Asarum vulgare, Asarum foliis reniformibus subhirsutis
English: Asarabacca, Fole’s Foot, Hazelwort, Wild Nard
French: Asaret, Cabaret d’Europe, Oreille d’homme, Narde sauvage
German: Haselwurz, Haselkraut
Natural order: Aristolochiae
Family: Jussieu [vegetable substance] – Gynandria monogynia, L.
Mode of preparation: The whole plant is used; it is gathered during the flowering in April, May and June. The juice of the fresh plant is expressed and mixed with equal parts of alcohol, which yields the mother tincture.
The essential features
Asarum appears to be primarily an hysterical remedy. The state of Asarum arises for varied reasons, the two most common being alcoholism and mental overexertion. There are in Asarum, as in other remedies, different stages of development of pathology — different levels of physical and mental disturbances. One level of disturbance can be quite mild, but the very same remedy can also have a very severe level of disturbance. What follows are descriptions of the different levels of pathology to which Asarum corresponds most frequently.
The main characteristic of Asarum which has to be remembered is oversensitiveness of the entire nervous system, and this hypersensitivity, this overexcitability focuses primarily upon the auditory nerve: Asarum individuals cannot tolerate any kind of noise. Asarum, when given early, will prevent the eventual development of those hysterical states that go from one extreme to the other. The one extreme is the extreme sensitivity of the auditory nerve to even the least amount of noise. Hearing a noise causes chills and an unrevealed, internal irritability. Asarum patients feel that their mind will disintegrate from noise; and, interestingly, though definitely sensitive to loud noises, Asarum is especially sensitive to a specific type of grating or rattling noise. Examples of these bothersome noises are: the sound of paper being crumpled (crackling sound), the scraping of fingernails on a blackboard, the scraping of a knife on something hard, etc. The sensitivity these people exhibit to such sounds is tremendous. Many times they even imagine noises; such as, that someone “is scratching on linen.” They frequently seem possessed of a highly-strung nervous sensitivity that compels them to imagine they are hearing such noises, so acutely at times that their body may shudder in consequence. This incredible sensitivity and excitability of the auditory nerve represents one extreme of Asarum; there is another, opposite extreme — deafness, because eventually this over-reactive nerve breaks down. Thus, in Asarum there is an oversensitivity to the least noise which ultimately eventuates in deafness. This idea of opposing states runs throughout Asarum.
The development of the Asarum picture in a child illustrates this theme. One sees a child who is quite serious and mature for his age and who is shy at the same time, one who tends to avoid playing with other children his own age and prefers the company and conversation of adults. Typically the child’s parents pressure him to work and to excel at his schoolwork, piano lessons, foreign languages, etc., and the child tries to meet their expectations. He studies and studies, pushing himself more and more until, as a consequence, he has a breakdown. His nervous system becomes tremendously overstimulated, his nerves on edge. He starts fidgeting, constantly wringing his fingers in embarassment and perplexity, and a restlessness ensues that does not allow him to remain in one place. He becomes hysterical, and with the least noise he startles, jumps and feels terrified. One child, for instance, could not tolerate the sound of the school bell ringing; she thought it would drive her crazy.
One can imagine the Asarum child — overworked, overstimulated, oversensitive and excitable. Perhaps he has attained a place of academic prominence in his school. Then suddenly the situation changes. The child’s mind starts to break down; he can no longer do anything. He has become dulled, incapable of absorbing or retaining knowledge or any new information, absent-minded, confused. Furthermore, he feels that there is something wrong with him; he feels that he is going crazy. This feeling is not the fear of insanity that one sees in Cannabis indica, Pulsatilla, Calcarea carbonica, Mancinella, etc., rather he feels matter of factly that his mind is breaking into pieces.
The child develops a constant sense of hurriedness because of his mental inefficiency. He feels that he does not have enough time to do things; his efforts are ineffective. It is at this point that one can witness the development of nervous laughter. As this very serious child is engaged in a serious discussion, he may break out into nervous laughter. As he is talking he giggles inappropriately and suddenly stops speaking. Or the child may be conversing seriously when something happens — there is a noise, perhaps a door slams — a little distraction, and he bursts out into nervous laughter.
Another point about Asarum that must be remembered is that they do not tolerate any kind of violence, not even the slightest hint of it. They will not even run; running is a violent act for them. Similarly they cannot tolerate any kind of suppression or authoritative imperative. If someone says to them, “Do this!” in a loud, commanding manner, they react adversely. They will not fight back; they will withdraw. For them to be reproached or commanded is like being whipped, such is the impression they give. They may eventually do that which has been asked of them, but with the least violence, whether it is in the voice or in a movement, such as being emphatically told, “Come on, run! The bus is leaving. We’ll miss it!”, they cannot do it — they cannot respond. Neither do they like to be touched; even slight contact seems unbearable.
Furthermore, if pressed to do something, Asarum children may well burst out into an hysterical type of crying. One has to imagine these characteristics in conjunction with the oversensitivity, the overstimulation paradoxically coupled with the slowness, the slow understanding, slow comprehension and confusion that prevails in their minds.
