(Color plate, Fig. c, Page 116)
Outline of the section: Information on the effects of Cinchona or Peruvian bark, which was introduced into Europe as a medicinal remedy about the year 1820. Its best known alkaloid is quinin.
Cinchona or Peruvian bark was introduced into Europe as a medicinal remedy about the year 1820. Its best known alkaloid is quinin.
Probably no drug has been more popular, both with the medical profession and the laity, than quinin. In many sections of the country especially those affected by catarrhal diseases or malarial fevers, the drug is taken as freely and regularly as an ordinary condiment. People are surprised when told that it is a powerful poison, and that when taken continuously, even in small doses, it will produce a variety of serious chronic ailments, such as indigestion, constipation, rheumatism and neuralgia, deafness, color blindness and total blindness, irritability, neurasthenia and insanity.
In consultation with the doctor, patients are told that the drug is harmless, while the lecturer in classroom, and materia medica, describe in detail the cumulative effects of this and other poisonous agents. They picture with terrible realism the symptoms of chronic mercurialism, iodism, bromism, cinchonism, the cocaine, chloral and morphin habits, and then continue prescribing these drugs as though they were as innocent as bonbons.
The diagnosis from the iris brings proof positive of the cumulative and destructive effects of these agents. I have previously called attention to the fact that every substance poisonous to the human organism, if taken repeatedly or in sufficient quantity, manifests in the iris by peculiar signs and colors easily recognized by the trained eye. These signs and colors diminish and disappear when the corresponding poisons are eliminated from the system, accompanied by their own peculiar crisis manifestations. This is proof positive that these poisonous drugs are not eliminated as quickly and thoroughly as the allopathic physician tries to make himself believe.
Next to iodin, the presence of quinin in the body is more readily recognized in the iris than that of any other poisonous substance. It shows as a yellowish discoloration, sometimes whitish and sometimes approaching in hue a reddish brown, according to the chemical combinations it has entered into. It shows particularly and most prominently in the brain, eyes, ears, stomach and bowels, indicating that it has a strong affinity for these parts and organs. In old malarial cases it also shows in the areas of liver and spleen. (Color plate, fig. c, page 116.)
When we see the signs of the drug in the iris of a patient we need only take any materia medica and read the typical symptoms of cinchonism or chronic quinin poisoning and the patient will confess to most of them. Let us take, for instance, "The Materia Medica and Therapeutics", by J. Mitchell Bruce, published by W. T. Keener and Co., Chicago.
On page 315 he says:
"The obvious phenomena produced by a full dose (15 to 30 gr.) of quinin are not by any means its most important effects. It acts most strikingly upon the nervous centers, and causes confusion of the mental faculties, noises in the ears and deafness, disorders of vision (color blindness), headache, giddiness, vomiting, and possibly prostration from involvement of the cord and circulation. . . ."
"Quinin appears to reduce the amount of nitrogenous excretions, of urea and uric acid, and probably also of carbonic acid, as determined both in healthy and fevered animals, and in man.
"These two sets of effects, taken together, point to a powerful action of quiuin in reducing the metabolism of the body, of which heat and excretions are the two most measurable products. . . . (Author's note: This confirms my claim that all antipyretics and antiseptics are protoplasmic poisons.) . . . We may, therefore, conclude that the effect of quinin in the body is to check metabolism by interfering with the oxidation of protoplasm generally, with oxygenation, and with the associated actions of ferments. Thus the fall of temperature produced by quinin is due to the diminished production of heat in the body, not to increased loss of heat."
Fever heat contracts the surface capillaries, tightly closes the skin and its organs, and thus prevents heat radiation. Therefore we have in fevers a dry, hot surface. The drug, by "reducing the metabolism", which means paralysis of the vital functions, suppresses the heat that is burning up the morbid matter in the system. The cold wet packs and cold ablutions do not interfere with inner heat production. They cool and relax the skin, its pores and capillaries, thereby facilitating heat radiation and the elimination of impurities from the blood. The following quotations from "Essentials of Materia Medica and Therapeutics", by H. Norris, M. D. (Allopath), are very significant, revealing in every paragraph the law of double effect* in the immediate and remote effects of quinin on the human organism. It must be remembered that all drugs taken in small doses accumulate in the system and concentrate in certain part's for which they exhibit a special affinity and then constantly exert the influence of large doses. (*See Vol. I, Chapter VII, Laws of Cure--Law of double effect.)
