(Largely reproduced from a Paper read by the author to the
A FEW years ago, I came to the startling conclusion that the only two people who really knew anything about Drosera were Samuel Hahnemann and myself; and I have had it in my mind ever since that I would like to communicate such knowledge as I possess to my colleagues the world over. I can only hope that I may be enabled to add something very real to our powers of fighting one formidable disease-TUBERCULOSIS. Of course, everybody knows all about Drosera! Has it not a place in every "Manual of Domestic Homoeopathic"-and a groove in every box of a dozen homoeopathic remedies? For Drosera is classical, and that for a hundred years, as a laryngeal remedy, and as our greatest remedy in whooping-cough. But when, through a happy accident, I began to realize what Drosera can do in tuberculous disease of BONE, of JOINT and of GLAND, I was amazed, and I started hunting homoeopathic literature for my warrant in so using it. Kent knew it not. Clarke knew it not. But so far as bone and joints were concerned, I found my justification in black type in the provings of Hahnemann. I wonder whey we are content to take most things at second or third hand?-why we so seldom go to the fountain head? How many homoeopaths of our day read Hahnemann's e"Materia Medica Pura"? But I may tell you that Hahnemann gives big black type not only to the laryngeal symptoms that have made Drosera famous among homoeopaths, but he gives the same black type to joints, to shoulder, to hip, and again and again to ankle; besides to the shafts of long bones; and pains in limbs, and in diverse muscles. Hahnemann also, in a foot-note, especially designates the use of Drosera in laryngeal phthisis. But it was only after I had shown some of my gland and bone Drosera cases to the Society in 1920, that the whole picture of Drosera began to dawn upon me. I was rather apologetic about my use of Drosera in gland cases; in fact, I think my "indications" were demanded of me. But after the meeting. I was referred to the "Cyclopaedia of Drug Pathogenesy" where the key to the whole position lay, in the experiments of Dr. Curie For Dr. Curie proved the homoeopathicity of Drosera to tuberculosis in its widest and most important aspect--that is, he showed that Drosera breaks down resistance to tubercle every time in animals supposed to be absolutely immune to that disease; and he also proved to his own satisfaction that Drosera was also able to raise resistance to tubercle, by curing early phthisis. And I saw with joy that, in Curie's experiments, GLANDS, especially abdominal and cervical glands, were tremendously affected. Ancient, non-homoeopathic medical literature, as Hahnemann points out, suggests the same fact-- viz. the opposite, or homoeopathic, action of Drosera. It was what Hahnemann had written together with his further researches in literature, that suggested to Curie to determine "the exact physiological action of the plant" and to see "how far it was connected with the Law of Similars". For, among the ancients, Drosera had been alternately extolled as a remedy for consumption, and abandoned-- as accelerating the disease. Hahnemann explains this. He says, several of the older physicians found this plant useful in some kinds of malignant cough, and in phthisical persons, thus confirming its (homoeopathic) medicinal power; but the moderns, having no knowledge of any other than large doses, knew not how to employ this uncommonly heroic plant without endangering the life of their patients; hence they rejected it altogether. And now a word about Drosera rotundifolia (Sundew), which Hahnemann describes as "one of the most powerful medicinal herbs in our zone". Drosera is, I believe, our only insectivorous plant. It sits on the ground in boggy places, with its circle of round leaves studded with glandular hairs, which exude drops of viscid, acrid juice, and which close down on, and digest, any hapless insects that dare to settle on the plant. Drosera has an evil reputation in regard to sheep fed on pastures where it abounds. They are said to acquire a very violent cough, and to waste away. Hahnemann, in footnote to this black type laryngeal symptoms of Drosera, points out "their likeness to some kinds of laryngeal phthisis, where Sundew is so peculiarly useful, provided there be no specific cachexy" In the sixteenth century, the Sundew had a reputation as an excellent remedy "to restore vital moisture in persons labouring under consumption"; but Gerarde states that "they have sooner perished who used the distilled water thereof, than those that abstained from it". Sundew had also a reputation for the cure of madness; and in the homoeopathic provings we find, restlessness (in black type), suspicion, delusions of persecution (in black type), and inclination to suicide by drowning. It was used also in coughs and diseases of the lungs, and here again it is purely homoeopathic. Also in chronic asthma--purely homoeopathic--and palpitation of the heart. Now a word about CURIE'S EXPERIMENTS. Curie chose cats for his experiments, the cat being, of all animals, least liable to tuberculosis. He says, "it is not