Every medicine has a sphere of action, a peculiar nature whereby it differs from all other medicines, and hence it becomes suitable to complaints of one class and not suitable to those of another.
It is like the nature of human beings, as they differ from each other, and also like the nature of disease, which differ from each other in character. We study a remedy also in regard to its velocity and continuance, its remittance or intermittence. The symptoms of some remedies come on suddenly, with great violence, with great rapidity, stay but a short time in their paroxysm, and go off as if nothing had happened.
Others come on slowly, are deep acting and continuous, like the continued fevers. We notice the complaints of Ignatia, how flitting and intermittent and unexpected everything is; we notice in Aconite how complaints come on with violence, and in Belladonna with what suddenness they come on. When we come to the study of Bryonia we find it is a most persistent remedy; its complaints develop slowly, i, e., slowly for acute conditions. Its complaints are continuous, remittent, and only occasionally intermittent. The increase into violence, but the violence is not the first flash as in Aconite or Belladonna, and hence it conforms to a type of disease with continued fever to rheumatisms that come with gradually increasing severity, gradually increasing and involving one joint after another, until all the white fibrous tissues are in a state of inflammation, pain and distress. It has inflammatory conditions anywhere about the body, but particularly of the fibrous tissues, serous membranes, ligaments of joints and aponeuroses. It also affects the coating of nerves with its congestions, and these gradually increase in severity.
From the beginning there are present the characteristic features, and it may be seen that this patient is coming down with a Bryonia sickness. The patient has several days of preparation. He does not feel very well, is languid and tired, does not want to be spoken to, does not want to move, and this gradually increases; pains begin to flit over the body, they move around here and there over the fibers in one place and another, and every time he moves the pains increase, until they end in a steady and continuous pain. The parts become hot and inflamed, and at last he is down with rheumatism. The complaints come on after taking cold, not the first few hours, as in Aconite or Bell., but the day after an exposure he begins to feel uneasy and he sneezes and the nose discharges, there is rawness in the chest, and in a day or so he has a chill and comes down with some inflammatory trouble, pneumonia or pleurisy. Its inflammatory complaints include inflammation of the membranes of the brain, sometimes extending into the cord; the pleural membranes, the peritoneum and the heart covering, these are the most common; it also has inflammation of organs. When these conditions come on there is noticed, very early in the case, even before the pains begin, an aversion to motion, and the patient does not know why, but finally he observes that his symptoms are made worse if he has to move, so that the slightest inclination to move is resisted with a feeling of anger, and when he does move he finds lie is aroused to great suffering, and that all the aches and pains of the body come on. Thus we have the well-known Bryonia aggravation from motion. This runs all through the remedy.
This medicine is suitable in a great many diseases, diseases of a typhoid nature, diseases that take on a symptomatic typhoid, diseases that start out as remittents and run into a continued fever, as in pneumonia, pleurisy, inflammation of the liver, of glands, of the bowels, etc. It may be a gastro-enteritis or peritonitis, or inflammation of the bowels, with the sensitiveness, the aggravation from motion and the desire to keep perfectly still. Inflammation of joints, whether of rheumatic, character or not, whether from cold, exposure or injury. Bryonia is often indicated in injuries of joints where Arnica would be a failure.
