HOMOEOPATHIC SULPHUR DATA BY FARRINGTON
Homeopathic Materia Medica by Farrington
Sulphur is an element with which you are all familiar. You must be careful if you prepare the medicine yourself, that you obtain it perfectly pure. The sublimed Sulphur that you buy in the shops, is very impure. It contains some of the oxygen acids of Sulphur, some Selenium, and often, too, Arsenic. When chemical substances are associated in this way in nature, it is a fact that they must be related medicinally. There is also a relation between the plant and the soil in which it grows. Thus Belladonna which grows in lime earths, is related medicinally to Calcarea. The Agaricus will never grow where there is coal. You will find no relation between Agaricus and the carbons. Cistus Canadensis grows where there is mica, consequently you may expect some relation between that drug and Magnesium.
Sulphur may be said to be the central remedy of our materia medica. It has well defined relations with nearly every drug we use. The great utility of Sulphur, arises from this peculiarity, it is our mainstay in defective reaction. When the system refuses to respond to the well-selected remedy, it matters not what the disease may be, whether it is a disease which corresponds characteristically with the symptomatology of Sulphur or not, it will often be the remedy to clear up the case and bring about reaction, and either itself cure the case, or pave the way for another drug which will cure. This quality of Sulphur arises from its relation to what Hahnemann called psora. Hahnemann taught what is practically true that when a disease is suppressed (and a disease is suppressed when it is driven from the surface to the interior of the body) there is formed a constitution or dyscrasia which will afterwards modify every abnormality from which the patient may suffer. For instance, an eruption on the skin is dried up or is driven in by some external application. Afterwards (it may be some time), another disease may appear. Now this does not come necessarily as a skin affection. Pathologically, it may be entirely different from it. For instance, as the result of exposure to cold, the patient contracts pneumonia. This suppressed eruption so modifies the disease that it is not curable until that same eruption is reestablished on the skin. Then you will be amazed to see how promptly the remedy that before refused to act, now cures the case. Many times has Sulphur restored such suppressed diseases, and in this fact, lies its wide application in practice. Particularly is it applicable after the suppression of itch.
Sulphur is especially adapted to persons of rather light complexion (although dark-complexioned persons may also yield to its influence), who are easily angered. It is one of our mainstays in the treatment of the negro. Whether this is owing to the rapid growth of scrofula in that race or not, I cannot say. It is also suited to persons who are subject to skin affections, particularly to those who have harsh, rough skin, which very readily breaks out with eruptions of various descriptions, varying from a simple erythema to a positive eczema. There is apt to be also an offensive odor from the body. This odor may arise partly from uncleanliness, for the typical Sulphur patient is not very fond of water. Bathing aggravates his complaints. There is, moreover, a positive distaste or dislike for water. This peculiar disagree-able odor or exhalation from the skin is not removed by washing, hence you must consider it to be an abnormality arising from impure excretions from the skin. The patient is rather of coarse fibre. His hair is harsh and coarse. There is craving for alcoholic drinks, especially those of the coarser type, as beer, ale, whiskey, etc. The patient walks rather stooped from weakness of the spine. Then, too, as I have already said, he fails to react to the apparently indicated remedy.
In defective reaction Sulphur does not stand alone. I have already spoken of the value of PSORINUM in this connection. CUPRUM should also be thought of. We also have LAUROCERASUS in chest affections, particularly in diseases of the lungs which do not respond to treatment; VALERIAN and AMBRA GRISEA in nervous diseases; and CARBO VEG., particularly in abdominal affections and in the collapse which is marked by cold breath, cold knees, etc.
Now let me speak of the action of Sulphur on the circulation. In almost every instance in which it is the remedy you will find deranged circulation. It seems to act prominently on the venous circulation, producing a sort of plethora. But this is not a true plethora. It is the result of irregularities in the distribution of the blood, by which certain parts of the body become congested. These congestions, generally speaking, are such as occur particularly from abdominal troubles, especially fulness of the portal system, a very common trouble nowadays. Especially is Sulphur indicated in plethora that has arisen from sudden cessation of an accustomed discharge, particularly a haemorrhoidal flow. For example, piles have suddenly stopped bleeding, and fulness of the head, with distended bloodvessels, fulness of the liver, etc., show that congestion of these parts has resulted. Sulphur will, in these instances, ease the congestion and restore the accustomed discharge. Then you may proceed with Sulphur or with some other remedy, according to the indications of the case, to cure this abnormal discharge in the proper way.
