Chemistry is fascinating, if only for its psychology, if one may (mis)use term. Of two deadly elements, in combination, she may form something quite harmless, even essential of life: whereas from such mild and kindly creatures as the glycerine of the toilet table so inert that it never even "goes bad", and nitrogen, that colourless, tasteless, odourless gas, which, four to one part in mixture with the life-supporter, oxygen, modifies the properties of the latter in such way that, instead of burning us out rapidly we just get, with every breath, that happy admixture that supports life without hastening its destruction. That nitrogen and glycerine should combine to produce such a wildly intemperate blasting agent is incalculable - absolutely unforeseen till "discovered". As a great chemist once said, "no cone could tell, a priori, how even a lump of sugar would behave when dropped into a cup of tea". Science is the plodding daughter of Experiment: and, as such, Homoeopathy is scientific.
Dr. Hughes (Pharmacodynamics) points out that, though Old School uses Glonoine, having even adopted that name for it, yet medicine owes its introduction to Constantine Hering. We notice that, as always, when using those violent medicinal substance, so often the most splendidly curative agents of Homoeopathy, Old School has, perforce, to follow into the fantastic region of infinitesimals.
"Nitro-glycerine was discovered by Sobrero in 1847, but none could be obtained for physiological experiment until Morris Davis, a Philadelphia chemist, in the same year, after long and laborious trials, under direction of Hering, succeeded to produce the substance in sufficient quantity for proving. It was extensively proven here and abroad and the symptoms have received clinical verification." HERINGS "Guiding Symptoms".
A quaint little verification of the care and exactness with which the provings of homoeopathic drugs have been observed and recorded comes to hand as writing.
A certain physician, busy with rather urgent mental work, and worried by a sensation of fullness at the back of head and neck, a miserable, incapacitating fullness-took a dose of Glonoine (that produces such fullness). It was Glon. C 3, couple of globuli, of the only preparation available, probably inert, discovered among a number of homoeopathic medicines that had belonged to some one long since dead (certainly 25 to 30 years) and sent on years ago "in case they should prove useful".
Well, the headache soon went, but a couple of days later, while busy with out-patient work, the doctor became suddenly conscious of an unpleasant numbness of the left had, never felt before, and rather disconcerting. Presently this disappeared, but only to be succeeded by numbness of the lower lip, the exact sensation felt when cocaine has been injected for tooth extraction. This also went: but only to return again and again, and yet again, first to left hand and then to lower lip: nowhere else: always absolutely limited. Before night these rather alarming sensations sent him to Kents Repertory to find the remedy-should it be needed. And there he discovered, under "Numbness, lower lip", two drugs only "(Calc.), and Glon". Then he turned to "Numbness of left hand", to find several remedies: Glon. among them! The sensation was satisfactorily accounted for: and was the more interesting because Glon. is not down as producing numbness of right hand, or of upper lip.
Black letter symptoms:
Well-known streets seem strange: way home too long.
Disinclined to speak; would hardly answer.
A distinct feeling of pulse in HEAD.
Immediately „As if head were too large“.
Head felt enormously large.
Throbbing in front of head.
Pressure and throbbing in temples. Pressure and pain from within out in both temples.
Fullness in head, and throbbing without pain. Throbbing in whole BODY.
Head very full: pulse full and quick. Sensation of fullness in vertex and forehead.
„As if the blood were mounting to head“.
„As if he were hanging with head downwards“/“As if there were a great rush of blood into head in consequence“.
„As if skull were too small; and brain attempting to burst it“.
Afraid to shake his head lest it drop to pieces. Shaking the head < headache.
Holds head with both hands; presses sinciput (= upper and front part of the head).
Shocks in brain, synchronous with pulsation of arteries.
Undulating sensation in head.
Throbbing in head: in temples: in temporal arteries which were raised and felt like whipcords.
Headache on damp, rainy day; after taking cold; after much sitting, and mental exertion.
Red injected hot EYES during headache, with wild expression.
Intense congestion of brain induced in plethoric constitutions by sudden suppressION of Menses, or a appearing instead of menses.
Headaches occurring after profuse uterine haemorrhage.
Rush of blood to head in pregnant women, with pale face and loss of consciousness.
