Phosphorus | Materia Medica by Carrol Dunham
Dr. Dunham (1828-1877) graduated from Columbia University with Honours in 1847. In 1850 he received M.D. degree at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York.
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SPECIAL ANALYSIS. DISPOSITION. Phosphorus presents interesting alternations of the psychical condition, as the following series of symptoms show:
I. Sadness, depression with forebodings of calamity; melancholy, relieved only by vehement weeping. 2. Great anxiety, uneasiness and distress, fearfulness and restlessness, paroxysms of anxiety, which feeling seems to arise from the left chest and to be attended by palpitation. 3. Great excitability, even when thinking of ill-fortune long past, a disagreeable sensation is felt in the praecordia; all the senses are too keen, especially hearing and smell; irritability, anger upon slight provocation. 4. Spasmodic laughter and weeping contrary to one’s will; hilarity, very sensitive imagination. Indifference to ordinary feelings of shame or affection. Of these phenomena the proving gives no clue to the order, but we may infer from Hahnemann’s observations in the preface that sadness (recurring regularly at twilight), anxiety and irritability are the characteristic modifications of disposition induced by Phosphorus.
SENSORIUM. Weakness of memory, indisposition (moderate) to exertion; difficulty in collecting and concentrating thoughts ; weak feeling in the head, aggravated by thinking and by loud noise, music or hard stepping; these things produce throbbing in the head, a feeling of confusion, dullness and distraction, but especially of weakness in the head. These symptoms are interesting in connection with the known waste of Phosphorus consequent on cerebral exertion, and the stimulating effects of Phosphorus in cases of exhaustion of the cerebrospinal system (as in the administration of Phosphoric acid after debauch, etc).
VERTIGO. Vertigo so great as to induce falling, occurring under every variety of conditions; also vertigo when lying down, compelling to assume an upright posture.
HEAD. General confusion, as from too long watching, with difficulty in collecting one’s ideas ; heaviness, sense of exhaustion and bewilderment in the brain; aversion to mental exertion. Confusion and heaviness, more in the vertex and sinciput, along with vertigo and disposition to fall forward. These symptoms are generally better in the cool air and when the head is uncovered.
The pains in the head are of great variety, and affect equally all parts of the head. It may be remarked that they are to a great extent superficial, seeming to affect the surface of the brain, or the bones, or the scalp. They extend from the forehead into the eyes, especially the right eye, and from the vertex and temples down upon the zygoma, in the form of violent tearing. There is great external sensibility of the head. Great orgasm of blood affecting the head. Shocks and single stitches in the head. The pains are as follows : Tearing, affecting the frontal and temporal regions, especially on the right side, and involving the eye and zygoma.
Sticking, affecting all parts of the head.
Shocks in the occiput and parietal region.
Drawing pain generally, with exaltation of the sensorium, followed by depression.
Pressing pain, chiefly in the frontal and temporal region, as if from fullness, and yet a feeling as if it were not actual congestion ; the pressure extends from the forehead into the eyes and to the root of the nose.
Throbbing in the sides of the head and in the root of the nose, extending also to the eyes and nose, recurring periodically. This throbbing is induced and increased by laughing, motion, etc., as if it arose from weakness. Burning.
Weakness. Decided sensation of weakness, so that the noise of a piano is intolerable, and the least motion, or beginning to walk, or stooping, etc., is very distressing.
Conditions. The headache generally occurs in the evening; sometimes on waking in the morning. It is aggravated by warmth and excitement, and relieved by repose, cold and the open air.
General. Fullness of the head, the ears stopped, with singing in them; orgasm of the blood, heat and buzzing in the head.
The scalp is tender and itches. The hair falls out; pain when the hair is pulled.
The head symptoms display the characteristics of the action of Phosphorus upon the organism. Exaltation, intermingled with and followed by depression, not merely of the vegetative system, but also and especially of the nervous energy, until finally we have in the tumultuous orgasms the quasi-congestions and yet the apparent anaemia of the cerebral mass, a complete picture of the effect of PARI PASSU exhaustion; of both organic and nervous exhaustion; such, for example, as follows too free exercise of the intellectual and sexual functions, or of both combined.
EYES. The eye symptoms corroborate, to a certain extent, the above view of the head symptoms. The eyes are dull, glassy, and as if full of sleep; the vision is impaired; it is as if a veil were before the eyes ; the axis of vision trembles; black spots waver and glide before the eyes. There are sparks before the eyes in the dark, and along with these symptoms there is roaring in the head. Moreover, there are attacks of sudden blindness. The eyelids often tremble and quiver, and the eyes fill with tears and are painful when used in reading. As regards the organic affections, there is sub-acute conjunctivitis, with lachrymation, agglutination, swelling and suppuration of the lids and meibomian glands, with itching and burning pains.
