back Kali Hydroiodicum

Cough with profuse, thick, green, salty expectoration, from deep down, as if from mid-sternum, with pain through to back; great weakness and night sweats.

Stitches through the lungs; in middle of sternum; through sternum to back or deep in chest; < walking.

Irresistible desire for open air; walking in open air does not fatigue; periosteal rheumatism.

Intolerable bone pain, especially at night; syphilitics.

Syphilitic affections, especially after the abuse of Mercury.

Glandular swellings; interstitial infiltration.

Hepar sulphur. antidotes its over-use.

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This is one of the drugs so greatly abused by the old school that I confess to not having prescribed it much; in the first place, from my prejudice against it, and, in the second, because it never had so thorough a proving as did Kali carb. by Hahnemann.

There is one condition of the respiratory organs in which I have found it of great value. When after a hard cold a long-continued cough is the consequence, or it may be after an attack of pneumonia. The patient seems as if running into consumption. There is profuse expectoration from low down, deep in the chest, as if it came from mid sternum, with pain through to between the shoulders (Kali bichrom.) (Kali carb., lower right chest through to back), and there are exhausting night-sweats and great general weakness. I have repeatedly cured such cases where consumption seemed inevitable.

In the beginning of my practice I used to dissolve two to four grains of the crude salt in a four-ounce vial of water and direct to take a teaspoonful of this preparation three times a day, until it is half used, and then fill up with water and continue taking the same way until cured; filling up the vial every time it was half used. But several years ago, having a marked case of this description and feeling sure of my remedy, I gave it in the 200th potency as an experiment. This case also made fully as speedy a recovery as the others treated with the crude drug, so since then I often prescribe it in the potencies. There are two other remedies that may dispute the place with Kali hyd. in such cases, viz., Sanguinaria and Stannum. In all the expectoration is profuse and thick, but in Stannum the matter tastes sweet, in Sanguinaria the breath and sputa are very fœtid, even to the patient (also Sepia and Psorinum), while in Kali hyd. it is salty to the taste (Sepia). With Kali hyd. and Stannum the expectoration is often thick, green; not so much so with Sanguinaria. Sometimes with the Kali hyd. there is a frothy or soap-suds-like appearance of the sputa, but the heavy, green, salty expectoration seems to me to be more characteristic. The frothy expectoration is found in œdema of the lungs and may occur in Bright's disease. I have more than once gotten the reputation of curing consumption in such cases as I have been describing, and I don't know but I deserved it, at least I was never known to deny it.

Kali hydroiodicum as used by the old school is given either as a sort of specific against syphilis, or more often syphilis complicated by their abuse of mercury, or again as an alterative in scrofulous affections, without much reason. Now, what is an alterative? Here is the definition: "A medicine which gradually induces a change in the habit or constitution, and restores healthy functions without sensible evacuation." Isn't that rather sweeping? How is that for a school of medicine that claims to be the custodian of all medical science? Isn't that about what we would like to do in every case -restore healthy function, without sensible evacuation? How would Kali hydroiodicum do then for a panacea? There are, however, many so-called alteratives according to this definition; which shall we give? It is just here that we homœopaths believe that such vague general terms as alterative, tonic, narcotic, etc., are too unmeaning for purposes of close prescribing, and therefore misleading. They allow the doctor to prescribe too loosely a class of remedies, instead of the particular remedy of that class best adapted to the individual case.

We claim, therefore, great superiority for our system of prescribing, which is based upon a system of close drug proving, which brings out the closest, finest shades of difference between remedies belonging to a class of remedies. There must be no substitution of one for the other, if we would do the finest prescribing possible.

It requires but little comparison between the Materia Medicas of the two schools to show the wide difference in this respect.

There is said to be a place for the use of this remedy in pneumonia. I have not had experience with it here, but on account of its reputation I give it, and may use it if occasion requires.

I give you Farrington's words for it: "Pneumonia, in which disease it is an excellent remedy when hepatization has commenced, when the disease localizes itself, and infiltration begins. In such cases, in the absence of other symptoms calling distinctively for Bryonia, Phosphorus or Sulphur, I would advise you to select Iodine or Iodide of Potassa. It is also called for when the hepatization is so extensive that we have cerebral congestion, or even an effusion into the brain as a result of this congestion." The symptoms are as follows in these cases:

"First they begin with a very red face, the pupils are more or less dilated, and the patient is drowsy; in fact, showing a picture very much like that of Belladonna. You will probably give that remedy, but it does no good. The patient becomes worse, breathes more heavy, and the pupils more inactive to the light, and you know then that you have serous effusion into the brain, which must be checked or the patient dies." So far good. But now even Farrington dulls -as great men sometimes do. He says, "why did not Belladonna cure?" "He who prescribes by the symptoms alone in this case would fail, because he has not taken the totality of the case." What does Farrington mean? Does he mean that in his picture of Belladonna he had the totality of the case without the hepatization, or does he mean that the hepatization was the totality without the other symptoms? Here are the two horns of his dilemma -which would he take? I contend that all the other symptoms of the case, without the hepatization, was not the totality of the case. The hepatization was one, and only one, of the totality of symptoms. Now he says -"Put your ear to the patient's chest, and you will find one or both lungs consolidated." Well, I should call that a very important objective symptom, and one that could not be left out of the totality of the case. Remember that both subjective and objective symptoms must enter into every case in order to make the totality complete.

So after all, in true Hahnemannian fashion, I claim that he who prescribes, being guided by all the symptoms, will not and cannot fail where a cure is at all possible. These are and must be our infallible guides, or Similia Similibus Curantur is not true. (see Kafka's case, Hom. Clinic, page 73, 1870).

Guiding Symptoms, Vol. VI, page 441, records this -"Distends all the tissues by interstitial infiltration; œdema, enlarged glands, tophis exostoses; swelling of the bones." Then of course it cures such distentions of the tissues. Great mistakes and abuses of the remedy, and irreparable injury to the patient, often follow the use of remedies on such vague or single indications, that is of course if we prescribe on them alone. That would be like trying to prescribe for pneumonia from the single indication hepatization. This is only one symptom, and that one may occur under any remedies. If we say, or could say, interstitial distention of the tissues with certain other symptoms peculiar to that remedy, then could we differentiate between it and other remedies. But to use a remedy simply as an absorbent because it has secured absorption in some other case, is simply to fall back into the indiscriminate generalization and routinism of the old school. Kali iodatum is called an anti-syphilitic. So is mercury. Sulphur is called anti-psoric, and Thuja antisycotic. That is well to begin with, but the "end is not yet." There is a large class of remedies for each of these miasms and the one (indicated by all the symptoms or the characteristic symptoms) out of the class is the one to select for the cure of each individual patient.

The very fact that Kali iodatum has been too generally and indiscriminately used is the reason why it is a great question as to whether humanity has been most blessed or cursed by it. We homœopaths have much to do in combating the evils produced by the abuse of both these drugs, and Hepar sulphur, is one of the best antidotes. Most of the reported cures with this remedy Kali iod. are made with the low or crude preparations of the drug. I think it can be used lower than most drugs without injury, and yet I believe we do not know half its remedial power as developed by our process of potentization.

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