The native habitat of Thuja is not without its importance in relation to therapeutics. It loves swamps; it is Hahnemann’s typical antisycotic and Grauvogl’s hydrogenoid.
Thuja is one of Hahnemann’s discoveries. Most of the remedies of his materia medica had been known in a fashion before his time. Of the therapeutic properties of Thuja practically nothing was known till Hahnemann proved it. Subsequent observers have only confirmed or added to Hahnemann’s pathogenesis. Hahnemann found in Thuja the antidote to the miasm of the condition which he termed Sycosis, meaning thereby the constitutional disease resulting from constitutional gonorrhœa, and having as its characteristic manifestation excrescences, sometimes dry in the form of warts, more frequently soft, spongy, emitting a fetid fluid with a sweetish odour something like herring brine, bleeding readily and having the coxcomb or cauliflower form.
Proliferations or pathological vegetations: condylomata, polypi, warts, sycotic excrescences, etc.
Bad effects following vaccination; never well since.
Especially suited to the treatment of ailments following suppressed gonorrhœa.
Urethritis in sycotic patients, which Cannabis sat. does not relieve; stream split, cutting after urination; discharge thick.
Sweat only on uncovered parts.
Modalities. < cold, damp air (hydrogenoid); after vaccination excessive tea drinking, extension of limbs; > drawing up limbs.
Hahnemann recognized three miasms (as he called them) which complicated the treatment of all diseases. They were syphilis, psora and sycosis.
Sulphur was his chief anti-psoric, Mercury his anti-syphilitic and Thuja his anti-sycotic.
Whatever may be said against his theories along this line, certain it is that these three remedies do correct certain states of the system which seem to obstruct the curative action of other seemingly well-indicated remedies.
Thuja, for instance, cures or so changes the existing conditions that other remedies cure which could not do so before Thuja was given. Many diseases of various forms come under this rule. Whenever warts, condylomata, fig-warts etc., which come in consequence of gonorrhœal affections, especially suppressed, gonorrhœa, are found in any case we think of Thuja. For instance, a case of enuresis had resisted many seemingly indicated remedies, until the hands were discovered to be covered with warts, when a few drops of Thuja cured. Of course, the curative power of Thuja is not confined to sycosis, but can, like other remedies, cure when symptoms indicate it where no sycotic element in the case is apparent. Nevertheless, its chief power is manifested in those cases in which this miasm is unmistakably present. It is astonishing what widely different and varied forms of disease will be so modified by this miasm as to call for anti-sycotic treatment.
As Sulphur is not the only anti-psoric, or Mercury the only anti-syphilitic, so Thuja is not the only anti-sycotic; for Nitric acid, Staphisagria, Sabina, Cinnabaris and other remedies are sometimes called for, either before or after Thuja, or even when Thuja is not at all the remedy. But on the whole, Thuja, perhaps, as Hahnemann taught, stands at the head of the list. Thuja, Agaricus and Lycopodium have been called over-proven remedies; but when we realize the wide range of diseases which are complicated by the sycotic element in them we are not so sure of the over-proving of the Thuja, for it could not so benefit such a wide range of complaints if it could not produce a wide range of symptoms in its pathogenesis. This is also true of Sulphur and Mercury. Thuja has some very peculiar symptoms of the mind which have been verified.
“Fixed ideas, as if a strange person were at his side; as if the soul and body were separated; that the body and particularly the limbs were made of glass, and will readily break; as if a living animal were in the abdomen; tells about being under the influence of a superior power.” Insane women will not be touched or approached. Aside from these curious mind symptoms we have: “Headaches of sycotic origin, with various symptoms; white dandruff, hair falling out or grows slowly and splits; eyelids bear styes, chalazæ, tarsal tumors, or condylomata; ears inflame, discharge pus, or grow polypi. Nose discharges thick, green mucus like Pulsatilla, or scabs are formed in it; warts on the outside of the nose or eruptions on its wings; face has a greasy or shiny look; teeth begin to decay at the roots as soon as they come, the crowns remaining sound. Ranula under the tongue, or varicosities in the mouth or throat; a great deal of croaking, rumbling and grumbling in the abdomen, as if of an animal crying; abdomen puffed and big, protruding here and there as if from the arm of a fœtus, or of something alive; constipation of hard black balls; chronic; stools large; and stool recedes after being partially expelled (Sanic., Silic.); or diarrhœa forcibly expelled, copious gurgling like water from a bung hole of a barrel; diarrhœa, especially from the effects of vaccination; anus fissured or surrounded with condylomata (see Antim. crud., Graphites and Silicea); ovarian troubles; asthma; nails brittle, distorted, crumbling, misshapen or soft; warts, condylomata, bleeding fungous growths; nœvi; epithelioma, and many other affections in sycotic subjects.” Finally don’t forget to look for the three miasms in all obstinate cases, whether acute or chronic.
Teste remarks that in the period when the doctrine of Signatures prevailed the “resinous callosities of the stems and leaves of Thuja occ. might have seemed an indication that the plant was the specific for sycosis and warts.”
