If we were practicing in the old-fashioned way and considered the wonderfully volatile nature of Am-c. in some of its forms we should only look upon it as an agent to relieve fainting and simple affections and use it in the form of hartshorn to comfort old maids and some other women. But Am-c. is a deep-acting, constitutional medicine, an anti-psoric. It effects rapid blood changes, it disturbs the whole economy and it establishes a scorbutic constitution. Its fluids are all acrid. The saliva becomes acrid and excoriates the lips, so that they crack in the corners and middle; and become raw and dry and scabby. The eye-lids fester and become dry and cracked from the excoriating fluids from the eye. The stool is acrid and excoriates. The genitals of the female become raw and sore from the acrid menstrual discharge and leucorrhoea, and wherever there is an ulcer upon the skin the fluids that ooze from it excoriate the parts round about, this excoriating character "belonging to all of the exuding fluids, and discharges.
This remedy has bleeding of black blood, often fluid blood, that will not coagulate, flowing from the nose, the uterus, the bladder and bowels. The blood is dark, showing that a great disturbance is taking place in the circulation. The skin has a mottled appearance intermingled with great pallor.
It produces a violent action upon the heart, in which there is audible palpitation, and every motion aggravates the pulsation. With this is associated great prostration. It is rather a strange coincidence that the ancients knew that Am-c. would overcome difficult breathing from cardiac attacks and that aqua ammonia or hartshorn is used today to a certain extent in indications similar to those mentioned. They use it as a stimulant, but when indicated the single dose very high is enough. The ancients knew enough, also, to use hartshorn in the low forms of pneumonia, at the turning point in the advanced stage; that is an old allopathic practice, but it had a homeopathic relation to some of the cases. Once in a while they would cure a patient in the awful stage of prostration with heart failure at the end of pneumonia, and because they relieved such a one it was then established as a remedy for all future use.
Am-c. has a state analogous to blood poisoning, such as we find in erysipelas and in the most malignant forms of scarlet fever, with prostration, great dyspnoea, so that it seems as if the heart were giving out. With this there is an unusual patchy condition of the surface, due to the paralytic condition of the blood vessels, enlargement of the glands, duskiness and puffiness of the face. Am-c. has been used allopathically in just such a state for centuries and it has demonstrated its homeopathic relations by its efficacy.
It belongs to the simple enfeeblement, weak heart, emaciation. There is quite an absence of symptoms and a lack of response to remedies. The patient must lie in bed because of the palpitation and difficult breathing on motion. It is a matter of mere weakness. Such a case furnished me much amusement for a year and a half. There was a woman in this city who answered just such a description; her state was one of peculiar cardiac weakness with dyspnoea and palpitation on motion. I had been treating the case, but had not fully studied it, and as she did not progress under my management she was taken out of my hands and taken to one of our most able neurologists, who put her upon the "rest cure" and promised that in six weeks she would be perfectly well. But at the end of six weeks she was worse than ever and a cardiac specialist was then brought to examine her. He said it was true the heart was not vigorous, but there was no organic affection and consequently the case did not belong to his branch. Then a lung specialist was brought in, and later she was examined by all kinds of specialists. All of her organs were fully investigated, and it was announced that nothing was the matter with them; but the poor woman could not walk because of her sufferings and palpitating heart. She had a little dry, hacking cough that did not amount to anything, but her chest was examined and there was nothing wrong with it. But after she had been in this continual fire for about three months, and was steadily failing, the side of the family that were my adherents prevailed against the others and I went to see her again. I continued to study the case, which was extremely vague, having nothing but those few symptoms, and finally I settled upon Am-c., and she has been on this remedy for eighteen months. She now climbs mountains, she does everything she wants to do and is about ready to go to housekeeping. She has grown from a case of nervous prostration, brain-fag and any other diagnosis that might have been heaped upon her to a well woman, and under that one remedy. This shows you how deeply this remedy acts. One dose generally acts upon her for from six weeks to two months, steadily improving her each time.
