Camphora Officinalis – Homeopathic Remedy – Materia Medica Viva George Vithoulkas
A gum obtained from Laurus camphora. N.O. Lauraceae.
Solution in rectified spirit.
The essential features
Camphora is so powerful that it antidotes most of our remedies. It should not be kept in the home where you are stocking homeopathic remedies or during homeopathic treatment.
This disruptive quality is not accidental as Camphora so deeply affects the vital processes of the body. It prevents the blood from reaching the periphery: the head, the extremities, or the penis. It will cause collapse (due to the shortage of blood to the brain), Raynaud phenomenon (ischemia of hands and feet due to blood being prevented from reaching the periphery, by spasms of the vessels), or impotence (due to the blood supply being interrupted), in the form that coitus proceeds normally for a while but the erection is suddenly lost.
The results of provings and clinical experiences with Camphora can be summed up in these three symptoms: extreme cold, collapse, and convulsions (especially tonic convulsions). It is by this very quality that Camphora will act so promptly in the well-known conditions of fainting or collapse. The appearance of a Camphora case will be a person who is cold on the external surface of his body, face and nose; the face is pale and pinched or collapsed, and maybe bluish (cyanotic). The tongue is cold, as is the mouth, and the breath is so cold it seems to be coming from a cellar. In spite of this coldness there is a desire for icy cold water, and the thirst can be so tremendous, as to be virtually unquenchable.
The peculiar symptom that indicates this remedy is a state of sudden collapse where the body is icy cold and yet the patient is averse to being covered. If he is covered all the same, he often suffers from the heat and sweats copiously. Kent describes this for cases of menopausal heat waves: ‘The limbs and abdomen are very cold and she suffers from cold when uncovered and sweats copiously when covered. She cannot endure covering to warm her limbs though she suffers from cold.’ On the other hand, there may be a state of internal burning heat with great anxiety and sweat, and then the patient is averse to being uncovered. He feels either too warm or too cold: if inside, the patient wants the windows open, wants to feel something cold; if outside, he feels too cold. The circulation seems to have gone haywire. It is as if the natural contraction and relaxation of the arteries during temperature changes cannot take place.
Kent gives a most impressive description how this unique characteristic may look: ‘The patient is a most troublesome patient to nurse; nobody and nothing suits. If an inflammation of the bladder comes on, there is intense pain and tenderness, and from the shock of the suffering the mind is in a state of frenzy. Coldness then comes on and the patient wants to be uncovered, wants cold air, wants the windows open, but before all this can be done, a flash of heat comes on and then he wants the covers on, and the register turned on, and wants a hot iron and hot bottles; but this stage now passes off, and while the nurse is bringing the hot irons he wants her to open the windows and have everything cool. You will see at once that these are serious cases…’
We can imagine that Camphora allows the arterioles to relax suddenly, allowing surplus of blood to reach the periphery, and then they suddenly contract and almost totally cut off the blood supply, causing collapse and coldness.
Secale cornutum is a remedy that is in some way similar to Camphora, because it also has a desire to uncover when cold, but in Camphora the states of coldness, heat, frenzy and pain very often intermingle. Unbearable internal heat, for instance, may be there at the same time with extreme coldness of the surface to the touch.
The Camphora state is one of opposites, not only in the field of heat regulation. An analogous situation also takes place on the emotional plane. With the least provocation, with the least inflammation or pain, there is extreme excitability, then irritability which soon goes into a kind of frenzy. The patients cannot control themselves, and do not know what they want. Patients can show frenzied states, extreme irritability or even violent behaviour at one moment; and after that phase the patient will not pass smoothly to a normal state but will go to the opposite extreme, looking totally exhausted, to the verge of collapse and cold all over. No reaction can be elicited from them. They seem to feel nothing, and register no sensations. Even the sense of touch may be lost, the skin is cold and insensitive like marble.
Convulsions are also an important key-note of this remedy. They may be accompanied by hysterical excitement, shrieking and screaming and shouting for help. There may be vomiting and a frequent urge to urinate, with convulsive contractions of the limbs and a loss of consciousness. Tonic and even tetanus-like convulsions and epileptic fits where the patient falls down unconscious, have often bee described and are important actions of the remedy. We also see clonic convulsions of the face and limbs.
