English: White arsenic, arsenious acid, Arsenic Trioxide
French: Arsenic, Oxyde blanc d’arsenic, Acide arsenieux
German: Arsenik, Arsenige Saure
Mode of preparation: 5 centigrams are put into a vial with 4 grams of distilled water; the arsenic is dissolved by heating it, and water is added as it evaporates. Then 4 grams of alcohol are added to this and mixed well. One drop is then added from this preparation to one thousand drops of a mixture that is equal parts water and alcohol. Ten drops from this solution are added to a bottle containing ninety drops of alcohol. This is the second attenuation, and all the succeeding attenuations are made in this way. A second method used by Hahnemann was to triturate one grain of white arsenic with100 grains of sugar of milk, making three triturations in succession, so that afterwards he would be able to make the remaining attenuations the liquid way.
The essential features
Arsenicum is a classic remedy; its general characteristics are well-known to all homeopathic practitioners. Originally proven by Hahnemann himself, Arsenicum has since been exhaustively described in every materia medica. The classic description in Kent’s materia medica covers all the essentials in both the acute and chronic states: Anxiety, Restlessness, Aggravation by cold, Worse after midnight, Thirsty for sips, Periodicity, Alternations of symptoms, Ulcerations, Burning pains, etc. A mere cataloguing of symptoms can be misleading in actual prescribing, however, unless the image is rounded out by an understanding of the essential dynamic process and stages of development of the remedy, particularly in comparison with other similar remedies.
The essential process underlying the Arsenicum pathology is a deep-seated insecurity. From this insecurity spring most of the key manifestations known in Arsenicum. The insecurity is not a lack of confidence on a social or professional level, but rather a more fundamental sense of vulnerability and defenselessness in matters relating to disease and death. From even the earliest stages the Arsenicum personality is dominated by this insecurity.
Arising from the insecurity is the Arsenicum dependency on other people. Of course, Arsenicum is a prominent remedy listed under the rubric “Desires company.” In reality, the Arsenicum person has more than a mere desire for company; it is an actual need for someone to be present near him. Arsenicum surrounds himself with people because of his insecurity concerning his health and his unaccountable fear of being left alone to face possible health hazards. The need for company is not necessarily a need for interaction with people, such as in Phosphorus. Arsenicum needs people nearby more for reassurance and support in case something happens to him.
For this reason, the Arsenicum patient becomes very possessive — possessive of objects, of money, and especially of people who are near, such as a wife or husband. The Arsenicum person does not readily employ a give and take dynamic in his relationships. He is much more selfish; he tends to be a “taker.” In a relationship he will give support to another person, but primarily with the expectation of receiving support in return. It is in this sense that Arsenicum is a selfish remedy.
The possessive quality of Arsenicum extends to physical possessions as well as people. He is reluctant to give money or material objects away; he is even stingy with his discharges! (The discharges in Arsenicum are scanty; they are not “generous,” not profuse. Should the discharges become really profuse and thick, great relief is afforded his constitutional symptoms.) He may appear to be generous on occasion with his money or possessions, but he gives with the expectation of receiving in return, and he will be upset if the anticipated returns do not materialize. The same possessiveness leads to a compulsive collecting nature. If there is anything that he believes might be of some value, even some insignificant little item, he will carefully store it somewhere where he will be able to find it easily later. He does not want to throw anything away, does not want to waste anything; miserliness and avarice are the results of this attitude. Yet Arsenicum does not have the fear of poverty that might be expected. On the contrary, he feels secure that he has enough in case of need due to his avaricious nature.
As the disturbance on this level progresses the miserliness becomes more pronounced. As mentioned, the patient hoards everything that may have any conceivable future value. He cannot bear to part with anything he has collected: boxes, useless odds and ends of repair materials, scraps of paper, as well as truly valuable objects are carefully stored away (Mercurius). Of course, the patient himself will never offer this symptom, rather he wonders at the wastefulness of others around him. Furthermore, if any of his possessions become damaged, he is greatly alarmed. For example, if the roof of his house leaks and causes even some trivial damage to his furniture, it is a major catastrophy to him. He may even become ill from his reaction to this event, as if something of himself were ruined.
Although capable of enjoying life very much, his enjoyment is quite restricted, restricted by the extent and specificity of his desires. It is as if he clings to life and its pleasures with a sticky tenacity. His greed frequently is satisfied only by the best of everything. Arsenicum often gauges the value of things (people, pursuits, pastimes, etc.) according to their usefulness to him, the extent to which they satisfy his needs and desires. And, having determined what it is he needs, he will then pursue his goal with rigid determination. For example, in the interest of attaining better health he will attend to his diet in a very meticulous, almost hypochondriacal way, severely curtailing the range of allowable foods. Or an Arsenicum woman may choose a mate because he is clean and has a good, secure job, her choice being based more on the feeling of security he evokes than love. Security and comfort is of primary concern.
The Arsenicum patient perceives events in the world from a purely personal standpoint. His philosophy is: look after yourself first, everything else comes second. If something happens to someone else, the Arsenicum person will think first of what it means to himself. For example, if an auto-accident occurs, the Arsenicum patient will not rush instinctively to help. He may not think at all of the other person, but only of the implications to himself. Sometimes he will not go near the scene for fear of facing bloody situations that will stimulate his anxieties and fears for his own well-being. In contrast, the Phosphorus patient’s heart will automatically go out to the victim; he readily puts himself in the place of the other person. The selfishness of Arsenicum is completely different from that seen in Sulphur, Medorrhinum, or Platina, for there is no egoism per se; rather, the Arsenicum patient is totally preoccupied with his own fears, needs and insecurities. Next we consider the well-known Arsenicum trait of fastidiousness. Here it is important first to reiterate that in homeopathy we do not prescribe on the basis of beneficial traits, but only on pathological qualities. Thus, if someone is neat and orderly as a manifestation of an orderly approach to life, this would not be considered a limitation, or a symptom. The same could be said about a perfectionistic quality of an intensity akin to normal orderliness. On the other hand, we see people who are compulsively fastidious, obsessed by the need for order and cleanliness to the point of expending inordinate energy, constantly cleaning and straightening. An Arsenicum housewife will be seen following after the guests who are entering her house, immediately repolishing the already meticulous floor so that even the slightest stepmarks will not be visible. An Arsenicum visitor will get up and straighten a picture which is hanging on the wall slightly askew. This same individual may not be able to restrain himself from repositioning a tablecloth in a restaurant which is not hanging symetrically. He will spend quite a bit of time symmetrically arranging his shoelaces; otherwise he will be bothered by their asymmetry. This excessiveness characterizes the Arsenicum fastidiousness.
This passion for neatness will also be reflected in Arsenicum’s personal appearance. Even if he has owned a suit for many years, so neat and clean does it seem on him that one is left with the impression that it was recently purchased. He attends to his clothing with great care and precision; on arriving home, for example, he will carefully and neatly fold his clothes and put them away so that on the following morning he will be sure to find them in an immaculate condition. He enjoys rendering such care and spends an inordinate amount of time at it. The wardrobe of the Arsenicum is something beautiful to look upon: everything is aligned with unbelievable precision. Such uncompromising attention to detail results in the well recognized immaculate, perfect appearance of Arsenicum.
Perfectionism is another characteristic. He cannot overlook an error or inadequacy in his work, no matter how insignificant; he is compelled to continue working until he is satisfied with the results. It is this inner drive for perfectionism that leads him to be very critical, very censorious of others. He readily criticizes anything done by anyone else, and his keen perception readily brings any existing imperfection to light. He is exhaustively fault-finding: the stove is burning too high, the light in the room is too low, his shoes are not in the right place, etc.
Arsenicum patients are greatly aggravated both psychologically and physically by the disorderliness of a messy room. Children with acute high fevers, for instance, will ask that their bed be straightened, covers hung properly and that the room be in order before they can feel restful, this despite the fact that they have a 40 degree (centigrade) fever and feel exhausted. This desire for neatness perhaps represents an obsessive attempt to temper the anxious insecurity felt inside by creating order and cleanliness in the external environment.
This passion for order and cleanliness can be so great that in more mentally disturbed cases serious obsessive behavior concerning dirt and microbes can result. These people will wash not only their hands, but also their clothes many times over. Some slight contact with another person may precipitate an intense feeling of uncleanliness. Their concern about being contaminated may cause them to avoid physical contact with others. These individuals may suffer a similar sense of uncleanliness as a consequence of contracting some physical disease, especially a skin rash. If a doctor tells them, for instance, that they are suffering from a fungal infection, they will immediately feel dirty inside [their body] and begin a paroxysm of frequent bathing. No amount of washing, however, will eradicate the feeling. They are very easily disgusted, not so much when eating at a friend’s home, as in the case of Sulphur, but more by seeing or coming into contact with dirt. The fastidiousness of Arsenicum can be compared to that of other remedies. While the Arsenicum fastidiousness arises as a consequence of anxiety and insecurity, the fastidiousness of Nux vomica arises more from an excessive compulsion for work, from overly conscientious attention to details, and from an exaggerated sense of the need for efficiency. The Natrum muriaticum fastidiousness is similar to that of Nux vomica, but it is more specifically concerned with the scheduling of time. In studying remedies it is crucially important to have an appreciation of the stages of development of the pathology. Otherwise, if we see a patient at a given stage, we may miss the remedy simply because we are looking for symptoms that are characteristically found at a different stage. Also, an understanding of the stages of a remedy enables us to more readily discern the essence of the remedy and to differentiate it from other similar remedies.
In the early stages of Arsenicum we see a relative preponderance of physical level symptoms with less emphasis on the mental disturbances. Particular physical complaints — burning pains, restlessness, chilliness, aggravation from cold, frequent colds, periodicity, thirst for frequent sips of water, and aggravations occurring after midnight, especially from one to two AM (and one to two PM) — may be the primary symptoms with which to work. Upon inquiry, one will probably discover at least some of the following characteristics: fastidiousness, miserliness, a certain degree of insecurity, discontentment, restlessness coupled with weakness, censoriousness, and irritability. The irritability is seen primarily in the morning upon waking, morning being a difficult time for Arsenicum. In more
advanced stages the anxiety is also frequently aggravated in the morning. At this stage, particularly if the complaints are more functional and not involving much physical pathology, it may be difficult to separate Arsenicum from Nux vomica. One must then search carefully for the psychological tendencies. Arsenicum will tend to be more insecure, needing the support of other people, whereas Nux vomica will be more self-reliant and impulsive.