There is an extreme state of irritability in Bryonia; every word which compels him to answer a question or to think will aggravate him. The effort to talk will be attended with horror. At the beginning of complaints you go to the bedside of a patient who has been grumbling a few days; something is evidently coming on; the family meet you at the door and say, “The patient is almost unconscious ;” you look at him, the face is puffed and purplish, he seems to be dazed, there appears to be a sort of venous stasis all over the body, but especially about the face; his countenance is almost that of an imbecile, yet he is perfectly capable of talking, although he has an aversion to it and appears to outsiders to ignore everything that is said. This sometimes comes on apparently in a short time; the patient awakens in the morning with a dull, congestive headache and a stupid feeling in the head; dullness of mind so that he cannot work, and this feeling gradually increases; such a state is sometimes the forerunner of a serious illness. We find, when a pneumonia or inflammation of the liver, or some slow insidious inflammation is coming on somewhere in the body, but not yet located, that this state will begin in the morning. This is peculiar about the aggravation of Bryonia its troubles commence many times early in the morning. On waking, with the first move, he realizes that things are not all right, there is a state of stupidity bordering on unconsciousness. Those who have been grumbling for a week or ten days wake up in the morning feeling miserable, some time that night or the next day they have to send for the doctor. If this is watched for a few days, a continued fever is observed. Or at night a chill will come on, with much pain in the chest, rusty expectoration, short, dry cough and other symptoms that will be spoken of under Bryonia later, showing that the trouble is going towards the chest; or the condition may gradually increase as a congestive, dull headache. This will be seen when congestion of the brain is coming on. Bryonia sickness often picks out plethoric subjects, those who are venous in their make up, those who, when suffering with cold, come down with catarrhal congestions. Catarrhal fever may be covered by Bryonia. This sluggish state of the mind then is the state of Bryonia, not an excitable state, as in Coffea, Nux vomica, Ignatia, but sluggish, aggravated from motion, aggravated from being talked to, wants to lie still in bed; very great irritability, which is as extreme as that found in Nux or Chamomilla. It also has acute complaints aggravated from anger, from being aroused, from being disturbed, from controversy. Following the early sluggishness, there is later a state of complete stupefaction in Bryonia, in which he becomes quite unconscious, as in typhoid. He goes from a state of partial unconsciousness to one of complete unconsciousness, as in hydrocephalic children.
In rheumatic complaints, in pneumonia, and in typhoid conditions, when he is aroused from this stage of stupefaction he is confused, sees images, thinks he is away from horse and wants to be taken home. Sometimes he will lie and say nothing but that lie “wants to go home.” The delirium is of a low type; it is not the flashing wild excitement of Bell. or Strain.; it is the very opposite; he talks and wanders and does not say much unless he is disturbed. You disturb him and he says, “Go away and let me go home,” and if you let him alone he will relapse into a perfectly quiet state and seldom speak. “Irrational talk or prattle of his business, aggravated after 3 P. M.” Usually you will find the delirium commencing about 9 P. ar., and keeping up all night like the fever.
The acute mental state you will find manifesting its symptoms on rising in the morning, but as the febrile state advances and takes possession of him the symptoms will take on a 9 P. M. aggravation; those who have chill will have it at 9 P. M.; in those who have a fever, the fever will come at 9 P. M. If mental symptoms are uppermost they increase and spread over the night. It has a 3 P. M.. aggravation. Bell. will begin at 3 and run on towards midnight, but Bryonia will begin at 9 P. m. and run on through the night. The aggravation of the Chamomilla patients, who are also extremely irritable, is at 9 A. M. Sometimes we go to the bedside and can hardly distinguish between Bryonia and Cham. because they are both so spunky, but the Cham. baby is worse at 9 A. M. and the Bryonia baby is worse at 9 P. M.
In Bryonia there is a key-note which really applies to a dozen or more remedies, “he wants something and he knows not what.” It is a very important symptom of Bryonia. It is a symptom that calls for Bryonia only when the rest of the symptoms agree. You go to a child who is being carried in the arms of the nurse and wants one toy after another; you get the toy he wants and he does not want it and will throw it back at you. When that case is looked into thoroughly it may be covered by Kreosote; another is never satisfied with anything and rejects everything he asks for; you look into that case and it may be covered by Chamomilla.
“Desire for things that cannot be had which are refused, or not wanted when offered.” “Apprehensiveness; fearfulness.” “Anxiety in whole body compelled him to do something constantly.” There is a feature worthy of consideration because it sometimes makes a case appear inconsistent. It is due to his anxiety that pervades the whole body. In Bryonia as in Arsenic there conies on anxious and uneasy feeling which compels him to move, but he is worse from motion, yet so uneasy and anxious that he must move. There are pains so violent that he cannot keep still, and yet when he moves he screeches from the pain. So it is really not an inconsistency but simply due to the great violence of the pain. Even though he knows that the motion is going to make him worse, he cannot keep still; for the pain is so violent. Early in the, case he was able to keep still, and found that he was better from keeping still, and that the mental state was better from keeping still, and that the anxious restlessness increased the more he moved, until finally a reaction comes and lie is obliged to move. You would think, looking at the case superficially, that that patient is better from motion as in Rhus tox., but in Rims you find that the patient moves and in moving he gets feeble, and when he sits down the pains begin to come on again. There is the distinction between the two, and yet they look alike if not examined into carefully. It is common for Bryonia to be ameliorated from cool air, and from cool applications. Now, if he moves, he gets warmed up, the pains are worse, but there are rheumatic complaints of Bryonia which are better from heat, and under these circumstances he is better from continued motion. It is another form of relief, and another of the modalities. I sometimes wonder whether Bryonia has a greater element of relief from heat, or greater element of relief from cold. Most of the head complaints that are of a congestive character are better from cool applications, from cold air, etc. Yet there are some of the Bryonia head complaints that are relieved by hot applications, and these seem to have no accompanying cerebral congestion. So that Bryonia has opposite modalities, but in all its opposite states there is still a grand nature running all through, sufficient to detect it.
