Matricaria chamomilla. N.O. Compositae. Tincture made from German camomile.
THE orthodox use of camomile is limited to hot fomentations made with the flowers, and is regarded merely as a pleasant method of applying moist warmth.
The mental state produced by chamomilla is one of oversensitiveness combined with irritability and contrariness; everything is intolerable.
Head.-A throbbing unilateral headache, associated with hot perspiration of head and forehead, results from proving this drug.
Ears.-Noises in the ears, chiefly one-sided, earache, stitching pain, with heat and swelling are produced by chamomilla.
Eyes.-Blepharospasm, with photophobia, and yellow discoloration of whites of eyes are caused.
Nose.-Coryza at night, keeping patient awake, and keen sensitiveness to smells, pleasant or disagreeable, may be present.
Face and Mouth.-One side of the face is hot and flushed, while the other side is pale and cold. Provers are very sensitive to face-ache and toothache, which are worse after warm drinks or from going into a warm room, worse after coffee and at night, and during pregnancy;salivation worse at night. The face sweats after eating and drinking.
Digestive Organs.-Salivary glands well and are painful-the pain being described as like a plug pressing in. The tongue has a white or yellow coat and a bitter taste is present. Eructations tasting of food, sour or nasty, fail to give relief. Nausea and vomiting, bitter or sour, and pressure or weight in the epigastrium are the chief symptoms; aversion from warm drinks is characteristics.
Abdominal distention, with a flatulent colic round the umbilicus and extending round to the loins, is the chief intestinal symptom. Colicky pains are liable to be excited by fits of anger, and to be followed by diarrhoea. The stools tend to sliminess and looseness, with greenish or white and putty-like colour, and are likely to be acrid, especially in children. The combination of colours in the dejecta-green, whitish and yellow mucus mixed with faces- have caused them to be likened to “chopped eggs and spinach”; they may smell like rotten eggs. If piles are present, they are likely to become sore and cracked.
Respiratory System.-A dry, tickling cough, often described as a “stomach cough,” with hoarseness and sore feeling in the larynx are the chief respiratory symptoms. The sputum may be bitter.
Gynaecological.-Dysmenorrhoea, with profuse loss and dark clots, and spasmodic pains, like false labour-pains, pressing upwards, are recorded in the pathogenesis; the patient bears the pain badly. Acrid, yellow leucorrhoea is present during the menstrual intervals. The breasts are tender (even infants’) and the nipples become sore.
Extremities.-So-called rheumatic pains are severe at night, causing restlessness and obliging the patient or prover to move about to obtain relief. The feet burn and patients want to put them out of bed to cool; the ankles give way in walking.
Sleep.-The pains disturb sleep, and though he is drowsy sleep does not come to the patient-especially is this the case with children, they lie with eyes half open, and cry out as if frightened, or moan during sleep.
Pains.- The different pains, whether in limbs, head or face, have similar modalities. They are aggravated by heat, in the evening and early night, and by open air, especially strong winds. Complaints follow, or are made worse by a fit of anger or during teething; they are ameliorated by warmth (except toothache, &c.), by mild, damp weather, by walking about (limbs), in infants by being carried about. The amelioration from warmth is to the general well-being of the patient; the aggravation from warmth is a local or “particular” symptom. Hahnemann summarizes the chamomilla pains as follows in the M.M.P., vol. i, p. 385, dudgeon’s translation: “The camomile pains have this peculiarity as a rule, that they are most severe in the night and often drive the victim almost to despair, not infrequently with incessant thirst, heat and redness of one cheek; sometimes also with hot sweat in the head, even in the hair. The pains of camomile seem generally intolerable, and not to be endured. All these characteristic symptoms of camomile point to the similar cases of disease capable of being cured homoeopathically by it.”
Type of Patient.- Nervous, excitable people with light brown hair and light complexion, addicted to the excessive use of coffee or narcotics. Infants are specially susceptible to its action.
