Bromium | Materia Medica by J. T. Kent
Bromium is one of the routine medicines. It is one of the medicines that the neophyte will make use of for every case of diphtheria and croup, and laryngitis he comes across; and when it does not work he will “try something else.” All who prescribe on the name use Bromium as one of their routine medicines; but Bromium is so seldom indicated that most homeopaths give it up as a perfectly useless medicine. The reason is that they do not take the symptoms of the case and prescribe in accordance with the individualizing method. They do not prescribe for the PATIENT, but for the disease. You may see very few cases of diphtheria calling for Bromium; but when you see a Bromium case you want to know Bromium. There is one underlying feature of the Bromium conditions, they are found especially in those individuals that are made sick from being heated. If there is a diphtheria epidemic and the mother bundles up her baby until she overheats it, and keeps it in a hot room, and it happens to be a child that is sensitive to being wrapped up, and one whose complaints are worse from being wrapped up, look out. You are going to have a Bromium diphtheria. It is indicated also in complaints that come on in the night after a very hot day in the summer.
Now, this is as near as you can come to being routine in croup and diphtheria. If the mother has the baby out in a dreadfully cold, dry day, and along towards midnight it wakens with spasmodic croup, you know that it is more likely to call for ACONITE than any other medicine. But if the mother has had the baby out in a hot day in the summer, and that baby has been overheated, with too much clothing, and it is a plethoric child, and towards midnight you are called up, and the child has a red face, and your examinations reveal a membrane in the throat, we will see as we study the remedy that this may be a Bromium case.
”Hoarseness coming on from getting overheated. Loss of voice coming on from getting overheated.” A turmoil in the whole economy; with headaches, coming on from getting overheated. That runs through Bromium. So it is in the hot weather, and being confined to a hot room, and after going from the cold into the heat. But after the complaint comes on, no matter where it is, he is so sensitive to cold that a draft of cool air freezes him; but he cannot be overheated without suffering.
Bromium has running through it a tendency to infiltrate the glands (BAR-C, CON, CALF-F). The glands become hard, but seldom suppurate. They generally remain hard. The glands of the neck, the parotid, the sublingual, the submaxillary, are enormously enlarged and very hard. The processes of inflammation are slow; they are not that rapid, violent kind like we find in BELL, and MERC. “Parts that inflame infiltrate, becoming hard.” Inflammation with hardness is the idea. It has been very useful in ulcers with this infiltration; very useful in enlarged glands with great hardness, without any tendency to suppurate. Glands take on tuberculosis, and tissues take on tuberculosis. Glands that inflame for a while begin to take on a lower form of degeneration, a lower form of tissue making. It is very similar to these enlarged, hard, scrofulous glands that we find in the neck; enlargement of the parotid and submaxillary. It has cured enlargement and great hardness of the thyroid gland.
Again, we have emaciation, and when we see the tendency to infiltration it is not strange that it has been a curative medicine in cancer and tuberculosis. There is weakness in this remedy. The legs become weak. Growing prostration, with tremulous limbs. Twitching; tremulous weakness; fainting. In the catarrhal affections there is a formation, more or less, of membrane. Membranous exudate is a natural course of events. A natural feature of the mucous membrane is infiltration, so that the mucous membrane appears to exude little grayish-white vegetations, and beneath them is induration. That is true in ulcers, it is true in mucous membrane. An ulcer will form upon the mucous membrane and eat in, and build beneath it a hardened stratum of tissue. It has febrile conditions along with these catarrhal states. Great nervous excitement. “Icy coldness of the limbs.” “Heat of the head.” “Dyspnoea, with great sweating.” Croupy manifestations.
Running through most of the complaints there is palpitation. Palpitation with nausea, palpitation with headache, palpitation with various kinds of nervous excitement. So weak is he gradually becoming that he has an “aversion to every kind of work; to reading. Takes no interest in household duties.” Becomes indifferent. Very tired. “Great depression of spirits. Low spirited. Sad and discouraged,” Anxiety with most complaints. Headaches from becoming overheated. “Noise in the ears. Throbbing and burning in the ears.” And then the complaints of the glands that are so closely associated with the ears. With ear troubles, enlargement of the glands; the parotid becomes enlarged and hard. Ear affections following scarlet fever, with discharges from the ears. Pains and aches; inflammation; abscess of the ear. Suppuration of the parotid gland occasionally, but it is an exception. “Swelling and hardness of the left parotid gland.” The ovaries, testes, etc., are all affected by Bromium.