In a clamp climate Bryonia is one of the most frequently indicated remedies, but in the clear climates, where the thermometer runs low, Aconite will be indicated more than Bryonia. Still further South, the complaints assume more of the constitutional state of Gelsemium in inflammatory conditions. We know in the far North the sudden, violent cold brings on violent colds like Aconite, while here the complaints are more insidious, like Bryonia, and further South. These atmospheric changes should be thoroughly considered in relation to our Materia Medica.
The mental state of Bryonia is usually relieved from cool air, he wants the windows open. Anxiety, confusion of mind, fear, etc., are ameliorated from being cool. Sometimes the delirium, and the congestive fullness of the head affecting the mind, will increase if the room becomes very warm, or from the heat of the stove, from becoming heated, or from warm covers. In children this will be noticed, whereas if the window be thrown up to relieve the stuffiness of the room the child will sleep quietly. Such remedies as Bryonia, Apis, Pulsatilla, and many others, come in here. If you go into a room and find the child raging with delirium, turning and tossing, and the mother is trying to keep the room warm because she is chilly, and you say, “Why, how stuffy it is in here!” and you open the window and then notice that the child goes off to sleep, do not overlook that; because that relief was caused by something. There should be nothing that can possibly occur to a patient, but that you should solve the meaning of before you leave the room. Settle in your mind as to what it was that caused it.
“Fear of death.” Full of fear, anxiety, despair of recovery, great despondency. Both mental and bodily quietness is required, that is, he wants to keep still. Often he wants the room dark. It has complaints from getting excited. Bryonia patients are nearly always worse from visitors. “Morose.” Do not cross a Bryonia patient for it makes him worse. “Bad effects from mortifications.” “Ailments arising from chagrin;” these are headaches usually. Violent, congestive headaches that come on a few hours after altercation or controversy, or little misunderstandings with somebody that he cannot talk back to, will be covered by Staph., but Bryonia also has that. Staph. is suited to irritable, violent, nervous, excitable people, that get into violent altercation or dispute. If a headache conies on, such a patient may need Bryonia. If in a chronic state a patient says, “Doctor, if I ever have a dispute with a man over anything I come down with nervous excitement, sleeplessness, headaches;” you do not have to work long upon that case, because more than likely Staph. will be suitable.
Bryonia has dizziness; the dizziness is worse in a warm room. You will notice, as I go through, that in everything of a nervous nature, nervous excitement, and commonly the bodily state, the patient is worse from a warm room, worse from too much clothing, worse from the warmth of the bed, wants the windows open, wants to breathe fresh, cool air. He suffers more than ordinary persons, from a stuffy room. Persons who are subject to Bryonia conditions suffer in church, at the opera, in close warm rooms, like Lycopodium. Girls that faint every time they go to church are relieved by Ignatia.