In the second stage, as the illness penetrates deeper, the anxiety of Arsenicum becomes more pronounced and an anxious restlessness ensues. The anxiety tends to be most pronounced after midnight and in the morning on waking. The Arsenicum person may awaken in a panic during the hours of 12 to 2 AM. He may say that he is anxious even while asleep. Arsenicum will also at this stage display a prominent fear of being alone. There will be a constant need for company, particularly at night. The fears of Arsenicum are tremendously heightened while alone. His senses become more acute, especially his hearing (though less than that encountered in Coffea and Nux vomica). A fear of robbers is most characteristic of Arsenicum (also Natrum muriaticum).
The anxiety of Arsenicum causes great internal anguish, and it is out of this anguish that the familiar restlessness of Arsenicum arises. The restlessness is not just a physical process; it is primarily a mental restlessness, an attempt to allay the deep-seated anxiety. The restlessness compels the Arsenicum individual to pace to and fro, to move from chair to chair, from bed to bed, but the motion and the changes in position do not ameliorate his symptoms nor his anxiety; on the contrary, his moving about totally exhausts him. The greater the suffering, the more the anguish; the more the restlessness, the more the exhaustion. Similarly, the anxiety, which can easily reach the level of anguish will drive the patient from person to person, constantly seeking reassurance and support. Earlier in the course of the pathological development of Arsenicum the restlessness can appear periodically, rising and falling over periods of weeks.
The restlessness of Arsenicum invites comparison with other restless remedies. In Arsenicum the restlessness occurs in conjunction with anxiety and desperation. The desperation forces him to move from place to place with the hope that he will find some relief. Again, the restlessness tires the patient and leads to exhaustion. There may be periodicity to the restlessness: the patient will move about for a while and then be able to rest until the urge to move again asserts itself. The restlessness is, of course, most intense during the night, especially after midnight.
While the restlessness of Arsenicum is generally due to anxiety, a purely physical restlessness also occurs. This type of restlessness may often create confusion with Rhus toxicodendron. Both remedies can have a craving for milk, and both can have a desire for water in small quantities frequently. Both are aggravated by cold.
Generally, Rhus toxicodendron is restless because the pain and stiffness are ameliorated by movement; turning, stretching, bending and moving about offer relief. In Arsenicum no relief is afforded by restless movement; the restlessness, provoked by the suffering, actually aggravates by bringing about exhaustion. Rhus toxicodendron patients repeatedly move from place to place because they hope to find a more comfortable position; one of the most typical examples of this tendency is to stretch and move the legs in bed at night — they do not know where to put their legs.
Sulphur and Medorrhinum may have a similar restlessness of the legs and, likewise, a difficulty in knowing where to put their feet, but they do this because they are trying to find a cool place for their overly warm feet (and burning soles).
Another remedy that must be differentiated from Arsenicum is Tarentula hispanica. The restlessness of Tarentula arises from a great hurriedness that pervades all aspects of life. They want everyone to hurry; they become irritable if they see someone moving slowly. Naturally, in a very advanced stage where the patient is out of control, one can have a very difficult time diagnosing the remedy. Tarentula, Stramonium, Nux vomica, Arsenicum, Hyoscyamus — all, as they shout, break things, and run about the room, can appear similar. Were one to attempt to distinguish Tarentula from these other remedies on the basis of an amelioration from music, one would have to be very circumspect. Tarentula’s restlessness can be aggravated by music (as can Natrum carbonicum); the restlessness can increase in concert with the rhythm of the music.
Causticum is a remedy which can have much restlessness. This restlessness is a result of the stiffness and is worse during sleep. There is especially a restlessness of the lower extremities which is worse in the mornings. Another remedy with great restlessness of the lower extremities is Zincum metallicum; as the Zincum patient sits in a chair, his legs will jump continuously.
The anxiety prominent at this stage of pathology focuses predominantly upon the patient’s concern for his health. The idea of deterioration, of the ephemeral, of being deceased, or death is unbearable to him. Normally he pushes such ideas away from his mind, but if circumstances force them upon his consciousness, he then becomes most anxiously fearful of death and disease. He becomes absorbed by this concern and can talk about it endlessly, completely engrossed about even the most insignificant symptom. Arsenicum’s fear is not so much of the consequences of a degenerating condition of health, but the fear of the ultimate state of insecurity — death. He develops an intense fear of death which can at times reach tremendous dimensions of panic. These “anxiety attacks” occur most frequently between 12 and 3 AM, but can appear any time as well. In the Repertory Arsenicum appears in the rubric “fear of death when vomiting.” This symptom is but a reflection of a far more encompassing tendency — every symptom, no matter how insignificant, can provoke fear of death and then panic.
In the midst of his panic, the patient will thrash about in despair, weeping and imagining that he must die, that there is no hope. With this syndrome he will quite likely be rushed to the nearest hospital’s emergency room. He arrives restless and trembling with fear. He restlessly turns his head to and fro; he writhes and constantly moves his limbs and shivers as from cold. His breath quivers. All of these symptoms are the expressions of an anguished fear of death (Compare Psorinum, Kali Arsenicosum ). Eventually these panic episodes can occur without even the smallest provocating symptom.
The Arsenicum patient feels more secure if he has the attention of a physician, and, being a hypochondriac, he seeks the opinion of many doctors. He becomes dependent on the physician, telephoning frequently, demanding reassurance and advice for even the most insignificant symptoms. The homeopath is bound to feel the weight with which the Arsenicum patient clings to him. No patients in our materia medica are as clinging and demanding of relief from their anxiety as are Arsenicum, Kali arsenicosum, Calcarea carbonica and Nitric acid.
Arsenicum will exaggerate many of his symptoms in his imagination, blowing them out of all proportion. Even in the face of such apparently commonplace complaints as headaches, lumbago, fevers, etc., the thought readily enters his mind, “I have cancer and I am going to die!” Again, his fear will bring him promptly to a physician. Even if all the tests are negative, he will not be consoled; his anguished fear and restlessness will continue to lead him to more and more doctors. He fears cancer because it is the disease most readily identified as fatal in today’s society. It is not really the possibility of cancer, but the prospect of death that causes him such anguish. The fear is not that he will contract cancer in the future, rather he fears that he has cancer at that moment (compare Agaricus ). In point of fact, malignancy is an actual element of Arsenicum, and, analogously, Arsenicum’s fear is malignant, similar to a cancer eating at the mind of the patient.
A recognition of the peculiar characteristics of the Arsenicum anxiety about health is imperative as there are other remedies which also display anxiety about health of an at least equal if not greater intensity. The Repertory lists these thoroughly and in relative strengths, but it is unable to describe the particular distinguishing qualities which are so important in separating one remedy from another. If one only knows the fact that a particular remedy has “anxiety about health” without knowing how to differentiate it from the others, one will find great difficulty in selecting the precise remedy that fits the patient. This cannot be done by a simple process of repertorization; it requires a minutely detailed knowledge of materia medica.
Other remedies possessing a strong anxiety about health are Phosphorus, Kali arsenicosum, Nitric acid, Lycopodium, Calcarea carbonica, Kali carbonicum, and others.
Calcarea carbonica has a strong anxiety about health which is primarily focussed on the possibility of insanity, cancer, and/or of contracting an infectious disease. Calcarea carbonica fears the condition or disease itself as opposed to the possibility of death. Calcarea is most apt to despair over having an incurable disease and of being unable to recover; death is a prospect which he can accept with relative equanimity.
Kali carbonicum has anxiety that he will get a disease in the future whereas Arsenicum fears he has cancer now. Kali arsenicosum has a particular anxiety about heart disease; he does not fear death as much as Arsenicum does. The Kali arsenicosum patient will say, “If I must die, it is O.K.” If one begins to talk about his heart, however, he will begin to express anxiety.
Phosphorus feels anxiety about his health, but primarily when the subject is raised to him. Many Phosphorus fears revolve around health — his own or that of his relatives, but the Phosphorus anxieties are not as obsessive. The Phosphorus patient is suggestible. He hears of someone who has died from a bleeding ulcer, and then he imagines himself to have the same condition. He does not withhold his anxiety; he will engage the nearest person and animatedly express his concern. He will immediately go to the doctor who reassures him that he does not have an ulcer. The anxiety then disappears as quickly as it came; he leaves the doctor’s office very relieved, saying to himself, “How silly I am!” With the next and slightest provocation, however, the anxiety will return. By contrast, Arsenicum album, Kali arsenicosum and Nitric acid are not so easily pacified. Their anxieties are inconsolable.
The Nitric acid patient, unlike Phosphorus, always has anxiety about his health — an anxiety about any possible ailment, not only cancer, infectious disease, insanity, or heart disease. He may read in a magazine about someone with multiple sclerosis, and he says to himself, “Oh, that explains it! That must be what I have.” Then, instead of expressing his anxiety, he carries it around inside. Eventually, he may very secretively make an appointment with a doctor, but the doctor’s assurances fall on deaf ears. He is convinced of what he has and cannot be consoled. Later, he may read another article, and the process begins again. The Nitric acid anxiety about health is not so much the fear of death that we see in Arsenicum; it is more a fear of all the consequences of a long-term degeneration, with the expense, dependency on others, immobility, etc.
Lycopodium has a marked anxiety about health. The Lycopodium anxiety can be about any type of illness, like Nitric acid, but it is an anxiety that springs from a basic cowardice. It is not a fear of death, but a fear of the pain and torture of illness. He has a fear that he will not be able to cope with a serious illness, that he will fall apart and reveal a lack of courage to others.
The above distinctions should serve to illustrate that the simple rubric “anxiety about health” is actually full of a wide variety of shades and subtleties which are crucial to the precise choice of a correct remedy. This assertion, indeed, is true of every rubric in the Repertory.
As previously mentioned, The Arsenicum patient is dependent upon his possessions and the people in his life. Kent says: “He dreads solitude and wants company because in company he can talk and put off the fear.” Thus, at this, the second stage, because of the increasing anxiety, the Arsenicum fear of being alone becomes especially pronounced. Yet the Arsenicum person is discerning about those he wishes to have with him; he wants efficient, reliable people and people who care about him nearby. Interestingly, this need to be with other people may generate the impression that he cares for them, but essentially this impression is a false one. His own need, the appeasement of his anxiety, is preeminent in his mind. An Arsenicum woman, for instance, may go with her husband to his shop, not to help him with his work, but merely to avoid being left home alone. For it is when alone that the crippling fear becomes overwhelming.
