Arsenic- a poison or a remedy

Dr Garima Jindal

Arsenic album is one of the most extensively used polychrest remedy in today’s time. For many individuals, it is a matter of concern that how a poison is considered as an object of treatment in homoeopathy. This article deals with arsenic as a poison and arsenic as a remedy. By the end of this article, it will be clearly distinguished in the reader’s mind.

Arsenic is an element that belongs to group 15 of Mendeleev’s periodic table. It is a metalloid having atomic weight of 75 and atomic no. 33. As a metal it is hard and brittle that cannot be molded. But When heated it evaporates as yellow vapors and has garlic odor. It acts a reducing and decolorizing agent. In earlier times. Due to its white, tasteless, odorless and water-soluble properties it was advantageously used for criminal purposes. It is a deadly poison used in homicide. Thus, today we see arsenic poisoning is very common and since in homoeopathy we derive symptoms by the method of drug proving so there can be observed great similarity between the medicinal symptoms and poisoning symptoms. many of the symptoms of homoeopathic remedy are derived therefrom.

Arsenic as an element is used as a growth promoter in poultry because it is known for its effect on muscular power. For this action, Dr. J. H. Clarke described arsenic as the Horse’s remedy. Thus the arsenic habit of Styrian mountaineers has arisen from the discovery of its power of strengthening muscles of both of limbs and breathing apparatus. In certain districts arsenic is indulged in as an article of diet. The women take it for the purpose of beautifying the complexion and man consumes it to enable himself to work harder and with little or no fatigue. The drug acts on muscles so as to increase the power of endurance.

Whereas Arsenic album used in Materia medica in homoeopathy is not the element arsenic but white oxide of metallic arsenic which may be called as arsenic acid in chemistry with chemical formula As2O3. When arsenic left open in moist air, it tarnishes and forms a blackish grey film of Arsenic trioxide. It is fairly acidic in nature and holds the capacity to combine with alkalis. It is prepared by taking one part of vitreous arsenic and boiling it to complete solution in sixty parts of water. This is filtered and more distilled water is added till it is raised to ninety parts. To this is added ninety five percent of alcohol.

Arsenic as a remedy shows its action on whole system, there are certain prevailing and striking features in it – ANXIETY, RESTLESSNESS, PROSTRATION, AND BURNING.

Restlessness being a grand characteristic of the remedy, it mostly overpowers mind. It is an anxious restlessness, or an anguish, with the idea that anguish is a deathly anxiety. It seems that he cannot live, and it is not pain that derives him to anguish, but it is an anxiety intermingled with restlessness and sadness. Sadness prevails to great extent. Restlessness is such that the patient cannot stay in one room despite the weakness. At first there is that anxious restlessness with fear, but the increasing weakness tends towards prostration. The prostration thus is out of proportion of the presenting condition.

Thoughts of death and of the incurability of his complaints. Fear is a strong element in the mental sphere of this remedy, fear to be alone. Arsenicum is a prominent remedy listed under the rubric “Desires Company”. In reality, the Arsenicum person has more than a mere desire for company – it is an actual need for someone to be present, near him. Arsenicum surrounds himself with people because of his insecure sense concerning his health, his unaccountable fear of being alone.

Arsenic is not only acrid to mentality, eating into rest- hope- security: but all its secretions and discharges are acrid and corrosive.

Running all through the remedy there is the burning mentioned as one of its most marked generals. No other remedy has it in more pronounced degree. There is burning in the brain, which makes him want to wash his head with cold water. It feels as if coals of fire were in the lungs at times, when gangrenous inflammation is threatened, and in certain stages of Pneumonia. The skin burns with itching, and he scratches until the skin is raw, and then it burns, but itching ceases.

All above mentioned description of symptoms of the remedy ARSENIC ALB thus states it clear that it is not the poisonous arsenic element that is prescribed for treatment of various diseases. Rather it’s the medicinal that is dynamized form of the element which capable of bringing out cure in the diseased individual, provided the totality corresponds.

There had been extensive research taken place on the topic discussed above. One such research says that “a potentized homeopathic drug, Arsenicum Album-30, was indeed found that showed highly promising results in combating arsenic intoxication in mice.”

The potentized homeopathic drug, Arsenicum Album, not only has the ability to help removal of arsenic from the body, but these drugs in micro doses appear to have the ability to detoxify the ill effects produced by arsenic in mice, a mammal which has close functional semblance to that of human beings.

The research thus confirms the curing action of Arsenicum album (Arsenic trioxide) as a homoeopathic medicine in cases where totality of symptoms corresponds.

References:

  1. Lectures on Homoeopathic Materia Medica by J.T. Kent
  2. Homeopathic Psychology: Personalities of the Major Constitutional Remedies by PHILIP BAILEY MD
  3. A DICTIONARY OF PRACTICAL MATERIA MEDICA By John Henry CLARKE, M.D.
  4. P Mallick, J Chakrabarti Mallick, B Guha and AR Khuda-  Bukhsh  Ameliorating effect of microdoses of a potentized homeopathic drug, Arsenicum Album, on arsenic-induced toxicity in mice http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6882/3/7

Dr Garima Jindal
(MD-1 SCHOLAR), Department of Organon of Medicine
Sri Guru Nanak Dev Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana (Punjab)

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