The notes in parenthesis in the following paragraphs are by myself.
"Locally, cinchona and its alkaloids are irritant and antiseptic, destroying minute organisms or inhibiting their movements.
"Internally it acts on the alimentary canal as a simple bitter, in small doses increasing the appetite and digestion; if long continued, producing indigestion and gastric catarrh. (Note double effect. In ordinary doses cinchona constipates. In large doses cinchona or its alkaloids irritate the mucous membrane and cause vomiting and diarrhea followed by chronic constipation.)
"Nutrition is stimulated and the excretion of waste products increased by small doses; large doses, however, diminish the amount of urea and uric and phosphoric acids in the urine. In malarial fever the products of waste tissue are much decreased. (Thus interfering with elimination.)
"In the blood it interferes with the oxygen-carrying function of the red corpuscles, and diminishes their number, inhibits the movements and prevents the migration of the white corpuscles, both in health and disease. (If the allopath believes in the theory of phagocytosis, why prevent the migration of the leukocytes?)
"Circulation: in small doses the cardiac action is increased; large doses, by acting on the cardiac motor ganglia, depress the heart, sometimes causing it to intermit, and finally arrest it in diastole; the blood pressure is lowered. (This means death.)
"The temperature in health is very slightly influenced, if at all; in fevers a rapid decline takes place, due to the depressive action on the blood and circulation.
"Nervous system: small doses stimulate the cerebral functions, large doses cause cinchonism, i. e., a constricted feeling in the forehead, giddiness and tinnitus aurium (ringing in the ears), with impairment of hearing and sometimes of vision: after toxic doses these symptoms are aggravated and delirium, weak pulse, coma, sometimes convulsions, and in rare cases, death, supervene. It probably reduces the reflex excitability of the spinal cord.
"Cutaneous eruptions, as erythema, urticaria or herpes, are produced in some subjects by even small doses of cinchona or its alkaloids." (These eruptions appear when the drug is eliminated under natural methods, in healing crises.)
From these various quotations it plainly appears that quinin is an antiseptic, germ killer and anti-fever remedy because it is a protoplasmic poison; it benumbs, paralyzes and kills the red corpuscles, depresses the heart and the respiratory centers, and in brief, reduces the fever symptoms because it retards all the vital functions. It "cures" catarrh because it acts as an astringent on the mucous membranes--that is, it contracts and paralyzes the cells and glandular structures of these membranes so that they cannot throw off the morbid matter which Nature is trying to eliminate.
Medical students in our colleges are constantly warned not to give quinin in large or continued doses to railroad men, because it may cause color blindness and deafness. They are told this might cause a misunderstanding of color signals and thereby produce railroad accidents. Whether or not other people become color blind and deaf does not seem to be a matter of importance to the medical practitioner.
Not long ago there appeared before our public clinic a woman about forty years of age who asked for a diagnosis from the eye. Both eyes were yellow with the typical quinin color (see color plate, fig. c, p. 116) and the regions of throat, lungs and bronchi displayed the dark signs of chronic and destructive catarrhal conditions.
We told her at once, without a word of information from her, that she was thoroughly poisoned by quinin and that in consequence she was suffering with bad chronic catarrhal conditions, bordering on tuberculosis.
"Yes," she said, "I have been coughing and expectorating for a year and the doctors tell me that 1 have consumption. Two years ago I was a perfectly well woman and strong as a man. My husband died with consumption and I, after reading some medical books, began to fear that he had infected me with the disease. The books told me that quinin was a good preventive against catarrhs, coughs and tuberculosis. Although there was nothing the matter with me at the time, I took large doses of it without a doctor's prescription, and kept on taking it until one day I dropped, senseless, on the floor. A doctor was called and after hearing my story told me I had taken too much quinin; that I was suffering from the chronic after effects of the drug. I then began to cough and have grown worse ever since."
In this case, without doubt, the drug which was taken to prevent the disease produced it in its most terrible reality.