Tabes is formed essentially by a sclerosis with degeneration of the radical nerve, accessorily by the lesions of the posterior chord of spinal marrow and secondarily by the lesions of the peripheric nerves.
Such is the anatomical definition of tabes which we must take into account while treating not only with antisyphilitic medicines but also thanks to the use of medicines having an elective action on the sclerosis of nerve tissues or localisations thus precised.
It is a disease of adult, coming in course of syphilis contacted 10 to 15 years ago, and which was not treated by specific medicines. The cases treated become complicated or not by Arsenic; Mercurial or Bismuth toxins. These cases are very frequent; they are less typical and it is to be asked if it is precisely the specific treatment of the Official School of which we cannot deny the incontestable value in the fight against the cutaneous affections or of the affections of humoral nature of syphilis is not responsible in some way for the frequent renewal of nervous lesions. We may believe with some authors that the virus driven from the blood takes refuge in the nervous system and the nervous lesions which were rare among the Africans, Arabs or Negros, who had on the contrary skin affections, have become more and more frequent with the use of the specific toxic compounds, specially of Arsenic. Whatever it may be, let us keep in mind that clinically the symptoms of tabes are always mixed with the chronic meningitis of syphilitic origin, and the Homoeopathic treatment should, if it is useful, follow its action as well on the medullar pyuria as on the lesions of the marrow itself.
What result can we obtain by Homoeopathic treatment in tabes?
We should not hesitate to affirm after treating many cases that the result is superior to that of the Official School.
Face to face with the different symptoms of tabes taken individually and particularly against sensory troubles, the terrible fulgurating pains of pains of the visceras, we are very often better armed than our colleagues of the Official School. As regards myself I could always ameliorate, sometimes even cure completely the painful phenomena of tabes.
The action of Homoeopathic remedies on the motor troubles of tabes is not always very deep. However, the Homoeopathic treatment can help the patient to walk more easily, and can make him more sure of his movements. We may also often act, though not very surely against visual troubles or arthropathies or against the plantar troubles. But it is evident that our success in such a disease will be inversely proportional to the extent and the intensity of lesions of the nerves, the damages caused by sclerosis, and to the degeneration of the radicular nerves and of the posterior chord of the marrow.
In all cases the Homoeopathic treatment will check the progress of the disease, will stop the aggravation which is no doubt an appreciable result.
Let us now study the principal remedies of tabes.
The remedies of tabes
The Metals. Lead, Gold, Silver, Zinc, Iron, Mercury.
Plumbum Metallicum. It causes the anatomic lesions of sclerosis with tremblings, paralysis and muscular atrophies. It would then seem that Plumbum metallicum may not only be the first remedy of sclerosis but often also of tabes. Moreover, lead poisoning causes a form of general pseudo-paralysis. In reality it is not enough that a remedy becomes infallible when it is indicated by anatomo-pathology. Practically Plumbum metallicum has not as wide a filed of action as one thinks. As for example Plumbum metallicum may cause arterial hypertension, but Plumbum cannot ameliorate hypertension.
In fact it is not enough for a remedy to be indicated in Homoeopathic dilution in the disease which is determined by anatomo-pathology even when there is an analogy. It is necessary that the remedy is indicated by pathology and at the same time by its symptoms.
The symptoms of Plumbum metallicum are: Paralysis localised or not. Paresis and paralysis. Abolition of rotular reflexes. Hands and feet are cold. Drawings and numbness of the legs. Paroxistic pains in arms and cramps of the calves.
Sexual weakness. Stubborn constipation, pale face, blue lines on the gums. Inflammation of the optic nerves, optic neuritis, central scotoma. Progressive muscular atrophy. Alternate anaesthesias and pain.
Plumbum iodatum. Same symptoms as the above with more degeneration.
Plumbum phosphoricum. Same symptoms with sexual weakness.
Argentum nitricum. A very important remedy. Debility, tremblings. General aggravation by heat. General left sidedness. Vertigo with the sensation of turning round and round. Amblyopia, momentary loss of vision. Dazzling state. Unstable legs, vacillating. Romberg symptom. Cannot walk in the darkness. Fournier test positive. Gastric troubles specially. Sensation of hot iron and being pierced by a hot knife up to the back. Flatulence. Ulceration of the stomach. Desire for sugar which aggravates. Enterocolitis.
Mentally the person is melancholic, impulsive, hasty. Time passes rapidly.
Paresis of the ciliary muscles. Troubles of vision, black spots, dazzled feeling.
Aurum metallicum. A general important remedy of syphilis and of sclerosis, but it is of secondary importance in tabes. Tendency to suicide. Photophobia and diplopia. Caries of bones. Syphilitic ozaena. Arteriosclerosis of the knees. Sexual troubles, painful erection.
Aurum muriaticum. Some authors prefer it to Aurum metallicum in tabes.
Zincum phosphoricum. Fulgurating pains; insomnia and sexual excitation. Agitation. Convulsive symptoms.
Ferrum picricum. Troubles of the bladder. Nocturnal pollakuria. Important remedy of enlarged prostate. Deafness and troubles of hearing.
Mercurius corrosivus. The only salt of Mercury that may be used in tabes. Very painful ulcerations. Vesical and rectal tenesmus Gingivitis. Tremblings. Sweets do not ameliorate. Aggravation at night by the heat of the bed
Let us now consider Phosphorus, Arsenic, Aluminium, Strontium and Potassium.
