The most important feature of this medicine is the inflammatory condition, and the most important characteristic in the inflammation is the rapidity with which it develops into a gangrenous state. Inflammatory conditions usually follow a definite course for days, but when this medicine is put upon a part or taken internally the inflammatory state terminates in death of the part with great rapidity. When taken internally it proceeds almost immediately to attack the urinary tract and establish a uraemic state which brings about the mental symptoms; the local inflammatory condition comes on with great rapidity, and this brings the patient down violently sick in a great hurry. From strong doses in the poisonous effect we get startling and alarming symptoms; the whole economy is in disorder; grievous symptoms commonly of the urinary tract. The parts become gangrenous at an early stage.
The mental symptoms are striking. Among those that are guiding are sudden loss of consciousness with red face. Suddenly goes into stupor. Confusion of mind. Overwhelmed with strange ideas. Thoughts run riot, and go whatever way they will, as if possessed by outside influence.
Head hot, frenzy, delirium, with great excitement and rage, Paroxysms renewed by dazzling or bright objects, by touching the larynx or by trying to drink water as in rabies. Fear and confusion of ideas. The mind often runs towards subjects that the inflamed parts would suggest. The bladder and genitals are inflamed and the excitement and congestion of the parts often arouse the sexual instinct, so that there are sexual thoughts and sexual frenzy. Violent amorous frenzy, an excitement such as accompanies inflammation attended with thoughts that correspond. The sexual instinct has gone mad. The erections in the male are painful and violent. The penis is inflamed and sore and it would be painful to have coitus, yet there is this frenzy. Insolence. Blasphemy. Restlessness ending in rage. Restlessness causing him to move constantly, a rage and delirium intermingled with amorous frenzy: This kind of mental conduct in Cantharis is similar to what will take place in Hyos., Phos., and Secale, a violent delirious state intermingled with sexual ideas and talk. In some instances he deliriously sings lewd songs and prattles on the subject of human genitals, urine and faces, a wild raving on subjects not talked about in health except among the depraved. But in disease, chaste and modest persons, virgins, will speak so that it is surprising where they have picked up such language. In such cases it is well to exclude everybody from the room except the nurse and doctor. I have seen a dear old mother weep and wring her hands and say: “Where did my daughter learn such language?” The daughter is not to blame. It is simply a condition of the urinary tract or the menstrual function, brought on from cold or exposure, or through the mother’s neglect to tell her daughter what she should know in regard to her menstrual function, and now there is inflammation of the ovaries or uterus, or outside parts, and the urine burns and causes an inflammatory condition of the outer parts, or the urine is retained and there is frenzy. Such is Cantharis.
Violent, bursting, lancinating headaches as if stabbed with a knife; an inflammatory condition that takes hold of the mind violently.
Running all through the remedy there is burning. In the head burning, throbbing and stabbing. Unconsciousness and delirium in the mental state. Burning in the side of the head. Stitches in the side of the head and occiput. Lancinating pains deep in the brain. Hair falls out.
It is seldom indicated in eye troubles alone, except such as come with head and mind symptoms. Erysipelas of the face with large blisters. Burning in the eyes and the whole atmosphere looks yellow. Burning and smarting in the eyes. Erysipelas of the eyes, with gangrenous tendency. Eyes hot, scalding tears. Erysipelas of the face, dorsum of the nose, involving the lids. Rhus is more commonly used in this condition, but when it is violent Canth. will often be indicated and preferable to Rhus. Rhus has the blisters and the burning, but in Canth. between your two visits the erysipelas has grown black, it is dusky, a rapid change has taken place, and it looks as if gangrene would set in. Burning in the erysipelatous area and the skin around burns from the touch. In Rhus this is not so. In Cantharis the little blisters even if touched burn like fire. Eruptions burn when touched, ever so lightly, i. e., those eruptions such as the remedy could produce.
This patient enters into a state of prostration, is pallid, has hippocratic countenance and dies. It corresponds to the lowest forms of disease, even gangrene and violent inflammation of the bowels, bladder, brain, spine and lungs; sinking and hippocratic countenance. Inflammation of the lungs, gangrenous type, prostration and the lung that is affected burns like fire, and immediately he expectorates cadaverous smelling expectoration, thin, bloody, watery; it has come on in an astonishingly rapid manner, and in a little while he will die; the nose is contracted, there is the hippocratic countenance, and the urine is suppressed. I remember one patient who had just come out of a prolonged drunk. I left the patient in the evening in just such a state as I have described. He was drooling a bloody saliva from his mouth and he was dying. He had had this condition come on in one night from being nearly frozen in a drunk. It would be Cantharis or death before morning, but by morning he was expectorating a rusty sputum and went on to a good recovery. Arsenic has the burning in the lungs and he spits up black sputum, pneumonia signs are present, with the restlessness and anxiety, and other symptoms of Arsenic, and Arsenic will stop it at once. These violent remedies are needed in those cases that will die.
Burning in the throat. Great thirst, with burning in the throat and stomach. Thirst, with aversion to all fluids, that is, the craving of the mouth and throat are antagonized by the mental state. Thirst in the throat and an aversion to water in the mind. Violent burning in the stomach, pylorus, abdomen. The abdomen is swollen and tympanitic; lancinating pains cutting and stabbing. Wherever there is a rapid inflammation in the bowels there is diarrhoea of bloody mucus or serum, watery, bloody fluids from the bowels and stomach. The same watery bloody fluid from the eyes. And wherever this watery fluid comes in contact with the skin it burns and excoriates. Bloody urine.
Desire for stool while urinating. The patient will sit on the commode with violent tenesmus to pass urine and stool, feels that if he could only pass a few more drops of urine or a little more bloody stool he would get relief, but no relief comes. Ã All the parts are inflamed and on fire. Tenesmus and urging not only when the bladder is empty, but often when the bladder is full. Retention of urine. Passes none or only a drop or two. Violent tenesmus of the bladder. Cutting pains with tenesmus. Lancinating, stabbing like knives, in neck of bladder. Pains shoot off in, different directions. Violent pains with frequent urging. Constant tenesmus. An anxious state and frenzy come on; most violent suffering and he has urging to pass urine and stool with sexual erethism tantalizing in the extreme. The whole urinary, organs and genitalia are in a state of inflammation and gangrene. Burning when urinating. ‘This bloody urine burns like fire in the bladder and about the genitals. Retention or suppression of urine. It is rare that one suffering from gonorrhoea has this violent inflammation, with burning and tenesmus of the bladder and rectum, but in such a case this remedy is indicated. The intensity and rapidity are .the features of this remedy. It brings on pain and excitement found in no other remedy. Next to it comes Merc. cor.
In the female there is oversensitiveness of all parts. Inflammation of the ovaries and uterus. Burning in the vagina. Membranous dysmenorrhoea. Menses too early, profuse, black.
Puerperal convulsions. Retained placenta. Burning pains. When there have been no expulsive pains present to expel the afterbirth, with the symptoms running all through this remedy, after it has been given, normal contractions of the uterus have come on with expulsion of the membranes.
Violent lancinating pains through the kidneys and back. Pains in the loins, kidneys and abdomen. Pain on urinating, so that he moaned and screamed on passing a drop.
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.