OF Sepia Hahnemann says, “This brown-black juice which, before me, had only been used for drawing, is contained in the abdomen of the sea-insect, ink-fish (sepia octopoda), and is some times jerked forth by the insect to darken the water around, either for the purpose of securing a prey or opposing an attack.”
(For the manner of Hahnemann’s spotting this great remedy, which he introduced, after provings, into his Materia Medica, see p.652.)
It is imperative to get a true realization of SEPIA: one of our most important remedies in chronic diseases-related to Nat. mur. and Phosphorus, both of which enter into cuttlefish juice and determines some of its symptoms. Yet Sepia provides a special stimulus all its own, that neither of the others can supply.
I am told that Dr. Gibson Miller, that great prescriber, used to say that, if he might have only one drug, he would choose Sepia And Sepia has made some very wonderful cures, when the unit dose has been left to act over several months,-goitre-insanity- rheumatoid arthritis, etc. Sepia is one of the drugs that does not bear repetition-anyway in chronic cases, and in the potencies.
Now, how to spot Sepia? And here, as it seems to give, pretty graphically, the Sepia mentality, we will reproduce our Sepia drug picture from a paper read to the British Homoeopathic Society some years ago, and still to be found with a few other drugs in a small pamphlet.
Sepia has been called the Washerwoman’s Remedy, and not without cause.
Picture her-the sallow, tired mother of a big family, on “washing day”.
She is perspiring profusely: pouring under the arms. She cannot be shut in, because of the heat and the stuffiness which make her feel faint-yet the cold wind that rushes in at the open door is almost unbearable.
Her back aches fearfully. She wants to press it-to support it (Nat. mur.). She feels she MUST sit down, or cross her legs, as her whole inside seems to be dragging down, and coming out of her. She simply must sit down to keep it in (Lilium tig).
The worry of the children is more than she can bear. Her Chamomilla baby wants to be picked up and carried, and wails and screams. The quarrels of the penultimate babies engaged in scratching out each other’s eyes, are more than she can bear. And when her six- year-old starts drumming with a spoon on a tin pot, she can stand no more. She snatches the tin pot and hurls it away, and smacks her small son; which does not improve matters. He howls dismally, and she does not care.
Oh! how she wants to run away and leave it all, and have a little peace!
Her head aches. The pain is left-sided to-day: last time it was on the right side, as she remembers dully.
She is so nervous and jumpy, she has to hold on to the edge of the wash-tub to prevent herself from screaming. If she could only go away from everybody and everything, and lie down,alone, in the dark, and close her eyes!
Her husband comes in: she has no smile to greet his. Nothing but dull indifference, and weariness, and suffering. He must leave her alone. She has her work to do.
Ptosis-ptosis everywhere. Her whole body dragged down, “inside” and out. Veins-piles-all stagnant and dragging her down. Even her eyelids are too heavy to hold up.
If she could only lie down and close them! She knows even ten minutes sleep would make her a new woman!-but there are the soapsuds-the steam-the stuffiness-the terrors of her restless children, with their noise and fidgeting. Sleep is not for her.
Her little Pulsatilla maid creeps up. “Can’t I help you, Mummie?” but she pushes her off. And the little maid creeps away, weeping: and Mummie feels that she is indifferent to her tears.
The dinner is cooking-and the smell of the cooking makes her feel deadly sick. The children are hungry, and her husband waits for his dinner. She is indifferent. Let them wait. She is irritable-indifferent-apathetic.
He looks at her sadly. Her dull face has lost it contour-its bloom-its pleasing lines. Browny bands or blotches are on forehead, and saddlewise across nose and cheekbones.
She was a bright and bonny girl when he married her-now she is SEPIA.
Give her her drug, and he will come and bless you for giving him back the wife he chose and loved. (This has actually happened: for out of ten, one sometimes returns to give thanks!)
BLACK LETTER AND SUGGESTIVE SYMPTOMS
(from HAHNEMANN, ALLEN’S Encyclopedia, HERING’S Guiding Symptoms.)
Very indifferent towards everything, and apathetic.