The symptoms of obscure vision, better in the twilight and on shading the eye with the hand, point to cataract, in which Phosphorus has been found useful. It must also be good in day-blindness, nyctalopia.
EARS. The throbbing, roaring and buzzing in the ears, the loud resonance of all sounds, result probably from the condition of the brain to which we have referred. In addition, there is evidence of an affection of the tissues of the external and middle ears, as follows: Sticking, pressing and tearing in the external ear and in the neighboring’ parts of the head. Earache. Pressure. Feeling’ as if the meatus were stopped. Discharge of yellow fluid from the ear. Deafness, as if the ear were stopped.
NOSE. Itching, tickling and soreness of the nose. When rubbed, it bleeds readily. Here we first note a characteristic peculiarity of Phosphorus; haemorrhages are easily produced from mucous surfaces, from wounds or from ulcers, and frequently occur spontaneously. This probably suggested its use in fungus haematodes. It suggests its appropriateness, other symptoms corresponding, as we shall see they do, in cases of typhus; a disease in which haemorrhages so readily occur or are provoked. The discharge from the nose is often streaked with blood; the nose is obstructed by clots.
The sense of smell is often exalted in acuteness.
FACE. The face is pale, sunken, sallow; the eyes are hollow, encircled by blue rings,— a condition corresponding to the exhaustion represented by the head, and other symptoms. Again, the orgasm of circulation is manifested in flashes of heat and redness. A definite form of prosopalgia is described as follows: Severe tearing about the lower margin of the orbit on the right side, extending under the right ear, and involving the bones of the face and the temple, as if everything were torn out and away, increasing until eight p. M. Pressure in the facial and parietal bones, and in the teeth on eating warm food, and worse in a warm room. Tearing in the maxillary bones in the evening, when lying down, relieved by moving the jaw. Violent stitch from the middle of the left lower maxilla, coming out deep through the cheeks and eye, extending to the forehead. Pressure, drawing and tearing in the lower maxilla toward the chin. The tendency of Phosphorus to affect the maxillary region, as well as its action on the lungs, is shown in the affections to which those who work in match factories, and are exposed to the vapors of Phosphorus, are subject. Necrosis of the maxillae, beginning with toothache, passing through the stages of swelling and inflammation of the superficial tissues, and of sinuses and caries, and ending in death by pulmonary tuberculosis. (Lorniser in “Oestreicher Medikalische Jahrbucher,” 1845, March.)
TEETH. The gums are sensitive and disposed to ulceration. They swell and bleed easily on the slightest touch. The teeth seem loose and decay readily. The toothache is jerking, tearing, darting, boring, generally occurring or worse in the evening or at night, after washing.
LIPS. The lips itch and burn ; are sensitive to touch; vesicles form on the inner edge of them. The lips and palate are dry, without thirst.
TONGUE. Similar sensations upon the tongue, which is covered with a dirty white fur, has burning vesicles near its tip, and ulcers anteriorly on the surface, which bleed readily when touched.
MOUTH. Insufferable itching, tickling and soreness, as if denuded of skin, in the roof of the mouth.
General dryness of the mouth, generally without, sometimes with, thirst. Much saliva of an offensive taste; bitter, sour, offensive.
THROAT AND FAUCES. The throat affection is definite. The cervical muscles are painful on touch and motion. Stitches in the left side of the throat; also toward the ear and thence to the vertex. The fauces and tonsils are the seat of acute inflammation, which, however, is not confined to these organs, but extends into the larynx, and especially into the trachea, extending at least as far as the supra-sternal fossa, and in most cases much farther. It is characterized, therefore, not merely by soreness and difficulty in swallowing, and by a sense of constriction in the fauces,, but also by rawness and roughness in the whole affected region when not swallowing; by dry, hacking cough, which is provoked not only by speech and motion of the respiratory organs, but also when the larynx and trachea are moved and impinged upon in the act of deglutition. The inflammation of the tonsils is probably confined to the mucous membrane, and is not parenchymatous. The rough, raw, scraped sensation in the throat is a very marked symptom of Phosphorus, and occurs almost always in conjunction with similar sensations in the trachea and chest. The pharynx is dry, deglutition is difficult. Nux vomica, Hepar, Rumex crispus, Causticum, Belladonna.