Arsenicum is listed in the rubric “anxiety for others,” but actually, as one would expect from the foregoing description, this anxiety is caused by the fear of losing someone close to him, someone upon whom he is dependent. Consequently, he will show little concern over someone who is a stranger to him.
Other remedies are prominent for anxiety about others. One of them, Phosphorus, is so sympathetic and suggestible that he can lose all sense of himself in his concern over someone else, whether a close friend or a stranger. If an Arsenicum person were to meet someone new to the area, he would welcome the company and the opportunity for some conversation. However, if the person were to mention some personal difficulty, such as an inability to find a hotel, the Arsenicum individual would limit his response to a courteous expression of consolation and, perhaps, a few suggestions; his inner, perhaps subconscious, attitude would basically be,
“Well, you have your problems, but what about the problems I have?” The Phosphorus patient, on the other hand, would become excited and say, “You haven’t a hotel? Oh, my goodness! We must do something about that! Here, we’ll go right now to the directory and try calling a few.”
Sulphur also has anxiety about others. In this instance, it is an active imagination which leads to the anxiety. A Sulphur father, for example, might lose sleep worrying about his daughter coming home two hours late from a date. It is not the Arsenicum anxiety over losing his daughter or the Phosphorus sympathetic anxiety. The Sulphur individual will lie awake inventing endless possibilities about what might have happened. He will allow his imagination to exaggerate the significance of the situation beyond all realistic dimensions.
To review the stages of the Arsenicum pathology: the first stage emphasizes the physical symptoms, the fastidiousness, and the miserliness; in the second stage there is increasing emphasis on the insecurities, dependency, anxiety about health, anxiety over losing others, the fear of being alone, and the fear of death; gradually the fear of death becomes an obsessive, anguishing fear — the cental issue of the person’s life. Then the third stage supervenes.
In the third stage, the constant fear and anxiety finally exhaust the patient; he eventually surrenders to his exhaustion and subsequently falls prey to a state of despair. Arsenicum appears in bold print in the rubric “despairs of recovery.” There are two reasons for this despair: the first is the realization that certain symptoms he suffers may be permanent. Even if these symptoms are relatively minor, he may still experience profound despair. Secondly, he may come to despair as a consequence of the toll exacted by the weight of the constant anxiety and fearfulness that have pervaded his life. His chronic mental suffering can cause him to begin to loathe his life and to despair of ever being able to comfortably enjoy life.
It is to this stage that Arsenicum cases of anorexia nervosa belong. These cases have a withered, wrinkled, old appearance; they are prostrated, feel cold all over, and suffer from an inability to eat or to retain any amount of food. They think that food is not good for them, that no type of food is healthy enough. There is much delusionary thinking in these cases. Delusions may alternate with a state of sleepy, partial confusion. They speak seldom and abruptly, giving foolish answers and making irrelevant associations. They seem confused and have the feeling that they are going insane.
In the final stage the Arsenicum loathing of life becomes absolute; the sadness is tremendous, and suicidal depression may supervene. This depression must be taken seriously for Arsenicum is one of the truly suicidal remedies. During this stage he avoids meeting friends because he imagines that he has offended them in the past. He lies in bed, occupied with thoughts that aggravate his depression and torment his mind night and day. He feels he is incurable, and thoughts of death constantly occupy his mind. The Arsenicum patient may develop despair and a suicidal disposition quite suddenly after a severe fright or shock or even during asthmatic attacks. A sudden fear may can come that he may be forced to commit suicide Also, a depression that is similar to that of Natrum sulphuricum may result from a blow to the head.
More rarely, a manic, paranoid state may develop in the last stage, with suspicion being the dominant characteristic. He suspects that people are plotting to kill him. He stares with a wild suspicious look. The patient may suffer from a fear that he will kill people upon whom he depends. In this stage he may avoid talking to people and may become obstinate and withdrawn. Finally, he may enter a state of complete tranquility, yet in this state he is completely out of touch with reality and refuses to talk to anyone.
The stages that have been described clearly illustrate the steady progression of pathology into increasingly deep layers of the organism. The pathology initiates on the physical level, progresses to a state of anxiety and insecurity, then to fear of death, and finally to despair, loss of interest in life, suicidal disposition, and a paranoid, delusionary state. In the final stages one may encounter great difficulty in accurately prescribing Arsenicum without the knowledge of its stages of development. Many of the usual symptoms of Arsenicum may be missing — restlessness, fastidiousness, desire for company, fear of death, anxiety, thirst, etc. It may be difficult to separate Arsenicum from other remedies at this stage, but if the case is taken carefully, the full dynamic process of the disease will become clear.
Acutely, Arsenicum corresponds to fevers, sometimes very high, of all types, but mostly septic fevers. During fever Arsenicum can display several interesting symptoms. Delusions may arise: he sees thieves in the room and hides under the bed; he imagines that the house is full of thieves or that the bed is full of worms. He may pick at the bedclothes. He may moan and lament loudly, screaming with pain. In manic states or in fevers with delirium, the Arsenicum patient may demonstrate a strong desire to be held.
It is interesting to note here that patients who never experience fever (apyrexia, even in severe acute ailments), frequently require Arsenicum for their chronic or acute conditions.
In Arsenicum, acute diseases have the same anxiety, restlessness, and even despair which characterize the chronic state. The restlessness and anxiety can be tremendous, compelling the patient to get up and move about. He moves from chair to chair and then drops exhaustedly into the bed, only to rise yet once again until he finally lies, completely prostrated, in bed. He is exhausted, thirsty for sips of water, and chilly — yet with a hot face.
I recall the case of an Indian woman suffering from a ureteral colic. Even in that tropical climate the patient was under four blankets. The nurse was fanning her face and supplying little sips of water for which the patient pleaded moaningly. She was restless, moaned in anguish, and rocked her head restlessly. Arsenicum 200C pacified the patient within three to four minutes. In such severe acute conditions, the restlessness exhausts the patient, and he will often fall into a stuporous, “cadaverous” state, only to become restless again upon recouping a little strength.
Arsenicum may be contrasted with the early stages of belladonna. Both remedies manifest high fever and a hot face with cold extremities. However, even though the belladonna’s extremities are cold to the touch, the patient himself feels either warm or of normal temperature sensitivity.
Prostration is quite characteristic of Arsenicum, not in proportion, however, to the severity of the ailments, coupled with extreme restlessness and aggravation at night, especially after midnight and lasting up to 3 AM.
A general tendency for swellings and ascites is very strong in Arsenicum.
Complaints are aggravated by the cold and the seaside. The patient is freezing and cannot get warm, even with a lot of coverings. (Arsenicum does not emanate warmth on any level — physical, emotional or mental. He is miserable with his lack of vital heat, his preoccupation with himself, his health, his preoccupation with cleanliness and orderliness, and his inability to give anything of himself; as a consequence, he is always seeking physical or emotional warmth. In the Repertory we see this described as “desire for company” in bold type, but the flat symptoms of the Repertory have to be understood within the context of the living human organism.)
Arsenicum is often indicated for complaints that have periodicity: malaria, periodic headaches, skin eruptions, etc. The periodicity can be every second day, fourth day, seventh day, fourteenth day, or even longer intervals (yearly) in chronic complaints.
It has proved useful for convulsions that come every 15 to 20 minutes. Between the convulsions there is intense pain in the stomach. Convulsions with horrible distortion of limbs, foaming at the mouth, severe leg cramps and vomiting which is followed by a deathly unconsciousness.
Convulsions with so severe a stiffness that no joint can be moved. Twitchings, cramps, tetanic spasms. Hysteria; hysterical spasms, then exhaustion, and finally unconsciousness. Hysterical paralysis. Faintness in the morning with purple lips, coldness of the extremities, anxiety, and prostration.
A general sensitiveness pervades the remedy; he is sensitive to touch, light, odors, sound, and his surroundings — everything has to be in order around Arsenicum for him to find peace.
Arsenicum typically has acrid, thin, watery, offensive, putrid, but not profuse, discharges of the mucous membranes and skin. Should the discharges be profuse and thick, great relief is afforded the general symptomatology. Pernicious anemia, septic conditions. Hemorrhages that are black and offensive. Burning pains, like hot needles, which are ameliorated by warm applications.
Alternating complaints: different ailments replace each other at different times; for instance, stomach pains may arise as an arthritic condition subsides and vice versa.
Turning to the characteristic physical pathology of Arsenicum, we note a propensity for affections of the respiratory and digestive tract — the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines, nose, larynx, bronchii and the lungs. Of course, Arsenicum is such a big remedy that it affects almost every part or system of the body. Although Arsenicum is not normally considered a right-sided remedy, there exists a preponderance of right-sided symptoms, notably the rhinitis, ovarian pains, and hepatic disorders. Arsenicum possesses a general tendency to malignancy in the sense of its frequent correspondence to both serious, aggressive diseases that progress to prostration and cancerous affections. With these characteristics in mind, symptoms of specific organ systems will be reviewed. Sensitiveness of all senses is characteristic.
Oversensitive to any kind of disorder in the surroundings.
Vertigo on shutting eyes; as if would fall; vertigo when walking in open space.
Vertigo preceding an attack of epilepsy. Confused and stunned after an epileptic attack. Sensation as if brain moved and hit against skull, during motion. Great confusion of head. Vertigo during asthmatic coughing and before epilepsy.
As previously stated, in acute ailments (fevers) the body is cold but the head feels very hot.
The head is ameliorated by cold air, walking in the open air, fanning, and even cold applications — the colder the better.
In chronic complaints, however, the reverse is the rule: chronic headaches, facial neuralgias, etc. are ameliorated by warmth.
Arsenicum headaches are aggravated from motion, from a jar, and ameliorated from lying down in a dark room; they are attended usually with nausea, weakness and pale face. Headaches can be found in any part of the head. The most severe headaches are many times congestive, burning, and arise from the occiput and radiate to the forehead. These headaches are so severe that they make the patient feel dazed and stupefied, and they are followed by anxiety. The headaches are often the result of exertion or excitement.
