It is rather singular that traditional medicine used Colchicum so much For gout. In all the old books it was recommended for this malady. The provings corroborate the fact that Colchicum fits into many conditions of gout. Acute rheumatism and uric acid diathesis; rheumatic complaints in general, with swelling and without swelling. But traditional medicine does not tell us what kind of gout to give it in or what kind of rheumatism. It was really the medicine of experience. "If it is gout, try Colchicum." The question of what was to be done with the patient when the remedy failed never came up. It was "Give the prescription and keep at it" and drugs were administered until the patient, steadily growing worse, passed from one doctor’s hands to another’s. It is true that Colchicum fits into the gouty state. Spells of cold, wet weather will slack up the flow of urine, make it scanty, or decrease the quantity of solids in the urine. This takes place in the provings of Colchicum and has been verified many times. It is well known that such a condition will bring about or intensify the gouty state. If the solids in the urine are deficient, if they are not carried off in the urine, something must happen, and the gouty state comes on.
Colchicum is aggravated by cold, damp weather; by the cold rains in the Fall. It is aggravated by anything that will debilitate. It is aggravated in the extreme heat of summer; it has a summer rheumatism; the heat will slack up the flow of urine or the quantity of solids in the urine.
A striking feature running through the remedy is its tendency to move from one joint to another, from one side to another, from below upwards, or from above downwards. Rheumatic conditions with swelling or without swelling; first here, next there, changing about from place to place. Another striking feature is the general dropsical condition. When the hands and feet swell, and there is pitting on pressure. Dropsy of the abdominal cavity; of the pericardium; of the pleurae and dropsy of serous sacs. Swellings that are inflammatory and rheumatic; swellings that are dropsical, with pale urine. Whether copious or scanty, still it is pale.
Muscular rheumatism and rheumatism of the white fibrous tissues of the joints. Rheumatic troubles that have been going on for some time will end in cardiac troubles. When cardiac troubles with valvular defects are present, almost the first thing the busy doctor thinks of is a history of rheumatism. Let me say that a part of the study of Materia Medica consists in the observation of sick people. A busy physician learns without books, though of course he should familiarize himself with the literature, so that from reading, as well as observation, he may acquire a knowledge of the general nature of sickness. When he listens to the patient’s story or makes a physical examination, he knows how such cases usually conduct themselves. He knows what to expect. He knows the natural trend of sickness and instantly recognizes what is strange and unusual. He will not recognize what is strange and unusual unless he knows what is natural. So your books on symptomatology and pathology, diagnosis, etc., will tell you much of this, but as you gain experience in homeopathic practice you will get a much finer idea of this because your Materia Medica teaches you to observe more closely. The Materia Medica man learns to single out and trace every little thing in order to individualize. So it may be said that years of observation in studying disease, studying the sick man along with the Materia Medica, will open to the mind a much grander knowledge of the sicknesses of humanity than can be had by practicing traditional medicine. Traditional medicine benumbs the ability to observe.
All the complaints of this remedy are aggravated from motion. The painful complaints, the head complaints, the bowel complaints, the liver complaints, the stomach complaints, are all worse from motion. Such an aggravation from motion that he dreads to move. About as marked as we find in Bryonia. Aversion to motion, and aggravation from motion. Aggravation from becoming cold and in cold, damp weather. He is a chilly patient, sensitive to cold. Most rheumatic patients are sensitive to cold, but there are a few exceptions. There is no greater rheumatic patient than the Ledum patient. He presents both sides. Though he is cold, his pains are ameliorated by cold. In Colchicum the pains are ameliorated by heat, by wrapping up, by being warm. If he moves, any suffering that he may have will be intensified. Great prostration accompanies the complaints of this remedy. Weakness of the limbs, great exhaustion, nervous exhaustion of a typhoid character. He gradually grows weaker like one going into Bright’s disease. He has grown weak for some time, and he is pallid and waxy. His hands and feet pit upon pressure. Examine the urine and you will find albumen in it. The urine becomes black like ink with albumen. There is an unusual degree of irritability of the tissues, soreness, sensitiveness to touch, sensitiveness to motion; bruised feeling of the joints and of the whole body. Touch and motion bring on a painful sensation in the body as of electric vibrations. Great weakness and exhaustion. He cannot exert himself in the least without causing dyspnoea. Must lie down; does not want to move; sinking of strength; seems as if his life will flow out of him from motion and from exertion; so tired and exhausted. This naturally occurs when going towards Bright’s disease, when going towards a continued fever. Kidney affections and liver affections. Lassitude, prostration, anxiety. The muscles twitch and electric shocks pass through the body. A paralytic weakness was observed in the poisonous effects and too prolonged provings. The jaw hangs down, the muscles are flabby, relaxed. He lies on the back as if sinking; slides down in bed like one in typhoid, in low forms of rheumatic and in continued fevers, so great is the exhaustion. Paralysis of the limbs or of one limb, or of any part.