Violent palpitation of HEART, with throbbing carotids, pulsating headache in forehead and between temples.
Blood seems to rush to heart and mount rapidly into head.
Epileptic CONVULSION, with congestion to head and heart.
Bad effects from being exposed immediately to SUNrays. (In fever) flushes of heat: waves of heat upwards.
OTHER, ITALIC, OR QUEER SYMPTOMS.
Recognized no one. Raved; screamed; wishes to rush from house. Jumped out of bed, but legs gave way.
Fears: throat swollen: chest as if screwed together; of approaching death: of having been poisoned. Bad effects of fear, fright, mechanical contusions and their later consequences.
Could not allow head to be level with body.
Confusion of ideas: could not tell where he was.
Loss of location: (a cured case), began ten years ago; loses himself in streets he has travelled in for years. All right in regard to everything else.
In familiar street everything strange. Had to look about him every few minutes to convince himself he was in right street.
House not in their right places, on the route he had traversed at least 4x daily for 4 years.
Conclusions, falls down frothing at mouth, after palpitation of heart # congestions to the head.
Congestion to head, causes sensation of coldness every time.
Tight and choky feeling throat, like strangulation.
Skull too small; as if brain attempting to burst skull.
As if head and neck laced in: clothing too tight.
Pain in wens on scalp, as of a thimble pressed firmly on them.
Every motion, side, increased the pain (in head), but motions backward and forward did not.
Headache cease in sleep: better in open air: lessened by drinking coffee, after a few hours: tea lessens it better.
Feels as if ice-cold sweat were on forehead, which is not there.
Rays of sun on head were not be borne, and head would not allow hat to touch it.
Frightful headache: runs about room with head pressed between hands. As if head would burst: knocks it against wall.
Hyperaemia of brain caused by excessive cold or head.
Bad consequences of cutting hair.
Said her eyes were falling out: felt as if someone were pulling them from within outwards.
Letter seem smaller: flashes of lighting, sparks, mist or black spots, whirling and confused vision.
Wild, staring look: protrusion of eyes.
Supra-orbital neuralgia, from 6 h. to 11 – 12 h.
Cold sweat on face during congestion to head.
Lower lip feels swollen. Numbness lower lip.
Chin feel elongated to knees: obliged to put hand to chin repeatedly to be sure this was not the case. (Prover had injured chin by a fall twenty years before). Tongue numb as if burnt; prickling, stinging.
Constriction in throat as if throttled.
Wine < all symptoms: alcoholic stimulations cause delirium, congestion, stupor.
Faint, warm sickening sensation in chest and stomach, like threatening seasickness. Giddiness.
Disturbances in intercranial circulation at menopause.
Flushes, etc., during climacteric.
Violent palpitation: feeling she would die: numbness whole of left arm. Pressure at heart as if it were being contracted.
Alternate congestion to heart and to head.
"As an intercurrent in angina pectoris, to prevent organism from getting accustomed to influence of Aur-m".
Hot sensation down back; burning between scapulae.
Old contusions and jars (to head and spine).
Knees give way in knock together during headache.
Conclusions, with clenching and jerking upwards of fists and legs. During spasms spread fingers and toes apart. Convulsions, with especially left fingers spread apart.
Cannot protrude tongue in straight line.
Restless sleep: wakes with fear of apoplexy.
Congestions; blood tends upwards: vessels pulsate; veins, jugular, temporal, enlarged.
Rapid deviations in distribution of blood. Useful as substitute for bleeding.
Bad effects from mental excitement, fright, fear, mechanical contusions and their later consequences, from having hair cut, and from exposure of rays of sun.
Antidoted by ACON. Camph. Coff. Nux-v.
Compare Aml-ns.. Bell. Ferr. Gels. Kali-n. Nat-c. Nat-n. Stram.
As seen from above, the action of Glonoine, so local, so sudden, so definite, so alarming and torturing, and therefore so remedial is, once grasped, impossible to forget. In fact, it seems hardly worth writing about.
However we will run through what some of our great prescribers and writers have to say about it. This one emphasizes one point coinciding with his experience, that one another; and so one learns.
HUGHES writes: "The name Glonoin was formed by its introducer into medical practice, Dr. C. Hering, out of the chemical formula (G1 O NO5) denoting its composition. Dr. Hering proved it on himself and others in 1948".
