The camphor bottle is a great mischief in the house, as camphor antidotes most of our remedies. Camphor in potentized form will cure many complaints.
It is suitable in some acute complaints attended with nervous excitement, even to frenzy, with spasms and convulsions and finally exhaustion. The Camphor state is one of convulsions or coldness. In the most acute period of the Camphor excitement, the excitability and frenzy of the patient are extreme, or he goes into the other extreme, in which the irritability is lost and there is loss of sensation, unconsciousness and coldness.
The two extremes may be seen in one patient, one earlier and the other later. He may go from the extreme of mental excitement and violence to one of prostration and exhaustion, in which the body is blue and cold and yet must be uncovered. In the mental state there is anxiety and extreme fear; fear of persons, of strange spheres, of the dark; the dark is filled with imaginary spectres; he dare not get out of bed in the dark; everything that moves is a spectre and the inanimate things of the room become alive and terrify him. Frenzy. Coupled with this, there is kidney and urinary trouble, like that of Cantharis, and because of this similarity, the two remedies are both complementary and antidotal to each other. If a woman has poisoned herself with Cantharis, and there is present the frenzy and excitement, Camphor will act as an antidote.
The details of the mental symptoms are worthy of much consideration. The patient goes into a state not unlike imbecility, and the appearance is as if it had come on slowly. The mind and memory are gone. He closes the eyes, seemingly asleep, and answers no questions. Delirious with the heat, rage and mania, wants to jump out of bed or out of the window. Screams and calls for help. Tosses anxiously in bed. Anxiety and almost loss of consciousness. These symptoms will indicate Camphor in puerperal fever, in congestion of the brain, or in shock from violent inflammation of organs. Confusion comes from the shock and comes with violence. The more violently the patient suffers, the sooner he is cold, and when he is cold, he must uncover even in a cold room. This is somewhat like Secale. In Secale the patient, when cold, wants to uncover and to be in a cold room, and it also has frenzy, and so there is nothing in what we have yet seen to distinguish Secale from Camph. But there is another thing that runs through Camph., by which a distinction can be made. The coldness, frenzy and heat very often intermingle. When the Camphor patient is becoming cold, he has spells of heat which come over him; tisanes of heat intermingle with rending, tearing, burning pains, either in the inflamed organ or along the nerves. The patient is a most troublesome patient to nurse; nobody and nothing suits. If an inflammation of the bladder comes on, there is intense pain and tenderness, and from the shock of the suffering the mind is in a state of frenzy. Coldness then comes on and the patient wants to be uncovered, wants cold air, wants the windows open, but before all this can be done, a flash of heat comes on and then he wants the covers on, and the register turned on, and wants a hot iron and hot bottles; but this stage now passes off, and while the nurse is bringing the hot irons he wants her to open the windows and have everything cool. You will see at once that these are serious cases. This occurs with opisthotonos, convulsions, inflammation of the brain, liver, kidney, bladder, coming on from violent shock and cold with great exhaustion. You will see this in one who has worked for hours for his life, and when the excitement is over reaction sets in and it is like a whirlwind; he has worked until he is exhausted and now he is prostrated, cold and blue; here is the sphere where the old woman with her Camphor bottle has established a reputation, but potentized Camphor will do more for him than the Camphor bottle, it will put him into a refreshing sleep.
It is useful in the climacteric period with flushes of heat and sweat in a warm room; the limbs and abdomen are very cold and she suffers from cold when uncovered and sweats copiously when covered. She cannot endure covering to warm her limbs though she suffers from cold.
The head is full of pain; throbbing pain. Contractive feeling as if laced together in the cerebellum. The whole back of the head and neck throbs like hammers; worse from bending head forward; burning and stinging. Frontal headaches.
We have heard about Camphor in cholera, which is a disease that brings the patient down quickly. The face is cold, blue and shriveled, without much sweat, in the cases that would make one think of Camphor. There is not much discharge from the bowels, not much vomiting and not much sweat; but suddenly he becomes cold, blue and collapsed, as it were paralyzed and goes into a stupor.
Convulsions with frothing at the mouth. Blue lips, lock-jaw, tetanus. Cold sweat on the face with vomiting. Erysipelatous appearance of face.