Because these young people are serious and introverted, in the interview they sit and watch you carefully, emanating the plea, “Don’t raise your voice. Don’t tell me something bad.” They hope that you will treat them nicely and gently. Their anxiety is apparent; one can feel it. The mother may say, “She’s overexerted. We have pushed her too far.” And all the while the child is sitting there silently communicating, “Don’t touch me! Don’t shout!” In short, they feel miserable, depressed and weepy. In this state any emotional stimulation can send a shuddering, a chill through the body. Often these children will have a strong need to go out for a walk when they are feeling especially miserable, a practice that does relieve them somewhat.
Here again we witness the polarity of the remedy manifesting as alternating moods: one moment they are weepy, then later suddenly elated and euphoric, but not in a healthy way. Theirs is a nervous euphoria that results from the easy stimulation of their emotions, one which they know will last but for a very short time. Great elation alternates with great depression, nervous laughter with nervous crying. Some Asarum people will, when they want to cry or should cry, burst out laughing instead.
Unless one knows Asarum, thinks of it during the interview, and questions the patient/parents with it in mind, the information that is needed to suggest the remedy will not be forthcoming. What the parents will tell the homeopath is that the child has become slow in learning, indifferent to her studies, and, in short, “stupid;” they complain that when they tell her to study, she just cries. However, they do not understand that she cannot help herself, that she has reached a state in which she can no longer control herself. Some patients may say, “My mind is diffusing; it’s falling apart.” Another expression is, “I can’t keep my mind under control.” That which has been described so far corresponds to the intermediate stage of development of Asarum. There is a preceding state in which Asarum patients suffer from a type of hysterical vertigo or dizziness. Such patients will experience an unexplainable, severe vertigo from turning their head just a little bit, with just the least violent movement. Vertigo occurs when rising from a chair, with the initial motion. Vertigo can also occur while walking and if these patients attempt to run. In these vertiginous states they prefer to sit down and do nothing. One will see these states in alcoholics who try to stop drinking, who are suffering from the effects of alcohol withdrawal. They may not reach this state while they continue to drink. In this state they become depressed. They do not want to do anything. They simply sit and do nothing, and with the least movement they experience a type of dizziness. Accompanying this state is a chilliness typically described as chills going through the body — intense chills. Asarum has thrills — chills and thrills, especially when something is scratched. They will shiver with the sound. Now envision that state of dizziness, depression, indifference and confusion of mind — sitting and doing nothing, and then a state of nervous laughing. They cannot control themselves any longer. Initially one may not see the great sensitivity to noise, but eventually, as the Asarum state develops, the nervous system becomes tremendously sensitive such that any noise becomes intolerable. Thrills come; chills become thrills with the noise. Then the previously described state of mental deterioration supervenes.
Beyond this second set of symptoms, there is a further state which is worse and more difficult to cure. Here again we see the same story. For instance, a very conscientious university student who has been vigorously applying herself to her studies and busily attending laboratory courses, in which a fair amount of chemicals are used, suddenly becomes overtired; her mind does not function any more; she feels allergic to the odors of the laboratory and starts having fainting spells and panic attacks accompanied by a fear of dying. I recall just such a case of an intelligent, accomplished medical student who was contemplating giving up medicine due to her allergic sensitiveness. She could not enter the laboratory because of the chemicals used there to perform the experiments. The mere smell of a small amount of one of those chemicals would provoke an ‘out of the body’ sensation. This reaction was not a small one; it caused great panic. It was akin to the process of dying.
Such conditions represent serious states of pathology.
In this more compromised state, Asarum patients have the sensation as if their limbs were floating out of their physical body. While walking on the street they may experience the feeling that their limbs are floating in the air. Their hands seem as if they are floating in the air. Imagines he is hovering in air like a spirit, when walking in open air. It is not a mere sensation however; it is a sensation which produces tremendous panic. It is as if the person were diffusing — as if their limbs were diffusing outward. In the Repertory one can find Asarum in the rubrics: “sensation as if floating in the air” or “of walking in the air,” but the actual feelings and circumstances are as I have described. They feel at that moment as if they may die or go crazy or that their entire being may disintegrate. Their mind becomes confused, and, finally, they begin to contemplate giving up their studies.
One sees the opposite state as well in which parts of the body feel fixed or stuck, especially the eyes. The eyes feel as if they are stuck in their sockets and cannot be moved. Asarum patients can also develop a fixed idea that there is a pressure inside their head compressing the brain and preventing it from movement, preventing it from thinking. The tongue feels stuck and incapable of motion. In Clarke’s Materia Medica the symptom “sensation as if the eyes would be pressed as under to the side” is noted. That which I have encountered more frequently is the feeling that the parts of the body are stuck and cannot be moved. So, one sees in Asarum two contrasting processes — diffusion on the one hand and solidification on the other.