Aversion to one’s occupation and family.
Great indifference to one’s family- to those they love best.
Uneasiness in the presence of strangers.
Propensity to suicide from despair about his miserable existence.
“One dose takes away my ambition, I simply do not want to do anything, either work or play: an exertion even to think.”
“So nervous that I felt unless I held on to something, I should scream.”
Headache, right side head and face, with surging sensations like waves of pain rolling up and beating against frontal bone.
Darting pains, from left eye over side of head towards occiput.
Tearing in left temple to upper part of left side of head.
Headache with aversion to all kinds of food, a feeling of emptiness and goneness in stomach, very distressing.
Headache every morning with nausea, vertigo, epistaxis.
Headache in women of sallow complexion, or moth-patches on forehead: smell of food repulsive.
Headache better after meals.
Great falling out of the hair.
Smarting right eye, evening; lids close against one’s wish.
Grain of sand sensation, especially right eye.
Inflammatory affections of asthenic character; conjunctivae dull red, some photophobia and swelling of lids, worse in a.m. lachrymation morning and evening.
Drooping of eyelids, heavy or not enough sense to lift them.
Fiery sparks before eyes. Flickering looking at light. Black spots. Fiery zigzag:zigzag wreath of colours (Nat. mur., Graphites).
Pale Face. Yellowness of face and whites of eyes.
Yellow spots on face and a yellow saddle across the upper part of the cheeks and the nose. Yellow saddle across bridge of nose.
Large offensive-smelling plugs from nose (Ozaena).
Crack middle of lower lip (Nat, mur., Drosera, etc.)
Dry coryza: nostrils sore, swollen, ulcerated and scabby; discharging large, green plugs.
Very sensitive to noise, music and odours.
Smell of cooking nauseates (Arsenicum, Cocc., Colchicum, Digitalis, Ip., Thuja).
Nausea, mornings only, passing off after eating something.
Gnawing and weakness in stomach, which ceased at supper.
Emptiness of stomach, with nausea as soon as she thinks of food which she would like to take. Peculiar faint, sinking emptiness.
Nausea: after eating, also in the a.m. fasting: from smell of food or cooking: when riding in a carriage: with anxiety when exerting eyes: with weakness.
Morning sickness of pregnancy. Toothache, esp. of pregnancy.
Vomiting: of food and bile in a.m.: frequently strains her so that blood comes up: of mucus, after taking the simplest food.
Burning in pit of stomach. Stitches in pit of stomach. Stitches in pit of stomach.
Canine hunger, or no appetite.
Desire for vinegar, for wine, for sweets.
Aversion to food, particularly to meat and fat, to bread during pregnancy; to milk which causes diarrhoea. Loathing.
Worse for bread, milk, fat food or acids.
“Sepia creates an aversion to drinking beer.”
Feeling of bearing down of all pelvic organs.
Pot belliedness of mothers.
Many brown spots on abdomen: chloasma.
Weight in abdomen: distension: rumbling and grunting.
Sensation of emptiness in abdomen.
Pain and weight in abdomen, on rising in a.m.
Pain, tenderness; heaviness, load during motion in abdomen.
Sensation of bearing down in pelvic organs, with slow dragging pain from sacrum.
Pressure in abdomen as though the contents would issue through the genital organs. Pressure in uterus, as if everything would issue through vulva. Feeling of crowding and pressure downwards.
Rolling in abdomen, as if something alive were there (Croc., Thuja). Then rises up towards her throat.
Constipation: during pregnancy: slow and difficult discharge even of soft stool: excessive straining.
Sensation of weight, or ball, in anus, not (>) by stool.
Pressure on bladder and frequent micturition with tension and painful bearing down in pelvis.
Involuntary discharge of urine at night, especially during first sleep. The bed is wet almost as soon as the child goes to sleep, or passed within two hours after going to bed.
Urine clear like water: thick, slimy and very offensive, depositing a pasty sediment next morning. Sediment adheres like cement.
Turbid, clay-coloured urine, with reddish sediment in the chamber.
Uterus congested, and a yellowish leucorrhoea pouring form it; beginning to prolapse. Slightly displaced.
