The remedy that I am going to discuss is Ambrosia artemisiaefolia.
Ambrosia is a common Rag-weed and it belongs to the compositeae family. Many years back I had read this particular remedy from homoeopathic recorder – there’s a very nice article by Dr. C.F. Millspaugh it was in the year 1889; he was the editor of Homoeopathic Recorder then. And very beautifully he mentions about the role of Ambrosia in a case of Hay Fever. At that time he had mentioned in his editorial that during the season of hay fever, some of the beautiful cures took place with the third centicimal potency of the remedy. After reading that particular article, I myself decided to study this particular remedy and find out that in what particular way this remedy can help. Most important characteristic symptom, which I was able to repeatedly confirm in my practice, is the itching of the inner canthi. Itching of the inner canthi becomes the keynote in the hay fever of Ambrosia. One will find this keynote even in Alumina and Magnesium muriaticum, but in Ambrosia this is characteristic. Then usually you will see there’s excessive itching in the eyelids, there’s excessive itching in the inner canthi. Now this hay fever will be usually in the month of August. So it will be summer especially in European countries, but in August here in Mumbai it will be monsoon. So, I have used this lot in monsoon even though damp aggravation is not mentioned in the proving of the remedy but I have used it very successfully for common colds that usually come in the month of August. Then, this hay fever is usually accompanied by wheezing, excessive amount of sneezing, irritation in larynx and this typical wheezing that you might see in Ambrosia usually comes after midnight and usually at 2 am. This particular information was given to me by George Vithoulkas. We know many other remedies like Arsenicum, Kali bichromicum and Rumex, where you have asthma at 2 am, but Dr. George Vithoulkas once shared this information that Ambrosia also has this midnight aggravation especially after 2 am. Another very important thing that I could see in my patients who needed Ambrosia was that these were basically the people who were thin, emaciated. They usually have problems of worms, so more indicated in people who have worms.
Another information, which I could gather from my experience is that it is one of the useful remedies in homoeopathy when there is any discharge oozing out from the umbilicus. Now, this is a very important information which I could read in the Materia Medica of Clarke and I had used this remedy in one case, of course another important remedy, the most common remedy that I use in my practice is Lycopodium and Calcerea phosphoricum where there is discharges from the umbilicus and where it is in the new born, it is Abrotanum, we all know, but this particular remedy also has this feature. In the chapter of mind there is an unique mental symptom which I have not confirmed so far, but it is only being given in materia medica and you can read this in the book by H.A. Roberts “Sensation as if” and in that book it is mentioned that the Ambrosia patients usually have a Delusion that they are falling. I have not been able to confirm this particular aspect in my practice so far, but I am sure if we can make use of this remedy more frequently sometimes we may get such uncommon mental symptoms.
Another useful remedy, which I could pick up with the help of Anshutze’s small book, is ‘Amygdalus persica’. Now, this comes from Rosaceae family and it is the peach tree and the bark of this tree is being used for particular condition. Now, here what is important thing that I could learn from this remedy? There is a very nice historical background to this remedy that the Dr. C.C. Adson who was living in Chicago, in 1890 in Newspaper called the ‘Chicago Medical Times’, he describes a very nice case where a person was vomiting continuously,whatever he eats or drinks he just keeps on vomiting and nothing could be retained in the stomach and as a result the person lost lot of weight. Many remedies were tried. In those days Ipecac. was used a lot, Hydrocyanic acid was used a lot. But nothing really helped the patient and every method of treatment present at that time was used without any effect. At that time a very old lady who knew something about herbs, suggested Dr. Adson to get the bark of the peach tree and give an infusion to the patient and within minutes after taking it the patient felt much better. And since then it is used very successfully. The description of this remedy comes in the book by T.F. Allen, if you have read it. But I got the information first in the book by Anshutze’s and then in much more detail in the book by T.F.Allen. The most characteristic symptom of this remedy is the Gastric irritation, irritation in the intestine. The tongue is elongated and pointed. The tip of the tongue is red, edges are red and there is a constant nausea and constant vomiting. This is very important. And this is more so even during pregnancy. There is no taste in mouth. I have used this remedy more in paediatric cases than in pregnant women where there is excessive gastric irritation sometimes due to Rota virus and the child keeps on throwing out everything, whatever is given to the child – water, milk, fluids etc. because the stomach is so irritable. That is why it is very useful in rotavirus type of problems in young children. At some stage sometimes you may have to differentiate this remedy from Ipecac. It also has this type of symptom – nausea and typical vomiting that you may think of. But as far as I know Ipecac. has a very clean tongue. So this is one of the ways to differentiate. Ipecac. also sometimes has a brown tongue; an earth brown tongue or sometimes absolutely a white tongue. Then another thing in Ipecac., which I know, is that nausea is usually accompanied by clean tongue. Then nausea in Ipecac. is very deadly, not a very simple nausea of Amygdalus. It is much more intense, much more constant and much more deadly and any rich food, pork, fruits, ice cream aggravates the nausea. And as far as vomiting of Ipecac. is considered, vomiting is very forcible, after coughing, after suppressed eruptions especially eczema in young children and immediately the child will go to sleep after vomiting. This is very important of Ipecac. like Aethusa and Antimoium tart. which is never there in Amygdalus. Coming back to Amygdalus, there is another condition where I have used this very nicely, and it is haemorrhage from the bladder. Now, I had one a case of the cancer of the bladder where there was bright red haemorrhage and metastasis to the liver, as a result there was nausea and vomiting and this small remedy Amygdalus persica in 30 potency, few doses was extremely helpful to me. This is how I had used this remedy and this knowledge of using Amygdalus in nausea and vomiting in paediatric cases came to me from the book Bulford. Bulford has written a good materia medica, his graphic drug pictures are wonderful. I have for the very first time got the information from Bulford that Amygdalus can be useful more in paediatric cases rather than nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. In fact he does not even mention anything about pregnancy in materia medica. So, one has to read many books to have a good knowledge of materia medica.