Exhaustion coming at every menstrual period. An attack of cholera or what one might mistake for cholera, coming the first day of the menses; a copious diarrhoea. Sometimes it is an exhaustion with vomiting, exhaustion as in Verat., with coldness, blueness, sinking, dyspnoea. The kind dyspnoea that I have been speaking of up to this time is not an asthmatic dyspnoea; it is a cardiac dyspnoea, due to a weak heart; but this remedy has also asthma, and in the asthma there is this peculiarity: if the room is warm the dyspnoea increases until suffocation seems imminent; as if he would die for want of breath. He is compelled to go out into the cold air for relief. While the warm room increases the dyspnoea in asthmatic complaints the bodily state of the patient is worse from cold. The complaints of the body and the headaches are worse from cold.
A common thing running through this remedy is aching in the bones.
The bones ache as if they would break. The teeth ache violently from every change of weather or from change of the temperature in the mouth. The jaws ache or the roots of the teeth ache. A prominent feature is falling out of the hair, the finger nails become yellowish, the gums settle away from the teeth and bleed, the teeth become loose, all in keeping with the scorbutic constitution.
This remedy has hysteria, and it is not surprising that nervous women carry a bottle of ammonia hanging to their chain. Many women do this because as soon as they go into a close place they faint and must use their hartshorn. This condition in the woman, if in a mild degree, is not hysterical; it belongs to the sensitive nature of women; but if carried to a more marked state it is hysterical. The hysterical fainting will be averted by the use of the hartshorn. Am-c. will stimulate the action of the heart and relieve.
The remedy is full of depression of spirits. She weeps much, has fainting fits, anxiety, uneasiness and exhaustion from motion. Oversensitive about what she hears other people saying. Complaints from listening to others talking. Complaints, both mental and physical, are worse in the wet weather, and she is sensitive to cold, raw, wet weather. The gouty complaints; nervous complaints, prostration, cardiac complaints, dyspnoea, headaches, etc., come on in raw weather. A congestive headache comes on in wet weather and from weather changes. Sensation as if the brain would ooze out through the forehead and eyes. "Pulsating, beating in the forehead as if it would burst." The headache is worse from stepping, especially the headaches that come at the menstrual period. Headache worse in the morning. This medicine in such headaches, with the symptoms I have described, shows its antidotal relation to Lach., because Lach. produces all this state of prostration. In the old text-books you will notice this expression, "Inimical to Lach." This means when Lach. has been given in high potency and has acted curatively, Am-c. is not likely to act curatively after it, and is sometimes capable of disturbing the case, confusing it and mixing up the symptoms. But when Lach. has been given in too low potency, and the patient has been poisoned with the crude medicine, this remedy then becomes an antidote, used in a high potency, because of the similarity in its action. It will overcome many of the poisonous symptoms of the case. If you will examine the appearance of people who have been bitten by snakes and then examine the pathogenesis of this remedy you will see a great similarity between them. It is well known that this remedy has had repeated use in snake bites. Evidently it did not save all of them, but it must have done something for these cases or it would not have established so great a reputation for itself. Give it not as an antidote per se, but when indicated in blood-poisoning and animal bites with zymosis, with a tendency to black liquid bleeding, as in Elaps.
Running through the snake poisons there is a tendency to bleeding of black blood that will not coagulate.
It has many eye symptoms. Sparks before the eyes in connection with headaches; double vision; aversion to light. "Large, black spot floats before the eyes after sewing." When these symptoms have been present in such a constitutional state as I have described the remedy has cured cataract; it has cured the patient and finally the crystalline lens has cleared up. Burning of the eyes, smarting eyes, blood-shot eyes.
It disturbs the hearing, causing hardness of hearing and discharge of acrid fluid from the ears.
