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Petroleum – Homeopathic Medicine: Its Use, Indications And Dosage

The remedy Petroleum is derived from rock oil, also known as coal oil, which is a naturally occurring liquid under the surface of the Earth. In the crude state, rock oil is inert. When it undergoes potentization (process of preparing homeopathic medicines which arouses medicinal properties of a crude substance), it is converted into homeopathic medicine Petroleum. This medicine effectively manages numerous skin concerns.

The ‘Petroleum’ Constitution

It is most suitable for persons who are lean and thin, and possess an irritable nature.

Drug Action

This medicine has marked action on skin, gastric tract, head, eyes, ears, nose, male genitals and female genitals. Among all its actions, it is most prominently indicated to manage skin issues and chronic gastric and intestinal troubles. 

Clinical Indications

Eczema, psoriasis, cracks in skin, athlete’s foot, genital herpes, blepharitis, headache, vertigo, diarrhea, traveling sickness, and tinnitus.

Scope As A Homeopathic Remedy

1. Skin issues (Eczema, psoriasis, skin cracks, athlete’s foot, chilblains, intertrigo)

Petroleum has a magnificent action on skin. It treats eczema, psoriasis, skin cracks, chilblains, athlete’s foot and intertrigo. It is preferred for treating eczema  when there are deep cracks on the skin. It works well in dry eczema and also when vesicular (fluid filled) eruptions are present that ooze pus and form thick scabs. There may be roughness, hardness and thickening of skin. Though it treats eczema on any body part but mainly works well in case of eczema of scalp (eczema capitis), hands, and behind the ears. Eczema on scalp is marked with thick yellow crusts that ooze fluid with itching, and glued hair. Eczema behind ears looks red, raw and is sore and tender. It oozes fluid or blood and cracks appear behind ear. It has marked itching and pain.

It is a highly recommended medicine for psoriasis(an autoimmune skin condition in which inflammatory patches form on the skin that are covered with silvery white scales and skin dryness and  cracks can occur too). To select this medicine in psoriasis, the main indication is cracks on skin that have tendency to bleed. It is most prominently indicated to treat psoriasis of hands. In such cases, cracks appear on skin along with redness and rawness of skin. Greenish crusts can be present too along with itching and burning.

Next noteworthy indication to use Petroleum is skin cracks occurring in winter. The cracks may occur on feet or hands and bleed easily. Intense itching and burning on hands can be felt. The fingertips appear rough and cracked along with pain which is of cutting or sticking type. It is the first choice of medicine when the skin complaints worsen in winter. It is also well indicated for skin cracks in folds. Petroleum has shown great clinical improvements in cases of fungal infection of feet and toes (athlete’s foottinea pedis). Eruptions appear between toes, cracks between toes with excessive itching and burning accompanied by offensive foot sweat. Another complaint where it is effective is chilblains. It works best for moist chilblains with pain, extreme itching and burning. It may occur on hands or feet. Besides the above, it can be administered for treating intertrigo (rash between the skin folds by rubbing skin together).

Key indicating features

1. Skin complaints worsening in winters

2. Eczema and psoriasis (especially of hands) with deep cracks on skin

3. Skin cracks in winters especially on hands and feet

4. Athlete’s foot (fungal infection of foot)

5. Chilblains with pain, itching and burning

2. Gastric concerns (travelling sickness, indigestion, stomach pain, diarrhea)

With its action on gastric system, Petroleum settles many of its complaints. The foremost indication for using it is travelling sickness. It is very suitable when nausea, and vomiting occur while travelling in car, ship or train. It is prescribed to manage indigestion with heartburn and sour belching accompanied by stomach bloating. Petroleum is helpful for stomach pain. The peculiar symptom to prescribe it here is stomach pain when it is empty that gets better from eating. It also manages diarrhea when there is yellow watery, offensive, gushing stool with excessive gas. Cutting pain is felt in the stomach. Diarrhea specifically occurs in daytime. Diarrhea from eating cabbage is a chief indication to use this medicine. Anal fissures and piles with marked itching is yet another complaint it can relieve.

