This disease has an acute and chronic form. Both of which, under homoeopathic treatment, are generally quickly relieved without the development of various difficulties so common under Allopathic treatment, particularly in hot climates, such as abscess of the liver, which often terminates in death or in adhesion to some other organs.

Diagnosis

There is generally an enlargement distinctly felt below and under the short ribs on the right side, where a sensation of tightness is also felt. The patient cannot lie on the left side, is troubled with fever, shortness of breath, cough and often vomiting and hiccough. The pain is seated, at times violent, burning, sharp, cutting, tensive, extending into the region of the stomach or thorax, at other times dull and aching, felt only during a deep inspiration, cough, or on external pressure. The region of the liver is extremely sensitive, hot, throbbing, and swollen, pain is also felt in the top of the right shoulder and arm, sometimes with a sensation of paralysis in the whole of the right side.

The fever, which is generally violent, is sometimes intermittent or remittent. Gastric or bilious symptoms are also present, such as hiccough, aversion to food, eructations, nausea and vomiting, fullness, burning and anguish in the pit of the stomach, bitter taste, jaundiced appearance, constipation or clayey stool.

* For a description of the liver, see Anatomy and Physiology, also Plate 4.

Causes

It may be occasioned by violent emotions, by emetics, or drastic cathartics; by cold in the abdomen, particularly when great heat alternates with dampness, or cold weather, or immediately by a cold drink, by indigestion, ardent spirits and the passage of gall-stone. It may also be occasioned by mechanical injuries, such as a blow or heavy fall, also by suppression of piles, of chronic eruption, erysipelas, diarrhoea, dysentery, etc. It is very common in the hot weather of warm climates.

Treatment

The external application of the wet band-age, (see Wet Sheet) will often be of service in relieving the heat and pain. The remedies particularly indicated in the acute form of this disease are Aconite, Belladonna, Mercury, Nux, Bryonia, Chamomilla, China, Lachesis, Pulsatilla, and Staphysagria.

The chronic form of this disease is characterized by a class of symptoms similar to the acute, although in a modified degree. There is a continued pain in the right side, occasional cough with expectoration, and sometimes enlargement of the liver; yellow complexion, occasional feverish and dyspeptic symptoms, wasting of flesh and loss of strength. The prominent remedies are: Nux-vom., and Sulphur, which are often given in alternation, Mercury, Iodine, Silicea, Lycopodium.

Aconite * is almost always indicated in the commencement of the disease. There is violent inflammatory fever, shooting pains in the parts affected, great restlessness, moaning and anguish.

Dose

Two drops, or eight globules, in a tumbler of water, a tablespoonful at a dose ; or three globules, dry on the tongue. Give a dose every hour, or two hours, in all cases gradually increasing the intervals as the symptoms abate.

Belladonna

Congestion of the head, with vertigo, fainting, clouded sight, burning thirst, great restlessness, sleepiness, dry cough, shortness of breath; stinging pain, aggravated by pressure, inspiration, cough, or by lying on the side affected, sometimes extending to the shoulders or neck. Sometimes distension of the pit of the stomach, and tightness across the abdomen above the navel. A prominent remedy in the acute form either after Aconite, or in alternation with that remedy or Mercury, and in the chronic form, when the above symptoms exist in a modified state, in alternation with Bryonia, Chamomilla, Pulsatilla, Aconite, or Mercury.

* For general directions as to the administration of remedies, see page 12.

Dose

In the acute form, same as Aconite; in chronic cases once in four or six hours.

Chamomilla is a prominent remedy where the disease is occasioned by violent chagrin with gastric or jaundiced symptoms. It is also indicated, when there is more anguish than pain, which is not increased by pressure, motion or breathing; pressure in the stomach, tightness of the upper part of the abdomen, oppression of the chest, yellow color of the skin, and bitter taste in the mouth.

Dose

Same as Aconite.

Pulsatilla may be of benefit, if there should be green, slimy, diarrhoeic stools, or disposition to vomit, oppression of the chest, and the paroxysms of anguish more frequent at night.

Dose

Same as Aconite, a dose every two or three hours.

Bryonia is an important remedy where the inflammation is attended with constipation and spasmodic symptoms of the chest. It is of great value in all congestive inflammations with violent fever, great vascular and nervous excitement; or for inflammations occasioned by cold or chagrin, worse at night, on waking, or during motion. It is particularly useful, when there is swelling in the region of the liver, with burning, stinging pain during contact, cough or breathing. It may be given alone or in alternation with Aconite, Belladonna, or Mercury.

Doss

Same as Aconite.

China

Aggravation every other day, with shooting pressing pains, hardness and swelling in the region of the liver and stomach; headache, bitter taste, and yellow tongue.

Dose

Two drops, or twelve globules, in a tumbler of water; or six globules dry on the tongue. Give morning, noon and night.

Nux

Shooting, pressive pain, with great sensitiveness in the region of the liver to the touch; constipation; hitter, sour taste, nausea, vomiting; short breath, headache, vertigo, thirst, red urine, and paroxysms of anguish. Sometimes in alternation, or followed by Sulphur.

Dose - Same as Aconite. Given once in three or four hours.

Mercurius

Bitter taste, chilliness, aching pain in the region of the stomach and liver, sensitive to contact, unable to lie on the right side, jaundiced appearance and frequent paroxysms of anguish. Lachesis is frequently suitable after or in alternation with Mercury, particularly when the difficulty has been occasioned by ardent spirits.

Dose

A powder, or six globules, once in three or four hours.

Sulphur

Towards the close of the disease or where other remedies have failed in producing the desired effect In chronic Hepatitis it is often desirable to alternate it with Nux.

Dose

A powder, or six globules, once in six or twelve hours.

It should be remembered, that in administering the remedies, the intervals should be gradually increased as the violence of the symptoms abate, while in the chronic forms of the disease, a dose once in six or twelve hours, will generally be sufficient

Diet

Similar to that in fevers. No meats or soups, but gruels, toast, panada and light farinaceous articles; toast water, cold water, lemonade, baked apples, prunes, sweet oranges, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, etc, may be allowed.