very sore.
Also, the patient may complain of a sour taste in the mouth. This sour taste can be a strong component in some cases of trigeminal neuralgia. The tongue is sometimes white and moist or has bluish spots and a red painful tip. Toothache from sour things.
In the pharynx one sees all types of inflammations. Chronic inflammations with thick, tenacious mucous are found. The pharynx may assume a dark red color. The pain in these inflammations is often felt as a splinter (Hep., Kali c.) and is worse with swallowing (Hep., Nit. ac.). The pain is often ameliorated from cold drinks.
Argentum nitricum is one of the main remedies for loss of voice (chronic laryngitis) in public speakers, opera singers, especially when they try to raise their voice, in which case they will have pain or coughing. Sudden loss of voice. Chronic hoarseness.
All kinds of growths in the throat — warts, fibromas, papillomata, condylomata — as well as polyps and condylomata of the vocal cords.
A famous keynote for Argentum nitricum is a desire for sweets, though sweets aggravate — eructations, flatulence, diarrhea, burning of the stomach, etc. (Ign.). There may be an even more unusual desire for plain sugar, and Argentum nitricum is the only remedy with a desire for sugar in the evening. The desire for sweets may become intense just before the menses. Often the patient may want rich foods and rich sweets, which produce indigestion. There is often an aversion to fat.
Also, a desire for salt and salty foods is often present.
Desire for strong cheese. One can see a strong aversion to pork which can cause a misdiagnosis of Pulsatilla, especially since both remedies have aggravation from heat, fear of the dark, sympathy, etc.
Loss of appetite with no desire to drink; or good appetite though the stomach is easily upset. It is suited to people who have digestive problems since starting to drink large amounts of alcohol. Distension of the stomach with violent belching.
This is one of the most prominent remedies for people who have the tendency to eructate all the time. Eructations are continuous, violent, explosively loud, and they do not usually afford the relief one would expect. There are empty eructations after eating, especially after sweets. The eructations may come with great difficulty after eating. Sometimes we find loud eructations from being emotionally excited. One can even encounter a fainting feeling from eructations. Eructations which are accompanied by a mouthful of undigested food. Eructations on rising from bed.
There can be pains in the stomach or abdomen, especially when lying on the right side. There is often gastric discomfort with a sense of constriction which may lead to a tendency to faint. The distension is not relieved by belching; however, the fullness may produce a desire for stool which does relieve the discomfort. Diarrhea seems to be the great outlet for any upset, whether physical or emotional, in Argentum nitricum. Another peculiar keynote of this remedy is vomiting of mucus during the diarrhea. Diarrhea alternates with constipation in cases of indigestion.
Vomiting of a milky substance may relieve the gastric complaints. Nausea from the smell of coffee. Nausea is ameliorated by sour things (Ptelea).
In cases of duodenal ulcer we see incessant vomiting of food until the stomach is empty. Pain in small spots radiating in different directions. Painful swelling in the epigastrium, worse by the slightest pressure, which is accompanied by fear of having cancer or an indescribable anxiety.
Likewise in the abdomen there is great distension with much explosive flatus. The distension is not relieved by eructations or flatus. With the distension, the abdomen is sensitive to clothing, and there is intolerance to tight clothing.
The liver region is especially sensitive to pressure. A feeling of a band around the right hypochondria. Also, one finds a sensation of emptiness in the abdomen after stool and trembling of the abdomen during eating, especially after menses.
This remedy is one of the most flatulent. Especially in the morning, on waking, there is marked flatulence without relief. The flatulence is worse when the patient eats sugar or sweets.
The patient often experiences diarrhea, especially from emotional causes.
Diarrhea from excitement, from anticipating an appointment, from anxiety, is a keynote of Argentum nitricum. One also sees diarrhea from drinking water.
The diarrhea is ameliorated by eating acid food. Involuntary stool during urination or when not straining, while it is difficult to have a voluntary stool.
