Anaemic ulceration of the Stomach. Malignant ulceration; two cases. Gastric ulceration threatening malignancy. Ornithogalum Umbellatum; short remarks upon.
THIS chapter is chiefly made up from a paper that appeared in The Homoeopathic World, April 1898; it is here reprinted with some few additions.
It would be impossible to adduce more striking and more satisfactory evidence of the great power possessed by plant remedies, irrespective of any special mode of preparation, than is afforded by the following cases:
CASE I. ULCERATION (ANAEMIC) OF THE STOMACH.
The first case is that of a Sister of Mercy, aged 30, date of coming, November 15, 1897, in whom a strong anaemic history existed, and with whom sickness of stomach had prevailed for some twelve years. The symptoms began at eighteen years of age with anaemia and cessation of menstruation for six months; since then the monthly period ceases on one occasion for about the same time, and now nothing has been seen for 22 years. She used to have a good deal of left submammary pains, but this is now only felt occasionally. Her principal symptoms is that after meals a weight is felt in the stomach; this goes on till froth comes in her mouth with much clear fluid, and then her food is vomited, bringing with it great relief. Stomach sometimes very distended, generally in the morning, and lately the feeling after food has been more of an emptiness than of a weight. Feels frightfully depressed when these sensations come on. Bowels are regular, but for two years suffered from obstinate constipation; there is no melaena, and no uterine bearing down, or leucorrhoea.
Actaea racemosa O A, given. A friend brings the report to me (November 29) that the sister ” has been much better till last night, when she felt swollen and was unable to eat anything this morning.”
Reported also having been sick on Saturday the 27th, after dinner, the only time within the fortnight. Her spirits are much better, and the principal thing the now complains of is being very flatulent with a sour taste as from fermentation and as if everything turned acid.
For this last symptoms I did not think it necessary to alter the selection, and gave again Actaea rac.O A.
One of her follow sisters reports (February 15, 1898) that in every way improvement has gone on, and that to all appearances she is in perfect health, though the catamenia are still absent.
In selecting the remedy I had more in view the past symptoms than the present state of the patient. The submammary pain had formerly been a prominent symptoms, and this, with anaemia and tendency to irregularity of the menstrual functions, was characteristically in Actaea condition.
She has remained perfectly well.
CASE II. ULCERATION OF STOMACH, APPARENTLY MALIGNANT.
Miss J., aged 50, a thin, spare, drawn-featured woman. Date of case, November 6, 1897. Fifteen years ago vomited blood, and dates her sufferings from this, but has always been subject to gastric pain.
Symptoms: Pain in the stomach, with sickness; vomiting two or three times a day; feels a pressure in every nerve of the body, sometimes in one part, sometimes in another, with pain across the chest, sometimes after food, sometimes at night, and sometimes on an empty stomach; a great deal of wind and sometimes a swollen feeling across the lower chest; occasional heartburn with rising of food; nasty canker taste in the morning; sleep not good from the pains; wandering dreams; bowels are confined. Previous treatment has been at the Kilburn Dispensary, under several doctors, at a homoeopathic dispensary, and at a principal homoeopathic hospital. Ornithogalum Umbellatum O A, was prescribed.
November 13. Not sick since Monday the 8th, but still has pains; the pressure pains are bad; the pain in the lower chest is constant, but it is better at night than before dose; wakes in perspirations at night a new feature; still dreams; pressure across lower chest same; heartburn and nasty taste much better; bowels confined. Nil.
November 27. Has been much better, but to-day had a good deal of pain across the chest when coming here; worse on left side; perspirations at night are less; “goes cold before the pains:” no heartburn, but nasty taste still and confined bowels. Again Ornith. Umb.O A.
December 11. Pain across chest much better; perspiration less; coldness same; had much looseness of the bowels next day, after dose; they continued acting three or four times a day for a week; sleeps better and dreams less. Nil.
January 19, 1898. Very much better in every way; food keeps down well; vomiting about twice a week; perspiration less; bowels confines. Nil.
February 8. Looks a different woman; has not been once sick; still has some discomfort, but able to bear the pains better; mouth and throat are dry in the morning. Unit dose repeated of Ornith. Umb.
The Ornithogalum Umb. is a species of garlic (Allium Sativum), and, like it and Allium Cepa, produces indigestion with excessive eructations of wind. (See p. 87.).