Frequently there are periodical headaches — daily, every second day, every fourth day, weekly, bi-weekly or bimonthly — which recur usually after midnight, especially one to three AM, or in the afternoon during the same hours, or beginning from one to three PM and lasting throughout the day. Periodical headache above left eyebrow and temple, lasting twelve hours, followed by vomiting of a yellow, bitter or tenacious mass. Periodical semilateral throbbing, with nausea, buzzing in ears and vomiting. A restless tossing of the head from side to side can frequently be encountered, especially when the rest of the body is in such great pain that it cannot be moved (kidney colics etc.). Head pains are aggravated by hearing people talking. Headaches may alternate with arthritic complaints or with pain in stomach.
A sensation of a weight on top of the head which alternates with frequent urination. One-sided headache with a feeling of icy coldness of the scalp. Sensations as if the brain moved and beat against the skull. Some other peculiar symptoms are: Head feels swollen enormously. Heaviness of head better in open air but returns on entering the room, with humming in ears. In morning after rising as if the brain were oppressed by a load, with humming in ears. Tired sensation at base of brain. Throbbing pain in forehead during motion. Throbbing pain over root of nose. Paroxysms of excessively painful hemicrania, with great weakness and ice-cold feeling in scalp, followed by itching. Scalp very sensitive, especially on brushing hair. Falling of hair. Eruptions destroy roots of hair. Eruptions with dry scales. Scalp itches tremendously. Scabs on hairy parts. Losing hair on front part of the head.
Falling out of hair especially in circular patches that become rough and dirty. The scalp is so sensitive that cannot comb his hair. Scalp covered with dry scales or crusts, sometimes extending down to forehead, ears and neck. Erysipelatous burning and swelling of head, with great weakness and coldness worse in the night. Dropsy of the scalp that pits upon pressure.
Arsenicum produces inflammation of the eyelids and cornea with redness and extreme sensitivity to light, especially during a common cold. The lachrymation and discharges of the eye are typically burning and acrid. There is also edema of the eyelids, especially of the lower lids or beneath the lower lids. Edema around the eyes. Lids granulated, ulcerated. Very painful ophthalmia with swelling of lids. Strong photophobia in severe cases of conjuctivitis.
Parenchymatous keratitis, with excessive photophobia, lies in bed with face buried in pillows; hot scalding lachrymation causes an eczematous eruption.
Flickering before the eyes. Horizontal half sight. Everything appears green.
Spasms of the eyelids. Trembling of upper lids with lachrymation. Conjuctiva yellow as in jaundice. Chronic acrid eye and nose catarrh as in hay fever that excoriates the eyes and the nostrils. Eyeballs hot or burning. Conjuctivitis with thin bloody disharge which progresses towards ulceration. Conjuctivitis with ulcers on cornea before and during menses. Ulceration upon the cornea. Eyes sunken or protruding. Pulsative throbbing in eyes, at every pulsation a stitch.
Violent pain in eyes with a prick of the pain in the night. Violent burning in eyes. Severe conjuctivitis in children when their skin is rough, dry and dirty looking; intense pain from from least ray of light, with profuse lacrymation.
Extreme redness of inner surface of lids, they burn so much that they can scarcely be opened.
Sensitiveness to sound. Humming in ears better in open air and worse in a warm room. Roaring in ears with each paroxysm of pain. Hardness of hearing. Profuse, cadaverous smelling discharge from the ear. Parotitis with intense headache.
Arsenicum gets colds easily, and they travel down the throat to the bronchi. Sneezing from the slightest change of weather. During coryza the patient feels chilly and is better from warmth. In both upper respiratory infections and hay fever Arsenicum produces symptoms primarily on the right side. The discharge is watery, thin, burning and acrid. During coryzas there is a simultaneous discharge from and swelling in both the eyes and nose. Discharge stops in the open air. Frequent violent sneezing occurs without release. Coryza with sneezing on waking in the morning. Discharge beginning at 5 AM. Coryza ends in ulceration. There is a feeling of obstruction or fullness of the nose with an accompanying watery discharge, again mainly on the right side. Great sensitiveness to smell, cannot bear even the smell or sight of food. Epithelioma of nose. Knotty swelling of nose. Cancer of nose. Scabs in nostrils, which, when torn away, leave nostrils raw and bloody until other scabs are formed; worse in the cold and better in moderate weather. Nose cold and pointed; nostrils red and open. Offensive smell from nose. Nosebleed after a fit of passion.
The face of the Arsenicum patient usually has the appearance of that of a sick person. Pale grey and puffy. Waxy. Cachectic. Little bags around or under the eyes. The face takes on a deathly color during vomiting. The skin becomes wrinkled and shrivelled, the person looks prematurely old. Has the expression of agony. The skin becomes wrinkled especially around the mouth and the lips. Lips bluish and cold. Epithelioma of lips. Lips are pale, cracked, swollen and crusty during apyrexia. Sore lips and ulcers in mouth. Painful nodules on upper lip. Twitching on one side of the upper lip, worse on falling asleep.
Dryness of mouth with thirst for frequent sips just to moisten the mouth. Dryness with violent thirst. The cavity of the mouth was as dry as his skin, to such a degree, that in spite all efforts could not moisten the least bit of bread.
Candidiasis of the oral mucosa in adults, with burning prostration, and very great restlessness. Malignant ulceration. Ulcers on inner cheek, irregular, jagged edges and spongy base. Ulcers extending from throat to roof of mouth.
Painful blisters in mouth and tongue. Grinding of the teeth. Toothache, worse from cold water, after midnight, better from warmth. Tongue swollen, brown and dry. Redness of the tip of tongue. Sweet taste in the morning. Food tastes too salty; water tastes bitter; beer tastes flat. Loss of taste. Tongue trembling; difficult articulation, tongue heavy, as if paralysed. Tongue as white as chalk; as if painted white. Tongue and lips parched and cracked, with black and sticky coating.
Striking ulceration is seen throughout the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus etc. The ulcers are deep, spread rapidly and are extremely painful. Eating becomes impossible with these painful ulcers, but the pain is somewhat relieved by warm drinks. Ulceration is actually one of the main characteristics of this remedy.
All these are in accordance with the general tendency of the remedy.
In studying a remedy we should attempt to distinguish the patterns and tendencies produced by this remedy rather than look at isolated symptoms which can be extremely misleading; thus similar patterns in the patient. can be recognised with greater certainty
Catarrhal states from the nose travel rapidly to the larynx, accompanied by hoarseness, and then deeper still to the trachea and bronchi. At this time dyspnea supervenes. Stinging in the esophagus as from a splinter. Sensation as if hair had lodged in the throat. Sensation as of a ball of mucus. Paralytic conditions of larynx and esophagus. Diphtheritic membranes dry looking and wrinkled.
The stomach manifests a wide spectrum of pathology ranging from gastritis to peptic ulcer disease, and even gastric malignancies. Prevailing in these conditions is extreme inflammation with burning pain — burning in the stomach and the entire esophagus. This burning pain is often worse around two AM, irrespective of the time the patient ate his evening meal. The pain causes a constant desire to drink small quantities of water frequently. However, when the stomach is affected, this water may not be tolerated and may be vomited immediately afterward. Warm foods and drinks are better tolerated and may relieve the pains. Thus, we see that both external and internal warmth can ameliorate the Arsenicum patient.
We have symptoms like constant nausea and vomiting worse rising from bed.
Vomiting of blood, with fainting before and after; of brownish matter, with violent colic; of clear water at all times of the day; of everything he takes; immediately after eating and drinking.
The stomach pain is also greatly ameliorated by drinking milk (Graphites, Rhus toxicodendron), especially sweet milk. Cold foods, especially ice cream, will be immediately rejected by the diseased stomach. When the stomach is not affected, however, the patient craves cold water and tolerates it easily.
Chilliness at the pit of the stomach is a characteristic. Anxiety felt at the pit of the stomach. The epigastrium is very sensitive to the slightest touch.
Pain in epigastrium, burning, violent, like red hot coals. Pain in pit of stomach arresting breathing. Burning as if stomach and esophagus were being made raw by an acrid corrosive substance. Severe aching in stomach and epigastrium extending to the middle of chest.
Weight in stomach, as of a stone. Painful vomiting of grass green solids. Loss of appetite.
All the above symptomatology shows why Arsenicum has a reputation in cancer of the stomach. Many cases of anorexia nervosa benefit from Arsenicum.
Arsenicum patients have a predisposition for gastroenteritis and food poisoning. Diarrhea and vomiting may often occur simultaneously (Veratrum album). The food poisoning occurs usually from spoiled or questionable meat or moldy cheese. During these acute conditions the patient may have an aversion to all food. Many times in acute conditions there is nausea from the sight, smell or even the thought of food.
The food cravings of Arsenicum include fat – even lard, – sour things especially lemon (even the peel is relished), refreshing things, bread, and alcohol — especially whisky and wine. During the early stages of acute disorders, especially when there are chills, the patient usually craves warm drinks. There may be an aversion to farinaceous foods, foods such as beans and peas which induce flatulence, meat and the fat of meat, butter and sweets.
The thirst of Arsenicum is normally, as previously noted, for ice cold water (which may be vomited immediately after taken). The thirst is often for small quantities, sips, taken frequently; however, sometimes large quantities are desired. Thirst is often increased at the onset of a fever, and we find Arsenicum listed in the Repertory for thirst before, during, and after the chill. During the fever he wants small quantities of cold water often; during the chill he wants warm water. Increase of thirst during the sweating stage. Sometimes during fever there is a tremendous burning thirst which is quenched only by drinking large quantities of ice cold water.
The liver can be affected with acute inflammations such as hepatitis. These inflammations may progress to end-stage liver disease and cirrhosis, with corresponding ascites.
Induration and enlargement of both the liver and spleen. Tympanitic distension of the abdomen is a characteristic of Arsenicum. Gallstone with cholera like symptoms. Both hypochondriac regions sore to touch. Stitches in spleen, precede vomiting of blood, which is partly coagulated, partly fluid and dark. Pains about navel aggravated by lying on back. Periodical colic. Violent pains in abdomen with great anguish, has no rest anywhere, rolls about the floor in despair. Terrible cutting pains in abdomen with frequent thin evacuations, fainting and cold sweat. Peritonitis, when there is sudden sinking of strength, anxiety, cold sweat. Ascites from heart, hepatic, or spleen diseases, also post scarlatinal. Ulcer above navel. Painful swelling of inguinal glands.