We commence now with the study of the head. The head complaints may be looked upon as striking features of the remedy, because there is pain in the head with almost every acute complaint. Headaches are associated with inflammatory and congestive complaints. The mental dullness and confusion of the mind is spoken of with the congestive headache, and bursting headache. The head feels so full she wants to press it with the hand, or tie it up; tight pressure, over the whole skull, is grateful. The headaches are worse in a warm room and commonly worse from heat. Sometimes superficial neuralgias have relief from local heat, but a warm room or a close room is very distressing to the Bryonia headache. Headaches as if the skull would split open; the pains are worse from every motion, even the winking motion of the eyes, the motion necessary to talking, and the effort of thinking, so that all exertion of body or mind becomes impossible with a severe headache. Must keep perfectly quiet. Sometimes lying down and keeping perfectly quiet in a dark room will give some relief. Light aggravates; if you think a moment you will see that the accommodation to light and shadow of a room involves motion; it is said that the light aggravates, but even here it is the motion that is carried on by the muscles of accommodation. The headaches of Bryonia are very commonly the forerunner of other complaints, congestion of the lungs, bronchitis, or congestion of some other part of the body; he wakes up in the morning with headache; if it be coryza that is coming, he has the headache in the morning and through the day he commences to sneeze; or if the trouble is in some other part of the body, before the symptoms develop, he wakes up in the morning with this congestive headache over the eyes or in the back of the head, or both; it seems as if the head would burst; better from pressure, worse from the warmth of the room, and worse from every motion. Headache over the eyes, sometimes like the stabbing of a knife, worse from the first motion. He realizes it on waking, upon moving the eyes, with soreness in the eyeballs, with bruised feelings all over. The motion of the arms, doing work with the arms, as in various kinds of business that are carried on with the use of the arms and hands, is generally accompanied by complaints of the upper part of the body and especially the head, so that one of the old keynotes in the time of Hering was “complaints from ironing.” You blow that ironing is commonly carried on in a warm room, it involves the mofion of the arms, and thus brings in two most striking features of Bryonia, so that this key-note is no longer an abstract statement; it is not to be considered apart from the general nature, but only serves to bring it out. Splitting, violent congestive headaches; headaches as if everything would burst out of the forehead. Pressive pain in the forehead, fullness and heaviness in the forehead as if the brain was pressed out. This fullness or congestion of the head is accompanied by what was described as sluggishness of the mind, and it will often be noticed that the countenance is somewhat besotted. The patient looks as if he were an imbecile. The face is mottled, and purple, with congestion in h marked Bryonia state. The eyes are red and congested; he is listless, does not want to move, to speak, or to do anything, because all these things are motion are efforts, and they make him worse. You will see this is also true in Bell.; it has all of this congestion and pressure; but remember Bryonia is slow, sluggish, passive and insidious in its approach and progress, while in Bell. the mental symptoms and everything in connection are marked by activity. With the headaches there is more or less burning, and sometimes throbbing. The throbbing is seldom felt until lie moves. After any movement, like going up stairs, walking, or turning over in bed during the headache, he feels the violent throbbing; on keeping still a moment it settles down into a bursting, pressing pain as if the skull would be pressed open. There are many other pains in connection with the Bryonia headache; in the text it is described “tearing and stitching pains.” “Shooting pains,” sharp pains. Some of the pressing pains are described as if a great weight were on the head, but the same idea prevails; it is an internal pressure; a sluggishness of the circulation in the brain, a stasis as if all the blood in the body were surging in the head. “Stitches in the head.” “Splitting headache.” “Rush of blood to head.” Threatened apoplexy. “Headache after washing himself with cold water when face was sweating.” That is, taking cold from suppression of perspiration. “Always on coughing, motion in head like pressure.” The headache is so bad in many cases of pneumonia or bronchitis, in fact, in any of the inflammatory or congestive conditions, that very often you will see the patient grasp the head when he knows he is going to cough. He holds his head because it hurts so from the action of coughing. Many remedies have this, but it is in keeping with the general aggravation o f Bryonia from motion, from jar, from any effort. “The headache is expanding, aggravated by the slightest motion; after eating.” The aggravation after eating is in keeping with the Bryonia state in general. The patient himself, in all complaints, feels worse after eating. It hardly matters what the trouble is, it is worse after eating; the cough is worse after eating, the gouty state is increased by eating. The Bryonia patient will finally sum up the whole subject and say, “I am always worse after eating;” so that it becomes a general. The headaches are often accompanied by nose-bleed. “Obstinate headache with constipation.” Bryonia is particularly suitable in venous, sluggish constitutions, with sluggish heart, poor circulation, yet apparently plethoric, apparently rugged; but subject to gouty exacerbations from change of weather.
Dandruff is common; sensitiveness and great soreness of the scalp; worse from the slightest touch of the scalp, feels as if the hair were pulled; women must always have the hair hanging down. In the Bryonia headaches, as well as rheumatic attacks, if he can perspire freely, he will get relief. Bryonia is ameliorated in all its complaints as soon as the perspiration becomes free and general.