Another important aspect of Asarum relates to the sexual sphere. Asarum patients have a decided aversion to sex; it is an aversion that goes far beyond that of Sepia or Causticum, and it is much more intense. They are averse to even the thought of sex. For instance, an Asarum individual may, in the course of conversing with someone, have the passing thought that he could have sex with the woman to whom he is talking, and even this thought produces a tremendous aversion. An additional peculiarity is that they may believe that the other person knows and understands what they are thinking — knows of their aversion to the idea of sex. These are also the people who will walk out of the room should one attempt to crack dirty jokes. They cannot tolerate it at all; they cannot stand to hear them. So, as one thinks of Asarum, one envisions an excited, oversensitive individual, on the verge of losing his mind, who is not at all earthy or grounded. He is a person who may feel as if he is floating, diffusing outward, and who has a terrific aversion to the mere thought of sex.
Even in children one sees this disgust for sex. Asarum children, if kissed by an adult, will go and wash. They experience great disgust. If they develop any sexual awareness at all, it will be late in life. It is the same repulsion that develops into an aversion to sex as adults. The children cannot explain it, but they especially experience disgust from being kissed. They can, in addition, experience some disgust for dirty things.
Asarum patients do not want to be touched; they have an aversion to even a casual touch. They also have great difficulty expressing themselves. They dislike talking about themselves, about their inner feelings. In the text we see: cold “shivers” from any emotion which shows the intensity and the quality of the emotions. This pressure of the emotions and their lack of release surely will bring on symptoms like rising of the blood pressure and a state of early arteriosclerosis, unless the remedy is prescribed.
When one sees an Asarum patient in the consulting room, the intensity that has been described will not be visible; it is inside the patient. The practitioner has to sense it. Inside themselves they think, “I don’t understand. Something has happened to me. Perhaps I’m ill. My mind isn’t working properly. I can’t remember.” In the text we read: “Gradual vanishing of thought, as when falling asleep, stupid feeling in head, has no desire to do anything.” It is an early state of sclerosis of the arteries and if you take the blood pressure most probably you will find it raised. One must be sensitive to this internal state to recognize Asarum. They will not talk because in the state in which they are they can easily be humiliated.
Clear Asarum cases may be confused with such remedies as Mercurius, Theridion, Natrum muriaticum, Nux vomica, etc. One will have a very difficult time in sorting out these cases if he is lacking an awareness of the Asarum picture.
I believe that such disturbances as those resembling the Asarum state have been wrought by our civilization. We push ourselves and our children to attain success and intellectual superiority, and eventually we pay the price. An Asarum child pushes himself too much, and then the Asarum state occurs. Alcoholics, too, are sensitive people that have many problems; they need a barrier to minimize their pain in life, and so they drink. When they make the effort to stop drinking, the Asarum state surfaces. The dependence on and abuse of psychotropic drugs might also produce an Asarum withdrawal state. A lot of the sensitive, almost hysterical youth of today with intellectual capacities far beyond their age and degenerated physical bodies lacking normal youthful vigor are fit subjects for Asarum.
Asarum is basically very chilly, worse from dry, clear, cold weather and better in wet weather; this is in accord with an amelioration that is sometimes afforded by cold, wet applications locally. Cold hands, feet, knees or abdomen; even hottest weather does not relieve. Nervous chilliness, single parts icy cold. By covering or in a warm room the cold feeling is no better. Great want of vital heat; feels cold continually, but in damp weather the symptoms improve. Thus, one can see a contradiction — locally there is an amelioration from cold applications while generally there is an aggravation from cold, accompanied by strong chills. Fresh air ameliorates many of the mental and physical symptoms whereas closed, stuffy places cause aggravation (Puls ). Tremendous weakness, with nausea and constant yawning, is seen in the afternoon and towards evening.
Asarum patients can be exquisitely sensitive to various chemicals. They are the sort of patients who will say, “I’m allergic to almost everything!” There is also great sensitivity to a good number of different foods. These people will very often suffer allergic reactions from having eaten only a small amount of these foods.
Eventually, through a process of elimination, they reduce their diet to a very small number of tolerated foods.
It is important to remember that to justify the prescription of Asarum a wide range of the remedy’s symptomatology should be present; it would be improper to give Asarum to everyone who is sensitive to chemicals. The nervous hypersensitivity must be present, especially of the auditory nerve. Excessive sensibility of all the nerves when merely thinking (and this he must continually) that some one might with the finger tip or nail scratch even lightly on linen or similar material; a most disagreeable sensation thrills through him, arresting momentarily all his thoughts and actions. So weak he staggers, unless his mind is on his walking. Sweats easily, particularly on upper part of body.
Headaches that feel as if the whole head is compressed, as if under tension. There is also tension felt in the scalp, which feels sensitive when combing the hair. Confusion in the head, better on walking. The brain feels as if pressed in certain areas with a heavy object, preventing thinking. Pressure in forehead affecting the eyes (Gels). Warm feeling in the face, ameliorated by washing with cold water. By washing the pain in head also is better.