Arsenicum frequently corresponds to cases of enteritis and dysenteric conditions characterized by frequent, black, offensive stools (cadaveric odor) which are burning and acrid, but not profuse. We must remember that Arsenicum is not “plethoric” in its excretions; scantiness is more the rule. The rectum and anus burn, and the burning can extend to the bowels. Diarrhea often results from cold drinks, fruit, and ice cream. Diarrheas are very offensive and are attended by anxiety, exhaustion and a very pale face.
Think of Arsenicum in cases of diarrhea such as the following: initially profuse stools which have been reduced at the expense of a general worsening of the patient by the prescription of several different remedies. As a consequence the patient is left completely exhausted; he feels almost dead, hardly breathes, is very cold, and now has scanty diarrheic stools.
The restlessness and exhaustion so characteristic of Arsenicum are most prominently exhibited in debilitating dysenteric conditions. During dysentery (or other diarrheas) there is frequent tenesmus with unbearable urging and great distress as a consequence of the pains; when in the throes of such suffering, the patient is tremendously anxious and thinks of death constantly.
Painful spasmodic protrusion of rectum. Constipation. Diarrhea alternating with scybalous stools of a whitish-clay color. Small, diarrhoic, offensive stools. Bilious dysentery with great exhaustion after every exertion. Black stools. Stool slimy, brownish. Anxiety felt in the abdomen which is not relieved by stool. Tremendously painful haemorrhoids protrude during stool and cause great exhaustion. They are big, like grapes, and burn like coals of fire. They feel very hot and may bleed easily.
Haemorrhoids with stitching pain when walking or sitting, not when at stool; with burning pain relieved by heat. Fissures of the rectum that bleed after every stool.
Pains as if stuck by red hot needles.
Violent burning in umbilical region, before and during loose stools, which consist of mucus. During stool: chilliness, nausea, vomiting. Involuntary stools and urine. Diarrhea after taking cold substances, particularly ice-cream. Cholera infantum; simultaneous vomiting and purging, great exhaustion; vomiting and purging aggravated by food and water. Purging with extreme coldness of the extremities.
Arsenicum corresponds to involuntary urination, either during the day or at night with enuresis. There is also a peculiar paralysis of the bladder where, despite the sensation of fullness and distention of the bladder, there is no urge to void.
Paralysis of the bladder in elderly patients. Urine scanty. Burning in the urethra. Burning pain especially at the start of urination. A feeling of weakness in the abdomen after urination. Urination frequent during the cold stage in intermittent fever. Chronic cystitis, with retained urine; what passes is turpid and purulent.
Urination after sweat, brown, soon turpid, but without sediment.
After urination a feeling of weakness in upper part of abdomen. Retention of urine after parturition; the bladder is full, but urine cannot be passed. Acute and chronic inflammation of kidneys with swelling of legs, pale earthy face and the other characteristics of Arsenicum. Atony of bladder, no desire to urinate and no power to do so; seems to have lost all control over power to emit; especially after parturition. Involuntary urination. Bladder greatly distended and paralysed. Urine scanty, passed with difficulty, burning during discharge. Urine like thick beer; rotten smell. Well-marked albuminuria.
Genitalia – male
In men we find painful testicular swellings which may be malignant, such as seminomas. Burning, edematous swelling of the genitalia also occurs. Priapism. Edema of the penis to such an extent that the penis looks like a water bag.
The scrotum, especially the skin of the scrotum, is greatly swollen and humid.
Rawness of scrotum with bluish look. Eruptions on the genitalia. Herpetic eruptions that burn and sting. Little ulcers that burn. Ulcers that spread without a tendency to heal; they perniciously continue to consume normal tissue at the margins. The remedy is similar to Mercurius in this respect. What is important to understand in Arsenicum is the general weakness of the defense system which fails to check the rapid worsening and spread of pathological conditions; hence its ability to cure malignant diseases.
Genitalia – female
Malignancies are also seen in women, both uterine and breast cancer. We must not forget that Arsenicum is a remedy which is often indicated in malignancies. There are ovarian swellings with burning pain in the ovaries, especially the right ovary; the pain is ameliorated by moving the feet.
Amenorrhea is commonly seen in frustrated, nervous women who have weak constitutions. Sudden profuse discharge of dark blood from the vagina. Discharge of bloody mucous after menses. Suppressed menses for months in cases of worn out, anemic and prostrated women. Stitches in the rectum during menstruation.
Leucorrhea may replace the normal menstrual flow. The leucorrhea is acrid and is aggravated by standing for long periods of time. Spreading vaginal ulcers are also characteristic of Arsenicum. Leucorrhea while standing, with emission of flatus; yellowish, thick, corrosive leucorrhea or copious, whitish, thin leucorrhea that runs down the thighs and excoriates the parts.
Chest – respiratory
Arsenicum produces infections in both the upper and lower respiratory tract and has a lot of peculiar symptoms in this area.
In the infections the usual pattern is that the nose starts running, then the voice becomes hoarse with a dry, tickling cough, and then bronchitis sets in as the breathing becomes difficult, weak and shorter. All of these infections are aggravated from twelve to two AM and usually require that the patient sit up to find relief. Constriction, tightness of the chest. The Arsenicum chronic cough and asthma are also worse from twelve to two AM, and they are worse lying down, from odors, laughing, turning in bed and ameliorated by sitting.
Respiration is oppressed, anxious and wheezing, causing the patient to jump up from the bed at midnight.
Laryngitis, loss of voice. Coughing because of a tickling in the throat which does not ameliorate the tickling. Dry, wheezing cough. The cough or the dyspnea is attended by anxiety, restlessness, prostration, cyanotic face, and sweat. The cough produces a frothy expectoration. Asthmatic conditions that are much aggravated by taking a cold in the midsummer. Burning in chest as if there were coals inside, or excessive coldness of chest. Arsenicum will do wonders in cases where after coryza the organism becomes weak and an asthmatic attack sets in. Burning in chest and stomach. Constriction of chest on going uphill.
Acute, sharp, fixed or darting pain in apex and through upper third of right lung. Impending paralysis of lungs. Feels as if he had a load in upper part of both lungs. Tightness of chest, as if bound with a hoop. Constriction of chest with anguish and oppressive anxiety at the pit of the stomach. Burning in chest and stomach.
Heavy and painful inspiration accompanying pains in abdomen.
Sighing in the night. Spitting of blood with tremendous irritation to the nervous system, so much so that a current of air can cause convulsions. Hemoptysis from suppressed menses. There is also an unusual sensation of tickling inside the chest or sometimes a feeling as if the lungs were full of smoke or dust. Yellowish spots on chest. Wheezing respiration, with cough and frothy expectoration. The breathing is usually short and anxious. In bronchitis quick, loud, rattling. Talking and laughing aggravate the difficulty in breathing. Sensation as if one was inhaling dust. There can be a sudden asthmatic attack so severe that he thinks he will suffocate around 1 a.m. Has to sit up to be able to breathÂ at all.
Loss of breath immediatetly on lying down, in evening, with whistling and constriction in trachea. Deep dry unceasing cough. Cough excited by smoky sensation or as of vapors of sulphur in larynx. Whooping cough with arrest of breathing, tough mucus in chest; sputa of frothy mucus in lumps. Cough preceded by jerking in hips, which seemed to excite the cough. Frequently recurring cough, with expectoration of bloodstreaked mucus; retching and vomiting of food and drink.
Chest – heart
The heart and the circulatory system are profoundly affected in a number of ways in Arsenicum. There are frequent and violent palpitations felt throughout the body which cannot be tolerated by the patient; he feels that he can hear the pulsations while lying. Palpitations worse lying down and after midnight. Severe paroxysms of palpitations during endocarditis. After stool, tremulous weakness of the heart and palpitations necessitating lying down.
Arsenicum is famous for its arrhythmias, and they are accompanied by anguish which is worse at night, lying down, going upstairs, and at two to three AM. The pulse is rapid, weak and irregular. Weak heart with thread-like, feeble pulse; patient is pale, weak and sweaty. Pain in the heart, extending to the neck, with a fainting feeling.
Angina pectoris; sudden tightness above heart; agonising praecordial pain; breathing difficult, fainting spells; least motion makes him lose his breath; sits bent forward with head thrown back.
Serious heart conditions such as: endocarditis, pericarditis, angina pectoris, pericardial effusion, hydropericardium with great irritability etc. Heart conditions can arise from suppressed eruptions, rheumatism or rheumatic fever.
Pain across the scapula extending to the arms. Drawing pain in scapulae with a feeling of weakness; has to lie down but gets no relief. Weakness felt in the entire back. Pain in the region of kidneys when inspiring or sneezing. Burning pain in sacral region. Stiffness of the back that starts from coccyx and extends upwards. Feels as if warm air is streaming up the spine.
In the extremities we see convulsions with rigidity and pain. Twitchings, distortions, uneasiness, weakness and heaviness. Paralytic weakness at a regular hour every day, with trembling. Paralysis of lower limbs with atrophy.
Contractions in knees and elbows. Cramps in calves. Retraction of flexors of fingers. Toes and fingers are continually flexed. Hands and feet are constantly agitated; he has to move about or move the feet to get relief.
Swellings of feet with arthritic inflammation of the joints of the most malignant nature. Psoriatic arthritis after suppressed psoriasis. Tearing in long bones, better on motion, worse lying on the affected side. Stiffness of joints.
Arthritic pains in shoulders and hips. Peripheral neuritis. The nails are subject to discoloration — dirty yellowish, violet, bluish-black. The colors change easily. Furrows and cracks of the nails.
Sleepiness with constant yawning, especially after eating. Jerks on falling asleep. Unrefreshed sleep. Anxious and restless sleep, with dreams of death. The sleep is full of cares, anger with anxiety, disquietude, etc. Dreams of storms, of fire. Sleeplessness from anguish, with restlessness and tossing about in bed.
Arsenicum corresponds to many varieties of fever. Especially noteworthy is the periodic fever which recurs daily between twelve and three AM or between one and three PM. During fever the patient feels very cold externally while internally he feels a burning heat. Violent chills with prostration, dry mouth, desire for warm drinks, and desire to be covered very warmly. Irregular chills coming at any time and of any form. Head congestion during fever with desire for the head to be cool. Arsenicum has all kind of fevers: very low grade fevers; apyrexia: chronic cases which almost never develop fever when they have an acute. When prescribing Arsenicum for fever symptoms, it is always important to look for some of the general characteristics of the remedy.