"Glon. Acts in a limited scope. A tiny amount of 5% solution, will produce in a few minutes pulse increased by 20, 40 or even 60 beats. May feel a throbbing in the head (all over his body), which will go on beating until a pretty violent bursting headache has developed itself. With this, there will be probably some giddiness, a sense of fullness in the head and at the heart, and one of constriction about the throat.. All this remands of Aml-ns: effects of both are not identical. Aml-ns. causes a general flushing without marked sense of throbbing. nor is the pulse much affected by it. It seems to have been demonstrated that Aml-ns. produces its dilating effects on the arteries by directly paralysing their muscular coats, while Glon. affects the nervous centres of the circulation, and is limited to this sphere".
He distinguishes between the action of Glon. and Bell. "With Bell., the circulation within the cranium is excited because the brain is irritated; with Glon., the brain is irritated because the circulation is excited. It would be indicated in such hyperaemiae as can be produced by excessive heat or cold, by strong emotions, by mechanical jarring, by suppression of the menses/other haemorrhages/excretions".
He evidence not only sunstroke, but the striking benefit he has obtained from the drug in the distressing after-effects of sunstroke.
He says, "perhaps the greatest boon which Dr. Hering has conferred upon patients in introducing Glon. to medicine is the relief it gives to menstrual disturbances of the cerebral circulation. as the intense congestion of brain induced in plethoric constitutions by sudden suppression of the menses. Glon. is an exquisite similimum here: for in one of Dr. Dudgeons provers, who took it while the catamenia were present, these immediately ceased, and the headache went on increasing these immediately cease, and the headache went on increasing in violence till night. Aml-ns. does not, like Lach. act on the flushing of the climacteric; but is most valuable when these are localized in the head".
He says: "it was the statement of its discoverer, Sobrero, that even a very small quantity placed on the tongue cause a violent headache of several hours duration, which led Dr. Hering to investigate its action".
The kind of headache-fullness, tension, throbbing, bursting- these are the phrases used by the provers to describe it.. It acts as rapidly in disease as in health.
He discusses its striking power of relieving paroxysms of neuralgia, even in some cases, permanently curing.
GUERNSEY epitomizes Glonoine, and its uses. "Troubles from heat of the head in type-setters, in men who work under a gas-light steadily, so that heat falls on the head: bad results from sunstroke; cant bear any heat about the head; cant walk in the sun, must walk in shade or carry an umbrella; cant bear heat from a stove; great vertigo from assuming an upright posture from rising up in bed, rising from a seat. Heat in head; throbbing headache.
Patient feels lost, or strange even in familiar street or surroundings. Things look strange and unfamiliar.
NASH. One of our great head medicines. He says he used to carry Glon. C 1 in his case, for those inclined to sneer at the young doctor and his sweet medicine. He seldom failed to convince, in 5 - 10 minutes, that there was power here: for a drop on the tongue produced the characteristic throbbing headache. No one ever asked for more proof of the power of homoeopathic medicine.
Pain of Bell. are sudden in onset/suddenly gone: those of Glon. are even more so.
Nash says that "Glon. is better adapted to he first, congestive stage of inflammatory disease of the brain: Belladonna goes further, and may still be the remedy after the inflammatory stage is fully initiated." Neither can stand the least jar. But pain "waves" upsurging, are absolutely characteristic of Glon.
FARRINGTON emphasizes that the keynote to the whole symptomatology of the drug is expressed in this one sentence: "a tendency to sudden and violent irregularities of the circulation." With that, he says, we can easily work out the other symptoms.
"Glon. is a drug that acts very quickly and very violently; the throbbing (head) is not a mere sensation, it is an actual fact. It really seems that the blood vessels would burst, so violent is the action of the drug..The blood seems to surge in one great current up the spine and into the head. The external hagglers look like tortuous cords, the carotids throb violently and are hard, tense and unyielding to pressure. The face is deep red. This throbbing is either associated with dull, distressing aching, or with sharp, violent pains".