Feels pulsation of arteries in occiput. Intense, compressive headache in left temple, and behind ears; more violent when walking or shaking head; better when sitting. Throbbing headache in morning, early, when rising. Headache, with pain in both eyes, and nausea. Pain externally on sides of head. Itching, beginning with fine stitches, below left temple.
Another common state is that of inflammation of the eyes — chronic inflammation of eyelids, chronic conjunctivitis with lachrymation and burning. Such inflammations may go on and on, refractory to such remedies as Clematis, Euphrasia, Graphites, etc. In such conditions, when the special state of sensitivity exists which has been described, think of Asarum.
Cannot read with left eye, aggravated by bright light. The cold air is pleasant to eyes; sunshine, light and wind are intolerable. Thickening of cornea.
Sharp pain over left eye, with running of tears and sensitiveness of sight.
Stinging pains in the eyes, especially after operations. Also, one may see twitchings, especially of the left upper eyelid when holding the eyelid still, better by blinking the eyes. A feeling as if the eyes are forced outward toward the sides, especially when reading. There is a local, and even general, amelioration from cold bathing, especially of the face.
Painfully sensitive hearing or, in cases of coryza, a sensation of the ears being plugged up. Nervous deafness with catarrh. Oversensitiveness of nerves, scratching of linen or silk is insupportable. Dull roaring in left ear like a distant tornado; in right distinct singing. Sensation as if ears were closed or plugged up with some foreign substance. Deafness in one or both ears. Pressure and tension in region of orifice of meatus externus with many symptoms.
Sharp aching above roots of nose. Some coryza and sneezing, with sensation as if ears were closed or plugged up with some foreign substance, with deafness. Discharge of bloody mucus from nose; streak of pure blood. Violent sneezing.
Fine stinging on right cheek; burning stinging pain in left. Dryness of inner side of lower lip. Cutting pain with cramp at articulation of lower jaw.
Teeth of left side feel as if hollow. Cold feeling in upper incisors as from a cold breath. Smarting sensation in gums. Most disgusting taste in mouth, at first sour, later bitter. Burning sensation across tongue. Tongue clean, with choleralike symptoms. Tongue somewhat whitish and thickly furred. Cold, watery saliva accumulates in mouth.
Bread tastes bitter. Brown coating of the tongue with fetid breath and bitter taste. Chronic inflammation and bleeding of the gums with a consequent swelling of submaxillary glands. Root abscesses in teeth with general chilliness, excessive sensitivity to touch locally, and dizziness. Saliva feels cold. Disgusting taste in the mouth.
Dryness in throat, with stitches. Swallowing difficult, as from swelling of glands of throat. Accumulation of tough phlegm in throat.
Desire for alcoholic drinks. Unconquerable longing for alcohol. Another desire that I have noted in Asarum is for nuts of all kinds — almonds, cashews, peanuts, etc. They also have quite a strong desire for milk, and milk ameliorates the pains in the stomach considerably. At times one will see an aversion to onions, garlic, fish and fat.
Violent spasmodic vomiting with diarrhea. Loud eructations which come with extreme force. Nausea during pregnancy. During the first month of pregnancy, the stomach rejects everything; constant nausea with loathing of food with clear tongue. Violent, empty retching which increases all the symptoms, only relieving the stupid feeling about the head. Want of appetite, even nauseated by food. After dinner, great lassitude. Heartburn, with sour belching, setting teeth on edge. Nausea, with disinclination to attend to business. Attacks of nausea; worse after eating but the tongue is clean. Nausea and vomiting. Vomiting of whitish or greenish phlegm. Vomiting, with great anguish, under violent exertion, with chilliness. Pressing, digging and feeling of discomfort in pit of stomach. Horrible sensation at epigastrium when getting awake in morning.
These patients may be incapacitated from abdominal cramps before menses — severe cramps that may put them to bed for two or three days. Often in Asarum the pains will be in the sacral region instead of the abdomen — very severe sacral pains which extend upward and can reach almost to the cervical region. Constipated with dry, hard stools which are difficult to expel.
Oppression around navel, three or four hours after each meal, lasting one hour.
Cutting bellyache, with vomiting. Pain in region of descending colon with discharges of stringy mucus. Smarting soreness in region of spleen.
Gelatinous or shreddy mucus in stool. A long yellow twisted string of inodorous mucus in three or four stools, with pain in abdomen.
Diarrhoea, passes shaggy masses of mucus, inodorous and full of ascarides.
An hour and a half after stool he has another pressing desire, with cutting in abdomen and rectum before and during stool, which is softer than the former.
Yellowish brownish diarrhoea. Lientery; watery stools after a meal, very weakening. Scanty, yellow, mucous stool. Diarrhoea; in chilly, nervous persons; from debility; during hectic or slow fever. Before stool, cutting in abdomen and sharp stitches in rectum, from above downward. During stool: discharge of thick, black blood; prolapses ani. After stool: pressing and straining, and discharge of white, viscid, bloody mucus.
Constant desire to urinate. Pressure on bladder during and after emission of urine.