Stool with green fetid mucus, with a lot of flatulence, worse at night. Violent diarrhea like spinach flakes after eating sweets or having been emotionally upset. Acrid stool that burns the anus from morning till noon. Diarrheic stool comes on as soon as he drinks; the water appears to be immediately expelled from the rectum. Explosive flatus. Condylomata of the rectum.
Various types of cystitis can be seen. Often the patient must run to the bathroom for fear that he might lose his urine, and, in fact, involuntary urination can occur.
Loses urine constantly.
Retention of urine. In some cases the urine will not pass regardless of how forcefully the patient strains; then, as soon as he ceases straining, the urine passes involuntarily. Urine passes unnoticed in cases of neuromuscular diseases.
Tearing pains in the ureters, extending downwards or from kidney region to the bladder, which is made worse by touch, motion or even inspiration. Dropping of burning urine after urination. Useful in the early stages of gonorrhea, with profuse purulent discharge and severe cutting pains, bloody urine, and painful erections.
Genitalia – male
As stated previously, the patient normally has a strong sexual desire that can drive him too easily to masturbation and sexual excesses, but a state of impotence can eventually supervene in which the erection fails at the initiation of intercourse.
Often the loss of the erection will occur because of the impulsive state of mind.
The patient may be involved with the sexual act, but then some usually silly, and often fearful, thought enters his mind and disrupts his mood. He is unable to push the thought aside and loses his erection. The sexual organs can become shrivelled. Enlargement of right testicle. Itching in the genitals during urination.
Genitalia – female
In women one may see vaginal pain during coition. Prolapsus with ulceration of the cervix. Also, bleeding after coitus can occur. In general, however, the menses are scanty or suppressed, sometimes lasting only one day. Ulceration of the uterus. Pain in ovaries extending to sacral region. Sensation as if the right ovary is swollen. Menses copious.
They suffer from asthmatic respiration as a consequence of gaseous distension of the stomach. There is a feeling as if there is an iron band around the chest or a very heavy stone in the middle of the chest. Desires to take a deep breath, which aggravates the dyspnea. The dyspnea is also worse if there are many people in the room. There may be intense palpitations, especially when the patient lies on the right side. The patient often describes the palpitation as so severe that he feels as if his heart will jump out of position. In some cases the palpitations are relieved by hard pressure on the sternum. Anxiety felt in heart region after eating at night. Pain in the heart that makes breathing almost impossible. Pains of angina pectoris, worse at night.
There is often heaviness in the lumbosacral region which is aggravated by stool, but ameliorated by standing. There can be a similar heaviness in the coccyx with these same modalities. Pain in the lumbar region which is ameliorated by walking and aggravated by sitting or rising from a seat. There can also be back pain which is aggravated by flatulence. Chills or coldness extending upwards after eating. Pain in lumbar region or sacrum or coccyx, worse sitting, ameliorated by standing.
As a general characteristic, Argentum nitricum has incoordination of the extremities, especially the lower extremities. It is one of the main remedies for ataxia. There can be weakness of the extremities, often the lower extremities, in the afternoon. Heaviness of the limbs occurs. As with the weakness of the legs, one also finds a heaviness of the legs occuring in the afternoon. In severe neurological disorders a painless paralysis of the lower extremities can be found.
A special area of weakness in this remedy is the forearms; heaviness of the forearms is a strong characteristic of Argentum nitricum. There is severe numbness of the forearms during the night in sleep, with intolerance of any touch; even the touch of clothing aggravates. Numbness of the extremities. Numbness of the feet.
There can be great coldness of all the extremities. Coldness of the forearms during the menses can be considered a keynote of Argentum nitricum in spite of the fact that this is a warm-blooded remedy. Coldness of the shoulder after eating. Sometimes the legs become cold and blue.
Trembling of the extremities. Great restlessness that can eventuate in the violent motions that are characteristic of such diseases as chorea. Many times tremendous restlessness precedes convulsions. Trembling of the whole body periodically.
