This drug has lately received much attention from the profession, and as a knowledge of its powers has been increased, it has gained the confidence of prescribers, and excited expectations of its ultimately occupying a wide field of clinical influence. Enough is already known to warrant the belief that these expectations are quite likely to be realized. Just now, however, there is that amount of interest in, and knowledge of the drug, which leads to its use for almost every- thing, by a class of practitioners who are grown into the habit of giving almost anything and all very loosely, so far as a compliance with the requirements of the law of similars is concerned. Indeed it is in danger of falling into this position and kind of a homoeopathic hydriodate of potash, or some new fangled salt of iron.
It is not difficult to see that the end of this, if continued, is likely to be the ultimate neglect of a really valuable addition to our means of cure. This, if realized, will be but a repetition of the early history of some of our most highly prized polychrests, e. g., Pulsatilla. In the present stage of the proving of Gelseminum, and with only the imperfectly digested facts which have been recorded, observations which throw light on the clinical relations of the drug cannot but be of service, and may in part prevent its blind administration at hazard, and the necessary consequent disappointments and neglect which all must be interested to avoid. Good provings of this drug are yet a desideratum. There may have been a few such, but not many. Still the sleepless zeal and never tiring industry of a Hering has gathered from a large mass of rubbish a series of facts, which are a foundation to a complete proving which the profession should secure to Gelseminum. It is not too much to say that the zeal, industry, and knowledge of no other man within the circle of the acquaintance of the writer would have been found both able and willing to undertake and accomplish such a task. If it be a comfort he may know that some of his colleagues have groaned for him while he has toiled and sweat under the load.
Gelseminum has been thought by some to be a valuable substitute for Aconite, and as such they have employed it. This, of course, was the result of a want of comprehension of the nature of the action of the two drugs. The one fact is, no drug ever is, or ever can be, a substitute for any other. The other fact is, that Gelseminum instead of a substitute for, is very likely to prove a complement of Aconite, i. e., to be found appropriate to the treatment of a class of cases which Aconite is not. On a former occasion we endeavored to show the relation of Aconite to the treatment of fevers based on fibrinous inflammation, i. e., inflammation with deposition of plasma. On the contrary, and just opposed to this, we feel warranted in predicting that the class of fevers to which Gelseminum will be found related is that based on blood dyscrasia with a tendency to decomposition of its hematine and globules, or to fevers of a miasmatic origin, which Aconite seldom or never is.
In confirmation of this is the following: The writer, in collecting specimens of infusiora for microscopic examination found himself in an atmosphere filled with the foulest stench. It was at the head of a canal into which the drainage of a very considerable part of the city was discharged. The effluvia from the putrid animal matters here deposited and lying on the mud at low tide produced immediate nausea and disgust, which time did not relieve. There were soon added confusion of the head with dull pain; drowsiness; indisposition, and almost inability, to perform any labor of body or mind; sense of debility; pains in the region of both kidneys as if produced by pressure of a blunt instrument of the size of the end of the thumb; pains in the bones of the limbs, both upper and lower, dull, heavy, pressing, which ultimately became cramp-like in the muscles. These pains were quite troublesome in the shin bones of both legs. A general feeling of malaise. These symptoms were worse evening and morning, especially the pain and confusion of the head. The appetite continued good, and there was no thirst, nor bad taste in the mouth. Two doses of half a grain of sugar of milk, each moistened with the twelfth dilution of Gelseminum taken one at four o'clock and the other at eight, p.m. July 8th inst., removed these symptoms completely, so that the next morning there was the usual feeling of health, except that there was a peculiar irregular action of the heart, which had never been experienced before. This was a sensible motion of the heart as though it had attempted its beat which it failed fully to accomplish, and the pulse then each time intermitted. This occurred at irregular intervals and more frequently when in repose than when in motion, the worst and most frequent attacks being in the evening, and worst of all on lying down in bed when retiring for the night, and these attacks aggravated by lying on the left side. They have at this date, July 17th, nearly ceased though not entirely when lying down at night. These attacks are wholly unlike anything ever experienced before, and I have no doubt were the result of the two doses of Gelseminum taken as mentioned. Previous to taking the doses, the pulse was 96 per minute and weaker than its ordinary force of beat. The usual rate in health is 72.
|Source:||The American Homoeopathic Review Vol. 04 No. 02, 1863, pages 84-86|
|Editing:||errors only; interlinks; formatting|