Hering gives this as the action of Thuja (1) on the fluids: “dissolution of fluids of the body, which become acrid, probably caused by Thuja perverting lymphatic secretions; disturbs digestion and sanguification”; and this (2) in the vegetative sphere: “A surplus of producing life; nearly unlimited proliferation of pathological vegetations, condylomata, warty sycotic excrescences, spongy tumours, and spongy pock exudates [which] organise hastily; all morbid manifestations are excessive, but appear quietly, so that the beginning of the diseased state is scarcely known.” Bœnninghausen found Thuja both preventive and curative in an epidemic of small-pox. It aborted the process and prevented pitting.
In veterinary practice Thuja has proved curative in farcy and in “grease.” These facts open up another great branch of Thuja’s homœopathicity─its anti-vaccinal action. This extension was made by Kunkel and Goullon following on Bœnninghausen’s experience with small-pox. On this subject no one has written more forcibly or lucidly than Burnett (Vaccinosis and its Cure by Thuja). “Arbor Vitæ: nomen omen,” says Burnett on his title-page. And in his hands Thuja has proved indeed a tree of life to numberless sufferers from the vaccinal taint. By “vaccinosis” Burnett means the disease known as vaccinia, the result of vaccination, plus “that profound and often long-lasting morbid constitutional state engendered by the vaccine virus.” To this state Thuja is homœopathic, and therefore curative and preventive of it. Burnett makes the profound observation, which I can confirm, that the vaccine virus does not need to “take” (that is, to set up vaccinia) in order to produce the vaccinal dyscrasia: that “not a few persons date their ill-health from a so-called unsuccessful vaccination.” So that vaccinosis may exist apart from vaccinia.
The antivaccinal action of Thuja is part of its antisycotic action: vaccinia is a sycotic disease. Burnett gives the case of an infant ten weeks old, whom he was called to see as it was supposed to be dying. He found it ghastly white and in collapse. There was nothing to account for this except that the baby had had its wet-nurse changed two or three days before. The wet-nurse was questioned and declared herself quite well and looked it; but “her arm was a little painful.” She had been revaccinated in the Marylebone Workhouse the day before she took charge of the patient. Burnett found the vaccine eruption just turning into the pustular stage. He concluded that the infant was sucking the vaccinal poison with its nurse’s milk. He gave Thuja 6 to both infant and nurse. The baby gradually improved the same day, and next morning was, though still pale, practically well, and the vaccinal vesicles on the nurse’s arm had withered. Burnett quotes a case of vaccinal rash in an infant following the vaccination of its mother, who was nursing it. The effects of chronic vaccinosis are protean. Prominent among them are neuralgias (of which Burnett gives many examples), morbid skin disorders, indigestion, and constipation; warts and new growths of many kinds.
As a small boy his hands were covered with warts.─At eight he had shingles. On August 15th Thuja 10m F. C. was given. October 21th.─If anything tumours a little less. Thuja 10m continued at intervals. February 4, 1890.─Tumours can only be felt with difficulty. No pain. The medicine was repeated and when next seen some time later the patient was absolutely well. A very much vaccinated lady developed at the climacteric indurations in both breasts, especially the right. Menses were accompanied by severe neuralgic pains. Thuja was given in 1m, 10m, and cm F. C. potencies. The last set up attacks of angina pectoris of such intensity that I did not repeat it. The indurations disappeared, but in the course of the cure an eruption closely resembling small-pox developed over her breasts on more than one occasion. The first case I treated homœopathically was one of new growths─a cluster of small warts on the forehead of a boy which had lasted eighteen months and followed the scratch of a cat. Thuja Ø in fractional doses and Thuja Ø painted on cured permanently in three weeks.
A keynote of Thuja is: “Frequent micturition accompanying pains.” For example: “In evening, when in bed, terrible hammering and tearing in the ear, accompanied with micturition every half-hour and coldness of the legs up to the knees. The desire of Thuja is sudden and urgent, it seems impossible to reach the vessel or make the necessary preparations, but the patient can control it if compelled. There is severe cutting as with a knife at the end of micturition after the last drop has passed. Thuja also has chronic incontinence from paralysis of sphincter vesicæ. This is related to the general paretic weakness of Thuja. The patient feels she “could not go on exerting any longer.”
Burnett (H. W., xxv. 487) records a case of lichen urticatus in a boy of fourteen, which came into his hands after a long course of treatment, external, internal, and dietetic, at the hands of allopathic specialists without result. The rash came periodically in warm weather; patient literally tore himself because of the irritation. The rash was < on the left (vaccinated side). Thuja 30 was given in infrequent doses. The spots continued to appear for a week and then disappeared. The skin remained clear in spite of the patient indulging in all kinds of previously forbidden foods. Among the skin effects of Thuja the marks and stains must be borne in mind. The skin is mottled and discoloured; brown or red mottled spots; discoloration of the backs of the hands and feet.─Villers (J. of Hcs., iv. 408) treated a girl of twelve, who had had headaches going from front to occiput and sometimes in temples. Pains mostly came towards night, and were accompanied with an awful state of fear. The only account she could give of her fear was that she saw green stripes. Alone or in company, in the dark or in a well-lighted room the dread was always the same. Three years before, the child had had an abortive attack of scarlatina, treated with cold compresses. The urine had been abnormal all through the illness, but contained no albumen. Thuja 200, every tenth day. No more headache, nor fear. Patient slept well from the first dose, and in a few days the urine became clear.