ACTAEA RACEMOSA (BLACK COHOSH)This remedy has been only meagerly proved, yet there are a few useful points in it. From its proving we can perceive that it is similar to diseased states in the human family, and especially in women, namely, hysterical and rheumatic conditions. The patient is always chilly, easily affected by cold, sensitive to cold and damp weather, which rouses the rheumatic state and develops a state of rheumatism not only in the muscles and joints all over the body, but also along the course of nerves. In the general nervous disturbance there is a lack of will balance, or great disturbance in the voluntary system, which is the underlying feature of hysteria, the symptoms are intermingled with rheumatism. With the pains we have soreness all over the body. Trembling, numbness, jerking of muscles. Inability to exercise the will over the muscles of the body, turmoil in the voluntary system, with stiffness.
Tendency to take cold and thereby she takes on sensitiveness in the glands and larger organs, such as the liver and uterus. Complaints in these organs come on from cold damp weather (Dulcamara) and from being chilled. The patient is sensitive to cold in all parts except the head, and is aggravated from becoming cold both in parts of the body and in general. The headaches, however, are better in the open air and from cold, which is an exception and a particular, for the general feature is aggravation from cold.
There is a terrible mental state that alternates with physical states. It is an overwhelming sadness or gloominess, she is bowed down with sorrow. Sits and mopes in great sadness, like Psorinum and Pulsatilla. This may pass off instantly, or be brought on and aggravated from motion, from fear, from excitement, from taking cold. Very commonly there is muscular soreness, a bruised feeling all over, with drawing and jerking. This will let up very suddenly and leave a nervous, hysterical girl in a state of sadness, and she will sit and say nothing. When questioned perhaps she will break into tears or express in various ways the overwhelming sadness. With the headache there is marked sadness. Changeable moods. The physical and the mental are all the time changing. Other symptoms alternate and change. The jerking has made physicians see the resemblance to chorea in these hysterio-rheumatic constitutions. The rheumatism will change in a day into chorea, and again the choreic movements will keep on with the soreness throughout the muscles of the body. The jerking and soreness and numbness often keep on together.
There are certain features about the chorea that should be noted. Jerking of the muscles when in a state of emotion or from becoming chilled. If any part of the body is pressed upon jerking of the muscles of that part will take place. One of these nervous, rheumatic, hysterical subjects may not have chorea constantly, but as soon as she retires at night the whole of the side lain on will commence to jerk and prevent her from going to sleep. If she turns on the back the muscles of the back and shoulders will jerk and prevent sleep. She turns over on the other side, but after a little while the muscles pressed on commence to jerk. All this time she has become so restless and nervous that she is driven to distraction. The mind is full of all sorts of imaginations, and the body is full of all sorts of uneasiness, because she can find no place to rest upon. Sometimes the muscles are so sore that they cannot be lain upon for any length of time; sometimes it is a numbness, sometimes a jerking. These things are queer, but they belong to the patient, affecting not one part, but the whole economy.
Full of fear, anguish and restlessness. Fear of death, excitement, suspicious. "Will not even take the medicine because there is something wrong about it." It has a mania such as occurs in nervous, hysterical women, and it has cured puerperal mania. Puerperal mania from taking cold during or soon after confinement. The remedy belongs especially to women, because its symptoms are so commonly associated with the affections of women. Mental states following the disappearance of rheumatism is a strong feature. The rheumatism gets better, but the mental state becomes worse. Sometimes the rheumatism disappears in short order and the mind is not disturbed, but then it is because a diarrhoea - has come on, with great soreness and aching in the bowels, or because a flow from the uterus has given relief. There must be some relief or a disturbance will take place like Abrotanum. Some flow must be established, and hence the menstrual flow or diarrhoea gives relief; otherwise the mind takes on trouble, the patient becomes gloomy, or has a low form of mental excitement. One of the symptoms is quite descriptive of this sadness I have referred to: "Sensation as if a black cloud had settled all over her," while at the same time it weighed like "lead upon the head." This is entirely figurative. It can all be expressed in the word "sadness." We will find "melancholy," "gloominess," "low spirited," etc., running all through our text, but the word "sadness" is just as broad as any of them.
The headaches are rheumatic. "Sore, bruised feeling all over the head. Bruised sensation in the occiput. Sore, bruised feeling in the top of the head, as if the top of the head would fly off." "As if cold air was blowing upon the brain." Yet most of these headaches are better by being in the cold air. "Headache brought on from catching cold, from the weather changes, cold, damp weather." There are many headaches. Pressing headache. Many of the headaches are intense, and described as if a bolt were extending down into the back of the neck. Soreness in the back of the neck. Pain in the back of the neck. Hysterical girls; they have much pain in the back of the neck. With the headache the eyeballs are very sore, "painful to turn in any direction." "Pain in the eyes, bruised pain in the head."
"Soreness in the abdomen; sore and bruised. Alternate diarrhoea and constipation. Alternation of diarrhoea and physical complaints."
We pass now to the female genitalia, which form a center for a great deal of trouble in the remedy. A routine saying about Actaea is that it makes confinement easy. That is not a legitimate saying concerning any remedy, and such expressions encourage routine practice. It is true that when this remedy has been given to pregnant women in accordance with its symptoms it has proved capable of making confinement easy. But the way it has been given has been the routine practice of giving it in the tincture or in the 2d or 3d, until the patient was under its influence even when it was not indicated, as it was not similar to the case. But the homoeopathic physician never practices in this way. A remedy fits a general condition when the symptoms of that general condition are found in the remedy. Remember that it does so because all the symptoms agree.