The vivid imagination of Argentum nitricum may give rise to sleeplessness as a consequence of fantasizing; however, if the patient goes to sleep, he sleeps deeply and heavily and is prone to experience horrible nightmares of insects, muddy waters, friends who died long ago, violence, or of snakes. Sexual dreams. Wakes up in the morning with a lot of flatulence, heaviness and headaches.
Acidity. Addison’s disease. Anaemia. Chancre. Dyspepsia. Epilepsy. Eructations. Erysipelas. Affections of eyes. Flatulence. Gastric ulcer. Gonorrhoea. Swelling of hands. Headache. Heartburn. Impetigo. Locomotor ataxy. Neuralgia. Ophthalmia neonoatorum. Paralysis. Enlargement of prostate. Scarlatina. Small-pox. Spinal irritation. Syphilis. Altered taste. Affections of throat. Ulcerated tongue. Warts. Zona.
Apprehension, fear or fright. Intemperate habits. Mental strain and worry. Onanism. Sugar.
It follows well: Bryonia, Spigelia [dyspepsia], Causticum [urethral affections], Spongia [goitre], Veratrum album. Is followed well by: Lycopodium [flatus].
Related: Argentum metallicum, Arsenicum, Lycopodium, Mercurius vivus, Phosphorus, Natrum muriaticum, Pulsatilla, Sepia. Complementary to: Calcarea carbonica, Natrum muriaticum, Pulsatilla, Sepia.
Antidoted by: Natrum muriaticum [chemical and dynamic], Arsenicum album, Mercury, Nitric acid, milk, coffee. Antidotes to Argentum nitricum: Pulsatilla, Calcarea carbonica, Sepia; next in importance: Lycopodium, Silicea, Rhus toxicodendron, Phosphorus, Sulphur.
It antidotes: Ammonium, Causticum, effects of tobacco.
Foods inimical to it: Cold food, frozen food, pastry, rich food, sour, sweets, alcoholic stimulants, tobacco and cold drinks.
In anxiety states the potency should be from 200C upwards; in other pathological cases the potency can range from 6x upwards depending on the depth of the pathology and the strength of the organism.
Patient, Mrs. F. A. H., aged sixty-six, Ithaca, N. Y.
Illness for a long period at intervals. A daughter urged for a homeopathic physician for treatment inasmuch as the pain had continued a long period. A fairly good history of the case was written by the daughter and mailed to me, arriving about March 8,1924, at Millbrook, N. Y. Pain in the stomach for indefinite periods. Troublesome at periods for twenty years or longer. Pains recur always by motion of the arms and back, also by sweeping, causing great fatigue and exhaustion. Relief of pain by pressure on the stomach, and on leaning over the back of a chair. Great restlessness attends the pain. Kent’s repertory was used, and the selected remedy was Argentum Nitricum 30x, which was mailed. A report was requested in ten days. In that period the response informed me the relief came in ten hours.
More tablets were requested for an emergency and were mailed. It is now nearly two years and no attacks have occurred.
Mrs. H. aged 25, a school teacher, consulted me several years ago for too profuse and frequent menstruation. During my absence one summer she consulted a member of the dominant school, and he recommended and performed currettement. She had no trouble for about a year thereafter. Then her menorrhagia returned. About two years ago she consulted me again. I made an examination and diagnosed a fibroid. She was weak from loss of blood when I saw her and much discouraged, wanted an operation. I treated her with several remedies, chiefly Argent nit. 500, for about two months with much benefit. She was in fear that the hemorrhage would return and, at my suggestion, she consulted a prominent gynecologist of our school in Philadelphia. He confirmed my diagnosis and recommended an operation, either immediate or about the Christmas holidays when she could best spare the time. She decided to wait until Christmas and she is still waiting for she never had any more hemorrhages, nor pains, menstruates regularly and normally. The symptoms which led me to select Argent nit. were cutting pains in the right ovarian region and [sacrum] sometimes radiating to the thigh, the uterine hemorrhages and frequent loud eructations. She also had several intercurrent doses of Sulphur 55m and 70m as occasion required.
