Synonym. Ferrum Metallicum. Preparation. Triturations of pure Iron reduced by Hydrogen.
Ferrum acts pre-eminently upon the blood in such a manner as to produce a debilitating and disorganizing effect upon the entire system, the nutrition being profoundly affected. It at first and for a short time only vitalizes the blood and increases the red corpuscles, but soon the water portions of the blood are increased, the albumen is decreased, and the number of red corpuscles diminished, this being accomplished through the influence of Iron on the blood-making organs, the result being that condition known as anaemia in the treatment of which Iron constitutes the most important remedy. The beneficial effects of Iron in anaemic states, however, are not due to the fact that it is supplied a as food the blood which is deficient in this constituent; for, as Hughes truly remarks, “the malady does not ordinarily arise from any failure in the quantity of Iron supplied in the food. If the element is deficient in the blood, the fault lies in the assimilative processes. But Reveil has ascertained that in anaemia there is no change whatever in the amount of Iron present in the blood. However few the corpuscles, they contain within them the full proportion of the metal normal to health; and though under the influence of Iron itself they increase to double and triple their number, they yield no more Iron.” It is also true that when Iron is introduced into the system in large quantities, with a view to supplying the deficiency of Iron in the blood, that it is not assimilated, but may be almost entirely re-obtained form the faeces, having been eliminated by the intestines. It is also true that the immediate primary effects of Iron are to increase the red blood corpuscles, as before noted, but its continued use results in exactly the opposite condition. It is thus evident that Iron does not act as a curative agent by virtue of its absorption as a constituent of the blood, but rather are we led to conclude, from its physiological effects upon the organs and tissues of the body, that it owes its therapeutics virtues to the same essential dynamic agency possessed by other drugs, and its application is subject to the same therapeutic law.
Mind. Anxiety, with throbbing in pit of stomach (Pulsatilla). Excited by the slightest opposition (Aurum, Ignatia); everything irritates or depresses her (Nux v.). Mind confused; cannot collect his thoughts.
Head. Confusion of the head. Vertigo on descending (reverse Calcarea); on looking as running water (Sulphur); when walking. Rush of blood to the head; veins of head swollen; with flushes of heat in face (Aconite, Belladonna). Headache after the menses; with hot head and cold feet. Severe frontal headache, with feet. Hammering and beating pulsating pains in the head; has to lie down. Pressure in frontal eminences; relieved by pressure of the hands, and in the open air. Stitches in temples, extending to forehead. Shooting headache in left side of head. Sticking pain over left eye, coming suddenly. A drawing from the nape upward into the head, in which there is shooting, roaring, and humming. Falling out of the hair (Graphites, Nitr. ac., Sepia, Sulphur); scalp an hair painful to touch (Cinchona, Mercurius, Mez.) and formication.
Eyes. Eyes confused, dull and watery (Euphr.). Eyes red, with burning pain (Arsenicum). Dark before the eyes; giddy. Letter run together when reading or writing. Aching in the eyes, as if they would protrude.
Ears. Ringing in right ear. Over-sensitive to sounds. Foetid discharge from left ear.
Nose. Bloody, purulent, greenish, slimy, acrid discharges. Epistaxis; mornings when stooping; in anaemic patients.
Face. Cadaverous, earthy complexion (Arsenicum). Pale, wan face, greenish or yellow. Blue rings around the eyes, which are dull and lusterless. Fiery redness of the face (Aster., Sabad.); veins large. Flushed face, with burning cheeks. Lips pale.
Mouth. All solid food tastes dry and insipid.
Throat. Feeling of constriction in throat.
Stomach. Voracious appetite (Bryonia, Iodi.). Anorexia; extreme dislike to all food (Antim crud., Ipecac., Nux v., Pulsatilla); always feels full. Eructations and regurgitations of food after eating (Arsenicum, Pulsatilla). Nausea and vomiting of blood after eating (Arsenicum Pulsatilla). Vomiting of food immediately after midnight, or in morning after breakfast. Distention of epigastrium region. Pressure in the stomach after eating (Bryonia, Lycopodium, Nux v.). Heat and burning in stomach, with momentary cramp-like pain in splenic region.