The congestion of the head, for which Sulphur is indicated, is accompanied by roaring in the ears (hence there is congestion about the auditory nerves), redness of the face, this symptom being worse in the open air and better in the warm room. The head feels heavy and full almost to bursting. The patient feels worse when he stoops.
Sulphur is frequently indicated in congestion of the chest with or without haemoptysis. There is great difficulty in breathing. The patient feels oppressed and wants all the doors and windows opened. These symptoms are accompanied with violent palpitation of the heart, that organ trying to compensate for the increased supply of blood to the thoracic cavity.
If I may be allowed to use the expression, there is too much blood in the heart. The blood rushes into that organ and is not removed by its contractions rapidly enough. This is a very common symptom indicating Sulphur, and especially calls for it when the patient is disturbed at night with sudden rush of blood to the heart, with violent palpitation, gasping for breath, feeling as if the patient would suffocate if fresh air is not obtained. These symptoms may also be experienced during the day from ascending a height or from exercise where the heart is called upon to do extra work. Often the patient feels as if the heart was too large for the thoracic cavity.
As further evidence of the irregular distribution of the blood in Sulphur, we have redness of the various orifices of the body. This symptom is very characteristic of the remedy. The lips are of a rich red color.
This symptom often indicates Sulphur in pneumonia, scarlatina, dysentery and anaemia. Redness of the ears may be noticed even when the rest of the body is not abnormal in color. With this last indication, Sulphur has often prevented earache in children. “With this indication it has often prevented erysipelas. We also find this redness along the borders of the eyelids, giving them an appearance as if they had been painted. We find redness at the anus, with soreness of the part. That symptom is particularly useful in the diarrhoea of children. The child screams with pain when the bowels are moved. That symptom alone may frequently lead you to decide that Sulphur is the remedy. The same symptom is also true of the vulva, which is found to be red.
Another and very common expression of the irregularity in the circulation is flushes of heat. It is not particularly the flushes of heat that occur at the climacteric for which Sulphur is indicated, but it is the flushes of heat which may occur in any disease and do occur during convalescence. The “flush” is followed by more or less moisture, which gives relief. To be purely characteristic of Sulphur, this is often associated with other symptoms, such for instance as, sensation of heat on the top of the head. . The feet in such cases are apt to be cold and the patient complains of weak feeling in the epigastrium, this being especially worse in the forenoon from ten to twelve. While you often cure flushes of heat with Sulphur when this symptom is absent, you never fail if you have this heat on the top of the head, cold feet, and sinking feeling in the epigastrium. In the flushes of heat at climaxis you may also think of LACHESIS, SULPHURIC ACID, AMYL NITRITE and KALI BICHROMICUM.
Another illustration of the action of Sulphur on the circulation is shown in the fever of the remedy. Sulphur is not particularly indicated in typhoid or septic conditions. There is no indication that Sulphur makes changes in the structure of the blood such as belong to scarlatina, typhoid fevers and to septic conditions generally, so that from this fact we could not give Sulphur. There are other reasons than the septic changes that enable us to give Sulphur. It is indicated when the fever is of a remittent or continued type. It may be used after Aconite for the pure synochal fever when, despite the use of that remedy, the dry, hot skin remains and there is no reaction or no critical sweat, which will give the necessary relief. Hour after hour, day after day, this fever continues; hence its name, continuous. Or it may be what has been termed a “continuous remittent;” that is, there is an exacerbation each evening and a slight fall towards morning, the fever never going away entirely. You may give Sulphur when this fever approaches the typhoid condition, led by these indications: The patient begins to be drowsy with his fever. His tongue is dry and red at the edges and top, and he responds to your questions very sluggishly and slowly. The patient is literally burning up with the fever. The consumption of oxygen of the system is producing these symptoms. Sulphur acts marvellously in these cases.
