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paralysed. Fourth day he died with violent rale and difficulty of breathing.

c. Hillefield gave a dog 1 scruple,-JSs. viride in water; at once violent retching set in, with frequent urination. In an hour and a half he ate flesh, and soon after drank water; in two hours retching and convulsive breathing set in; the next three days passed with constant retching and spasmodic cough.

d. He gave 16 grains to a 'dog, vomiting of greenish mucus at once set in; in a quarter of an hour he breathed with difficulty and pain, and whined at times; in half an hour he lay stretched out, hardly breathing; began retching and soon after died.

Post-mortem.—Lung here and there sugillated, full of mucus and air; heart-blood black, stomach full of food, blackish-red inside and contracted in small plaits, intestines healthy.

e. Orfila made several experiments with Acetas cupri on various dogs, and found that frequent vomiting of a blue mass, followed by ineffectual retching, difficult breathing, irregular quick pulse, and often general paralysis followed; almost always the animals suffered from violent jerking movements a few moments before death; general stiffness took place, with tetanic kicks and mucus at the lips. Immediately after death the muscles were no longer irritable; mucous membrane of the stomach lined with a bluish hard almost wrinkled coat; under this it was rose coloured; trachea and its branches full of white froth, lungs crepitant, spotted with rose colour.

From these experiments on animals of three species, of different age and sex, in most varied ways and doses and from the consideration of the symptoms of men, where through neglect of cooking-vessels or suicidal intention, the deleterious effects of verdigris were brought to light, the following properties may be inferred.

1. The neutral Acetate of Copper certainly attacks the abdominal ganglia of the sympatheticus and vagus; affects the* stomach, liver, and spleen; causes violent thirst, nausea, loss of appetite, emaciation, retching, and. actual vomiting; pain in the bowels, colic, diarrhoea, suppressed secretion of bile, and biliary stasis proceeding to cirrhosis of the liver and jaundice (I, g and h).

2. Its action on heart and lungs is such that the muscles of the left side of the heart become hypertrophied after long action of the poison, though only in a moderate degree; the kidneys are also attacked, so as to exhibit in a comparatively short time albumen and deficiency of urine. In this respect Cuprum is allied to Arsenicum and Aurum; whilst Phosphorus produces albuminous urine by congestion of the right heart. From the post-mortem results in the lungs (which were but slightly hyperaemic and often quite normal), no conclusion can be formed of any specific action. As to the symptoms of dyspnoea, tightness of the chest, hindrance of breathing even to suffocation, catching at the air, convulsive respiration, frequent and audible,— all these must be regarded as the effect of Cuprum on the innervation.

3. The main effect of the poison is, however, certainly the seizure of the motor nerves; convulsions of the limbs, with reactionary languor, weakness and paralysis of them and of the whole body; also cramp in the abdomen and its muscles; on the brain it seems to have no influence, at least not in all cases; but it has certainly on the spinal cord and its investing membrane, which were found partly altered; in this last respect it is allied to Stramonium, Atropine, and Argent. nitricum, but quite opposed to Arsenicum, which attacks the nerves of sensation.

* The symptoms of parts in actual contact with the poison, as stomach, intestines, external skin, &c., cannot be reckoned here as characteristic symptoms, since they appeared in greater or less intensity, according to the power of resistance in the several animals, and in proportion presented degrees of local action varying from mere detachment of the epithelium to erosion and gangrenous inflammation.

272

BINZ AND ANSTIE ON BROMIDE OF
POTASSIUM.

The articles by Binz and Anstie in the January number of the Practitioner are very instructive. After the great experience with it of late in the imperfect and unsystematic way usual, it appears to be a salt of not great power, probably not more active as a poison than common salt; and its more obvious action seems to be as a mild narcotic acting chiefly on the reflex action of the spinal cord, with slightly hypnotic power. It is for these purposes chiefly given and with the usual results of a fashionable drug used by unscientific, merely professional hands, at first unduly lauded, and then producing the customary disappointment. But there are some things that remain and it is singular to look at what these are. The drug was first introduced by Dr. Locock on account of its supposed primary action in depressing the sexual nerves and function. But in Binz's paper here, p. 10, we find the experiments of Laborde thus narrated. He took ninety-four grains each time.