Great dryness of vulva and vagina, causing a very disagreeable sensation when walking, after cessation of menses.
Pressure in uterus, as if everything would issue through vulva.
Sensation in rectum not (>) by an evacuation: sensation that limbs must be crossed to prevent everything being pressed out of vagina. (See Lil,tigr.)
Pain in uterus, bearing down, comes from back to abdomen:crosses limbs to prevent protrusion of parts.
Prolapsus of uterus, of vagina, with constipation.
Pressure in uterus, causing oppression of breathing; the pressure downwards is as if everything would fall out, with pain in abdomen.
She must cross her limbs in order to prevent the protrusion of the vagina, yet nothing protruded, but there was an increase of gelatinous leucorrhoea. Yellowish leucorrhoeal discharge.
Leucorrhoea like milk, only by day, with burning and excoriation between thighs.
Before menses acrid leucorrhoea, with soreness of the pudendum.
Metrorrhagia, during climacteric or pregnancy, especially fifth and seventh months.
Menses: too late: too early: causing faintness, chilliness, shuddering.
Amenorrhoea: at puberty: from a cold: in feeble women with delicate skin.
Sudden hot flushes at climacteric with momentary sweat, weakness and tendency to faint.
Short, hacking cough, in the evening, on lying down.
Cannot sleep at night on account of incessant cough.
Short, dry cough, seems to come out of stomach.
Oppression of the chest morning and evening. (One remembers an asthma case, where nothing helped till Sepia was given, on his general symptoms.)
Hering gives, ‘Tuberculous and other chronic diseased conditions of the central third of right lung.-Arsenicum the upper third.”
Pain in back across hips.
When stooping sudden pain in back as if struck by a hammer: (>) by pressing back against something hard.
Pain in small of back: pain and weakness: weakness when walking: pain as if sprained. Pain with stiffness, better by walking.
A short walk fatigue much.
Sudden prostration and stinging faintness.
Great faintness with heat, then coldness.
Faintness while kneeling in church: at trifles.
Great exhaustion in a.m. during menses.
Hands generally cold, but moist with perspiration.
Very cold feet with headache (feeling as if they stood in cold water up to the ankles).
Attacks of flushes of heat, as if hot water were poured over one with redness of face, sweat of whole body and anxiety, without thirst.
Profuse night sweats. Cold night sweats, chest, back and thighs.
Perspiration of head at night in sleep. (Calcarea, Mercurius, Sil)
Sensation of icy-cold hand between the scapulae.
Herpetic eruption on lips; about mouth. (Nat. mur., Rhus., etc.)
Itching often changes to burning when scratching.
Itching on the bends of elbows.
Soreness of skin: humid places on bends of knees.
Brown or claret-coloured tetter-like spots: cloasma. Herpes circinatus.
Brown spots on skin with leucorrhoea.
Tettery eruptions: humid: with itching and burning.
As if heart stood still.
As if suspended in air: brain crushed: head would burst.
As if eyes were gone and a cool wind blew out of sockets.
As if lids too heavy to open. As if lids paralysed.
Eyes as if balls of fire: lids too tight to cover eyeballs.
As if everything in abdomen were turning around: as if viscera were turning inside out.
As if ribs broken and sharp points sticking into flesh.
As if a strap, wide as her hand were drawn tightly round waist.
Liver as if bursting: as of something adherent in abdomen.
As if everything would issue through vulva.
As if something alive in abdomen. (Crocus, Thuja.)
A weight in anus, Bladder full, as if contents would fall out.
As if urinary organs would be pressed out.
As if everything would fall out of uterus: uterus as if clutched.
As if vulva were enlarged: something heavy would force itself from vagina.
Chest as if hollow: sore.
As if stomach being scraped.
As if knife thrust into top of left lung.
Back struck by hammer, as if going to break in back. Shoulder dislocated, feet, asleep.
A mouse running in lower limbs.
As if bones of legs were decaying.
Icy hand between scapulae. (Burning, Lycopodium, Phosphorus)
As if she would suffocate.
