Cadmium sulphide, CdS
The essential features
The physical picture
This remedy is indicated mostly in cases that present symptoms of severe gastritis or gastro-enteritis. Primarily, it is the mucus membranes of the stomach that are irritated and they react with forceful vomiting. The vomit may be brownish and even black in colour, and may look like coffee grounds. This is because there is a slow oozing of blood from the mucosae of the stomach and the blood stays there for some time before it is ejected.
The intensity of the nausea, which is felt all over (in the chest, abdomen, mouth, etc.) and which is similar to Ipecacuanha or Tabacum, and the kind of vomiting (persistent, forceful and often black) suggest a severe ulceration with slow bleeding or, in chronic cases, a malignancy.
The cases that need Cadmium sulphuratum give the impression that something really serious is going on, not only because of the intensity of the pains but primarily because of the type and effect of the vomiting. The patient is prostrated from the exertion of vomiting, wants to lie down quietly and does not want any interference. He tries to stay the vomiting by remaining still, but the nausea persists and the forceful vomiting continues. The nausea is so excessive that vomiting is excited even by something merely touching the lips. Such a severe reaction of the stomach may occur in acute gastro-enteritis, yellow fever, cholera, or in acute exacerbation of chronic cases of gastritis, duodenal ulcer, or cancer of the stomach.
In cases of yellow fever or cholera, assuming the rest of the pathogenesis is similar, the black vomitus is the most important symptom initiating the choice of Cadmium sulphuratum. The forceful and persistent vomiting that tends to be black is the main guiding symptom for this remedy. It is often accompanied by burning and cutting pain in the stomach, excessive salivation, and intense nausea accompanied by violent retching and gagging. Once the extreme prostration, the desire to lie down quietly and undisturbed, is added, the picture of yellow fever or cholera becomes complete. Indeed,
Hering relates the successful use of Cadmium sulphuratum in a murderous epidemic of yellow fever. An additional striking symptom that usually occurs in Cadmium sulphuratum cases is general chill, which is so deep that it cannot be ameliorated even if the patient stands near a heater.
Frequently the practitioner gets the idea of the indicated remedy simply by looking into the overall pathological history of the case. There are numerous examples where one problem disappears only to be replaced by another and the specific pattern indicates the appropriate remedy. For example, if you see a case with a persistent skin eruption where eventually the eruption is ‘cured’, but then a duodenal ulcer sets in, think of Graphites. If a skin eruption disappears and epileptic convulsions set in, then the first remedies to think of are Zincum and Causticum. If skin eruptions disappear and then a chorea manifests, think of Staphysagria or Agaricus. If injuries are followed by an epileptic attack, think of Arnica. If mental problems, especially depression, follow injuries to the head, think of Natrum sulphuricum.
Every remedy has its own preferred steps for the development of its pathology. The differences may be subtle, but this subtle differentiation can be learned through the study of the materia medica. What is important to understand is that each organism has specific sensitivities in its different
layers and what we are trying to do is to match these sensitivities with the pathogenesis of the remedy as a whole.
With regard to Cadmium sulphuratum the typical constitutional case is as follows: there, in your consulting room, sits an individual suffering from chronic stomach problems, who has also had a history of chronic eye troubles. He has had recurrent inflammation of his eyes and has had to struggle with eye-drops practically all his life, especially with every change of weather and with every cold spell. He developed conjunctivitis and inflammation of the lids, and since then the conjunctiva have remained thickened. The inflammation corresponds to the picture that has been called ‘scrofulous sore eyes.’ One day such a patient finds himself free from his eye troubles or these problems are much better, but then in the course of a few months his stomach breaks down. For years after he has digestive troubles that are not manageable regardless of the remedy given. Such a case may eventually turn towards malignancy.
It is this kind of history: – chronic eye problems that end up in irritation of the mucus membranes of the stomach – that hint at Cadmium sulphuratum.
The mental picture
The main mental picture of this remedy is that of a person who has no energy, no vitality and, therefore, takes no initiative, does not communicate, nor do anything demanding. This explains the above mentioned trait that any demands put on him are unbearable. He cannot bear anyone asking him for anything, however small it may be.
At the same time the Cadmium sulphuratum person wants company and does not like to be alone, especially during the fever stage. However, as mentioned above, the one who is with him should not burden him with anything. This is the meaning of the symptoms from the proving: ‘Horror of work’; ‘Apprehension at the approach of anybody’, and Kent’s statement: ‘there is a dread of work; indolence; aversion to doing anything, mental and physical.’
Such conditions can be encountered in progressed stages of cancer of the stomach, in acute exacerbation of duodenal ulcers, or in severe acute diseases. The patient is excessively irritable or easily irritated and this irritability has a repercussion on his stomach pains. The patient is aware, though, that being vexed or irritated aggravates all his symptoms and so tries to avoid any disturbance that might provoke these states of mind.