The sister if this patient has, since the respect was written, died of cancer of the stomach. I had not treated her.
This patient has on about three occasions, since the above report was taken, required a dose of the Ornith. Umb. for pain, and when seen (May, 1899), was in almost perfect health.
CASE III. ULCERATION OF THE STOMACH, APPARENTLY
My third case is in many respects like the last. A lady asked me to prescribe for the following:
Mrs. K., aged 62, living at Hammersmith, a widow, a poor tailoress. Date of case January, 1898. Last summer twelvemonth was seized with profuse vomiting of blood and melaena and became very ill. For a fortnight lay unconscious; her lips only kept moist by ice and brandy, ” but was fed artificially.” After long months of illness gradually recovered, but has lived since on milk and slops and Quaker Oats.
Is now again threatened with the same symptoms, having lately spat up clots of blood, and feels whenever she turns in bed as if a bag of liquid turns also. Her doctor says it is gastric ulcers and that she will never be cured, but by care may liver some time longer. Suffers much with swollen feet and legs and inability to walk with any ease without her work. Her mother, aunt and brother died of cancer. January 12, 1898, gave Ornith. Umb. O A.
On January 23, 1898, lady writes: ” Mrs. K. sent me word she took the dose on 12th, and that she could hardly believe it possible it was the powder which had made her feel so much better. I (the lady) heard again from her stating that she continued to improve, and last Friday I called to see her and found her looking so bright and so much stronger. She told me that all that oppression at her stomach was gone, and the `fluid sack,’ as she described it, that rolled about in her inside had seemed to go down, and she felt nothing of it now, and the symptom that particularly struck her (the writer) was the cheeriness, the freedom from oppression that made her feel so light.”
Nothing more was given, and on February 10 report came in that she was not feeling so well again, has the same symptoms on the right as on the left side of stomach; a great oppression and a drawing sensation just as she used to feel for a long time before the vomiting of blood came. Again Ornith. Umb. O A.
On February 17 I received this letter:
“DEAR DR. COOPER, Mrs. K. walked here to see me yesterday morning looking really well, with a colour in her cheeks. She told me she had received from you another wonderful powder, which she had taken, and almost immediately afterwards had felt another woman. The drawing pains had ceased, and the dreadful feeling of oppression and illness had been almost immediately relieved. She said she had gone about her work singing, and left light and happy, and the bad of fluid which she describes as wobbling about in her stomach had gone down into quietness, &c. She really looked so well that I think she must be curable. Do you not think so ? The change in her appearance yesterday was so great from the time before when I saw her.”
March 11, 1898. Report received: Mrs. K. is keeping perfectly well.
No further report came to hand till November 2, 1899, when the patient returned, complaining of a drawing sensation in the stomach and a general feeling of gastric discomfort; otherwise her health had been very good. This went away at once on the exhibition of the above remedy. Considering that she reached her 66th birthday in March of this year (1900) this is eminently satisfactory.
These cases tell their own tale; they need no further comment. I simply give the facts, and readers may put whatever construction they please upon them.
The next case is reported for the first time:
GASTRIC ULCERATION, THREATENED MALIGNANCY.
Florence F., aged 22, (date of case, May 12, 1898), was treated in the London Hospital when 17 years old for anaemia and sickness of stomach; remained for seven weeks under treatment and then returned to work, only to knock up again, however, for a year after had to go into the London Temperance Hospital with the same symptoms and with gastric haemorrhage in addition. Gastric ulceration was then diagnosed.
Remained for five or six weeks in hospital and then went to the country; after this resumed work but had to knock off from a seizure of scarlet fever.
Following this, gastric symptoms again began; was treated at home, but unsuccessfully, and was obliged to seek admission to University College Hospital. This was two years ago. Here she remained for seven weeks and then was transferred to a Convalescent Home at East-bourne, where she remained on milk diet for a month. Again she resumed work, but was obliged to give up and go into a Home at St. Leonards, and from this again to the University College Hospital, and after a three weeks’ stay in hospital again returned to work in the country until the November previous to my seeing her. Then, for the third time, received admission into the University College Hospital, and remained under treatment till she again went as an in-patient of the Hospital at Eastbourne (Princess Alice’s) for ten weeks. Then again came to town where she has been getting worse and worse for the last month.