"Pain in the uterine region, darting from side to side. Bearing down and pressing out." These bearing down sensations, taken with all the other states that relate to the patient in general, show that it is a very useful remedy in prolapsus of the uterus. It has the relaxation of the parts. Do not suppose that our remedies are not sufficient to cure these conditions, when the symptoms agree. It is true that remedies will cure prolapsus when the symptoms agree, and at no other time. If it fits the patient in general, these bearing down sensations will go away, the patient will be made comfortable, and an examination will finally show that the parts arc in normal condition. You cannot prescribe for the prolapsus; you must prescribe for the woman. You cannot prescribe for one symptom, because there are probably fifty remedies that have that symptom.
There are menstrual disorders in these hysterical rheumatic constitutions. Irregularity of the menstrual flow. It may be copious, suppressed or scanty. Severe pain all through the flow. The more the flow the greater the pain. That is very peculiar. Generally the flow will relieve pain, but with this remedy the pain is during the flow. Generally the most severe and most painful attack is at the beginning of the flow, and with some women again just after the flow has ceased. Each woman is a law unto herself. In this remedy the sufferings are during the menstrual flow as a rule. The most severe mental symptoms, the most severe rheumatic symptoms, the most extreme jerking and cramping of the limbs and sleeplessness are during the menstrual flow. During menses, epileptic spasms. All sorts of sufferings in the nerves. Soreness along the course of the nerves, soreness in the muscles or joints during the flow. Increase of mental symptoms. Cold and chilly, must be wrapped up. "Rheumatism. Dysmenorrhoea." "Soreness in the uterus and ovarian region. Lame, bruised feeling all over; painful menstruation," and someone has named that rheumatic dysmenorrhoea, not a bad name.
Many symptoms during pregnancy. It cures all sorts of conditions in this kind of constitution, these nervous, rheumatic, fidgety women, with jerking in the muscles. So markedly do her troubles alternate with each other that alternation is in the nature of her case. You will commonly find that all the rest of her troubles have passed away, and that now nausea has come on. In all the years past she has had a hysterical constitution, but now when she is pregnant she has nausea all the time. You will find when one set of symptoms becomes extremely severe others have temporarily subsided, and so they change about like Pulsatilla. But the symptoms have to be taken collectively to get at the image of the patient. A woman will come to you with one group of symptoms today and may come back to you with an entirely different group in a couple of weeks. These are very troublesome cases to prescribe for, and you have sometimes to take the symptoms a dozen times and put them all together as if she had felt them all in one day, and so make your prescription. A hysterical patient is difficult to manage because of this changing of symptoms, and also because she has a tendency to deceive the doctor.
"Shivering in the first stage of labor. Hysterical manifestations through labor." Pains have all ceased or are irregular, so that they do no good. No dilatation has taken place. But when the regular pains come on we have some important symptoms. A pain conies on and it seems to be about to finish satisfactorily; it has been regular and prolonged until about two-thirds through, and all at once she screams out and grasps her hip the pain has left the uterus and gone to the hip, causing a cramp in the hip, and she has to be rubbed and turned over. This medicine will regulate the pains, and when the next pain comes it will hold on to the end. So impressionable is this woman during confinement that if she is subjected to any emotion such as having an emotional story told in the room or if anything excitable occurs, the pain will stop. If she has passed through the labor and the lochia has been established, from such a cause the lochia will stop, as if she had taken cold, and she will have cramps and troublesome after-pains, the milk will be suppressed, she will feel sore and bruised all over, and have fever. This remedy should be compared with Caulophyllum, which has the following symptoms: Weakness in the reproductive system of the woman. From weakness she is sterile, or she aborts in the early months of gestation. During parturition the contractions of the uterus are too feeble to expel the contents, and they are only tormenting. Labor-like pains during menstruation with drawing pains in the thighs and legs, and even the feet and toes. Uterine haemmorrhage from inertia of the uterus. Relaxation of muscles and ligaments. Heaviness, and even prolapsus. Subinvolution. Excoriating leucorrhoea. Menses too soon or too late. She is sensitive to cold and wants warm clothing-quite unlike Pulsatilla. She is hysterical, like Ignatia. She is fretful and apprehensive. She is rheumatic, like Actaea, only the small joints are most likely to be affected. Later she suffers from after-pains, and they are felt in the inguinal region. Rheumatic stiffness of the back and very sensitive spine. She is sleepless, restless and withal very excitable. This remedy has cured chorea at puberty when menstruation was late.
You need not be surprised that such an emotional subject has a fluttering, quick pulse, and irregular action of the heart, but many of the most marked hysterical features are present without any disturbances whatever in the action of the heart. "A feeling in the region of the heart as if the heart were sore, and as if it were enlarged."
"Back of head and neck sore." The head is drawn back from contraction of the muscles at the nape. Violent aching down the back. Rheumatism in the back. Impossible to lie upon the back because of the contraction of the muscles of the back. Impossible to lie upon the side of the body because of the contraction and jerking of the muscles. "Numbness of the limbs. Trembling. Soreness."
The symptoms of the nerves are simply a reiteration of what I have said. "Hysterical spasms. Convulsions. Trembling of the legs; hardly able to walk." The numbness is such as is associated: with paralysis. Paralytic weakness.
The best effects have resulted from the 30th, 200th, i000th and still higher potencies, and from the use of medicine in single doses.
It is similar in some of its conditions to the Blue Cohos