BROAD-LEAVED Kalmia, Calico-bush, Mountain-laurel, Spoonwood, a native of North America.
The proving of Kalmia was made by Dr. Hering, and first published in the “Transactions of the American Institute of Homoeopathy,” vol. i., 1845. To this proving were subsequently added the results of further observations by Dr. Hering, a proving by Dr. J. Buchner, of Munich, and some clinical observations by Drs. Okie, of Providence, Williamson and Jeanes, of Philadelphia, and Gray, of New York, and the whole was published in part v. of “Hering’s Amerikanische Arzneiprufungen,” 1., 1857.
In introducing his proving, Dr. Hering remarks:
” Kalmia may be a very important remedy in acute as well as chronic diseases.”
” There are but few remedies in the materia medica which have so great a mastery over the pulse and with so beneficial action diminish the too
quick pulsations of the heart, as Kalmia and its cognates. Of course this is only in cases which in other respects correspond to the action of this
Kalmia, Rhododendron and Ledum act very often beneficially, when there is a very frequent pulse.
In heart diseases that alternate with rheumatism, or that have developed themselves out of rheumatisms, Kalmia promises to be a very important remedy.
Dr. Hering says : ” This was written in 1843. This conjecture was brilliantly confirmed. In 1853 Dr. Okie cured two cases with hypertrophy of the heart arising after acute rheumatism. In one of these cases auscultation showed thickening of the valves.”
The proving of Kalmia is as yet so fragmentary that nothing like a complete analysis can be made of it.
Its action upon the vital force is evidenced in the modification of the heart’s action, which in small doses it accelerates, in large doses it moder
ates, reducing it almost to a minimum, producing at the same time spasm of the glottis, paleness of the face, nausea, obscure vision, coldness of the limbs, etc. The pulse is reduced to 35 or 40 beats.
The chief guiding symptom was a concomitant numb sensation of whole left arm.
“Sick feeling and pains flying about, especially down left side; headache at vertex; chilliness”;
A case of hypertrophied heart in an unmarried woman, “pain through heart region with inability to lie on left side.”
Lambert has recorded (H. W., xxx. 64) the case of a gate-keeper, 54, who had smoked since he was seven years old, and who suffered from “tobacco heart,” palpitation, occurring on least exertion or fright, and sometimes awakening him in the night; pulse intermittent; no valvular lesion; tingling in left arm and leg and sensation as if the blood did not circulate in them. He could walk all right, but not far. The chief thing he complained of was sharp pain in right temple like pins and needles, of eighteen months’ duration. It was induced by touch and turning head quickly. Kalm. 3x cured the temporal neuralgia and greatly alleviated all the other symptoms.
Other peculiar sensations are:
As if something loose in head diagonally across the top.
As if the body was surcharged with electricity, a shuddering without coldness.
As if something would be pressed off below pit of stomach.
As if the stool was glazed.
As if one squeezed throat with thumb and finger. Pain in chest (in hands, in feet) as from a sprain. Pressure like a marble from epigastrium to heart. Cracking in head frightens him, ending in sound in ears like blowing a horn. As if something was being pressed away from under sternum. The pains and conditions requiring Kalm. frequently have nausea and slow pulse as concomitants.
Among noteworthy symptoms are: Dry throat. Dry, stiff, swollen, cracked lips. Tingling in salivary glands immediately after eating. Stitches in tongue. Vomiting with ruminating action; without the least nausea. Pressure on rectum after stool. The sensation of “rigidity of the skin” should make us think of it in scleroderma. There is much external sensitiveness: Face, pit of stomach, muscles of neck sore, with the sun.
Its decided action on the heart led Dr. Hering to suspect its value in rheumatic heart affections, a value established by clinical experience.