The curative powers of chamomilla, like its disease producing powers, seem to act almost exclusively through the nervous system. This, of course, is not incompatible with local areas being subject to its influence, either causatively or curatively. In his preface to this remedy Hahnemann writes (loc. cit. p. 382), “Camomile… seems to diminish in a remarkable manner oversensitiveness to pain, or the too acute sufferings of the organs of the emotions from excessive pain… it is unsuited for persons who bear pain calmly and patiently. I attach great importance to this observation.”
Before passing on from the qualities of chamomilla pain it may be well to state again what seems to be its heart modality. Provings and clinical experience show that it is best suited to chilly subjects whose general condition is aggravated by cold, open air if on the chilly side, and in any case by strong winds. This relationship towards cold may extend to some local conditions such as diarrhoea and colic, but the provings and experience equally indicate exceptions to the rule (aggravation from cold) in the case of toothache, and facial and cervical neuralgias which are made worse by warmth. Carroll Dunham, an exceptionally accurate therapeutist, extended this exception to colic, by which he differentiates chamomilla from colocynth, the latter having “relief from warmth” as an indication. We do not know what evidence there is to support Dunham’s view, and should not regard “relief from warmth” as contra-indicating chamomilla in colic if the rest of the evidence supported its prescription.
The mental and nervous states indicating this drug have been summarized in the pathogenetic section. Its clinical application can best be indicated by quoting a few descriptive expressions or conditions. Children’s means of expressing themselves vary from those of adults. Restlessness and fretfulness characterize the chamomilla child or infant; the first is shown by an importunate desire to be carried about, the movement having a soothing effect: the second is evidenced by its petulantly refusing, or throwing away what it had just asked for, or by screaming, and slapping its attendant. In an adult, peevishness and irritability are shown by anger and rudeness, he “cannot speak a civil word.”
This mental state is most conspicuous in dentition or its accompanying diarrhoea or “stomach-ache.” or where an infant has been upset by its mother’s milk after ab outburst of violent anger on the part of the mother.
In adults and children, toothache, neuralgia, febrile attacks, “bilious” attacks, diarrhoea, when accompanied by the aforesaid mental state, will be amenable to the same remedy. It may also be required in women for dysmenorrhoea, for pains [preceding or during parturition, for “after-pains” or threatened miscarriage, in all of which conditions the indications will be the pain modalities and the mental state, the suffering being intolerable and the patient moaning, whining, screaming or being abusive.
To these, spasms or convulsions may be added, and unless some strong indications for aconite or belladonna be present chamomilla will soothe and remove these also. Twitchings of the muscles of the legs, and especially cramp in the calves, in pregnancy or apart from that state, will be benefited by this remedy. The form of dysmenorrhoea to which it is suitable is the spasmodic variety, where the paroxysms of forcing-down pain are accompanied by excessive discharge of dark, clotted blood. It should be borne in mind that chamomilla is no specific for spasmodic menstrual pain and, like other so-called specifics, will fail unless the already mentioned characteristics are present in the particular patient under treatment.
The toothache and neuralgia of chamomilla occur in paroxysms, are worse at night, when they “seem utterly intolerable.” The pain is of a tearing character and may shoot into the ear or other adjacent part, and is worse from the application of warmth (ex.gr., from lying against the warm hand or pillow), by warm drinks, or on entering a warm room. It may be brought on by face, but that of limbs or chest is equally amenable to the remedy, even if the pain be called is rheumatic.
Dr.Margaret Tyler (“SOME DRUG PICTURES’0 in her graphic way writes, “Chamomilla is one of the out of proportion drugs. Arsenicumhas prostration… out of proportion with the malady. Chamomillahas pains out of proportion (pains of labour, toothache, &c.).”
The cough of chamomilla is mainly of a sympathetic kind- associated with indigestion, dentition, earache, pyrexia or an ordinary “cold” It is a hard, dry cough, is worse at night and during sleep, it does not always waken the patient if a child. The nocturnal aggravation is chiefly before midnight, and 9 p.m. is a favourite hour; an attack may be brought on by anger. If associated with fever, that may be worse at nine in the morning.