The third remedy is ‘Anagallis arvensis’. As you know it is a very famous flower known as Scarlet pimpernel and it’s a famous flower in Europe and this plant comes from Primulaceae. Even though lot of description of this remedy is given in Hering’s Guiding Symptoms; but I had an opportunity to read this remedy first from Anshutze’s and I am grateful to Anshutze for introducing me to this very interesting remedy.
But even if you could like to see the historical background of this there used to be a very nice homoeopathic journal know as ‘Medicine Advance or Medical Advance’. In 1891, there is a very nice proving by Dr. W.H.A. Fitz. Now, he was basically a member of Organon and Materia Medica Society of Philadelphia. Now, here he gave a very nice proving, but if one goes through these provings there are many references where the poisoning effect of this particular plant has been added which were observed in cases of horses and cows. So many symptoms were collected in the proving from the poisoning effect of this plant especially in horses where it produced inflammation of stomach, of rectum or whole GIT, and profuse urination. From the cow it was the cancer of mammae and the bloody sweat. These were the symptoms recorded from the animal poisoning. But otherwise it has also many good symptoms in provings. Now, let us see how we basically identify this particular remedy. I feel that if you want to study this remedy from the mind point of view, the characteristic symptom, which I remember is that these people are easily excited mentally and sexually also. And in the phase of being excited there is a feeling of exhilaration, strong activity of the mind and this will definitely disturb the sleep and the person may not have a good sleeping pattern and the phase of hilarity and exhilaration everything gives him pleasure. In fact the Greek name of this remedy Anagallis means to ‘laugh out’. Even if you study this remedy from the repertory you will see the presence of this remedy in the rubric ‘Cheerful’, ‘Excitement’, ‘Exhilaration’, ‘Hysteria’. Very important you will find this under the rubric ‘Mental power increased’, ‘Mirth’, ‘Pleasure’ and ‘Ideas abundant’ with strong clearness of mind. So, this is very important aspect. Of course I did not know this till very recently. I started understanding this remedy even from the repertory but initially I had no knowledge of this remedy in this particular direction.
Now, the first case where I used this remedy very successfully was in the eruptions on the palms with excessive itching and the itching was so bad that the person used to rub the palm against the edge of the hard wooden table or he would take a paper cutter and try to scratch it vigorously and that would only relieve the itching. This is what I saw in the remedy Anagallis. Because Anagallis has got this particular symptom everywhere the itching has to be better. The eruption can be dry or you can find some vesicles but one thing is very important that one eruption is healing and one is coming and this is so characteristic of the disease condition Pompholyx and that’s why infact Anacardium becomes a very important remedy for me to use in such disease condition -Pompholyx, later on, but this is very characteristic – one vesicle comes and one is healing and goes away. This you will only find in the remedy Anagallis. The vesicles are little watery but remember with excessive itching. These can be in between the fingers, on palm. I have used this remedy in another case of psoriasis. Remember in psoriasis of first finger, Anagallis is a specific remedy along with teucrium. Very useful in such a situation. The itching can be on the back of the palm. The itching is always better by rubbing and it has to be very hard. Rubbing is also characteristic of another remedy Anacardium. So this was the first situation where I could use this remedy successfully. The second condition where I have used it is in the bladder problem. Of course I have had only one or two cases in my career, but this is basically where there is di charge from the bladder especially gonorrhoea. The characteristic thing, which I have observed is the forked urine. Another very important thing is that there is excessive pain in the urethra as soon as there is an erection. So this was another very characteristic thing in the patient where I have to use this remedy. The person has to wait a lot or press a long time before he starts micturating, as you know this symptom comes under Causticum and Hepar sulphuricum. And there is also agglutination of the meatus. When there is such agglutination of the meatus we know that the remedy is Cannabis sativaand Medorrhinum.
Another condition where this remedy is important is cancer of the breast and the characteristic concomitant here is itching of the nipples. In Clarke once I had read a symptom that the ‘headache is better by drinking coffee’, but I have yet not been able to prove that phenomena, so I am not very sure about it. But as far as I know that in Allen’s the symptoms ‘headache better by coffee’ – Glonoine, China are mentioned clearly. I did not find any point in conforming this point from Anshutze’s. In fact Anshutze has given a very large description of this remedy and he is talking more of rheumatic pain, neuralgic pain, drawing pain, tearing pain and tingling sensation, but I had never got a chance to clear this particular thing though I had this in my mind. May be in the eyes, this is one of the remedies where you can look for its good uses especially the cataract, because even in the vision Anagallis has a good symptom ‘The colour is green hallo around light’, like the remedy Osmium. ‘Vision, glittering objects, candle light in’ is again a very important symptom of Anagallis. It is the only remedy under this rubric. This symptom comes from Hering and may be we can use this remedy in future for cataract.