Caladium is a wonderful remedy; perhaps some of you have read it endeavoring to understand it; it is a difficult medicine to understand, because it is quite evident from the provings that the prover did not understand how to describe and report symptoms; did not know how to tell his sensations because they were so strange; he could not relate his mental state.
An individual puts his mind to bear upon something Which seems to have taken place during the day, but he is not quite sure whether it took place or not; he thinks the matter over, and yet he cannot be really sure whether it took place or not, until he actually goes and puts his hands upon the object thought about; proves to himself by actual contact and observation that his vague impression was so, that it was true, then he goes away and again he is undecided as to whether it was so or not. This relates to things that actually happened. “Very forgetful, he cannot remember,” etc.
This led to the use of Caladium for a good many different kinds of mental affections, loss of memory where there is that vague state of mind. It might be bordering upon imbecility, it might be the borderland of insanity. All day long he finds himself looking into the things that should have been done; they have simply escaped his mind; he has forgotten them. So the mind is worn through in places. A state of absent-mindedness. It may come on in an acute state, with unconsciousness. There is a good deal of congestion o f the brain, more or less excitement, but more important is prostration of the mind, weakness of the mind; feeble-minded; inability to perform intellectual work, it is impossible. He cannot think; the more thought he puts upon a thing the more fatigue he has and the further away that thing seems to be; the more he attempts it the less concentrated is the mind upon a subject. It is not strange, then, that the provers themselves were unable to put these ideas into speech so as to give us an intelligent idea of the proving. It is only by reading between the lines, using the remedy and studying it that we can straighten out this tangled skein. “Very forgetful, absentminded.” There is in acute states delirium, excitement of mind, unconsciousness, stupefaction. As the febrile state is continued, we have this mental state. This remedy is useful in fevers that are continued.
One of the most important things to decide when we are going into the mental state of a remedy is whether we shall use this remedy in hysteria, in the delirium of the various phases of fever, or in insanity, and to ascertain this we turn to that part of the proving which gives us the pace of the remedy. If we want to understand the delirium of Belladonna and Bryonia to see which one would be suitable in a certain case, we turn to the febrile action of the remedy and see what the nature of that is; the pace tells us largely what find of delirium, if we do not know from the delirium itself. So we will see that in Belladonna there is no continued fever, and as a remedy must, in its very nature, be adapted to the very nature of the disease, it would be useless to follow the many injunctions that are written in our books telling us to give Belladonna in the acute form of delirium in typhoid fever; but Bryonia has just that condition; hence we will see that Bryonia is useful in such cases which present symptoms similar to it, because the pace of the disease is similar to the pace of Bryonia, which has continued fever. Belladonna has intermittent and remittent fever, particularly remittent, and hence the acute delirium of Belladonna is similar to the acute delirium of remittent fever. Now to bring this point to bear; this remedy’s fever is a continued fever; it has no great amount of fever in it, but it is a continued fever; we shall see that there is coma and stupor from fever; “delirium, unintelligible murmuring;” mental prostration. This remedy is suitable in low, murmuring, exhaustive cases of typhoid fever, cases that are running a very sluggish course; not a very active delirium; but muttering; a low form of semi-consciousness, very often coma or stupefaction like Phos. ac., a dazed mind.
Forgetfulness in persons who are mentally and physically prostrated from sexual excesses or from tobacco poisoning. It is indicated in old debauches who are unable to perform the marital act. He has the most tantalizing craving for the opposite sex with no ability to perform coitus. Lascivious ideas. Such men stand on the street corner and feast upon the forms of passing girls, and their semen dribbles away; a state also found in Picric acid and Selenium. You can only cure these patients if they desire to reform, and if you can inspire them to live a better life. Without this you cannot save them, and those who take delight in such things are not worth saving, and medicine will not take hold of them. To cure, the patient must use his will to help the remedy.
Extremely nervous; afraid of his own shadow; awake all night with lascivious thoughts, apprehensions, especially before going to sleep; afraid of the future. Fear of catching diseases when they are not around. This alternates with an opposite condition. At times he is wholly incapable of appreciating danger. He will go into any sort of danger without thought. Foolish boldness. We may sum up the mental symptoms by saying he is extremely excitable.
Vertigo on closing the eyes. He cannot stand or walk with the eyes shut, but it is not otherwise sufficiently related to locomotor ataxia to be of use in that disease. Rocking, dizzy sensation after lying down and closing the eyes, as if in a rocking chair. Vertigo and nausea in the morning with stitch in pit of stomach. He opens his eyes and asks: “Where am I? What do you want around me?” The text is long with many vague symptoms. The mental symptoms are the most important.
The whole nervous system is in a state of excitement. He is full of fear; startled by the slamming of a door, or the rattling of a newspaper. Cannot sleep if there is the least noise. Things are done in great haste. Nervous excitement.
The patient in general is aggravated by warmth and the wane room, and ameliorated by cool open air. Yet he wants warm drinks in the stomach. Longs for beer without a decided thirst. Fats without hunger and drinks without thirst. Nervous fantastic things run through the remedy showing its relation to neurasthenic and hysterical patients. Eructations.
There is a sensitiveness of the skin. Crawling; creeping. He has the spider-web sensation. Sensation of a fly crawling on the face. The perspiration is sweetish, and if he is in a room with others, while perspiring, the flies will all light on him. Sweetish odour to the perspiration which attracts the flies.
Tobacco heart. The nervous symptoms of tobacco are similar to those of Caladium, and Caladium is useful in all sorts of nervous conditions, the effect of tobacco and cigarette smoking. It has a number of times turned the patient entirely away from his cigar, and removes the overwhelming craving that prevents smokers breaking off their habit. Headaches and mental states in smokers.
Itching is violent, especially about the genitals. It is useful in extremely nervous women who suffer from pruritus vulvae, keeping them awake at night, attended with abnormal excitement.
Stools, soft, yellow, pasty, mushy, as in typhoid. Stitches as from knives in the rectum. There are many urinary symptoms. Urine offensive, putrid, scanty. Pulsating in the stomach after walking; empty feeling, fluttering in the stomach. Violent sexual desire with relaxed penis. Impotency. Erections when half asleep in the morning, ceasing when fully awake. When the desire is most marked he has no ability. Automatic erections without desire, strong and painful. During an embrace no emission.
It has urethral discharge and is useful in gonorrhoea. In vigorous persons after the gonorrhoeal discharge has been improperly suppressed, sometimes impotency is the result of the suppression. Caladium has cured as frequently as Thuja. Itching eruption on the scrotum.
The most striking symptom of the female sexual organs is the pruritus; she is compelled to scratch, and the torment reduces her in body and mind.
There are some strange sleep symptoms. Kept awake by crawling. Sleeplessness from pruritus, especially of the genitals. Groans and moans anxiously in sleep so that he wakens the neighbours. Restless sleep; anxious, vivid dreams which he remembers better than the things of the day. Falls asleep and continues to dream of the same subject where he left off.
Written by James Tyler Kent (1849–1916) and published first in his book "Materia Medica" (1905) James Tyler Kent was an American physician best remembered as a forefather of modern homeopathy.