Sulphur may also be indicated in intermittent types of fever. It is not a specific for intermittent or malarial fever and yet it has periodicity in its symptoms. Here you must select it from the well-known symptoms, torpor with slowness in answering questions, chills will not stop despite your well-selected remedy, particularly if the intermittent assumes the remittent type, or more frequently, if the remittent type commences and runs into the intermittent. It may also be called for in malarial neuralgia occurring mostly in the face and recurring quite periodically and resisting other remedies. Here, too, you must remember CINCHONA and ARSENICUM.
In these fevers I would have you place Sulphur alongside of two other remedies. These usually follow Sulphur. In their symptomatology they suit a more advanced case than does Sulphur. These two remedies are BAPTISIA and ARSENICUM. Baptisia typifies a fever which is decidedly typhoid in its tendency. The case is a decidedly worse one than that calling for Sulphur. The torpor does not stop with this sluggishness in responding to questions, but it goes on to stupor, so that the patient even falls asleep while answering you. The tongue becomes of a brown or blackish hue down its centre and sordes form on the teeth. The discharges from the mouth and from the bowels have an offensive odor; the face has a besotted look; the blood is actually decomposed from septic poisoning ©r from the prolonged high temperature.
ARSENICUM suits inflammatory fever further advanced than that calling for either Sulphur or Aconite. It has some symptoms which remind you of the latter remedy, notably restlessness, full bounding pulse, hot dry skin, anxiety and fear of death; yet beneath all these symptoms, there is evidence of profound tissue changes. The inflammation is going on to destruction of the parts involved, whether the disease be typhoid fever or a simple inflammatory affection from cold, as in gastric catarrh. The symptoms are aggravated after midnight; there is burning thirst with tendency to drink little and often, or burning thirst with refusal to drink water because it aggravates these symptoms, especially the burning like coals of fire in the part affected. With all these symptoms the brain may remain perfectly clear.
Next, we come to the consideration of the action of Sulphur on the lymphatic system, including under this head the glands and the vessels themselves. Sulphur is our mainstay in scrofula, which is, as you know, an affection involving this lymphatic system. It is the prince of remedies here. It is especially useful in the very commencement of the disease, when its first evidences are presented, particularly in patients having the temperament which I have already described to you as characteristic of the Sulphur patient. The patient sweats about the head particularly during sleep. There is a marked tendency to eruptions such as crusta-lactea, boils and, in older children, acne. In the case of children, the head is large in comparison with the rest of the body. The fontanelles, particularly the anterior, remain open too long from defective osseous growth. There is tendency to bone affections, to caries and particularly, in early childhood, to rickets and to curvatures of the spine. The child has a voracious appetite. This it expresses by greedily clutching at all that is offered it, whether edible or not, as if it were starved to death. There is defective assimilation. Glands are so diseased that while sufficient food is taken into the system, it is not appropriated to the nourishment of the body, so that the’child is always hungry and yet emaciated. The child looks shrivelled and dried up like a little old man; the skin hangs in folds and is rather yellowish, wrinkled and flabby. All these are precious symptoms for. the exhibition of Sulphur. You may occasionally have to use Sulphur in the beginning in a sort of negative condition. You are certain from the majority of symptoms that you have a case of scrofula, and yet no particular remedy appears to be indicated. Then you should give Sulphur which develops the symptoms and shows you what you have to contend with.
In marasmus of children you may give Sulphur when many of the symptoms already mentioned are present. The child is ravenously hungry, especially at 11 A.M. Now, in regard to this eleven o’clock hunger, I would say that if you want to use Sulphur successfully in these cases, you must also have these symptoms present: Hunger at 11 A.M., heat on top of the head and cold feet. If you have these three symptoms present, Sulphur never fails you. If there is heat on the top of the head alone, you must think of CALCAREA or PHOSPHORUS.
