(Color plate, Fig. b, Page 116)
Outline of the section: Read more about how arsenic poisoning is shown in the iris.
Several cases of accidental arsenical poisoning have already been cited on page 130. Another similar case was that of a farmer who came to us suffering from great enlargement of the spleen and from pernicious leukemia. His eyes showed the signs of arsenic very plainly, but for several weeks we were unable to trace the source of the poisoning, until I mentioned paris green. He then told me that for many years he had sprayed his potato vines with a preparation containing large amounts of paris green. He remembered that frequently the wind had driven the spray into his face. This solved the mystery. He came too late, however, and succumbed to the effects of the arsenical poisoning.
Several years ago it was discovered that arsenical poisoning was frequently due to the inhalation of poisonous emanations from wall paper that owed its green color to paris green. Since then the use of paris green in the manufacture of wall paper has been prohibited by law. If arsenical poisoning can occur by inhaling the poisonous emanations from wall paper, what about taking arsenic in large quantities in Fowler's solution, salvarsan and other medical preparations? While the first effect of the drug seems to be tonic and stimulating, this is soon followed by greater weakness and collapse.
A well known trick of dishonest horse dealers consists in giving to more or less decrepit horses large doses of arsenic. This acts as a powerful stimulant on the animal. His coat becomes glossy, the eyes sparkle with the fire of youth and he prances about in high spirits. But the unwary purchaser finds to his astonishment within a few days that the animal has lost its youthful vigor and fine appearance.
The effect of the poison on human beings suffering from anemia is not one whit better. Whenever the drug is discontinued, the anemic symptoms reappear in worse form than before. Many people contract a habit for the drug which is very difficult to overcome.
Some of the worst cases of chronic multiple or peripheral neuritis that have come under my observation were caused by prolonged medication with arsenical preparations.
The notorious salvarsan is a powerful preparation of arsenicum. The formula is C12 H12 O2 N2 As2. This concoction has never cured a single case of blood poisoning. At the best it has only temporarily suppressed symptoms. Many patients have come under our care and treatment who were completely ruined by it. A year ago we had under our care two cases who were made blind by its use. One of these patients had enjoyed good eyesight until he received four salvarsan injections. After each treatment his eyesight became weaker. After the fourth he could only dimly distinguish objects. Too late it dawned upon him that salvarsan was destroying his eyesight.
The other patient had a similar experience. Her eyesight improved greatly under natural treatment. The man, a Bohemian saloon-keeper, had not the necessary intelligence to understand Nature Cure, and went back to poison treatment. I do not know what became of him, but I am certain that he has not regained his eyesight.
Another case treated with salvarsan in one of the large Chicago hospitals, went insane. The doctors in charge of his case said it was paresis, due to syphilis in early life.
They pronounced the case incurable and sent him to the State Asylum for the Insane at Elgin. Later his friends consulted me about the case and on my advice had him paroled and brought to our institution for treatment. He improved rapidly, as the "606" was eliminated from his system, and three months after coming to us he failed to return from his daily walk. One of our attendants went to his house to see if he was there and found him working at his jeweler's bench. He has never had a relapse since.
I could relate dozens of instances where the "606" worked similar havoc in different ways, but space does not permit. On the other hand I have never come across a single case of so called chronic blood poisoning that has been permanently cured by this concoction. It was sprung on humanity and immediately accepted by the medical profession and the laity in all civilized countries simply on account of the reputation of Dr. Ehrlich as a great light of science.
November 21, 1917, the following news item appeared in the Chicago Daily Tribune:
"Doctors Cheer at Discovery of New Cures"
"Announcement of two discoveries of world wide importance in the cure of tetanus and syphilis were made today at the annual fall meeting of the National Academy of Science, held at the University of Pennsylvania. "Discovery of the new drug, known as A-189, was made at the Rockefeller institute after experiments dating from the outbreak of the world war. It means virtually the medical independence of America from Germany.
'' The new drug, an organic arsenical compound, can be prepared in this country at a nominal cost of five cents a dose wholesale, whereas the wholesale price of salvarsan is now $3.50 a dose.
"But the most important feature of the new invention is the fact that it develops greater resistance for the spirochaetal infections without doing as much damage to the cells of the body."
In the last paragraph of this report it is admitted that the old preparation of salvarsan did much damage to the system. New preparations of old poisons are usually introduced to the profession with similar phrases, i. e., "The old preparations of this drug were known to have very serious effects upon the system, but this new product of our laboratory produces all the good effects of the drug without any of its destructive after effects." (This announcement holds good until a new preparation is discovered.--Author.)
1. Externally as caustic (with iodin) against lupus, keratosis and new growth of skin (does not act until absorbed).
2. Internally against chronic skin eruptions (with sulphur).
3. Lues as salvarsan (606) neosalvarsan (914) and sodium cacodylate.
4. Hay fever, asthma.
5. Popular tonic hematinic used with iron for leukemia, pernicious anemia and symptomatic anemia resulting from tuberculosis, malaria, gout, rheumatism, etc.
6. General tonic and alterative in all cases of perverted metabolism. "5 gtt. Fowler's Solution t. i. d. Increase 1 gtt. daily until eyelids become oedematous or until faint darting pains are felt in abdomen. Reduce dose and continue until the above symptoms reappear. Reduce again and repeat."
1. Paris green, "Rough on Rats," naphthalein and other insect and vermin exterminators.
2. Cloth dyes. Wool in manufacture is treated with arsenic as a preservative. Glazed and wall papers.
3. "Cancer cures." Condition powders.
4. Taxidermists and furriers.
5. Sprays for parasites and insects on vegetables and trees.
Readily diffusible, producing excessive oxidation and combustion.
Toxic only to organisms with a central nervous system.
Symptoms of Chronic Arsenical Poisoning:
1. Waxy complexion with loose, brittle hair and nails.
2. Arsenical eczema.
3. Puffed eyelids. Conjunctival injection. Photophobia. Lachrymation.
4. Catarrhal discharges from all mucous surfaces.
5. Cold drizzling sensation over back.
6. Numbness and tingling in extremities.
7. Neuralgia and peripheral neuritis.
8. Progressive muscular atrophy.
9. Engorgement of liver, spleen and lymphatic glands.
Elimination of Drug in Healing Crises:
1. Kidneys, bowels, liver.
2. Skin, in form of arsenical eczema, boils, running sores, dandruff and shedding of hair.
3. Catarrhal discharges from all mucous surfaces. Retained longest in bones, ligaments and other hard tissues.
Signs in the Iris:
Arsenic, the third drug in the group of alteratives, shows in the outer margin of the iris in white flakes resembling snowflakes or beaten white of egg. We find these signs in the eyes of many people who have taken the poison in medicines and tonics or who have absorbed it accidentally. (Color plate, b, page 116.)