To complete this picture of weird and peculiar symptoms and modalities, there is yet another key-note of Camphora (a strange modality which was first observed in Hahnemann’s provings) must be mentioned. Thinking about the existing complaints has a great influence upon the patient’s state, which is not unusual in other remedies, but in most other cases this will aggravate whereas in Camphora the patient usually feels better when thinking of his complaints,
The intensity and the suddenness of the suffering in this remedy might be understood by appreciating that Camphor is well known for curing cholera when the symptoms agree. Sudden sinking of strength, deathly coldness all over very soon after the infection, hopeless despondency and anxiety is to be seen in all gestures, cramps and convulsions in the muscles, especially in the calves, later intense exhausting diarrhoea and vomiting, finally collapse within only a short time, 24 to 48 hours. According to Hahnemann and many other authors, Camphora was indicated where coldness and tonic spasms prevailed, while the stage of intense and profuse discharges often called for other remedies, as Cuprum.
Camphora will be indicated in different diseases and pathologies, mostly acute but also chronic. For instance, it is one of the remedies that we will use in common colds when the patient is very sensitive to cold air, the coldness of the whole body is very intense, objectively as well as subjectively, with chill and sneezing, but with an aversion to be covered.
The remedy is also used in all kinds of serious inflammations: of the brain, of the urinary tract, intestines and liver, of the eyes, etc. In cystitis the case is so intense that it looks like Cantharis, with hot burning in the urethra, strangury, tenesmus of neck of bladder, with bloody urine that comes only in drops; but the coldness of the body will differentiate it from Canth. Camphora may be indicated in congestion of the brain, or when the organism is in shock from a violent inflammation of an organ or from an injury. It is one of the main remedies in shock where the patient goes quickly towards coldness and collapse.
For example, in a perforated ulcer with violent epigastric pain and with extreme coldness of the skin, pulse very weak, blood pressure very low, with violent thirst for icy cold water, the remedy will not be Carbo vegetabilis or Phosphorus but Camphora.
Convulsions will also be an important indication. They may be accompanied by hysterical excitement, shrieking and screaming, shouting for help. There may be a state of vomiting and frequent urge to urinate, with convulsive contractions of the limbs and loss of consciousness. Tonic and even tetanus-like convulsions, epileptic fits where the patient falls down unconscious are actions of the remedy that have often been described, but we also see clonic convulsions of face and limbs.
In most of the acute complaints, there is a state of extreme nervous arousal, almost frenzy, with tremendous anxiety and restlessness, spasms and convulsions, distension and throbbing of veins, followed by a rapid and sudden sinking of strength and total exhaustion.
Fear and anxiety
The striking symptoms on the mental and emotional levels are the anxieties and fears that look like a mixture of Phosphorus, Calcarea, and Lycopodium, but Camphora has a combination of fears and anxieties that belong to its own. There is an expression of great anxiety on the face. The anxiety reaches states of anguish, even psychosis.
All external objects may provoke a repulsive fretfulness in the person affected. The thoughts are not controlled, they seem to run on by themselves, also against the resistance of the will, and produce a terrible state of anguish; becomes afraid of his own thoughts but there is no way to stop them. There is not only a dread of death but also a sensation of death which is quite a different condition. Death is there, is imminent and is felt as such. For instance, a person poisoned by Camphora felt that all the external world had vanished, and he was compelled to scream out loud: “So I am really dead, the hell that I was thinking about is no fiction, I am doomed to hell forever!”
During the initial stage of excitation there is tremendous restlessness mixed with the fears, with the patient tossing about in bed with great anxiety. Any noise that can be heard in the room will startle him. His imagination fills the dark with ghosts, spectres and supernatural phenomena. He dare not get out of bed in the dark, bores his head deep in the pillow to shut out the hideous sights, won’t uncover the head any more. Everything that moves seem to be a spectre, and the inanimate things of the room become alive and terrify him, just as in Phosphorus.
These states mostly come on when alone in the dark, and thus, an excessive fear of solitude and darkness is experienced. One prover would not go into the cellar alone at night but always took his little daughter with him, a girl of only 8 or 9 years of age. A tremendous fear of mirrors, ‘lest he should see himself in them,’ has been observed; ‘so excessive was this fear at times in the night that he would have got up and broken the mirrors, only that he was still more afraid to get up alone in the dark.’ Another fear is that of a murderer standing at the bedside. Terrible fear of nuclear war, of a general catastrophe (Natrum muriaticum).
But all these fears and delusions have to be understood together with the whole picture of anguish, frenzy, coldness and convulsions in order to prescribe this remedy. When this stage of excitement passes, however, he becomes insensible, exhausted, collapsed and cold. There is no reaction to external stimuli, does not feel anything, all the senses seem to be lost. The patient lies there with closed eyes, as if asleep, cannot be aroused, doesn’t answer any questions, doesn’t want to be touched.
