This medicine is a deep, long acting antipsoric, establishing a state of disorder in the economy that is so far reaching and so long lasting that it disturbs almost all the tissues of the body. The complaints are brought on from taking cold, and the glands become affected all over the body.
From every little cold the glands become hard and sore. Infiltration in deep-seated diseases in the region of ulcers and in the region of inflamed parts; in the glands along the course of the lymphatics, so we get a chain like knots. The glands under the arm inflame and ulcerate.
The glands in the neck, in the groin and abdomen become enlarged. Ulcerated parts indurate. An abscess of the breast becomes surrounded by lumps and nodules. Nodules in the breast even where milk has not yet formed; lumps and nodules, indurations and enlarged glands form under the skin all over the body. Conium has been used extensively for malignant affections of glands, because it takes hold of glands from the beginning and infiltrates, and they gradually grow to a stony hardness; like scirrhus. Now, another grand feature running through this remedy is the action upon the nerves. The nerves are in a state of great debility. Trembling, jerking of the muscles and twitching from the weakness of the nerves. Inability to stand any physical effort without great exhaustion. Gradually growing paralytic weakness, somewhat as was described in Cocculus. Exhaustion of body and mind, that is a general slowing down of all the activities of the body. The liver becomes indurated, sluggish, enlarged. The bladder is weak, can expel only a part of the urine. Or sometimes there is a paralytic condition and no expulsive power. This shows that the remedy increases toward a paralytic weakness.
Hysteria. Hypochondriacal state of mind, with the nervousness, trembling and weakness of the muscles. He gets tired in the earlier stages, but finally this goes on until the limbs are paralytic.
A great many of the complaints are painless. The ulcers and the paralytic conditions are painless. Great physical and mental debility; great prostration of the muscular system; exhaustion, tremulous weakness. Paralysis of the legs and hip. Mental symptoms, nervous symptoms, trembling, in widows and widowers who have suddenly been deprived of their sexual relations. When in a state of considerable vigor, if suddenly deprived, the woman or the man takes on a state of trembling weakness, inability to stand any mental effort, and inability to put the attention upon things said by others. Not so marked or not so common in the woman as in the man. When this state comes on in a woman who is of unusual sexual vigor there may be severe congestion of the uterus and ovaries, Apis is more likely to fit her symptoms than Conium. But with hysteria and excitability Conium is often the remedy. Many of its symptoms come about from such a cause.
Conium has such a deep action that it gradually brings about a state of imbecility. The mind gives out. The mind at first becomes tired like the muscles of the body. Unable to sustain any mental effort. The memory is weak. The mind will not concentrate, it will not force itself to attention; it cannot meditate, and then comes imbecility. Inability to stand any mental effort or to rivet the attention upon anything are some of the most important symptoms in this medicine. Insanity of a periodical type. Imbecility, though, is far more frequent than insanity. When you come to examine the mental states you will see symptoms that will make you think the patient is delirious, but that is not quite it. It is a slow-forming weakness of mind; not that rapid, active state, such as accompanies a fever; it is a delirium without a fever, so to speak, which is not constant. Forms of insanity that are passive. He thinks slowly, and he continues in this stage for weeks and months, if he recovers at all. Those excitable cases that have more or less violence and activity in mental states are such as will correspond to Bell., Hyos., Strain, and Ars. You see nothing of that in this medicine. This state of the mind has come on so gradually that the family has not observed it. The mind is full of strange things that have come little by little, and when the family look over the many things that he has done and said they begin to wonder if he is not becoming insane, but he is traveling toward a state of imbecility. Conium is of a slow, passive character. Complete indifference; takes no interest in anything, particularly when walking in the open air. “He is averse to being near people and to talking of those passing him; is inclined to seize hold of and abuse them.” That, of course, is an insane act. “Sad and gloomy. Great unhappiness of mind, recurring every fourteen days,” showing a two weeks’ periodicity. The Conium patient will sit and mope in the corner in a state of sadness and depression, giving no reason only that he is so sad.
A hypochondriacal subject going around with whims and notions that people attempt to reason him out of, and the more they attempt to reason with him the more sad he is. Morose, peevish, vexed. Everything vexes and disturbs him. Cannot endure any kind of excitement, it brings on physical and mental distress, brings on weakness and sadness. Sometimes Conium symptoms will be found in persons who have suffered from grief; they become broken in memory. This is likely to come first. They forget, never can recall things just as they want them. And so they grow weaker and weaker until they become imbeciles. If it is decidedly mental, imbecility results; if it is taking a physical course the ending is paralysis, and it is not uncommon for a general paralytic weakness to come on, so that body and mind progress toward weakness together until some decided manifestation is made, and then it will be seen to be going toward paralysis, or some decided manifestation is made which will send it toward imbecility, and then the body will seem to remain stationary. There comes a time in these cases where there is a sort of division between the body and the mind. Whenever under homoeopathic treatment the physical improves and the mental grows worse, that patient will never be cured. There are such cases. I never like to see the physical grow better and the mental grow worse in any degree. That does not mean the aggravation caused by the remedy. If the mental does not improve, it means that the patient is growing worse. There is no better evidence of the good action of a remedy than mental improvement.
