Ipecacuanha | Materia Medica by J. T. Kent
Ipecac. has a wide sphere of action among acute sicknesses. Most of its acute complaints commence with nausea, VOMITING. The febrile conditions commence with pain in the back between the shoulders, extending down the back, as if it would break, with or without rigors, much fever, vomiting of bile arid seldom any thirst. This is the general aspect of the beginning of an Ipecac. fever or gastric trouble or chill in intermittents or bilious attacks.
The stomach is disordered. There is a sense of fulness in the stomach, cutting pains in the stomach and below the stomach, going from left to right. The cutting pain in colic goes from left to right. The patient is unable to stir or breathe until that pain passes off. It holds him transfixed in one position, coming like the stabbing of a knife in the region of the stomach, or above the navel, going from left to right, and is attended with prostration and nausea.
All the complaints in Ipecac. are attended more or less with NAUSEA; every little pain and distress is attended with nausea. The sufferings seem to centre about the stomach, bringing on nausea There is continuous nausea and gagging. The cough causes nausea and vomiting. It is a dry, hacking, teasing, suffocative cough, accompanied by nausea and vomiting. He coughs until his face grows red, and then there is choking and gagging. With every little gush of blood from any part of the body there is nausea, fainting and sinking. Hence its value in uterine hemorrhages; bright, red blood with nausea; a little blood is attended with fainting or syncope, but the great overwhelming nausea runs through the complaints of this remedy. Though there is sometimes thirst, it is usually absent. When Ipecac. does its best work, there is thirstlessness. With the Ipecac. fever, or with the chill, there is likely to be pain in the back of the head, a bruised pain through the head and back of the neck and sometimes down the back, and drawing in the muscles of the back of the neck. A congestive fulness in the head, a crushed feeling in the head and back of the head; the whole head aches and is full of pain.
Ipecac. is sometimes as restless as ARSENIC, but the Ipecac. prostration comes by spells, whereas the ARSENIC prostration is continuous. You will see Ipecac. patients tossing over the bed as much as they do when they need RHUS, turning and tossing, and moving the hands and feet, with restlessness. This is especially the case when the spine is somewhat involved. Ipecac. has symptoms that look like tetanus; it has opisthotonos, and it has been a useful remedy in cerebro-spinal meningitis with vomiting of bile, with pain in the back of the head and neck, and drawing of the muscles of the back, retracting the head. When cerebro-spinal meningitis has gone on until the patient is emaciated, when remedies have seemed but to palliate momentarily, and the whole body is inclined backwards, and there is vomiting of everything, even the simplest article taken into the stomach, the tongue is red and raw, and there is constant nausea and vomiting of bile, Ipecac. will cure. Ipecac. cures inveterate cases of gastritis when even a drop of water will not stay down; everything put in the stomach is vomited, continuous gagging, sharp pain in the stomach, pain in the back, below the shoulder blades, as if it would break, vomiting of bile, continuous nausea and great prostration. Irritable stomach. It also cures when the abdomen is distended, and sensitive, a tympanitic state, when there is vomiting of bile. Ipecac. has proved a useful remedy in epidemic dysentery, when the patient is compelled to sit almost constantly upon the stool and passes a little slime, or a little bright red blood; inflammation of the lower portion of the bowel, the rectum and the colon. The tenesmus is awful, burning, and continuous urging with the passage of only a little mucus and blood. With this there is constant nausea; while straining at stool, the pain is so great that nausea comes on, and he vomits bile. At times, whole families are down with it. It runs through a whole valley and may be epidemic; but it commonly relates to endemics. In infants it is indicated when a cholera-like diarrhoea has been present and it ends in a dysenteric state, with continued tenesmus, and the expulsion of a little bloody mucus, the child vomiting everything it takes into the stomach; nausea, vomiting, prostration and great pallor. It is also useful in such conditions when the stool is more or less copious, and is green, and the child passes, frequently, copious quantities of green slime. Much crying when at stool, much straining, with passages of green slime, vomiting of green slime, and vomiting of green curds; milk turns green and is vomited.