Bleeding of the nose. Ulcerations in the nose. Catarrhal affections of the nose. Much sneezing. Acute coryza, violent, with much burning in the nose, and a sensation of coldness, as if the mucous membrane of the nose were cold from inhaling cold air. It is useful for June cold, with the first hot weather in June, or if the first hot weather comes in July. Violent, coryza once a year, during the hot season. Fluent coryza, with, headaches, “The nose is sore, and the wings of the nose swell. Scurf forms on it, with pain and bleeding on wiping it.” Rawness round about the nostrils. A Bromium patient is one that is likely to have flushed face, especially those due to acute Bromium conditions. “Flushed face.” He becomes heated easily. But this is entirely the opposite of the chronic constitutional Bromium condition. That is true with a good many remedies, especially many of the antipsorics. The old sickly broken-down constitutions, those needing Bromium for chronically enlarged glands, for goitre, for cancerous affections, will have the “gray, earthy color of the face. Oldish appearance.” It is a sickly face, an ash-colored face. “Face ashy gray.” Then again we. have children that are plethoric, with red face, easily overheated. Of course, when the acute condition is on and the breathing has been that of dyspnoea for several hours or many days, then the patient becomes cyanotic, gasping for breath, and choking, the face becomes ashy pale, as it is in diphtheria, in croup, and in laryngeal affections.
“Stony, hard swelling of glands, especially of the lower jaw and throat.” We find that repeated in many divisions of the subject Many of the throat complaints that are laid down in Bromium begin in the larynx and creep up into the throat. Some of them begin in the throat and go down into the larynx; but the two are so closely associated in Bromium that both are likely to be affected; so that diphtheria spreads from one to the other. Diphtheria begins in the throat and goes into the larynx. Bromium fits the most malignant type of diphtheria. The membrane grows like a weed, shuts off breathing, closes up the larynx. So severe are the cases, that though he has been sick but two or three days, and even when Bromium has mastered the case, the patient is left with great prostration. All those that belong to Bromium are of that type. Great violence; great prostration. Extremely sick, and with deathly weakness. A great many of the cures that have been performed in the throat have been left-sided diphtheria, yet it has cured both sides. You will very seldom see Bromium develop in cold dry weather; but in hot damp weather Bromium cases come on; affections in the spring, and in the fall and summer.
The chronic cases that will need Bromium are such as have ulcers of the stomach. Suspicious ulcers in the stomach, and, suspicious symptoms about the stomach. Vomiting like coffee grounds, and vomiting with signs of ulceration. Aggravation after eating; either vomiting, or diarrhoea. Cannot take acids. Diarrhoea or cough worse after eating, or after acids. “After eating oysters, diarrhoea, and a disordered stomach. Worse from the slightest inhalation of tobacco smoke. Vomiting of bloody mucus. Eructations.” Foul stomach. Pain in the stomach from warm things, from hot tea, hot drinks. It is a common feature when there is ulcer in the stomach or when the mucous membrane is about to ulcerate, that hot drinks are intolerable. “Pains from taking hot foods.”
In studying the stool and rectum symptoms we find exudation. Membranous formations pass in the stool. Diarrhoeic stool with membrane. “Black, faecal stool.” Diarrhoea; must go to stool after eating.
We have running through the remedy enlarged veins. These are found also in the rectum. Haemorrhoids protrude from the rectum, burning. Smarting day and night. “Blind, intensely painful varices, with black, diarrhoeic stools. Blind, painful haemorrhoids,” and haemorrhoids that protrude. “Haemorrhoids during and after stool.” During the stool the rectum is painful from haemorrhoidal tumors.
Swelling and induration of the left testicle (ARG-N, right testicle). Notice the left-sidedness, the left side of the throat, and the left testicle. Then, again, dull pain in the region of the LEFT ovary. “Constant dull pain in the ovary; with swelling and hardness.” There is the same induration of the left ovary. It does seem strange that some medicines single out more particularly the left organs and the LEFT side of the body. Like LACH. in many instances it picks out the left side of the body. A great many remedies show a preference for one side of the body; the glands in this remedy are more affected upon the left side of the body than the right. “Swelling of the ovarian region before and during menses.” Suppression of the menses. Loud emission of flatus from the vagina.