Irritability and depression
In its chronic condition, Camphora is irritable and short-tempered within the family system. These people are easily offended, they tend to take everything in bad part and feel insulted and scolded even if there is no apparent reason. They are quarrelsome and exhibit a dogmatic, ‘know-it-all’ attitude, with an inclination to contradict everybody. They become dictatorial (but not to outsiders). There is a tendency to rule over others; women will be attracted to men who need their help. On the other hand, they tend to be indecisive and even timorous. Often they are affected with inferiority complexes, thinking that everyone considers them as failures, which makes them feel wretched.
When the irritable mood passes, they may go into a self-destructive mood, becoming depressed, sad and despondent. There is a sensation of indescribable wretchedness, discomfort and loathing, bodily as well as emotionally. Feels like weeping but the eyes stay dry. In these stages, a suicidal disposition will be exhibited, with an urge to throw oneself out of the window which may exert a dangerous attraction to the patient. The depression may also be coupled with a feeling of unusual lassitude and with frequent yawning and stretching, which gradually increases, soon becoming very disturbing and annoying.
Even severe cases of agitated depression may be cured with this remedy, as a case of Müller shows (Allgemeine Homöopathische Zeitung, 1992). Overall, Camphora people are closed persons. It is characteristic that when they will try to say something that has a direct connection with their emotions the hands freeze, as if the blood were cut out.
Loss of memory and confusion
The intellectual faculties are strongly impaired by Camphora. A sluggishness and dullness of the mind comes on, with confusion and aversion to all mental work, especially during the chilly stage. There is a great difficulty to concentrate; when reading, the patient is unable to follow the train of thought of the author, to get a clear notion of what the author wants to say. ‘Inability to think, to feel, to remember’ (Hahnemann).
Loss of memory is an important trait. After mental or sensorial disturbances as described above or below, the memory of everything he did during that time is often totally lost, cannot remember what he did. Forgetfulness can also be accompanied by flight of ideas.
When there is Alzheimer’s disease and at the same time Raynaud phenomenon in a case, this should bring this remedy to mind.
Delirium and hallucination
In delirious states, as from meningitis, it will be difficult for this remedy to be differentiated from Belladonna or Hyoscyamus. There may be busy delirium with wild talking, constantly repeating the same sentence. Camphora has proved curative in some manic states with excessive excitability: vehement and abusive, also obscene talking; violent, raging gestures; strikes, scratches, spits (Bell.) and bites; tears their own clothes (Tarentula); foams at the mouth. Throws himself back with dreadful shrieks and endeavours to tear everything within his reach.
The delirium often has a sexual component: women bare their breasts or strip naked (Hyos.), clinging to their husbands; men strip naked and dance wildly about, sometimes attempting to jump out of the window. In one case where Camphora acted successfully, a young man wallowed in his own faeces, without showing the slightest sensitivity or shame. He did not want to lie down except on the bare floor. There may be laughing, weeping, talking and shouting by turns, or an alternation between loud laughter and deep depression with fear of dying. These raving states will often be accompanied by violent convulsive fits.
There is also another kind of delirious psychosis in Camphora which is equally intense but not so noisy and violent.
A good example of this is found in the report of a poisoning case: ‘Like in a frenzy, I am seized by the thought: I am dead, no, I am not, yes, I am … The external world had disappeared around me, my thoughts had vanished, with only one dreadful idea remaining: I felt that I had been transferred to another world, everything else had vanished for me. … I was alone in space, I alone had remained of everything. … There was no sensation in me but the feeling of my infinite and eternal damnation. Prostrated on my bed, I believed that I was the Demon of Evil in a world without God. …’
This resembles Hyoscyamus or Mancinella. A feeling of lightness may accompany such states, a sensation as if flying, as if gliding over the floor without touching it, or as if being carried away through the air in spite of all opposition.
Trance-like states: stands motionless and unconscious, with the eyes fixed in a stare, doesn’t react to questions.
The delusions will mostly come on at night when alone. There are spells of great anxiety because absurd figures are floating before his eyes, everything seems alive and moving, spectres everywhere in the room. There is a great desire for company, with screaming for help.
There is such a deep coldness that the body becomes blue and cold to touch. A strange sensation has been observed as if a cold wind were blowing on the body or parts of it or else as if a cold liquid ran over it. The ‘cold wind’ sensation is even felt on covered parts, yet at the same time the patient sweats profusely when covered.
The decision for giving this remedy will, however, not be because the patient is chilly since many of our remedies are extremely chilly, but because of the fact that the more intensely they suffer, the sooner they become very cold, and when they are cold, they must uncover.
The whole body becomes insensible to touch, dry and insensible like marble, no vital heat can be felt any more. Not only will the sense of touch be vanished, but also the sense of differentiation between hot and cold. Boiling hot tea seems cold, and there may also be objective coldness of tongue, mouth, and throat even when swallowing hot liquids.
