Abstract: An attempt has been made to let the readers understand journey of the most notorious poison of old times – the Arsenic. To learn an unknown picture of the medicine through the rubrics and co- relate with what is already known through materia medica. Newer way to discover the wide range, diverse symptoms and to perceive the evolution of the medicine
Keywords: Arsenic album, complete repertory, materia medica
Abbreviations: Arsenic (ars.)
Materia medica is a Latin term which means it is a body providing with the knowledge of different medicines, commencing from their preparation, parts used for preparation and the symptoms that they produce providing the therapeutic and the constitutional approach.
The word ‘repertory’ is derived from the French word ‘repertoire’ which means store house. In homoeopathy it is an arranged index to the Homoeopathic Materia Medica (symptoms). The sources are collected from drug proving, toxicology and clinical experience. Repertory not only aids in minimizing the time for finding the right medicine but also helps us to find out the group of medicines, for the required symptoms. It comes to the rescue in the most of the difficult cases.
Arsenicum is a classic remedy known in its basic outlines to all homoeopaths. Originally proven by Hahnemann himself it has been exhaustively described in every Materia Medica since.
Kent also said – The anxiety that is found in Arsenic is intermingled with fear, with impulses, with suicidal inclinations, with sudden freaks and with mania1; it is agreed upon and verified by witnessing those in the patients around. But now the query arises why and what makes a person suffer from so much of anxiety which further can lead to anguish then restlessness, despair and then finally towards the maniacal and suicidal inclinations. Much interesting details to find out and fortunately we have tools to dig out the reasons as well – materia medicas along with repertories. Learning materia medica through repertorial approach is an unprejudiced way of learning. A mere cataloguing of symptoms can be misleading in actual prescribing. Forming an image by understanding of the essential dynamic process and stages of development of the remedy helps in grasping the essence more clearly.
Few citations from Complete Repertory (Complete Repertory has been used because it is a latest as well as an authentic repertory)-
A. Arsenic and anxiety 2–
- MIND – ANXIETY – midnight – after – one am. – two am., until
- MIND – ANXIETY – coryza, with- ARS.
- MIND – ANXIETY – expected of him, when anything is – ARS. lac-e.
- MIND – ANXIETY – swelling of – skin, dropsy, with – ARS.
- MIND – ANXIETY – syncope, with- ars.
- MIND – ANXIETY – waking, on – something under the bed making a noise, from- ars. bell.
- MIND – ANXIETY – continued, in anasarca – ARS.
- MIND – ANXIETY – health, about – despair of getting well – ARS.
- MIND – ANXIETY – hypochondriacal – originating out of upper part of chest, as if – ars.
- MIND – ANXIETY – murdered someone, as if he had – mania, in – ARS.
- MIND – ANXIETY – others, for – some persons, about- ars.
The above rubrics show the dominance of the medicine Arsenic, clearly proving the striking feature of it and under different sub rubrics which is the extra knowledge to gain here.
According to George Vithoulkas – In studying remedies, it is crucially important to have an appreciation of the stages of development of the pathology. As the illness penetrates deeper, the Arsenicum patient will manifest more anxiety, particularly ANXIETY ABOUT HEALTH, for he is afraid that he will die. At first, this anxiety may be most noticeable upon awakening in the morning, but it gradually occupies his attention throughout the day and night. In the rubric anxiety for others, Arsenicum does not have so much of a concern for others but rather a fear of losing someone close to him makes him anxious. It is a fear of loss of someone upon whom he is dependent. 3
B. Arsenic and anguish2
- MIND – ANGUISH – respiration, preventing -ars.
- MIND – ANGUISH – driving from place to place – restlessness, with – ACON. ARS-I. ARS. BISM.
- MIND – ANGUISH – tossing about, with – catarrh of chest, in- ARS.
- MIND – ANGUISH – inconsolable – ars.
- MIND – ANGUISH – indescribable – metritis, pericarditis, cholera asiatica, in – ARS.
The Arsenicum anxiety causes great anguish internally causing the tremendous restlessness known to this remedy. The anxiety about health in Arsenicum is really, deep down inside, a fear of dying. The idea of his own death causes intolerable anguish to the patient. During a disease he will not be consoled; his anguished fear and restlessness will continue, the prospect of death makes him more and more anguish.
C. Arsenic and restlessness2
- MIND – RESTLESSNESS, nervousness – midnight – after – three am. – after – ars.
- MIND – RESTLESSNESS, nervousness – midnight – after – dropsy, in – ars.
- MIND – RESTLESSNESS, nervousness – move – must constantly – one person to another, from – ars.
- MIND – RESTLESSNESS, nervousness – fatigue, with -ARS.
- MIND – RESTLESSNESS, nervousness – delivery, parturition – during – ACON. arn. ARS. camph. CHAM. chlf. chlol. CIMIC. kali-c. lyc. nux- m. RHUS-T.
- MIND – RESTLESSNESS, nervousness – anxious – pneumonia, in – ARS.
- MIND – RESTLESSNESS, nervousness – anxious – has to – walk rapidly – androc. ARG-N. ARS. cimic. lil-t. sul -ac. TARENT.
- MIND – RESTLESSNESS, nervousness – driving out of bed – wants to go from one bed to another – convulsions, during – ars.
