E. A. Farrington was born in Williamsburg, NY, on January 1, 1847. In 1866 he graduated from the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania. In 1867 he entered the Hahnemann Medical College, graduating in 1868. He entered practice immediately after his graduation, establishing himself on Mount Vernon Street.
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The order of Ruminantia furnishes us with an article called Musk, which is obtained from the MOSCHUS MOSCHIFERUS, or musk-deer. It is found in a sac just back of the umbilicus, and probably consists of a secretion from the preputial follicles.
The second word, “moschiferus,” is a necessary qualification, since several of the musk-deer, as the tragulus Javanicus and the meminna Indica, are unprovided with the musk-bearing pouch.
So penetrating is the odor of this substance that it is with great difficulty removed from a room, even after extensive cleansing and alterations.
MOSCHUS is of some value in nervous affections, and also in several grave forms of disease. Injected into the veins of animals, it has produced narcotism with muscular spasm, bloody stools and finally death. Wood regards its action on man as feeble and uncertain, though he admits its clinical worth when the nervous system is exhausted, with accompanying restlessness, etc. Ringer regards it as ill adapted to medicine on account of its sickening odor. Bartholow, Flint, Hammond, and Rosenthal, do not use it in hysteria. German writers, Jolly, for instance, admit a temporary benefit from its use in hysteria. Like some American authorities, they employ it more confidently in pneumonia and in spasmus glottidis. Trousseau, with characteristic conservatism, rejects the overdrawn laudations of older writers, and proceeds in his own unique fashion to define its accurate application to diseases.
In our own school, precise prescribing has had its influence in more clearly defining the powers of Musk, and in thus limiting its action within reasonable bounds. The experiments of Joerg and Sunderlin, which Allen has seen fit to incorporate in the ENCYCLOPAEDIA, are considered by some to be contradictory. Still they are not opposed to other provings obtained with potencies or by inhalation, and so are of value and deserve to be retained.
Homeopathically employed, Moschus is of use in various affections when the nervous symptoms predominate. The disease, in consequence, does not follow its normal course, but remains uncured or develops serious symptoms, indicating nervous exhaustion. It is also sometimes called for in hysteria and hypochondriasis.
Moschus then, produces numerous symptoms referable to the nervous system. The following are especially worthy of note:
Excited as from alcohol; pulse full and more frequent; temperature slightly elevated; congestion to the brain; raves, speaks rapidly and confusedly; scolds until lips are blue, face pale, and she falls unconscious; anxiety, starts at any noise; anxious about death. Anxiety, with fainting; faints, with coldness, pale face, full unconsciousness; hysteria; delirium as from alcohol; sleeplessness; muscular twitching; ataxia; face wears an expression of surprise; convulsions, more tonic than clonic.
Hysteria, especially for the paroxysm, even if insensible. Cries one moment and bursts into uncontrollable laughter the next.
Accompaniments: Palpitation of the heart, as from anxious expectation. Nervous, busy, but weak, soon drops things. Tremulous nervousness. Fainting spells, with pale face and coldness. Sleepy during the day. Rush of blood to the head, with staring eyes. Dizzy, unsteadiness as of something rapidly moving up and down. Vertigo. Headaches and pains in the back and limbs, which are expressed by a sensation of tension, stiffness, pressure on drawing. The muscles and skin are tightly drawn (tonic spasm). She frequently complains of nausea, and there is cramping about the navel, or a jerk-like clawing. Uneasiness in the legs, worse while she is sitting. Great tympanitis, with fainting. Copious watery urine. Spasmus glottidis. The menses are too early and too profuse, preceded by the tense, drawing sensations, and also a drawing and dragging towards the genitals. Sexual desire is increased with local titillation.
Sudden sensation in the upper part of the larynx, as if it closed upon the breath. A kind of cramp in the lung, beginning with an inclination to cough, gradually increasing and making him perfectly desperate. Suffocative constriction in the chest.
The most important hysterical symptoms of Musk are: Attacks even to fainting or unconsciousness; coldness of the surface; pale face; suffocative paroxysms; scolding until she falls unconscious.
Compare CASTOREUM, NUX MOSCHATA, ASAFOETIDA, AMMONIAC, VALERIAN, IGNATIA, MAGNESIA MURIATICA.
CAMPHOR antidotes many of its symptoms, especially if unconsciousness and coldness are present.
CASTOREUM is derived from the preputial sacs of the beaver. Like Musk it causes nervousness, twitching, and deranged menses. But it is more adapted to the nervous symptoms which precede fully developed hysteria. It suits women who suffer from irritable weakness, abdominal symptoms predominating.
Charge, for example, employs it for women who, during convalescence from a prostrating disease, as typhoid fever, suffer from spasmodic affections, twitching of muscles, with extreme exhaustion. The want of nervous reaction, therefore, tends to unduly prolong convalescence, and Castoreum, by strengthening the nerves, hastens recovery.