Key indicating features

1. Travelling sickness from riding in car, ship, train

2. Stomach pain when it is empty and relief from eating

3. Diarrhea from eating cabbage

3. Ears (eczema in or behind ears, noises in ears)

It works well to treat a number of ear complaints. Firstly, it is useful for cases of eczema in or behind ears. In such cases, the skin behind the ears is red, raw, cracked, sore and tender. There is moisture behind the ears and there is bleeding from eruptions, along with itching and pain. The other main indication is noises in the ears medically known as tinnitus. The noises can be roaring, ringing, buzzing or cracking type which can cause hearing loss. It acts well in elderly people who have hearing difficulties along with noises in ear. Petroleum is also useful in managing dryness and itching in the ears.

Key indicating features

1. Eczema in or behind ears

2. Tinnitus with roaring, ringing, buzzing or cracking type of noises in ear

3. Hearing difficulty along with noises in the ear in elderly

4. Dryness and itching in the ears

4. Eyes (blepharitis, farsightedness, eye floaters, lachrymal fistula)

This medicine gives remarkable results in case of blepharitis, eye floaters and lachrymal fistula. Blepharitis is inflammation of eyelid margins. In cases needing it for blepharitis, there is dryness, roughness and scaling of eyelid skin. Eye floaters with sparks or black spots before eyes is a characteristic symptom of using it. Lastly, it is also indicated for cases of lachrymal fistula.

Key indicating features

1. Blepharitis (inflammation of eyelid margins) with dry, rough and scaly eyelid skin.

2. Eye floaters with sparks or black spots before eyes

5. Nose (cracks, atrophic rhinitis)

This medicine is capable of managing nasal complaints too. Petroleum is chiefly indicated to manage cracks and ulcers of nostrils which cause burning sensation. It is also effective in helping cases of dryness and blocking of nostrils. Petroleum is beneficial for cases of atrophic rhinitis (ozaena) in which there is chronic inflammation of nose with atrophy of nasal mucosa. Here soreness in nose with scabs and pus-like mucus discharges serves as the prominent features to use it.

Key indicating features

1. Cracks, ulcers, dryness and blockage of nostrils

2. Atrophic rhinitis (ozaena) with scabs and pus-like mucus discharges

6. Head and scalp (scalp eczema, headache and vertigo)

It is an important medicine for treating cases of eczema of scalp (eczema capitis) as explained in skin section. There occur eruptions on scalp with thick yellow crusts. These are itchy and discharge fluid that leads to sticking of hair together. Petroleum is selected for managing headache that worsens from cough or shaking. Pain is mainly felt in the back of head (occiput) which can be pulsating, dull, or sticking type. There is heaviness in this region of head. For vertigo it is given when it occurs from stooping, on rising, walking along with vomiting.

Key indicating features

1. Scalp eczema with eruption covered with thick yellow crusts

2. Pain in back of head (occiput), worsening from cough or shaking

3. Vertigo from stooping, on rising, walking with vomiting.

7. Male problems (genital herpes, blood in semen)

In males, this medicine offers help to treat genital herpes (sexually transmitted infection caused by herpes simplex virus). The eruptions are either dry or fluid-filled (vesicles) which are present on glans or scrotum and may extend to thighs. The eruptions are red and itchy. There may be roughness and cracks on genital skin, and excessive sweating. Another indication for using it is the passage of blood in semen.

Key indicating symptoms

1. Genital herpes

2. Passing blood in semen

8. Female problems (genital herpes)

It is effective in managing certain female problems, like genital herpes. It is best suited when breakouts with itching occur most commonly during menses. Next, it can be used for the treatment of vaginal discharge. It is profuse and occurs daily accompanied by burning in vagina. Apart from these, it helps cases of excessive sweating of labia with itching.

Key indicating features

1. Genital herpes when itchy eruptions appear during menses

2. Vaginal discharge profuse with vaginal burning

Modalities

Worsening factors: Complaints get worse during winters. These also worsen by traveling in car/ boat/ train. Complaints increase before or during thunderstorms.

Relieving factors: Complaints get better in dry weather and from warm air.

Dosage

Petroleum works well in both low and high potencies which is selected individually for every case. If used in low potency, it can be repeated often depending on the complaint, while high potencies should not be repeated frequently.

Relationship with Other Remedies

Antidoted by: Cocculus Indicus, Nux Vomica and Phosphorus

It antidotes: Nitric Acid

Followed well by Bryonia, Calcarea Carb, Lycopodium, Pulsatilla, Sepia, Silicea and Sulphur

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