As learnt above the Arsenic anxiety causes great anguish internally, and out of this arises the tremendous restlessness, the restlessness is not only a physical process but also a mental restlessness. It is an anguished attempt to reduce the deep-seated anxiety. He will move from place to place, from chair to chair, from bed to bed, going from person to person, constantly seeking reassurance and support. 3
D. Arsenic and lamenting2
- MIND – LAMENTING, bemoaning, wailing – anxiety in epigastrium, about – ars.
- MIND – LAMENTING, bemoaning, wailing – convulsions, during -ars.
- MIND – LAMENTING, bemoaning, wailing – loud, piercing – acon. ARS. Nux -v.
Here it is seen that after anxiety, anguish, pain, restlessness comes the lamenting and wailing during this sickness.
E. Arsenic and despair2
- MIND – DESPAIR – recovery, of – thinks it is useless to take medicine – ars.
- MIND – ANGER, irascibility – recovery, if one spoke of her complete – ARS.
The despair is the hopelessness that he patient feels during his sickness. Eventually, the anxiety and fear diminish as a deep state of depression sets in – a despair of recovery, a loss of interest in life as the illness progresses and eventually refuses the treatment to his illness in spite of being very sick.
The reason behind the above rubrics – Anxiety > anguish > restlessness > lamenting > despair is the core essence of ‘Insecurity’ of the Arsenic patient which leads to the most key manifestations of it. This insecurity is not a mere social dynamic, but more essentially a sense of being vulnerable and defenseless in a seemingly hostile universe. This insecurity dominates the Arsenicum personality from the earliest stages.
F. Arsenic and fears2
- MIND – FEAR – jumps – out of the window – ars.
- MIND – FEAR – accidents, of – friends, to – ars.
- MIND – FEAR – accidents, of – child, to – ars.
- MIND – FEAR – death, of – night – one am. – three am – ars.
- MIND – FEAR – death, of – respiratory problems, with – ars. corv-cor. lob.
- MIND – FEAR – death, of – starvation, from – ars.
- MIND – FEAR – disease, of – impending – child, to – ars.
- MIND – FEAR – friend – has met with an accident – ars. CAUST.
- MIND – FEAR – happen – something will – family, to, or to him – evening in bed – ars.
- MIND – FEAR – panic attacks, overpowering – night –
- ars. carneg- g.
The fears of Arsenic arise from the insecurity which leads to dependency. He wants someone to be actually near to him, the reason being insecurity concerning his health, his unaccountable fear of being alone creeps in. His anxiety is based on concern for himself. It is a fear of loss of someone upon whom he is dependent. He will have a constant need for company, particularly at night. The fears are raised tremendously while alone. The deep down fear is the fear of death.
G. The other core qualities of Arsenic is Possessiveness- of objects, money and especially of people. He is much more selfish, a “taker”. In a relationship, he will give support to another person, but primarily with the expectation of receiving support in return. It is in this sense that it is a selfish remedy. He is a miser and avarice.3
- MIND – DRINKS – more than she should – ars.
- MIND – GREED, cupidity – desires are greater than her need, her – ars.
- MIND – TALK, talking, talks – general – money, about – ars. sulph. Uran -met.
- MIND – WALKS more than is good for her – ars.
The above rubrics portray the habits of Ars. Patient where he desires more than he should reflecting his greed. Another set of rubrics displaying the reasons for being greedy and a miser are-
- MIND – FEAR – death, of – starvation, from – ars.
- MIND – DELUSIONS, imaginations – starve – family will – ars. calc- sil. SEP. staph.
The above fear and delusions and insecurities are clear directives leading to wanting all the things for themselves and presenting themselves as avarice and needy.
Next we can see the syphilis traits of Ars. Which summarise in the rubrics below-
H. Arsenic and Delusions2
- MIND – DELUSIONS, imaginations – hang, hanging – sees persons – ars.
- MIND – DELUSIONS, imaginations – hang, hanging – sees persons – beckoning him to cut them loose – ars.
- MIND – DELUSIONS, imaginations – hang, hanging – wants to hang himself – ARS.
- MIND – DELUSIONS, imaginations – man – hung himself, who -ars.
- Arsenic and suicidal tendency2
- Mind- suicidal disposition- fire to set oneself on- ARS, hep.
- Mind- suicidal disposition- Gas by- ars, nux vom
- Mind- suicidal disposition- Hanging by – Ars.
There is another rubric showing Arsenic homicide angle-
- MIND – KILL, desire to – barber wants to kill his customer – ARS. HEP.
The above discussion not only shows the depiction of the essence of Arsenic through rubrics but it also shows its miasmatic flow from Psora to sycosis to syphilis.
From the above stated rubrics under different heading clearly states us the utility of studying materia medica in an unprejudiced way. By this method, one surely gets to know some of the very peculiar, diverse symptoms of our medicines which will truly help in prescription in an unprejudiced manner.
- Kent, J.T. Lectures on homoeopathic materia medica. New Delhi. B Jain; 2002.
- Zandvoort V. Complete Repertory 4.5. Radar 10(software).
- Vithoulkas G. Essence of materia medica. New Delhi. B Jain; 2002.
About the authors –
- Dr Archana Gupta, P.G Scholar, M.D. Part- 1, Batch 2019- 2022, Department of Organon of Medicine, Bakson Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital
- Dr Aditi Srivastava, P.G Scholar, M.D. Part- 1, Batch 2019- 2022, Department of Materia Medica, Bakson Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital