Below are the main rubriks (i.e strongest indications or symptoms) of Arsenicum Album in traditional homeopathic usage, not approved by the FDA.
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Great anguish and restlessness, driving from place to place.
Great and sudden prostration, sinking of vital force.
Intense burning pains.
Intense thirst; drinks often, but little, as cold water disagrees.
Dyspnoea worse on motion, especially ascending.
Vomiting and stool simultaneous; worse after eating or drinking.
Modalities worse in cold air, from cold things, cold applications; and 1 to 3 A. M. Movement; better by warm air or room and hot applications, relieved by sweat.
The mental restlessness is as great as the bodily. He has attacks of anxiety that drive him out of bed at night. Even when there is no pain at all he wants to be continually changing place, walking about if strong enough, without any other reason than that he can't keep still. Often the first beneficial effect to be observed in cases calling for Arsenicum Album is that the anxiety grows less, the patient lies still, his pain is not so much less, but it does not make him so restless; he can bear it better. This is a good sign and is generally followed by amelioration of all the symptoms. It makes little difference what the disease, if this persistent restlessness and especially if great weakness is also present, don't forget Arsenic.
Arsenicum leads all the remedies for burning sensation, especially in acute diseases. It is not by any means confined to acute diseases, but is often found in chronic affections, especially of a malignant character or tending to malignancy. I think perhaps Sulphur Sulphur outranks it generally for burnings in chronic affections. There is hardly an organ or tissue in the human system where these burnings of Arsenic are not found. This burning, strange as it may seem, is greatly ameliorated by heat. Hot applications if they can be gotten in contact with the part, also heat of a warm stove or warm room. This is the exact opposite of Secale Cornutum Secale cornutum, for while the part is objectively cold, it still burns, but hot applications are intolerable; they cannot even bear to have it covered.
Arsenic profoundly affects the alimentary canal from lips to anus. The lips are so dry and parched and cracked that the patient often licks them to moisten them. The tongue is affected in various ways. It may be dry and red, with raised papillae; or red, with indented edges.
The pains in stomach are terrible and aggravated by the least food or drink, especially, if cold. The abdominal pains also are intense, causing the patient to turn and twist in all possible shapes and directions. Diarrhoea of all kinds of stools, from simply watery to black, bloody and horribly offensive, and finally the end of the tract is reached and we have haemorrhoids. Now in every one of these affections, ranging along the whole length of the canal, and from the lightest grade of irritation to the most intense inflammatory and malignant forms of disease, we will be apt to find everywhere present the characteristic burning of Arsenicum Album, in greater or lesser degree; and the not less characteristic amelioration from heat, and also, though not quite so invariably, the midnight aggravation.
Arsenicum also has its sphere of usefulness in diseases of the respiratory organs. First, for acute coryza it stands in the front rank, the choice often having to be made between Arsenicum Album, Allium Cepa Cepa and Merc Viv Mercurius. Arsenicum has the fluent discharge which corrodes the lips and wings of the nose and more burning than the other two remedies. It often follows well after Merc Viv Mercurius if that remedy only partially relieves.
Arsenicum is particularly efficacious in many affections of the lungs, where the breathing is very much oppressed. Respiration is wheezing, with cough and frothy expectoration. Patient cannot lie down; must sit up to breathe, and is unable to move without being greatly put out of breath. The air passages seem constricted. It is especially useful in asthmatic affections caused or aggravated by suppressed eruptions, like pneumonia from retrocedent measles, or even chronic lung troubles from suppressed eczema. I remember a case of asthma of years' standing to which I was called at midnight, because they were afraid the patient would die before morning. Found that her attacks always came on at 1 A. M. Gave Arsenicum alb. 30th, and she was completely cured by it.
The symptom by Rollin R. Gregg, "Acute, sharp, fixed or darting pain in apex and through upper third of right lung," is a gem, and has enabled me to cure a number of cases of obstinate lung troubles. In the last stage off pneumonia of old people, with gangrenous expectoration, if the other symptoms correspond, Arsenicum Album has often saved life. The burning is often found here as elsewhere. Arsenicum is also one of our best remedies in pleuritic effusions.
Here is a picture that shows a condition of things in chronic trouble calling for Arsenicum Album. "From climbing mountains, or other muscular exertions, want of breath, prostration, sleeplessness and other ailments." This shows how weak the patient is, and this weakness may be coupled with various forms of disease. You may say it is common for sick people to be weak. True, but the Arsenicum patient is weak out off proportion to the rest of his trouble, or apparently so; and it is a general prostration, not local like the sense of weakness in the chest of Acid Phos Phosphoric acid, Stannum Iodatum Stannum and Sulphur Sulphur.
When we come to the tissues we find our remedy almost universally present.
It attacks the blood, causing septic changes, exanthemata, ecchymoses, petechiae, etc.
It attacks the veins; varices burn like fire, worse at night.
It attacks the serous membranes, causing copious serous effusion.
It attacks the glands, which indurate or suppurate.
It attacks the periosteum.
It attacks the joints; causing pale swellings, burning pains, etc.
It causes inflammatory swellings with burning lancinating pains.
It causes general anasarca; skin pale, waxy or earth colored; great thirst (Apis Mel Apis none).
It causes rapid emaciation; atrophy of children.
It causes ulcerations, constantly extending in breadth. The ulcers burn like fire, pain even during sleep, discharge may be copious or scanty, the base blue, black or lardaceous.
Anthrax burning like fire; cold blue skin dry as parchment, peeling off in large scales.
"Sphacelus," parts look black or burn like fire.
"Gangrene," better from heat (worse, Secale Cornutum Secale).
"Parchment" like dryness, or dry scaly skin.
The skin troubles of Arsenicum Album are mostly dry and scaly, and almost always burning. It is one of our best remedies for affections caused by retrocedent or suppressed exanthemata, also for suppressed chronic eczema, etc.
But it is impossible and outside the scope of this work to mention by name all the affections of the tissues in which Arsenicum Album is useful.
Notwithstanding this, Arsenic is not a panacea. It must, like every other remedy, be indicated by its similar symptoms or failure is the outcome. Arsenicum Album's great keynotes are Restlessness, Burning, Prostration, and Midnight Aggravation.