The sudden and complete sinking of strength, a general feature of the remedy, can take the form of fainting spells that follow each other in rapid succession. Sudden fainting with falling unconsciously to the ground, sometimes announced by a feeling of sultry heat in head and body. Breathing and pulse become very weak, often scarcely perceptible. There may be cold perspiration over the body, especially on the forehead. On recovery, there may be one-sided paralysis or blindness.
The tendency for convulsions and spasms is well-known though this remedy is often neglected in cases of epilepsy or convulsions from an inflammation and high fever. Trismus and other tetanus symptoms. Subsultus tendinum (twisting movements of the muscles and tendons) with excitability, jerking, twitching and trembling. The arms may spasmodically move in circles (rotation). The head is often spasmodically drawn backward or to one side. The eyes are convulsively turned upward. Epileptic seizures followed by a state of extreme exhaustion.
An important indication is: spasms in children when an exanthema does not come out (in measles, in scarlatina). They can also occur after suppression of a cold or in new-born children (trismus). Asphyxia neonatorum, with cyanosis and spasms as a consequence.
Some other remarkable general symptoms: Hasty in action and speech.
After eating, chill and drawing through whole body, with cold arms, hands, and feet. Feeling of dryness in and at body, most in head and bronchi.
A feeling of indescribable discomfort in the whole body.
Pains run from the head to the tips of the fingers, with trembling and uneasiness.
Finds pleasure in drinking, but without thirst.
Disgust for tobacco.
Camphora can be indicated in ill effects from shock (from an injury or from inflammation), vexation, sunstroke, or exposure to extreme cold. Ill effects of suppression: headache or other symptoms from suppression of sexual desire; spasms from suppression of exanthema, eruptions, or discharges.
There is a great sensitivity to and an aggravation from cold air and draughts (but coldness may be better by cold air and worse from covering!).
Sudden weather changes may cause catarrhal infection with headache. Motion tends to aggravate, as most pains of Camphora come on during motion. Profuse sweating will mostly (but not always) ameliorate. Amelioration is also caused by warm air and from drinking cold water as well as from cold water showers.
Vertigo is a frequent symptom in Camphora. It often comes on in frequent, short attacks that can be rather violent; sometimes induced by excessive mental exertion.
Giddiness after nausea and retching, with sparks before eyes, dim sight, ringing in ears, heat and tremor; tends to fall forward.
Heaviness of head with vertigo, head sinks backwards; especially on stooping.
Camphora often produces a drunken feeling in head, with confusion; staggers while walking as if falling down, uncertain gait.
While reading the book seems to go round with the sun, can hardly keep his seat, feels as if falling to the right and as if going into sleep or unconsciousness.
Vertigo when looking from a window; everything in the street seems to be in great tumult and confusion, feels as if he was involved in it; feels in danger to lose balance.
Congestion to head, to the brain; beating of temples, distension of jugular veins. Heat in head and sensation as if perspiration would break out, with shivering over limbs and abdomen.
Heaviness and heat in forehead, worse when walking.
Cold perspiration, especially on forehead; with anxiety.
Throbbing headaches are prominent. They are especially felt in the cerebellum, like beats of a hammer isochronous with the pulse. Throbbing in back of neck and occiput as if it should crack; better from sitting or standing up (raising head), worse from bending head forward.
Throbbing, stitching pain in forehead all night, with general dry heat, but without thirst.
Transient headache as if head were compressed from both sides; only felt when he does not pay attention to his body; as soon as he becomes conscious of his pain and thinks of it, the headache instantly vanishes. This modality has proved a general key-note of Camphora.
Constrictive pain at base of brain, particularly in occiput and over root of nose, head is leaned to one side; worse deep stooping, lying down, or external pressure.
Cutting shocks from forehead and temples to centre of brain, returning after a short time, after lying down. Cutting pressure from left side of occiput to forehead.
Boring headache in right temple, ending in a stitch that goes into eye and a tooth, in short attacks.
Dull headache over frontal bone, with nausea, inclination to vomit.
Dull headache, with transient stitches in both temporal regions and orbits.
Frontal headache which presses outward. Pressive headache over left eye in evening.
Headache as if brain were bruised or sore.
Meningitis; after sunstroke; especially with beating pain in cerebellum.
Hydrocephalus: great coldness of skin, yet the child cannot be covered. Head is spasmodically drawn sideways to shoulder.
Staring, wild look; eyes convulsively turned upwards (or to the side); sometimes with eye-lids half closed and in constant agitation. Extremely contracted pupils; sometimes alternating with dilatation of pupils.
Photophobia. Sensation as if all objects were too bright and shining.
