IPECACUANHA

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Ipecacuanha is found suitable for patients who are easily irritated, full of desires, but know not for what. If a child, the patient cries and screams almost continually. As an adult, he is irritable and morose, holding everything in contempt.

Thus you will find Ipecacuanha indicated in headaches. These are of rheumatic origin. The characteristic sensation is a pain as if the head or bones of the head were bruised or crushed, this feeling seeming to go down into the root of the tongue. This headache is accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Ipecacuanha may also be used in unilateral sick headaches with deathly nausea. In these cases the face is usually pale, blue rings surround the eyes, and the expression about the mouth betrays the intensity of the nausea. Now, these symptoms are not so necessarily present in the adult as they are in the child. You see the corners of the child’s mouth drawn, and a line extending from the nose to the corners of the mouth, giving to the child an expression of nausea, and at once suggesting to your mind such remedies as Ipecacuanha, Antimonium tartaricum and especially Aethusa cynapium.

The gastric symptoms of Ipecacuanha, in addition to those already mentioned, are such as would call for the exhibition of this drug after indulgence in rich food, such as pastry, pork, fruits, candy, ice-cream, etc. Nausea is constant with all complaints; vomiting of bile; vomits just after eating (like Arsenicum); vomits after eating rich or indigestible food; vomiting of mucus; morning sickness. The tongue is usually clean, a symptom which differentiates Ipecacuanha from Nux vomica, Antimonium crudum, etc.

Ipecacuanha is frequently indicated in the commencement of cholera infantum. You find present pallor of the face, with blue rings around the eyes; the fontanelles are still open, showing defective nutrition; the child may have nose-bleed with the pale face; it is drowsy, with starting and jerking of the muscles during sleep. The child is subject to frequent attacks of nose-bleed. The condition already simulates that of hydrocephaloid. You must not think because Ipecacuanha is associated so closely with stomach symptoms, that it cannot be indicated in this reflex cerebral state. You will find nausea and even vomiting usually present. The child eats or drinks and vomits what it has taken almost immediately afterward. Particularly is Ipecacuanha indicated in these cases as a remedy preceding the exhibition of Arsenicum album. Arsenicum, as already indicated, is complementary to Ipecacuanha in these abdominal affections.

Its action on the mucous membrane of the respiratory tract. Thus it may be used in coryza. The nose feels as if stuffed up; there is often epistaxis, loss of smell, nausea and some catarrh of the bronchial mucous membrane.

Ipecacuanha is one of the best remedies we have for capillary bronchitis in infants, especially if caused by the kind of weather I have described. There is a great accumulation of mucus in the chest. The examining ear hears rales all through the chest, both anteriorly and posteriorly. The cough is spasmodic and usually attended with vomiting of phlegm. There may be fever and Ipecacuanha still be indicated. The child may have difficulty in breathing from the marked accumulation of mucus in the chest. In such cases, I have used the remedy in all potencies; that is to say, from the third to the twenty thousandth, and I have been well satisfied with its action. When Ipecacuanha is indicated, the stage for giving Aconite has passed,
because exudation has begun. If you adhere to the principles of homoeopathy, you will not give Aconite and Ipecacuanha in alternation. After giving Ipecacuanha, you will notice that the mucus does not adhere so firmly to the walls of the bronchial tubes, but it becomes less tenacious and is raised more readily.

We may be called upon to give Ipecacuanha frequently in whooping-cough, by virtue of the spasmodic character of the cough and the action of the drug on the pneumogastric nerve. You will find in addition to the symptoms already mentioned, that spasmodic convulsive symptoms are present. During the cough the child stiffens and becomes rigid from tonic spasm of the extensor muscles; loses its breath and turns pale or blue in the face. Finally it relaxes and vomits phlegm, which of course relieves.

Reference: The Clinical Materia Medica

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