A native of Ethiopia and Arabia, thence to West India, America, etc. Hahnemann’s Lesser Writings contains an article on Coffea.
We use the raw not the roasted bean, as roasting destroys the caffeine. It belongs to the same family as China and shows a similarity of symptoms. The following case shows its action well.
M. Charcot was consulted some weeks before his death by a Paris merchant regarding a peculiar condition of mind and nerves that afflicted himself and family and which also seemed to affect any new servant of the family. The family were all extremely irritable, so much so that hardly a meal passed without some explosion and a scene. The least provocation was the signal for an outbreak; the father would storm, the mother would scold and the children would cry. A general hysteria seemed to control the whole family. The father was afflicted with tremors and involuntary gesticulations and was extremely irritable; the mother was subject to sudden attacks of migraine and was terribly hyperaesthetic a sudden noise, a too bright light, or any sudden impression would at times bring on the attacks of general pain; the daughters were hypochondriacal and hysterical; the boys were emaciated and nervous; and the youngest child, a little girl of eight years was suffering from incoherent muscular movements and chorea. In the middle ages the family could have been termed bewitched, and benedictions and exorcisms resorted to for their relief, and they might have ended their lives on the wheel, at the stake or by drowning in a vat. An inquiry into the condition of the home developed the fact that the father was a coffee manufacturer and merchant, being extensively engaged in the roasting and packing of coffee extracts and essences. The family lived in apartments above the factory and stores, and the furniture, clothing and rooms were all well impregnated with a strong coffee odor. A removal to the pure air of the seashore and a change of habitation on return restored the family. Charcot diagnosed the trouble chronic caffeinism.
The active principle of coffee is called caffeine and is similar to that found in tea.
Coffea is a general stimulant of cerebral activity. It increases the kidney or urinary secretion, it increases the function of the skin and uterus. The increase of brain power after coffee is undoubted. Coffee prepares for work, both mental and physical. It affect especially the reasoning power, unusual activity of mind and body is a condition produced by coffee and hence a guiding condition for its homoeopathic use. It produces oversensitive.
Nervous erethism; all the senses are more acute, sight, hearing, smell and taste are finer; the sensorium is more vivid, hence the great susceptibility to pain. Pains are felt intensely, seem almost insupportable, driving to despair. Talcott says, “The absolute and unutterable astheticism of sensitiveness is reached when Coffea is the remedy.” Great sensitiveness with general excitability, ecstasy, full of ideas. Reads fine print easily, music sounds loud and shrill.
It is useful in hemicrania, as if a nail were driven into the parietal bone, worse in open air, in toothache relieved only by ice cold water in the mouth.
The genitals are very sensitive, cannot be touched, itch voluptuously on account of the painful sensitiveness.
Coffea is a most useful remedy in labor, the pains are insupportable, and the patient feels them most intensely. Protracted cases where there is great nervous irritation. Hahnemann tells of a patient who suffered from after pains and loss of blood, and a craving for coffee, which stopped both, though in health she could not support coffee.
Itching of anus. Spasmodic stricture of rectum, spasm of sphincter ani. Pain constitutes a very prominent and characteristic indication for Coffea, being always most intense.
Nervous palpitation with irregular intermitting pulse, it acts on the nerves of the heart. Cactus acts on the muscles. Trembling of hands. Palpitation especially after surprises, pleasant news, joy, etc. It will often relieve the last moments of the dying, particularly those suffering from abdominal complaints and consumption.
Coffea is very useful in sleeplessness, because the patient is full of ideas, great mental activity, especially after pleasant surprises, sleeplessness owing to excessive agitation of body and mind and here it must be given high. Sleeplessness from the bad effects of too good news!.
Cimicifuga. Sleeplessness of drunkards, delirium tremens, opium eaters. There is pain in the base of brain, extending to the nape of neck and sometimes to the shoulders. Mentally there is a sense of crushing depression, a feeling as if the mind were wrapped in the blackness of eternal darkness. Throughout the body there is a condition of active and distressing tremulousness.
Arsenicum. Sleeplessness of those who are suffering from blood degeneration and from malnutrition, accompanied by an exhausted nervous system. The brain and whole body are anaemic. Restlessness and anxiety due to anaemic irritability. (Aconite, restlessness due to erethistic hyperaemia). The Arsenicum insomnia needs liberal use of milk and beef-tea warmth, and rest both day and night. Such a patient needs restorative treatment.
Phosphorus. For sleeplessness following intense mental over-work and anxiety, coupled with distressing confusion, pain and vertigo in the head. Patient falls asleep easily enough, but is awakened as easily. He sleeps and wakens many times in a single night. Five drops of the 3x in half a glass of water, spoonful doses every half hour during the evening, followed by a bowl of hot soup or a cup of beef tea at bedtime, will generally relieve the pain and restlessness of brain fag and secure a sound and refreshing sleep.
Silicea is the remedy for sleeplessness of utter mental and physical inanition, when food fails to nourish. Then the heart loses courage, and there is object despair and total absence of hope. Talcott says it will often work a wondrous and magical change in the condition of affairs.
Coca in cases of mental exhaustion, utter prostration at times, and again the patient is bright and well and eager for work. Sometimes you meet a patient who is suddenly awakened after going to sleep by a sense of shock in the brain. Weak and nervous women and worn out brain workers are peculiarly liable to such conditions. If it is a spasmodic anaemia Coca is the remedy.
Opium. Sleeplessness from shock of bad news, fright (Aconite with agonizing restlessness), but with Opium dullness and dazed depression. Stupor of cerebral congestion, particularly where there is a tendency to atrophy.
Eat lettuce, it has an ancient reputation as a soothing and soporific agent. We are told when Venus was left inconsolable after the death of Adonis, she threw herself on a bad of lettuce to soothe her grief. So Galen cured his insomnia.
Chronic affections after the abuse of coffee require Chamomilla, Ignatia, Nux vomica, etc.
Strong black coffee as hot as possible is indispensable as an antidote in a large number of poisons, especially narcotics when causing drowsiness, intoxication, loss of consciousness, delirium, etc. In general it antidotes narcotic substances such as Opium, Nux Belladonna, Tobacco and Chamomilla. Also wine drinking. Tea antidotes beer.