Sees sparks and wheels of fire; small black spots float before the eyes.
When reading, the letters run together, making reading very difficult; when he stops reading, bright circles appear before the eyes.
Obscuration of sight, objects seem to vanish in a fog.
Camphora was useful in some cases of dim vision. As through a fog, often double vision; when looking at an object it seemed to move as if receiving a jerk to the side, which made vision still more indistinct; vision better in morning, much worse in evening. After taking the remedy, slight attacks of vertigo occurred, and while the vertigo increased, the vision became better.
Soreness, or tense, stiff feeling in eyes and eyelids all day. Many red spots on eyelids.
Pressure upon right eyebrow muscle.
Chronic, obstinate inflammation of eyes.
Congestion to ears; hot, red, earlobes.
Buzzing or ringing in the ears; with vertigo.
Stitches into ear from draught of air or wind.
Dark red abscess, more than pea-sized, in the external meatus, with stinging pressure on touch.
Easily catches cold, with fluent or dry coryza, sneezing, chill; often indicated in old people. Camphora has been used successfully in the first stages. Discharge of thin mucus, without sneezing and coryza, in morning on rising.
Nose cold and pointed. Even the air of the room, breathed through the nose, seems cooler. Persistent epistaxis; especially with goose-flesh state of skin. Drawing in left side of nose.
In skin of root of nose, some pricking or crawling from dorsum to tip, has to rub it; this ameliorates but the sensation soon returns. Stitching pain in anterior angle of nostrils, as if ulcerated and sore.
The face is often pale, even bluish with blue lips, and pinched, haggard, sunken, with hollow eyes and blue rings around them, with an anxious look expressing despair; but this state may alternate with a dark red, glowing colour. The features may look collapsed, paralytically relaxed, expressionless; or violently distorted, with incessant spasmodic movements and grimaces, staring, wild look, foam before mouth.
The lips are often everted or drawn in, with exposure of teeth, especially the upper lip; this symptom may accompany fits of unconsciousness, with tetanic spasm and coldness all over; but it is also seen in gastralgia, with cold sweat standing in drops on face.
Erysipelas, with yellow blisters around ear; with redness of ear-lobes and cheeks. Erysipelatous appearance of face. Boring in right zygoma.
The whole mouth is cold, also the tongue is cold and trembles, even the breath is cold. The coldness may even be felt when swallowing hot liquids. But a burning sensation and unpleasant heat in mouth and pharynx has also been observed.
Whole mouth interior, with tongue, gums and palate, feels as if it is swollen.
Scraping, dry sensation at palate.
Increased taste to all food; food tastes bitter, especially meat; tobacco tastes bitter and offensive.
Bad taste, nausea, vomiting, especially in the morning. Offensive odour from mouth in the morning, which prover noted himself. Collection of saliva in the mouth, which is sometimes slimy and viscid.
The tongue is thick, spongy, fissured, covered with much tough yellowish mucus. Sensation of dryness on back part of tongue, a scraping feeling, with much saliva.
Toothache worse from coffee and spirituous liquors, from touch of any food, ameliorated for some moments by drinking cold water, but holding cold water in mouth aggravates the pain tremendously; strange enough, drinking of beer ameliorates the pain, as well as smoking tobacco. Coitus makes the toothache disappear. On exposure to cold or windy air, a stinging pain goes from a tooth to the eye. Gums painful, loosened, teeth feel too long and become loose.
Heat in mouth, pharynx, stomach.
Violent burning at palate all the way down the oesophagus which makes him drink, but drinking gives no relief.
Sore throat, more on swallowing, as if it were excoriated, with a sensation as if he had eaten rancid food. Impossible to swallow in typhus.
Voice husky and deep; feeble, broken, hoarse; uncertain; whispering; even aphonia.
Great difficulty of speech, hardly able to articulate.
Mucus in trachea which makes the voice impure and is not cleared by hawking.
Pain in trachea and bronchi, most on coughing, but also when hawking.
Cutting, cold sensation in trachea, which seems to cause stitches in chest and hacking cough.
The bronchi feel dry.
Throat feels constricted, as if from sulphur fumes; with feeling of suffocation; spasmodic contraction of circular fibres of trachea.
Breathing oppressed, anxious, wheezing; with bronchophonia and rattling. Respiration may be irregular and hurried or almost completely arrested. Suffocative dyspnoea; as if from a pressure in pit of stomach; asthmatic attacks, with great suffocation; asphyxia neonatorum, with spasms as a consequence.
Constant sensation of coldness beginning in pit of stomach, extending over whole sternum, exhaled as a cold breath. Very fatiguing cough, without bringing up anything.
Cough, with pain in throat, chest, stomach, and abdomen.