Catarrhal conditions of the eyes are found in Bryonia; it is not so often thought of as an inflammatory remedy for the eyes when there are no other symptoms, but eye symptoms will be found, redness, inflammation, congestion, heat, enlargement of the veins, burning and smarting, associated with headaches, with coryza, with troubles in the air passages, bronchitis, etc. Sore aching in the eyes, the eyeballs can hardly be touched, so tender to touch, as if bruised, increased from coughing or pressure. Such conditions come with chest complaints, with colds and headaches. “Soreness and aching of eyes when moving them.” “Pressing, crushing pains in eyes.” “Inflammation in eyes and lips, especially in new-born infants.” Think of Bryonia when gouty conditions have left certain parts and all at once the eyes are affected, tumefaction of the lids, the conjunctiva looks like raw beef, so highly inflamed is it, red and, oozing blood. You find out that a few days before the patient, an old gouty subject, had rheumatic attacks of the joint, and now lie has sore and inflamed eyes. “Rheumatic iritis, caused by cold.” Rheumatic inflammation of the eyes, i. e., in inflammatory conditions and congestion with redness, associated more or less with gouty affections. In olden times it was described as “arthritic sore eyes,” which means sore eyes in a gouty constitution.
Many of the complaints of Bryonia commence in the nose; sneezing, coryza, running at the nose, red eyes, lachrymation, aching through the nose, eyes and head the first day; then the trouble goes down into the posterior nares, the throat, the larynx, with hoarseness, and then a bronchitis comes on, and if not checked it goes into pneumonia and pleurisy, so that the trouble has travelled from the beginning of the respiratory tract, the nose, to the lung tissue. This is a field for the complaints of Bryonia. All are worse from motion, all parts are subject to a good deal of burning and congestion; more or less fever, sometimes intense fever; the patient himself worse from the slightest motion and wants to keep still; dullness of mind, pressive, congestive headaches; sore, lame and bruised all o’er, often worse at 9 o’clock in the evening; increased dullness of the mind after sleep or on waking in the morning. The cough comes on with great violence, racking the whole body and increasing the headache, and with copious discharge of mucus from the respiratory tract.
“Frequent sneezing.” “Sneezing between coughs.” “Loss of smell.” Bleeding from the nose in these congestions, or with coryzas. During menstruation there is epistaxis. Congestion of the head is present at the menstrual period. Epistaxis appears as a vicarious flow in cases of menorrhoea. If the menstrual flow should be checked suddenly from cold, nosebleed comes on. Dryness in the nose.
The aspect of the face is important; the besotted, purple, bloated countenance is not dropsically bloated, although it has the oedematous face sometimes, but puffed from vascular stasis, not pitting upon pressure; swollen and puffed, purple, with a doltish state of the mind, as if he were drunk. He will look at you and wonder what you were doing, and what you said; a stupefaction of the intellect; the eyes do not look at you intelligently. When a patient is about to come down with some Bryonia complaint, with a remittent, or with head congestions, or pneumonia, or some other respiratory disease, the family will notice when he awakes in the morning that he has that besotted expression, and he says he has to make such an effort to think or do anything, and his head aches hard, and is worse from motion. Or the face is red and burning, “red spots on the face and neck;” “hot, bloated, red face.”
In children, as well as adults, there is gradually increasing cerebral trouble, dilated pupils, besotted countenance, and continual lateral motion of the lower jaw. This motion of the jaw in a congestive attack is a strong feature of Bryonia. It is not the grinding of the teeth so much that I refer to now, although that is found in Bryonia, but a lateral movement of the jaw as if chewing, but the teeth do not come in contact, and they keep it up night and day. A great many remedies have grinding of the teeth. When intermittent fever comes on with marked congestion, stupefaction of the intellect, violent rigors, even to a congestive chill, the patient lying in stupefaction or a semi-conscious state, without grinding the teeth, yet wagging the jaw back and forth by the hour, Bryonia is often suitable. Constant motion of the mouth as if the patient were chewing, in brain affections of children; it occurs in little ones when there are no teeth; but they keep up a chewing motion.