"In Sunstroke also we find Glon. to be our best remedy for the effects of heat, whether the trouble arises form the direct rays of the sun, from hot weather, or from working in the intense heat of a furnace, as in the case of foundrymen and machinists. These effects are not confined to the head, but involve the whole body, and we note oppression of breathing, with palpitation of the heart and nausea and vomiting.. the nausea not gastric, but cerebral.. a horrible... Eyes too large and protrude as though bursting out of the head. . eye diseases from exposure to very bright light.. blood vessels of retina... Admirable remedy for puerperal conclusions: full, hard pulse, and albuminuria".
"Well-known streets seem strange to the patient (Petroleum). Suppose a person, subject to apoplectic congestions, is suddenly seized in the streets with one of these, and does not know where he is, then Glonoin is the remedy for him".
"Bad effects of fear (Opium,). Horrible apprehension, and sometimes the fear of being poisoned".
"Then, trauma. Excellent remedy for pains and other abnormal sensations, following late after local injuries: pain in part (sore); or an old scar breaks out again".
He, also, contrasts Bell. and Glon. "because they meet in the congestions and inflammations of the brain with children and old persons. They divide the honours here".
KENT: "Surging of blood to heart and head. As if all the blood in the body were rushing round the heart: a surging in head; a warm, glowing sensation in head; or intense glowing from stomach or chest up to head, at times with loss of consciousness... Wave-like sensations, „As if skull were lifted and lowered; expanded and contracted“. Intense pain, „As if head would burst“. Great throbbing: beating of hammers; every pulsation painful. Even fingers and toes pulsate....".
"Head is relieved in open air: < in warmth, often relieved by cold. < lying. < head low. Extremities cold/pale/perspiring, head hot, face flushed and purple or bright red. Mouth dry; eyelids dry, stick to eyeballs. All degrees of confusion to unconsciousness".
"sunstroke.... sudden congestions of head... Cold feels good to head; heat feels good to extremities. When lower limbs are covered with clothing in a cool room, and windows open, convulsions are relieved, and patient breathes more easily".
"In apoplexy, such medicines as Op. and Glon. relieve the blood pressure when the the symptoms agree. They equalize the circulation, and the patient may not die".
"If sitting up, you will often see a glonoine patient with both hands pressing upon the head with all the power possible until the arms are perfectly exhausted. Wants it bandaged, or a tight cap.... < from wine, and < from lying down. You will be astonished to know how long a Glon. patient will sit without moving a muscle, because motion is so painful. Whole crown of head feels as if covered by a hot iron, as if an oven were close by....".
Bias is an interesting phenomenon in homeopathy, both for self-prescribers and professional homeopaths alike. Although we may try to be objective in our remedy selection, it can be very difficult not to make a favoured remedy fit the case. At the same time there is often a tendency to ignore or avoid particular remedies, perhaps because they are too obvious, or because they might reflect an aspect of someone’s character that may seem pejorative or unpleasant. Nitric acid is one of the remedies that is often neglected for this reason, as I have mentioned in an earlier article.
An underused medecine which is often written off as merely a sunstroke remedy. In fact, like the nitroglycerine from which it originates, it is a remedy of great power.
An explosive history
Nitrogylcerine was discovered in 1847 at the University of Turin by the professor of chemistry, Ascanio Sobrero. The problem was that as a liquid it was highly volatile, unstable and liable to explode. Indeed, in one of his early experiments Sobrero was badly scarred when a preparation exploded in his face. Apparently he agonised over his discovery and kept it secret for a year. When he did make it known he initially called it “pyroglycerine” and actually counselled against producing it, because he considered it to be far too dangerous to be of any practical use. “When I think of all the victims killed during nitroglycerine explosions, and the terrible havoc that has been wreaked, which in all probability will continue to occur in the future, I am almost ashamed to admit to be its discoverer.”
In 1862 the Nobel family began experimenting with nitrogylcerine. A year later Alfred Nobel, who had worked in the same laboratory as Ascanio Sobrero, patented a process for “Nobel’s Blasting Oil”, which became available as an industrial explosive. Sadly, in 1864 Nobel’s younger brother Emil was killed in an accident during the preparation of some of the explosive.
Four years later Alfred Nobel managed to make the explosive mixture easier to handle by the addition of kieselgur (a siliceous deposit, also known as diatomaceous earth). He called the mixture “dynamite”. From this he made a fabulous fortune, a vast amount of which he left to establish the Nobel Prize.