Phosphorus. A very important remedy of tabes of which it absolutely imitates the two successive phases of excitation and depression, exaggeration of senses and complete abolition finally. Fulgurating pain at first. Burning and piercing pains, sudden and irregular: Aggravation by touch. Visual and auditory troubles. Sexual weakness, then excitation. Hyperesthesia then anesthesia. Finally: ataxy and paralysis with atrophy. Weakness and tremblings by the least exercise. Suddenly the articulations fail the subject. Numbness of the hands and arms. What characterises Phosphorus is a general degeneration against which sclerosis seems to be an instinctive and natural reaction of defense.
Magnesia phosphorica. Abdominal pains, better by bending double.
Arsenicum Album. Agitation and prostration. Pains Plus Plus. Aggravation of pains at night, from midnight, to 3 a.m. Aggravation by cold. Amelioration by cold applications. A remedy of secondary importance.
Alumina. A remedy of first importance. Romberg symptom. Cannot walk with closed eyes. Believes that he is walking on cotton, or the sensation of swelling of feet and soles are very soft (anesthetic troubles). Renal and bladder troubles. Sensation of spider’s web before the eyes. Time passes very slowly. Hasty. Numbness of legs, when sitting legs crossed. Itching in the heat of the bed.
Alumen. Paralytic weakness of the arms and legs.
Strontium carbonicum. Vertigo. Nervous spasms and neuritis. Fulgurating pains. Aggravation by hot water; hypersensitive to cold.
Kali iodatum. An important remedy of tertiary syphilis in general. Ulcerations of the skin and of the mucosa. Troubles of knees which are swollen with hydrarthrosis.
Kali bromatum. Exaggerated sexual desire, then weakness. Anesthesia of the skin.
Let us also study then acids. They are five in number. All of them have debility as common characteristics.
Picric acid. Sexual excitation in man. Erection.
Fluoric acid: Troubles of capillary and venous circulation. Aggravation by heat.
Nitric acid: Antidote of mercury. Atrocious pains as if from multiple needles.
Phosphoric acid: Sensation of spider’s web on the face (Graphites. Euphorbia Bromium. Borax, Baryta carb., Alumina, Ranunculus sclerata).
Oxalic acid: Fulgurating pains. Numbness. Fleeting pains on localised small points.
Two remedies from the mineral origin of sclerosis are Silicea and Baryta carbonica.
Baryta carbonica: Sensation of spider’s web on the face (Alumina).
Finally Chromium sulphuricum has been used in chronic ulcers.
From the vegetable kingdom we have: Belladonna, Conium Secale, Physostigma, Lathyrus cic, et sat., Gelsemium, kalmia, Helleborus.
The remedies from the vegetable kingdom have different and special actions on tabes.
Belladonna: Remedy of spasms; sometimes fulgurating pains, drawing neuralgias. Specially acts on the eyes. Cuprum, Cactus, Cimicifuga will have as similar action on the spasms and constrictive pains.
Kalmia: It is the most important remedy of fulgurating pain; pains as if from electric shocks coming suddenly; pains cease suddenly to reappear suddenly. Zig-Zag pain traversing the attacked limb. It sometimes acts marvelously. It acts on the heart. Palpitations with slow and weak pulse. Irregular pulse. Numbness alternating or coexisting with pain.
Conium: Action on the marrow. Muscular weakness and tremblings. But it acts better in the ataxy of the cerebellum origin than in tabes. Photophobia. Mental depression. Debility. Celibacy.
Secale cornutum: A remedy of perforating disease. Sensation of walking of ants and numbness, very painful cramps. Extremities are ice-cold. Violent pain in the toes. Skin sensitive to touch.
Physostigma: A remedy of the first importance. Has a typical picture of tabes and all motor troubles. Anesthesia, weakness of the muscles. Rigidity and cramps. Spasms of the ciliary muscles.
Helleborus: Muscular relaxation. Liver very much involved.
Lathyrus: Almost total loss of the power of the legs. Weakness and trembling of legs. But it is rather a remedy of sclerosis, lateral amyotrophic sclerosis, because the reflexes are exaggerated in Lathyrus. It may act only in the beginning of tabes.
Treatment of the ground: Thuja, Luesinum, Sulphur, Ignatia, Nux vomica.
These are the principal remedies indicated in the tabes. These remedies belong to the vegetable and mineral kingdom. In the mineral kingdom some metalloid plants, heavy metals, and acids. In the vegetable kingdom strychniacae, and spasmo-genous plants. It would be naturally necessary to drain the patient not only with these principal remedies, but we should give him the medicines corresponding to the morbid temperament, such as Thuja, Sulphur, Lachesis, etc. Sometimes also Ignatia, Nux vomica which will not act well as ground remedies in high dilutions and rarely repeated. In some cases we may get good effects if we apply the nosode Syphilinum in 30, 200 or M at an interval of two to three months.
On the whole the results will be variable. Very often manifestly more favourable than those that one obtains by specific and classical treatment. But one stumbles against the impossibility of changing anatomically the degenerated nerve tissues or when it is attacked by sclerosis. It is in this way we must direct ourselves in order to get in the future some superior results in the treatment of tabes as well as in all the organic lesions of the nervous system.