Something twisting in stomach and rising to throat.
Feet in cold water up to ankles. (Compare Calcarea)
Pains, ailments, disease, in any part of the body, and of every description-in a Sepia patient.
Ptosis suggests Sepia.
Intertrigo suggests Sepia.
“Bearing down” suggests Sepia.
Sepia is an important remedy in insanity, and in “borderline cases”. We will reproduce a couple of little cases, quoted elsewhere, but especially pertinent here:-
“Lady is going to foal. Last year she bit and kicked her first foal, and would not left it suck, and it died. What can we give her?” Oh! indifference to offspring? Sepia, of course 1 Give her a dose of Sepia.” And the foal arrived in due course, and Lady was the most devoted mother of all the mares that year; couldn’t bear the foal a moment out of her sight; grazed round it where it lay in the grass.
“Doctor, can you help a young man? It is his first baby, and he hates it. He cannot bear his wife to touch it. Her people had him shut up, but his people got him out again. I stayed with her all last night, and he was raving in the next room, banging about and smashing things. They are afraid he will kill the baby.” “Oh! indifference to offspring” he got a dose of Sepia. In a week he came up himself, weepy, shaky, frightfully upset still, but better. The next report was, “Doctor, you know that young man who hated his baby? Well, he is devoted to it now,. He can hardly bear anyone to touch it when he is there. He is quite cured.”
You see, Sepia is the drug that has caused and cured indifference to offspring. Mental symptoms, where they exist, are the most important in determining the required remedy.
Here is another striking and well-remembered Sepia mental case. A handsome young woman, statuesque not only in features and in colour-stony white-but in immobility, was brought to “Out-patients” some years ago. It was impossible to get an answer out of her, except after a long wait, and then it was monosyllabic. The shock of her brother’s going abroad was said to be the cause that had unhinged her. Her expression never changed: one could get no response: she just sat there immovable, while her mother gave what symptoms she could and then took her away. Arsenicum suggested itself, and Sepia: -one can see now, and at this distance of time, that Arsenicum might have been distrusted in a patient so devoid of restlessness-so entirely atypical. (And yet, recently, one has seen Arsenicum work the miracle in a girl with acute heart disease, with endocarditis and great effusion, who was absolutely a typical as regards anxious restlessness:-though her symptoms, otherwise, were Arsenicum)
Well, on further consideration (Arsenicum having failed to touch the handsome statue) Sepia was given, and a few weeks later a veritable tornado of a girl in on out-patient work, all expression and animation; all eagerness to tell her story what she had done and felt; all the ways in which she had failed to commit suicide. She had tried to drag her mother in front of an omnibus: she had tried to hang herself from a skylight, only someone came in: she had even gone to the lavatory and tried to drown herself by pulling the plug. All this and more she poured out with intense and indescribable animation. That dose of Sepia had unfrozen her, and redeemed her life. For several years after that she used to present herself, and she remained normal and commonplace, and never relapsed even under circumstances, a little later, of trial and distress. Homoeopathy may be beneath contempt-“nonsense”-“sugar pills”-“imagination”-but it works, provided that you hit the remedy (as here, where the one drug did nothing, the other cured). Other wise it is all the things they say against it-but that is when it did not happen to be Homoeopathy at all. Get it out of your head that a drug is homoeopathic, and the Homoeopathy must stand or fall by it because it come out of a homoeopathic case, or has been prepared after the manner of Hahnemann by a homoeopathic chemist, or has been potentized, or prescribed by a homoeopathic doctor (or even by a lay homoeopath!) or because it has been “worked out” and has, more or less,” come through”. Whereas, on the other hand, a remedy may be absolutely homeopathic when it comes from an ordinary chemist’s shop, is prescribed by an old school doctor, and is supposed to be an ordinary “allopathic” drug:-As for instance, Ipecac. for incessant nausea and vomiting-which it causes: Pat. iod, for gummata (which it has produced, and cures): Salicylic acid for Meniere’s disease, whose symptoms it evokes, and so on, a large number of drugs: I think it was Dr. Dyce Brown who discovered enough of these to fill a pamphlet. So when we have failed (as with Arsenicum in the above case), it was not because Homoeopathy was incapable of curing, but because we were incapable of finding the homoeopathic remedy. This applies to our failures everywhere; in some cases of rheumatoid arthritis, for example, where the remedy is sometimes terribly difficult to spot, but when found can do astonishing work in relieving what is incurable in advanced cases, and in curing early cases.