Chest and heart
Congestion to chest.
Pleura-pneumonia with collapse.
Contraction and suffocating oppression of chest.
Stitches on, in and through the chest, frequently extending to vertebral column.
Cramp-like stitches in region of heart with oppression when lying on left side; ceasing when turning to right side. Internal trembling of left side of chest and left arm when lying on left side; ceasing when turning to right side. Feels and hears throbbing of heart against ribs after eating.
Trembling of heart.
Much praecordial anxiety and distress, with sensation of severe coldness and irresistible sleepiness. Pulse small, hard, slower and slower; weak, scarcely perceptible. Cold sweat on upper part of chest.
Neither appetite nor thirst; or eats voraciously and has frequent thirst; or: Insatiable thirst, not quenched by large quantities of cold water. Frequent empty eructation after eating.
Belching and gulping up contents of stomach.
Deadly nausea with inclination to vomit, with cold sweat on face.
Nausea and vomiting in the morning; chronic, of sour mucus; of watery, slimy substance.
Vomiting followed by coldness over body; by short attacks of vertigo.
There is an intense feeling of coldness in the stomach or the pit of stomach (sometimes extending over whole chest). This may, however, alternate with a sensation of burning heat in stomach that may reach a terrible degree, with tremendous anguish, driving to despair.
The pit of stomach is very sensitive and exceedingly painful to touch.
Unpleasant feeling in pit of stomach, with slight, transient vertigo. Pressive pain in pit of stomach or anterior part of liver.
There is a sensation of coldness in upper and lower abdomen, which may alternate with violent burning heat. When the cold feeling prevails, it may spread all over the chest. Or there may be internal burning in abdomen, with external coldness.
When there are pains in abdomen he covers up, but after they have passed, the skin becomes cold and he uncovers. Much colic pain in abdomen; cutting pain at night or from catching a cold.
Very intense pain in epigastrium, radiating all over belly and into limbs.
Drawing pain as if bruised in whole right side of abdomen, up to liver and chest, more internal than external, particularly on inspiration.
Heaviness, with stitching and drawing, in right side of hypogastrium, worse on pressure.
Sensation of hardness and heaviness over umbilicus.
Contractive pain below short ribs, extending to lumbar vertebrae.
Burning stitching on an area size of a hand, below the anterior iliac crest.
The successful use of Camphora in cholera was introduced by Hahnemann. In a recent epidemic cholera in Peru, the French group ‘Homéopaths sans Frontières’ was able to confirm once more the favourable action of this remedy. Hahnemann recommended Camphora especially in the first stage of the disease, where symptoms such as icy coldness all over the body and tonic spasms prevail and the exhaustive diarrhoeic discharges have not yet set in.
Kent describes a cholera state where Camphora is indicated: ‘At times the cholera patient, with the coldness and blueness, is stretching and straining to vomit and suffering with horrible tenesmus to get rid of a little stool and has convulsions here and there. These bowel symptoms gradually increase until there is no ability to strain at stool, a paralytic condition. The rectum seems contracted and painful.’
The paralytic state of the anus is an important symptom of Camphora; it resembles a tonic spasm. The rectum feels as if narrowed, swollen, painful, even when passing flatus. Flatus sometimes is as difficult to expel as the hardest stool.
This may also be true in summer diarrhoea with rice-water stools which are preceded by passage of much wind and are only discharged with much difficulty.
Mezger says that diarrhoea is not found in the pathogenesis of Camphora, but this is not correct, as the following symptom from Hahnemann’s proving shows: ‘Easily catches cold, and then either a shaking chill comes on, or a cutting pain in abdomen, with diarrhoeic discharge of blackish-brown or black stool, like coffee-grounds.’ This symptom has led to the cure of diarrhoea with colicky pain after cold, especially when there was a sensation present as if cold air blew even through the covered parts of the body.
Sudden attack of diarrhoea with sudden and great sinking of strength, icy coldness of body and cold sweat.
Strangury, tenesmus of neck of bladder, painful, burning urination is a very marked symptom of Camphora in this area, which leads to its use in cystitis (compare Cantharis which, however, has not the coldness of surface that is so typical of Camphora).
Retention of urine, with full bladder; with constant pressure in bladder and urging, but nothing is discharged; with very slow urination, the bladder seems to be paralysed; with dribbling urination; with painful micturition, scalding, burning, stinging; with bloody urine. Retention or suppression of urine in cholera; from suppression of gonorrhoeal discharge; from suppressed eruptions (especially measles); in new-born infants; in women during pregnancy.
After violent urging, involuntary urination.
Violent burning-cutting pain in neck of bladder, extending to fops navicularis, especially before and after urination.