Mrs. H. L. D.- This patient had suffered [more mentally than otherwise perhaps] for years from what had been variously named anemia, indigestion, chronic intestinal atony with its attendant constipation and heart trouble.
Driven by an intense apprehension, and aided by ample means, she had sought many and various specialists, each of whom had instituted and maintained his own vigorous up-to-the-minute scientific treatment, heroic and futile to a marked degree. Her husband [my patient] finally brought her to me and I was given two weeks to bring about a change where my predecessors had had months, even years. However, I accepted the challenge, and immediately took the following symptoms: Much loud belching of gas, great relief therefrom. Marked chachexia: fearful and anticipates trouble. No stool without cathartics for thirty years. I prescribed Arg nit. This remedy, repeated at long intervals, has restored this woman to health. She now has daily normal stools.
- M., girl, age 2 years. Enteritis. Patient was in general hospital for six weeks, but was brought back home. There was no improvement in her condition and was placed under the treatment of one of the leading allopaths in the city for another two or three weeks, but she was going from bad to worse. When the patient came under my treatment, I noticed the following symptoms: She was quite emaciated, looked like a withered old person. She was short-breathed, and her father thought she was dying. She was having three or four stools every hour. They were greenish, slimy and offensive. On questioning, I learned that the little patient was extremely fond of sugar. Rx: Argent. nit. 1M, four doses, one powder every two hours. The next day when I saw her I was pleased to hear that there was some improvement. Breathing was not so rapid and her appetite slightly better and her bowels were not moving so frequently. Rx Sac lac. From day to day there was a noticeable improvement, and after three weeks the bowels became normal. I may mention that the patient was given nothing but Sac. lac. since the first prescription of Argent. nit. 1M.
This was the turning point in my career as a homeopathic physician. The parents of this patient were very grateful to me, for they went on singing my praises, and the people commenced to take the new “American Doctor” more seriously.
Diarrhea, driving out of bed – after breakfast – from emotional excitement, if going to a dance or the theatre. Aggravation from sweets. Eruptions on face and arms. Aggravation standing, after typhoid.
Arg. nit. 1M cured.
Lady, 55, well-built, precise, loquacious. Post-nasal catarrh of years standing. Tongue black coating, thirty-three remedies; desire sweets, twelve remedies; >> air, seven remedies; cough days only, two remedies – Arg. met., Lyc.; deaf left ear, one remedy, Arg. nit; H. A. frontal, agg. morning.
Dec. 30, 1912. Arg. nit. 10 M. produced a speedy relief of catarrh. About three months later gave Arg. 50 M. Heard of patient but once. Catarrh had then completely left her.
You will notice cough days only in Arg. met.; deafness left ear, Arg. nit; this may look somewhat like juggling with the truth, but as the metal is contained in the Nitrate and the metal produced the symptom, we may suppose the Nitrate to produce the same symptom in a sufficiently sensitive patient.
Argentum nitricum in Chorea. By Dr. Gross.