The Colchicum patient is almost constantly sweating, even with fever, and sometimes the sweat is cold. A draft blows upon him, suppresses that sweat and the paralytic condition of the limbs comes on; suppression of urine and retention of urine. This describes the profound character and type of sickness. Low forms of sickness; prostrating sickness; sickness with nervous trembling; with great exhaustion. After acute disease has passed away, great weakness and dropsy follows. Dropsy after scarlet fever.
With all these troubles, the stomach and the bowel symptoms are very decided. This is like Cocculus. Absolutely unable to touch food. Nausea, gagging& retching at the bare mention of food in his presence. The thought and smell of food bring on nausea and vomiting. With all these low forms of disease, these states described, we can see that this kind of weakness is little different from the Cocculus weakness. Colchicum has delirium, prostration, depression of mind, great sensitiveness to pain, which he seems to feel in his mind, and it brings out mental symptoms. Very sensitive to pain; confusion of the mind; disorders of comprehension. Cannot understand what he reads. The headaches are all of a rheumatic character. Very often the whole skull, the pericranium, is sore as if bruised. The scalp is sensitive. Pressure in the head – constriction; pressing, bursting headaches. Heat in the head. Tearing in the scalp. Headaches are all aggravated by motion.
The eye symptoms are of a rheumatic character, are connected with rheumatism, rheumatic fever. It is not very uncommon to have iritis in connection with rheumatic fever and it is a strong feature of Colchicum. Ulcers of the lids, styes, much lachrymation in the open air. The tears excoriate and cause redness of the lids.
He takes cold easily. Sneezing, stuffing up of the nostrils. Nosebleed in rheumatic and gouty constitutions. But there is one feature that is more marked in Colchicum than all others. He is so sensitive to odors that he smells things which others do not smell. He smells odors from which he is nauseated. "Strong odors make him quite beside himself." You say "soup" or "broth," or something to eat, and he gets sick. He can smell the things in the kitchen, in spite of much precaution, and this runs through the remedy. In typhoid fever, prostrated beyond the usual – and typhoid is always prostrated enough – he is unusually prostrated. He cannot take milk, cannot take raw eggs, cannot take soup, because he gags at the mere thought of them. He has gone on for days, and his family are afraid that he is going to starve to death. That aggravation from odors is so strong with him that it seems to take possession of him. It involves his appetite, his weakness, his stomach. So it does seem that it is a strong feature.
Notice that this is one of his loves; it is a perverted love, and the loves are general whether they are manifested through the eyes, nose or touch. It enters into his very life because it involves hatred to odor, and when it stands out in low forms of disease like the continued fevers, the exhaustive fevers and rheumatic complaints it becomes a general. It would be a particular if it were something that applied to the things alone, but you see it enters into the very innermost. Involves a hatred, becomes mental, becomes a part of the man. He himself may be said to hate odors, hate the smell of food and the thought of it. Do not say "food" in the presence of a Colchicum patient, but give him Colchicum first, and pretty soon he will want something to eat. It removes that hatred for food. What a vital thing it must be when a man hates that which will keep him alive.
