[ Read before the California State Homoeopathic Medical Society, Bureau of Materia Medica, May 8, 1947.].
CHARLES C. BOERICKE, M.D.
H. R. August, 1947.
The Nat. carb. patient is characterized by chilliness, but also intolerance to the heat of the sun, by bodily relaxation, and a state of mental exhaustion due to brain fatigue, depression, digestive weakness, and sexual irritability.
Natrum carb. is one of our greatest neurasthenia remedies. In its pathogenesis the drug impairs the functional activity of mind and body, giving rise to a state of mental and physical relaxation and inertia which is equaled by few remedies and paralleled by none.
The mental capacity is amazingly affected. There exists an incapacity to think, poor comprehension, forgetfulness. The mind is a picture of malaise and torpidity. If the patient attempts to read or listen to a speaker he has great difficulty in graspings the ideas and connecting the thoughts of what he reads or hears. There is slow conduction and lack or coordination of ideas, an inability to harmonize and systematize the parts of a paragraph. If he undertakes any mental exertion the head feels stupefied and he fails. It is total mental insolvency.
This lack of vitality expresses itself in the absence of resistance to sensory impressions. There is a hypersensitivity to light and to noises. Music causes weeping and melancholia. The patient is decidedly depressed. He withdraws from friends and family. In his despair he perhaps turns to food as a bracer, but the depression is worse after eating. A hypochondriac-depressive state of mind is the disposition of many dyspeptics. The clinical recommendation of sodium carbonate in digestive weaknesses arises from Hahnemann.
The symptoms consist of acid eructations, distension, pressure, and various unpleasant sensations in the stomach, all worse after eating, and better when the food leaves the stomach. On the other hand, the feeling of weakness and desire for food appears at unusual hours (5 a. m. and 11 p.m.). In spite of the fact that food definitely disagrees with his stomach, the patient has learned that his other symptoms such as chilliness, headache, and palpitation are relieved by eating. Cold drinks aggravate. Farinaceous foods and vegetables are not well tolerated. There is a definite aversion against milk, which may cause diarrhoea.
Nat. carb. would be the remedy to come to mind in the digestive troubles of “soda addicts.” It is the picture of “cachexia alkaline” due to the prolonged use of one of the many proprietary alkalizing agents for “sour stomach.”.
According to Kent “old dyspeptics with constant eructations, sour stomach, and rheumatism. The bent back is weak, very sensitive to cold. Their digestive and rheumatic-gouty complaints become worse from change of weather.”.
The coldness of Nat. carb. is depicted in practically the same words as Kali carb: sensitive to the least draft and change of weather and to fresh air. Cold extremities. The chilliness if better from eating.
But strange to say Nat. carb. at the same time is especially sensitive to the suns heat which causes headache, vertigo, and is very exhausting. Hence the sequelae of sunstroke are amenable to the beneficent action of Nat. carb. So we see that this remedy falls in the lot of temperature and weather influence. The patient is restless and anxious and worse during a thunder storm. Easily frightened, startled at the least noise, a peal of thunder creates a near panic.
Nat. carb. is an important remedy for the complaints peculiar to women where it has proved very efficient in conditions characterized by great weight and downward pressure in the region of the uterus as if the supports would give way and the pelvic organs fall. These symptoms are often associated with a cervicitis, and examination may reveal an indurated, infiltrated, and eroded os.
As a result, there is a troublesome leucorrhoea that is thick, yellow and offensive. The patient is nervous, perspiring, anxious, and trembly. Sporadic pains accompanied by profuse perspiration, is characteristic. During confinement, such a patient is rather intolerant. She sweats with each pain and desires to be rubbed, which affords relief. She gets frequent cramps in the thighs, or calves of the legs, and stitches in the back, and cries “rub, rub.” for rubbing diminishes the distress.
The mental state of profuse sadness, depression and melancholy is worse after a meal, diminishes as digestion advances. The face is pale, with dark circles around the eyes and yellow spots on the forehead and upper lip. The bearing down sensation, aversion to ones family, oversensitiveness to noise, yellow spots on the face, etc., is similar to Sepia, and that remedy is often given when Nat. carb. is indicated. However, in Nat. carb. the heaviness complained of is more in the lower abdomen, worse from sitting.
On the mucus membranes of the upper respiratory tract Nat. carb. has a special affinity. The great mucus-releasing action of soda seems to reflect itself biologically in a stimulation of the mucus glands through, Nat. carb. Post-nasal catarrh, characterized by foul odour, thick yellow-green nasal secretion, and expectoration of much mucus from the throat, with a dry cough worse on entering a warm room. There is a loss of smell and taste. The nostrils are sore and ulcerated. The patient is cold, sensitive to cold, and easily chilled.
The urine is characterized by a sour odour (only six remedies in Boenninghausen Repertory) with marked pain on voiding at the close of urination (Sarsaparilla).
The general lack of tone is reflected in the joints which become weak and give way, especially the ankle. Hence the value of Natrum carb. in the individual who is always turning or spraining the ankle. There seems to be definite weakness of the joints of the feet. In the knee there is a feeling of tension, with inability to straighten the leg out on account of the apparent contraction of the tendons. There is more or less the same condition in the bend of the elbow with contraction of the fingers and arm.
So we see Natrum carb. to be a remedy of great usefulness and wide range of action.
Hahnemann and his contemporaries gave us a proving of 1080 symptoms that is increased to 1200 in Allens Encyclopedia.
Accurately prescribed, it is a remedy of the first order and in this present day economic storm of jitters and nervous shock it should frequently be indicated.