Alumina, Oxide of Aluminium : pure clay. Triturations up to 6c.
THE chief effect of moderate doses of this substance is to cause dryness and fissures to mucous membranes, associated, in some situations, with a certain degree of loss of muscular power.
The drug seems to be specially useful at the extremes of life, but his must not be taken too rigidly.
The most frequent and successful use of alumina has been in constipation in infants and aged people. There is absence of desire for stool and lack of power to expel it; even soft stool requires unusual and exhausting effort. The faeces in alumina cases are usually formed of small hard lumps compressed together. In other cases they are soft adhere to the orifice during evacuation, as with platinum. This feature is found in old men with enlarged prostates; pregnant women are similarly affected. Similar lack of expulsive power may be experience by young chlorotic women.
The subjects in whom alumina symptoms are well marked are usually thin dry people, chiefly infants and old men.
Mind.-In the latter, obstinacy of disposition is noticeable associated with dread of impending evil, especially about failure of mental power, which indeed may be beginning. This may be indicated by the wrong use of words, by mistakes in writing, by inability for consecutive thought, and by the feeling of being constantly in a hurry. The mental symptoms are worse in the morning; on waking the patient may not be sure of his identity and he may be so bewildered and distressed that he begins to think of suicide. Such impulses may be suggested by the sight of blood or of weapons. This highly strung state may alternate with one more placid. Vertigo is debilitated subjects or after an illness is noticeable, especially on closing the eyes.
Certain spinal symptoms may likewise be present, which have led to the use of alumina in locomotor ataxy-such are, impatient of tactile sensibility, delay in appreciating a pin-prick, unsteady gait, the patient cannot walk or even stand with his eyes shut, and the soles of feet feel numb, and the floor too soft. Cures have been reported with such symptoms, but data were not given to enable one to verify the diagnosis of locomotor ataxy.
Girdle pain with cramps in limbs and back comes on.
It should be said that though such symptoms as those described may be valuable guides when present, clinically it is not necessary to reject alumina in less profound maladies, such as constipation, because the mental condition described is not in evidence.
Digestive Tract.-The dryness mentioned as characteristic of alumina shows itself in the throat by a tickling feeling with scanty viscid mucus, frequent clearing of the throat, as found in “Clergyman’s throat,” with thick elongated uvula and a dry cough; “fish-bone” sensation in throat.
In the stomach, burning, sour eructations and loss of appetite may be present. In anaemic girls who need alumina, hyperchlorhydria may be present, associated with pallor and perverted appetite-craving for chalk, charcoal, starch, or coffee-grounds. Potatoes disagree. The rectal symptoms have been mentioned-the need to strain much with soft stool is very prominent.
Urinary Symptoms.-The flow is slow in starting: frequent micturition, especially at night, in old men, and inability to pass water without straining (as for stool) are indications for this drug; during such straining prostatic or seminal fluid may be passively expelled from the urethra (anacardium).
Genital Organs.-In women profuse, acrid leucorrhoea may be present, making the vulva sore and even impeding walking. It is relieved by cold bathing (aloes). After menstruation, even if not excessive, patient is exhausted mentally and physically. Diminished sexual desire and power in men, with weight and fulness felt in the rectum or perineum, are indications for alumina.
Limbs.-A variety of pains and evidences of weakness, tottering gait, numbness, tearing, itching, especially of fingers and toes and between them, may feature in the alumina case. Itching and redness of toes, like frost-bite, may come on worse after getting warm by walking and after scratching.
Skin.-No definite rash is developed by alumina, but it is useful for intolerable itching, worse on becoming heated. Scratching is followed by pain. This severe itching appears to be associated with digestive disturbance and constipation.
Alopecia-eyelashes, scalp, & c. -occurs.
(1) Crawling itching, as of a cobweb on the face or back of hands. Chronic dryness-inability to sweat.
(2) Chronic conjunctivitis, with burning, leading to granular lids, may be arrested by alumina.
Sleep may be disturbed by itching of skin, followed (naturally !) by sleepiness in the morning. Dreams of many kinds occur; on the whole the alarming or nightmare varieties predominate.
1) Depraved appetite, abnormal cravings.
2) Constipation, infants; no desire and no power; stool lumpy and hard or soft and adhesive.
3) Profuse acrid leucorrhoea.
4) Exhaustion after menstruation.
5) Premature failure of mental powers, mistakes in speech and writing, premonitions of evil, sense of hurry.
6) Time seems to pass abnormally slowly.
In cold air, while sitting still (limbs), from eating potatoes and indigestible substances warmth (chilblains), early morning, on waking; coitus; alternate days.
While eating, from warm weather and warm drinks, from damp weather (see also causticum), after moving about a little (hands and feet) in the open air if kept warm; cold bathing (leucorrhoea).