“Mental enfeeblement” is the thought that will come into the mind when considering what the Phosphoric acid patient says, does and looks.
The mind seems tired. When questioned he answers slowly or does not speak, but only looks at the questioner. He is too tired to talk or even think. He says: “Don’t talk to me; let me alone.”
This state is found in both acute and chronic diseases. He is so tired in mind, perfectly exhausted. In chronic diseases when brought on from Iong study; prolonged worry in business men; in feeble school girls, who become relaxed from very little effort. In acute diseases he, especially in typhoid fever, is averse to speaking or answering questions. He merely looks. Finally he rouses up and says: “Don’t talk to me, I am so tired.” He cannot think what he wishes to say, mot frame his answers to questions. Another cause is sexual excesses in young men, or in those guilty of secret vice. Weakness; lack of reaction; state of stupor, with impotency; mental prostration, and as if the spine had given out.
In every case we find the mental symptoms are the first to develop. The remedy runs from the mental to the physical, from the brain to the muscles. This is so striking that it is contrasted with Muriatic acid. In the latter remedy the muscular prostration comes first, and the mind seems clear until long after the muscles are prostrated. In Phosphoric acid the muscles seem strong after the mind has given out. The patient seems vigorous physically. He says he is all right physically, can work, can exercise even violently ; but the mind is tired, there is mental apathy, he cannot add up a column of figures, cannot read the newspaper and carry the trend of thought, cannot connect circumstances. He forgets the names of those in his family; a business man forgets the names of his clerks; he is in confusion. Yet he can exercise, can go out and walk; the weakness in the muscles will come later.
Phosphoric acid has also great physical weakness; so tired in the back; so tired in the muscles; so tired all over; a paralytic weakness. Later there is sexual impotence; aversion to coition; loss of sexual desire; no erections; penis becomes relaxed in the midst of an embrace and he cannot finish the act. (Nux v.)
Ailments from business cares; prolonged grief; young women suffering from unrequited affection, or from the loss of a loved one. Some suffer more intensely than others; some seem more philosophical. “Ailments from care, grief, sorrow, chagrin, homesickness or disappointed love; particularly with drowsiness; night sweats towards morning; emaciation.” The patient pines and emaciates, grows weaker and weaker, withered in the face; night sweats; cold sweat down the back; cold sweats on the arms and hands more than on the feet; cold extremities; feeble circulation, feeble heart; catches cold on the slightest provocation and it settles in the chest; dry, hacking cough; catarrhal conditions of the chest; tuberculosis; pallor with gradually increasing weakness and emaciation.
During this weakness there is vertigo. Vertigo while lying in bed; seems like floating while lying in bed. Limbs seem to be lifted up while the head does not seem to move, as if the limbs were floating.
Congestive headaches; in school girls from slight exertion of the mind and use of the eyes. Periosteal pains; bones ache as if scraped; ameliorated by motion; when lying the pain shifts to side lain on.
Most of the complaints are ameliorated from keeping warm, from absolute quiet, from being alone at peace. There is aggravation of the complaints from exertion, mental or physical, from being talked to. Morning headaches. He must lie down with the headaches. Headache aggravated from being talked to. He is sensitive to cold weather. He is sensitive to a warm room.
In the headache the pain often begins in the back of the head and spreads to the top of the head; feels as if a crushing weight were on the top of the head; worse from motion, talking and light. “Pressure as from a weight in head from above downward.” These headaches are associated with mental weakness, brain-fag; so tired and exhausted. Vertigo with ringing in the ears and glassy eyes.
Its use in low fevers must be studied. The complaints come on slowly, slow decline, slowly increasing prostration. Such appearances as are found in advanced typhoid. It has the prostration, tympanitic abdomen, dry, brown tongue, sordes on the teeth, gradually approaching unconsciousness; little thirst increasing to intense thirst with craving for much water during perspiration; wants to be let alone; looks at the questioner with glassy eyes as if slowly comprehending the question; pupils contracted or dilated; eyes sunken; hippocratic countenance; continued fever; bleeding from the nose, lungs, bowels; haemorrhage from any mucous membrane; sunken about the eyes; discolored lips, covered with sordes, becoming very black; prostration gradually increasing. From the beginning the mental state has been most marked, and finally comes the muscular weakness, which increases until the jaw drops and it seems that the patient must die of exhaustion. Such states of weakness may come on from haemorrhages (China was the routine remedy among the older homoeopaths). It checks the haemorrhage and causes a rally, prevents the dropsy. There is a state like anaemia; pale lips and tongue; face, hands and feet waxy.
Pains and aches all over the body, ameliorated from motion and worse from cold. The pains seem deep-seated, often along the nerves, but especially along the long bones, as if the bones were scraped; as if a rough instrument were dragged over the bones. The pains are commonly worse at night. Severe bone pains.
The stomach refuses to do its work. The food remains in the stomach and sours. Sour vomiting.. Old dyspeptics with brain-fag. Complaints from acid drinks, cold drinks and rich foods. Sinking sensation in the abdomen after a normal stool.
In most of the complaints of Phosphoric acid a marked feature is milky urine. Sometimes it is milky when passed; milky flakes in the urine. At times the male urethra seems to clog up and examination will show these little milk-like flakes. The urine becomes milky on standing, like flour, chalk or phosphate deposits stirred up in it.