certain that tubercles have ever been found in cats." His experiments were only three, "because of the difficulty of obtaining enough of this small plant for the long time these experiments require". "Because," as he says, "it is not a question of exciting functional symptoms, depending on the nervous system." "Tuberculization," he says, "is a work of time; and a drug capable of producing in its action on the organism the formation of tubercles, will require time in which to do so." * *While provings on animals are useless from Hahnemann's point of view in regard to any mental or delicate subjective symptoms so essential to their scientific employment, yet experiments, or accidental effects of drugs, long-continued, on animals may yield valuable suggestive information as to the organs and tissues especially affected by such drugs. It would not be legitimate to press the proving on a human being to the extent of provoking gross lesions; but it has been elsewhere also recorded that Drosera excites a very violent cough in sheep (fed on pastures where this plant abounds) and Curie's cats prove that it not only breaks down resistance to tubercle in different parts of the body, but leads to enormous swelling of cervical and other glands. The results of his three experiments were so conclusive that he felt bound to publish them. For he found that the prolonged use of Drosera induces tuberculization in animals; and he states that its power to cure tuberculization has never failed him. Drosera IN SPASMODIC COUGH, AND IN WHOOPING-COUGH. Hughes talks of the SPASMODIC COUGH of Drosera, and how "Hahnemann's wonted sagacity led him to perceive this, and to recommend the medicine in pertussis". But we all try to improve on Hahnemann--with consequent loss of power. Hahnemann states that a single dose of the 30th (the decillionth) potency, is quite sufficient for the cure of epidemic whooping-cough (according to the indications given by certain symptoms which he enumerates). "The cure takes place," he says," with certainty in from seven to nine days, under a non- medicinal diet. Care should be taken not to give a second dose (or any other medicine) immediately after the first dose, for that would not only prevent the good result, but do serious injury, as I know from experience." Hughes, who loves to go one better than Hahnemann, suggests "repeated doses of the 1st, or 1st decimal" (instead of Hahnemann's decillionth, or 30th) "to bring uncomplicated cases of whooping-cough to an end in two, three, or four weeks" (instead of Hahnemann's seven to nine days) "with mitigation of the severity of the attack meantime". But Hughes got called over the coals for this, and had to print a footnote to the effect that homoeopaths truer to Hahnemann in their practice "and recently confirmed the correctness of Hahnemann's observation" (British Journal, Vol. xxxvi, p. 268). I may say that I have been in the habit of curing whooping-cough with single doses of Drosera 30 or 200; and I saw a god deal of whooping-cough during the 1914-18 war in our Children's Out- patient Department. On a few occasions, one would repeat, after a fortnight, if any cough remained. I can only remember one failure, where I had to give another medicine. It was in a child of four, brought back a week later, no better--worse--and reeking of camphor, which she was wearing in a bag round her neck. This was not quite Hahnemann's "no other medicine"; in fact, Hahnemann says of Drosera," Camphor alleviates and antidotes its effects." The camphor was discarded and with the then indicated remedy, Carbo. veg., the child was practically well in a week. Here is a typical case. David S., an infant. (His father and mother were among our missionary students.) November 1st.--Ill. Temperature 102* F. Coughing and vomiting. Bry. 1m. November 2nd.--M.B. Better night. Less vomiting. November 3rd.--Less well, fits of coughing, with (?) a whoop. Dros. 1m, one dose. It was whooping-cough, and the baby was well within fourteen days. Hughes quotes Jousset as saying that the power of Drosera in spasmodic coughs is one of the best illustrations we have of the efficacy of infinitesimal doses. The definition of its sphere of action being, "Cough from tickling in larynx, with vomiting of food." Jousset quoted 107 cases, of which 101 were cured or relieved. Hahnemann's whooping-cough symptoms include:-- Cough, coming from quite deep down in the chest. Cough, the impulses of which follow one another so violently that he can hardly get his breath. Crawling in the larynx which provokes, coughing. Cough ending in vomiting, etc. But Hughes, who questions Hahnemann's single dose of the 30th potency, quarrels also with Curie's crude dosage. When Hughes tried to follow Curie with drop doses of the strong tincture of Drosera four times a day, he only succeeded "in setting up a most violent spasmodic cough in a phthisical patient, which subsided into the ordinary cough of phthisis when the medicine was discontinued." "Others have had similar experience", he says. No! Hahnemann's way of using "this uncommonly heroic drug" is undoubtedly the safest and most efficacious. But remember that Homoeopathy