Trousseau employs this remedy for nervous colics with pallor, cold sweat, and sudden loss of strength, caused by emotions, chilling the feet, etc. Also for amenorrhoea, with painful tympany; the menstrual blood, owing to uterine tenesmus, escapes only in drops. Teste agrees with him, in the main.
The provings develop a train of symptoms quite consistent with these clinical effects. The woman is nervous, apprehensive and sad, growing fitful during the menses. Tearing pains, better from pressure or rubbing. Tearing pressure in different parts during menses.
Abdomen distended with flatulence; dragging in the groins, inclination to stool during menses. Cutting about the navel.
Stools of bloody mucus; or of whitish water, with burning in the anus. Green mucous stools, which seem to burn one. Cutting colic before stool, better from pressure or bending double.
A Spanish physician has confirmed the modality of Castoreum, relief of pains from pressure. And we may profit from French and Spanish authorities in their treatment of nervous affections, since from national peculiarities they have ample opportunities to treat such cases.
The similarities between Musk and Castoreum are rather in the kind of affections in which they are indicated than in special symptoms. Still, Trousseau places them together in nervous attacks, when the aura starts from the abdominal viscera. But only the Musk has clearly developed hysterical attacks, with pulmonary and laryngeal spasms and unconsciousness.
And we may say, in passing, only Castoreum has cured watery or green mucous stools in delicate, nervous children, who weaken under summer heat or during dentition, and who will not rally under the usual remedies.
NUX MOSCHATA exerts a very novel influence upon the mind. The state varies from a bewilderment, in which the surroundings are strange, dreamy, or fanciful, to a condition of absent-mindedness, sleepiness, and finally deep stupor, with loss of motion and sensation. Mental states may alternate. At one time she laughs as if everything partook of the ludicrous. She jests even about serious subjects. Suddenly her mood changes to sadness, with weeping and loud crying; or her expression grows stupid, all ideas vanish, and she appears as if overwhelmed with sleep. There are, likewise, errors of perception; a momentary unconsciousness she regards as having been of long duration. Her hands look too large. Objects gradually diminish in size as she looks at them steadily. The bodily functions come under the same influence; great weakness and bruised feeling of small of back and legs; knees feel as after a long journey ; prostration; tendency to faint; oppressed breathing, rush of blood to the heart, skin cold and dry. So relaxed that pulse and breath are scarcely discernible. Head drops forward, the chin resting on the breast. Head rolls about as if bulky. Bowels enormously distended with wind, as from weak digestion. Even soft stools are evacuated with difficulty. It is this mental and bodily atony which has led to the excellent cures made with Nux moschata, not only in hysterical weakness, but in typhoid and cholera infantum. The hystero-spasmodic symptoms of the drug are intimately commingled with the above symptoms; head jerked forward; jaws clenched; heart as if grasped; sudden oppression of the heart, with choking sensation; tonic, followed by clonic spasm; unconsciousness or fainting.
Accompaniments are: Great dryness of the mouth and throat, which, with her tendency to magnify, she complains of extremely. The least emotional excitement renews the symptoms, increases the distension of the abdomen, etc. Skin dry and cool, no disposition to sweat. Palpitation of the heart; pulse and heart-beat changeable.
VALERIANA is so abused as an antispasmodic that homeopaths are too apt to neglect it. But it occupies its definite place in the treatment of hysteria, differing from MUSH, ASAFOETIDA, and all other “nervines.” It is not so much adapted to hysterical spasms, with unconsciousness, like the drugs already considered, as it is to a general state of nervous and vascular excitement. Both mind and body are in a condition of irritation. The patient is lively, joyous, talking rapidly, with rapid chasing of thought after thought. Sometimes she imagines she is beset with dangers, or surrounding objects seem strange. She suffers from headache, giddiness and restlessness. Her muscular organism is so irritated that she cannot keep quiet, she must move. The same state influences her pains. The provings show twinging, drawing, cramp-like, stinging, or darting-tearing pains, all worse when she sits and better when she walks. The circulation, too, is excited; her head feels full to bursting; constant heat and uneasiness; dry heat in the evening while sitting, flushes of heat. She is wide awake and restless all night, falling into a dreamy sleep towards morning. Digestion is disturbed. Before dinner she has a taste as of fetid tallow, while early in the morning, on awaking, the taste is flat, slimy. Nausea, as if a thread was hanging in the throat, arising from the region of the umbilicus, and gradually rising to the fauces. Bloated abdomen.
From the order of Umbelliferae we derive two gums, which have been many times used in nervous affections. We refer to GUM AMMONIAC, and, especially, to ASAFOETIDA.