Which reminds one!-that Sepia is one of the remedies that has cured rheumatoid arthritis-in Sepia patients. It has helped within our knowledge several times. Here is a case. But remember that Homoeopathy does not treat diseases, but patients with diseases: and don’t on any account write down in your memory that Sepia is “a cure” for that disease. That is the perfect way of demonstrating-to the satisfaction of your inexperience-that “Homoeopathy is no use for rheumatoid arthritis any way!”- you have “proved that it is not!”-with remedies that did not happen to be en rapport with the patient.
Woman of 42, sent up by a country doctor, who told her that she would never walk again. She had a fifteen-year’s history of supposed hopeless rheumatoid arthritis. She was wheeled in in a bath chair:-could not feed herself or dress herself without help; could not even pull the sheet up at night. There was rapid improvement after Sepia 30, a dose in December (1915). In February she was walking. In six months the hospital note is, “Hands look normal: walks with a very slight limp.” Seen again, from time to time for “stomach”, for “slight return of rheumatism”, etc. Notes extend over fourteen years, and no return. Here, of course, the bony changes cannot have been great. But such cases show the wide range of Sepia- in Sepia patients! And here let us retell its chief characteristics in the words, this time, of KENT.
“Sepia is suited to tall, slim women with narrow pelvis and lax fibres and muscles. One of the strongest features of the Sepia patient is found in the mind, the state of the affections the remedy seems to abolish the ability to feel natural love, to be affectionate. I know I ought to love my children and my husband, I used to love them, but now I have no feeling on the subject’. The love does not go forth into affection. An absence of all joy, inability to realize things are real: no affection for the delightful things of life: no joy: life has nothing in it for her. Sallowness and jaundice the yellow saddle across nose and down sides of face enormous freckles, great brown patches brown warts. Face sallow and doughy, as if muscles were flabby. You will seldom see Sepia indicated in the face that shows sharp lines of intellect and possesses will. Sepia is rather stupid and dull, thinks slowly and is forgetful or a quick patient:-but the dullness of intellect is the most striking feature. Face generally puffed, often smooth and rounded and marked by an absence of intellectual lines and angles. Anaemic skin becomes wrinkled. Constipation with sensation of lump in rectum. Gnawing hunger, seldom satisfied: eats plentifully, yet feels a gnawing, all-gone, empty, hungry feeling in stomach. When these symptoms are associated with prolapsus, Sepia will almost certainly cure, no matter how bad the prolapsus has been, or what kind of displacement there is. Inner parts as if let down, wants a bandage to hold parts up, or to place a hand or napkin on the parts: a funneling sensation better sitting down and crossing the limbs. When these symptoms group themselves, the gnawing hunger, the constipation, the dragging down, and the mental condition. it is Sepia and Sepia only.”
Sepia comes in for menstrual troubles; leucorrhoea; eruptions, herpetic, and crusty, and weepy, especially on the bends of joints: “induration like some forms of epithelioma.” Kent says “Sepia has cured epithelioma of lips, wings of nose and eyelids.” He says Fear of ghosts, etc. “Never happy unless annoying someone.” Fear: fear of insanity very easily offended. And then the Sepia relief from sleep- even a short sleep: (PHOS.) and relief of most complaints from eating.
And now a few gleanings from Farrington’s masterly article on Sepia (Comparative Materia Medica.)
He tells us that Sepia is a remedy of inestimable value. Acts on the vital forces as well as upon the organic. substances of the body. Soon impresses the circulation, which becomes more and more disturbed. Even as early as the fourth hour day there are flushes of heat and ebullitions which end in sweat and weak feeling. Hand in hand with this orgasm is an erethism of nervous system, with restlessness, anxiety, etc.