In regard to the lips and lower part of the face, that bloated, swollen condition, the sluggish circulation, a venous congestion or stasis will be found in Bryonia, making the aspect as of one long intoxicated; it is not so marked as in Baptisia and is not accompanied by so low a state, so advanced a stupor, as in Baptisia. Great dryness of the lips ; the lips parched and dry. “Children pick the lips.” “Lips cracked and bleeding.” Lips parched, dry and bleeding, such as will be seen in typhoid states, where the whole mouth is dry and brown, cracked, parched and bleeding; dry, brown tongue. Sordes on the teeth. In Arunt triph. there is marked picking of the nose and lips; they pick and d pick and bore the finger into the nose.
Bryonia has toothache, worse from warmth. “Tearing, stitching toothache while eating;” from warm drinks, from warm foods, worse in a warm room, wants cold foods in the mouth, wants to be in cold air, but worse from motion. “Toothache > by cold water or lying on painful side.” Pressing hard upon the painful tooth ameliorates it. “Toothache < from smoking.” You see how the relief from cold and aggravation from heat go along with us; we shall keep refit-crating these modalities that affect the patient as a general state, and we shall see as we go through that nearly all his symptoms are worse from motion, worse from heat, etc. He keeps on telling us they are better from pressure in each region we go over, until finally we come to the conclusion that they are general. We may have in two remedies the same set of symptoms, and yet they are all made worse from the opposite things. Thus you see modalities indicate and contraindicate remedies. This is the studying of remedies by their modalities, for modalities sometimes constitute strong generals.
You will not be surprised to know that Bryonia loses his sense of taste, so that if he has a coryza nothing tastes natural. Not only is there mental sluggishness, but there is a slowing down of his sensations, his whole state is benumbed. “Taste flat, insipid, pasty” His intelligence is so affected that he does not know where he is even, thinks he is away from home, and even his tongue is no longer intelligent; so that something that is sour tastes as though bitter; his senses deceive him. “Tongue thickly coated white.” In typhoid, in cerebral congestion, in sore throat, in pneumonia, in all diseases of the respiratory apparatus, in rheumatic affections, the tongue is thickly coated. “Dry and bleeding and covered with crusts.” Such a tongue is found in typhoid fever, a dry, brown, cracked, bleeding tongue. When he takes a cold the mouth becomes dry. It is very common for the Bryonia patient to have great thirst; he is apt to drink large quantities of water, at wide intervals. With this dry, brown tongue, however, he loses his taste for water and does not want it; dry mouth and thirstless like Nux moschata. “Aphthx.” “Bad odor from mouth.”
Bryonia has nondescript sore throats, with stitching pains, with dryness, with parched appearance of the throat, and thirst for large quantities of water at long intervals. “Constitutional tendency to aphthous formations in the throat,” little white spots in the throat.
Then we come to the desires and aversions that relate to the stomach, and they are greatly perverted. He is worse from eating. The stomach has lost its ability to digest, and hence he has an aversion to all food. “Desires things immediately and when offered they are refused.” He is changeable, does not know what he wants. He craves in the mind the things he has an aversion to in the stomach. When he sees it he does not want it. His intelligence is in a state of confusion. He craves adds. “Great thirst day and night; he wants cold water. “Thirst for large quantities at long intervals” Many remedies want to sip water all the, time. In Bryonia the large quantities relieve the thirst immediately. In Arsenic the drink does not relieve, he wants a little and wants it often.
The stomach complaints of Bryonia are relieved from warm drinks; that becomes a particular because his desire is for cold drinks, but his stomach is better from warm drinks. In his fever and head complaints and febrile states he wants cold things, which often bring on and increase the cough and pains, but the hot drink, which he does not crave, relieves the stomach and bowel complaints. In the chill, Bryonia often has desire for ice-cold water, which chills him dreadfully; and hot water relieves. “Desire for cold and acid drinks.” Aversion to rich fat food; all greasy things. “Desire for things which are not to be had.”