Almost involuntary urination, and pain in urethra after urination feeling like a contraction from the front backwards.
Biting pain in posterior part of urethra on urination, followed by pressure in region of bladder feeling like renewed urging. Yellowish-green, turbid urine with a mouldy odour.
Camphora has a strong relationship to the sexual functions and organs. It causes an increase in sexual desire (both in men and women) but also a total absence of the sexual drive.
Genitalia – male
Suffers with attacks of violent priapism, especially at night. Experiences unusual sexual ardour, with continued delusions respecting the object of embrace. Violent priapism with a somnambular state, similar to trance.
Absence of sexual desire and impotence. Or: totally impotent, no erection even after external stimulation, in spite of constant sexual desire. Incomplete erections with weak desire, which soon vanishes. Or: stultified by sudden laxness of penis. Nightly emissions, with or without erotic dreams.
Scrotum relaxed; cold. Contracting feeling in testes.
Dragging sensation in course of spermatic cord to testes.
Effects of sudden suppression of gonorrhoeal discharge: strangury, due to stricture of urethra; retention of urine with restlessness, pain in hypogastric region, weak, but rapid pulse, delirium.
Genitalia – female
Increased desire. Manic states in child bed with excessive sexual desire where she constantly bares her breast, with pale face and staring eyes; cool dry skin.
Fearful of having sex; afraid she will be overwhelmed.
Camphora also acts upon the menstrual functions. It has produced a more profuse flow, but may also make it cease entirely.
Os uteri enlarged and hot.
Camphora may be indicated in threatening abortion, particularly in seasons of epidemic influenza when women abort almost as generally as the influenza prevails; especially when they have pale, loose, cold skin with general disposition to catarrhal discharges.
When labour pains are weak or entirely ceasing, with cold, dry, shrunken skin, but aversion to be covered, and restlessness. Flushes of heat and sweat, abdomen and limbs very cold, during the menopause. Suppuration of mammae; fine stinging in nipples.
Neck and back
Stiffness in nape of neck. Tensive pain in the neck muscles, increased by every motion or turning of head. Tearing pain in nape of neck from bending head forward.
Painful drawing and sensation of stiffness at side of neck and in nape of neck downwards, on walking in the open air.
Perspiration in nape of neck when walking.
Violent pain in back, all day. Severe pain in spine, making it difficult to keep erect. Pain as if beaten in back.
Frequent chill in back; as if a cold air blew on it. Internal chill between scapulae; in region of loins and small of back, worse on walking even a few steps.
Sense of heat and internal quaking, proceeding from nape of neck and between scapulae, extending as a pressure in the limbs.
Alternate chill and heat in small of back when walking.
Drawing stitches through and between shoulder blades which extend into chest, when moving arms. Tearing pressure at anterior margin of scapula, impeding motion of arm.
Frequent chill in back; between scapulae. Sensation as if cold air blew on back.
Pressure in small of back, with limbs heavy as lead.
The limbs are difficult to move. Spasms and convulsions of limbs: spasmodic contractions; tetanic spasms, shoulders bent back, arms first slightly bent, then extended and rigid, fingers stiff and open; thumb clenched or drawn back at nearly right angle with its metacarpal; toes drawn up or spread; convulsive rotation of arms; convulsions generally more in upper limbs.
Cold extremities, often with a sense of numbness and tingling, or with clammy sweat and great prostration. In spite of the coldness, covering seems unendurable. Hands and feet icy cold.
Tearing stitching in joints, now here, now there.
Cracking and creaking in joints of loins, hands, and feet.
Pain in periosteum of all bones.
Drawing in muscles of left upper arm when walking.
Pressure and drawing on inner side of both arms, during rest of parts, ceasing while moving them. Tired feeling from shoulder to wrist, relieved by motion as well.
Tearing on inside of left arm, extending downwards to thumb and index finger.
Painful pressure in right elbow joint, worse when leaning on it, whereby pain extends into hand.
Hands pale, bluish; become cold on walking; trembling.
Itching on back of hand and knuckles of fingers, with stitching pain, ceasing on scratching. In lower thumb joint, on moving it, pain as if sprained.
Great lassitude of lower limbs on walking; thighs as if bruised and tense. Lower limbs trembling, tired, heavy. Knees as if bruised, seem to give way. Internal coldness through right thigh as if cold air blew on it; also in right leg to toes, like a stream of cold air going down through calf to foot. When sitting and bending knee, thigh falls asleep, with sensation of coldness.
Stitches in patella while sitting.
Knees painful; pressive drawing at inner side of knee.
Heaviness in leg, as if a weight was hanging in knee joint and drawing it down.
