Generalities: If we were practicing in the old-fashioned way and considered the wonderfully volatile nature of Ammonium carb. in some of its forms we would only look upon it as an agent to relieve fainting and simple affections and use it in the form of hartshorn to comfort old maids and some other women.
But Ammonium carb. is a deep-acting, constitutional medicine, an anti-psoric. It effects rapid blood changes, it disturbs the whole economy and it establishes a scorbutic constitution. Its fluids are all acrid.
The saliva becomes acrid and excoriates the lips, so that they crack in the corners and middle, and become raw and dry and scabby.
The eye-lids fester and become dry and cracked from the excoriating fluids from the eye.
The stool is acrid and excoriates.
The genitals of the female become raw and sore from the acrid menstrual discharge and leucorrhoea, and wherever there is an ulcer upon the skin the fluids that ooze from it excoriate the parts round about, this excoriating character belonging to all of the exuding fluids and discharges.
This remedy has bleeding of black blood, often fluid blood, that will not coagulate, flowing from the nose, the uterus, the bladder and bowels.
The blood is dark, showing that a great disturbance is taking place in the circulation.
The skin has a mottled appearance intermingled with great pallor.
It produces a violent action upon the heart, in which there is audible palpitation, and every motion aggravates the pulsation. With this is associated great prostration.
It is rather a strange coincidence that the ancients know that Ammonium carb. would overcome difficult breathing from cardiac attacks and that aqua ammonia or hartshorn is used today to a certain extent in indications similar to those mentioned.
They use it as a stimulant, but when indicated the single dose very high is enough.
The ancients knew enough, also, to use hartshorn in the low forms of pneumonia, at the turning point in the advanced stage; that is an old allopathic practice, but it had a homoeopathic relation to some of the cases.
Once in a while they would cure a patient in the awful stage of prostration with heart failure at the end of pneumonia, and because they relieved such a one it was then established as a remedy for all future use.
Ammonium carb. has a state analogous to blood poisoning, such as we find in erysipelas and in the most malignant forms of scarlet fever, with prostration, great dyspnoea, so that it seems as if the heart were giving out.
With this there is an unusual patchy condition of the surface, due to the paralytic condition of the blood vessels, enlargement of the glands, duskiness and puffiness of the face.
Ammonium carb. has been used allopathically in just such a state for centuries and it has demonstrated its homeopathic relations by its efficacy.
Heart: It belongs to the simple enfeeblement, weak heart, emaciation. There is quite an absence of symptoms and a lack of response to remedies.
The patient must lie in bed because of the palpitation and difficult breathing on motion. It is a matter of mere weakness. Such a case furnished me much amusement for a year and a half.
There was a woman in this city who answered just such a description; her state was one of peculiar cardiac weakness with dyspnoea and palpitation on motion; I had been treating the case, but had not fully studied it, and as she did not progress under my management she was taken out of my hands and taken to one of our most able neurologists, who put her upon the “rest cure” and promised that in six weeks she would be perfectly well.
But at the end of six weeks she was worse than ever and a cardiac specialist was then brought to examine her.
He said it was true the heart was not vigorous, but there was no organic affection and consequently the case did not belong to his branch.
Then a lung specialist was brought in, and later she was examined by all kinds of specialists. All of her organs were fully investigated, and it was announced that nothing was the matter with them; but the poor woman could not walk because of her sufferings and palpitating heart.
She had a little dry, backing cough that did not amount to anything, but her chest was examined and there was nothing wrong with it.
But after she bad been in this continual fire for about three months, and was steadily failing, the side of the family that were my adherents prevailed against the others and I went to see her again.
I continued to study the case, which was extremely vague, having nothing but those few symptoms, and finally I settled upon Ammonium carb., and she has been on this remedy for eighteen months.
She now climbs mountains, she does everything she wants to do and is about ready to go to housekeeping.
She has grown from a case of nervous prostration, brain fag and any other diagnosis that might have been heaped upon her to a well woman, and under that one remedy.
This shows you how deeply this remedy acts. One dose generally acts upon her for from six weeks to two months, steadily improving her each time.
Exhaustion coming at every menstrual period. An attack of cholera, or what one might mistake for cholera, coming the first day of the menses; a copious diarrhea.
Sometimes it is an exhaustion with vomiting, exhaustion as in Veratrum, with coldness, blueness, sinking, dyspnoea.
Asthma: The kind of dyspnoea that I have been speaking of up to this time is not an asthmatic dyspnoea; it is a cardiac dyspnoea due to a weak heart; but this remedy has also asthma, and in the asthma there is this peculiarity: if the room is warm the dyspnoea increases until suffocation seems imminent; as if he would die for want of breath.
He is compelled to go out into the cold air for relief. While the warm room increases the dyspnoea in asthmatic complaints the bodily state of the patient is worse from cold.
The complaints of the body and the headaches are worse from cold.
Bones: A common thing running through this remedy is aching in the bones. The bones ache as if they would break. The teeth ache violently from every change of weather or from change of the temperature in the mouth. The jaws ache or the roots of the teeth ache.
A prominent feature is falling out of the hair, the finger nails become yellowish, the gums settle away from the teeth and bleed, the teeth become loose, all in keeping with the scorbutic constitution.
Hysteria: This remedy has hysteria, and it is not surprising that nervous women carry a bottle of ammonia hanging to their chain.
Many women do this because as soon as they go into a close place they faint and must use their hartshorn.
This condition in the woman, if in a mild degree, is not hysterical; it belongs to the sensitive nature of women; but if carried to a more marked state. It is hysterical.
The hysterical fainting will be averted by the use of the hartshorn. Ammonium carb. will stimulate the action of the heart and relieve.
Depression: The remedy is full of depression of spirits. She weeps much, has fainting fits, anxiety, uneasiness and exhaustion from motion. Over sensitive about what she hears other people saying.
Complaints from listening to others talking. Complaints, both mental and physical, are worse in the wet weather, and she is sensitive to cold, raw, wet weather.
The gouty complaints. nervous complaints, prostration, cardiac complaints, dyspnoea, headaches, etc., come on in raw weather.
Headache: A congestive headache comes on in wet weather and from weather changes. Sensation as if the brain would ooze out through the forehead and eyes.
“Pulsating, beating in the forehead as if it would burst.”
The headache is worse from stepping, especially the head aches that come at the menstrual period.
Headache worse in the morning. This medicine. in such headaches, with the symptoms I have described, shows its antidotal relation to Lachesis, because Lachesis produces all this state of prostration.
In the old text-books you will notice this expression, “Inimical to Lachesis.”
This means when Lachesis has been given in high potency and has acted curatively, Ammonium carb. is not likely to act curatively after it, and is, some times capable of disturbing the case, confusing it and mixing up the symptoms.