Abdomen. Tightness and fullness in region of liver. Liver enlarged; sensitive to pressure. Spleen large after intermittents. Abdomen hard and distended, but not with flatulence. Flatulent colic at night. Bowels feel sore when touched, as if bruised (Mercurius), or weakened by cathartics.
Stool. Frequent diarrhoea; stools watery (Arsenicum, Podophyllum, Cinchona)., with or without tenesmus, and preceded or not by pain, but always with much flatulence, and worse after food or drink (Aloe, Coloc.). Sudden, watery, painless, without smell (Cinchona, Podophyllum). Diarrhoea, with undigested food, painless and involuntary, during a meal. Constipation (Alumina, Bryonia, Calcarea c. Nux v., Opium, Sulphur). Ascarides in the rectum (Mercurius, Spigelia, Sepia).
Urinary Organs. Urging to urinate; with tickling in urethra extending to neck of bladder; with pain in liver, chest and kidneys. Involuntary urination, especially by day.
Male Organs. Nocturnal emissions, impotence; increased desire.
Female Organs. Menses too late, long-lasting and profuse (Chelidonium). Haemorrhage from the uterus, with labor-like pains in abdomen, and glowing heat in the fact (Belladonna). Desire lessened; sterility. Vagina very dry; coition excessively painful. Before menses headache, ringing in ears, discharge of long pieces of mucus from uterus. Hysterical symptoms after menses; from suppressed menses. Leucorrhoea, mild, milky or itching, with soreness.
Respiratory Organs. Voice hoarse, almost extinct (Causticum). Roughness of the throat. Difficult breathing and oppression of the chest, as if some one pressed with the hand upon it (Nux v., Phosphorus). Uneasy breathing from pain across the chest. Coughing up of blood in the morning in rising from bed. Scanty, thin, frothy expectoration, with streaks of blood; or copious purulent, putrid, greenish or froth; worse mornings. Cough worse when moving. Spasmodic cough, from tickling in the trachea, after eating. Contractive cramp in the chest, and cough, only when moving and waling. Breath fails at the end of a coughing fit. Dry, tickling cough, with blood spitting. Pressure under the sternum, with catarrh and cough.
Haemoptysis, morning and night, in onanists; consumptives; from severe exertion; after loss of fluids; from suppressed menses.
Flying pains in chest; blood spitting (Mille.); persons who flush easily and get epistaxis, dyspnoea, palpitation (Aconite).
Heart and Pulse. Rapid action of the heart Consecutive heart disease. Chlorosis. Throbbing in all blood vessels; soft bellows sound at apex. Small, weak pulse; slow pulse (Digit., Opium).
Limbs. Swelling of the hands, and legs up to the knees (Arsenicum, Ledum). Nightly tearing in arms and legs.
Upper Limbs. Downward shooting pains in shoulders and arms. Creaking in right shoulder joint, with bruised pain on touch, and shooting and tearing down through upper arm; inability to raise the arm. Pinching in right deltoid.
Lower Limbs. Shooting and tearing in the hip joint, which pains as if bruised when touched, down along the tibia; worse in the evening in bed; must get up and walk about (Rhus tox.). Painful drawing in the legs, with heaviness and stiffness. Cramp in the calves; worse during rest, especially at night (Sulphur). Cramps in the soles of the feet and the toes (Sulphur).
Generalities Great emaciation (Arsenicum, Phosphorus). Great weakness prostration; very easily fatigued (Arsenicum, Cinchona). Increased bodily irritability; excitable. Restless; must walk slowly about. Paralysis from loss of fluids. Periodical attacks of pain. Red parts become white. Haemorrhages; blood light or lumpy; coagulates easily. Blood vessels distended, especially those of head, face and feet. Pseudo-plethora; congestions, etc., yet anaemic. Erethistic chlorosis; worse during cold weather.
Fever. Chilly every evenings; hectic fever. Frequent short attacks of chilly shivering. Chilly, and want of animal heat. Sweat profuse, long-lasting, clammy, debilitating. Sweat stains yellow; is foetid on going to sleep. Worse while sweating.
Skin. Skin pale, yellow, sallow, dirty (Mercurius), withered, flabby (Iodi.).