Nitroglycerine and allopathic medicine
Glyceryl trinitrate was one of the very first drugs that I was taught about at medical school. For generations it has been the mainstay in the management of angina pectoris. This is a condition of tight chest pain associated with underlying myocardial ischaemia, first described by Dr William Heberden in 1768.
The use of nitrates was first advocated by Sir Lauder Brunton in 1867, when he prescribed amyl nitrate to angina sufferers, on the basis that this would dilate the coronary arteries. When glyceryl trinitrate could be made into tablet form in 1879, it revolutionised the treatment of this condition. Nowadays, virtually every family doctor will have either glyceryl trinitrate tablets or spray in their medical bag for emergency use. It is also an extremely useful preparation to use topically in cases of anal fissure, which is an extremely painful condition.
This drug produces a dramatic effect in angina and relieves severe chest pain in seconds. It does so by virtue of the fact that the nitroglycerine is converted by the body into nitric oxide, through a mechanism that has yet to be fully elucidated. Nitric oxide is a significant natural vasodilator, which means that it widens blood vessels. Thus it eases angina by dilating the coronary arteries, speeding
the heart and lowering blood pressure. Unfortunately, it can often produce as sideeffects a throbbing headache, flushing and faintness. The sideeffects also come about from this vasodilation.
Hering proved nitroglycerine in 1848 and gave it the name of Glonoine, from its chemical formula (Gl O NO5), thereby denoting its composition. From then its value became established in congestive headaches, the menopause, angina and in many conditions that seem to start suddenly and explosively, especially when the circulation is involved.
Dr Ernest Farrington, associate of Hering said that the whole symptomatology of Glonoine could be expressed in one phrase: “a tendency to sudden and violent irregularities of the circulation”.
A complex mixture
Glonoine has many features that overlap other remedy profiles. This is worth considering a little further because I think this can give us some insight into the remedy, which will be illuminating when we
go on to consider a few cases. Nitroglycerine is made by mixing sulphuric and nitric acids and glycerine. This has, of course, to be done with phenomenal care, since the reaction is unstable and potentially explosive. The actual chemical reaction results in the nitration of the glycerine, without the sulphuric acid being incorporated in the product. Sulphuric acid is regenerated in the process, so it is purely a catalyst.
In terms of the homeopathic remedy Glonoine similarities between it and both Sulphuric and Nitric acid. All acid remedies have tiredness or some sort of fatigue within their profile, meaning that they are often indicated in fatigue states. Glonoine often seems to come into its own when people complain of great fatigue during and after they have had one of their flushes, headaches or episodes of angina.
It is as if there is a time of settling down needed, like the aftermath of an explosion.
There is also often speed involved when these remedies are indicated.
Sul-ac. often needed for people who are in a hurry and want everyone around them to hurry up.
Nit-ac. really anxious about their health and who want something doing straight away. Glon. may have both features and when they develop symptoms they come in great surges, as if a fluid is flowing
fast into a closed container and the pressure builds up swiftly.
Finally, the essence of the remedy Glonoine seems to be its potential power. By this I mean that there is a sense of the pre-explosion. The sudden build up of pressure, the surging force, the sense that something explosive could happen or that something bad is imminent. The actual explosion may not take place, but the fear is there and it dominates.
So with this in mind, let us look at a few cases which illustrate some of the indicative features of this great remedy.
Mad dogs and Englishmen
Gerald was retired and admitted to me that he had a big problem. He simply would not learn the lesson that life repeatedly taught him. He loved his garden and he loved working in it in the sun.
Although he had little hair left, he disliked wearing a hat. He was aware that working out of doors in the sun gave him headaches, yet he had come to accept them as part of his life, even though bad episodes would put him to bed. During these episodes he would be unable to think clearly and he certainly would not feel able to do anything that involved writing or concentrating.
He had been treated over many years for migraine and had eventually seen a neurologist. It was only when he had retired that he really felt he would like to be rid of the headaches. When I asked him
to describe them he told me that they always came on suddenly, even if he had already been out in the sun for an hour or two. He emphasised that they did not come on slowly and gradually build up,
but came suddenly, with a pounding sensation that corresponded with his pulse. Sometimes it felt as if blood had suddenly surged into his head and he felt as if it could burst. He reported that you could actually see the pulsation of his neck arteries. When these severe episodes occurred he had to go indoors and seek the solace of a darkened room.
