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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In poisoning by the. bite of the Tarentula, the symptoms are strikingly similar to those of the Ophidia. The bitten part becomes swollen and discolored, the lymphatic glands are enlarged. By conveyance of the poison to the neck, the cellular tissue there is affected, giving rise to a swelling of a dark red or purplish hue. Choking seems imminent when epistaxis with discharge of dark clots appears and relieves the symptoms. Evidence of cerebral congestion is given by the violently throbbing carotid arteries. But with all these symptoms, there is a pale, earthy hue to the face. The fauces appear swollen and purplish, and there is a difficulty of swallowing which is of a paralytic origin. The patient has burning thirst for large draughts of water. The stools are dark and foetid, and the urine scanty and voided with difficulty. Thus far, there is but little to aid us in distinguishing the condition from a Lachesis case. But there are added other symptoms, nervous phenomena which typify the drug. Nervous symptoms are present in all the spider poisons, but Tarentula applies, more than other members of the group, to hysteria. There is marked spinal irritation, and what I have found to be very characteristic is great excitability of the terminations of the nerves. The patient keeps the hands in constant motion, trying to work off this over-excitability. The playing of a lively piece of music excites her, and starts her to acting like one crazy. When there are no observers, she has no hysterical attacks. As soon as attention is directed to her, she begins to twitch, etc. When she has headache, it is better from boring the head into the pillow. Rubbing seems to relieve.
Tarentula seems to act on the uterus and ovaries. It is palliative in enlargement of these organs. There is pain in the uterine region, associated with constrictive headache. There is also burning pain in the hypogastrium and hips, with sensation as of a great weight in the pelvis. The menses are profuse, and are followed by pruritus vulvae. The patient feels sore and bruised all over, particularly when moving about. She longs for. sleep, but is so nervous that she cannot sleep.
Now let us study for a moment the concordant remedies of Tarentula; and first KALI BROMATUM. We have no remedy in the materia medica which has so many reflex symptoms as Kali bromatum. Any little irritation, such as dentition or indigestion in children, may bring on convulsions. The symptom, however, to which I wish to attract particular attention is peripheral irritation, with relief from motion or using the part affected.
CROCUS deserves mention because of the hysterical state it is capable of exciting, together with choreic symptoms. It causes jumping, dancing, laughing, desire to kiss everybody, contractions of single groups of muscles. She is angry, and then suddenly repents ; or, angry and talkative, laughing alternately. As in Tarentula, music affects her. Hearing one sing, she begins involuntarily to join in ; but there is not the subsequent relief from music which is noticed in the spider-poison.
ACTEA RACEMOSA resembles the spiders in producing sleeplessness, restlessness, trembling and fear of death ; and too, these evidences of nervousness are often, in the Actea, as in Tarentula, reflex from uterine affections. The former has : after going to bed, jerking, commencing on the side on which she is lying, compelling change of position, nervous shuddering and nervous chills. Mentally the two drugs differ. Actea causes nervousness, she feels as if the top of the head would fly off; delirium with jumping from subject to subject; sees strange objects; great apprehensiveness, as a concomitant of uterine irritation; pains darting into the eye-ball, through to the occiput. Feels grieved, troubled, with sighing ; next day, tremulous joy, mirth, and playfulness.
The head symptom of Actea is not quite the same as that of THERIDION, under which remedy, the patient’s head feels as if she could lift it off.
HYOSCYAMUS is useful in. well-marked local jerkings and twitchings of sets of muscles. The patient is sleepless and nervous; or sobs and cries in sleep. The head falls from side to side. Talkativeness; she laughs at everything in a silly manner. Stuttering. Mental excitement ; she is nervous, suspicious, troublesome, but not maniacal.
CAUSTICUM bears some resemblance in causing restless moving at night; she can find no quiet position. Intolerable uneasiness in the limbs in the evening. Anxiety and timidity in the evening. Trembling. Uneasy at night; she awakes from a short sleep, anxious, scarcely allowing her to remain in one place ten minutes; she is obliged to turn her head involuntarily from one side to the other, until, exhausted, she falls asleep. During sleep, she has many motions with her arms and legs. She jerks, mostly the right side of the body. Convulsive motions of mouth and eyes, with sleeplessness and restlessness, after repelled eruptions. It is especially suited to rheumatic patients, or to those who also suffer from paretic affections, espeeially of one side of the face or of the tongue; the mouth, in consequence, is distorted.
BELLADONNA produces a bodily inquietude, indicating it in chorea. The patient is obliged to move to and fro, especially to move the hands and feet; cannot stay long in any position. The predominant jerking is backwards, although this may alternate with a forward bending. There is a boring of the head in the pillow, not mere rubbing against the pillow, as in Tarentula. Belladonna also has constrictions, hyperaesthesia, mania, with laughing, dancing, wild crying, etc. But it is distinguished by the intensity of its symptoms; there are violent congestions, throbbing of the carotids, wild look, dilated pupils and injected eyes.
