By C. M. Boger, M.D.
Man everywhere adapts himself more or less to his surroundings and is often aided in this by indigenous resources whose presence seems little short of providential. This seems particularly true of the splendid array of rheumatic remedies which North America with its sudden climatic changes has contributed to our armanentarium. To illustrate this we need only point out Rhus tox., Phytolacca, Gaultheria, with the salicylic acid bearing plants, also Kalmia and Cimicifuga.
Cimicifuga acts predominatingly upon the mind and cerebrospinal system; decidedly affecting the muscles, heart and female generative organs.
Under its influence there is a feeling as though one were just getting over being intoxicated, there are nervous shudderings, tremor or jerkings, with “such a headache” and sleeplessness. Sometimes ballucinations or rats, mice, dogs, etc., appear; with these the sufferer may carry on imaginary conversations in which he becomes very loquacious but continually changes the subject; in other words, it typifies one form of delirium tremens. Recently while passing the door of a patient’s husband I overheard him talking to an imaginary dog, and, knowing his habits, asked what the trouble was; she said he had been on a prolonged drunk and was beginning to “see things,” and asked me to prescribe. A dose of cimicifuga 30 every hour, set him right by morning. This phase of its action should be compared with cannabis Indica.
The symptom, “As if the head were opening and shutting,” was formerly purely clinical, now experiment has shown it to occur pathogenetically under cannabis Indica and Cimicifuga.
“Alternate expansion and contraction of the head,” is a very similar sensation found under Calcarea carbonica, Lac caninum and Medorrhinum.
Cimicifuga, Lachesis and Cannabis India are all very loquacious remedies, but the greatest of these is Lachesis.
It also induces a gloomy melancholy with suspicion, a crazy feeling and sinking at the pit of the stomach; a state not unusual in nervous women suffering from uterine troubles.
There occurs general aching, muscular soreness, myalgic pains, rachialgia, weakness and exhaustion. The eyeballs, occiput and back feel the brunt of the attack; in these the aching and soreness are intense (Phyl.) just the sort of pain we are apt to see in some forms of grippe, small-pox, tonsilitis and rheumatism. You see how it leans toward rheumatic forms of disease, those having rheumatoid pains; in pure muscular rheumatism it by preference attacks the belly of the muscle.
Chorea clinically belongs to this class, and because of the frequent co-existence of endocarditis we are now beginning to think pathologically, too. Cimicifuga irritates the cortex, so does chorea. Empirically it has been found of great value in this disease, but the precise indications for its use are not very distinctive and we are compelled to choose it upon the more general indications, especially the mental state.
The rheumatic pains show a special predilection for the left infra-mammary (Lyc.) (Phos.) and ovarian regions; in the latter they characteristically shoot or alternate from side to side; a pain of this sort is often present in female disturbances of various sorts. In a late instance there was a simple suppression of the menses which quickly yielded to a few doses of the third potency.
In metastasis of rheumatism to the meninges, usually a fatal complication, I should be inclined to compare this remedy care fully.
Many symptoms accompany the menses; neuralgic and rheumatic pains of various kinds; mental states bordering on melancholia and numerous nervous manifestations not always bettered by a free flow (Plat., Am.c.); physical and mental senstiveness are predominant at such times. Angina pectors with numbnuess of the left arm or it feels bound to the side.
For review we have:
Rheumatic symptoms. Choreic manifestations. Tremblings. Jerkings.
Melancholic depressions. Hallucinations of rats, mice, etc. Loquacity. Incoherence.
Heart and uterine symptoms. (Lil. Tig.) Symptoms reflex from uterine disturbances.
Left-sided infra-mammary pain. A left-sided remedy. Uterine and ovarian pains which shoot from side to side.