The chest complaints of Ipecac. are interesting. Ipecac. is especially the infant’s friend and is commonly indicated in the bronchitis of infancy. The usual bad cold that ends in chest trouble in infants is a bronchitis. It is very seldom that an infant gets a true pneumonia, it is generally a bronchitis with coarse rattling. The child coughs, gags and suffocates, and there is coarse rattling which can be heard throughout the room, and the trouble has come on pretty rapidly.. The child is pale, looks dreadfully sick, and sometimes looks very anxious. The nose is drawn in as if dangerously ill, and the breathing is such as appears in a dangerous case. Ipecac. will sometimes modify this into a very simple case, break up the cold, and cure the child. In the old books, the pneumonia of infancy had a distinct and separate description, and the typical symptoms were those of Ipecac. You will see a great similarity of symptoms when you study Ipecac. and ANT. TART. together in chest troubles. If you have been studying them together, you will say, “How do you distinguish them.; they both have rattling cough and breathing, and both have the vomiting?” Well, the Ipecac. symptoms correspond to the stage of irritation, while the TARTAR EMETIC symptoms appear in the stage of relaxation. That is, the Ipecac. symptoms come on hurriedly, come on as the acute symptoms, whereas the TARTAR EMETIC complaints come on slowly. The latter is seldom suited to symptoms that arise within twenty-four hours, or at least the symptoms of TARTAR EMETIC that arise in twenty-four hours are not of this class. This group comes on many days later, comes on at the close of a bronchitis when there is threatened paralysis of the lungs; not in the state of irritation, not the dyspnoea from irritation, not the suffocation of that sort, but the suffocation from exudation, and from threatened paralysis of the lungs. When the lungs are too weak to expel the mucus, the coarse rattling comes on. Then there is the great exhaustion, deathly pallor of the face and sooty nostrils. We see now that these two remedies do not look alike. If we observe the pace of the two remedies, we see that the complaints differ. It is not so much that they belong to stages, although they do, but rather that Ipecac. brings on its symptoms rapidly and effects a crisis speedily, and that ANT. TART. brings on its symptoms slowly and effects a crisis after many days.
You can readily see the value of Ipecac. in whooping cough, for it has the paroxysmal character, the red face, and vomiting and gagging with the cough. The red face, thirstlessness, violent whooping, with convulsions, with gagging and vomiting of all that he eats are the symptoms that you will generally find.
I have hinted at the haemorrhages, and these open out a great field for Ipecac. I could not practice medicine without Ipecac, because of its importance in haemorrhages. When I say haemorrhages, I do not mean those from cut arteries, I do not mean haemorrhages where surgery must come in; I mean such as uterine haemorrhages, haemorrhages from the kidneys, from the bowels, from the stomach, from the lungs. You must know your remedies in haemorrhages; if you do not, you will be forced to use mechanical means; but the homeopath who is well instructed is able to do without them. In the severest form of uterine haemorrhages the homeopathic physician is able to do without mechanical means, except when mechanical means are causing the haemorrhage. This does not relate to hourglass contractions, it does not relate to conditions when the after birth is retained, or when the uterus has a foreign substance in it, because under such circumstances manipulation is necessary. A distinction must be made. But when we have simply the pure dynamic element to consider, simply and purely a relaxed surface that is bleeding, the remedy is the only thing that will do the work properly. When the uterus is continuously oozing, but every little while the flow increases to a gush, and with every little gush of bright red blood the woman thinks she is going to faint, or there is gasping, and the quantity of the flow is not sufficient to account for such prostration, nausea, syncope, pallor, Ipecac. is the remedy. When with the gushing of bright red blood there is an overwhelming fear of death, ACONITE. If your patient while going through the confinement has had a hot head, an uncontrollable thirst for ice cold water, and after the confinement, everything has gone on in an orderly way, and the placenta has been delivered, and although you have no reason to expect such haemorrhage it comes on, PHOSPHORUS will nearly always be the remedy. In those withered women, lean and slender, who are always suffering from the heat, who want the covers off and want to be cool, who have had a tendency to ooze blood from the uterus, and now have a haemorrhage that is alarming, either with clots, or only an oozing of dark liquid blood, you can hardly do without SECALE. A single dose of any one of these medicines on the tongue will check a haemorrhage more quickly than large doses of strong medicine. The haemorrhage will be checked so speedily that in your earlier experiences you will be surprised. You will wonder if it is not possible that it stopped itself. In copious menstruation Ipecac. is often indicated when the woman has taken cold, or has a shock. In cases where she is not especially subject to copious uterine flow at the menstrual period, she is naturally alarmed, for it is something she has never had before, and the flow is likely to continue for many days, attended with this weakness. All her power seems to go with a little gush of blood. Ipecac. will cure and end the menstrual flow normally. A fortunate thing in nature is the tendency to check hemorrhage, which is always good. There are a large number of medicines that control haemorrhage, and these you must keep at your finger’s ends. They belong to emergencies. You must know the remedies that correspond to violent symptoms and violent attacks. Ipecac. is full of haemorrhage. Vomiting of great clots of blood, continuous vomiting of blood in connection with ulceration. In persons who are subject to violent attacks of bleeding, who bleed easily, who have a hemorrhagic tendency, Ipecac. will control temporarily the haemorrhage when the symptoms agree.