Another affection of which I wish to speak under the head of the lymphatic system is tuberculosis, not that I wish to say that scrofula and tuberculosis are identical, but that the lymphatic vessels have considerable to do with the spread of tubercle. Sulphur is a valuable drug in tuberculosis, no matter what part of the body it may invade. It is especially useful in tubercular hydrocephalus. Here it has done good work, not in the third stage, when the case is nearly hopeless, but in the commencement of the pathological process when there are violent convulsions, sudden flushing of the face, the child cannot hold its head up from weakness of the cervical muscles. The child wants to lie with its head low. That symptom expresses a great deal, because when the head is low, there is less effort of the neck required to hold the head up. The child cries out in its sleep. Often, on falling off to sleep, there is sudden jerking of one or both legs. It cries out in sleep as if frightened. The face is red and the pupils are dilated. THIS IS NOT A CASE FOR BELLADONNA. BELLADONNA CANNOT, NEVER DID AND NEVER WILL CURE TUBERCULAR MENINGITIS. The symptoms tend to appear more or less periodically. Associated with these few cerebral symptoms you will have very many general symptoms, some of which I have already mentioned, and some of which will be. When I give you these symptoms in different groups, I do not wish to convey the idea that these symptoms indicate the drug only when they occur in their respective groups.
In tuberculosis affecting the lungs, Sulphur is indicated only in the beginning. I would here caution you as to how you use the drug. If carelessly or wrongly given, it may precipitate the disease which it was your desire to cure. You must not repeat your doses too frequently; and you must never give it unless you are certain that it is THE remedy, for the tendency of Sulphur is to arouse whatever lies dormant in the system. The particular indications for Sulphur are these: The body feels too hot. The patient wants the windows open, no matter how cold the weather may be. There are frequent flushes of heat, empty feeling in the stomach, heat on top of the head, cold feet, etc., palpitation of the heart on ascending, pain through the left chest from the nipple to the back. Now you may, in this condition, give Sulphur as high as you choose, one, two or three doses, and await results. Watch your patient carefully, and in many instances a cure will result, but not in all.
In tuberculosis affecting the mesenteric glands, Sulphur is indicated by the symptoms that I have already mentioned under emaciation and scrofula.
You may also find Sulphur indicated in hip-joint disease, and in white-swelling, both of which are probably of tubercular origin. You will be aided in your selection of the drug by the general symptoms.
In these tubercular troubles you may compare with Sulphur, CALCAREA OSTREARUM, and PHOSPHORUS. Both of these remedies are suited to scrofulous children, generally after Sulphur. They are indicated more by the general character of the patient than by the brain symptoms alone. All three remedies, as you know, have the same imperfect growth of tissue. The Sulphur patient is apt to be thinner than the one of Calcarea ostrearum ; but Calcarea especially suits a fat, flabby, apparently well-nourished child; the paleness, and the softness of flesh show you that the growth of fat has been obtained at the expense of other tissues. The sweat of the Sulphur patient has an offensive odor; with Calcarea, the sweat is on the scalp and is cool.
CALCAREA PHOSPHORICA gives you these symptoms: There is tendency to emaciation rather than obesity; the abdomen may be large, but is more apt to be flabby. The fontanelles, especially the posterior, remain open too long.
Still another remedy is APIS. You know that Apis is one of the best remedies in tubercular meningitis. It is very similar to Sulphur. Both remedies are indicated in cerebral symptoms arising from the repercussion of some eruption—Sulphur, if it is a chronic eruption, and Apis, if it is an acute one. Even here, they collide. The best distinction to make is this: Apis is indicated when there is well-marked effusion on the brain; the patient cries with a piercing shriek. Then, again, the restlessness of the two remedies ought to be compared. With Sulphur, the patient does not sleep at all, or it starts up from sleep suddenly, or sleeps in cat-naps. In Apis, we have this picture: The child is sleepy; it suddenly awakes from sleep with a shrill cry; it may be wholly or partly conscious ; it is sleepy, but cannot sleep.