Clarke states that Cadmium sulphuratum is a cross between Bryonia and Arsenicum: It has the desire to keep quiet and the complete aversion to motion of Bry., with the exhaustion and stomach irritability of Ars. In my perception there is no way to confuse it with Ars. or Bry. as there are clear differential points. As opposed to Bry., there is usually no great thirst, only a desire for small, infrequent sips which the patient vomits immediately.
Though the patient has a horror of solitude, cannot stay alone and wants somebody with him, he differs from Ars. in that he does not like it if the doctor or someone else comes near him to ‘burden him’, i.e. , to demand something from him or to discuss with him. He is too tired and prostrated to communicate. The impression one gets of the patient is also distinguished from Ars. in that he stays quiet, does not want to be disturbed, and in that there is little or no fear of death, even if the patient is obviously going to die.
In addition, in Cadmium sulphuratum, it is the idea of malignancy that prevails. This idea comes immediately to your attention: the black vomit, the chill, the extreme prostration, the horror of solitude and the desire to be left quiet so as to be able to die in peace. All this shows that the patient is really going towards death. These symptoms unite to create a case that is unique and one that demands Cadmium sulphuratum.
The action of this remedy is primarily upon the mucus membranes of the stomach, and the digestive system in general; the eyes and especially the conjunctiva; the mucus membranes of the nose; and the nervous system. These symptoms were mentioned already in the previous sections.
With regard to the nervous system Kent tells us that ‘it has paralytic conditions like Causticum; paralysis of one part or on one side of the body. After an apoplectic attack when the patient recovers, but weakness of one arm and leg remains, it competes with Phosphorus.’
Petroz reports two cases of one-sided paralysis of the face with distortion of the mouth and difficulty in speaking, after exposure to cold wind. They were both cured by Cadmium sulphuratum.
Crawling sensations, numbness and pain in the paralysed parts are characteristic. There is numbness in particular parts of the body, e. g. the nose, the head, the thighs.
The nasal symptoms are accentuated in Clarke’s Dictionary. He says: ‘No remedy has served me better in cases of ozaena and polypus.’
Margery Blackie recommends the remedy for rheumatic pains at the top of the spine. She says, ‘I am always surprised how well it works, especially if they point to one particular point and they say that that is what hurts them.’
Chill, amounting to icy coldness, which is not better when standing near a fire, is an important general symptom.
Cadmium sulphuratum is useful when sweat is checked after exposure to a draught of air. Ailments come on from vexation, from a fit of passion, or from cold winds; on waking from sleep, in open air, in a draught, in cool weather; in the sunshine; when climbing stairs.
Symptoms are worse from cold air, open air, arising from bed in the morning, from the least motion, in the morning after sleep, from walking, after grief, after vexation, after stimulants (alcohol, coffee etc.).
In particular, the pains in the stomach and abdomen are aggravated as mentioned above, by walking and by carrying heavy things.
The symptoms force the person to rest. There is a general amelioration from eating. Two more keynotes of the remedy are smiling and moaning in sleep and anxiety before stool.
Vertigo – the bed and room seem to spin around.
Sensations of constriction, stitches and hammering in the head, pulsation in the temples.
‘It is not so often called for in ordinary headaches, but in headaches occurring in the low forms of fever, with great rush of blood to the head.’ (Kent) The headache may be accompanied by restlessness, anxiety, icy coldness of the body, nosebleed, trembling of the jaw, constriction of the throat, thirst, nausea, and vomiting.
Tightness at the root of the nose, pressure above the eyes. Herpes on the temples.
Opacity of the cornea connected with slow forms of eye affection, inflammations and blennorhoic disorders. Swelling of the conjunctiva that remains after blennorrhoic disorder.
Maculae on the cornea, as a result of injuries to the eyes.
Chronic conjunctivitis with discharge, the eyes become sore again with every cold spell or change of weather.
The lids may swell and become paralysed and drooping; there is an inability to close the eyes in one-sided paralysis of the face. One pupil is dilated and the other contracted. Is unable to read small type, night blindness.
Ozaena; old nasal catarrh which slowly destroys the nasal bones.
The nostrils are ulcerated.
Tension in the nose.
Swollen and obstructed nose.
Numbness of the nose.
Erysipelatous inflammation of the nose; boils on the nose.
Hollow eyes, surrounded by blue circles; greyish complexion of the face. Sensation of crawling in the face.
One-sided paralysis of the face with an involvement especially of the lid which is drooping; with an inability to close the eyes; with distortion of the mouth and difficulty talking and swallowing; with painful drawing in the face. Cold air, especially cold wind, may bring on or aggravate this condition, which appears more often on the left side.
The tongue may show traces of vomit, which is dirty brown or black. Sordes on the teeth, a bleeding tongue, mouth very dry as in typhus, typhoid and yellow fever.
The tongue may be difficult to move, and talking may be difficult.
Disturbances in taste. There is a taste like pitch in the mouth; food tastes salty; is felt mostly when swallowing.
