A young man twenty years of age, the son of an oil manufacturer, thin and weakly, had been from his childhood subject to a spasmodic asthma, which used always to increase from the commencement of autumn until the depth of winter, and gradually decline from that period until the mild weather in spring.
Every year he had grown worse, and this autumn he hoped might be his last. Already (I saw him first at Michaelmas) the attack commenced more violently than the last year at this time.
The probable issue was evident. Last year, and for years past, every fall of the barometer, every south-west, and more particularly north wind, every approaching fall of snow, every storm of wind, had brought on an asthmatical fit of hours and days in duration, when he not infrequently passed the night with both hands grasping the table, exerting all his strength to draw the smallest Quantity of breath, and every moment in dread of suffocation. The intervals between such fits were occupied by slighter attacks, brought on by a draught of air, the vapour from the heated oil-cakes, dust, a cold room, or smoke.
He told me of these symptoms with the utmost difficulty of utterance, elevating his shoulders to draw a scanty breath, and this at a season of the year when his condition was as yet pretty tolerable.
I could expect no good effects from a change of place. So I allowed him to remain in his father’s house, exposed, as it was to every wind, and all the inclemencies of the weather; let him take his usual diet ; I only advised that his fare should be, if anything, more nutritious than otherwise ; I let him occupy the same sleeping apartment, and continue his work in the oil manufactory, and, as far as his strength allowed, engage in agricultural employments.
The first medicine I administered was ipecacuhana, in the smallest closes ; they produced no nausea, neither did doses of
live grains; the latter quantity caused purgation and relaxation of the system. The submuriate of antimony and the sulphate of copper, in quarter of a grain doses, produced no better results. Both of these substances, as well as asarum root, each used singly, caused the same bad effects.
1 shall refrain from stating what other medicines, celebrated in asthma, did not effect ; and shall only mention that squills and bark, each employed separately, did — what they often do — they increased the difficulty of breathing, and made the cough more frequent, shorter and drier.
A medicine was procured which could produce anxiety, and diminish the easy action of the bowels. The choice fell naturally on nux vomica. Four grains, given twice daily, removed gradually, but perceptibly, the constriction of the chest; he remained free from the spasmodic asthmatic attacks, even in the worst autumn weather— even in winter, in all winds, all storms, all states of the barometer, all humidity of the atmosphere, during his now increased domestic, manufacturing, and travelling business, in the midst of the oil vapour, and that without any
important change in his diet, or any in his place of abode.
He had been in the habit, when there was but small prospect of cure, of rubbing his whole body every night with a woollen cloth. Although it did not seem to do any good, I did not let him discontinue it while taking the last medicine, as he had been so long accustomed to it.
He now slept comfortably at night, whereas formerly he had passed the whole night in an arm-chair, bent forwards, or leaning against the wall, or coughing without intermission. During this season, which had threatened to be so dangerous to him, he: gained strength, agility, cheerfulness, and capacity of resisting inclement weather. It was only severe attacks of cold that could cause the slightest return of asthma, and these he speedily
got rid of.
Besides this medicine, nothing at all was employed.
Reference: The lesser writings. Samuel Hahnemann