Symptoms. Great pain after eating, from the pit of the stomach through to the back, with violent retching; submammary stitch, worse when she retches. Had haematemesis within the last seven weeks. The pain in the pit of the chest goes on constantly; had to put on mustard leaves to assuage it last night.
Monthly periods irregular, four months since the last.
Comes over faint with a taste of blood in mouth when attempting to eat, has headache across the eyes with a hammering in the head going from the forehead to the occiput and coming on irregularly.
Actaea. Rac. O A, prescribed. A week after reports that she has been throwing up everything. Dose repeated.
June 23, 1898. Much improved the last few weeks; only is much constipated; food keeps down much better.
Ferrum phos. 3 x. 3 ij., two grains thrice daily.
July 7. Is much better, can eat meat now which she had not been able to do since seventeen years of age, has been having nose- bleed for two or three days. monthly periods still irregular and is constipated. Spiraea Ulmar. O A.
July 27. Keeping down food well, but has occasional nose-bleed and also pain in stomach. Ferrum phos. I X., one grain in single dose.
September 15. Gets sick if attempts work, and bowels are still confined. Up to this time general improvement had gone on, but it is evident it was not complete; the long continued delicacy had told its tale and had sadly enfeebled the digestive organs.
It was at this juncture, I gave her a unit dose of Ornithogal. Umbel., and shortly afterwards she went into service and has since got on perfectly well.
It may be well to interpose some remarks upon this very interesting plant.
“The Ornith. Umbellat. (Vide Treasury of Botany, Art. ORNITHOGALUM: London, Longmans) is a common weed in many parts of England and Scotland. It is known as the Star of Bethlehem from its being abundant in Palestine and having star-like flowers. It is also supposed to be the Dove’s Dung of Scripture ( 2 Kings ch. vi.); and its bulbs, which are wholesome and nutritious when cooked, are eaten to this day in Palestine. The genus is closely allied to Scilla, from which it is distinguished only by its flowers being persistent instead of deciduous, and white greenish or yellowish instead of blue. All the species are bulbous plants, with radical and not stem-sheathing leaves, and terminal racemes of flowers, each flower with a withered branch beneath it. Their perianth has six distinct segments, spread out star-fashion; and their sex stamens have flattened filaments, and are almost free from the perianth.”
Belonging to the natural order Liliaceae it is botanically allied to Asparagus Officinalis, Paris Quadrifolia, Convallaria Majalis, Scilla Maritima, Agraphis Nutans, Colchicum Autumnale, Allium Sativum, Allium Cepa, and Polygonanum Officinale, besides of course many other less known but valuable remedies.
My acquaintance with it in cancer cases was due to the very distinctive disturbance it produced in a woman very sensitive to all alliaceous flavouring substances in food. The dose was taken at midday, and the same evening distension of the stomach and duodenum came on, with frequent belching of mouthfuls of offensive flatus obliging her to loosen her clothes, and this was accompanied by the most hateful depression of spirits and desire for suicide, a feeling of complete prostration and painful sinking across the pit of the chest, and a feeling of sickness that kept her awake the greater part of the night, and that did not pass off for several days.
The subject of this disturbance was about 54 years of age, of a quite a sanguine temperament, inclined to enfeebled digestion, and with a history of pleuritic seizures, and a possible phthisical tendency, but otherwise not subject to any settled form of disease, and not sensitive top remedies.
Since the medicinal thrill above recorded her general strength, digestion and capacity for the enjoyment of life have manifestly improved.
The Ornith. Umb. in those sensitive to it goes at once to the Pylorus, causes painful spasmodic contraction of it, and distends the duodenum with flatus, its pains being invariably increased when the food attempts to pass the pyloric outlet of the stomach. Depression of spirits, a sick and faint feeling before food, with pain, heat and soreness in the pit of the chest, and a suffocating feeling and pain under the arm-pits, in the shoulders and spine, offensive flatus constantly rising and coated tongue and tendency to diarrhoea, with a feeling of want of support in nephritic regions, and a weak feeling in the knees will call for
Agonising feeling in the chest and stomach, starting from the pylorus with a flatus that rolls in balls from one side to the other, loss of appetite, phlegmy retchings, and loss of flesh, also point to it.