"Within an hour he felt a general sensation of wellbeing and of calm which incited to sleep; the latter, however, was but half established, so to speak, and in this half sleep there soon came on, especially if he was lying on his bed, a more or less intense sexual excitement, according to the circumstances—an excitement which was habitually accompanied by erection and emission; this act, of which there is always perfect consciousness, almost always wakened him. . . . Finally, sleep is definitely established, but with more difficulty or less rapidity than when emission does not take place."

To this Binz remarks only, "Thus K. br. is also an aphrodisiac. What manysidedness I"

And on this Anstie makes no remark at all except apparently inadvertently in a parenthesis which is very significant in spite of him; for, as usual, Anstie evades the difficult points in pharmaco-dynamics. He dares not give the true explanation of the many homoeopathic actions of medicines, so he keeps discreet silence. The conclusion of Binz is that the whole therapeutic action of K. br. has been exaggerated, and that it is of very little value, and that the good it happens to do is solely on account of the potash it contains. Hereupon Anstie writes an article intended to confute that dictum by the English experience. The main body of this is, we find, little more than a transcript of Bi. Reynolds' well-known articles on the use of it in epilepsy, in some cases of which he pronounces it curative in doses of four to forty grains daily. On this Anstie gives the result of the experience of himself and Dr. Hughlings Jackson, and, alas! they both agreed that neither of them had ever seen an example of a cure of epilepsy by it. It can mitigate the number and severity of the fits, as anybody now knows, but cure never.

Both of them have great doubts if it has any effect as a hypnotic in the miscellaneous forms of insomnia. Anstie then says for himself, "As regards sleeplessness from emotional causes (with the exception of the insomnia produced by sexual excitement with exhaustion), I am not convinced on the whole that K, br. is distinctly remedial" (p. 22).*

This is very remarkable indeed. The original discovery of K. br. was empirical from its calming sexual excitement and the diseases arising from it, and of course it was assumed such influence was from its primary action. But now by more extended proving it turns out this is one of its true specific actions and is really homoeopathic. At the same time, the really slight narcotic action or reflex actions in the healthy were turned to account allupathically, and after twenty years' experience it is confessed to have failed to cure by means of them; whereas the only action which still holds its ground as curative, as admitted involuntarily by Anstie, is the homoeopathic action. This is of the more specific character only discovered by long proving, for the specific susceptibility is not always developed, and thus the careless, unsystematic, haphazard proving does not reach it. There is another specific action now found, viz., the rash or acne on the skin, and on this R. Reynolds gives a most significant remark, "the rash or acne on the skin which is occasionally seen is not determined by the quantity of the Bromide that is taken. I have seen it after a few doses of five grains each, and it has been absent in many cases where thirty grains have been taken three times daily for six or even twelve months."

* To the above testimony of Anstie may be added what he says on Neuralgia :—" It is singularly efficacious, but in a comparatively limited number of cases; the majority of these are instances of some form of sexual worry." VOL. XXXII, NO. CXXVIII. APRIL, 1874. S

Thus it is not one of the common actions which may be produced at will by merely giving enough of it, but it is one of the peculiar actions which requires the presence of the special susceptibility to bring it out—one of the idio-dynamic class as named by Dr. Madden, and it is in them that the more specific curative actions of medicines lie, and as such is almost independent of dose. We have repeatedly verified the curative effect of K. br. in this form of acne to two or three grain doses. Thus the only two diseases in which K. br. holds its ground as a really curative drug are the two in which the specific and homoeopathic actions are synonymous.*

Besides these two no doubt there are other diseased states in which K. br. is truly curative, and if they are closely studied we have no doubt they will be also found to be homoeopathic. The analysis of Dr. Clouston's experience in a lunatic asylum shows the merely palliative action of the drug in epileptic fits, and no cure is reported, although there was some permanent amendment in some cases, while others were actually worse after the palliative effect had subsided.

To weigh the real value of the drug when used for its merely primary or allopathic action we need be in no difficulty. We are quite ready to acknowledge the degree in which it may "do good" to the patient by calming reflex spinal irritation for the time even. No doubt there are circumstances where such a drug may benefit the health by warding off the immediate evils of the succession of fits, and in default of true cures this is not a means to be despised or withheld. The best way to picture the matter to ourselves is to com

* See vol. xxviii, p. 807, of this Journal.

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