(From: A System of Medicine Based Upon the Law of Homeopathy Vol 1, 1885)
The remedies for asthma must be considered in regard to their adaptability to the spasm and to the interval. Resort will be had to various methods and substances by the patient himself, in order to relieve the severity of the attack, and if anything has been found by experience to afford any relief in former fits, it is best to acquiesce in its continuance.
Remedies for the Attack
The chief remedies are: Aconite, Arsenicum, Bryonia, Ipecacuanha, Lobelia, Sambucus, Cuprum and Hydrocyanic acid.
Aconite – When the attack has been induced by cold, dry air, or subjection to a foggy atmosphere.
Arsenicum – For nightly paroxysms, with great restlessness and anxiety, and burning pains in the chest. There is perspiration of the whole body, with alternate hot and cold sensations, and prostration.
Bryonia – In addition to the symptoms of the spasm, there is some bronchitis, sharp pains around the chest, much worse by deep inspiration and by motion.
Ipecacuahna – This is the remedy used most frequently, and is recommended by all schools. The dyspnoea is very considerable, there is constriction of the throat and chest. The cough is constant, with rattling of mucus, nausea, and vomiting. The surface is cold and damp, and the face pale. The remedy is given when there is no immediate assignable cause for the attack.
Lobelia – is indicated for a paroxysm induced by gastric trouble. There is immense development of gas in the stomach, and little or no cough. The attack is often preceded by a prickling sensation all over.
Sambucus – Is of service when the degree of dyspnea is beyond that witnessed under Ipecacuanha, and the cough is less. The patient evidences extreme anxiety, the face becomes violet in hue, and asphyxia seems imminent. Loud sibilant rales accompany the dyspnoea. Sambucus is usually employed in the tincture.
Cuprum – Is especially useful in the purely nervous variety of asthma. Its onset is sudden, the respiration is very spasmodic, is complicated with cramps and convulsive twitchings, and terminates suddenly. The attack may occur in conjunction with the menstrual epoch, or in consequence of emotional excitement.
Hydrocyanic acid – Is recommended by Hughes for the class of cases which suggest Cuprum. He uses it in recent and uncomplicated asthma, when there is difficult and spasmodic respiration, with contraction of the throat, and feelings of suffocation.
Remedies for the Interval
Arsenicum, Nuz vomica, Sulphur, Pulsatilla, Antimonium tart, Iodine, and Aurum.
Arsenicum – When this remedy is called into requisition for the paroxysm, it is frequently found to relieve also the habitual, wheezy, dyspnoeic state. The idications are : precordial anxiety, with exacerbations at night ; cough, accompanied by the expectoration of a transparent, frothy, viscid fluid. When chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or cardiac disease complicates the case Arsenic is often of service. It is also to be kept prominently in mind when the asthma is a neurosis, probably alternating with some other nervous disorder, as well as when it depends on a suppressed eruption.
Nux Vomica – For irritable persons who are accustomed to drinking coffee or liquor. After the subsidence of an attack the tongue exhibits a thick yellow coating. There is a feeling of fullness in the stomach, with belching, and constipation. As Dr. Bussell says of it, there remains a sort of physical memory of the struggle, and the patient feels that no liberties must be taken, either of diet or exercise. If the attack began with sneezing and fluent coryza, or if vapors of copper or arsenic started it, or if it is merely spasmodic, in consequence of a hypersensitive pneumogastric, Nux and Strychnia are most useful remedies.
Sulphur – This remedy stands well in the treatment of asthma when skin affections alternate with the dyspnoea, but it is even a more powerful agent in the complication of the asthmatic with the gouty constitution. The attack is marked by sibilant dyspnoea, bluish lips, and it recurs once a week, usually in the night.
Pulsatilla – For a case of asthma ill-defined in its onset; with an abundant catarrhal expectoration, vertigo, vomiting, prostration, and palpitation of the heart . It may have been due to deranged menstruation, hysteria, uremic poisoning, or a suppressed rash.
Antimonium tart – This has great abundance of secretions, with rattling of mucus, and difficult expiration. It is specially recommended for old people and young children.
Iodine – In the form of Potassium iodide (Kali iodatum) this remedy is in much favor among some old school practitioners, and Baehr points out its well-marked homeopathicity by its effects when taken for a protracted period. The attack usually starts about midnight, lasts half an hour, and is succeeded by lassitude and an irresistible desire to sleep. The patient is nervous and restless during the interval, and the asthma appears to be entirely of the spasmodic variety.
Aurum – For morning asthma, with bluish face and great palpitation of the heart ; suffocative attacks, with spasmodic constriction of the chest The accompanying symptoms are of involvement of the heart and pulmonary congestion.
Other useful remedies in the treatment of asthma are :
Belladonna – When the attack comes on in the afternoon or evening, with congestion of the face and head ; worse in hot, damp weather.
Cannabis – Is of use only in massive doses, and after thus using it once, may prove to be entirely ineffective in subsequent attacks. Its action is narcotic, and hence palliative. Given in the first attenuation it is said to be serviceable in humid asthma.
Chamomilla – For children during dentition, and often for hysteric asthma, especially if induced by anger, and accompanied with flatulence.
Carbo veg – For old and feeble people whose attacks come on after midnight, and so severe that they seem to be dying. There is distension with wind and inability to raise it.
Digitaline – For a purely nervous asthma, without accompanying lesions of the lungs, heart, or bronchi. The paroxysms are frequent and ol comparatively short duration. Digitalis is a palliative even when right ventricle dilatation coexists. The attack is preceded by palpitations, and there is marked venous congestion of the head during the spasm, followed by violent headache. It is also useful in men debilitated by sexual excesses.
Kali bichromicum is recommended in humid asthma, when the signs of mucus in the bronchial tubes exceed the amount actually present. The gastric mucous membrane is simultaneously affected.
Moschus – For asthma in people of a nervous, irritable, or hypochondriac disposition. There is a violent feeling of constriction in the throat, without cough.
Opium or Morphine in a low attenuation, will often give great relief without inducing narcotism. The respirations are slow and labored, the face is cyanotic, the sensorium depressed, and cough constant.
Pulmo Vulpis – Von Grauvogl used a first centesimal trituration of this as a remedy in an old subject suffering with asthma humidum, and met with brilliant success.
Sanguinaria is recommended in hay asthma and in post-climacteric asthma.
In the latter instance Dr. Ludlam gives it upon the following indications : severe dyspnoea, teasing, hacking cough, dryness in the throat, and an inclination to take a deep inspiration during the paroxysm.
Spongia has rendered some service in asthma due to phthisis, by mitigating the severity of the attacks. The spasm is marked by complete loss of voice, wheezing respiration, and contraction of the glottis.
Stannum, Plumbum, Zincum, Ferrum, Argentum have all been accorded a place among the remedies for asthma, but their indications are not always well defined, nor are they clinically proved to be reliable.
The following remedies may be consulted, as possibly indicated :
Apis, Asafoetida, Bovista, Bromium, Calcarea carb., Causticum, Cistus, Cocculus, Colchimm,Gelsemium, Graphites, Grindela, Hepar, Hypericum, Kali carb., Lachesis, Lactuca vir., Lycopodium, Mephitis, Natrum sulph, Nitric acid, Nux moschata, Phosphorus, Sabadilla, Salicylic acid, Sepia, Silicea, Staphysagria, Sticta, Thuja, Veratrum.
Article by A. K. Crawford MD – From: A System of Medicine Based Upon the Law of Homeopathy Ed. H. R. Arndt, M.D. Vol 1,1885.