We propose to give, in the following summary, the experience of homoeopathic physicians in Dysentery, as it has been deposited in the German homoeopathic literature from its commencement to the present day. We have used principally the “Klinische Erfahrungen” (clinical experiences) by Dr. Ruckert, and the Supplement, by Dr. Oehme.
In this disease the following remedies have thus far been used or recommended: Acon., Aloe, Apis., Ars., Baryt., Bell., Borax, Canth., Caps., Colch., Coloc., Dulc., Hep., Iris, Ipecac., Merc. sol, Merc. corr., Nitr., Nitric acid, Nux vom., Puls., Rheum, Rhus. tox., Sep., Staph., Sulph., Verat.
Aconite, particularly when the fever and pain in the bowels are very violent. Many cases have been cured within one or two days by the exclusive use of this one remedy, especially in some epidemics; others have been prepared by it for the effective use of Merc., which soon removed the tenesmus and bloody discharges.
Aloe. There is but one case on record, which shows the following symptoms: “innumerable discharges with the most violent tenesmus, during which the patient fainted and seemed dying.” After the first dose of this medicine only one more discharge occurred. Dr. Hartmann recommends Aloe strongly, on account of its powerful drastic properties.
Apis. Dr. Schulz assures us that he derived from this poison more benefit than from all others, after the previous use of Aconitum. Wolf, in his treatise on Apis, recommends it strongly in the beginning of the disease as well as later.
Arsenicum in dysenteria putrida. Where the patients are exceedingly weak, and are either apathetic, and as if stupefied, or very nervous, restless and uneasy. The discharges of the feces, and frequently also of the urine are involuntary, putrid, and sometimes contain pus. At times there is a burning sensation or violent pain in the bowels, rousing the patient a moment from his stupor. In place of tenesmus a burning sensation frequently occurs in and around the anus. Petechiae. Skin and perspiration cold, temperature of different parts of the body uneven. Breath most offensive; pulse very frequent and weak.
Baryta has been used in but one case. A child of two and a half years had been sick three weeks of dysentery, under allopathic treatment. It was pale and emaciated, and had daily many discharges of bloody mucus, without much pain. One dose of Bar. mur. cured soon.
Belladonna is useful, especially in cases where inflammation of the bowels predominates (inflammatory dysentery), and manifests itself by excessive pain and great soreness of the abdomen; also in cases of prolapsus ani, or of protruding piles, with much inflammation and pain. Although the discharges may be painful, frequent, and accompanied with much tenesmus, yet they do not tax the endurance or the patient's system, as the previously mentioned symptoms. On account of the inflammation of the bowels there may be caused sympathetically nausea, eructations, and vomiting of bile.
Cantharis is suitable as well in new (but very violent and rapidly progressing cases) as in old ones, which have been mismanaged, and seem almost hopeless. In the former we find the following symptoms: severe proctocolitis, violent and frequent discharges of water, blood and membranous substances, with fainting, which become involuntary after a few hours, and of the appearance of squeezed dark red cherries. Severe colic and tenesmus; pulse weak and frequent, hands and feet cold, face collapsed, utter prostration. In the latter these: insufferable burning pain in the bowels and anus, great sensitiveness in the abdomen, insatiable thirst with aversion to drink, great prostration and weakness.
Capsicum, according to Mueller, in cases where the abdomen is greatly extended. The discharges are very small, but frequent, with severe straining and burning. Hartmann recommends it for the remaining violent pressure in the stomach and duodenum, after the removal of the colic. The discharges are bloody, slimy, membranous, foamy and greenish; the pulse full and hard.
Carbo, when Arsenic is ineffective. In a later stage in case of hemorrhage from the bowels. Hartmann recommends it against slimy, bloody discharges with burning, cutting pain around the navel, pressing sensation toward the os sacrum, anus and bladder, burning in the anus, sensation of emptiness in the bowels, relaxation, trembling weakness, uneasiness, frequent burning heat, especially at night, which disturbs the sleep.
Colchicum. The discharges contain white mucus, or blood and membranous substances, and are attended by severe straining and protruding of the anus. Much gas in the bowels, rumbling and pain; painful passage of water; there may also be vomiting of bile.
Dulcamara, in catarrhal-rheumatic dysentery. Drawing pain and stiffness of the limbs, painful stiffness of the neck, pain in the lower part of the back, slimy, bloody discharges, with little colic and tenesmus. If Dulc. should be ineffectual give Pulsatilla.
Hepar sulphur is suitable in cases where the progress is slow and the fever light; or, in later stages, mostly after the use of Merc., when there is no pain, neither before, during, nor after the discharges, which are thin, brownish and fetid. Pulse not very frequent.
Mercurius solub. and corr. We take these two medicines together, as for dysentery there is no great difference between the two preparations, and this distinction is not in regard to quality, but only in quantity. That is to say, Corrosivus is to be given where the symptoms are severe, while Solubilis is sufficient where they are slight. Severe tenesmus before and particularly after the discharges, which are greenish, bloody, like chopped eggs, more or less frequent, preceded and accompanied by colic. During the evacuations great weakness, trembling, and cold perspiration on the forehead. Eructations and nausea; fever and thirst not very severe.
Nitrum. Gauwerky recommends it, when Acon. proves unsuccessful for cutting pain in the bowels, when the patients complain constantly of great thirst and icy cold feet. Here Nitr. always improved the condition of the patient, and changed it so that Nux. was then indicated, which removed the remainder.
Nitri acidum. In the Homoeopathic Klinik of Dr. Hirschel, Vol. X., p. 132, a case of chronic dysentery is briefly mentioned which was cured by this medicine, after the unsuccessful use of Merc. corr. In the same, place a poisoning by Nitric acid is recorded. On examination after death the following were found: in the mouth and pharynx only slight erosions, nothing at all in the small intestines, but in the large intestines pathological changes strikingly similar to those in dysentery.
Nux vomica. More or less frequent discharges of bloody slime, mixed with small hard lumps of common feces, accompanied by severe cutting pain around the navel and tenesmus. The bowels are sore, hard and distended, with a sensation of fullness; feeling of pressure in the region of the os sacrum and rectum. Tongue dry, slight thirst, little appetite. Fever not very severe, heat and chilliness frequently alternating. These cases do not distinguish themselves by their severity, but by great obstinacy, and longer duration than appearances indicate.
Rheum in catarrhal dysentery, when there is very great pain before the discharges, which are small and greenish, containing a little blood, and smell sour or moldy. The tenesmus pretty severe. Another writer finds Rheum useful when (after the cessation of bloody discharges) tenesmus and evacuations remain, which are at one time brown and thick as paste, and at another contain common feces mixed with slime.
Rhus. tox. is very useful when the disease lasts long, and still shows nearly the same symptoms as in the commencement, though they have been improved somewhat by the administered medicines. The patients are very low, with little vitality, the discharges slimy and gelatinous. Rhus is also useful when the disease assumes a typhoid character. One writer recommends it if, after the removal of the pain and tenesmus, the loose discharges pass involuntarily at night.
Sulphur may he again given when previous remedies have afforded no lasting benefit; also in cases which are a great deal worse at night. The colic is at times so severe that it causes nausea and very profuse perspiration.
Before closing this treatise we wish to say a few words regarding external applications. Injections of a thick decoction of linseed (flaxseed) have given immediate relief in very violent cases of dysentery, when the discharges were extremely frequent, the colic and tenesmus most violent, and where the apparently proper internal medicines were of little or no effect. Sitting-baths, or injections of cold water of 77 F., have been used by others with benefit against the violent straining and pain in the bowels.
|The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 06 No. 05, 1865, pages 161-166
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