Arsenicum Album – Arsenous Acid Anhydride
Arsenicum Album – Arsenous Acid Anhydride
The attenuations are prepared from the trituration of Arsenic trioxide, As2O3, MW: 197.8.
Arsenic is one of the best-known and most serious poisons, and therefore, by Re- verse action, is also frequently in demand as a homoeopathic polychrest. It is spe- cially indicated when, on account of retoxic impregnation, a humoral phase does not reach regressive vicariation, possibly displaying a tendency to progressive vicaria- tion.
A typical symptomatic indication for Arsenicum Album is the emotional mood of the patient, in whatever kind of phase. The Arsenicum patient displays – in both words and gestures – a certain hopelessness as to his condition. There is also a cer- tain anxiety that all medical efforts are in vain; this is an indication for Arsenicum.
One might find such a state, for example, in a heart-patient with oedema and seri- ous dyspnoea, who enters the consulting room having scarcely been able to drag himself up the stairs. If he now makes the statement that in his condition he is be- yond help, then in addition to an intravenous injection of Digitalis or some drug with similar action, it is absolutely necessary to give Arsenicum Album as well. In such cases the action of the indicated homoeopathic remedy can be observed in a particu- larly impressive way, for an injection of Arsenicum achieves an almost instanta- neous effect on such patients, which would not be seen in a comparable case had Digitalis alone been given. In such cases Arsenicum Album can take an intransigent Digitalis heart and make it amenable again.
One may find a similar hopelessness in poisoning with other substances which produce similar symptoms to those of Arsenic. So, for example, aluminium tartrate 30! poisoning can produce gastroenteritis similar to that of arsenic, characterised by incessant vomiting and exhausting diarrhoea. Arsenicum can then release the pa- tient from his lethargy and obviously hopeless situation. Hahnemann’s Law of Sim- ilars is classically demonstrated in such cases, in contrast to isotherapy. For arsenic poisoning is more rapidly amenable to an agent which creates similar symptoms to those of arsenic, e.g. aluminium tartrate, and vice versa.
Restlessness must be given as a further symptom of Arsenicum, often coupled with this hopeless anxiety. Such restlessness is also found, e.g., in renal colic, espe- cially when localised on the right. In right-sided renal colic, however, Arsenicum must be given in rather higher potencies, e.g. 30X or 200X. Even in such cases one may prescribe Arsenicum Album either i.v. or s.c. (kidney area) or orally.
Burning sensations are a further important symptom of Arsenicum, such as often occur in the course of catarrhs, e.g. in pharyngeal catarrh, when there is burning of the skin and itching with burning after scratching, or again, in fluent coryza when the nasal discharge is burning hot. Stomach complaints may be characterised by burning, or it may arise from discharges of any kind. When Arsenicum is indicated, the skin eruptions and other symptoms are mostly of a stubborn nature, or may even border on the phase of degeneration or exhibit development along malignant lines.
Arsenicum is also indicated in cases of physical weakness, exhaustion or a steep drop in energy, which may occur in the course of an acute gastroenteritis or loss of vital fluids, or insufficient nutrition, or if a patient is run down from overwork or hunger and needs to lie down. In such cases it is right not to wait too long before giv- ing Arsenicum, but to use it as early as possible, i.e. as soon as the symptoms begin. In episodes, feverish or otherwise, Arsenicum is always effective if there is a need of warmth, or if pains are better from warmth, usually with strong thirst. The pa- tients asks frequently for a drink but mostly takes only small sips, preferring slight-
ly warm drinks. In many cases drinking is closely followed by vomiting.
The lips of the Arsenicum patient are mostly dry, even parched and cracked, so that the patient tends to moisten them with the tongue.
The Arsenicum patient’s tongue is mostly dry and red, with raised papillae, and possibly showing a red imprint at the edges from the teeth. It can however also be chalky-white, similar to the tongue of Antimonium Crudum. In serious cases of ty- phus and sepsis it may be dry, brown and black, as one may find in Phosphorus and Sulphur patients. Aphthous or ulcerative stomatitis with gangrene may well indicate Arsenicum and not only Mercurius Solubilis or Mercurius Sublimatus Corrosivus. The four remedies: Phosphorus, Mercurius, Sulphur and Arsenicum have many sim- ilarities.
Arsenicum also has typical stomach pains, which are aggravated by the slightest food-intake, and which throw the patient into the greatest restlessness, tossing about. They may result from cold drinks or eating ice-cream. Foul-smelling stools, such as are found in typhus and septic conditions, may also indicate Arsenicum.