Severe pain in the back in the region of the kidneys, shooting pains, frequent urging to urinate, and the urine contains blood and little clots of blood. The urine is extremely red with blood, which settles to the bottom of the vessel, and lines the whole commode with a layer of blood the thickness of a knife blade. Every pint of urine that it contains will have that coating of blood in the vessel; every attack of pain in the kidney is attended with that condition of the urine. Ipecacuanha will stop that bleeding. It is true that when patients have bled until they have become anaemic, and are subiject to dropsy, Ipecac. ceases to be the remedy; its natural follower then is CHINA, which will bring the patient in a position to need an antipsoric remedy. Then there are the “colds.” Simple, common coryzas among the children. When a cold settles in the nose, and the nose is stuffed up at night, or when the adult has a coryza, with much stuffing up of the nose, blowing of mucus and blood from the nose, much sneezing, and the cold goes farther down and is followed by hoarseness, extending into the trachea with rawness, and finally into the bronchial tubes with suffocation and settling in the chest, think of Ipecac. The Ipecac. colds often begin in the nose and spread very rapidly into the chest. With these colds in the nose there is copious bleeding of bright red blood. Every time he takes cold in the nose he has copious bleeding; a tendency to nosebleed with the colds. The inflammation that comes upon the mucous membrane in Ipecac. is violent. The irritation comes on suddenly, and the mucous membrane inflames so rapidly that the parts become purple, turgescent, and bleeding seems to be the only natural relief. Stoppage of the nose and loss of smell; the nose becomes so stuffed up that he cannot breathe through it.
With the head symptoms, with the colds, with the whooping cough, with the chill, and with many of the inflammatory complaints, the face becomes flushed, bright red, or bluish red, and the lips blue; with the chill the lips and the finger nails are blue. The chill is violent, sometimes congestive in character and often a rigor. The whole frame shakes, and the teeth chatter.
There are old incurable cases of asthma that are palliated by Ipecac. and carry around a bottle of it from which they say they get much relief. It is useful in cases of humid asthma, in cases of asthmatic bronchitis, when they suffer from the damp weather and from sudden weather changes; every little cold rouses up this bronchial attack, and he suffocates and gags when he coughs, or spits up a little blood. He has to sit up nights to breathe, and the attacks are common and frequent. These patients say they get relief from Ipecac, and it is not surprising that Ipecac. relieves that stale of asthmatic breathing, because it has such symptoms. Some of these cases are incurable, they are people advanced in life. This remedy, more wisely administered; will give more relief. A powder of Ipecac. will break up the attack, so that the patient is comfortable, and then will go on in an ordinary sort of asthmatic way, until catching another cold. The cough is rattling and asthmatic.
As a convulsive medicine Ipecac. is not well enough known. Convulsions in prenagncy. Convulsions in whooping cough; frightful spasms, affecting the whole of the left side, followed by paralysis; clonic and tonic spasms of children and hysterical women. Tetanus, rigidity of the body, with flushed redness of the face. These are strong features of Ipecac, and they have not been sufficiently dwelt upon, and the remedy is not sufficiently known as having these states so prominently. Medicines like BELLADONNA are more frequently spoken of in the books and in treatises of spasms, yet Ipecac. is just as important a remedy to be studied in relation to spasms, and its action upon the spine.
In suppressed eruptions, the symptoms will very commonly point to Ipecac. When the eruption does not come out, or an eruption has been driven back by cold, sometimes acute manifestations of stomach and bowels follow and colds settle in the chest from suppressed eruptions. Ipecac. will also cure erysipelas, when there is the vomiting, the chill, the pain in the back, the thirstlessness and the overwhelming nausea.
Ipecac. is often sufficient for the nausea and vomiting, when the scarlet fever rash is slow to come out. Instead of the rash coming out as it should, Ipecac. symptoms come on in the stomach with nausea and vomiting. Ipecac. will check the nausea and vomiting, will bring out the eruption, and the disease will run a milder course.