Theresa G., aged six and a half, a robust girl, always had been healthy when two months ago the first indications of chorea began to be manifested, which were treated without success allopathically by anthelmintics. When I saw the child, on May 2nd, I also was impressed with a suspicion of helminthiasis, and the whole symptom complex pointed to Mercurius. I accordingly gave Mercur. sol. H. 6, a few globules mornings and evenings, and on the 9th day, three lumbrici [intestinal parasitic worms] and a considerable quantity of whitish-yellow tough mucus was discharged. After that, I waited some time without giving medicine. No more worms or mucus were discharged, and the chorea continued unabated. On the thirteenth day of my treatment I gave China 3, twice a day a few pellets, and again mucus evacuation without worms occurred, and at six days after, signs of worms could no longer be discerned. I gave Calcarea carb., still hoping that with the total extinction of the deranged digestion, which made possible the creation of worms, the chorea would abate and cease; three weeks later, during which time Calcarea carb. 18th, in globules, had been given at first once a day, then every third day, I had succeeded in doing away with the sour smell of the mouth, the attacks of colic and the bloated abdomen, but the chorea remained same as forty days before when I commenced treatment. On June 9th I find the following chorea symptoms recorded in my journal:
Persistent swaying of the body while walking or sitting, as if the spinal column were unable to support the body; there is passive falling of the head from one side to the other; tearing in the arms, jerking the arms outward and upward; uncertainty of the hands; the child must make several attempts before being able to grasp anything with its hands or fingers; its food has to be put into its mouth. Similar jerkings in the lower as in the upper extremities; upward jerkings of the upper thighs and of the feet; to tread securely is impossible. The walk is by starts, a heavy laborious stamping, and she often falls to the floor; can only walk with support with manifold flinging of the lower extremities. Speech is indistinct; she rolls her tongue for several minutes in the mouth before succeeding in uttering a word. All other functions are in order, sleep is normal and the ailment appears on awaking.
Ordination: Argentum nitr. 4, one grain daily, dry on the tongue. On the third day the spasmodic motions of the throat and muscles of the tongue have ceased, the jerkings of the extremities have moderated. The head obeys the will, speech is normal; four days later the child was able to eat by itself, though with exertion. From June 24th on, I gave Argentum nitr. 12, in pellets, one dose every third day, and by July 1st her feet felt so secure that she walked in the street alone. On July 22d, the forty-third of the Argentum nitr. treatment and the eightly-third of the whole treatment, I was able to dismiss her, cured.
On December 28th a girl aged 4 was brought by its mother. It was a strong child, looking quite blooming. The mother held it fast in her arms, for it could neither walk nor stand. It twisted and writhed and struggled violently, as if suffering most violent pains. The spasms in the muscles of the tongue, in the larynx and trachea, were especially violent. The little patient breathed with difficulty and irregularly, and having at the same time a catarrh of the bronchia, she seemed to suffocate for want of breath. The oblique muscles of the eyes were in full activity which, with a recurring spasm of the miserecti [medial rectus muscles] of the eye, gave her an indescribably sinister expression. The very red face seemed to indicate an active congestion of the brain. But the heart, the pulse and carotids negated this supposition. This condition was sustained for over two weeks and there was no remission during sleep. If the nurse absented herself for a few minutes, she would beat her hands and ankles against the sides of her little cot, injuring them.
Otherwise all organic functions were in order. Chorea continuing during sleep is, according to my experience, a bad symptom, and forebodes an unfavorable prognosis. I prescribed, on December 28th, Argentum nitr., 4th trit., two grains vigorously shaken up in a vial with pellets. Of these pellets I gave a few every six hours. The first night the girl slept without the muscular spasm, and on awaking was able to eat, breathing tranquilly, for the spasmodic condition of the tongue, throat and windpipe had abated.
The rump and the extremities quieted down by January 9th to 20th, so that this attack of minor chorea was cured within twelve days from commencement of treatment.
Lisette G., aged 11, of scrofulous constitution, flabby muscles, very well nourished, of gentle disposition, was troubled by chorea symptoms in consequence of a fright, since over eight months. During the whole time this girl suffered with jerks and sudden tearing in the arms and fingers, in consequence of which she had been frequently punished on account of poor penmanship and want of proficiency in fancy work. Her folks frequently remonstrated with her on account of uncanny movements while walking on the street, especially because of needless turnings of the body, for the muscles of the back and neck seem to have been implicated for a considerable time. The layman cannot differentiate in such cases between a bad habit and sickness. On January12th the girl suffered a second fright. She was knocked down by a runaway horse, and remained prostrate and unconscious. Recovering after a few minutes, she was able to walk, but her face was distorted by fightful convulsions and she beat about her with her arms. When brought to bed she began to nod with her head and to throw it back. She made inarticulate noises and stamped her feet. Her face was reddened, eyes injected, wild looks. Had violent palpitation of the heart; pulse is hard, beats over 100.