When patients are under constitutional remedies, they need caution about certain kinds of foods that are known to disagree with their constitutional remedy. A Bryonia patient is often made sick from eating sauer kraut, from vegetable salads, chicken salad, etc., so that you need not be surprised, after administering a dose of Bryonia for a constitutional state, to have your patient come in and say she has been made very ill from eating some one of these things. It is well to caution persons who are under the influence of Puts. to avoid the use of fat foods, because very often they will upset the action of the remedy. It is well to say to patients who are under Lyc., “See that you do not eat oysters while taking this medicine.” These medicines are known to produce states in the stomach inimical to certain kinds of foods; certain remedies have violently inimical relation to acids, lemons, etc. If you do not particularly mention the fact, and say, “You must not touch vinegar or lemons, nor take lemon juice while taking this medicine,” you will have the remedy spoiled, and then wonder why it is. The medicine often stops acting and the patient gets a disordered condition of the stomach and bowels; a medicine that should act for a long time ceases action and you do not know what the trouble is. Homoeopathy will rule out such things as are inimical to the remedies and inimical to patients in general, or do not agree with a particular constitution. To have an iron-clad rule is not correct practice; the only iron-clad rule is to be sure that the remedy is similar to the patient when you administer it, and the things that he is to have arc to be in agreement with that remedy. It is not an uncommon thing for a patient who has been under the influence of Rhus tox, and has been doing well up to 4 certain time, after he has taken a bath, to have his symptoms return in the form-of a Rhus state; the action of the remedy stops right there. He must of course take a bath, and yet it is true that some constitutional cases under Rhus must stop taking their ordinary bath in order to keep themselves under the influence of Rhus. It is the same with Calcarca a bath will often stop the action. I only speak of these things to impress upon you the importance of feeding and treating your patient in accordance with the remedy; in accordance with a principle and not by rule; do not have one list of foods for your patients; do not have a list of things for everybody. There is no such thing in Homoeopathy.
The patient himself in all the strange and peculiar things is worse from eating; the cough is worse from eating, the complaints of the head, the headaches, are worse from eating, and the respiration is worse from eating. The stomach is distended with wind after eating, but especially after oysters. Oysters are not, as a rule, a dangerous article of diet, yet some are poisoned by oysters. “Worse after eating or drinking.” When the case is one of whooping cough, the cough is worse, the paroxysms are more violent and all the symptoms are worse a little while after eating, but later, when digestion is finished and the stomach is empty, he is much relieved. The Bryonia patient is ordinarily relieved from drinking, but if, when overheated, he drinks cold water, all of his rheumatic symptoms are worse, the cough is worse, and the headache is worse. He will have a violent headache after drinking cold water when heated. In Rhus patients complaints are worse from drinking cold water when heated. The headache increases into a throbbing and bursting pain tenfold greater than it was before drinking.
The Bryonia patient is subject to hiccough, to belching, to nausea and vomiting, so that disordered stomach is the general term. Bitter eructations; bitter nauseous taste. He vomits bile. After eating all these things are increased. In the stomach and abdomen we have a great many symptoms resulting from disordered stomach, or from taking cold, or from becoming overheated, or from drinking ice water when overheated. Disordered stomach; irritation of the stomach so that he cannot eat without extreme pain, and this increases until the inflammatory condition involves the whole stomach and abdomen, and there is sensitiveness to pressure, and it can be diagnosed as a gastro-enteritis, with the soreness and tenderness, stitching, burning pains, all worse from motion; nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, tympanitic abdomen; unable to move because it so ingresses the pain.
With the exception of the abdominal and stomach pains, the Bryonia pains arc better from pressure. The Bryonia patient with these inflammatory conditions will often be seen lying perfectly quiet in bed with the knees drawn up; lying with the limbs flexed in order to relax the abdominal muscles; he does not want to be talked to, does not want to think; every movement is painful, and increases the fever and often causes alternation of chilliness with heat; high fever.
The Bryonia patient, when lying perfectly quiet, is sometimes quite free from nausea, but the instant the head is raised from the pillow the dreadful sickness returns, so that he cannot sit up. He cannot be raised up in bed because of the nausea, and if he persists in rising up the nausea comes on more than ever, with burning in the stomach. With every motion he gulps up a little mucus and slime, which is putrid.
All sorts of pains are left in the stomach and bowels, but most particularly stitching and burning pains; feels as if the stomach would burst, as if the abdomen would burst. Peritoneal exudations. Awful soreness. Sensitiveness of the pit of the stomach, and sensitiveness over the whole abdomen. This is commonly relieved by heat, although the patient himself wants to lie in a cool room. The heat of the room is oppressive, yet heat applied is agreeable. Every inspiration, every motion of the chest greatly aggravates these pains, so that you will find a Bryonia patient shortening up his breathing instead of breathing deep. He keeps that up until he cannot stand it any longer, and then he takes a long breath that causes groaning. Gastric inflammatory affections and disordered stomach, gastric affections in young girls from suppression of the menstrual flow, gastritis, gastroenteritis.
