This section is from the book "Hartmann's Theory Acute Diseases And Their Homoeopathic Treatment", by Charles J. Hempel. Also available from Amazon: Theory of acute diseases, and their homoeopathic treatment.
* A great rival of Bryonia in inflammations of the serous membranes is Cantharides, especially when there is a frequent desire to urinate. In rheumatic inflammations where Bryonia is indicated and will not help, Cantharides ought to be given, and if neither be sufficient alone, they ought to be given alternately. - Hempel.
There is one remedy which has been too little used heretofore in rheumatism: it is Colchicum. It deserves especial consideration at a time when rheumatism is a prevailing disease, and is of still greater importance when the rheumatic influence prevails in the transition periods from winter to spring, fall to winter, or during a damp and cold, foggy weather. This remedy has been principally used in the chronic forms of rheumatism and gout, probably owing to the limited number of febrile symptoms which we possess of that drug. In a case of synochal rheumatic fever where Aconite seemed to be required, but was given without the least benefit, we were induced to exhibit Colchicum alternately with Aconite every three hours. The result was brilliant beyond belief. Since then we have used Colchicum on several occasions, and have noted the following symptoms as indicative of its use: the fever is a continuous remittent fever, with afternoon exacerbations; the patient, during the exacerbation, complains of a progressively increasing dry heat over the whole body, accompanied with palpitation of the heart and thirst, sweat breaking out upon the skin suddenly, and disappearing as suddenly; lancinating pains in the affected parts, increasing with the fever, being most violent in the night, abating in the morning, when they generally wander to some other part which becomes inflamed rapidly, whereas the part just left by the pain exhibits a simple pale swelling, which disappears entirely in the course of that day. For such symptoms we give Colchicum, third attenuation.
Mercurius is the remedy for rheumatic fevers which are characterized by the following group of symptoms: constant alternation of chilliness and heat, or internal heat accompanied with a continual chilly creeping over the affected parts; these parts have to be moved all the time, either on account of an internal uneasiness in the parts, or on account of the drawing-tearing pains which are experienced in them. A characteristic indication for Mercurius is profuse sweat which affords no relief, rheumatic pains in the head, limbs and joints, which are especially violent at night, the slimy coating of the tongue with slimy or saltish taste in the mouth, complete aversion to any kind of nourishment, great painfulness of the region of the liver, the epigastric region and the pit of the stomach, frequent evacuations of green mucus, accompanied with tenesmus.
The remedies which we shall now mention, correspond rather to those rheumatic fevers which belong to the class of the erethic fevers, the rheumatic pains being indeed continuous, but the inflammation of the ligaments, tendons and synovial membranes, being less intense.
First in rank is Rhus toxicodendron. It is indicated by tensive, drawing and tearing pains in the limbs, which are most violent when the patient is in a state of perfect rest, accompanied by a sensation of numbness in the affected parts, and as if they had gone to sleep, this sensation being especially experienced in those parts upon which he is lying; the pains are felt during the paroxysm of chilliness; the chilliness alternates constantly with the heat through the whole Course of the disease; at night only the patient experiences heat with drawing in the limbs which occasions a desire to stretch them. Rhus deserves a preference over every other remedy when the attack has been brought on by wet, penetrating either to the whole surface of the body or only to single parts.
Pulsatilla is the remedy, when the patient, after having suffered with lassitude for several days, wakes in the morning with a chilly feeling and a tingling sensation in the parts upon which he had been lying, as if they had gone to sleep; the chilliness continues after rising, and drawing, jerking pains now in one, now in another limb, especially in the long bones, or a painful swelling of the nape of the neck supervene the patient feels relieved about noon, the chilliness re • turns with increased violence in the afternoon and evening, the pains become more permanent, the affected part begins to swell and to become red, the pains suddenly pass to some other part. If such a fever occur after an abuse of Mercury, Pulsatilla is so much more necessary.
Sometimes such fevers commence in the night with an oppressive headache, great restlessness of the body which does not allow any sleep, chills creeping over the back, and sweat breaking out as soon as the patient covers himself: little by little the chilliness spreads over the whole body, assumes the form of a sensation of internal coldness which is not perceptible to the touch, except on the hands and feet, which are icy-cold; gradually heat supervenes in certain parts of the body; the head, for instance, feels hot, with increase of the headache and distended veins; drawing, tearing pains in the small of the back, in the back, knees and thighs, set in as the characteristic signs of the rheumatic fever, occasioning a lameness or weakness of the affected parts, and being aggravated or reproduced by contact; those symptoms are sometimes accompanied by bilious symptoms, such as: bitter tas-te with yellowish coating of the tongue, bitter eructations, nausea, vomiting, thirst, costiveness. When the above-mentioned group of symptoms occurs, China is the specific remedy, which requires to be repeated more or less rapidly according to circumstances.
The Arsenic rheumatism sets in with peculiar symptoms which are frequently so confused that the physician is easily led astray by them, and is exposed to the danger of misapprehending the disease, unless the general character of the prevailing sickness reveals the real character of the attack. We find for instance paroxysms of anguish without any previous cause, accompanied with pressure and burning in the pit of the stomach, stitches in the side, tension and fulness of the abdomen; after a shorter or longer interval those symptoms are followed by a shivering, and, after quenching the thirst, by real chilliness, which is afterwards accompanied by a drawing and a burning tearing in the limbs, preventing the patient's resting upon those parts, but being relieved by warming or moving the affected part. After some time a dry, burning heat with anxiety supervenes, during which the rheumatic pains become more violent, and which is accompanied with great thirst. A characteristic symptom of Arsenic is that the pains abate as the sweat breaks out, whereas in other rheumatic fevers, for which other remedies are indicated, the sweat affords no relief.