Constrictions, contractions and congestions run through Cactus. Determination of blood to the head, and coldness of the extremities. Or determination of blood to an organ the chest, or the heart. There is never an equal circulation of blood in the body; it is spasmodic and irregular. Disturbed by contractions of circular fibers everywhere. When this comes in places where it can be felt, and realized by the senses, it is felt as contractions, as if caged in wires, and this gives us the key to Cactus. Where contractions cannot be felt, where there is no sense of feeling, we know that it goes on as a spasmodic condition of circular fibers; but these contractions that are felt are more upon the surface of the body, and in organs having circular fibers – tubes and canals. They constrict, and this constriction is felt like a spasm. It has a sensation of tightness and constriction about the head, about the chest, about the attachments of the diaphragm, all over the abdomen. Contractions about the heart that are tonic in character, like a tight clutching; constriction. "Constriction felt about the heart." These constrictions are felt about the throat, in the esophagus, causing a spasm; in the vagina, causing vaginismus and preventing coition. In the uterus it produces the most violent cramps. Clutching and constrictions, as if the uterus were grasped and held tightly, like a spasm. But at these times, when these constrictions take place, there are congestions. "Rush of blood to the part, with constriction." "Violent congestion of the uterus, with constrictions. Rush of blood to the chest, as if the chest was filled with hot gushes of blood, with constrictions, and constriction of the heart." These peculiarities run through Cactus more markedly than any other remedy. Many remedies have similar things now and then, but in Cactus it is common; it is the nature of Cactus to constrict, to cause constriction in places where it has never been felt, and never been thought of. Constrictions of the whole body, as if the body was held in a wire cage. Constrictions of the scalp, of the skin, growing tighter and tighter. Violent congestions that come on suddenly. Congestion of the brain, with hot head, flushed face. At the beginning of complaints, at the beginning of pneumonia; congestive chill with hot head and cold body (like Arn.) with violent constrictions and tightness, as if the head were pressed, as if the membrane of the brain were too tight, as if the brain were covered with a tight cloth, and were being screwed tighter and tighter. Uniform tightness of an organ, as if it were being bound tighter and tighter. But in tubes and canals it is a constriction of a particular part, many times like as if tied with a string. Constriction, like hour-glass contraction, in the uterus. It has inflammations, congestions, rush of blood to the part, gradually progressing to inflammation, and infiltration. Inflammation of various parts.
It has rheumatism. It is a remedy very useful in gouty constitutions; very useful in acute inflammatory rheumatism; and in this instance the congestion is in the joints that happen to be affected. And then again the constriction, as if tied with a tape, or as if bandaged. Tightness, tension, pressure, are involved in that thought. It has such a prolonged determination of blood to the heart that the heart finally becomes disturbed in its function, disturbed in its tissues; and it has a profound curative action upon the heart and even cures organic heart diseases, such as are produced from this cause, conditions coming on from congestion, or coming on through congestion in rheumatic constrictions, where the rheumatism has left the joints partially and the heart has become involved and there is constriction of the heart. Various efforts have been made by provers, and by patients, to describe the constriction of the heart. It is sometimes described "as if grasped with an iron hand." It is only to illustrate the tenacity of the constriction. In these rheumatic troubles when the joints have ceased to be affected and the heart becomes affected with this chronic congestion and enlargement, we have enlargement of the valves so that there are murmurs, the head is hot, and the patient gradually emaciates. Kidney troubles will come on; the heart grows weaker, and then dropsical conditions set in, that is the course of Cactus. Towards the last, cardiac affections, along with kidney affections, with emaciation, and then swelling of the hands and feet. That is the very nature of Cactus, and you will not find any medicine in the whole Materia Medica that reads like it. There is nothing to compare with it in the intensity of these symptoms. All these things that I have described seem to turn upon these words, congestion, constriction and contraction.
The pains in Cactus are violent, no matter where they occur. They compel the patient to cry out, and the pains are clutching pains, constricting pains; they often feel like tearing pains; but there is always that idea of clutching. Suppose you should tie a tape round a violently congested organ, and tie it tighter and tighter. It seems to me that is about the kind of suffering the patient has with that constriction of a congested organ. Pains in congested parts; pains in sore parts. Tearing; constricting; cramping, when pains occur in the intestines they are constricting, but when the pains are in the long muscles they are not the constricting pains, for it is not the circular fibers then but the long fibers that contract, and we call them cramps. Cactus produces some spasmodic conditions in long muscles, but not to any great extent. In Bell. especially, and also in many of those medicines that have this nature of cramping, and constricting and contracting of circular fibers, there is convulsive tendency. The violent congestion of the brain in Bell. will commonly be attended with cramps in the extremities and convulsions of the muscles all over, or in parts. Not so with Cactus. Violent congestion, and he grows stupid under it. Congestion of the brain, first with very red face, then darker from the venous stasis, and then stupor. He grows sluggish under the cerebral congestion.