Cramps in calves.
Pain in ankle as if sprained, in the morning on stepping and walking.
Tearing cramp pain on back of foot, extending along outer calf to thighs. Drawing cramp pain on back of foot, especially on motion.
Trembling of feet, tremulous shaking of legs. Icy cold feet. They may behave as in Calcarea carbonica: goes to bed with freezing feet, but soon they get hot, burning, and red, has to uncover them.
Sore pain on knuckles of feet and in corns.
Tearing in tips of toes and under nails, on walking.
Sleepiness and drowsiness.
Yawning and sleepiness through the day, and then cannot sleep at night (Staphisagria), with restlessness and cold limbs.
Afraid to go to bed; when he thinks he will fall asleep, suddenly all sleep is gone, the eyes open by themselves, the thoughts are driven to eerie objects. When he does sleep, he has many dreams, often very confused: jealous dreams, anxious dreams of theft, dreams of what was talked about the previous day; nightmares, screaming for help because a murderer seems to stand at the bedside; dreams of projects to be carried out; amorous dreams. Murmuring, sighing, snoring in sleep; talks all night in a low voice.
Sleep disturbed by starting; even while waking frequently starting in a fright, with palpitations.
The icy coldness over the whole body, including tongue and breath, is a guiding symptom of Camphora, especially in connection with an aversion to covering. Coldness objective as well as subjective. Rigor, chattering of teeth.
Congestive chill; congestion to head and chest.
The skin is cold and, as a rule, dry, or covered by a cold, clammy sweat.
Chills easily, great aversion to cold air, on exposure to it he is chilly through the whole body.
But external coldness may be coupled with internal burning heat, or coldness and heat alternate.
Great heat of whole body with distended veins. Heat over whole body, increasing to a maximum when walking. Increased warmth of whole body, with red face.
On waking in the morning, peculiar sensation of heat over whole skin, as if going to sweat.
Covers up when fever is present, but after passing of fever skin becomes cold, and he uncovers.
Much sweat during sleep. Profuse sweat generally ameliorates, but may also be exhausting, as in this symptom: ‘Next morning awoke miserably weak, the sweat having penetrated to the lower side of the feather bed, and shirt and bed-clothes drenched.’ Camphor odour of sweat.
Painfully sensitive skin of whole body, slight touch hurts.
But also: loss of all tactile sensations, even hot and cold cannot be differentiated.
Skin wilted, cool, flabby, often very cold. But during heat, it may also be tense, hot and dry, like parchment.
Ill effects of suppressed or receded eruptions or exanthema (spasms, retention of urine, etc.).
Erysipelatous inflammation, with coldness, paleness, sinking, and aversion to being covered. Erysipelas of infants, with spasms. One example: a child, five weeks old, becomes very restless, screams incessantly and gets red spots at right thigh and in pubic region, quickly magnifying and confluent; after three days got hard, the redness extended upward to the navel, which became sensitive to touch. In the evening, slight but continuous twitching came on, increased when child left dorsal position. Camphora caused all symptoms to disappear, and instead a general red rash appeared, but with it also sleep, perspiration, appetite, and general well-being.
Angina pectoris. Bed sores. Cholera Asiatica. Chordee. Cold. Convulsions. Epilepsy. Eruptions, suppressed. Erysipelas. Gonorrhoea. Heart affections.
Hyperpyrexia. Influenza. Measles. Memory, loss of. Priapism. Rheumatism. Sexual mania. Shivering. Sleeplessness. Snake-bites. Spasms. Strangury. Sunstroke. Taste, disordered. Tetanus. Tobacco habit. Twitching. Urethra, spasmodic stricture of. Urine, suppression of.
Antidoted by: Op., Nit-s-d., Dulc., and Phos.
It antidotes: Am-c., Canth., Carb-v., Cupr., Lyc., Squil., Nat-m., so-called worm medicines, tobacco, bitter almonds, and other fruits containing prussic acid; also the secondary affections remaining after poisoning with acids, salts, metals, poisonous mushrooms.
Incompatible: Tea, coffee, and lemonade, as a rule do not interfere, but sometimes with coffee it is worse.
Compare: Aloe.; Carb-v. (coldness from undeveloped exanthema, collapse; epistaxis, dark, persistent; low haemorrhages generally); Lyc. (head drawn to one side – Lyc. to the left, Plb. and Stram. to the right, Bufo to either); Op., (narcotism, heart affections); Phos. (anguish and burning in cholera). Nit-s-d.,, Squil., Verat. Teste puts Camph. in his Belladonna group, with Agar., Lach., Cedr., Stram., Tab., and others. He notes that it acts much more powerfully on carnivorous animals than on herbivores.