Genitalia – male
Impotence. Violent pain in left groin, darting through urethra to glans, in which a violent smarting, contracted pain remains for a long time.
Genitalia – female
Severe pains of the lower back the first day of menses, worse from any motion — even breathing makes her worse. Threatened abortion in sensitive, nervous woman. Menses too early and long lasting, blood black. At appearance of menses violent pain in small of back, which scarcely permits her to breathe. Tenacious yellow leucorrhoea. Vaginal fistula. Excessive sickness during first months of pregnancy, stomach rejecting everything. Threatened abortion from excessive sensibility of nerves; even imagining something unpleasant causes thrills to pass through her, momentarily arresting thought.
Asthmatic breathing, worse from odors and dry cold weather. A feeling as if the lungs are constricted by wires. Constant, short, hacking cough of consumptives. Cough relieves constriction of larynx. Stitches in right or both lungs during inhalation. Sharp pressure in region of last ribs, as with back of a knife. Pain around both lungs, as if they were constricted by a thin wire. Pulse: quick and strong; full and accelerated. The arterial beat is felt through whole body. Burning sensation, right chest, more external than internal.
Violent backache, worse from motion. Violent pain in sacral area, extending to the dorsal region, preventing breathing. Paralytic pain as if bruised when standing or sitting. Stiff neck, with thirst, early in morning. Dull stitches under scapulae. Laming pain as if bruised in one of cervical muscles, when moving head. Sensation in muscles of neck as from a tight cravat, or as if pressed upon by a dull edge. Burning pain, with stitches in small of back, while sitting. Tearing pain from crest of one ilium to the other. Violent pain in small of back, she can hardly breathe; beginning of menses.
A feeling of lightness of the extremities, as if they are separating from the body, floating. Weakness of the legs with staggering. Chilliness in single parts. A feeling of contraction in different parts of the body which may be described as pressure or tension. Muscular cramps. Muscular fibrillations. Knees stiff, hurt on sudden motion. Violent stitch in both shoulders during motion or rest.
Contractive tensive pain in deltoid muscle, when laying hand on table, and while it lies there. Drawing laming pain in left wrist. Sudden drawing burning pain from wrist through thumb and index finger. Chronic sciatica. Dull pressure in right hip. Drawing tensive pain in head of left femur. Severe pain in hip joint and middle of thigh when stepping; the foot feels as if paralyzed, he cannot step properly thereon. Severe rheumatic tearing stitches in knees, during motion and at rest. Lassitude in knees. Drawing in hamstrings when lying in bed; in knee.
Stitches in ankles and soles. The little toes pain as if frozen. Lightness of all limbs; he does not perceive that he has a body. Rheumatism worse in dry, cold weather. Sweat in axillae smelling sour.
Evening in bed, agitation in blood, prevents sleep for two hours. After lying down in evening, sweat. Great drowsiness by day. Frequent yawning. Short breath at night. Nightly vexatious dreams about humiliations.
Discharge of bloody and slimy matter from ulcers.
MENTAL AND NERVOUS DISEASES
Anorexia nervosa. Alcoholism. Nervous breakdown from overexertion.
Paralytic weakness of lower legs with severe vertigo. Multiple sclerosis. Myalgic encephalomyelitis. Alcoholic polyneuritis. Hysteria.
Spastic colitis with a lot of mucus in stool. Diarrhea, prolapse of anus.
Dysmenorrhea. Eructations. Eye affections (opthalmia, amblyopia, amaurosis); operations on eyes. Intermittent fevers. Fidgets. Flatulence. Headache. Helminthiasis (when ascarides are present). Sensation of levitation. Loss of appetite. Nausea. Nervous, hacking cough. Typhus. Vomiting (especially during pregnancy).
Followed well by: Bismuth, Sulphuricum acidum, Causticum, Pulsatilla, Silica.
Complementary to: Causticum, Pulsatilla, Silica.
Allies: Piper methysticum and ingrum, Nux moschata, Moschus.
Compare: Aloes (stringy stools); Camphor (cholera like conditions), Hepar, Ipec. (cholera like conditions); Mercur. (stringy stools); Phosphor., Podoph. (stringy stools); Sepia,, Sulph. ac. (stringy stools); Tabac., Veratr.
Antidotes: Acetic acid, Camphor, coffee, vinegar and vegetable acids.
Inimical to it: Alcoholic stimulants, warm food.
From 12c to CM.
A patient applied at the out-patient clinic of the Massachusetts Homoeopathic Hospital, presenting pathologically as a most pronounced feature, a blood pressure ranging from 220 sys. to 240 or 250 sys. Mentally there was great anxiety, with the peculiar and characteristic distraction at the sound of the crumpling of paper, or scratching of linen. As I had many years ago pigeon-holed this symptom in mind under the one remedy having it in prominence, it was easy to give this arteriosclerotic patient some doses of Asarum Europeum 30th, which within a short time not only relieved entirely the nervous condition, but the blood-pressure readings thereafter – so long as I had trace of her – remained at 170 sys. And the patient seldom has had occasion to return for treatment. Proceedings of the Forty-Seventh Annual Session of the International Hahnemannian Association, pp. 198-199.