An examination of the whole body failed to disclose any injury, or even a trace of a contusion. Aconite 3rd quieted the arterial system, but the chorea broke out on the second day in a fearful manner. The whole motor nervous system seemed to be implicated; the hundred and one diverse movements mock description. The child twisted herself in bed, cowered together into a ball, and in the next moment propelled herself to a horizontal position and bent backwards until her head touched her feet.
She flung her extremities together and apart with incredible force; she tore the bedding and the clothing of her two nurses, who had to watch her day and night. After three to five hours of such turmoil, quite conscious all the while, she would have a deep swooning sleep for half an hour. At night she slept from four to six hours, and awoke refreshed to a renewal of her affliction. The trembling of her tongue and incessant motion of the muscles of deglutition, and the powerful and irregular expansions and contractions, afforded the patient but little time to drink water or tea in small quantities, and she suffered with thirst and demanded to eat.
I tried to quiet patient by giving Opium, 3rd trit., every three hours, a small powder dry on the tongue, but with no effect at all. After that the choice lay between Stramonium, Belladonna and Hyoscyamus, and I concluded to give the last. Hyoscyamus 12th for the first day, and the 3rd on the second day, one to two drops every four hours, had no effect to speak of. The motion grew less violent, but insufficient nourishment and exhaustion may have been the cause of that.
To alleviate this misery, I commenced, on January18th, to give Argentum nitr. 2nd trit., two grains every six hours, and observed that with the fourth dose the tongue became quiet, and the next day the region in and around the neck became more quiet; the head only made slow, simple nodding movements; patient drank without obstacle, and swallowed soup proffered in a spoon – by watching a favorable moment of cessation of the spasms, but she could not take soup in long draughts without interruption – a sign that the will was beginning to influence the motor nerve. The muscles of the rump and of the extremities retained their incessant action until the 6th day of the action of lunar caustic.
From the 22nd of January, it was no longer necessary to have a nurse watch the child uninterruptedly. She would writhe and struggle and bend herself, then sit up in bed in a certain rhythmical slow tempo. She ate and drank in the midst of these movements, biding her time. Her speech was altogether indistinct and inarticulate. The other functions proceeded normally. Patient now received mornings and evenings Argentum nitr. 4, one-grain doses, and for the next ten days made very satisfactory progressing convalescence. But about this time she experienced a violent shock, a fancied slight, an untimely threat, which seemed to have the effect of a fright, caused a bad relapse.
All symptoms and motions recurred with most intense and increased activity, and all this was accompanied by such intense cutting and burning colic, with diarrhea and nausea; that I was forced to interpolate Colocynth. The stomach and intestinal symptoms subsided in a few hours, and on the day following we could go back to Argentum nitr. 4, which was given every six hours.
From February 3d, recovery made unexpectedly rapid strides. First the motor nerves of the tongue subsided, then those of the throat external and inner, then those of the rump, and lastly those of the extremities; and on february 14th the child was entirely restored to health, on the twenty-eighth day of the medication with Argentum nitr., and on the thirty-fourth of the total treatment.
- Margaret L., aged 16, had chorea for over two and one-half years. During the whole first year, the jerks of the extremities and of the muscles of the rump occurred isolated; at home and at school the symptoms were looked upon as a bad habit, and she was accordingly admonished. After that there occurred distortion of the face, and one-sided contraction of the muscles of the back, so that while sitting or walking she was bent in a semi-circle. About this time her disposition became strikingly downcast and her character stubborn. She also had attacks of violent toothaches and tic douleureux.