The mental state is that of fear and distress, because of the intensity of the suffering. The patient has never felt such suffering, and he does not see what it can all mean. So much suffering, such violent suffering, such sudden suffering, such cramps, such tearing, such constriction. When this constriction comes in the heart, and about the chest it makes the patient think he is going to die, and he is at once struck with fear, and it is depicted upon the face. He fears death, and it seems he is going to die, his pain is so intense. But with this intense pain he has nothing of the anxiety we find in Aconite, which has a similar constriction of the chest and constriction of the neck. The violent choking in Aconite makes him fear he is going to choke to death, and the anxiety is awful. It is not so intense in Cactus. Screaming with pains is a common thing in Cactus. "Taciturn, unwilling to speak a word or to answer." That often accompanies the Cactus state, which is the opposite of most of the medicines that have such violent pains. "Sadness, taciturnity, and irresistible inclination to weep. Fear of death;" that is, he thinks he is going to die from the severity of the pain. "He believes his disease is incurable;" it seems to him that such suffering must end in death. That violent, irregular action of the heart is followed out through all the blood vessels, because the circulation is so irregular, is so spasmodic. He is hot here, and cold there. Dreams full of excitement. These features run through Cactus, especially with the cardiac symptoms.
"Vertigo from congestion; face red, bloated; pulsation in brain. Feels as if he would go mad. Vertigo, worse from physical exertion." With most of the cardiac remedies, or remedies where the circulation and heart are much involved, we have marked vertigo. "Vertigo; worse from physical exertion, turning in bed, stooping, rising from a recumbent position, and deep inspiration." Many of the complaints of Cactus are disturbed by irregularities of breathing. Here we see vertigo coming on from deep breathing. If he holds his breath, it seems as if his heart would fly to places, it would go so fast. Increased pulsation all over the body when holding the breath.
The headaches are constricting, pressing. They are all violent, with intense heat of the head, for they are congestive. A pressing in the top of the head as if the top of the head would be forced in; but this is ameliorated by pressing hard upon the pain. "Heavy pain like a weight on vertex, better by pressure." Oftentimes the patient may be wrong in the idea of pressure that is felt in the head. They often describe it in the most marked congestions as if the head would be crushed in, when the congestion in the brain can be seen to be most violent causing pressure from within out, and we would think they would be better from some sort of support externally, and yet they feel great soreness and feel as if the head is being crushed in. Others with headaches feel as if the head is being pressed out. "Heavy pain like a weight on vertex; better by pressure, but worse from sounds, hearing, talking, or strong light." This runs through the headaches. Greatly aggravated from hearing voices. The sound goes through the head. The brain seems to be sensitive, as if the sound were a material substance hurled at the brain. Right-sided headaches. Pulsating headaches. Heavy, pulsating pain in the head. Tensive pain in the head, tensive pain in the vertex. A tightness across the vertex, as if the scalp was being drawn tighter and tighter upon the skull. There can be no doubt about there being a marked cerebral congestion with all these symptoms. The eyes show it; the face shows it; the heat of the head shows it. It has been recommended for threatened apoplexy, when the congestion is so violent, and the face is flushed and purple, or very red, and the pulsation is felt in the brain and all over.
This remedy has the violent congestion of the head found in Bell., but with Bell. we have the intense heat of the body, fever heat which is not found in Cactus. In Cactus it is only a moderate fever. The heat is in the upper part of the body, in the head and neck. Fullness of the neck; bloating of the neck. Feels as if the head would expand from the pressure of blood in the head, but without any great rise of temperature. It has fever, but it has these without fever. But with Bell. when you have these pulsations the patient is intensely hot, and he burns all over. There is some burning in Cactus, but not to be compared with Bell. Heat in the head from mental exertion is a strong symptom of Cactus. This symptom is found in persons who are trying to break off from coffee and Cactus is often the remedy.
The patient has choking about the neck, as from a tight collar. Constriction; tension of the skin and muscles everywhere. Choking about the neck with constriction of the heart. Choking about the neck in hysteria; globus hystericus; a lump or ball coming up into the throat, and she constantly swallows and chokes, and she goes into cramps with great numbness of the left arm.
Cramping especially of the left arm. Complete numbness of the left arm along with cardiac conditions in the history of rheumatism and in hysteria. The history of rheumatism goes well to fill up the Cactus case. The face is flushed bright red, becoming blue. With weakness of the heart it is blue; blue lips. We need Cactus for a patient that has constriction about the neck, with congested head, blue face, and lips mottled, numbness of the left hand, constriction of the heart. The left hand mysteriously weak, or is numb, tingling and crawling, like a formication.
Another thing running all through the remedy is its hemorrhages. That is not surprising. Any medicine that has such cardiac conditions and such vascular conditions will at times have more or less relaxation of blood vessels, and it would be quite in the nature of it to bleed. It has hemorrhages of two kinds. Hemorrhage from vascular relaxation accompanying cardiac and vascular conditions, and hemorrhage from violent congestion of a part. The rush of blood to the head is of such violence in the moderately plethoric patient that he bleeds from the nose, and hawks blood from the throat. Congestion of the chest so violent that he expectorates blood from the chest. Bleeding from congestion, rather than from tuberculosis. Congestion of the uterus with bleeding. Congestion of the bladder and kidneys, with blood in the urine, with discharges of blood from violent congestion. In old cardiac conditions, where relaxation is present in most marked degree, hemorrhage from relaxation.
