Carbonate of barium. (BaCO3). Triturations. Acetate of barium. [Ba(C2H3O2)2]. Solutions.
THE carbonate and acetate have an identical action and can be taken together. Some of the provings were made with the one and some with the other. Baryta muriatica is also similar but has a quicker and more energetic action.
BARIUM is the most poisonous of the alkaline earths, but this is counterbalanced by its slow absorption. It has a very characteristic action on muscular tissue and resembles veratrine in prolonging the contraction of a muscle when it is stimulated, an effect due to the direct influence of barium on the contractile muscle substance. It stimulates both striped and unstriped muscle. The walls of the stomach and intestines are thrown into violent contractions which result in vomiting and purging, due to the action of the drug on unstriped muscle. Barium salts when injected intravenously cause violent tonic and clonic spasms from stimulation of the spinal cord and medulla; they finally paralyse the central nervous system. The heart is accelerated, and at first the blood-pressure is markedly increased from contraction of the muscular walls of the vessels; eventually the heart beats in an irregular peristaltic manner and ceases in systole, as in digitalis poisoning.
Barium is absorbed slowly from the intestines and is to some extent stored in the bones. It is re-excreted by the intestinal mucous membrane, mere traces only appearing in the urine.
Post-mortem examination in cases of fatal poisoning shows the brain and its membranes to be much injected, as in congested apoplexy; the stomach to be inflamed, and the lungs, liver, kidneys, intestines and rectum to be intensely congested.
Of baryta show that the pressure of blood in the arteries is increased and the heart beat usually slowed an enfeebled, but in some cases it is fluttering, or there are two or three quick beats and then a number of slow ones; palpitation. In all there is excessive muscular debility, especially of the lower limbs, jerkings of the arms and legs occur, which are aggravated when the patient is under observation, and in some of the provers paralysis of motion was observed in the left arm; the facial muscles twitch, there is a sensation of tension of the whole face, as if covered with dried white of eggs, or as if overspread with cobwebs; the countenance appears listless. In cases of poisoning, convulsions, paralyses and paraplegia occurred. In nearly all the provers vomiting and purging were prominent symptoms and were accompanied with thirst.
Respiration is slowed and the pupils are dilated. Baryta has a marked influence on the glands, which become enlarged and indurated.
The depressing influence of baryta on the brain gives rise to a mental condition of a peculiar kind. In the child there is great backwardness in development, so that he cannot be taught, cannot fix his attention, he is late in learning to talk and walk, not from weakness of bone and muscle, as in patient’s requiring calcarea, but from inability to understand and remember; the child does not want to play like other children, but sits listless in a corner, shunning the approach of strangers, timid and whining. Carried on to adolescence this issues in dwarfishness, a stunted condition of mind and body. At the other end of life we have premature old age, senile childishness, early failure of memory and mental capacity, irresoluteness and want of self-confidence.
Sexual.-In men there is diminished sexual ability, progressing to impotence, though there may be increased sexual desire; the prostate is enlarged and the testes atrophied. There is a great desire and constant urging to pass water and frequently inability to retain it. In women leucorrhoea precedes the menses, which are scanty and may last only one day.
The glands become enlarged, especially the mesenteric glands, and those about the neck and occiput in children. They easily catch cold, and each time the glands become swollen and do not completely subside again, so that with successive attacks they remain progressively larger and harder. The enlarged mesenteric glands are associated with a distended and hard abdomen, and enlarged glands at the hilum of the lung cause a chronic cough, which is worse at night and from lying on the left side. The parotids are submaxillary glands are swollen and painful.
Persons of all ages who are sensitive to baryta easily catch cold, they are very sensitive to cold, and cold air and cold washing aggravate all their complaints. On catching cold they contract a coryza associated with a swollen upper lip, the tonsils are likely to be inflamed, mucus collects in the larynx and trachea, with hoarseness, dyspnoea, cough and a sensation as if the lungs are filled with smoke or mucus. Owing to nervous and muscular weakness the patient cannot expectorate the phlegm, and respiration is rattling. Sometimes the cough is only relieved by lying on the face. Palpitation, often present, is accompanied with soreness about the cardiac region and is worse from lying on the left side and from exertion, however slight.
Whenever there is inflammation or swelling the part tends to indurate; ulcers have hard edges, sinuses have indurated walls, the eyelids are thickened as well as the tissues of the eyeballs.
The body as a whole wastes and there is great general weakness.
The skin is sensitive and feels tense, “hide-bound,” the scalp is sensitive to touch and is the seat of dry or moist eruptions, the hair falls and frequently there is baldness. Formication may occur all over the body, moisture and soreness are present between the scrotum and the thigh, the skin itches and is sore and humid and there is foetid, cold sweat on the feet. Various pains may occur, and are burning, cutting, digging and gnawing, but these are the exceptions, symptoms are predominantly painless.