There is a desire to drink without thirst. There is also insatiable thirst; he is not satisfied with incredible quantities of cold water. Cannot get it cold enough, and cannot get enough, but he soon vomits it up.
The gastric irritation is marked. Everything is vomited. The tongue is blue and cold and the breath is cold. Everything coming out of the body is cold. The air as it leaves the chest feels like that from a cellar, like Carbo v. and Verat. The tongue is cold and trembling.
Such states are found in cholera. All through the cold stage there is burning. The inside of the body seems to burn, or there is a sense of internal smarting like a rawness or a sense of burning without heat.
The pain in the stomach in gastritis is so violent that the anguish on the face is equal to that in Arsenic; a deathly anguish is felt in his stomach and he feels that he must die. Burning, rending, tearing pain in the stomach with retching and vomiting. Cramps in stomach and bowels and spreading to other parts of the body until there are convulsions and opisthotonos. Anguish at the pit of the stomach drives him to despair. Heat in the stomach. Cold feeling in the stomach. Abdomen is full of colic and burning. Cold feeling in the abdomen.
Cholera stools ; rice water discharges, with anxiety, restlessness, spasms of the muscles, cramps of the chest, prostration, increasing coldness and blueness ; wants to be uncovered and he is going into collapse. The old Camphor, Cuprum and Veratrum still hold together for Asiatic cholera. In Camphor there is prostration, blueness, coldness and yet he wants to be uncovered and the body is cold and dry.
The other two remedies have all there is in cholera, but in Cuprous there is not so much coldness, more cramping, more convulsive tendency and not so much prostration. The more cramping there is the more it is Cuprum. The more copious the discharge from the bowels and the more profuse the vomiting and sweat, the more we would think of Veratrum. Cold and dry Camphor. Cold and copious discharge Veratrum.
After taking cold there is cutting, with involuntary discharge of dark brown faces like coffee grounds. Tenesmus. At times the cholera patient, with the coldness and blueness, is retching and straining to vomit and suffering with horrible tenesmus to get rid of a little stool and has convulsions here and there. These bowel symptoms gradually increase until there is no ability to strain at stool, a paralytic condition. The rectum seems contracted and painful.
There is suffering in the urinary and sexual organs. Burning urination. Strangury. Frequent urination. Frequent desire, with difficulty. The same state arises in the bladder as in the rectum, and there is retention with horrible torture. The patient sits on the commode and strains to pass the urine, but there is a paralytic condition of the bladder. The urine is red, bloody, and comes by drops like Canth. Tenesmus of the neck of the bladder.
Camphor increases the sexual erethism to an unbearable degree. In some cases from large doses this is seen in the extreme, and in other cases the reverse takes place. It has both sexual erethism and impotency in its provings. I once knew a French woman who had an insane desire to keep her boys always at home with her, and she thought she could accomplish this if she could only keep them away from the girls; and to destroy their sexual desire she kept a bag of camphor under their pillows. All of them were made impotent. But in some provers it establishes sexual erethism. It has this like Canth.
Camphor produces a coryza, with a profuse discharge from the nose and from the air passages, from the nose to the bronchi. Bronchitis of children” and old people. Old withered up people take cold at every exposure to weather and become cold and chilly. Ant. crud., Am. carb. and Camph. are wonderful remedies in octogenarians. Every cold seems threatening. Old people don’t come down with cold the same as young people; they are prostrated, sinking, have rattling in the chest and the family think it is the death rattle and that it is grandpa’s last spell. These three remedies fit the case, they are like the advanced stage of pneumonia. Ant. t., Ant. c., Am. c. and Camph. cover these cases in which the hot stage is omitted. Camph. has very little heat; it has the sensation of heat; but not a marked hot stage. There are other symptoms in this medicine such as you will find in old people.
Jerking of the muscles, trembling and jerking. Spasmodic conditions with trembling. Trembling of the tongue.
The general constitutional state of a Camphor patient is coldness and extreme sensitiveness to cold. In acute inflammatory conditions he is cold and wants the covers off. In acute complaints there is violent, thirst, in chronic complaints thirstlessness. It is the same in Arsenic, in the acute thirsty, but in the chronic thirstless.
In Camphor an important thing to recall in the acute is that during the heat and when the pains are on he wants to be covered up. The coldness is relieved by cold, he wants more cold.
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.