Characteristic: he could not lie flat when he had a headache. Even if he had just recovered from one, if he then lay flat it would recur. He had found that he had to lie well propped up.
Gerald still likes the sun and still works in it, but at least he can control his headaches instantly with a dose of Glonoine in 30c potency. He no longer has to lie in darkened rooms.
Sally was another sun-worshipper who was frustrated by her tendency to suffer from sunstroke. She was in her early twenties when I first saw her.
A holiday with her boyfriend in Greece had been blighted by admission to hospital with full blown sunstroke. After only a few hours on the beach she had developed a sudden throbbing headache, went clammy and started vomiting profusely. At first, food poisoning had been suspected and she spent a couple of days in hospital having a battery of investigations.
From that point on, she became a sun-reactor, unable to bear the direct sun. The headaches and the sudden nausea were particular trials for her, neither of which responded to prescribed medication.
When afflicted with one of these episodes her eyes would go blood-shot and her face would become flushed.
When I took her case one particular symptom stood out. She told me that one of the things she found helped was to bend her head backwards to stretch her neck. This is a characteristic Glonoine feature. And once again, Glonoine 30c has helped her markedly.
It is not just the sun that can cause a problem. Some people experience headaches while working under lamps, in greenhouses or anywhere near heat so that they feel that their head is being overheated.
If they get the surging headache, that feels as if it could burst, then Glonoine may help.
Menstrual and menopausal problems
Gill was another headache sufferer. Her headaches often came on premenstrually. These she could deal with. On occasions when her periods were late (she had an irregular cycle) the headaches became debilitating. On several occasions she had lost time from work because of them. The description of the headaches corresponded to the Glonoine profile and the remedy transformed her life.
This is another characteristic indicator for Glonoine, a headache that comes instead of the period.
Carol reached the menopause in her late forties and began to experience menopausal flushes. Hormone Replacement Therapy was contraindicated on medical grounds and she had found no benefit from taking over the counter herbal preparations.
Her description of a flush was of a sudden upflow of heat from the middle of her abdomen to the top of her head. It felt like a surge of heat and an accompanying sensation that blood was being suddenly pumped into her head. Regular Glonoine has controlled her flushes.
Loose collars only
I saw Jim many years ago when he was a schoolboy. It was in the days when a tie was an integral part of a school uniform and having it tied loosely was considered a punishable sin. Poor Jim was forever in trouble for loosening his tie and unbuttoning his collar. He was subject to headaches and retching. When he felt bad, he just could not abide the feel of his tie being too tight and he would retch unless he could relieve the pressure.
We call this symptom tumefaction. It is a sensation of bloating about the neck which produces a choking feeling if there is tightness from clothing. The remedy Lachesis has this feature, which most people are aware of. Glonoine also has it, and if other indicative features are present, it can work wonders. It did for Jim.
Why can’t I remember?
Brenda was an excitable, but sprightly 70 year-old lady, who started to react to all sorts of foods and odours. As part of her reaction she experienced sudden headaches, dizziness and on several occasions became confused. She even forgot how to find her way home from the local shop. Inevitably she began to worry that she was starting to manifest Alzheimer’s disease.
This feature of being confused in places which are well known to one is another feature that is recognised in the Glonoine picture. Fortunately, it worked well for Brenda.
Angina and palpitations
Anginal pain should be treated with conventional medicine, in my opinion. Yet there is a role for Glonoine if the symptom pattern matches Glonoine’s profile. The chest pain, which comes on suddenly, is in this case usually described as being hot, with a congested sensation in the chest and an awareness of the heart pulsating quickly. The carotid pulsation in the neck is usually visible.
<: in the sun/overheating of the head/stooping/being in motion/being jarred/lying flat/wine/stimulants/peaches/a haircut;
Headaches may be eased partially by holding the head in the hands. If forced to bed then the head always has to be uncovered. Paradoxically, a nap will often worsen a symptom, but a good long sleep will alleviate it.