Conium patients cannot endure even the slightest alcoholic drink. Any wine or stimulating beverage will bring on trembling, excitement, weakness of mind and prostration. There are many headaches in these patients. Patients going into decline will manifest headaches.
Stitching, tearing pains in the head; throbbing in the head. Signs precursory to a giving out of the brain. Neuralgia. Weakness of muscles. Weakness of muscles on one side of the face. Paralysis of the upper lids. Tingling pains. These are only in keeping with the signs of a general breakdown. We would not think of giving Conium for those sudden, violent congestions of the brain, sudden, violent attacks of pain in the head, face or eyes, but those that accompany a general progressive disease. There are stitching, lancinating, knife-like pains along the course of nerves about face and eyes and head. Stitching in the top of the head. Burning on top of the head. Often the symptoms will lead the homoeopathic physician to make a physical examination. A great deal more important than the physical examination are the symptoms that point out a remedy.
Excitement will bring on headaches. Numbness of the scalp is one of the common symptoms of Conium. It is a general; wherever there is trouble there will be numbness, numbness with pains, very often numbness with the weakness. Paralytic conditions are attended with numbness. Sick headache with inability to urinate. Great giddiness. Everything in the room seems to go around. Confused feeling in the head. Often sits lost in thought. Vertigo and pressure in the head with unaltered pulse. Vertigo worse from stooping. The slightest spiritous drink intoxicates him. Vertigo when turning the head, like turning in a circle, when rising from a seat; worse when lying down, as though the bed were turning in a circle; when turning in bed or when looking around. The vertigo most common in Conium is that which comes on while lying in bed rolling the eyes or turning the eyes. This is somewhat as it is in Cocculus, not as to vertigo alone, but the general slowed down condition of the muscles. The paresis, or weakness of the muscles all over the body is also present in the eyes. There is a muscular weakness of all the muscles of the eye, so that the Conium patient is unable to watch moving objects without getting sick-headaches, visual and mental disturbances. Riding on the cars, watching things in rapid motion, and inability to focus rapidly slow-ness of the accommodation is what we must call it is the cause for many sicknesses. Inability to follow moving objects with sufficient rapidity and a headache comes on. “Objects look red, rainbow-colored, striped; confused spots; double vision; weakness of sight. Shortsighted; cannot read long without letters running together.” All this is due to defective accommodation. “Sluggish adaptation of the eye to varied range of vision. Vision becomes blurred when he is irritable. Weakness and dazzling of the eyes, together with dizziness. Aversion to light without inflammation of the eyes.” The pupil will not accommodate itself to the changes between strong light and dim light, and he suffers from it. Severe photophobia and lachrymation. Photo-phobia without congestion of any tissue without or within the globe of the eye. Sometimes the pupils are contracted and sometimes dilated. Conium has cured ulcer of the cornea. Burning in the eyes when reading.” Shooting, smarting, cutting, burning pain in the eyes. The lids indurate, thicken and are heavy and fall. It is with difficulty that he can lift them up. So this paralysis extends all through the muscles of the body and affects the mind similarly. “Could scarcely raise the eyelids, they seemed pressed down by a heavy weight. Burning on entire surface of lids; hordeola; paralysis of muscles of the eyes.” A marked condition is that of swelling of the glands about the face, ear and under the jaws. The parotids are swollen and hard. The same gradually increasing hardness in the sub-maxillary and sublingual glands. Enlargement of the glands of the side of the neck in cancerous affections. It has cured epithelioma of the lid, and of the nose and of the cheek. Ulcers about the lip with induration. Deep under the ulcer there will be hardness, and along all the vessels that send lymph towards that ulcer there will be a chain of knots.
Paresis extending to paralysis of the oesophagus; difficulty in swallowing; food goes down part way and stops. As food is about to pass the cardiac orifice it stops and enters with a great effort. “Strange rising in the throat, with sense of stuffing, as if something were lodged there. Sense of fullness in the throat as of a lump, with involuntary attempts at swallowing. Fullness in throat with suppressed eructations. Pressure in oesophagus as if a round body were ascending from stomach.” That is a nervous affection found in nervous women and has been called globus hystericus. When a woman feels as if she wanted to cry, and she swallows and chokes, she will have a similar lump in the throat. Nervous, broken-down constitutions ; tired of life; sees nothing in the future but sickness and sorrow and paralysis or imbecility. When they have their lucid moments they weep, become sad over their enlarged glands and weakness, and have a lump in the throat.