When headaches are present they are congestive with a sensation of pressure in “the brain,” ” a feeling as if the forehead is pressing down over the eyes,” or there may be a sensation of something loose in the head, moving or falling from side to side. Contrary to the general rule with baryta the headaches are better from exposure to cool, open air, and worse from heat (arsenic).
BARYTA CARBONICA should always be thought of in complaints occurring in backward children, especially if they are associated with glandular enlargements, ex. gr. for the tonsillar affections met with in these patients. It will abort quinsy if taken early-will expedite the discharge of pus when this has formed, and will subdue any enlargement left behind. It is useful for habitual colic in children, with enlarged mesenteric glands, and for chronic cough with enlarged mediastinal glands and swollen tonsils, worse at night and from lying on the left side, better from lying on the abdomen. Baryta carbonica is a remedy for granular and thickened eyelids and for corneal opacities.
This drug is one of the most important remedies for cases of mental deficiency in children where the condition is due to a “constitutional state”-e.g., chronic tuberculous conditions or disturbed endocrine balance, rather than to local cerebral lesions. Such a condition is clinically most frequently congenital, but it may be acquired. A child or adolescent, after being well nourished and normally developed, may emaciated and cease to advance mentally. This may happen after an acute illness-ex. gr., typhoid fever and brain illnesses like encephalitis or ineffective spinal inflammations.
Baryta is of great value in marasmus associated with enlarged glands, large abdomen, emaciation of the limbs and tissues and dwarfishness of mind and even a body. It should be given to an adolescent when he is childish in manner and behaviour and only partially developed, and the remedy is useful in epilepsy when this condition is present. The chloride has been found on value in disseminated sclerosis when there are tremors, fulgurating spinal pains and a high systolic blood- pressure, with a low diastolic (contraction of blood-vessels with slow or weakened heart beat). In older people it is indicated in atheroma of the arteries and in hypertension of the pulse (hyperpiesis). This had led to its use in aneurysm, and even thoracic and abdominal aneurysms are reported to have been cured by it. It has certainly a high claim to consideration in atheromatous conditions.
The drug is also useful in senile decay with paresis of the limbs, feeble, tottering gait, loss of memory and of self- reliance; also in apoplexy and the tendency to it in old people.
Baryta muriatica is recommended in mania, when sexual desire is increased, and in left-sided hemiplegia.
Baryta is also useful in retention of urine in old people from paralysis or atony of the bladder, as well as for incontinence from los of power in the sphincter vesicae. It is useful in the male in gleet when the discharge is of old standing, painless, whitish, offensive and without inflammation. For sterility in women it may be curative where the breasts have shrivelled, lymph glands have enlarged, menstruation become scanty and adiposity developed, suggesting deficient ovarian and thyroid secretion.
It has been used in otitis and hardness of hearing with cracking noises in the head, due to catarrh of the Eustachian tubes, and for cataract.
It has been prescribed for a miscellaneous variety of ailments as follow :-
The disorders of the alimentary system that have been treated with this drug are much less frequent than the provings would have led one to expect; they are salivation, difficulty in swallowing from spasm of the oesophagus rendering deglutition difficult in old people, nausea and easy repletion, a sensation as of a stone in the stomach, epigastric pain, worse at every step, a distended and hard abdomen felt painfully above the pubes, as if the parts would burst, and either a scanty, hard stool, or less often a sudden urging to a loose one. Baryta carb, has been used but seldom in gastric complaints.
The left side is most affected in complaints requiring it.
Illness that can be traced to checked foot-sweat are often suitable for baryta carbonica (silica).
It has been recommended for sarcoma and fatty tumours in the neck, for warts and for wens on the scalp: also for paralysis, weakness or hardness of the tongue.
1) Backward, dwarfish children, mental powers especially defective, memory defective.
2) Subjects sensitive to cold and who easily catch cold; colds, often complicated by tonsillitis.
3) Indurations-lymph glands, prostate, &c.
4) Chronically enlarged and hard tonsils. Quinsy.
5) Soreness of toes, &c., from offensive foot-sweat, and complaints from checked foot-sweat.
6) Premature old age.
7) Atheroma; degenerated arteries; high blood pressure; aneurysms.
8) Children requiring baryta carb. tend to emaciation, old people to obesity.
9) Tumours: warts, fatty tumours, wens or sarcomas.
From cold air, cold washing, damp weather, warm food, in the sun and near a warm stove (headache), raising arms, mental emotions, thinking on the complaint (oxal. acid), presence of strangers,evening until midnight (cough); exertion (palpitation); lying on left side and on painful side; after eating and sitting (backache).
From being alone, cold food, open air (headache), lying on abdomen (colic, cough).