knows no specifics, and treats no named diseases per se. And if you think that Drosera will cure every case of whooping-cough that comes along, you will discover sooner or later that it is not so. In one epidemic it is recorded that Kali carb. was the remedy, and, once found, cured every case. The case that opened my eyes, accidentally, to the value of Drosera in SPINAL CARIES was one that was sent in to me by one of the Surgeons, when I was running our Children's Department during the War. It was a small boy of four. He had started a T. B. finger at twelve months, and spinal caries six months later. He had been treated by our Children's Physician and by one of our Surgeons, and was lying on a board with double Thomas splint and headpiece. He had improved, on the whole, under treatment, with fluctuations. He got very thin at one time, and there was threatening of lung trouble, and night sweats; but Tub., Phos., Calc., etc., had helped. The Surgeon now sent him in for whooping-cough: not a desirable occupation for one who was supposed to maintain a restful recumbent position! He got a dose of Dros. 200. When next seen, two months later, the mother was so enthusiastic as to the good effects of the last medicine on the child's health that I began to "sit up and take notice". Another two months and he was found to be "eating well; putting on flesh. Fat and flourishing". The change in the child was really amazing. The remedy was repeated at long intervals. When last seen some three years later, the note is, "Boy's spine is very good. He has not worn apparatus two years. Goes to school for the last six months." One remembers another case of spinal caries (cervical) in a boy of seven years. He started at four years old with a knee, then a finger, then his neck. He had been treated at other hospitals. He had also had fits, and ear discharge, and was brought in a spinal carriage; never allowed to sit up. He was a happy little fellow, with an extraordinary deformed neck, which he would move from side to side with alarming jerks. He got Drosera 200, and began to improve at once; and was soon able to turn his head easily, all ways. In two or three months, with the approval of one of our Surgeons, he was allowed to sit up, and he made steady progress, with very intermittent treatment, till a couple of years later it was reported to me that his parents (in spite of warning) "took him flying about the country in the side car of a motor cycle-- long journeys, sitting up, his neck being joggled all the time". He rapidly put on flesh, and one of my notes four years after treatment began reads, "Looking very well. Active. Good colour. Father takes him out all day in his van. Does not mind the jolts." And later, I was told that "nothing new in the way of his disease had occurred since first he came here four and a half years ago". Till then there had been a succession of T. B. manifestation. One more spinal case--scoliosis in a young woman, with extreme deformity: and --a T. B. history. She was suffering and sickly. She had had a recent fall, and a very gentle manipulation, done in fear and trembling, ended the pain in her back, and Drosera, for her family history, made something hardly recognizable of her. She comes for occasional help, and remains robust and healthy-looking. I am allowed to quote a case, showing the value of Drosera in TUBERCULOUS SINUSES. Boy, 13 1/2. For eight months there had been a swelling, constantly recurring in right forearm, followed by several areas left arm. When opened, pus oozed out, but the discharges would not cease. There was a bad T.B. history on both sides of family. The boy had three considerable areas of typical tuberculous-looking tissue, which alternately scabbed and broke down. Tub. and Silica helped. Then Dros. 200 was given and a month later the scars were found to be freely movable (this is a typical Dros. result,--the three drugs one has seen dealing successfully with scar tissue being Graph., Sil. and Drosera ; and, where tuberculous scars are concerned, the greatest of these is Drosera). Treatment was continued till, six months after the first dose, it was so extraordinarily cured that the note is, "Discoloration faint. In certain lights the skin looks almost normal." And--"the boy was well, fat and flourishing." Where Drosera helps, results are very soon seen, and invariably in renewed health and spirits, and in utterly changed appearance. I have seen this so often. The patient who needs Drosera and gets it, simply blooms. There is no other word for it. It was the relief of atrocious nightly pain in a diseases tibia, where a number of remedies had failed, that made me realize that Hahnemann was right when, in his Materia Medica Pura, under Drosera, he put "pain in the long bones" in big black type; and that those who followed him in compiling materia medicas, and transcribed these symptoms of his relating to bones and joints, were wrong. They have robbed us of many brilliant results, by reducing the type of what he stressed as so important. But unfortunately everyone since Hahnemann's day, who writes about, or attempts to practise homoeopathy, is always prepared (without