Sulphur acts as powerfully on the nervous system as it does on the circulation. It affects the brain, producing first some alterations in the functions of that organ. For instance, it may be useful in hysterical states, when the general symptoms of Sulphur are present; when the patient has the insane idea that she is very wealthy; she tears up her clothes regardless of the consequences; she plays with and examines old soiled rags with pleasure, evidently regarding them as objects of beauty. At other times there is profound melancholy, with disposition to do nothing at all; she is perfectly listless. This is not the indifference of PHOSPHORIC ACID, but the listlessness or torpidity that is very common in hypochondriasis. At other times, the patient is affected with a religious mania; even this mania is remarkably egotistic; the patient fears that she will not be saved; there is anxiety about one’s own soul with perfect indifference concerning the salvation of others. At other times, the patient is intolerably irritable and peevish; this is particularly true with children.
Again, Sulphur may be indicated in hydrocephaloid. I have tested it fully in this condition, and know it to be invaluable. The hydrocephaloid comes in during the course of cholera infantum. The littlepatient lies almost in a stupor. The face is pale, and bathed in a cold sweat, particularly the forehead. Do not mix the case up with Veratrum. The eyes, are half-open, and you find the pupil reacting very sluggishly to light; fhe urine is suppressed (a very alarming symptom); the child occasionally twitches or jerks one or the other limb, and may now and then start up from sleep with a cry. That is a condition in which you will find Sulphur to act like a charm, and that, whether the diarrhoea continues or not. There is no remedy which can take its place. There is not in the case the violent rolling of the head, the suffused face, or the crying out of BELLADONNA, nor is there the cri encephalique belonging to APIS, but there is a group of symptoms peculiar to Sulphur.
Sulphur acts on the spine, producing several conditions there; first of all, it is useful in spinal irritation. On pressing between the vertebra, you notice how the patient winces. Sulphur may also be used in spinal congestion, when the trouble results from suppression of the menses, or, still more particularly, from the suppression of an haemorrhoidal flow. The back is so sensitive that any sudden jarring of the body causes sharp pains along the spine; there is dry heat, particularly in the small of the back, and this is often associated with cold feet.
We also find it indicated in paraplegia, or paralysis of both legs. Sulphur has produced this, and It can cure it. I do not think that Sulphur is well indicated in far advanced cases resulting from either sclerosis or softening of the cord or from chronic inflammation of its meninges; but it has done good work in paralysis of both legs with total retention of urine, and numbness extending up to the umbilicus. When the urine is drawn by the catheter it is found to be turbid and highly offensive. Now Sulphur must be given persistently in these cases. I must say, that it will not always cure, for many cases are incurable, but it will cure some cases in which the central cause of the trouble is not so chronic, and in which the alterations in the structure of the cord are not so profound but that they can be removed.
General weakness of the spine, not classed under any particular name, has been sometimes cured by Sulphur. The patient has the characteristic stooped appearance of Sulphur. The chest feels empty and weak; it tires him to talk; there is weakness in the epigastrium during the forenoon. We may also use Sulphur when these symptoms occur during convalescence from various acute diseases.
We next have to speak of the action of Sulphur on the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. Sulphur is indicated in acute and chronic rheumatism, particularly the latter, when the inflammatory swellings seem to ascend; that is, they begin in the feet and extend up the body. The pains are worse in bed, and at night. The patient uncovers on account of burning heat of the feet. Especially do we find Sulphur useful during the course of acute inflammatory rheumatism for that annoying symptom, jerking of the limbs on falling off to sleep.
We may also use it in synovitis, particularly after exudation has taken place. Sulphur here produces absorption, and very rapidly too, particularly in the knee.
We come next to study the action of Sulphur on the serous membranes. I have already spoken of its use in tubercular meningitis, so I now speak of its action on the pleura. We find Sulphur indicated in pleurisy, particularly when you have that sharp stitching pain through the left lung to the back, worse lying on the back, and worse from the least motion. It is also useful in cases that refuse to respond to the well-chosen remedy, particularly when there is well-marked pleuritic effusion. APIS is also to be thought of in this condition.
In peritonitis Sulphur is indicated more by the general symptoms than by those directly referable to the affected part itself.