In hysterical states IGNATIA, though agreeing in many respects with Tarentula, has a well-defined individuality of its own. The nervous system is over-impressionable, incoordinate in function and contradictory in action. The patient is extremely susceptible to emotional influences. Fear and grief affect her seriously ; the least contradiction offends; she is readily chagrined, and so is often’ reduced to grief and tears by the slightest causes. Her mental states, however, are not usually exhibited in violence and rage. On the contrary, she nurses her troubles in seclusion and silence, and broods over them until they prey upon her whole system. She thus grows more and more nervous, and, at the same time, more and more weakened. The heart beats nervously, with variable pulse; she frequently sighs heavily and deeply ; suffers from goneness at the stomach, with qualmishness and flat taste in the mouth ; feeling of a lump in the throat, swelling sympathetically with the intensity of her mental disturbances. Sleeplessness or violent startings of the limbs,. Grief, fright, disappointed love or some other similar causes, may develop hysterical or choreic paroxysms. The moods change with wonderful rapidity ; now she laughs and jokes, when, quickly, she bursts into tears. Her manner becomes hurried, so that everything is performed hastily, and hence imperfectly and awkwardly. She is afflicted with intense headaches. These are characterized by a predominance of pressure ; the pain goes to the eye, which feels as if pressed out; or, to the root of the nose; or again, it is confined to one small spot, like a nail pressing ; hence the name, clavus hystericus. At the height of the paroxysm, she becomes restless and chilly, and often describes a peculiar perversion of vision ; she sees fiery zigzags when looking out of the line of vision (see THERIDION). Finally, a profuse flow of colorless urine terminates the attack.
While, then, both remedies induce sadness, indifference, profound melancholy and hysterical states, only Ignatia has the introverted state of mind; only Tarentula, the cunning attempts to feign paroxysms and wild dancing.
PLATINA should not be confounded with the spider-poisons here, because it develops a different form of hysteria. True, there are present deranged coordination of functions, anxiety, trembling, fear of death, which seems to the patient to be imminent; also alternation of depression with gayety and laughter ; sexual excitement and convulsions. But the patient assumes a HAUTEUR, a self-exaltation, which is foreign to the other drugs considered. Her mental disturbances develop into a condition of self-esteem during which she looks disdainfully down on all around her.
Her paroxysms of laughter are not only loud and boisterous but ill-timed, coming on even under circumstances of a sad nature. The head aches are of constrictive character, as in Tarentula; but there is, in addition, a squeezing, cramplike pain, with numbness, and the pains gradually increase and as gradually decrease.
Indurated uterus belongs to the symptoms of both.
PALLADIUM, is readily distinguished by its unique mental phenomena. The patient is not haughty, but she is irritable, and is, unfortunately, given to strong and violent language. Music, society, or animated conversation excites her, and produces pains in the right ovary; the following day she feels correspondingly used up. Her egotism is displayed in a fondness for the good opinion of others, hence she is continually getting “slighted”. The uterine symptoms are characterized by a weakness, as if the womb were sinking; empty feeling in the groins, as if eviscerated.
MOSCHUS repeats the scolding of Palladium; but the patient keeps it up until her lips turn blue, her eyes’ stare, and she falls in a swoon to the floor. She suffers from sudden suffocation from closure of the glottis or cramp of the chest; palpitation. She also has faint spells, tremulousness of the whole body; coldness of the body, hysterical headache, with fainting spells, copious pale urine; fear of death, like Platina and Tarentula, but with pale face and fainting ; she talks only of approaching death. Vertigo, nausea, dim vision. Vertigo, objects turn in a circle. (Musk relieves when Theridion produces vertigo ; worse when eyes were closed.) Headache, as from a weight pressing here or there on the head.
An oft-observed symptom with the nervous is fidgetiness of the legs, at times preventing sleep. In addition to Tarentula, the following remedies may be studied in this relation.
ZINE induces moving of the feet for hours after retiring, even continuing in sleep.
ASAFOETIDA has several times relieved restlessness, as has also AMMONIUM CARB. ; ACTEA RAC. has already been mentioned.
ARSENIC, so useful in stubborn cases of chorea, has the following: Uneasiness in the legs; has to change the position of his feet all the time, or to walk about for relief.
MEPHITIS has relieved uneasiness in the legs, as if they would become insensible.
STICTA PULMONARIA has produced a sensation as though the legs were floating in the air. One prover became so lively, that she lay down on a lounge and began to kick, exclaiming that she felt as if she wanted to fly away. This excitability reminds us of the desire which Tarentula causes to jump. (Compare STRAMONIUM, AGARICUS, CICUTA, NATRUM MUR., which latter has : jumping high up, regardless of near objects. HYOSCYAMUS and CROCUS.)
ASARUM induces a feeling as if the body was hovering in the air. It also causes shivering and coldness from any emotion. But it offers no essential similarities with Tarentula, though it does offer some slight resemblance to Theridion. For it so affects the nerves that, like the latter, noises become intolerable. Still the distinction is evident. Asarum is so sensitive, that on merely thinking of the scratching of silk, and, nervous-like, the patient is continually impelled to this thought, a thrill runs through her.
Although I have tabulated several drugs as bearing symptomatic resemblance to the Spiders, only the following hold any intimate relationship :
Ignatia, Moschus, Actea rac, Agaricus, Stramonium, Belladonna, Magnesia Mur. (the latter in uterine cramps).