Arsenicum produces many eruptions; they are mostly dry, rough and scaly. Psoriasis. Eczema. Skin eruptions alternate with internal disorders. Urticaria with burning swellings, anxiety and restlessness. Vesicles that are burning and desquamate. Ulcers, without much discharge, that spread easily, burn and become chronic, with raised, hard edges. If Arsenicum ulcers discharge anything, it is bound to be blood. Ulcers have a bluish or greenish color and may look like warts. Burning carbuncles. The skin is dry, dirty and shrivelled with a yellowish color (jaundiced), with spots that are red, blue, black or white. The nails are discolored.
As with any remedy in our materia medica, Arsenicum can be indicated for any pathological condition, but the following are some of the more common in today’s patients.
Mind Mind Anxiety about health to the point of hypochondriasis.
Anxiety neurosis with excessive fear of dying; delusions, especially of robbers entering the house. Anxiety about health to the point of hypochondriasis.
Abscesses. Acne rosacea. Ringworm. Pityriasis. Psoriasis.
Bronchial asthma. Bronchitis. Croup. Hay fever and allergic asthma. Pleurisy. Intercostal neuralgia. Pneumonia.
Amenorrhea. Endometritis. Disorders of menstruation. Cancer of uterus.
Aphthae of the mouth. Gastritis, duodenal ulcer, malignancies, cancer. Enteritis, food poisoning, spastic and ulcerative colitis.
Arrhythmia, tachycardia, pericarditis, endocarditis, myocardial infarct, angina.
Care. Grief. Fright. Chill in the water. Eating ices. Sea bathing and sea travelling. Poor diet. Ailments from fruits. Food poisoning. Drunkenness. Effects of tobacco, of quinine, of iodine. Strains.
It is complementary to: Phosphorus, Rhus toxicodendron, Carbo vegetabilis, Natrum sulphuricum, Pyrogenium, Thuja, Secale, Allium sativum.
It follows well: Aconitum napellus, Agaricus muscarius, Arnica, Belladonna, Chamomilla, China officinalis, Ipecacuanha, Lachesis, Veratrum album.
It is followed well by: Aranea diadema, Arnica, Apis mellifica, Baryta carbonica, Cactus grandiflorus, Calcarea phosphorica, Cicuta, Ferrum, Hepar, Kali bichromicum, Lycopodium, Mercurius vivus, Ranunculus sceleratus, Nux vomica, Iodum, Sulphur, Thuja, Rhus toxicodendron.
It is antidoted by:
Poisonous doses are antidoted by: milk, albumen, demulcent drinks, followed by emetics of mustard, sulphate of zinc or sulphate of copper; castor oil is the best purgative.
Chemical antidotes: Animal charcoal, Hydrated peroxide of iron, Magnesia, Limewater.
Dynamic antidote: Opium — it may be administered by clyster if not retained on stomach. Brandy and stimulants, if there is depression and collapse. If urine is suppressed, sweet spirits of nitre in large quantities of water.
Antidotes of potencies: Camphor, China officinalis, Chininum sulphuricum, Euphrasia, Ferrum, Graphites, Hepar, Iodum, Ipecacuanha, Kali bichromicum, Mercurius
vivus, Nux vomica, Opium, Sambucus nigra, Sulphur, Tabacum, Veratrum album.
Substances to which Arsenicum is sensitive and which can easily trigger an averse reaction: alcoholic stimulants, brandy, sour wine, tobacco chewing, coffee, old cheese, cold drinks, cold food, fat, spoiled fish, flatulent food, frozen food, fruits, bad meat, milk, pastry, pepper, pork, raw food, spoiled sausages, green vegetables, salt, sauerkraut, veal, salad, vinegar.
From 12c up to the highest potencies.
Oct. 26. Miss L. had chills early in the season suppressed with Quinine, and followed with bending of the knees on walking; has anticipating chill in the forenoon, with shivering most in the lower body, chattering teeth, thirst, nausea, increased by drinking, pain in heart and palpitation [worse in the heat], shortness of breath, sleepiness, blue hands and face, pain in forehead, stomach, lower back and thighs. Heat with redness of cheeks and forehead, headache, thirst, sleepiness and pain in thighs, with chilliness from uncovering or motion. No sweat. Constant bad taste. Arsenicum cm, cured permanently.
A brick mason, aged sixty-five, had chills and fever thirty years ago, much Quinine then, and frequent large doses since. He had consulted an occulist for a defect of vision and was referred to the physician. Objects move perpendicularly up and down before the vision. Upper part of orbits sore to touch. Dull pain in the occiput extending to one temple, with pain in lumbar region: tired and sleepy at the time. For this he takes Quinine. Awakens at one A.M. with dull pain in the occiput, and then has no more sleep unless he drinks strong coffee. Heat in left side of head, worse from reading; worse from warm air. Vertigo on rising from stooping. Bowels obstinately constipated.
March 12, 1913. One powder Arsenicum cm F. Within a few days the defect of vision was permanently cured and the bowels moved naturally…
- Chronic dysmenorrhea. Menses early, scanty and painful. The pains come and go quickly, worse on left side. b. Chilly and nauseated; she lies on abdomen; better on belching.
Aggravation lying on left side; from anger.
The heart misses beats.
Dyspnea worse on excitement … or from anger.
Frontal and occipital headache.
Bad taste in A.M.
No inclination to sweat or cold sweats.
Jerks and starts in sleep.
Sore over kidneys.
Arsenicum MM, a single dose, cured.
Oct 18th. Miss S. had an attack of intermittent fever the previous summer for which she received Quinine. The disease appeared again, and again disappeared under other non-homeopathic treatment. She presented the following symptoms: Chill every other day anticipating three hours, without shivering, but creeping coldness mingled with heat. With the chill, thirst, nausea, stretching, headache, frequent urination, coldness, especially of the feet and hands, nose and knees; cold first in the arms. Heat mostly in upper body with nausea, headache and coldness of the feet in the early part; also thirst and stitches in the stomach near the end of heat.
Heat began in cheeks. Sweat comes on in sleep and is profuse, most on chest with headache. Heat, creeping chills and sweat at same time. In the apyrexia – nausea. Arsenicum 45m. Fincke, a teaspoonful of a solution every two hours in the apyrexia cured permanently in ten days, there being a steady decline in severity and a lengthening of the interval till the chills ceased.
A stout German woman of 45, who is on her feet working hard most of the time, bruised her shin four months ago. Shortly afterwards a sore appeared where she was injured, which has persisted in spite of strapping and ointments, discharging a thin, bloody, irritating fluid. Severe biting, burning pain, leg very hot, worse in the afternoons, worse about midnight, waking her every night, worse on soaking in hot water, worse on elevating the leg. Is very restless, does not expect to get well.
Has varicose veins for years.
She was given Arsenicum 1m, 9m and Cm, and a horse bandage was used to give support. In three months the ulcer was healed and the pain was gone.
The second patient, also a widow, was eighty-seven years old. A suspicious crusty scab, about a fourth of an inch in diameter, had formed on the right side of her nose over the lower margin of the cartilage and another, smaller one, on the right upper lip. They had been developing for three months; there was a red areolar about each. Some itching, especially of the one on the lip. When scabs exfoliated, slight bleeding. Glandular enlargement at the angle of the jaw.
There was an appalling paucity of symptoms, as she felt quite well, and the nose and lip lesions were not sufficient upon which to prescribe. I remembered that during the seven or eight years I had taken care of her that she had had two attacks of lobar pneumonia, in both of which Arsenicum proved curative and therefore she was given one dose of Arsenicum 50m; this was repeated in a month. She then went away for the summer but reported, in about six weeks, that the lesion on the lip was healed and that on the nose improving. Later she wrote there was more gain. In October, when I saw her next, I found both spots healed without scar. No further medicine given…
Did Arsenicum hasten labor? The patient, about 25 years old, two living children, making no progress for more than the past two hours, was becoming exhausted. She was restless, but getting too weak to move; mouth and lips dry, wetting lips with tongue; much thirst, but wanted just enough cold water to moisten the lips; chilly and had to have more covers. The patient could not relax, and the parts were quite rigid with about two fingers dilatation. Arsenicum album in water, a teaspoon every ten minutes. After the second dose I thought I noticed a slight change – less restlessness and better mentally, which was decided after the third dose. The pains became more normal. In less than an hour after the first dose of Arsenicum album, the baby made a normal exit. No tear.
Corporal L. Austrian Engineers, was wounded at Boullecourt, 15-5-1917, and entered hospital two days later with a compound fracture of the left humerus and of the metatarsal bones of the right foot and eleven pieces of shrapnel of various sizes scattered through his legs and back. After removal of most of this iron and the application of the necessary splints he got along very well for two days, then developed a temperature of 106 and a general septic condition. He was intensely restless at first – much worse after midnight – would start up in a fright – said he was double and smooth and was going to die – desired a little water to drink every few minutes and would not eat. Later he became stupid – had involuntary evacuations and cold sweat of the legs, and his wounds became extremely offensive in spite of careful dressings. After Arsenicum album 1M in water every hour for one night he became rational, asked for some food and ate it, slept most of that day and made a very good recovery without further medication.
Bombardier Perry, after months of trench fighting, developed pneumonia and while waiting to be carried to hospital was bitten on the middle finger of the right hand by a rat. When first examined, he had consolidation of the lower lobe of the right lung, coarse rales in patches in the left, and his hand and arm nearly to the shoulder was tremendously swollen and black. His expectoration was scanty – very dark and offensive, he was restless – thirsty – had repeated chills and severe pain in the hand and arm which was only made bearable by keeping it immersed in a hot bath. Though several incisions were made in the hand, at no time was any particular relief experienced and very little pus was found. What discharge occurred was thin, bloody and dark – of a bad odor.
After Arsenicum album 1M he had his first good sleep, his temperature gradually came down and his recovery was in every way satisfactory.
Mrs. C. D. W., aged 75, reported on October 8th, 1908, that, as a result of a nervous shock a year-and-a-half before, she then, almost immediately, had a vaginitis with much burning. This improved somewhat but had now returned. She was quite emaciated and weak. There were also constantly cankers, bluish, inside the lower lip. Great thirst, urine much increased, especially at night, and also a painless diarrhea, worse at night and after eating. The diagnosis of diabetes mellitus was at once confirmed by urinalysis [sample] which showed a specific gravity of 1.041, with 46 grains of sugar to the ounce.
