Ambra grisea is supposed to be a disease-product derived from the whale. It has a decided medicinal action. Like all substances having a strong odor, it acts prominently upon the nervous system. Unless there are some nervous symptoms present in a case, you can hardly expect it to do good service. Ambra affects the cerebro-spinal nervous system, causing spasmodic symptoms here and there over the body. The muscles of the face twitch. It may also be used in sleeplessness arising from worriment of mind, as from business troubles. The patient may, in these cases, retire to bed feeling tolerably tired, yet so soon as the head touches the pillow he becomes wakeful. Such a case as that frequently yields to Ambra. This remedy is particularly indicated in thin, spare men, who have a decidedly nervous temperament, in whom nervousness predominates at the expense of nutrition. It is particularly indicated for the nervous complaints of old people, especially when they are forgetful and cannot remember the simplest fact. Vertigo comes on when the patient moves about, and the legs are unsteady; he totters when he walks. He has numbness of the feet and tingling in the limbs. The limbs go to sleep readily. These symptoms show you that there is either functional or organic weakness of the cerebro-spinal nervous system. We may even use the drug in cases of softening of the brain and spine, whether of senile origin or not.
There is another use we may make of Ambra grisea. It is a very quick acting remedy. We may, therefore, give it in nervous diseases when there is defective reaction. We have already learned of a similar use of Psorinum; under the latter remedy, the defective reaction arises from constitutional taint. But here under Ambra grisea, it arises from nervous weakness. We find many such cases, particularly among men.
We may use Ambra for cough, when it is worse when strangers are in the room, or under any other circumstances which would tend to excite the nervous system. It is then a cough that is reflex from mental influences. In this case, it is exactly similar to PHOSPHORUS.
Ambra is also indicated for cough, whether whooping-cough or not, when the cough is followed by eructation of wind from the stomach. There are not many remedies that will cure that symptom. Ambra grisea is one and the best, another is SULPHURIC ACID and a third is VERATRUM ALBUM. We may use Ambra in asthma when it is accompanied by cardiac symptoms, oppression of breathing, and a feeling as of a load or lump in the left chest and fluttering in the region of the heart. This comes probably from a constrictive feeling there, not as if a hand were grasping the heart, but as though something were in the left side of the chest squeezed up in a lump. It is usually accompanied by palpitation of the heart.
Ambra grisea acts markedly on the female genital organs, its action here being quite important and unique. It causes atony of the uterus. The menses are regular as to time or they come a few days too early, but they are very profuse, and are accompanied by nosebleed and by increase in the varicose veins on the legs (that is if the patient has such a condition of the veins of the legs). There is a discharge of blood between the periods. Any little excitement or extra effort at straining at stool brings on a vaginal discharge of blood, showing you how engorged is the uterus and how relaxed and weak the tissues, to permit of this oozing. The leucorrhoea consists principally of mucus which has a bluish or bluish-gray tinge to it.
You may also use Ambra during lying-in, especially when the constipation is severe. It is suited to those nervous women who are thin and scrawny-looking, when there are great anxiety and restlessness associated with this constipation, and who have special difficulty in having a stool when the nurse or any one else is in the room at the time.