In the larynx it has produced more symptoms than in any other part of the body. It produces a raw, sore feeling in the larynx from inhaled air. “Rawness in the larynx. Loss of voice. Hoarseness from overheating.” From too much clothing on a warm day, or from keeping on an overcoat in a room that is heated; coming out into the air he cools off. He has laryngitis. “Tickling in the larynx,” keeping up a constant coughing. Scraping and rawness in the larynx. Scraping mucus from the larynx, scraping and coughing. It is not a hawk, because that noise clears the throat. Every medical student should go through all the noises he hears others make, and try and observe as much as possible what feeling is accompanied with that noise, so that he can put himself in the other’s place. Each one is accompanied with its own sound, and the instant you hear it you realize the exact place he is drawing mucus from and just where the irritation is. If you allow the patient to describe it he always calls it by the wrong name. The patient knows very little about this part except that it is the throat, and if he is drawing mucus from the throat, or scraping it from the larynx, he always calls it the throat. But the physician must waive all that and observe as to sound. So let each one go alone by himself and make all these noises that he hears people make, and then realize for himself what part it is he is scraping. It may seem ludicrous, but how else will you learn about it? It is just as important to figure out these sounds as it is to figure out what a child needs by its sounds and motions. It is impossible to get the symptoms and wants of a child except by interpreting its motions. Every motion it makes indicates something. An astute observer, one who has been watching children for a number of years, will understand the child, and will hardly have to ask the mother a question. He will know at once where the child is sick by what it does. The child is like the animal. You never have to ask a horse or dog where he feels pain, because he will always tell by his motions. So does the infant.
The hoarseness comes on after being overheated. Remember that. “Rough, dry cough; pain in the larynx.” Jumping up for want of breath. “Gasping and suffering for breath, with wheezing and rattling in larynx. Sensation as if air passages were full of smoke.” Now we have all these rough sounds; rough breathing; croupy breathing; rasping breathing — different ways of describing different forms of croup. You cannot individualize a remedy by these because one child will croup in one pitch, and another will croup in another; but to get at the constitution of the child and the mother is the important point. “Voice hardly audible.” “Spasm in the glottis.” In the croupy condition it is really a membranous formation upon the inflamed surface, very often extending downward through the trachea into the bronchial tubes, and producing a croupous pneumonia. Bromium has that in its nature. But without any membranous formation at all Bromium constricts the larynx. It has constriction of the larynx, just like a clutching, a spasm. “Tickling in the larynx, with irritation to cough. Scraping and rawness in the larynx. Sensation of coldness in the larynx.” That is a very peculiar symptom with Bromium. In laryngitis, where the patient says the feeling is as if it was COVERED WITH DOWN. I have heard them describe it as if it was covered with velvet, but it feels so cold. The air breathed feels cold, just like it was the air blown off from snow or ice. Sensation of coldness in the larynx. “Constant sore pain in the larynx.” This means that the larynx is painful to touch. PHOS., BELL., and RUMEX have soreness in the larynx, sore to touch; but the Bromium soreness is commonly below the larynx and in the throat pit as well. “Sensation as if the air tubes were full of smoke.” Some patients will describe that as sulphur fumes, or as of smoke from tar. After the first few hours mucus begins to accumulate in the larynx and trachea, and a constant expectoration keeps up, of a whitish thick mucus, and he coughs and scrapes the larynx constantly, and there is no peace. This is often present in laryngitis without any membranous formation. Bromium is not given as often as it is indicated in voicelessness, in irritation of the larynx, in rawness of the larynx, because it is uncommon for persons to have laryngitis and hoarseness in the larynx from being overheated. Many of those cases would be cured promptly by Bromium. But where it is thought of by the • routine prescriber is where there is croup or diphtheria. That was never taught by Hahnemann. “Much rattling of mucus in the larynx. Inspiration very difficult. Larynx drawn down.” This would take place in croup, after the formation of the membrane. “Cough hoarse, crowing, suffocative; breathing sawing, whistling. Spasms of the larynx; suffocative cough. Membranous formation in larynx and trachea. Croupous inflammation formed by exuberant growth of fungi.” “Asthma of sailors as soon as they go ashore;” relieved again as soon as they are at sea. Difficult breathing with rattling through-out the chest Bronchitis and pneumonia. Bromium is often the remedy when whooping-cough is prevailing in the spring, towards the hot weather, and membranes form in the larynx. The cough gets immediately worse from dust. Handling old books from the shelf aggravates. Sneezing, hoarseness, irritation in the respiratory tract from picking up and handling dusty things. “Cough, with sudden paroxysms of suffocation on swallowing.” Bromium is full of catarrhal conditions, especially of the breathing apparatus. It has hepatization of the lungs; infiltration is one of its most natural features.