Where indicated, Arsenicum is also excellent in asthma. A particular characteristic is the occurrence of complaints at night, or their aggravation at midnight or around 1:00 a.m.
Boils and carbuncles indicate Arsenicum if they burn like fire. On the other hand, the patient’s skin may be cold and blue, or dry like parchment, coming off in great scales, such as one sees in psoriasis and similar illnesses. Arsenicum is suitable in gangrene, if black mummification occurs, burning like fire. Generally speaking, one needs to think of Arsenicum, as of Sulphur, in all retoxic impregnations, especially after the suppression of eczema and rashes, e.g. in asthma which vicariates with skin diseases, or in renal colics which occur after suppression of foot-sweat. In such cases Arsenicum will act on any tissue or organ.
Like Sulphur, Arsenicum is indicated after retoxic impregnations, possibly in al- ternation with Mercurius, Hepar Sulphuris and Phosphorus; also with other animal, vegetable or mineral polychrests (Lachesis, Baptisia, Arnica, Belladonna, Apis and others).
Arsenicum Album is used in a wide variety of preparations and potencies, being one of the most important remedies in Homoeopathy. If the emotional symptoms are more prominent, the higher potencies are to be preferred, and as shock-therapy these can also be given without hesitation in frequently repeated dosage.
The view that high potencies must only be given in infrequent doses and allowed to work for weeks is not supported by practice. In asthma, or in right-sided renal
colic, Arsenicum should be given in repeated doses (every 5–10 minutes until recov- ery).
Recently Arsenicum Album, even in its attenuated form, has been suspected by some doctors as a carcinogen and therefore refused. We cannot agree with this view, inasmuch as the potencies in regular homoeopathic use (4X upwards) are no longer capable of carcinogenic action, especially bearing in mind that the normal dose is only a few drops three times a day. Because of the reversal effect, the 6X, 12X, 30X, 200X and 1000X potencies, as highly attenuated antihomotoxics, have an expressly anticarcinogenic action. Repeatedly one can see this powerful antihomotoxic action of Arsenicum – theoretically entirely to be expected – brilliantly prevailing when properly indicated.
Thus Arsenicum Album is one of our most important antihomotoxic remedies, which may be combined without hesitation with numerous other polychrests and ho- moeopathic preparations, also as mixed injections. Arsenicum Album complements Arnica well, e.g. after over-exertion, in athletes etc.
A wealth of case-histories could be cited to illustrate the stature of Arsenicum Album as one of the greatest of all homoeopathic polychrests; may this short ac- count of it simply stimulate the reader to study it more closely and to use it in suit- able cases.
The main symptoms may be set out here once more:
- Emotional symptoms: timidity, hopelessness. The patient believes that he cannot be cured.
- Great restlessness and urge to be moving.
- Aggravation in the small hours, or around 1:00 a.m. Attacks of asthma, heart at- tacks, renal pain, itching, etc.
- Desire for warmth and warm drinks.
- Burning pains and burning itching, ameliorated by warm applications.
- Typhoid fevers.
- Great unquenchable thirst for warm or lukewarm drinks. Only drinks in small sips, so moistening lips and oral cavity.
- Tongue is dry, red with raised papillae, may be coated white, brown or black also.
- Gastroenteritis of the most violent kind with insatiable vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Aphthous stomatitis.
- Unbearable burning stomach-pains on taking the least food. Foul-smelling evacuations.
- Bronchial asthma, taking the place of skin diseases.
- Excoriating discharges, burning coryza, conjunctivitis with burning secretion, burning leucorrhoea.
- Serous exudations. Pleurisy. Pleural effusion. General pale swellings of the joints and inflammatory swelling with burning, lancinating pains. General anasarca. Skin waxy- or earthy-coloured, or peeling off like parchment; scaly skin in eczemas and psoriasis.
- Burning and decaying ulcerations with a blue, black or speckled underlying surface, as in ulcers of the lower leg. Burning carbuncles and boils. Gangrene with burning pains.
- Periodicity of symptoms.
- Vicariation between asthma and eczema, and other conditions.
The German Monograph-Preparation Commission for the Homoeopathic Field of Therapy has, under the Preparation Monograph for Acidum arsenicosum, published the following indication(s) in the German Bundesanzeiger (German Federal Gazette) for arsenicum album: inflammations of all degrees of severity in all tis- sues and organs; serious infections; diseases of attrition; benign and malignant pro- liferation of tissue; emotional discord or upset.