Sleep. Restless sleep at night. Excessive and drowsy fatigue, with restless sleep at night. Sleep disturbed by dreams; much weariness in morning.
Aggravation. At night; in morning; after eating and drinking; while at rest; especially while sitting still; from noise; from conversation; from heat; motion.
Amelioration. From slight exercise; from solitude.
Conditions. In persons who, though weak and nervous, have a very red face; in delicate, chlorotic women; sanguine temperament.
Compare. Arsenicum, Belladonna, Calcarea c., Cinchona, Gelsemium, Helonias, Ipecac., Lycopodium, Mangnan., Nux v., Phosphorus, Pulsatilla, Sulphur, Sabin.
Antidotes. Arsenicum, Cinchona, Hepar s., Ipecac., Pulsatilla, Veratrum alb., Thea.
Ferrum Antidotes. Copper, Mercury, Prussic ac., Arsenicum, Iodi., Cinchona
Iron is undoubtedly often the true homoeopathic remedy in anaemia (see General Analysis(; but it is not the only remedy, and should never be prescribed unless the symptoms indicating it are present. There is always a sort of nervous erethistic condition present if Iron is the remedy. It is never indicated in anaemia characterized by a torpid, sluggish condition. Though there is great weakness, and the patients cannot endure the slightest excitement or fatigue, yet they cannot keep quiet and are better from very gentle exercise. The face is of a pale earthy hue, but flashes very easily; there are frequent attacks of severe headache, the head is inclined to be hot and the extremities cold, and the hands and feet are often oedematous. The patient is very easily excited, is sensitive to cold air and cannot endure pain. Often there is palpitation of the heart, with a well-marked bellows murmur. Iron is an exceptionally valuable remedy in erethistic chlorosis with the above symptoms, and in addition there is usually a milky, acrid leucorrhoea, and pale, watery menses, with lumps of blood, and attended with labor-like pains in the abdomen; also gastric symptoms, especially nausea after eating, or about midnight. Sometimes the menses are suppressed, and vicarious discharges of blood occur from other parts, especially the nose or lungs. Sometimes a remedy for menorrhagia in anaemic subjects. Haemorrhage from the uterus, with labor-like pains in the uterus, and glowing heat in the face; also the consequent anaemia. Headache after menses, with hot head and cold feet. Iron is frequently a valuable in haemoptysis occurring in phthisis, especially in young people who are in the incipient stage of phthisis florida, flying pains in the chest; patients flush easily and get epistaxis, dyspnoea and palpitation; cough spasmodic from tickling in the larynx; thin, frothy expectoration streaked with bright-red blood; later the expectoration may be purulent and greenish. According to T. F. Allen, Ferrum is “extremely useful when the chest symptoms seem to occur from a mind of surging of blood to the chest a n to infrequent symptom in persons whose circulation is feeble; in such cases there are oppression and dyspnoea. It has been prescribed for asthma and even for pneumonia, and it is very probable that Ferrum has been overlooked as a valuable remedy for inflammation of the thoracic organs, for it certainly maybe indicated when there is marked febrile excitement.” Iron undoubtedly produces true febrile paroxysms, and may be indicated in fevers, especially intermittents, when the foregoing symptoms of prostration are present, and when there is a profuse, clammy debilitating sweat; especially after the abuse of quinine, with enlarged spleen, anaemia and dropsical swellings of the extremities. Ferrum is often a valuable remedy in chronic diarrhoea, with anaemic symptoms, and in the diarrhoea which accompany phthisis and other exhausting diseases. The stools are painless, watery, sometimes containing undigested food, and always brought on by taking any food or drink. Sometimes useful in the diarrhoea of teething children; also with vomiting, which too is worse after food, drink or nursing. The drug is also useful in the dyspepsia of anaemic patients; usually a voracious appetite, or else the patient feels full and has no appetite; considerable flatulence; cannot eat, because it produces vomiting and sometimes diarrhoea. Bleeding haemorrhoids. Ascarides. Enuresis; both day and night, in children. Bright’s disease. Violent neuralgias, with anaemia and characteristic symptoms, always better from moving slowly; pains usually throbbing. Paralysis. Exophthalmic goitre. Sometimes useful in lumbago and rheumatism, especially of the shoulders and lower limbs; better from walking about slowly.