Strong pulsations felt in strange places, in the stomach, and in the bowels; sometimes in the extremities, the feet and hands, as well as in the head. Throbbing all over. Around the attachment of the diaphragm feeling as if a cord was tied tighter and tighter, round the lower part of the chest This is a strange symptom; it clutches him so tightly around the waist line that it takes his breath away, and he struggles for breath, and wants to do something. It clutches him tighter and tighter. Cactus produces congestion of the bowels; inflammation of the uterus. Gastric inflammation and with it the clutching.
It is a remedy for the cure of hemorrhoids; the relaxation of the great portal system, and the lower veins in the rectum, the hemorrhoidal veins. The veins are in such a state of relaxation that tumors will form, and bleed copiously. Bleeding hemorrhoids. Constriction of the anus. It has a very troublesome constipation; constipation in connection with hemorrhoids. It has a paralytic weakness of the bladder. It has retention of urine. Such a constriction of the neck of the bladder that the urine cannot be passed for a long time, and there is retention. In the kidneys such a congestion as favors suppression of the urine. Bloody urine; blood in clots. It is a remedy that favors the formation of clots speedily. The blood that flows clots so rapidly and so densely that it blocks up the way. Bleeding into the bladder blocks up the way. Bleeding into the vagina causes a clot difficult to expel, and pressing upon the urethra of the female that it is impossible for her to pass urine. It is like an immense tampon. And hence it reads, "urination prevented by clots," clots in the vagina, as well as clots in the bladder. Inflammation of the ovaries; inflammation of the uterus. It is a medicine that you will need to know when a young, plethoric, vigorous woman comes down violently with congestion of the uterus at the menstrual period, and she screams because of the violent clutching and cramping of the uterus. Before the flow starts, or just at the beginning, there is violent spasm. The circular fibers clutch; and she describes it accurately as if a tape were tied around that sore and congested uterus.
The uterus fills with blood clots, and the spasm to expel that blood is like a labor-pain, and she screams again, and it is some time before the flow becomes free enough to give relief. If this condition is met with in rheumatic diathesis, where there is more or less rheumatism of the joints, clutching pains and constriction in other places, we have a remedy in Cactus. The excitement and the sharp scream can be heard by the neighbors. Suffocative attacks with these pains, because the heart suffers, and constriction of the heart will commonly go along with the constriction of the uterus. In cardiac conditions it seems as if he will die for want of breath. Constrictions of the chest. Oppression as if a great load was on his chest, crushing the life out of him, so great is the constriction, and the congestion. A sudden congestion, and it comes on and ends without inflammation in many instances. A violent rush of blood to the chest, with awful dyspnea and constriction of the heart – and it passes away without inflammation. At other times cactus has conditions like pneumonia, inflammation of the lungs, and congestion ending in inflammation, with the usual expectoration, bloody or blood streaked. Cactus is also a remedy for hypostatic congestion of the lungs. He cannot lie down, must sit up in bed, and there is a dryness of the lower part of each lung, gradually growing higher and higher from an effusion of serum into the lower portion of the lungs. This hypostatic congestion is due to a cardiac weakness. Cactus will often relieve this a few times when it occurs in old broken down cases towards the end of Bright’s disease, and at the end of dropsical conditions and heart troubles. It will postpone death. "Could only breathe with shoulders elevated and lying on back." Lies leaning back or sitting quite upright "Periodical attacks of suffocation, with fainting; cold sweat."
"Feeling as if heart was compressed or squeezed by a hand. Cardiac rheumatism. Heart seemed to be held by an iron hand for many hours. Pain in the cardiac region. Great pressure at heart, going round under left axilla to back." Often this pain shoots down the left hand, is attended with numbness, and sometimes with swelling. Numbness, tingling, swelling. "Dull pain in the heart. Heavy pain in the heart, aggravated from pressure. Contractive pain in the region of the heart going down to left abdomen. At times felt as if some one was grasping the heart firmly. Paroxysms of pain in the heart," that is, this kind of constriction comes in periods of violent paroxysms. "Acute inflammation of the heart. Chronic inflammation of the heart. Palpitation of the heart, continued day and night; when walking, and at night when lying on the left side."
Another thing running through the remedy is, that chest complaints often come on or are exaggerated at 11 o’clock. Eleven o’clock in the morning, or eleven at night. Its intermittent fever will bring on a chill with violent congestion to the head at 11 o’clock. Regular paroxysms at eleven AM and eleven PM, or sometimes at eleven AM and sometimes at eleven PM A daily chill at eleven PM. It has cured intermittent fever of the congestive type, when the congestions are here and there, but particularly of head, with constrictions, congestions and contractions.