We next come to the action of Sulphur on the mucous membranes. Here we will consider its use in catarrhs and pneumonia. We find Sulphur indicated first of all in conjunctivitis. . It is especially useful ‘ when the trouble has resulted from a foreign body in the eye, particularly after Aconite fails. It is also useful in scrofulous inflammations of the eye, especially with the characteristic tendency of this remedy to congestion. The eyes are red and injected, and there is a feeling as of a splinter of glass in the eye. The inflammation is worse in hot weather. During the winter the child is comparatively free from trouble. This symptom then is due to the relaxing influence of heat. The child is worse when near a hot stove: With the above symptoms to guide us, we may also use Sulphur in keratitis.
In nasal catarrh or coryza1 we find Sulphur indicated in those who are subject to catarrhs, especially chronic catarrh, when scabs form in the nasal cavity, the nose bleeds readily, and is swollen, the alae especially are red and scabby, this redness at the outlet of the nose being quite consistent with the Sulphur condition. The nose is “stuffed up” while in doors, but when the patient is out in the open air, breathing is unobstructed.
Coming next to the throat and lungs, we find Sulphur indicated in laryngitis and also in bronchial catarrh. Hoarseness is present, and this makes the voice very deep, a sort of basso profundo. In other cases there is aphonia, which is worse in the morning. The more chronic the case the more is Sulphur indicated.
In bronchitis, especially chronic bronchitis, Sulphur is indicated when there seems to be an enormous and persistent accumulation of thick muco-pus. The patient suffers from spells of suffocation, with palpitation of the heart. He must have the windows open. The cough is worse when he is lying in a horizontal position, and may then be so violent as to cause nausea and vomiting. Sulphur may sometimes prevent pneumonia by relieving the lungs of that hyperaemia which necessarily precedes the deposit of plastic matter. If in the very beginning you give Sulphur you will prevent the disease, providing, of course, that remedy is indicated. If you are too late to prevent it you may still use Sulphur when exudation has commenced, that is, in the beginning of the stage of solidification. Even then it may modify the course of the disease. Again, you may give it in torpid cases to bring about a reaction when resolution will not take place rapidly enough, and you fear that there will be formation of tubercles. You may also use it in pneumonia with typhoid tendency, with slowness of speech, dry tongue, etc., and also at the later stage of pneumonia when the lungs refuse to return to their normal condition and you fear the breaking down of lung tissue. You hear all sorts of rales. Expectoration is muco-purulent, the patient has hectic type of fever, loses flesh, etc. Sulphur will save the patient. But you should not give it after tubercles have formed. The proper remedy then is LACHESIS. Sulphur is indicated only in the early stages of phthisis. It is seldom indicated in the advanced stages. But in the very incipiency, when you have an increase of blood in the chest, beginning dulness on percussion in the apex of either lung, diminished respiratory movement in the upper portion of the chest, Sulphur will, by equalizing the circulation, cure the case.
In affections of the bowels we find Sulphur a very useful remedy.
You may give it in diarrhoea when these characteristic symptoms are present: The stool changes frequently in color; at one time it is yellow, at another slimy, and at another watery. It may contain undigested food, especially in the case of scrofulous children. It is particularly worse in the morning, driving the patient out of bed.
You may also use it in dysentery, particularly after the tenesmus has ceased, and mucus and blood are still being discharged. Respecting this early morning diarrhoea of Sulphur, it is necessary that you distinguish several other remedies from it.
In the first place BRYONIA, which is useful for early morning diarrhoea, which comes on as soon as the patient begins to move about.
NATRUM SULPHURICUM is similar to Sulphur, and often requires to be used in scrofulous cases. That also has diarrhoea in the morning after getting up and moving about, but the stool is associated with a great deal of flatus.
Another remedy is RUMEX CRISPUS, which has exactly the same symptom as Sulphur, early morning diarrhoea, hurrying the patient out of bed. But it is indicated after catarrhs, with the characteristic cough of Rumex.
Still another remedy that is confused with Sulphur is PODOPHYLLUM. This has early morning diarrhoea, hurrying the patient out of bed. Like Sulphur the stools are of a changeable color. It differs from Sulphur in that the diarrhoea continues through the whole day, although worse at noon. Then, too, with Sulphur, you will almost always find the tendency to soreness and rawness of the anus.