Constriction of the oesophagus: with paralysis of the muscles, which makes swallowing very difficult; is accompanied by thirst, nausea and vomiting.
Chest and respiration
Contraction or constriction of the chest e.g. in asthma.
Palpitation of the heart, with constriction of the chest.
Dyspnoea and suffocation on dropping off to sleep and on waking.
The chest symptoms are worse when assuming a squatting posture.
Gastric irritation. Intense retching and gagging. Black vomit. Deadly nausea; he must lie quietly to ward off the black vomit, which is already in the stomach and can be smelt.
Patient craves small quantities of cold water that are immediately vomited.
Instead of giving all the stomach symptoms of Cadmium sulphuratum, I shall quote some impressive passages of Kent’s Lectures:
‘Every time he takes cold water, which he craves, goose-flesh comes out, a creeping or horripilation like Capsicum Ö The stomach quits business; no digestion. Everything sours and the simplest things taken are changed and come up sour, mixed with blood and bile; rancid eructations; with great exhaustion. Nauseated all the way down to the abdomen like Ipecacuanha, Antimonium tartaricum, and Arsenicum, extensive nausea. Cold sweat. Vomiting of yellow-green mucus. Touching the lips brings on nausea. Looking over the symptoms narrated here an experienced practitioner would think of gastritis-vomiting of the simplest things. Irritation of the stomach after tedious sicknesses, like cerebro-spinal meningitis, typhoid, yellow fever. The stomach gives out; there is no digestion, and everything is vomited. …
‘Many of these patients die because they cannot eat, but this remedy will save some of them. When you have a case of cancer, with burning, prostration and vomiting, Cadmium sulphuratum relieves these symptoms for weeks. Ö It is a great remedy in the gastric irritation of carcinoma, a great palliative; coffee ground vomiting. Burning and cutting pain in the stomach. Gastric symptoms, such as occur in pregnancy, in old drunkards. Burning in the stomach extending up into the oesophagus; fluids burn all the way up into the mouth and throat; sour, acrid fluids. Cold sensation in the stomach.’
Petroz tells us that the gastric symptoms are worse during pregnancy, in drunkards, after cramps in the stomach, after drinking beer, and in the morning.
Lancination in the left hypochondrium.
Pulsation, pressure, pain in the sides.
Cutting pain in the bowel and kidneys.
Pain in the abdomen, with vomiting.
Coldness in the stomach and abdomen.
The abdomen is sore, tender and tympanitic; the region of the liver is sore.
Pains in the stomach and hypochondria are made worse by walking or carrying heavy weights.
Inflammatory disorders of the liver, spleen, stomach and other abdominal viscera.
A case of cancer of the liver benefited greatly from Cadmium sulphuratum, as reported by the journal ‘Klassische Homeopathie’, 1959, p. 282.
Alvine evacuations, almost gelatinous, of a yellowish-green semi-fluid character. Semi-fluid stools, with urinary suppression. Black, offensive clots of blood from the bowel.
The stools are black, bloody and offensive.
The urine is mixed with pus and blood.
Urethra feels raw and sore.
‘The breathing stops on going to sleep, he wakes up suffocating. Fears to go to sleep.’ (Boericke)
Sleepiness in the morning, drowsiness while sitting; on falling asleep, has nightmares, subsultus tendinum, jerking in the extremities.
During sleep: Moaning, smiling, eyes open, lies with head low and hands under it; interrupted breathing; feet agitated by shocks and jerking; thirst, heat, itching; want of breath when awakening.
‘Can hardly sleep; if at all, with open eyes.’ (Hering)
Useful in fever when sweat is checked after exposure to a draught of air. Icy coldness.
‘Relapses in fever, with vomiting, diarrhoea, and great prostration. At times a case of yellow fever gets along fairly well, but a draft causes a slight cold and on comes sudden prostration, black vomit, death. In that state it competes with Carbo vegetabilis which used to be the main remedy in the hands of good prescribers’. (Kent)
There is much itching of the skin: at night in bed; when touched; when cold; better with scratching, which causes a voluptuous feeling.
Blue, yellow or sallow complexion; scaly, cracking, damp, suppurating herpes.
Chloasma; yellowish stains on the nose and cheeks aggravated by exposure to the sun and wind. Formication of the skin and also between the deeper tissues; a crawling sensation as of ants. Hyperaesthesia or anaesthesia; numbness of parts. Chilblains.
Apoplexy. Boils. Chilblains. Cholera infantum. Corneal opacity. Eyes, disorders of. Facial paralysis. Indigestion. Meningitis. Nasal polypus. Ozaena. Yellow fever.
Compare: Cadmium oxide; Cad-brom. (pain and burning in stomach, and vomiting); Cad-iod. (Itching of anus and rectum felt during the day only; constipation, frequent desire, tenesmus, abdomen bloated); Zinc.; Ars.; Carbo; Verat.