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May 8, 2017



William Boericke, M.D.

In certain drugs the mental symptoms lead and determine almost absolutely, like Aconite, Ignatia, Cannabis Indica; in others, although important and characteristic, yet they are associated with and expressive of a physical state that is more indicative of the remedy. Thus, our great liver remedies like Chelidonium, Podophyllum, or uterine remedies like Lilium, Sepia etc., have their mental state secondary to the physical lesion, whereas the mania of Hyoscyamus, the anxiety of Aconite, the mental and emotional instability of Ignatia, are less dependent on recognized physical lesions.

Where mental states and emotions are evident primary causes or contributing factors to the production or continuance of diseased conditions , Homoeopathy offers much useful aid, thus: Remember the adaptability of Coffee, Aconite and Opium to the ill effects of different emotional disturbances, especially Gelsemium to the effect of fear. Ignatia and Phosphoric Acid to the effect of grief, etc.

From the standpoint of the general practitioner , merely as illustration, let me review a few remedies, whose mind symptoms have been verified. Passing over the well known anxious, restless, agonized Aconite with its fears and forebodings, whose mental state dominates and characterizes every other symptom-group;  the wild, restless, violent, noisy Belladonna; the terror-stricken Stramonium; the zealous, lewd, lascivious, silly, agitated Hyoscyamus; the oversensitive, snappish, uncivil, irritable, angry Chamomilla; the gentle, timid, yielding, weeping Pulsatilla, with not much reserve force and then fretful, morose and easily put out of sorts. Let me call to your rememberance two or three remedies of special wide range of mental application for cases presenting themselves to the general practitioner.

Anacardium is of great value in many conditions associated with profound melancholy, hypochondriasis, hypersensitiveness and irritability. This hypochondriacal state is associated with gastric disturbance , constipation and hemorrhoids. It follows and often displaces Nux, which has similar irritability, but where eating aggravates, whereas under Anacardium eating always temporarily relieves. This is a sure guiding symptom. Anacardium has fixed ideas, hallucinations, a weakening of the moral fibre, with tendency to curse and swear, to explosive profanity, laughing at serious things, want of moral and religious sentiments, takes everything in bad parts and becomes violent. He always carries a chip on his shoulder. He is the Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde of the materia medica, because he brings to his conscious perception the two natures found in each of us, the two wills, one urging on to do things that the other forbids. Contrary mental indications at the same time; now he will – now he won't. The loss of memory, the difficulty in collecting the thoughts, the mental depression with the angry sensitiveness breaking out in swearing and violence, are the guiding mental symptoms.

Aurum is the remedy for melancholy due to congestion, especially when there occurs with it the suicidal tendency. The patient is afraid of the slightest noise. Sorrow and depression with desire for solitude, fear that he has lost the love and esteem of others, with great grief and weeping; religious anxiety, with longing for death and constant prayer. Burnett calls attention to its successful employment for pining boys who are low-spirited, lifeless, have weak memory, poor testicular development. In syphilitic patients with this mental depression, suicidal thoughts accompanying violent pain in the head, worse at night, with symptoms of exostosis of cranial bones. The homoeopathic treatment of syphilis is at best a dreary desert, but Aurum in these conditions is a living oasis, offering brilliant and speedy help in this special line. We all know that despondency and satiety of life is frequently radically cured by the crude drug in bountiful dosage, as coin of the realm; it is equally certain that the homoeopathic attenuation will do its appointed work when indicated.

As a representative of the animal kingdom our well-proven Lachesis easily takes precedence. It is particularly serviceable in the mental depressions which occurs sometimes at the climacteric period. The patient is very loquacious and jumps from one subject to another in conversation. Hasty speech. The patient is nervous, sensitive, emotional, easily moved to tears, insanely jealous and depressed, especially sad in the morning, when all the symptoms of Lachesis are worse.

Restless and uneasy, does not desire to attend to business, wants to be off somewhere all the time– thinks there are robbers in the house and tries to escape, and fears being poisoned. Patient is always awakened by distress. I think it is the general experience of the school that the best results are obtained from these remedies by the use of a dosage attenuated.

I believe the more systematic study of the mental and nervous symptoms of our materia medica, especially as they express and interpret the temperamental side of the action of our remedies, will do most for the practical working capacity of our special method of drug study and it's application in disease.

*Condensed from Pacific Coast Journal of Homoeopathy. March 1912
*Similia Similibus Curentur, June, 1981, Journal of the American Institute of Homoeopathy.

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