PHOSPHORUS has morning diarrhoea, with green painless stool.
DIOSCOREA also has morning diarrhaea, but it is associated with griping colicky pains, pretty much of the same character as those calling for Colocynth, but they are apt to fly off to other parts of the body.
I wish now to say a few words about the skin symptoms of Sulphur. I have referred to them already in brief, so that I am only supplementing what has already been given to you. You will remember that the skin is apt to be harsh, rough, coarse, and measly in the genuine Sulphur patient. There is very little tendency to perspiration, or if there is perspiration, it is only partial, and then offensive, sour, or musty. There is tendency to the formation of acne, principally on the face. Pustules form here and there over the body, which heal very slowly indeed. Freckles are spread plentifully over the face, hands, and arms. There is also a tendency to intertrigo ; soreness and rawness appear wherever there is a fold of skin, in the groins, mammas, or axillae, or in the folds of the neck.
We find Sulphur indicated in that affection known as itch. Now Hahnemann was the author of the theory that if itch was suppressed by external salves, as by sulphur ointment, that there will appear in consequence many other diseases. He cites hundreds of cases to prove his assertions. Some years after this announcement a Corsican found the little SARCOPTIS HOMINES burrowing beneath the skin” and laying its eggs in these burrows. He showed this to be the cause of the itch and then thought he had effected the complete destruction of the psora theory. But there is another side of the story. A man who is a victim of the “itch” goes along the street and meets two friends, A. and B., with both of whom he shakes hands, and A contracts the disease while B escapes. Now there must be a difference in the constitutions of these individuals or they both would have taken the itch or both escaped it, for they were both exposed to the same extraneous influences. As system must have been unsound or he could not have taken it, for the itch insect cannot find a suitable dwelling place in a healthy organization. So, after all, the Corsican’s discovery did not overthrow Hahnemann’s psoric theory; the term psora is an unfortunate one, but it serves to indicate the constitution which favors the growth of the sarcoptis.
Sulphur is a valuable remedy to treat this affection, because the symptoms of this disease belong to it. It has itching in the bends of the joints and between the fingers as soon as the patient gets warm in bed. The skin becomes rough and scaly, and little vesicles form. As the disease progresses you find occasional pustules appearing here and there over the eruption. Now in order to rid your patient of this sarcoptis, wash the parts thoroughly in warm water with soap, and then have him rub the skin thoroughly with a common crash towel. Then apply the oil of lavender, which will kill both the eggs and the fully-developed insect without suppressing the disease. Then you may give Sulphur internally. If Sulphur has been used externally and the itch suppressed, you may have other remedies to choose from.
Give MERCURIUS when pustulous and eczematous eruptions complicate the case.
You may give SEPIA, particularly when constitutional symptoms appear. There are occasional large and well-formed pustules which develop into an impetigo.
CAUSTICUM is especially useful when itch has been suppressed by ointments of either mercury or sulphur.
I next wish to say a few words about the action of Sulphur on the digestive apparatus. Sulphur is useful in disorders of the stomach, liver and intestinal canal. It may be indicated in dyspepsias of many varieties. The particular indications of the drug may be set down as these: First, in a general way, you find it indicated in patients who suffer from abdominal plethora or passive congestion of the portal system, as indicated by a sensation of tightness or fulness in the abdomen, with feeling of repletion after partaking of but a small quantity of food. The liver is congested, enlarged, and sore on pressure. The bowels are constipated, with frequent ineffectual urging to stool, and with haemorrhoids which are the direct result of this abdominal plethora. Constipation frequently alternates with the diarrhoea. In these cases the diarrhoea is not apt to be the early morning diarrhoea of Sulphur. This remedy may also be the remedy for gastric ailments arising from the suppression of an eruption, whether that be erysipelas, eczema, itch, or the like.
Dyspepsia of drunkards, after excessive use of brandy and beer rather than wines, sometimes calls for Sulphur. Here, too, you often find the enlarged or congested liver.