In Phosphoric add there is often an amelioration of complaints by their ending in a diarrhoea. Copious, thin, watery stool. From the quantity it would seem that the patient would be exhausted. Child with copious, watery, stool in summer; so copious that the napkin seems of no use; the stool runs all over the mother’s dress and on the floor forming great puddles; the stool is almost odorless, thin and watery, and the little one smiles as if nothing were the matter. The mother wonders where it all comes from, and yet the child seems well. The Phosphoric add diarrhoea often ameliorates many of the symptoms and the patient feels better. Chronic diarrhoea, copious, thin and watery, whitish gray, and the patient feels comfortable, free and happy. If the diarrhoea slacks up the patient is worse and on come symptoms of tuberculosis, weakness, prostration, brain-fag. Some patients say they are never comfortable unless they have diarrhoea. Podophyllum is the very opposite. Take the same child; the stool is very copious and runs all over the floor, the mother wonders where it all comes from, but the stool is so offensive, a horrible stench, and the patient looks as if dying; mouth and nose drawn, countenance hippocratic; almost unconscious. There is painless stool in both, but Phosphoric acid has not the great prostration. In Phosphoric acid the stool is whitish gray, like dirty white paint; in Podophyllum it is yellow. Gratiola has a similar state of prostration, but the fluid is green water; when seen it looks like light shining through a green glass; sometimes thicker, like green bile.
Abdomen much bloated, tympanitic; great soreness of the bowels as if in a typhoid state. “White or yellow, watery diarrhoea, chronic or acute, without pain or any marked debility or exhaustion.” It is uncommon for the stool to be yellow when watery. It is yellow when it is mushy; when watery it is light colored, sometimes milky. When yellow it is like corn meal mush, pappy; as in the typhoid state, thin like thin mush. “Diarrhoea; not prostrating; after catching cold during heat of summer; watery; chronic; violent, bilious or mucous of twenty months’ standing; has the appearance of an old man; from acids in young persons who grow too rapidly; after eating, undigested; greenish white; painless.” When we have a diarrhoea from acids we sometimes find symptoms running to Phosphoric acid. In the diarrhoea from sour wine, such as claret, from acids, vinegar, lemons, be sure to study Antimonium crudum. This is a very string feature of that remedy Useful in cholera.
Male sexual organs. Sexual weakness, prolonged exhaustion, impotency; masturbators; nightly pollutions with great exhaustion. Prostatorrhoea; immediately after every erection discharge of prostatic fluid.” Even when passing a soft stool the prostatic fluid is discharged.
Falling out of the hair is a striking feature; falling of the hair from the genitals, whiskers, eyebrows, head. It is closely related to Natrum mur. and Selenium in falling out of the hair. Selenium has falling out of the hair from the head, eyebrows and lashes, beard and genitals, from all over the body. Natrum mur. causes the hair to become very thin; during confinement the hair falls from the genitals.
Phosphoric acid produces a troublesome leucorrhoea; “yellow, mostly after menses, with itching; profuse, yellow; thin, acrid mucus; with chlorosis.” It suits the woman who has been nursing her child a long time, or nursing twins, and who gives much milk. She becomes tired and weakly. Loss of fluids, blood; prolonged nursing, and weakness from such causes.
The tendency of the Phosphoric acid patient at the end of the brain fag and weakness is to run into chest troubles. If a diarrhoea comes on then the chest trouble is averted. Most awful results will ensue from the use of astringents, or any remedy that does not correspond to the patient, that will stop that diarrhoea. He goes into tuberculosis; difficult respiration; coughs and suffers in the chest, and the trouble culminates in structural changes in the lungs. The indications for Phosphoric acid are seldom found in the tissue changes, but they will be found in the early states of the patient, the nervous condition, the milky urine and the diarrhoea, which have existed a long time. Chest complaints are acute; typhoid pneumonia; low forms of fever ending in chest troubles; not unlike Phosphorus. Prolonged pneumonia with the mental symptoms, lack of reaction, infiltration at the end of pneumonia. Haemoptysis.
Prolonged fever ending in feeble heart, with palpitation and the mental symptoms. Palpitation during sexual excitement. Tendency to abscesses after a prolonged fever.
Limbs and joints become affected. Pain in the hip joint. Pains in the long bones between the joints, better by motion. Old gouty constitution. Tissues become weak. Red spots appear wherever the flesh is thin over the bones, and these spots become inflamed and form open ulcers. After fever, abscesses in the muscles, and state of molecular weakness about the ankles; over the tibia where the flesh is thin. Phosphoric acid has a special relation to the periosteum. Periostitis. Pains in the tibia at night. Bone feels as if scraped. Cold hands and hot feet. Ulcers on the legs with watery, offensive discharge.
Boils, abscesses, pustules and other moist eruptions. Suppurating eruptions; tissues become weak.
Nervous state; marked indifference; weak and trembling; fainting; great nervous exhaustion; hysterical affections. Creeping, tingling and crawling all over the body, especially where there is hair, as if in the roots of the hair; formication; especially in those debilitated from sexual excesses. “Formication over whole body.” Sore spots in the spine; lame back. Backache.
“Itching between the fingers or in the bend of joints or on hands.” Herpes; eczema; erysipelas. Large purple spots form on the skin, an extravasation of blood from the capillary veins; ecchymoses. Ulcers on the skin; carbuncles; warts; chillblains; wens; corns with stinging and burning, and parts become black ; feeble circulation in the skin. Skin withered, old and gray, and the patient emaciates.
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.