There are many stomach troubles; ulceration of the stomach; cancer of the stomach. Conium is one of the greatest palliatives in symptoms of the stomach when all the symptoms agree. It will palliate cancerous conditions for a while, then on comes the difficulty again, because when the symptoms have advanced sufficiently to indicate Conium many times there is no hope of cure.
Hardness of the abdomen, great sensitiveness of the abdomen. Pinching pains, stitching pains, colicky, cutting pains, cramping pains. Bearing down in the abdomen in the woman as if the uterus would escape. Often more common than diarrhoea is constipation with ineffectual urging, hard stool, paralysis of the rectum. Inability to strain at stool, inability to expel contents because of the paralytic weakness of all the muscles that take part in expulsion. Pulsation and emptiness in the abdomen after a normal stool. The woman strains so much at stool that the uterus protrudes from the vagina. After every stool tremulous weakness and palpitation. The urine will stop and start. He strains to expel the urine and gets tired and stops. The stream of urine stops and without any pressure whatever it starts again, and it does that two or three times during urination. Irregular muscular actions while. passing urine. “Intermittent flow of urine, with cutting after micturition. Urine turbid after standing.”
Weakness of the sexual powers of the male; impotency. He may have most violent sexual desire yet he is impotent. “Great sexual desire with partial or complete incapacity. Emissions without dreams. Painful emissions and painful ejaculations.” There is a catarrhal state of. the seminal vesicles attended with much soreness, so that when ejaculation takes place there is cutting like a knife, as if the semen were acrid. Bad effects from suppressed sexual desire in widowers and those who have been accustomed to coition. “Sexual weakness. Insufficient erection, lasting only a short time ; weakness after embrace. Swelling and induration of testicles.” Hardness and swelling of the testicles gradually comes on. “Discharge of prostatic fluid on every change of emotion, without voluptuous thoughts, or while expelling faeces; with itching of the prepuce.” Hence we have a strange intermingling of increased irritability of the parts, the neck of the bladder, sexual organs, prostate gland, with weakness, with impotency. In the male, remember, there is induration and enlargement of the testicles; in the woman induration and enlargement of the ovaries and uterus. “Uterine spasms during too early and scanty menses.” Soreness in the abdomen in the early stages of gestation, motions of the child are painful. Burning, stinging, tearing pains in the neck of the uterus. Great soreness of the breasts. This medicine has dwindling of the mammary glands as well as enlargement and induration. Suppressed menstruation, painful menstruation, throbbing, tearing, burning pains in the uterus and in the ovaries, in the pelvis. It has cured fibroid tumors of the uterus. It has restrained cancerous growth of the cervix. One of the most distressing growths known to women is a cancerous growth of the cervix. It is the most difficult to check of all the cancerous affections known. It will progress most rapidly, but Conium is one of those remedies that will slow down that inflammation and restrain somewhat the haemorrhages. Conium has produced induration and infiltration of the cervix.
Difficult breathing. Dry cough almost constantly, worse lying in bed. Cough when first lying down. Is obliged to sit up and cough it out. Taking a deep breath causes cough. Such are the striking features of a Conium cough. In the chest, violent stitches. Painful swelling of the breasts. Rending, tearing pains in the chest.
In the back, weakness is a most striking thing, with some dorsal pains. Lancinating pains are spoken of. “Ill effects of bruises and shocks to the spine.” After injuries, especially in the lumbar region, pains and filling up of the veins of the lower limbs. Rheumatic pains; paralysis of the lower limbs; ulceration. And the sufferings and conditions are better by letting the limbs hang down. Conium differs from a great many medicines. It is common for pains and aches to be relieved by putting the feet up on a chair; by putting them up in bed. But the patient with the rheumatism, with the ulceration of the legs and the other strange sufferings of the legs, will lie down and permit his legs to hang over the bed up as far as the knee. That is something that somebody ought to undertake to account for, so we could have at least one thing we could prescribe for under pathology. But up to date we have no explanation. Tottering gait in middle-aged men.
Another grand feature of the remedy: he sweats copiously during sleep. Sometimes the patient will say that if he merely closes the eyes he will sweat. It is certainly true on closing the eyes preparatory to going to sleep he will break out in a sweat. Owing to the fact that Conium produces such a marked induration and infiltration of tissues that have been inflamed, stenoses are apt to form where inflammation has been present. Stricture of the urethra and stenosis of the os uteri have been cured by Conium.
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.