Case. A Characteristic Symptom of Asarum Europeum – Scanty, yellow mucus stool, in one string.
A woman, two months after confinement, from which she made a slow recovery, having had profuse and prolonged lochia, followed by tenacious leucorrhoea, applied for a prescription for “dysentery”, saying that she had stools of mucus with pain in the belly. She took Mercurius and Pulsatilla, each a few days, but without benefit. I now insisted upon a more definite description of the stool, and was shown one of three or four which had occured that day. It was a long, yellow, twisted string of inodorous mucus. Three doses of Asarum 2d cured the case; she had but three or four such stools after the first dose.
A woman, four months after confinement, complained of pain in the region of the descending colon, with faecal discharges coated with mucus. Podophyllum 2d was given. In three days no faecal discharges occurred, -nothing but long, yellow, tenacious strings of mucus, (inodorous). Six pellets of Asarum 3d, after each stool, arrested them in two days.
A second attack occurring in the same lady after a cold, three months after, was cured promptly with Asarum in the same doses.
These three cases are quite sufficient to establish the reliability of this symptoms as a “characteristic” of Asarum. Was it only a coincidence that they occurred after a severe confinement? or does the intimate relation which Asarum holds to the generative organs have anything to do with the condition cured? It is notable that the tenacious yellow leucorrhoea in the first case disappeared with the intestinal blenorrhoea!
It may be well here to compare this symptom of Asarum with similar ones belonging to other remedies. E.M. Hale MD.
On taking a dose, it caused burning and smarting in mouth, this being followed by a cold sensation from the secretion of a quantity of tenacious mucus. Nausea with inclination to vomit followed, and vomiting of some fluid occurred in one case. Considerable flatus was produced in both stomach and bowels, and this was followed by loose, light-coloured stools. The bladder was much irritated, causing very frequent urging, although character of urine did not seem to be changed. The menses appeared several days sooner than expected, and were much too free, rather dark in colour, and painful. During the provings most of the experimenters were excessively nervous, with dull, stupid feeling during day and restless sleep at night. After a few days they suffered much from chilliness, as if insufficiently clothed, but did not seem to have any fever or any unusual thirst. There was muscular twitching in various parts of the body, as if cramps were setting in, but this did not occasion much inconvenience.
Pleurisy root, Butterfly-weed. N.O. Asclepiadacae.
Preparation: Tincture of the fresh root.
The essential features
Asclepias tuberosa is a remedy that you must think of in cases of intercostal neuralgias with sharp, knife like pains, or in pleurisy or pericarditis, with similar pains. It causes sharp, stitching, pricking pains which are worse with motion but also worse from lying down, especially on the left side.
It should be thought of in cases where Bryonia seemed indicated and failed, but it should be thought of as a first prescription if such pains are accompanied by a general feeling of numbness over the whole body. It has the same 9 p. m aggravation as Bryonia, and is also worse from motion, though not with the intensity of Bryonia. A great difference is that Asclepias pains are aggravated from lying down, especially in certain positions.
In cases of intercostal neuralgias or pains in the abdomen, where the patient is very much worse from smoking, Spigelia should be tried first, but this remedy has an important place too. If the pains in the chest are due to pleurisy and the patient is generally worse from motion, worse from smoking and worse lying then this remedy should be thought of as a first prescription, especially if there is also excessive perspiration.
In general when you see excessive secretions from the skin, perspiration, from the mucous membranes or from serous membranes (dropsical effusions) and the affections are centered in the chest or in the muscles of the chest then this remedy should be considered.
Excessive sweating can be seen also in cases of pleurisy, diarrhoea, rheumatic conditions, pericarditis. Influenza that runs easily to pleurisy, bronchitis, cartarrhal states in general from cold and damp weather come within the sphere of action of this remedy.
Concerning the mental sphere of this remedy we have very little information. This remedy seems to be better psychologically in the evening with an elevation of spirits, hilarity and liveliness with a sudden change of mood at 9 p.m. without any apparent reason, then becoming fretful and peevish and dejected. Other symptoms include: Restlessness and nervousness at night; weakness of memory; difficulty in thinking; swimming of head, with dulness behind forehead. There are dreams of flying over rooftops, which are bothersome. We also find a feeling of drunkenness with weakness of sight, after smoking, and in general sensitivity to tobacco. They are languid and dull all day both in body and mind.
Excessive weakness, walking seems impossible. Weakness in bed. Lying makes the headache better but the pain in chest worse. Bending forward causes the pain in chest to become better.
Some peculiar symptoms are:
Sensation as if bent forward and towards left side while walking.
Soreness of abdomen prevents him from doing anything; as if belly would drop. Unfit for business from pain in bowels, and frequent stools
Feeling as if recovering from a long and severe illness. Pulsations in muscles, in arms, back and various parts.
Pain in scalp, left side of occiput, like touching a pustule.
