TIN SALTS paralyse the central nervous system in the frog and afterwards the heart. In mammals certain parts of the nervous system are paralysed and others stimulated. Vomiting, colic and diarrhoea occur with great general weakness.
THE PROVINGS confirm and supplement these physiological results gained from experiments on animals.
The general condition caused by stannum is that of great weakness not only muscular but also mental. Weakness is displayed in every function but especially in the respiratory. The voice is feeble and soon lost when talking and singing, which speedily bring on a feeling of weakness and emptiness in the chest; cough shatters the patient and seems to tear the chest to pieces; he feels weak and sinking at the epigastrium; call to stool is ineffectual from weakness of expulsive power in the abdomen and rectum; he is always tired, must constantly lie down, and though he is restless and desires to move about, and is relieved by so doing, he must soon desist; the slightest mental effort fatigues him and he has an insuperable aversion from attempting any sort of work. The next most important general symptom is found in the character of the pains caused by stannum. They come on gradually, slowly increase to an acme and then as slowly decline. They are cramping, aching or tearing and are relieved by firm pressure; a child`s colic, for instance, will be ameliorated by turning the child over on its stomach, or by carrying it with the abdomen pressed against the nurse.
These two characteristics, viz., extreme weakness and the crescendo decrescendo character of the pains are the important sign-posts for the choice of stannum in the treatment of pains.
The more detailed effects of the drug on the various organs can be considered most conveniently with its therapeutics.
Head.-Stannum causes a tired feeling in the head as if mentally overworked, and a heavy sensation, most marked in the forehead and occiput, which may increase till it becomes an aching or tearing pain, and if in the forehead is made worse by stooping. Sharp, shooting pains occur in the temples and above the orbit. A frontal headache may come on after waking in the morning and last all day, it is worse from driving in a cold wind and better from warmth, rest and pressure; or a supra-orbital pain may commence in the morning, increase till noon and gradually decrease till evening the so-called “sun headache” (cact., Kalm., nat. mur., sang. spig.). A supra-orbital headache increasing to a height and gradually decreasing may occur at any time without reference to the sun. In either case stannum will almost certainly cure. It is also suitable for migraine where this symptom of gradual increase and decrease obtains.
Mind.-These headaches usually occur in patients who are debilitated and reduced by much suffering, who have a sallow face, sunken eyes are depressed, irritable and peevish, and who do not like to hear people talk. They are also restless and want to be continually moving but are quickly exhausted. When this mental state is associated with abdominal pains about which the patient is unduly anxious, we have the condition called hypochondriasis, and stannum will then be a good remedy.
Eyes.-Stannum causes soreness and shooting pains in the eyes, especially at the inner canthus; it has cured styes in that position.
Nose.-It produces a permanent congestion of the palato-nasal mucous membrane, which causes the nose to be stopped up with secretion and hinders respiration. Thick yellow phlegm comes from the posterior nares and the patient may blow out phlegm and blood from the nose after waking in the morning. Blowing the nose causes a shrieking noise in the ears.
In the alimentary system the saliva is increased and the appetite lost, or it may be much exaggerated. There is frequent itching at the tip of the tongue and blisters may be present on its right side. Constant formication occurs at the roots of the lower incisors. The throat feels full, as if swollen, dry and rough. A thick, viscid phlegm adheres to both surfaces of t he velum palati, which gives rise to violent efforts to detach it, and these efforts provoke an almost irresistible desire to vomit. Swallowing is painful. Nausea is frequently present and is aggravated by the smell of cooking. Acid eructations occur, sometimes hiccup, and not infrequently vomiting of mucus. There is a weak, empty, sinking sensation at the epigastrium or distress and heaviness, as from slow digestion, or gastralgia which compels the patient to walk about for relief, but he is too weak to continue doing so. For these affections of the stomach, especially for gastralgia of this character, stannum is indicated.
In the abdomen it causes violent colic, often about the region of the umbilicus, of a cramp-like character, which is relieved by hard pressure and by passing flatus. Stitching pains occur in the region of the liver and in the iliac regions. There is unsuccessful urging to stool with passage of flatus only, or liquid, slimy stools are passed with wind and much spluttering. The stools are usually soft and mushy and are accompanied by much straining on account of inactivity of the rectum. There are sometimes pricking and shooting in the rectum and a burning sensations in the anus after stool.
