Homeopathy Papers

Some Observations on the Curative Effects of Petroleum

Last modified on July 18th, 2018

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A homeopathic doctor describes typhus-like symptoms in four cases, which are cured with Bryonia 6.  A genus epidemicus portrait of Bryonia emerges from these four cases.

(Author unknown – Circa 1894)

Translated for The Homoeopathic Recorder –  Volume IX 1894

In communicating the following clinical observations on the curative properties of Petroleum, I desire mainly to show what importance even a lesser used remedy of our Materia Medica may at times obtain by a close observation of the Genius Epidemicus.

On May 27 I was called to see a young man, age18. He had been at work in a neighboring village as a miller, and was sent to me by his physician with the diagnosis of a threatened typhus, giving him along a bottle of solution of Quinine. I saw him first on the 8th day of his sickness and prescribed, without examining very closely, a dose of Bryonia. Five days later I found that he was no better.

He complained of increased lassitude, of much vertigo on rising, pressing pain in the forehead, tearing of the right half of the face, rushing noise in both ears, especially of the right, and deafness of the other. Great dryness of the mouth, a sensation of soreness in the throat, coldness of the hands, and especially coldness of the lower extremities. Face pale, of earthy hue, tongue somewhat coated and moist, body somewhat tympanitic, stool diarrhoeic, yellow, five or six evacuations in twenty-four hours, but they only occur during the day, never at night. Temperature but moderately increased, pulse, while recumbent scarcely above the nor mal, but immediately accelerated on rising. Whether or no it was really a light case of typhus was of less consequence to me than the finding of the right remedy, which was indeed not very difficult. The statement that the stools only occurred during the day made me think of Petroleum, a symptom which, according to one of the American journals, was characteristic of the remedy. In addition to this the other symptoms, especially the fever and head symptoms, spoke for that remedy which I administered in the 6th potency, a few drops every two hours.

Next day the patient was decidedly improved. Vertigo on sitting up was gone. The rheumatic pain of the right side of the head, noises in the ears and deafness was much lessened, and feeling of soreness in throat was gone entirely. His looks and the expression of his face was opener, skin was moist, and stool occurred only once in the past twenty-four hours. Convalescence progressed steadily from then on with occasional transpiration. It would be foolish, indeed, were I to expect of every reader that he acknowledged this as an undoubted effect of Petroleum. One case ending favorably proves nothing, but only when in a certain number of similar cases a like good result is obtained can we form a conclusion as to the effectiveness of the administered remedy.

The following are a few concrete cases which, with slightly varying modifications, responded to the same remedy:

Case 1

  1. K , age 30, a farmer, complains of great exhaustion and chilliness, with flushes of heat, cold limbs, violent, pressing headache, vertigo, drowsiness, roaring in both ears, disagreeable, bitter taste; tongue coated moderately, trembles on putting it forth, stool retarded, temperature but moderately increased, pulse full, not accelerated. The patient looks ashy pale and answers all questions slowly and clumsily, in short, he has all the symptoms of incipient typhus. Petroleum 6 every two hours. Two days after I saw him again and was much astonished at his improved appearance. Above all, the expression of his face was free and a healthy incarnation had replaced the ashy gray of his cheeks. Patient had perspired freely during the preceding two nights, and only complained of heaviness in the limbs and of a dull headache. All other symptoms had vanished and a few days more ushered in full recovery.

Case 2

Mrs. St., age, 40, wife of a mechanic, suffered for about a week from a pressing headache in the forehead with vertigo, disagreeable, bitter taste, secretion of quantities of tough, vapid tasting saliva, nausea, sensation of burning in the hypochondria, pains in the sacrum. Stool hard at first, lately inclined to be diarrhoetic. In addition to this slight fever, alternation of chilliness and heat, a sensation of burning in the veins, great coldness of the lower extremities. Petroleum 6 every two hours caused critical perspiration to appear in the next night, followed by decided improvement next day, and complete convalescence three or four days after.

Case 3

Mrs. B., age 50, has been ailing for a week previous with great lassitude, loss of appetite, vertigo, pressing pain in forehead, tearing in the right ear and deafness of the same, but on the ninth day of her disease she experienced a violent shaking chill. When I arrived she had been sick abed for two days, and complained in addition to above symptoms of a disgusting, bitter taste in the mouth, nausea, pressure on the stomach, pains in the back, cold legs; pulse moderately accelerated, temperature considerably raised and stool suppressed during past three days. Petroleum 6, every two hours. When I saw patient again, after twenty-four hours, she had no fever and was on all points satisfied with her condition. Her head felt heavy as yet, and she was feeble and exhausted. She had a copious, refreshing perspiration in the night. A few days after she was at work among her flowers in the garden

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