She was given Arsenicum 200th, and later the 1m and 50m, as needed, with gradual and permanent relief of all symptoms. A second urinalysis. December 15th, 1908, was as follows: twenty-four hours amount 1360 cc.; specific gravity 1.019; sugar only a trace; amount of solids, individually and collectively, normal. She lived six or seven years after this with no recurrence of the diabetes. Very little change in diet was made, only a temporary abstinence from sweets and bread, which were gradually resumed in three months…
After drinking a good deal of moonshine for several weeks the victim showed the following symptoms:
Sleepy by day, but sleepless at night.
Anorexia and exhaustion.
General jerkings, with restless lower limbs; they feel as if to break off.
Urine foul; leaves an indelible yellow stain.
Vertex as if to fly off with every cough.
Trifles worry him; fears death. Hallucinations.
Thirst for cold drinks, but only a little at a time.
Strangling shortly after falling to sleep, worse at midnight, ameliorated after hot drinks.
Pain in heart, worse on lying.
Mouth – yellow, bloody, acrid water runs from it at night; fetor.
A single dose of Arsenicum MM helped a little for two days, then worse again, when Arsenicum 12x took right hold and he made a slow but steady recovery.
- Mrs. L., aged fifty-five, came to me last September with an epithelioma upon the vertex. It was 31/2 inches in diameter; the soft tissues were all ulcerated away, the periosteum destroyed, and the denuded external table necrosed so that a large sequestrum detached later on. Cauliflower excrescence was piled up about the edges to the height of one-half or three quarters of an inch. The flow of pus was very great, attended with the usual atrocious, cadaverous odor. The pains were burning, lancinating and at times intolerable. Her general appearance was anemic, emaciated and anxious. There was almost complete anorexia, great weakness and restlessness. At
midnight there was always a great exacerbation of pains, so much so that her husband was obliged to hold her in his arms two or three hours to prevent her committing suicide. “I feel as if a red hot stove were on top my head, burning its way into my brain,” was her description of these nightly attacks. During the day there was more or less of this same weight and burning sensation and a continual sense of tension and drawing throughout the whole scalp. She received Arsenicum Cm, one dose.
The effect was immediate and marvellous. There was no return of the midnight attacks, her general health began at once to improve, and she today is cured. 12. George L., aged 40. Has suffered with asthma for four years, and for the last two years has been unable to lie down. During the day he moves about with comparative comfort, but at night is compelled to sleep in his chair; sitting almost erect. Family history good. Five years ago he suffered with third day ague [malarial fever]. Quinine was prescribed by three different physicians without relief; then he purchased a bottle of it, taking daily powerful doses of it for some time – of course suppressing the chills. Scarcely a year had passed until the asthma made its appearance, and a further knowledge of the case revealed no cause for his present trouble but the suppression of the chills by the over-doses of quinine. Chininum sulphuricum Cm in water, was given, with directions to take a teaspoonful every two hours until five doses were taken. Results. Fourth day after taking, slight chill; asthma somewhat better; seventh day, quite a severe chill. Was called to see him soon after the chill, but did not change the prescription; tenth day, slept all night in bed very comfortably. On the fourteenth day he again reported that for the past few days he had slept all night except between the hours of twelve and one, during which time he was compelled to sit up, but again went to sleep and slept very comfortably until morning. His symptoms now are as follows: Mouth dry as a chip; tongue brown and crisp; lips covered with a whitish deposit like flour; thirst intense for small and frequent sips of cold water. He has stopped taking the medicine. He says though it has helped his asthma, it is poisoning him, for he feels just as he did when taking an asthma specific one year ago. The principal constituent of which was Arsenic. His suffering from thirst was so great that I was induced to give him Arsenicum Cm which has removed all his symptoms, and he has had no return of the asthma …
Male. Herpes zoster. Burning pain relieved by heat. Arsenicum album 30th stopped the pain and produced rapid recovery. I have relieved many cases of herpes zoster with the indicated remedy.
Mrs. C., aged about 30. About one week after parturition, had appearing on the dorsal part of the first phalanx of the middle finger on the left hand, a minute vesicle, causing, in the beginning, itching and stinging, and was supposed by the patient to be the result of a mosquito bite. This vesicle increased in size until it reached the dimensions of a silver half-dollar. It spread in breadth but not in depth and contained a thin yellow pus, but not much of it. As it increased in size, the centre commenced to dry, while at the periphery there was a narrow, raised ring of serum, about one-eighth of an inch wide, as if a ring had been burned around it, and the skin had raised and filled with serum. Outside of this ring, there was a narrow ring of inflamed skin, but the inflammation was limited. The ulcer was not painful nor caused inconvenience unless the finger was moved. This ring of serum, gradually increased in size and manner, as the ripples produced by throwing a stone into a quiet surface of water, while that portion enclosed by the ring, gradually dried and formed a rough, very light brown scale.
Remembering Prof. J. C. Morgan’s excellent key-notes, viz:
Arsenicum – Ulceration extending in Breadth.
Silica – Ulceration extending in Depth.
Besides the appearance of the ulcer, and the accompanying symptoms, I gave one dose Arsenicum 2c., [pellet form].
Soon after taking this the spreading ceased, the ring of serum dried, the inflamed ring disappeared, the entire ulcer dried, forming a rough, very light-brown scab, raised above the surrounding skin, and finally came away, leaving the skin of a healthy, light-red color, which gradually faded in several days, leaving no scar.
Male. Advanced carcinoma. Morphine, given for a long time before I saw the case, had lost its power to control the pain. Symptoms: Intense burning pain relieved by heat. Arsenicum album 30th in repeated doses completely relieved his suffering until the last.
Mrs. N., a thin, frail, nervous lady, 40 years of age, has been subject to burning pain in stomach for several years, generally not very severe nor long-lasting. In January, 1873, an unusually severe attack came on for which I was called to prescribe. Gave Arsenicum 200, Phos. 200, Carbo veg. 200, and several more remedies in different dilutions without relief. Finally, after nearly a week of suffering she said the feeling was just like lime slaking in the stomach and the hot fumes rising into the throat. Cold or warm drinks, or food of any kind aggravate.
Gave Causticum 200. No improvement Causticum 3 1 – 10. No improvement; again Arsenic 200, then 15 was given and still the distress continued unabated. Then I gave Arsenic 2x, a half grain every two hours, and five doses cured…
- Eruption of fine, clean profuse scales on hairy parts with profuse dandruff. When the eruption is worse, it is accompanied by the hawking down of a sticky postnasal discharge; at other times there is dryness of the posterior nares. Inherited eczema. Tubercular ancestry.
Sensitive to cold and easily takes cold which results in catarrhs.
Restless when not well.
Likes salty food. Fresh beef doesn’t agree very well.
The remedy caused an intense aggravation with weakness on the fourth day, then improvement set in and at the end of five months he remains well.
- Nov. 27, 1892, 2 A.M. – A machinist, aged sixty-one years, has had vomiting and diarrhea since 9 P.M. Yesterday’s dinner was corned beef and cabbage, of which he ate heartily. The emesis and stool come at the same moment and are accompanied with faintness, sometimes with loss of consciousness. Severe cutting pains in the abdomen precede the discharges.
The stools are small in quantity, liquid, brown and acrid. He is exceedingly weak. Rx. One powder Arsenicum album Cm [F.]
10 A.M. – He dropped asleep within fifteen minutes and rested well until morning. The only discomfort since then is the weakness…
Miss K., governess aged 22, of a weakly constitution, complained four years ago of persistent burning on the tongue, which sometimes was so violent as to force tears. She looked pale, her gums were bluish and spongy, but not bleeding, the tongue somewhat swollen, the edges showing the impressions of the teeth, and the back of it islets of festering sores; these were superficial, flat, from the size of a 5 cent piece to that of a dime, the edges were white, somewhat raised and circular. Secretion of saliva was not increased, neither was the appetite impaired; the smell of her breath was not bad, the buccal cavity was pale, but not festering. Her morality was above suspicion. The whole condition followed a prolonged depression of her mind which had lasted for over a month, and which did not yield to any remedy. The quality of the pains and the form of the sores prompted me to give Arsenicum 6, of which remedy she received 1 drop on milk sugar mornings and evenings. The first six doses brought about amelioration of her condition and within two weeks she was cured.
Jaundice: Arsenicum. … Principal of a school, preparing for Regent’s examination, working hard and eating heartily, complained of chill, fever and sleeplessness, following a late dinner, causing bad feeling in stomach. He was irritable, cold could not get warm and had foul odor to the breath. Nux cm [H. S.].
A week later a report from his wife said that the medicine helped for a day or two and relieved the sleeplessness, but the stomach still felt very badly. As they lived in a village a few miles out of the city the following symptoms came by telephone:
Gnawing in the stomach, worse by eating; water nauseates, had vomited it; foul taste; yellow skin and eyeballs; brown urine; white stool
Jaundice: Offensive taste and odor of mouth; gnawing in stomach; sleep prevented by restlessness; nausea and vomiting of water. ARS., Mer., Sul.
Mercurius was a close second, but the general habit of the man convinced me that he was suffering from catarrh of stomach and thus he received one dose of Arsenicum [Cm.] after which he improved rapidly.
- This case in a man aged 62, was shown at a meeting of the British Homeopathic Society in December 1937. There were then present marked exophthalmos with edema of the internal canthi, opthalmoplegia in all directions of both eyes and a marked optic neuritis on the right side with reduction in vision to R. 6/18, L. 6/9. He has no marked tachycardia. Pulse 88; only a very slight tremor and no obvious goitre. In order to save the sight it had been suggested that the orbit should be decompressed. He was given Iodine10m, chiefly on his heat reactions, but without effect. This was followed by Thyroid 3x t.d. s., but again without any obvious effect.
The following notes were then taken: Nervous; fidgety hands; e.g., fidgety about the neck and always easing his collar though it is not at all tight. Particular and fussy about things; e.g. , picture on the wall if not hanging straight. Always likes to be doing something. Could not sit down with a book for an hour. Must be moving and doing something. Restless hands and feet. Irritable with his daughter at home because she is not tidy. Fond of fat and vinegar and pickles. Most of these symptoms were considered to be good indications for Arsenicum album. He was given Arsenicum album 1m, one dose, on December 30th, 1937. From that day progress was steady. Nerves better.
