HomeMateria Medica by Carroll DunhamPlatina | Materia Medica by Carrol Dunham

Platina | Materia Medica by Carrol Dunham

Platina | Materia Medica by Carrol Dunham

Homeopathy Materia Medica by Dr. Carroll Dunham
Homeopathy Materia Medica by Dr. Carroll 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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The physical and chemical properties and reactions of this metal are described from another chair.

It finds no place in the Pharmacopoeia of England or the United States.

Trousseau and Pidoux cite a few vague and indecisive experiments upon animals and men with double Chloride of Platina and Sodium by Dr. Hcefer in 1840, and therapeutic experiments by the same physician, who proposed to substitute Platina for Gold and for Mercury in the treatment of secondary and of primary syphilis and syphilitic rheumatism.

Our knowledge of the action of Platina is derived exclusively from a proving by Stapf and Gross, two pupils of Hahnemann. It was first published in one of the earlier volumes of the ” Archiv fur die Homeopathische Heilkunst.”

For medical use, chemically pure Platina is dissolved in AQUA REGIA. Into this solution a polished steel rod is plunged. The chloride is decomposed, and the resulting metallic Platina is precipitated in the form of a fine dust upon the surface of the rod. It is carefully washed to free it from the acid, and is then triturated according to the rules of the homeopathic pharmacy.

The action of Platina is exerted, in the most marked and peculiar manner, upon the mind and disposition ; upon the second and third branches of the tri-facial nerve; and upon the sexual organs of women.

It acts, like Ignatia, much more upon the vital forces than upon the organic substance of the body.

It further resembles Ignatia in the fact that it interferes with and deranges the co-ordination of functions, destroying the harmony with which related functions are performed in the healthy body.

But the kind of perversion, and, in particular, the variety of mental perversion and disturbance produced by it, are altogether different from those produced by Ignatia, so that, if Ignatia correspond to one form of hysteria, Platina corresponds to a form altogether different.

The kind of pain characteristic of Platina is a cramp-like, squeezing pain,—a kind of crushing together. It is peculiarly characteristic of this pain that it begins gently, gradually increases in severity, and then gradually becomes less severe, until at last it ceases. In this respect Platina resembles Stannum.

Most of the Platina symptoms are worse when the patient sits or stands, and are ameliorated by walking. They generally occur, or are aggravated, at night.

It has been remarked as a peculiarity of the sleep of Platina, that however quiet the sleep may have been and however sound, the patient is always found, on awaking, to be lying on the back with the thighs drawn up upon the abdomen, with one or both hands above the head ; and there is about or a little before the time of waking, a disposition to uncover the lower extremities. In connection with the form of hysteria to which Platina will be seen to correspond, and particularly with the nymphomania, which is a variety of this form of hysteria in which Platina has proved itself a most valuable remedy, these symptoms of the sleep have a great significance.

The action of Platina may be more particularly delineated as follows:

At first, the prover experiences a distressing anxiety, a kind of deadly apprehensiveness, with a sensation of trernbing throughout the body, a great disquiet of mind, which does not admit of repose; the prover believes death to be impending and has a great dread of it. (Like Aconite.)

Now, instead of grief, or despondency, or resignation under this state of things, there is great irritability, great susceptibility to anger and vexation ; a trifling grievance produces a profound vexation, under the effects of which the prover remains a long time vexed, unfriendly, in fact ” in the sulks.”

Then, as the action of the drug becomes more profound, there is an alternation of this depression and this sulky despondency with an unnatural liveliness and gayety, so that the patient laughs violently, and this perversion of the natural functions (and of the co-ordination of the functions) of the sensorium goes so far that the prover laughs immoderately, even at the saddest objects.

Then finally there comes a state of mind, the outgrowth and development of that last described, in which the prover displays a most exalted and overweening self-esteem, overestimating herself beyond all reason, and entertaining a correspondingly low and contemptuous opinion of all surrounding objects and persons, even the most venerable and respectable ; nay, this opinion is the more depreciating the nobler and more worthy the objects of it.

The extent to which this perversion of mind is sometimes carried, and the ludicrous scenes to which it gives rise, are among the curiosities of the materia medica. This is a characteristic action of Platina, and cases of disease in which something analogous does not appear, are rarely cured by Platina.

Headache also is produced. This presents the characteristic feature of Platina. A squeezing, constricting pain, as if a board were pressed against the forehead, as if the head were compressed, screwed together, etc., and at the same time a sensation of numbness in the head. Like other Platina pains it begins gently, gradually increases in severity, and then gradually diminishes. Sometimes the cramping pain is in the temple, and then it is conjoined with similar pain in the zygoma and malar bone, constituting the temporo-facial neuralgia of Platina.

Besides these sensations, there is a variety of headache, consisting of a compression of the forehead and temples, as if everything would come out at the forehead; much worse from stooping forward, as well as from the slightest movement. It is preceded by anxiety, and by burning heat and redness of the face (a kind of “sick headache”).