Sick headache, with flatulence in stomach and bowels. Headache is present almost daily, generally most severe early in morning, with a feeling of heaviness in side. Headache in morning while rising, with weakness so that he must lie down again, continued all day and night, relieved somewhat by a warm footbath. Headaches of an arthritic origin. Headaches that are connected with gastric disturbances. Pain in forehead from coughing. Dull aching headache in forehead and vertex, worse by motion, better lying down. Pricking as if with nails in head and at same time in other parts. Falling out of hair. Aching in forehead and vertex, which is worse motion and better lying down.
Transitory pain behind left eyeball. Broad, dark spots before eyes, with very slow pulse. Itching in canthi and lids of right eye. Inflammation of conjunctiva. Feeling as if sand was in eyes. Lower lids painful as if ulcerated. Blepharitis. Vision disturbed. Vision of black spots.
Itching in nose and face. Pustules on nostrils. Stinging in nose as from a flea. At first dry, then fluent coryza during first days, with much sneezing subsequently.
Yellowness of face. Hippocratic face after a violent diarrhoea. Many vesicles on lips. Lips inflamed and covered with herpetic vesicles. Itching of lips.
Yellow coating on teeth. Gums very pale and almost yellow; bleed easily and repeatedly. Putrid taste on tongue. Yellow tough coating on tongue. Taste of blood in mouth.
Transitory constriction and stinging in throat, extending to larynx. Pain and soreness in throat.
Deficient appetite, especially in morning. Insatiable hunger at noon. Thirst. Sensitive to tobacco. Eructations continuing all day; frequent. Nausea in morning, when rising. Great prostration with vomiting. Nausea with constipation; bilious vomiting with or without diarrhoea; but with pains in limbs, cramp in feet, etc.
Pressing pain in stomach with rumbling in bowels. Flying pains in stomach.
Cramps. Pain in pit of stomach. Gastralgia after supper. It seems as if the cough would shatter the stomach.
Burning in right hypochondriac region and stomach, with pain in intestines. Pain in abdomen much worse from smoking. Throbbing in left hypochondriac region. Violent pain in hypogastrium, as if ulcerated, with tenderness to pressure. Colic: while walking; after eating; most violent at night after 1 o’clock, and also in morning during each stool. A feeling as if a stream of fire passed through abdomen. Rumbling and uneasiness in bowels, with feeling of heat in umbilical region. Much flatulence, with coliclike pains. Flatulence with a sensation when walking as if belly might drop. Flatulence with pains in abdomen and frequent stools. Pressing pain in bowels and emission of fetid wind.
Dysentery, chiefly catarrhal and autumnal. Stool of green colour, and smelling like spoiled eggs, followed by pain in anus. Soft fetid stool, preceded by rumbling, followed by urging to stool. Stool like white of eggs. Feces enveloped in froth.
Constipation after diarrhoea. In afternoon a stool of intense yellow color, with green and yellow flakes. Tenesmus. Bowels irritable, five or six stools a day. Catarrhal diarrhoea in children or in warm weather when nights are cold and damp (Autumn). Winter diarrhoea. Liquid stool causing smarting; stool soft and of an intolerable smell fetid, preceded by rumbling.
Urine red. Urine looks as if mixed with blood. Much mucus is deposited on bottom of vessel. Painful stitches in urethra, repeatedly. Urine rather scanty and high-colored.
Genitalia – male
Ulcerous excoriations on glans, resembling chancre with a pus-like secretion. Copious sweat of genitals. Erections without lust, particularly mornings. Painful stitches in penis.
Genitalia – female
Menorrhagia. Profuse menstruation, with violent pressing down pain.
Capillary bronchitis in children. Bronchitis, acute and chronic. Sharp pains shooting from left nipple downward, with stiffness of left side of neck. Pain beneath left nipple with palpitation of heart. Influenza, with pleuritic or neuralgic pains. Acute pleuritic pain in right side, with dry, hacking cough, and scanty mucous expectoration. Pain in lungs relieved by bending forward.
The spaces between the ribs close to sternum are tender on pressure, and the pain shoots over to right side. Pains in chest kept increasing, during evening, making respiration painful. Pain moved up from bowels to behind sternum. Stitches in left side, shooting over to right and up to left shoulder. Pleuritic pain and colic. Subacute pericarditis; slight dyspnoea aside from painful respiration. Acute pain in chest felt on inspiration, movement of arms, stooping forward or lying on left side; an indescribable uneasiness in shoulder and arm; pressure on intercostal spaces caused some pain, especially over region of heart. Pain like pricking of a needle in region of heart. Contracting pain in heart. Acute rheumatic pericarditis. Hard, heavy, forcible beating of heart, with dyspnoea. The breath smells like pepper. Want of breath, like asthma, often very great, particulary after eating and after smoking a little. Respiration painful, especially at base of left lung. Dry hard cough, worse at night and morning. Hoarse, croupy cough. Cough causes pain in forehead and abdomen. Sputa frothy or yellow.