the colossal studies, experiments, experience and knowledge of Hahnemann to go one better. I suggest that we all, forthwith, open our materia medicas, whether Clarke's Allen's or Boericke's at Drosera, and underline in red all the black type symptoms Hahnemann gives us, of what he calls, "one of the most powerful medicinal herbs in our zone". In Curie's first cat, killed after six weeks of Drosera, besides T.B. lesions of pleura, he says: "I found a very considerable enlargement of the mesenteric glands." In his second cat, killed after a year, there were also. T.B. abdominal lesions--spleen--Peyer's patches--and of the "shut vesicles of the large intestine". ALL THREE CATS HAD DIARRHOEA. And Curie says, of his cats:-- Drosera causes the production of tubercular elements in the lungs, and acts at the same time on the lymphatic system in general. And in his second cat, killed after a year of Drosera, there were ENORMOUS SUBMAXILLARY GLANDS. A girl of 19: "Gets attacks of diarrhoea, and cannot go to business." Had had "fourteen attacks" in twenty-four hours at Christmas, now (in May) gets about five stools a day--loose; at times, mucous. At Christmas passed blood : not now. Any pain is in left abdomen. Abdomen was boggy, and a nodule was felt on left side--a typical "T.B. abdomen." Some improvement followed with Sulph., Lil. tigr., and Tub. bov. And in August she got a dose of Drosera in high potency. The September note is: "Getting on splendidly. Takes food better." "Goes to business now!" Was seen at intervals for another year, when an interesting note is, "She never complained of diarrhoea or of indigestion after Drosera was first given." One has had a number of cases of cervical glands doing well under Drosera, some of them after long treatment here or elsewhere, and with a great deal of ugly scarring. What one invariably notices is that the cases that react to this drug, react rapidly, with astonishing improvement in general health and well-being. Where they do not rapidly react, I know that I have not got my remedy. But over and over again I find recorded in Drosera cases, and often on the very next visit "patient looks blooming". I do not think this expression occurs-- it certainly does not occur constantly, in my records in regard to any other remedy. In Drosera GLAND cases one notices, as I said, not only the diminution in the size of the gland, but that the old scars fade away, get free, and come to the surface; that discoloration goes, and that when a gland does break down under Drosera, it behaves in a very restrained manner, with a small opening, little discharge, and that it leaves practically nothing to mark what has taken place. Cases of GOITRE, also, and even EXOPHTHALMIC GOITRE have greatly benefited, or been cured with Drosera--cases with a T.B. family history. The most extraordinary case where this was so, was a boy of 14, sent on, as inoperable, by one of our surgeons. He had marked exophthalmos,* *Drosera is in the Repertory for the protrusion of eyes. with a pulse of 150, chains of lymphadenomatous glands in the neck: bluish indurated patches on both calves, studded with small ulcerations (typical "Bazin"). He improved under Tub. bov. during five months. Legs were nearly well, neck better, right eye prominent. Then Drosera 200. The effect was dramatic, a month later he had started work-- engineering. Glands were well; sores well; exophthalmos gone; pulse 80. After that there were fluctuations in pulse, but when last seen thirteen months after treatment began (he was then going abroad to live), he was feeling very well. "No glands," but still some prominence of right eye, and as pulse was again higher, he got his last dose of Drosera. As to Drosera in JOINTS occasional cases of rheumatoid arthritis clear up to an astonishing extent on Drosera. One remembers on old body of 76. She had been coming up some years before--unable to close her hands: wrists and knuckles especially affected, and ankles and feet, with swelling and deformity. She had an extremely bad T.B. family history. As she had previously improved under Tub. bov. and Causticum she came again to see if more could be done for her. Caust. helped again; and then, for "severe pain in right tibia; foot and leg unbearable", she got Drosera. In a month, "Very much better. Pain gone. Says that now her left hand "goes out flat", and shows it. Then a succession of visits to boast and rejoice. "Getting back her left wrist, hasn't had it for years!" (i.e. it is no longer rigid). Later, "can bend her feet, and bend her toes now; so she knows she is getting better". "Feels so well now; does her room, and her washing!" Later again, "Only comes to show her hands! Watches herself improving! Has movement in both wrists now. No pain at all, except in one finger." Says "she used only to be able to lift a cup between her two clenched hands." Now "stands on tip-toe". Hands look all gnarled and twisted, with the typical ulnar deflection: but they are pliable, and she is able to extend them flat. (Some Old School doctors who saw her at a clinical demonstration, were very interested in this case.) A curious fact one has noted is the number of