The teeth are very sensitive. "Rheumatic teeth." The gums settle away; after a while the teeth become loose. Pain in the teeth; rheumatic condition of the jaws and the teeth. "Grinding of the teeth, teeth sensitive when pressed together."
"Aversion to food; loathing the sight and smell," more the smell of it. "The smell of fish, eggs, fat meats or broths causes nausea even unto faintness." The Colchicum patient may have much thirst or no thirst, or these may alternate. Nausea and vomiting are very strong features. "Nausea and inclination to vomit, caused by swallowing saliva. Nausea, eructations and copious vomiting of mucus and bile. Violent retching followed by copious and forcible vomiting of food, and then of bile."
In the stomach there is sometimes coldness and sometimes burning. Now it may be that the Colchicum patient has both coldness and burning. They are both recorded in the Repertory and in the provings, but it is Sometimes difficult to tell which is which, more difficult than you will imagine unless you try a piece of ice somewhere and something very hot.
"Burning in the pit of the stomach." Coldness in the stomach. Now the abdomen furnishes us still more to observe. The abdomen is distended with flatus, tympanitic. Great soreness in the whole abdomen. Just such a tympanitic condition as we have in typhoid. If you ever happen to be in the country practicing medicine, and the farmer’s cows get into a fresh clover patch and eat themselves full and become distended so that you are afraid they are going to explode offer your services and give each one of those cows a few pellets of Colchicum. It will be but a few minutes before the wind will get out of there to your surprise and the farmer’s, too; and you may convert him to Homeopathy. Farmers have been known to put a butcher’s knife into the pouch of the cow between the last short ribs to let the wind out. The cow will get well, but Colchicum is better than the butcher’s knife. The same is true of the horse; in fact, of man or beast.
When the abdomen is violently distended and tympanitic, Colchicum is often a suitable remedy.
Spasmodic pains, colic, tearing pains, burning, griping pains, forcing the patient to bend double. Aggravated from motion. Great tenderness and soreness with the colic. Aggravated from eating; ameliorated from bending double. And then comes the diarrhea. It has just such a diarrhea as is found in low forms of fever. Dysenteric or diarrheic stools that are jelly like. They form in the pan a solid mass of jelly-like, coagulated mucus. Very painful, extremely painful is the Colchicum stool. Great soreness in the abdomen. Great relaxation of the parts. Prostrusion of the rectum. Putrid, dark, bloody mucus. "Bloody discharges from the bowels with deathly nausea." Fell dysentery, with discharges of white mucus and violent tenesmus. Putrid, dark, clotted blood and mucus pass from the bowels. Diarrhea with violent, colicky pains. Bloody stools with scrapings from the intestines and protrusion of anus. Profuse, watery stools in hot, damp weather or in the Autumn. Watery, jelly-like mucus passes from anus with violent spasm in sphincter. It passes as a thin, watery flow; but as soon as it cools, it forms a jelly.
The urine burns when it passes. It is attended with much pain. Inflammation of the kidneys, inflammation of the bladder; tenesmus; retention of urine. The kidneys manufacture no urine; scanty urine with dropsy. The urine is inky, that is, very dark brown and sometimes almost black, loaded with albumen. This remedy conforms principally to the acute form of Bright’s disease.
Great dyspnea, rapid, short breathing; the heart’s impulse strong. Respiration accelerated. The heart’s impulse can be heard all over the room. Palpitation; oppression of the chest. Feels as if he had a great weight on the chest; cannot breathe. Hydrothorax; the pleural cavities distended with serum, causing the dyspnea. "Heart’s action muffled, indistinct, very weak." Stinging, tearing pains in the muscles of the chest.
Paralytic pains in the arms; enlarged finger joints. This also tells what a low form of sickness, what a feeble circulation the medicine brings about. "Weakness so that he strikes the knees together when walking; pain all over as if bruised. Swelling of the joints." The joints are most affected. Muscular rheumatism. Numbness, edema, swelling of the limbs.