Not until then was a physician [Allopathic] consulted, who treated her for a year and a half without success. The chorea assumed frightful proportions, and the prosopalgia held pace in the aggravation. The physician declared the case to be incurable, but held out a hope that the advent of catamenia might bring a turn for the better.
I saw the patient first on November 11th. She lay in bed; was very emaciated, face pallid, bearing the impression of a deep-seated affliction. The eyes were dim; devoid of expression as if idiotic. The head turned and rocked on the rump in a circular motion; the mouth moved as if masticating, and with the tongue she made a loud, smacking noise. The spine bent in all directions, and the extremities executed hundreds of movements with great force. The uninterrupted agility of the muscles necessitated a close watch night and day; there was a constant danger of the patient being propelled out of bed. The lass was protected by a mattress, because she had beaten her hands and ankles sore already. At night she would sleep quiet for a few minutes to half an hour, very seldom for a few hours at a time, but with the moment of awakening the movements recommenced. Eating and drinking, as well as the least mental disturbance or the presence of strange persons in the sick room aggravated her condition.
The organs of respiration as well as those of digestion were undisturbed; the menses were absent. With all this, the patient’s mind was very dejected; she wept a good deal, thought herself neglected and at night she was pestered by visions; she saw dead persons and ghosts, which made her tremble and perspire with apprehension, and would only quiet down in a measure if her mother laid down with her in bed, embraced her as close as possible, and loudly spoke soothing words to her. The prosopalgia which had lasted for eighteen months, proceeded from the last two apparently healthy molars of the left lower jaw, and extended to the left eye. The paroxysms exacerbated to delirium and downright desperation; they were aggravated by cough, warm food and noise. It appeared regularly at dusk every evening, and in two or three attacks before midnight. At the same time the chorea rose to the highest pitch, so that even with best of care she could not altogether be protected from contusions.
I was in hopes of being able, by curing the prosopalgia, to exert a beneficent influence on the chorea. The former was ameliorated within three weeks by the exhibition of Phosphorus and Hyoscyamus, but it took Ignatia to heal it altogether by December 14th, or within thirty-four days of the treatment, a cure which lacks the cito. But my hopes were disappointed; the toothache and neuralgia had disappeared entirely, but the chorea steadily increased in intensity. It was a case of major chorea, with visions, exaltations, hallucinations, with intermissions and paroxysms, the latter appearing on the minute. After midnight was the relatively quietest time. A strong suspicion of worms, i.e. , of ascarides, which had been seen at times some months back in the stool, induced me to lose a week in giving Spigelia, Valeriana and Cina. No worms were passed, and the chorea steadily progressed.
Finally I resorted to Argentum nitr., which twice had done me good service, but which I was loathe to prescribe because it had so few of the symptoms of this disease.
On January 9th I gave a new powder containing one grain of 3rd trit., to be given every forenoon at 10 o’clock, dry on the tongue.
It was high time. Loss of appetite, sobbing, fever, and a serious decrease in strength supervened, with dullness bordering on idiocy.
In the night, from the 9th to the 10th, patient slept from midnight until late in the morning without having had any of the evening and pre-midnight attacks. The visions and hallucinations ceased that night. On the third day a decided improvement was perceptible also in the muscular spasms. On February 2nd the patient for the first time left her bed and was able to sit on a chair, somewhat insecure, for the limbs still made erratic movements. But mouth, throat and rump were remarkably quiet, and she was able to walk with support.
With a tranquil mind, healthy appetite and especially quiet sleep, she soon regained her strength. With the beginning of March the menses appeared copiously and without trouble.
Patient sat and took walks without attendants and help, with only isolated jerks such as she had thirty months before. Argentum nitr. was given in the 4th to 6th trit., and in the12th dilution at greater intervals, and the 4th of May the girl had entirely recovered her health after having been treated by me for twenty-six weeks, and after having been under the influence of lunar caustic for sixteen weeks.