patients who, after months of steady treatment with other remedies and with varying periods of amelioration and relapse, on getting Drosera, come back no more, or only after periods of months to years of good health. Drosera goes deep. Now please do not imagine that I want to suggest that Drosera will cure all cases of SINUS, GLAND, or BONE disease of tuberculous nature, or in persons of tubercular family history. It will not. But it will revolutionize quite a number of such cases; and where it acts, as I said, it acts with extraordinary rapidity, and the change in appearance, in general health, and in spirits, of the patient is remarkable. Again, please do not think that I imagine that we have got to the end of the possibilities of Drosera. For instance, all Curie's cats had diarrhoea, and the second cat was found to have hypertrophy of Peyer's patches. What about a difficult enteric, with a T. B. history? Drosera has an ancient reputation for asthma, and there again the provings are suggestive. One should certainly think of Drosera for asthma with T.B. history. Remember also the effect of Drosera on the spleen. In both the dissected cats the pleurae were especially attacked by tubercle. And I suggest that we should bear in mind, in regard to Drosera, its mental symptoms, especially in cases of paranoia. Drosera, as Hahnemann says, needs re-proving. It will never repertorize out on general symptoms. It is one of the drugs for which you have to go to materia medica, to see that it fits. In many cases I am afraid I had little in the way of indications, save the general one, that a drug that is capable of breaking down resistance to tubercle SHOULD, according to the Law of Similars, be also capable of raising resistance to tubercle-- which happens.
BLACK LETTER SYMPTOMS
Crawling in larynx, which provokes coughing, with sensation as if a soft body was located there, with fine shooting therein to right side of gullet. Deep down in fauces (And on soft palate) a rough, scraping sensation with dryness exciting short cough, with yellow slimy expectoration and hoarseness of voice, so that it is only with an effort that he can speak in a deep base tone: at the same time he feels an oppression of the chest, as if something there kept back the air when he coughed and spoke, so that the breath could not be expelled. Quivering in right shoulder, only when at rest. Paralytic pain in right hip-joint and thigh, and in ankle joint, but in the latter rather as if dislocated, when walking, when he must, limp on account of the pain. A single cutting stitch in the middle of the anterior aspect of left thigh, recurring from time to time. A fine cutting stitch in right calf, which comes when sitting and goes off on walking. Tearing pain in right ankle joint, as if it were dislocated, a only when walking. Inflexibility of ankle-joints--they are very stiff. A pain compounded of gnawing and shooting in the shafts of the bones of the arms, thighs and legs, particularly severe in the joints, with severe stitches in the joints, less felt when moving than when at rest. Painful shooting pressure in the muscles of the upper and lower extremities at the same time ,in every position. All the limbs are as if bruised and are also painful externally. Pain in all the limbs. He feels as if all were paralyzed. He is weak in the whole body, with sunken eyes and cheeks. Febrile rigor all over the body, with heat in the face, but icy cold hands, without thirst. Restlessness; when reading he could not stick long to one subject--he must always go to something else. He is dejected about the malice of others on all hands, and at the same time disheartened and concerned about the future. Cough, the paroxysms follow each other so violently that he is scarcely able to get his breath. Rough scraping, dry sensation deep on fauces, etc., etc. (Allen, of course, gives all Hahnemann's symptoms, but reduces them to italics, or ordinary type, except those that concern the respiratory organs.).
QUEER AND DISTINGUISHING SYMPTOMS.
Soreness of all the limbs on which he lies, as if the bed were too hard. (Arn., Pyrogen.) When at rest, shivering. When moving, no shivering. (Rev. of Nux.) Full of mistrust, as if he had to do with none but false people. Extremely uneasy, sad disposition. He imagined he was being deceived by spiteful, envious people. Silent and reserved, with anxiety. He always feared he was about to learn something disagreeable. Anxiety, as if his enemies would not leave him quite, envied and persecuted him. Anxiety, especially about 7 to 8 p.m., as if he were impelled to jump into the water to take his own life by drowning--he was not impelled to any other mode of death. Anxiety in solitude--he wished to have someone always near him. Very peevish ; a trifle puts him out of humour. An unimportant circumstance excited him so much that he was beside himself with rage. (And Hahnemann ends with the "reaction of the vital power-- secondary action--curative action--happy, steadfast disposition; he dreaded no evil because he was conscious of having acted honourably".) N.B.--It was Dr. Curie, father of the Radiums Curie, who brought Homoeopathy to this country.