We have had scorbutic, catarrhal condition of the nose, such as described. Discharge from the nose acrid. "Severe pain as if the brain were forcing itself out just above nose." "Nose-bleed when washing face or hands in morning. " It has many complaints from bathing, and a prominent feature is that the skin is covered with red, mottled spots after bathing. Bathing produces surging all over, here and there, as well as nose-bleed. Palpitation is worse from bathing.
In the throat we have an appearance like malignant scarlet fever. diphtheria and other zymotic states; purple, swollen, ulcerated and bleeding, and gangrenous, accompanied by great exhaustion, with enlarged tonsils and glands. The glands outside of the throat and neck are enlarged and felt as lumps. In diphtheria, when the nose is stopped, the child starts from sleep gasping for breath. Here again we observe its relation to Lach. and the Ophidia, for soon after the patient drops to sleep he wakes up suffocating. In diphtheria, in chest troubles with great prostration, the patient is worse after sleep.
Menses too soon. "The menstrual blood is blackish, often in clots." The leucorrhoea is acrid. "Violent tearing in abdomen and vagina." "Irritation of clitoris. " Swelling of the genitals. Now let me tell you something not mentioned here but important, and that is a sensation of soreness in the whole pelvic viscera; at times it seems as if all here inner parts were raw. It is a sensation of soreness; not always sore to the touch. This sensation of deep-seated soreness is especially felt during menstruation. All through the menstrual period soreness and rawness. "Menses premature, abundant, blackish, often in clots, preceded by griping and colic. "
The remedy is full of catarrhal symptoms and cough, with much rattling of mucus in the chest and air passages. Oppression of breathing, a catarrhal dyspnoea. Especially is this a remedy, when the symptoms agree, in hypostatic congestion of the lungs, a filling up of the chest with mucus which it is difficult to expel; great rattling in the chest and great weakness. It is a good palliative in the last stages of consumption. A dose of Am-c. when there is great coldness, prostration and weakness in the chest. It is not unlike that sensation of weakness in the chest which is like Stann. He can hardly cough out loud, and because of the weakness he cannot expel the mucus, like Ant-t. Short asthmatic cough.
The complaints of this remedy come on especially at three o’clock in the morning. The cough comes on at that time. Old people who suffer from catarrh of the chest have an aggravation at three o’clock in the morning with the palpitation and prostration, waking up at that hour with cold sweat and dyspnoea. Almost pulseless; weakness of the heart. Face pale and cold.
"Great lassitude." Defective reaction with, or at the close of, severe zymotic troubles, typhoid, diphtheria, scarlet fever, erysipelas, etc. In those complaints that should come to a crisis, if the patient goes into a state of great exhaustion under remedies fairly well selected, you have an instance where this medicine competes with Ars. for the nervous prostration. You see "heart failure" spoken of in old school literature. They say the patient got along very nicely, but finally died of heart failure. In a great many instances if Am-c. were given in time it would save life.
"Averse to walking in open air." "Children dislike washing. " The warmth of the bed relieves the rheumatic pains, relieves the chill. "In a warm room the headache is better." "From washing reappearance of the symptoms; nose-bleed; blue hands; swollen veins. " "Worse in cold air. "
We come now to the appearance of the skin: "Body red as if covered with scarlatina." "Putrid flat ulcers with a pungent sensation. " "Malignant scarlatina with somnolence, starting from sleep." "Erysipelas of old people when cerebral symptoms are developed. " Whenever treating a severe form of disease and an eruption comes to the surface, like a carbuncle or erysipelas, and does not give relief to the patient then there is danger. A remedy must be found soon. When a patient is coming down with severe internal troubles it is not a very uncommon thing for unhealthy looking boils to come out, or carbuncles or erysipelas blotches. It is always serious when these are not immediately followed by relief to the patient. Lt. shows a pernicious state that has been pent up and cannot be held any longer and this violence is going to destroy. This is one of the remedies that you may look for to check the progress of such states. Any remedy, of course, which corresponds to the totality of the symptoms is the remedy to administer.