This is one of the four halogens, the others being Iodum, Bromium and Chlorum; it is a most destructive agent, possessing erosive properties of the highest order. As you probably know, it was formerly much used in glass etching; the sand blast has, however, now largely displaced it.
Erosion is the key to its general action; the leucorrhoea excoriates and the sweat smarts and chafes the skin so that be sores readily form; in your surgical practice you will find it a most useful aid in controlling these very troublesome affairs.
Sometimes in addition the patient will be afflicted with an itching sweat; then you will have trouble, indeed, if you don’t know how to relieve him; but Fluoric acid will always remain your standby for such cases. There is a persistent general itching of the skin, worse from warmth and better in a cool place; it becomes rough, excorlates, and finally desquamates in spots, showing how poorly it is nourished. This poor nutrition extends to the hair, causing it to tangle just as it does under the action toBorax.
It enlarges the capillaries and dilates the veins, causing thrombi and varicoses. You will not be able to treat many case of varicosis without its powerful aid; in chronic phlebitis it is generally preceded by Hamamelis, which relieves all that painful soreness gives the patient great comfort and paves the way for a few doses of the acid, which, if given in a high potency and at long intervals will very often shrink the calibre of the affected blood vessels.
For the same reason it is one of the remedies you will think of in the prodromal stages of certain types of apoplexy with sudden determination of blood to the head in which a stunning sensation is felt and the patient is unable to locate himself; he can’t tell where he is, reminding you forcibly of the Glonoin condition. Other symptoms apt to be present in such cases when the acid is indicated are: “Unilateral dryness of the palate.” “Prickling on the tongue.” “Flow of saliva precedes the headache or the stool.” “Pain like electric shocks, etc.” You will hunt up each individual case in the repertory and then in the Materia Medica before arriving at a final choice, always bearing in mind that the Fluoric acid patient feels too hot even sometimes he seems to feel a burning vapor come from the pores, and like the Asarum patient he enjoys and gets great relief from cold bathing. After haemorrhage has taken place and a clot of firm consistence has formed in some portion of the brain you will think of Calcarea fluorica as the most nearly related remedy.
In this connection Calcarea fluorica will claim our attention; it will always be one of your main reliance’s in processes which tend toward dense in duration, very hard tumors, exostoses, etc.; in a word, “Extreme hardness” may be said to be its characteristic. It will save many a case from the knife and final death if you will give it where a chain of hard tuberculous glands is present or a single axillary or trochlear gland is involved; it need not trouble you that a tubercular family history is present, the patient will recover nevertheless. Clinically, it has been held to be more useful in persons of dark hair and blue eyes, and the evidence does seem to point thay way. Perioatitis comes under the head of affections curable by it; when such things follow an acute sickness it is evidence of the presence of a deeply rooted miasm of which the acute illness was only one expression and the succeeding process is another; when thee sequel is perioatitis Calcarea fluorica stands in the front rank in efficacy. In these hard indurations it merits comparison with Carbo animalis, Iodum and Kali iodatum; when chains of glands are enlarged like knotted cords you will also think of Dulcamara, Iodum and Rhus toxicodendron.
Reverting to Fluoric acid’ we may mention the fact that during the course of some diseases the tongue occasionally becomes deeply fissured or hacked as through cut with a meat ax; this usually points to the remedy under consideration, or Nitric acid.
It is one of the prime remedies in palmar abscess, panaritia and true felon when there is throbbing pain, swelling and later the formation of blisters which discharge a dark, acrid, offensive fluid accompanied with burning and contusive pains in the bones of the fingers; sometimes there is a feeling of pricking like a splinter or as of something working out from beneath the nail. It points on the dorsum and deforms the nail; worse from touch and better from cold bathing. It must be comared with Tarentula Cubensis, Silicea and Hepar sulphur is in these cases; the former particularly merits comparison in palmar abscess, the last two are differentiated by their sensitiveness to cold.
The face looks old and wrinkled, like that of Baryta carbonica, Iodum, Abrotanum and Sarsaparilla, the two former, however, only need be compared, Baryta carbonica in apoplexies and Iodum in glandular diseases with intolerance of heat.
In the text we read of “Puffy folds under the eye,” suggesting some affection of the kidneys or an interference with the circulation, and when we remember that in its primary action it increases the secretions it is not surprising that it has sometimes proved useful in as cites and other dropsical states.
Under stomach we not “Stale, disgusting eructations,” like Crotalus horridus; in the tendency to produce disorganization the two remedies have several points of contact; the snake venom is just as destructive as the acid, but its manifestations are those of toxaemia; these will enable you to differentiate them readily.
The febrile manifestations show a few marked peculiarities; during the heat there is nausea from the lightest motion, inclination to uncover and a desire to wash with cold water; the sweat is clammy and glutinous, sour and unpleasant smelling, most on the upper part of the body and generally causes itching and excoriates the parts.
It has cured soft goitre with a sense of soreness about the heart; this brings it into relation with Baryta carbonica and Natrum muriaticum, but particularly the former; Baryta mostly desires retirement and shuns activity, while Fluoric acid feels the necessity for motion, “It seems as if he could walk forever,” is the way the text expresses it; in fact, this impulse has been held to indicate the remedy in a great variety of diseases; Naja has a similar symptom.
“Desire for piquant foods” frequently occurs in those who abuse alcohol and has pointed to its use in gastro-intestinal disorders of drunkards, here resembling Sulphuric acid and Hepar.
A feeling as if the posterior nears and eyes were wide open, is peculiar and worthy of remembrance.
Diarrhoea, worse from warm drinks again shows the aggravation from heat; Phosphorus has the same symptom.
It is useful in caries, and in dental fistulae with a fetid, salty discharge; also in lachrymal fistula; here again it competes with Natrum muriaticum.
A short sleep gives relief, like Mephitis, Nux vomica and a few other remedies.
To sum up, the Fluoric acid patient is too hot, has excoriating discharges, wants to move about and is afflicted with deep-seated diseases.
Sulphurc acid is the nearest analogue, almost as destructive in its action; it has greater sourness, the vomit seeming to set the teeth on edge; the patient is even apt to smell sour; it, moreover, causes gnawing pains, and many haemorrhages and ecchymoses.
Fluoric acid is complementary to Silica, completing its action when the latter is not sufficient.