Quickly following are relaxation of tissues and nervous weakness. Joints feel weak, as though they would dislocate: the viscera drag-the “goneness”. The prolapsed uterus becomes more and more engorged: the portal stasis augments: liver is heavy and more sluggish: blood vessels full, and limbs feel sore, bruised, tired, heavy. The sphincters, and all structures depending for power on non-striated muscle, are weak, i.e. rectum prolapses; and evacuations of bowels and bladder are tardy and sluggish.
Organic changes are seen in complexion, yellow, earthy: in the secretions, sour, excoriating: in skin, with offensive exhalations, and disposed to eruptions, discoloration, desquamation, ulcers, etc.
Rather violent motion, by improving the circulation, relieves. “The hands are hot and the feet are cold; or as soon as the feet become hot, the hands become cold. This is an excellent indicating symptom for Sepia.”
“A common attendant, clearly expressive of the Sepia case, is the excellent Keynote of Guernsey, `with sense of weight in the anus like a heavy ball.'”
To show how deep-acting Sepia can be, we will retail rather an astonishing memory from early Dispensary days.
She was a gaunt, grey and grey-haired widow with multiple T.B. manifestations, whose husband had died of tuberculosis. One remembers especially the large, highly inflamed prepatellar bursa, for which she would not hear of operation: and three T.B. sinuses in particular, one on the palmar aspect of the right forearm, and one on each side of the middle finger of the right hand, going down to the first and second phalanges. Tuberculinum bov. and Silica, to one’s astonishment, the left the condition I.S.Q.:-as did three weeks at our Eastbourne Convalescent HOme, with good air, cleanliness and dressings.
Then, tardily, the idea came, to “find her remedy, and give her that, and afterwards try to deal with the tubercular manifestations.” Her remedy turned out to be Sepia, which rapidly cured the sinuses, although, being “scrub-lady” in a public house, her hand was apt to be steeped, from morning to night, in dirty water, as she scrubbed floors and washed the pewter pots. The sinuses closed, the finger healed, with all the rest: and the “stuffing” of the prepatellar bursa could be felt breaking up into smaller india-rubber-like masses, before finally disappearing.
It is the worth while to make friends with Sepia! Small wonder that Dr. Gibson Miller should have said, “If he were only allowed one remedy, he would choose SEPIA.”
SEPIA IN MALARIA
IN old cases of suppressed malaria, Sepia brings back the chill, but its most useful sphere is after a bad selection of the remedy and the case becomes confused. Where a remedy has been selected for only a part of the case and changed it a little but the patient gets no better. When the case gets into this kind of a fix, stop right off and give Sepia. It will be seen that the fever, chill and sweat are just as erratic as can be. Natrum mur. is one of the greatest malarial remedies, but it is full of order, like China. Sepia is full of disorder. In cases confused by remedies think of Calcarea, Arsenicum, Sulphur, Sepia and Ipecac. Never give China or Natrum mur. for disorderly cases. KENT.
FARRINGTON tells the history of the introduction of this substance into our Materia Medica. “Hahnemann had a friend, an artist, who became so ill that he was scarcely able to attend to his duties. Despite Hahnemann’s most careful attention he grew no better. One day when in his friend’s studio, Hahnemann observed him using the pigment made from the Sepia, and he noticed also that the brush was frequently , moistened in the artist’s mouth. Immediately the possibility of this being the cause of the illness flashed across Hahnemann’s mind. He suggested the idea to the artist, who declared positively that the Sepia paint was absolutely innocuous. At the physician’s suggestion, however, the moistening of the brush in the mouth was abandoned, and the artist’s obscure illness shortly passed away. Hahnemann then instituted provings with Sepia succus. All the symptoms observed by him have since been confirmed. In 1874, the American Institute of Homoeopathy, acting under the notion that our old remedies should be re-proved, performed this task for Sepia. There were made some twenty-five provings of the drug in from the third to the two hundredth potencies. These were reported at the Meeting of the Association in 1875. They testify to the fact that the provings left us by Hahnemann cannot be improved on.”.