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 OLEANDER NERIUM is a native of Palestine, but it is also found wild in Southern Europe and is much cultivated in gardens and hothouses everywhere ; it thrives especially in damp places. As a plant it is highly ornamental with its large rose-colored flowers. It is, however, very poisonous, causing a decided prostration of the nervous system with symptoms of narcosis. Do not fail to remember this depressing character of the drug. It produces weak memory, forgetfulness. Not only does it have this effect, but it also produces slowness of perception. The patient has great difficulty in catching the meaning of your remark. Along with these mental symptoms, is a vertigo, which is the result of weakness. Everything points to depression of the sensorium. Oleander is an important remedy, when the symptoms just mentioned are forerunners of paralysis.
Once I succeeded in curing a case of headache with Oleander. It was some years ago. The patient was a young lady. The headache was relieved by forcibly looking cross-eyed. Looking up the materia medica, I found that Oleander had pain in the head relieved from looking sideways. That was why I prescribed the remedy.
Studying the action of Oleander on. the abdominal organs, we find emptiness and goneness in the pit of the stomach, even after eating, relieved by taking brandy. You will find this symptom indicating Oleander in very weak women who have infants at the breast. Immediately after nursing, the patient is seized with tremor, and is so weak that she is scarcely able to walk across the room.
CARBO ANIMALIS is also suited to this condition.
Oleander is useful in diarrhoea. The stools are thin and contain undigested food, the characteristic symptoms being, the patient passes undigested the food he had eaten the day before. This symptom you may notice, in children with cholera infantum and marasmus. Another symptom calling for Oleander in infants and children is, “every time they pass wind they soil their diapers.”
Here you must study Oleander in conjunction with FERRUM, ARSENICUM, ARGENTUM NITRICUM, and CINCHONA. FERRUM has diarrhoea with stool containing undigested food. This stool is unattended by pain, and is apt to occur during a meal.
ARSENICUM is indicated in diarrhoea caused by chilling the stomach by the ingestion of cold substances. The stools are of a yellow color and are attended with pain of a burning character. The patient is worse after midnight than at any other time. There is great thirst.
ARGENTUM NITRICUM is indicated in diarrhoea in which the bowels move as soon as the patient drinks.
CINCHONA is useful in diarrhoea with watery evacuations containing undigested food; the diarrhoea is very debilitating; stools may escape involuntarily after a meal. It is caused or made worse by eating fruits.
APIS MELLIFICA is a good remedy in cholera infantum with wide open anus and involuntary escape of faeces.
PHOSPHORUS and ALOES also have involuntary escape of faeces; the symptom may best be expressed as a want of confidence in the sphincter ani. With Phosphorus faeces pass as soon as they enter the rectum, as if the anus stood open.
In paralysis, Oleander is indicated when the disease invades one or the other limb, is painless, and usually preceded by vertigo. I think that Oleander, like Gelsemium, is indicated only in functional paralysis. I do not believe that it will cure paralysis of central origin. It goes farther than the Gelsemium, however, in implicating the sensory as well as the motor nerves.
Oleander also has an action on the skin. It produces a very sensitive skin, so that very slight friction causes soreness and chafing, especially about the neck or between the scrotum and the thighs. It produces an eruption on the scalp and back of the ears, simulating that of crusta lactea, oozing a fluid and breeding vermin. It is just as important a remedy in this disease as SULPHUR, MEZEREUM, VIOLA TRICOLOR, etc. The distinction which you may make lies in the other symptoms; i.e., if the characteristic gastro-enteric symptoms are present, Oleander will be the remedy.
For symptoms produced by acute poisoning with this remedy, CAMPHOR is the best antidote. For the chronic symptoms, particularly if there is any cutaneous disorder, SULPHUR is probably the best remedy, because it is the most similar. Of the value of this last suggestion I am not positive. I merely offer it to you for what it is worth.