One who makes a study of the proving of Hypericum will be reminded of a class of injuries involving sentient nerves, and it is not surprising that this remedy has come into use for the results of such injuries.
The surgery of Homoeopathy largely involves the use of Arnica, Rhus tox., Ledum, Staphisagria, Calcarca and Hypericum. These remedies are used in a routine way when a physician runs into semi-surgical conditions, or the results of injuries.
For the bruised, “black-and- blue,” sore appearance and sensation Arnica comes into use; it corresponds especially to the acute stage until the soreness and bruised condition have disappeared from the parts injured or from the whole body; but for the strains of muscles and tendons Arnica proves insufficient and a thorough study of Rhus will show that that remedy is suitable for the resultant weakness of tendons and muscles, and the bruised, rheumatic feelings that come on in every storm and often wear off on continued motion. For the final weakness that persists even after Rhus we have Calcarca carb.
In these three remedies we have a series, but to distinguish these from Hypericum is the important thing. Hypericum is only a minor remedy for bruised and strained tendons and muscles; it goes into a different class of complaints. Hypericum and Ledum run close together, and they have to be compared. Ledum has much of the sore bruised feeling of Arnica and will often take its place; but Hypericum and Ledum come together for consideration when an injury to a nerve has taken on inflammatory action. Instead of the muscles and bones and blood vessels, as in Arnica, Rhus and Calcarea, the nerves are the sphere for these two remedies. When the finger ends or toes have been bruised or lacerated, or a nail has been torn off, or when a nerve has become pinched between a hammer and the bone in a blow, and that nerve becomes inflamed and the pain can be traced up along the nerve, and it is gradually extending toward the body from the injured part with stitching, darting pains, coming and going, or shooting up from the region of the injury toward the body, a dangerous condition is coming on. In this condition Hyped-cum is above all the remedies to be thought of and hardly any other medicine is likely to come in. It hardly need be said that lock-jaw is threatening.
Sometimes a vicious dog will take hold of an individual through the thumb, or through the hand or the wrist and run one of his great teeth through the radial nerve or some of its branches in the hand, causing a lacerated wound. You may not find in the earlier stages the symptoms of Hypericum, but they will develop gradually and you will have them to treat. Do not cut the arm off, but cure it. We cure all these injuries with medicines punctured, incised, contused and lacerated wounds, painful wounds.
A wound will sometimes yawn, swell up, no tendency to heal, look dry and shiny on its edges; red; inflamed; burning, stinging, tearing pains; no healing process. That wound needs Hypericum. It prevents tetanus. Every practitioner knows that lock-jaw may develop after an injury to sentient nerves. The old school doctor is frightened by these shooting pains up the arms after an injury. A shoemaker may stick his awl into the end of his thumb or a carpenter may stick his finger with a brass tack and he does not think much of it, but the next night shooting pains extend up the arm with much violence. The allopathic physician looks upon that as a serious matter, for he sees lock-jaw or tetanus ahead. When these pains come on Hypericum will stop them, and from this stage to advanced states of tetanus with opisthotonos and lock-jaw. Hypericum is the remedy. It is full of just such symptoms as are found in tetanus and such symptoms as lead to tetanus and it is full of all the manifestations of an ascending neuritis.
Again, you may have an old scar, and it comes in contact with a hard body and is injured, bruised, torn internally, smashed, and stinging, tearing pains come in that cicatrix, and it burns and stings, and there is no relief, and the pain runs toward the body along the course of nerves. A painful cicatrix with pain shooting up toward the center of the body following up the nerves. Hypericum medicine for that.
Now there are other remedies all know about Arnica, but be sure you keep it in its place. The first stage of the injury, where much bruising has been done, and there are none of these pains that I have described, for the first hours for bruised conditions and concussions and shocks Arnica is routine, because it produces states upon the human body like it had been bruised. But you will find Arnica only fits into that one place. Arnica should never be used for wounds the way the lay people use it, because if it is used in full strength it may bring on erysipelas.
Again, for bruises of bone, cartilages, tendons, insertion of tendons, bruises about cartilages and about joints, Ruta is better than any other remedy; and if we study the proving of Ruta we will not be surprised, because it produces symptoms like those found in such conditions. Lingering, sore, bruised places on hones, in joints and upon cartilages. But Ledum comes in very often as a preventive medicine. It is a preventive medicine when an accident happens to the ends of the fingers, if a patient steps on a nail or tack or sticks a splinter under a finger-nail or into the foot. If a horse picks up a nail, pull it out and give him a dose of Ledum; there will never be trouble, he will not have lock-jaw. These punctured wounds, rat bites, cat bites, etc., are all made safe by Ledum; i. e., Ledum prevents the shooting pains that naturally come and the nerves will never be involved. We will have no trouble if we can give it at once. Again, if the pain is a dull aching in the part that was injured, in the wound, Ledum is still the remedy; if it shoots from the wound up the nerve of the arm it is more like Hypericum.