Pulse low, thready during diarrhoea. Pulse from 64 to 88. Tenderness on pressure over region of heart. Sharp pains shooting from left nipple downward, with stiffness of left side of neck. Oppression after smoking. Warmth internally, with dull pain at base of lungs and with feeling of tightness. Paralysis of right lung in forenoon, with violent pain.
Stinging, transitory stitches between shoulder blades. Itching and red blotches on back. Pain in loins like lumbago.
Pock-like pustules on arms. Pain in left shoulder then right. Pains shooting from left chest into left shoulder worse after rising in the morning. Rheumatic pains in forearm down to fingers. Numbness of right hand. Ankle feels as if sprained. Drawing in soles and toes. Pain as from corns, bedcover seems too heavy.
A red inflamed spot on upper part of right thigh, leaving after several days a dark stain. Itching of thighs and nates, but no eruption. Violent itching in hand and fingers.
Difficult and late sleep at night, with great sleepiness in morning and during day.
Restless and sleepless at night. Confused and anxious dreams. Uneasy sleep during first part of night, with frightful dreams, awaking him at 3 am. Slept all night till 5 am, awaking by frightful dreams which had haunted him all night. Dreams of flying.
Fever in afternoon. Hot, moist skin. High fever with hot sweat. Night sweats and emaciation. Rheumatic and catarrhal fever.
Pimples, vesicles or pustules are very painful and itch excessively.
Asthma. Bronchitis. Cough. Diarrhoea. Dysentery. Headache. Affections of heart. Influenza. Ophthalmia. Pericarditis. Pleurisy. Pleurodynia. Rheumatism. Scrofula.
Compare: Agar. musc. (Pains appear in right arm and left leg, or left arm and right leg); Bryon. (Pleurisy, pneumonia).
From tincture to 200.
The homeopath D. M., born 1939, treated himself for the following sxs:
Very annoying pains left shoulder, frontal part, scapula and upper arm.
The pains occur in paroxysms “like labor-pains” and are shooting, tearing.
The pains are especially strong when he is sitting, holding a book in his hands. But they also come from motion of the whole body in bed. The pains start in the morning, soon after waking, and can be felt during the day mostly.
He has dreams of flying over the rooftops of a city, looking down and moving his huge wings slowly.
Xanthoxylum has a sx which comes closest to these dreams of flying: “Dreams about flying over rooftops of houses”. He took this remedy for some days but didn’t feel any improvement, nor indeed had he felt any improvement with other previous remedies. For this reason he had been changing remedies every few days. In desperation he now went through all the remedies having produced dreams of flying and soon found the following sxs under Asclepias tuberosa*. “Shooting from left side of chest to left shoulder, which was painful on motion.” “Pains in left shoulder a few seconds after rising in the morning.”
As he read this he saw at once that this modality fit exactly, and his pains actually occured only some seconds after rising and not soon after waking. He now took Asclepias.
The action of this remedy was very impressive. While he had been disturbed by the pain and had never felt any convincing improvement, except for slight changes in intensity – this leading him to try different remedies – he now felt that he had the patience to wait for the progression of the therapeutic action. The pains in the left shoulder abated and after 5 days there were transitory pains in the right foot, similar to previous ones. This showed another sx of Asclepias which is pains occuring diagonally, eg. left arm and right leg, or left wrist and right shoulder.
* Dr. A. Savary, Journal de la Societe Gallicane de Medecine homeopathique, deuxieme serie, tome III, Paris, 1858, page 721. Reported by Dr.G. v. Keller Muhistr. 3,7400 Tubingen.
Two or three years ago the patient began to feel an acute soreness, attended with sharp griping pains in the lower part of the abdomen whenever he indulged freely in smoking, and the soreness and pain increased to such an extent that he was at times unable to walk or ride in a carriage, without great suffering, and the bowels were so irritable that he had five or six stools per day.
The soreness and pain seemed to be in the peritoneal lining of the lower part of the abdomen, and over the fundus of the bladder, but not in the rectum, or bladder, or urethra. There were no symptoms of dysentery or diarrhoea.
The pain came on with great violence about two or three o’clock in the morning, with sudden discharges from the bowels; the number of discharges from the bowels during the day was five or six (still no symptoms like diarrhoea), and the patient was so sore in the abdomen that he could scarcely walk….. All the pain and nearly all the soreness in the abdomen disappeared, the irritability of the bowels ceased, and the next day the patient had the first stool of solid faeces he could recollect for twenty-five years.
The North American Journal of Homoeopathy, Vol. 19, New Series vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 43,44
A case of pleuro-pneumonia in a patient only three years old, in which the pleuritic pains were very severe; a peculiarity was that the patient was not able to lie down; lying down made the pains worse, breathing made the pains worse, there was profuse sweat with a temperature of 104 and considerable effusion. I looked a long time for a remedy, but when I found it and gave it to her she was practically convalescent in twenty-four hours. The remedy was asclepias tuberosa. Proceedings of the Twenty-Sixth Annual Session of the International Hahnemannian Association, 1905, p. 119.