Sulphur is also indicated in dyspepsia from farinaceous food. It seems as if in every case of disease of the liver in which Sulphur is indicated, the patient cannot digest farinaceous food, which calls upon the pancreatic juice and bile as well as upon the gastric juice itself. The patient vomits a great deal. He cannot take any milk. If he attempts to do so he vomits it at once. That is a common symptom, you know, in drunkards. The vomited matters are apt to be sour and mixed with undigested food. In addition to these symptoms you find all sorts of abnormalities of appetite. The patient is hungry at ten or eleven o’clock in the forenoon, even after eating a moderate breakfast. He has goneness, faintness or gnawing feeling in the epigastrium, as if he must have food, or sink. When he gets the food and relieves his hunger, he begins to feel puffed up. He feels heavy and sluggish, and so low-spirited that he scarcely cares to live. It will be well to remember that Sulphur is indicated not so much in the beginning of these affections as after NUX VOMICA. You find almost exactly the same symptoms under Nux. When that remedy only partially relieves, Sulphur comes in to complete the cure. LACHESIS should be used in the enlarged liver of drunkards when the case has gone on to a low grade of symptoms, especially if inflammation ensues and abscess forms in the liver.
If the liver wastes away, secondarily to the congestion, we must depend upon other remedies, the most important of which are PHOSPHORUS and LAUROCERASUS.
Next, a word or two in regard to Sulphur in diseases of the sexual organs. There is a trio of medicines, NUX VOMICA, SULPHUR, and CALCAREA, which are useful in cases of masturbation and excessive venery. Beginning with Nux you note some improvement in the patient; by and by, you will find symptoms of Sulphur presenting themselves. If Sulphur fails after producing partial relief, Calcarea completes the cure. The symptoms calling for Sulphur are these: You will find the patient weak and debilitated, having many of the gastric ailments that I have mentioned, particularly faintness, flushes of heat, cold feet and heat on the top of the head. There is frequent involuntary emission of semen at night, exhausting him the next morning. The seminal flow is thin and watery, and almost inodorous, and has lost all its characteristic properties, being nothing more than a shadow of the normal seminal secretion. The genital organs are relaxed; the scrotum and testicles hang flabbily; the penis is cold, and erections are few and far between. If coitus is attempted, semen escapes too soon, almost at the first contact. The patient suffers from backache and weakness of the limbs, so that he can scarcely walk. He is, of course, low-spirited and hypochondriacal.
You may find Sulphur indicated in gonorrhoea, whether the discharge be thick and purulent, or thin and watery, when there are burning and smarting during urination, and when there is this bright redness of the lips of the meatus urinarius. Sulphur may also be used when phimosis occurs, especially when there is inflammation and induration of the prepuce.
Sulphur also acts on the female genital organs. The main symptoms it produces are those which come from congestion of these organs. They are associated with flushes of heat and abdominal plethora; there are bearing down and weight in the uterine region, a feeling of fulness and heaviness there, standing is a very annoying position to her, and there is burning in the vagina, often in association with pruritus and appearance of papules on the mons veneris.
The nearest remedy to Sulphur here, is ALOE, which produces precisely the same symptoms, the same bearing down, the same fulness of the abdomen from abdominal plethora. Sulphur has in addition to the above symptoms, aversion to washing. Aloes acts more on the rectum than on any other portion of the alimentary tract. There is a constant desire for stool. When stool is expelled it is accompanied by a great deal of flatus. The haemorrhoids of Aloes protrude like bunches of grapes, and are always relieved by cold water.
In closing my remarks on Sulphur, I want to mention two or three uses you can make of the crude article. Sulphur has in its totality of symptoms a perfect picture of cholera Asiatica. It suits the incipient symptoms. It bears a resemblance to the course of the disease and also to the subsequent symptoms. We have, then, in Sulphur a true prophylactic of that dreaded epidemic. It may be used by placing a little flowers of sulphur inside of the stockings. This sulphur is absorbed, as shown by the exhalation of sulphuretted hydrogen with the sweat.
Flowers of sulphur burnt in a closed room may be used as a disinfectant.