A sensitive nervous woman steps on a tack during the day, and she feels all the day where the tack went in, lies down in bed and it aches so violently she cannot keep it still. Ledum will prevent any further trouble, but if that goes on until the morning the pains will, be shooting up the leg, calling for Hypericum. I mentioned the use of Ledum when a horse picks up a nail. Now, if a nail goes through the thin part of the hoof and strikes the coffin bone that horse is almost sure to die with tetanus; the veterinarians know nothing for it; though they poultice it and put on liniments etc., that horse will die with tetanus; but if a dose of Ledum is given before the tetanus comes on it will save the animal from tetanus; after the jerking comes on Ledum will not do, but Hypericum must be given. Hypericum belongs to lacerated wounds and when there is laceration of parts that are full of small nerves, sentient nerves, give it at once. Do not waste time with Arnica because there is soreness, for the soreness is of much less importance than the danger from nerves in lacerated wounds. In punctured wounds give Ledum at once. Whatever sequences conic on, of course, have to be met in accordance with the state and symptoms of the case.
Injuries of the spine give us another class of troubles requiring Hypericum. I remember a case such as has been met with quite often and such as we read of and hear about, one, however, that was not saved. A sudden lurch of the car caused a man who was standing on the rear end of the car to be hurled back on his coccyx. He did not think much of it, went home, had pains in the head and various parts of the body. Several physicians were called; nobody could find out what was the matter with him, and at the end of ten days he died. They turned him over and found that his coccyx was black and an abscess was threatening in the muscular region. If it had been known Hypericum would have saved his life. Many times I have seen Hypericum cure similar conditions. Injuries of the coccyx are among the most serious and troublesome injuries that the physician comes in contact with; injuries just like that, falling back and striking a stone, or something that bruises the coccyx. Very little is found immediately in the coccyx; close examination reveals nothing more than soreness upon pressure, but many times we do have the description of pains shooting up the spine and down the extremities, shooting pains over the body and often convulsive movements. When such symptoms are present any physician ought to be wise enough to find out an injury, but even very astute physicians are blinded over injuries of the coccyx. Many a woman sustains an injury of the coccyx during labor, and however slight, soreness remains for years afterwards, and she is always in trouble, always hysterical and nervous, from this injury of the coccyx. Such injuries, if taken early, can be cured by Hypericum. It is in the remedy. Slight inflammation or irritation of the lower part of the cord; it feels lacerated, and sore, and aches and never passes over until the results of the injury right in the spot have been removed. These injuries have been cured in after years by Carbo animalis, Silica and Thuja and other remedies as indicated.
It is related also to injuries of the spine higher up. It is not an uncommon thing for a man, while going down stairs, to fall backward, his feet to slip from under him and he strikes his back upon one of the steps and undergoes a sharp injury. Some will at once give Rhus tox.; I have known others to give Arnica. Hypericum is to be given at once to prevent the kind of inflammation that may come from such an injury. Then there will be other tendencies, such as drawings and rheumatic symptoms, that will come on, calling for Rhus and finally Calcarea. Old weaknesses of the back, with painfulness on rising from a seat, are often cured by Rhus, followed by Calcarea, but Hypericum must first of all take care of the condition of the fibers of the cord and meninges. Meningeal troubles are common from injuries of that class, with drawing of the muscles of the back, a feeling of contraction or tightening. Stitching, shooting pains in the back in various directions; they shoot down the limbs. Injuries of the back are not so likely to end in tetanus as the injuries of the sensory nerves; but they are sometimes even more troublesome because they linger so long.
Persons who have been injured in the spine or about the coccyx linger along for years with symptoms that would lead to many remedies. We find in the provings such symptoms as occur after these injuries, and, of course, this remedy will cure anything that its proving justifies. Its action is upon the nerve sheaths and meninges, with stitching, tearing, rending pains along the nerves, wherever there are injuries. Now, there is another remedy that we want to know. If you have a clear-cut or incised wound made with a sharp instrument, or if you have made such an opening with your knife while practicing surgery, if you have opened the abdominal cavity and the walls of the abdomen take on an unhealthy look, and there are stinging, burning pains, Staphisagria is the remedy that will make granulation come immediately. Staphisagria is also a wonderfully useful remedy where the sphincter stretchers have been. Staphisagria is the natural antidote to stretching. When the urethra of a woman has been stretched for stone in the bladder, Staphisagria is useful. I remember a case of stretching of the urethra; after the operation the patient was in great distress, screaming and crying, bathed in a cold sweat, head hot and body in cold sweat. Staphisagria was given to her, and in a few minutes she went to sleep. She had been six hours in that suffering without any relief whatever. Where coldness, congestion of the head, and rending, tearing pains occur from stretching sphincters, or from tearing parts, for the purpose of operation, death is likely to occur, and Staphisagria is closely related to that tearing, lacerating and stretching of fibers which cause such suffering.
After a surgical operation, where there has been much cutting, a great state of prostration, coldness, oozing of blood, almost cold breath, of course the Materia Medica man, if there is one around, will say, “Why, give him Carbo veg., of course.” Yes, you will, but it will not help him. It may disappoint you. But if you are a surgeon, know your surgical therapeutics better than a Materia Medica man, you will say, “No Strontium carb, is what I want.” It relieves that congestion all over the body; he gets warm and has a comfortable night. Strontium carb. is the Carbo veg. of the surgeon.
Lastly, we sometimes have to antidote chloroform, and because there are pains and aches you will get no action from these medicines; you can antidote your chloroform almost instantly by a dose of Phosphorus, because it is the natural antidote of chloroform. Phosphorus will stop the vomiting. Phosphorus has vomiting like that of chloroform. Phosphorus likes cold things, cold water in the stomach, and vomits as soon as water has become warm in the stomach. So does chloroform. Why should they not antidote each other?
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.