Mr. Scoular reports 10-3-38, Vision improved in R. eye to 6/9. Papillitis resolving L. 6/6.
14-4-38. Proptosis both eyes improving. Papillitis less marked.
19-5-38. Vision, R. 6/9, papillitis less marked. Nerves not so well. Arsenicum album 10m, one dose.
9-7-38. Vision, R. 6/9. Both discs nearly normal.
6-10-38. Vast improvement. Both discs normal; sight both eyes 6/6.
The accompanying photographs are shown to demonstrate the improvement. The R. eye is now almost normal in appearance, but the L. shows proptosis still.
July 9th, 1867. Wm. G., born, apparently healthy. July 19. The nurse noticed an increased size of scrotum a couple of days after birth of child, but made no mention of it until the tenth day. On making an examination, found scrotum much distended with fluid, being several times its normal size. It had a translucent appearance, and the testicle was situated at the upper part; the right side was distended the most. The child had little fever, was fretful, desired the breast often, but after drawing very small quantity, refused to take any more. There was a slight miliary eruption on body. During sleep child moaned continually, and was quiet when covered warmly.
Gave two globules Arsenicum 30 on tongue; on second day swelling began to decrease, and at end of one week had entirely disappeared.
March 1st, 1868. Child is still well, and is cutting three teeth, it having cut the two central lower incisors and one upper incisor several weeks back.
On the15th day of September last, I was applied to by a woman suffering from intermittent fever. She told me that she was sick with it during the month of June previous, and was cured by taking a four dollar bottle of fever and ague medicine. On the 10th of September she was taken again; her symptoms were as follows:
Very severe pains all over the head, in small of back and all her limbs, so as to make her unable to stand up, with nausea. Attack every other day, 4 P.M.
I gave her four doses of Arsenicum 200 [L.] and two days after I was told that she was much worse and that the attack came on every day. I then gave her Arsenicum 1400 [J.] as it was the only next higher potency that I had. After that she had two more attacks; about two months after she had another attack, when I gave her Arsenicum 1400 [J.] as before, and since that time I have heard no complaint. I have treated her husband with the same remedy with like success.
M., a blacksmith, aged forty-three, of robust constitution, had suffered for three-quarters of a year from a most troublesome skin disease, which had come on after a violent shivering fit. He had sought aid, in vain, from various physicians; his disease had rather grown worse under all the different modes of treatment. He came to me on the 14th of April, 1823, when, on careful examination, I found the following symptoms: The whole face, not excepting the forehead, the neck, the breast, and forearms and hands were covered with sanious ulcers, which gave insupportable burning pain, like red-hot coals. They began as small red pimples, which soon filled with a clear fluid at the point, then burst, discharging a corrosive fluid, then formed crusts, from under which the matter continued to ooze. These ulcers became confluent. He was often seized with horripilation, especially in the parts affected with the eruption. He could scarcely get any sleep from the continued pain; dislike to smoking tobacco; salt taste in the mouth; little thirst; dirty yellow coated tongue; turbid yellow urine; lassitude and ill-humor.
Treatment. – There was no change to be made in the diet of this patient; and as he had taken no medicine for some time, he could begin the Homeopathic treatment at once. As no medicine suited so well the insupportable burning pain, the nightly restlessness, and the salt taste, as Arsenic, I gave him on the same day a dose of the 30th dilution.
Results. – In four days the patient came to me again, and even then his whole state had improved amazingly. The formerly sanious ulcers were now dry; the burning pain was very much lessened, and no new pimples made their appearance. He seldom had shivering, and at night, he slept quietly for several hours at a time. The other symptoms persisted, but in a milder degree. The improvement advanced steadily, and in the course of ten days the eruption was quite dry and all the other symptoms gone.
- H. – a woman about sixty, had suffered for several months from an eruption which had resisted all the efforts of the physicians to cure it and threatened to undermine her vital powers. On the 4th of October my advice was asked, and the following symptoms were observed on minute examination: The whole body, except the face, was covered with small sanious ulcerations, which were excessively painful and occasioned a sharp burning pain when the patient was exposed to cold. This burning caused her to scratch, which always aggravated it. She was most comfortable when warm. The ulcers were so sensitive that she could not bear the mildest ointment. They healed here and there, but new ones always formed again. The patient grew daily thinner. Digestion was disturbed, and every morsel of food caused pressure in the gullet, as if it stuck there. She was so weak that she could scarcely walk across the room; sleep restless. She had a febrile attack daily; first, shivering, with increased burning in the eruption; then heat followed by perspiration; her spirits were depressed and desponding.
Treatment. – After leaving off the former medicines for eight days, and forbidding the use of coffee, in place of which she was allowed light beer, I administered on the13th of October, Arsenic , as the whole peculiarity of the eruption, the daily fever, and most of the other sufferings, corresponded to the primary action of that powerful medicine.
Result. – On the 28th of October it was reported to me, that since the administration of the medicine all the symptoms had gradually diminished and I satisfied myself, by personal examination, that the eruption was then quite gone, as well as the other symptoms. The patient has never since suffered from skin disease. 26. Mr. G.P. H. Large, stout man, nervous and irritable. Had been having many small boils in external ears and several styes, for which he had had Pulsatilla and later Sulphur. February 14 a small pustule appeared on the back of his left hand, and a day later, when I saw it, the hand was swollen, red and throbbing. On general symptoms I gave Silica high. He seemed a little better for a day or so, but the third night he had a chill and suffered much burning pain. There was also throbbing and pricking like hot needles, the pains extending to the elbow, hand much swollen and also the forearm. Pain is better with hot applications.
Mouth dry and thirst for a glass of water at a time.
Tongue coated, red tip.
Aching in small of back.
Very tired and restless.
Jumping and twitching in sleep.
The case looked like Arsenicum, but I wanted advice and so I called his former physician, Dr. Fred Keith, on the telephone. He advised Arsenicum High, one dose. I gave Finke’s 45 M and awaited results.
The first day was very uncomfortable, partly due to the fact that I positively forbade cigarettes for 12 hours, in order to give the remedy a better chance; but the night was better and the improvement continued steadily. A large amount of pus was discharged and the hand healed rapidly. Several years before, the patient had had a carbuncle which was treated in the classical fashion with deep incisions and it was several weeks in healing. He was not slow to observe the difference in healing and in his general health under the two methods of treatment.
A few years ago a man, 53 years old felt coldness in the hypogastrium, followed by shaking, heat and sweating, all at once. About a week ago coldness was felt again in the hypogastrium, with a sensation of hardness and swelling in the same region; cold feeling in the abdomen from cold drinks; coldness alternating with heat in hypogastrium; coldness with sinking empty feeling in stomach; coldness with prostration; feverish 1-2 times every night; rumbling in stomach; flatulence. Arsenicum 10M, one powder, gave a soothing effect at once.
Male, aged three months… The skin of the scalp and face is dry and scaly and has been so since birth, gradually getting worse. Has had no treatment thus far, on account of age. The infant is nursed by the mother. Arsenicum album, Cm. sk., one dose each, to mother and baby. We saw this case again after about two months, when the skin was perfectly smooth and free from any eruption. The infant has remained well since.
Female aged 60. Constant, incessant nausea, sometimes accompanied by vomiting and associated with great weakness. The patient felt better from heat and in hot weather. I am not including the common symptoms in these reports. Two year treatment with her former physicians [of the “old school”] proved worthless. Her last doctor, a well-known and broadminded man, said: “Go to a homeopath and he will cure you.”
I was led to Arsenicum album on account of the weakness and relief from heat. This remedy, in the 6th potency, improved her at once and completely cured in about two months…
February 20, 1919. L.O. S., aged 59.
Dry, scaly eruption on left leg, began about two or three weeks ago.
Itching worse in evening, after undressing.
Scratches till part is raw: from 10 to 15 minutes.
Itching worse on scratching.
Smarting after scratching.
Yellow discharge follows scratching.
Lack of vital heat.
History of chronic alcoholism.
Arsenicum 1M. cured the man.
A woman, aged 40, March 19, 1867, got a most violent bellyache, with very frequent watery stools; had much fever and much thirst, but drinking little at a time; she was worse after midnight and towards morning. Rx Arsenicum album 2c, [Jenichen.]
March 20. About the same, neither better nor worse. Being convinced that Arsenic must be the most fitting remedy in this case, I gave her Arsenicum album 43m, [Fincke,] and had the satisfaction that she improved from the very hour. The bellyache ceased, also the diarrhea, the fever disappeared. The next day, patient was perfectly well and remained so. May 23, 1867.
January 7, 1869. Mrs. Quinlan. Varicose ulcer of leg, of six months standing; about the size of hand, dark, livid appearance. The ulcer seemed to spread by large blisters forming on the edges, filled with water; burning pain depriving her of sleep. Rx Arsenicum album 200. Six powders – one every night.
January 16 returned – the ulcer healed to about the size of a silver dollar. She said that in less than one hour after taking the first powder, the burning pain ceased; she slept all night – the first in three weeks.
Rx Arsenicum album 11000, one dose.
January 26. Entirely healed. The skin where the ulcer was is as smooth as any part of the body.
In May 1834, an apparently strong and healthy forester, aged thirty-six, came to seek my aid against very bad fits, to which he was liable. For two years he was frequently attacked with the following symptoms: He felt a burning pain in the stomach, and, at the same time, there came on a pressure in the spinal column, which rose up like a warm wind along the back, behind the ears, and then into the brain. He then felt giddy and fell down insensible, in which state he remained for ten or fifteen minutes, when he came to himself again, and was then free from pain, but much stupified. In the intervals, the head was generally well, but the patient felt not unfrequently a pressive pain in the occiput. Also he frequently had pain of a burning character in the spine. In the morning sweet taste, and after meals burning in the stomach and abdomen; bowels irregular, generally loose, with burning at the anus and scalding on making water. Frequent cramps in the legs. Several years ago he had had the itch, which was suppressed with ointments. Within the space of two months I gave him eight doses of Arsenic [6. ] At first he passed large masses of mucus, by stool, and after four weeks all his complaints were gone. I saw him again today, 1st August, 1835, and had had no return of them.