Headaches have similar modalities, worse from 9 to 12 p.m., in nervous, sensitive people; the pain, often one-sided, is of a throbbing or bursting character and is said to be worse when thinking about it, i.e., is relieved by some distracting occupation. While toothache and earache are liable to be worse from heat, headache is relieved by it. The scalp often perspirates in chamomilla headaches-warm sweat.
Digestive symptoms.- Colicky, griping pains, coming in spells, relieved by heat, with desire for stool and accompanied by evacuating of foetid flatus (or “like rotten eggs”) which does not always relieve, are typical of this drug. Thirst is likely to be conspicuous in many of these cases. Appetite is poor, but sometimes on eating it returns. Eating may produce nausea, distension, flatulent colic, heat and sweat on the face, and toothache. Numbness is a feature not seldom present with the rheumatic or neuralgia pains of chamomilla: it causes a paralysed, restless feeling, which is relieved by walking about.
Chamomilla antidotes ailments resulting from excessive coffee drinking, and vomiting coming on as an after effect of taking morphia.
Where local lesions and indications are lacking, some of the following general symptoms must be present to warrant the prescription of chamomilla.
(1) Mind and Disposition.-The patient is oversensitive to pains. They seem intolerable, and make the sufferer frantic, so that he may lose control of himself. He is of a contrary disposition and is upset by every small opposition: either he becomes morose and silent, or (more often) he is irritable, rude and snappish; children do not know what they want, are fretful and petulant, scream and refuse what they asked for, strike their attendants, etc. “Bad temper” and its effects may indicate chamomilla.
(2) The patient is usually of the chilly type, cold himself, sensitive to cold air and strong winds, which annoy him and aggravate his condition.
(3) Pains.-Notable local exceptions exist to the aggravation from cold-viz., toothache, earache, facial and other neuralgias and rheumatic pains are worse from warm applications and in a warm room. Headache, however, and usually abdominal pains (colic) are relieved by warmth. The pains are paroxysmal, and worse from 9 p.m. to midnight.
(4) Restlessness is notable in cases of pain and fever. A child is soothed by being carried about, but moans and whines even when quiet, or it has fits of screaming; an adult tosses about or is driven from bed and must walk about his room, though this does not necessarily relieve his pain.
(5) Outbursts of anger, or the effort to restrain them, bring on various ailments; coffee drinking may do the same or may aggravate complaints present.
(6) Reflexes are too active, and cough, convulsions, pains, &c., are readily excited.
(7) Sleep is disturbed by pain or restlessness; patient is sleepy, but cannot sleep. Morning, starting and twitching, and talking during sleep.
(8) Local flushings occur, such as heat and redness of one cheek, the other pale or cold. (The red cheek must not be a temporary flush from lying on that side.) Hot, burning feet (soles) make the patient put his feet out of bed (sulph., puls.).
(9) Numbness and paralysed feeling with pains, or in alternation with them (platinum, cocculus).
(10) Named complaints for which the drug is useful, provided the modalities and temperament are amongst the above-named indications: (a) Dentition; (b) toothache and rheumatic and neuralgic pains: (c) diarrhoea, especially of infants; (d) dysmenorrhoea and menorrhagia; (e) excessive and irregular labour-pains, rigid os uteri, and “after-pains”; (f) intestinal colic (infants); (g)cough, chiefly reflex; (h) earache and headache; (i) colic and gastralgia; (j) mammary pains and tenderness (mother or child).
(11) Type of patient most amenable to chamomilla- hyperaesthetic, excitable persons, with light complexion and hair. Infants specially susceptible.
Cold, damp and windy weather, warmth (facial neuralgia, toothache), 9-12 p.m., before menses (irritable temper), anger, coffee, eructations (stomach pain).
Walking (headache and rheumatic pains), being carried about, warmth (headache), warm wet weather, warmth (general), cold water in mouth (toothache).