Rudolph F. Rabe, M.D.
This remedy, like Lac caninum, seems to be little known to the majority of homoeopathic physicians. This statement applies, of course, to those of the low potency persuasion, more particularly. Known commonly as Glauber’s salts or sulphate of soda, the drug is extensively used by stable men in purging the long-suffering horse. That a drug disease is, or can be, in this manner, imprinted upon the animal constitution, the writer has no doubt and, indeed, believes that he has seen evidence to this effect. By our old school friends, the drug is now but little employed and when used at all is given in one to four drachm doses. It is called a mild hepatic stimulant.
It is through the work of von Grauvogl that the most important use of the drug has been made known to us – namely, in many diseases which are greatly aggravated by dampness. In fact, this aggravation from dampness, living in damp places or from sea air, becomes its chief characteristic symptom and runs all through the symptomatology of the remedy. In the Symptomen-Codex this does not appear, but the proving, as given in the Guiding Symptoms, emphasizes this modality clearly. It is one which, whenever met, should always call the remedy to mind.
Mentally, the Natrum sulph. Patient is gloomy, irritable and depressed and seems to be unusually affected by music, even if lively. Sad thoughts run through his mind and the thought of death or self destruction is often uppermost. In fact, it is at times difficult for him to refrain from putting his suicidal thoughts into action. He despairs of getting well and does not like to be talked to especially in the morning, when he is out of humor and dull until breakfast time. A loose stool relieves him of his sadness and he then may even become quite cheerful and happy. In the head we find much confusion and vertigo, with a general dullness, heaviness and feeling of stupidity. Boring pains are felt in various parts, chiefly in the frontal and occipital regions. Also feelings of pressure and drawing pains. Tearing in the occiput, frequently occurring.
The frontal sinus seems to be affected, if we judge by the severe pressive pains in the forehead just above the nose, and the application of the remedy to catarrhal troubles with a damp weather aggravation at once becomes apparent. The mental symptoms are similar to many following upon injuries to the head, and here the remedy is credited with numerous cures. The writer, in consultation, saw a case of undoubted cerebro-spinal meningitis, apparently the result of an injury to the head, promptly and eintirely cured with a single dose of Natrum sulph. c.m. In this case, pain in the occiput was severe and retraction and rigidity of the head marked. In the eyes we find burning and stitching pains and evidence of chronic palpebral inflammation, with thick, greenish, purulent discharge. Leaden heaviness of the lids in the evening, reminding us of Sepia. Greenish discharges, purulent in character, seem also to be peculiar to the remedy throughout it pathogenesis. The nose becomes stopped so that the patine can hardly breathe through it, associated with coryza. Pains in the ears, stitching, during damp weather. The teeth ache and are relieved by holding cold water in the mouth, like Clematis, Coffea and a few others. The taste becomes bitter and slimy with a dryness of the mouth, and the root of the tongue is heavily coated with a dirty greenish-gray or greenish-brown fur. The palate and tongue burn and smart, as if from pepper, with a sensation of rawness; blisters form on the palate, which becomes very sensitive to food, but is soothed by taking cold water in the mouth. The throat is sore, with a feeling of contraction when swallowing saliva, worse by talking or swallowing solids. Dryness of the throat and hawking of mucus in the morning. There is loss of appetite, with great thirst, especially for cold drinks or ice-water. There is also voracious hunger, with a fasting sensation in the stomach. Nausea and hiccough, sour eructations and heartburn are common to the remedy, also vomiting of greenish water, of saltish sour water and of bile. The stomach feels full in the evening, with oppressed breathing, also a trembling sensation and faintness. The liver is sore and swollen, with sticking pains or sharp stitching pains when taking a deep breath, with a feeling of tension. Sensitiveness in the region of the liver when walking or when touched. In the abdomen the flatus rolls and rumbles about and becomes incarcerated here and there, with griping pains and emission of fetid flatus. Aching in the abdomen in the morning before breakfast, with much flatus and great relief by passing same. Diarrhoea of yellowish-green water, with much flatulence, forcibly or suddenly expelled, and coming on in the early morning after rising, not as in Sulphur, however, driving the patient out of bed. Stools are preceded by colic and rumbling. Diarrhoea always worse in damp weather. The urine seems to be increased in quantity and burns when passed, and may throw down a brick-red sediment, a yellow-red or a yellow-white sediment in the morning. In the Guiding Symptoms we find the double-marked statement, Nephritis scarlatinosa, but whether this observation has been verified or not I do not know. By von Grauvogl the remedy was considered to be an important anti-sycotic, ranking with Thuja, and this has been verified. On the genitals and about the anus cauliflower-like condylomata, with oozing of an offensive moisture, have been cured and the c.m. potency in one dose, within a fortnight, removed an entire cluster of venereal warts from the corona gland is after Thuja, Cinna-baris and other remedies had failed. In old gonorrhoeas, the remedy is of value, with thick, painless, greenish-yellow discharge. In the chest, Natrum sulph. Produces oppression of breathing, especially when walking, and relieved by rest. Asthmatic breathing, particularly in damp weather. Dry cough, with stitches in the sides of the chest, much like Bryonia; the patient has to sit up and hold the chest with the hands. The expectoration is thick, purulent and greenish. The remedy is of use in old cases of hay-fever with asthma, where we find the peculiar aggravation from dampness and the characteristic pains and expectoration. In pneumonia, the remedy has occasionally served me well when the inflammation was limited to the left lower lobe, with pains about the lower left ribs. In one case of broncho-pneumonia, localized in the lower left lobe posteriorly, in a woman of sixty-eight years, with a very puzzling absence of deciding symptoms, the localization and the history of an old asthma always worse in damp weather determined the choice for Natrum sulph., which cured promptly in a single dose. In the neck and back this remedy has numerous pains, with stiffness and drawing, pressure and sticking, all sufficient to suggest its use in spinal meningitis, and, indeed, it is a wonderfully effective remedy. In the limbs, numerous twitching are observed and many pains of a drawing or pressive nature. In the fingers, fine sticking pains are found in the proving and, clinically panaritium, with relief of the pain out of doors, has been verified. With this the writer has not had any experience. The skin is found to be jaundiced, also affected with moist eruptions like eczema. Pemphigus-like eruptions are also found. Herring speaks of sciatic pains curable by Natrum sulph., and the proving would appear to bear this out, for we find numerous pains in the hip joint, especially the left, with great redessness and desire to move, yet aggravation from motion, particularly when stooping or when rising from a seat. The pains are worse at night and in damp weather. To recapitulate, Natrum sulphuricum is characterized by a marked aggravation of its symptoms in damp weather, by its thick greenish discharge, mental depression, thickly coated greenish tongue, swollen, sore liver, flatulence, morning diarrhoea of yellowish stools, dry, painful cough, asthmatic breathing, thick pus-like greenish sputa, inflammation of lower left lobe of lung, and general boring, tearing or sticking and pressive pains.
The remedies to be compared with Natrum sulph. Are, in the mental symptoms, aurum, especially; in toothache, coffea, clematis, bryonia and pulsatilla; in the chest symptoms and diarrhoea, bryonia; thuja in sycotic diseases; in the hydrogenoid constitution, Diadema aranea, dulcamara and Rhus. Sulphur and Natrum mur. Are very similar. In liver trouble magnesia mur. And ptelea trif. Are similar in the aggravation when lying on the left side.
This paper is presented with the desire that the discussion of it may bring out the individual experiences of the members present and does not pretend to present anything startling or new. That the remedy is frequently passed by when it should be prescribed is the writer’s opinion and belief.