Sexual.- In the male, stannum produces sexual excitement and emissions with excessive prostration, or erotic dreams without emissions.
In women it causes itching of the vulva and bearing down and prolapse, which are worse when pressing at stool. Menses are early and profuse. An orgasm is easily excited, even scratching the skin of the arm is sufficient. Stannum is thus a very valuable remedy for bearing-down and prolapse in debilitated women, and also for leucorrhoea in the same subjects when it follows the cessation of the characteristics neuralgia. Labour- pains cause breathlessness. The milk is altered and the child rejects it,
Respiration.-The voice is low, husky and gives out in talking and singing the patient is relieved for a short time by coughing up a little mucus, but the voice soon fails again. The chest feels empty and very weak; talking and singing seem utterly to exhaust him. Stannum is a good remedy for singers when they suffer in this way.
The cough requiring this remedy may be hard and dry, arising from tickling in the larynx and trachea, but it is more usually loose, with quantities od expectoration. It is caused by talking, singing, lying on the side and drinking anything warm. The sputa look like white of egg, or yellow-green pus, are putrid and of sweetish taste. The patient often vomits when coughing. For chronic bronchitis with dilated bronchi, and for phthisis, when there is much muco-purulent discharge of a greenish colour and sweat taste, stannum is a good remedy. Stannum iodide acts even better than the pure metal in these phthisical cases.
In the back and limbs stannum produces many sharp, shootings pains, especially in the wrists, metacarpal bones, fingers and toes. Cold and bruised pains occur in all the limbs, which feel heavy and weak. The deep muscles at the back of the neck are painful to touch near their occipital insertions, and the action of raising and lowering the head causes pain in them. The ischial tuberosities are painful to sit upon. Wandering, tearing gnawing pains occur in the chest, mostly on the left side, and sharp pains are produced in the trapezius over the right shoulder making it different to raise the arm. The modality of slowly increasing and decreasing, together with exhaustion, would indicate stannum for these pains.
Nervous system.-It has been mentioned above that stannum has both a stimulating and paralysing effect on the cerebrospinal nervous system, and that it can cause convulsions. The convulsions for which it is suitable are those produced reflexly from the alimentary tract, and are most often from teething or worms. They are opisthotonic and the thumbs are drawn in.
The only therapeutic use to which stannum has been put by the orthodox school has been as a vermifuge, but it has long been discarded in favour of more efficacious means. Nevertheless it produces a good many symptoms usually found associated with worms, such as itching about the nose, full sensation in the throat and tickling there, ravenous appetite, intestinal colic and convulsions, and when, in addition, the distinguishing characteristics of stannum are present, it is the right medicine to give, and will both cure the symptoms and often get rid of the worms.
Fever, &c.-Some of the provers of stannum experienced decided febrile symptoms, viz., frequently chilly feelings, an evening rise of temperature to 100 percent F., a quickened pulse, and profuse perspirations, which were hot, debilitating and of mouldy or putrid odour. The fact that it can produce these symptoms of fever renders it all the more suitable in the cases of phthisis, for which it has already been recommended as a remedy.
(1) Great weakness, most marked in the chest, and seeming to proceed from it.
(2) Excessive physical and moral depression : heaviness and indolence.
(3) Pains gradually increase to their height, and as gradually diminish.
(4) Pains are relieved by hard pressure.
(5) Restlessness, but too weak to keep moving.
(6) Sweats are profuse, debilitating and offensive.
(7) Great fatigue in the chest from talking; and in the whole body.
(8) Sputum profuse and sweet tasting.
(9) Sweat in early morning, of mouldy odour.
(10) Prolapse of uterus, vagina and anus; sinking feeling in epigastrium and hypogastrium.
(11) Bronchitis, bronchiectasis, phthisis.
From touch rest, lying (but must lie down), using the voice, going down stairs (faintness and muscular weakness), ascending (breathlessness), warm drinks (cough), during stool (exhaustion and prolapse), weeping (cf. bell., croc., cupr., verat.).
From pressure, walking (pains, but must soon rest), sitting bent over (cough and colic), hard pressure (colic), cough or expectoration (hoarseness).