The latter acts most prominently upon the abdominal ganglia, and thence upon the whole nervous system Its most characteristic effects are as follows: Reversing of the peristaltic action in the bowels, stomach, and particularly up to the throat; eructations rancid, with profuse saliva, greasy taste; head feels dull, compressed; burning in the stomach and oesophagus; enormous meteorism of the stomach; stools papescent, brown, offensive; spasmodic tightness of the chest, as if the lungs could not be fully expanded ; oppression to an agonizing degree; heart congested and distended, with small pulse. Drawing, tightness, here and there; pulse small, contracted, with shivering in the lumbar region. Pressure in various places, usually from within to without. Cutting, labor-like distress in the region of the uterus. Urine brown, of pungent odor. Later, as the patient weakens, there are malaise, yawning, shuddering from time to time, vertigo, and vanishing of sight; cold sweat.
Clinically, it has been determined that Asafetida is suited to the nervous, when their condition is the direct sequel of the checking of habitual discharges, such as the external healing of running ulcers, sudden suppression of a diarrhoea, etc. Also after abuse of mercury, when not only is the patient nervous, but there are likewise affections of the bones and periosteum, such as caries. There are extreme sensitiveness in the region of the carious ulcer, and severe pains at night. Women are sometimes helped by Asafetida when an habitual expectoration is checked and hysterical symptoms, together with oppression of the chest, follow. Here the drug displays a family resemblance to Ammoniac, which has frequently been given for such a condition of the lungs.
Musk and Asafetida agree in producing globus hystericus, spasm of the chest, and palpitation. The former is best adapted to a full-fledged hysteric spasm, with fainting or unconsciousness. The latter has more offensive discharges, and the globus is part of an extensive reverse peristalsis. Fainting is not noted (except in one case, when the intensity of the pain caused it). Tympany is also well marked.
MAGNESIA MURIATICA resembles the last remedy and also Musk. Like other Magnesia preparations it affects the stomach and bowels and the nervous system. Thus the Carbonate and Phosphate are indicated in neuralgia, especially in cases subject to repeated attacks by reason of nervous debility. The Muriate, however, has been proved to be eminently useful in hysteria. We observe prominent abdominal symptoms; nausea, with accumulation of water in the mouth; liver enlarged, tongue large, flabby and yellow; she must hurry to stool, which is crumbly, as if burnt; and, as if to show a combination of abdominal and nervous symptoms, there are rumbling in the abdomen, with dragging, griping, cutting; tension, and then pains, as if the bowels were cut to pieces; rising into the throat like a ball, almost taking her breath; relieved by eructations.
Flatus therefore collects in the stomach and abdomen, causing reflex spasmodic symptoms through irritated nerves.
This is still further confirmed by the following: Attack of faintness during dinner, anxious with nausea and pale face, trembling of the body, relieved by eructations. Or, again, sudden heaviness on the chest during dinner, nausea, water in the mouth; heat mounted to the face; seemed as if eructations or vomiting would relieve her.
Illusions of fancy have been observed. Very important is the headache; griping and raging in both temples, feels as if would become dizzy, and loss of consciousness, disappearing on pressing the head with both hands. Headache relieved by wrapping up the head.
The menstrual flow is black, clotted, with pains in the back while walking and in the thighs when sitting. Uterine spasms, with tension
in the groins (Hale thinks in the broad ligaments); cutting in the lower abdomen; stitches in the groin; pressive sensation in the lower abdomen during menses. Cramps in the abdomen, with pressure upon rectum and genitals.
Palpitation of the heart, not as in Musk, “as from anxious expectation ;” but, nevertheless, non-organic, for it comes on while sitting and on rising from a seat, disappearing on moving about. This has been several times confirmed.
Briefly, by way of summary: Moschus, excited, scolding, fainting; coldness; spasm of glottis and lungs.
CASTOREUM, exhausted, pains better from pressure; menstrual colic with pallor and cold sweat.
NUX MOSCHATA, errors of perception, drowsy; faints; enormous tympany; oppression of heart to throat; skin dry, cool.
VALERIANA, nerves irritated, cannot keep still; tearings, cramps, better when moving; taste of tallow or slimy.
ASAFOETIDA, reverse peristalsis, rancid eructations, offensive flatus; tightness of the chest; checked discharges.
MAGNESIA MURIATICA, faints at dinner, relief from eructations; head better from pressure and wrapping up; palpitation better on moving about; stools crumble.
MOSCHUS has been employed by allopathic physicians, when, in the course of pneumonia, a purely nervous delirium obtains. The brain is violently excited, patient talks nonsense with furious vivacity. (Trousseau.)
We need remedies for just such cases, remedies which will calm the irritable weak nerves, and permit the disease to proceed in its normal course.
The following may prove beneficial in diseases embarrassed by a condition of non-reaction from irritable weakness: MUSK, AMBRA GRISEA, ASAFWTIDA, VALERIANA, CASTOREUM, COFFEA, SCUTELLARIA, CYPRIPEDIUM, COCA, ZINC OX., CHINA, CAMPHOR, AGARICUS, TARENTULA.