There are painful crampings and compression in the circumorbital regions, and particularly in the supra-orbital, and in these the globe of the eye sometimes participates, feeling sore.

The peculiar compressing, cramping pain is felt in the malar bone and zygoma, with a kind of numbness and at the same time a burning pungent sensation, inducing one to rub or scratch the part.

This corresponds well to a certain form of facial neuralgia. It resembles most closely that of Verbascum thapsus.

It is distinguished from that of Arsenicum in this, that in the latter the pains are burning, and that they dart quickly, like red-hot needles, from place to place.

The pain of Verbascum is like a crushing with tongs. Platina has steady compression.

That of Spigelia is a shooting or piercing, and has its chief seat in the globe of the eye.

Chamomilla has aggravation by heat, and is further distinguished by the great impatience of pain exhibited by the patient. The neuralgia of Capsicum is provoked by external pressure, and is a fine line of pain coursing along the nerve. The constitutional symptoms still further aid us in distinguishing the indications for the several drugs which produce a form of prosopalgia.

Noises in the ears, of the greatest variety, are produced in abundance by Platina. There is little evidence of any organic lesion. (This might lead to the selection of Platina for what is called “nervous deafness.”)

There is little that is distinctive in the action of Platina on the digestive canal, except in so far as the stool is concerned.

This is retarded; the faeces are scanty, hard, evacuated with difficulty and almost dry. The evacuation requires great effort of the abdominal muscles ; and this is followed by a peculiar sensation of weakness in the abdomen, or by a shuddering throughout the body.

In the rectum there are occasional sharp stitches, compelling one to cry out. In this Platina resembles Ignatia.

The menses appear much too early and are very copious. Moreover, there are uterine haemorrhages, copious and often recurring. As in most uterine haemorrhages, the color and consistency of the blood furnish a valuable characteristic of the remedy. That of Platina is very dark, and, without being coagulated in distinct masses, it is thick and tarry. It is accompanied by pains in the sacrum; but these sacral pains are only felt as a sequel to pains which have first been felt in the groins, causing a dragging and pressing downward in the entire pelvis, and have then passed to the sacrum; and, furthermore, there is always in connection with this metrorrhagia of Platina an unnatural sensibility and irritability of the genital organs.

It may be remarked of the pains of Belladonna that they pass through the pelvis either in its interior-posterior or in its lateral axis; while the pains of Pulsatilla and Sepia pass around the pelvis from sacrum to groin, and are conjoined with scanty menstruation instead of profuse.

The labor-like pains of Chamomilla are very severe, and the metrorrhagia is in paroxysms, the blood being thin and rather light, with firm coagula.

The flow of Secale cornutum is thin and painless, so is that of China.

Crocus has a dark flow, but it is not attended by a bearing-down pain, but rather by a sensation as of a living body moving in the abdomen.

Millefolium and Sabina both produce a light-colored, florid uterine haemorrhage.

It is, thus, not difficult to distinguish the uterine flow of Platina from that of other drugs.

Attention should again be called to the hyper-sensitiveness and irritability of the genital organs. These symptoms, together with those of the sleep already mentioned, have led to the use of Platina in cases of nymphomania ; it has been of the greatest service, comparing with Hyoscyamus.

The organs of respiration are not especially affected.

In the trunk, we have first a weakness of the neck; the patient cannot hold up his head, and along with this, a kind of tensive numbness. There is pain in the spine and sacrum, as if they were broken, especially after a long walk or on bending backward.

In the extremities are felt cramp-like, pressing and compressing pains, such as are elsewhere experienced, conjoined with a kind of burning and numbness.


Of the uses of Platina in treating disease, but little remains to be said.

The mental symptoms denote the forms of hysteria in which it is useful. Whereas Ignatia corresponds to cases in which there is a disposition to grieve, to brood in melancholy sadness over sorrows, whether real or imaginary, Platina, on the other hand, belongs to a variety in which the mind rises in defiant and distorted superiority over the causes of vexation or sorrow; becomes, first, demonstratively apprehensive, then alternately demonstratively lachrymose and boisterously merry, and at last absurdly supercilious,—a genuine representation of Mrs. Lofty. But, whatever the frame of mind may be, it is always demonstrative, and this is the character of Platina; the personality of the patient is obtruded on one’s notice.

The character of Ignatia, on the other hand, is that it is undemonstrative ; the sufferings and perversions are not obtruded on one’s notice.

The peculiarities of the neuralgia and of the uterine haemorrhage, which are marked Platina symptoms, have already been pointed out.

It remains only to call attention to the stool, and to say that in the constipation which is often so troublesome a concomitant of pregnancy, Platina is often a valuable remedy, standing in the same rank with Sepia, Alumina and Plumbum.

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