From: Practical Homoeopathic Therapeutics Ed. W. A. DEWEY, M. D.
Digitalis: Digitalis is known chiefly for its action on the heart, and it is rare that a patient suffering from an affection of that organ does not get Digitalis in some form. There is no doubt but that it is a much abused drug. Its symptoms are, however, clear, and briefly stated, as follows:
The pulse is slow but primarily strong, there is great weakness of the cardiac tissue, and secondarily the pulse becomes weak. Extra exertion increases its rapidity, but diminishes its force, so that the quick pulse becomes irregular and intermittent. The heart feels as if the blood stood still. There is weakness and numbness of the left arm, and often blueness of the surface of the body, or cyanosis. The patient fears that the heart will stop beating if he should make any motion.
Gelsemium has the opposite symptom to this. The patient is roused out of sleep feeling that the heart will stop beating, and he is impelled to move about to keep it going.
A number of drugs have numbness of the left arm in heart affections, notably Aconite, Kalmia, Rhus and Pulsatilla.
The Digitalis patient has a doughy look to the skin; there is often a sick feeling at the stomach after eating.
Apis has a symptom that will lead to its use in heart affections, namely: “He does not see how he can get another breath.”
Like Arsenic and Lachesis, the tendency of Digitalis is downwards, and it must be used cautiously and only when indicated homoeopathically. There are numerous other symptoms that will indicate Digitalis. Disturbed sleep, apprehensiveness, deep sighing, slow respiration, dry cough, suffocative spells. In fact, such symptoms as may be caused by an irregular distribution of the blood. Digitalis is also indicated in dropsical conditions dependent on heart trouble; anasarca, cardiac dropsy associated with slow pulse, urine suppressed or scanty. Apocynum is similar in this relation.
Cactus grandiflorus : Perhaps the next most important remedy in heart affections, from the homoeopathist’s standpoint, is Cactus. It’s well known characteristic symptom, “Sensation as if the heart were grasped with an iron hand” which clutches and relaxes alternately, is ever present to the mind. It has, however, other symptoms. It is similar to Arnica in chest soreness and constriction; it has pains shooting into the left arm, oedema and a quick, throbbing, tense, hard pulse, which may or may not intermit. Carditis and pericarditis may call for Cactus.
There is great irritation of the cardiac nerves, and Cactus may be found to be the remedy for angina pectoris. It is a remedy adapted to hypertrophy of the heart in young people. It is also very useful in intense palpitation and fluttering sensations about the heart. It is indicated for such symptoms in young girls about the age of puberty and at menstrual epochs.
Kalmia latifolia : Kalmia is a remedy for cardiac hypertrophy, especially after rheumatism, and has the symptom so common in heart affections, namely, “numbness of the left arm.” There is with Kalmia much pain and anguish about the heart, some dyspnoea, palpitation, and pressure from the epigastrium towards the heart. The heart is irregular and intermits every third or fourth beat. There are shooting pains through the chest to the scapula.
Kalmia is an excellent remedy for cardiac troubles when they have been caused by the suppression of rheumatism by external applications. The pulse of Kalmia is slow, but not as slow as that of Digitalis, Phytolacca has tingling and numbness of the right arm, but the three chief remedies having this symptom in the left arm are Kalmia, Rhus and Aconite.
Acute pericarditis depending upon rheumatism will call for Kalmia, the sharp pains taking away the breath will call attention to it. Hering says Kalmia has a most beneficial action in diminishing too rapid pulsations of the heart.
Spigelia : Spigelia is another remedy for the painful affections about the heart. It stands at the head of the list for acute carditis and pericarditis. There are sharp pains shooting from the heart to the back, and radiating from the heart down the arm, over the chest, and down the spine. There is palpitation worse from any movement of the arm or body. There is a purring sensation felt over the cardiac region when placing the hand thereon. The pulse is intermittent, not synchronous with the heart beat, and the slightest motion of the arm or hands makes the patient worse. Heart symptoms accompanying neuralgia call for Spigelia. Irregular and tumultuous action of the heart are well met by Spigelia. At times the heart beat is even audible. We sometimes find this symptom under Arsenicum, which is useful in hypertrophy of the heart from climbing high places, mountains, etc., but Spigelia comes in earlier in heart troubles than does Arsenicum.
Rheumatic endocarditis will often find its curative remedy in Spigelia and it has a most beneficial action in angina pectoris. In cardiac inflammations it comes in after Aconite. It corresponds well to chronic affections of the heart, particularly valvular disease and hypertrophy.
Aconite : Among the remedies having a marked influence on the heart is Aconite. It has, as has been seen, numbness of the left arm. It also has tingling in the fingers, associated with heart disease. Aconite produces a cardiac congestion, with anxiety, oppression and palpitation, worse when walking. Lancinating stitches occur, and also attacks of intense pain. It is the remedy in uncomplicated hypertrophy of the heart.