A narrow, well developed red streak right through the middle of the tongue.
Intense fever, with twitching and tendency to spasms.
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Veratrum viride is another remedy which at one time had a great reputation in the first or congestive stage of inflammatory diseases, and especially in those organs coming under the control of the pneumogastric nerve, viz., pharynx, sophagus, stomach and heart. For a time the journals fairly bristled with reported cures of pneumonia, and its curative power was attributed to the influence of the remedy to control the action of heart and pulse. It was claimed that if we could control the quickened circulation so as to decrease the amount of blood forced into the congested lung, that you thereby gave the lung a chance to free itself of the existing engorgement.
It looked plausible, and certainly in many cases remarkable cures were effected, and that in a short time. I was a young physician and thought I had found a prize in this remedy. But one day I left a patient, relieved by this remedy of an acute and violent attack of pneumonia, to go to a town five miles distant, and when I returned found my patient dead. Then I watched others treated with this remedy, and found every little while a patient with pneumonia dropping out suddenly when they were reported better.
Now we don't hear so much of Veratrum vir. as the greatest remedy for the first stage of this disease. What was the matter? 1st. It was (like other fads) used too indiscriminately. 2d. It is not desirable (it is wrong) to control or depress the pulse, regardless of all the other conditions. 3d. The patients, who had weak hearts, were killed by this powerful heart depressant. A quickened circulation is salutary, in all inflammatory diseases, and is evidence that the Natural power to resist disease is there, and at work. The pulse will come to its normality when the cause of its disturbance is removed and never should be forced to do so until then. Here is a common fault of the old school notwithstanding their cry of "Tolle causam." So I find fault with Guernsey's keynote, "Great activity of the arterial system; very quick pulse." Next to Digitalis, Veratrum viride slows the pulse, as is abundantly shown in the provings. If quick pulse is ever a result of this remedy, it is a secondary or reactionary effect, like the sleeplessness of Opium or constipation of cathartics. So it seems to me that as an antiphlogistic (forgive me) it must go into the shade with the once vaunted Digitalis.
Then what is Veratrum viride good for? Well, I do not think that its sphere is yet fully defined, or can be without further provings and verification. The provings are already carried far enough to show that it must be a very powerful and useful remedy. That it inflames the sophagus or stomach is well known, as is the fact that it congests the brain and lungs, but what are the characteristic symptoms that will enable us to prescribe this remedy in preference to the other remedies that do the same thing is not so well known. One peculiar symptom I believe to be characteristic, and which I have verified in a very severe case of erysipelas, which was accompanied by great delirium, is "a narrow, well-defined red streak right through the middle of the tongue." Again I believe Veratrum viride to be one of our best remedies for spasms, twitchings and convulsions, but do not know of any very reliable symptoms guiding us to its selection in the individual case. I once cured a man of a very severe and persistent attack of vomiting, which was aggravated on rising, with this remedy. He had suffered from several similar attacks before, but never any after this one, now several years ago.
Maharana Homoeo Reader