Bryonia has inflammation of the liver and many other liver symptoms. The liver, especially the right lobe, lies in the hypochondrium like a load, with soreness and tenderness to pressure, and he cannot move. Every motion, every touch, every deep breath causes pain in this organ, as in the abdominal viscera. The breathing is short, quick, and when followed by taking a deep breath it causes pain through the liver; it burns and stitches. With this, he has the disordered stomach, nausea and retching worse from motion; spitting up of bile. Stitching pains, sticking pains and burning in the liver. “Transient stitches in right hypochondrium;” these are in the liver. When he coughs it feels as if the liver or right hypochondrium would burst. Severe pains when coughing.
Bryonia furnishes many symptoms in connection with the stool and rectum. It has constipation, and it has dysentery. The pathogenesis is full of these conditions as well as many symptoms relating to the parts themselves. In the constipation the stool is dry and hard, as if burnt. No desire for stool, but after going many days there are passages of little hard pieces as if they had been burned. No moisture about the parts, no mucus to soften the hard stools. Any mucus that may be present will be discharged separately. Sometimes the stool is composed of little hard particles looking as if burned, at times scanty, again quite a lot, and then will follow the passage of mucus, as if lying about the mass of fasces was quite a lot of mucus. In most inveterate constipations Bryonia is sometimes suitable. It has also a diarrhoea that drives the patient out of bed in the morning; i. e., on first beginning to move in bed he begins to feel nauseated, he is bloated and distended with colic, and he has urging to go to stool; or a little while after getting up and moving about the bowel is distended causing colic, and he must hurry to stool. The purgation is sometimes enormous, frequent, and no sooner does the patient finish than he is perfectly exhausted, lies down like one almost dead, covered with sweat; so tremendously fatigued he can hardly reach the vessel the next time, and then it comes a gushing, copious, bilious stool. If, while lying, he makes the least motion, he must hurry to stool. Bryonia cures dysentery with all the tormina and tenesmus possible to imagine, with pain in the abdomen; with bloody and mucous discharges. In the constipation the straining is often ineffectual. He has urging to stool and goes several times before there is any result. The stool seems to remain in the rectum although he seems to be compelled to strain; there is inactivity and inability to strain. Ordinarily he has plenty of power and is quite likely to have a passage, but it is so dry. Bryonia has another kind of diarrhoea. It is like the yellow corn meal mush. Just such a stool as this you will find in the typhoid patient, a yellow, mushy stool. This is sometimes intermingled with mucus and slime, sometimes with blood. It may be useful to the physician to know whether this is in the typhoid state or in the form of chronic diarrhoea. Bryonia has cured many cases of chronic diarrhoea where this yellow, mushy discharge was present, and frequent; several times a day, but more frequent in the morning. Sometimes he has several stools in the morning that will satisfy for the whole twenty-four hours, or only one or two in the afternoon and five or six in the morning; during the night no stools at all, because when he keeps quiet in bed and comfortable he has not very much urging to stool; every motion or keeping upon the feet increases the urging to stool. So that some would think of it as diarrhoea only in the day-time, and would associate it with Petroleum; but with Petroleum, no matter how much he moves about in the night, he will not have a stool, but will have all of the stools in the day-time. It says here: “Diarrhoea putrid; smelling like “old cheese.” “Very offensive.” “Brown, thin, faecal stools.” Sometimes chronic Bryonia patients will diet themselves, eating only thin liquids, avoiding solids, etc., and yet the food will come right through the next morning almost undigested; lienteric stools. “Urging followed by copious pasty evacuations.” “Involuntary stools while asleep.” “Burning of the anus with every passage.” This is especially at night if he moves, but motion is more common in the day-time, and every motion will bring on urging to stool.
There are plenty of urinary symptoms in this remedy; inflammatory condition of the kidneys; pinkish urinary deposits, uric acid crystals; urine profuse. Whenever he strains himself in lifting, or any unusual motion, there is pain in the kidneys, a rousing up of congesting and long-lasting pain. It is a gouty constitution with kidney troubles, so that after overheating or overexertion he gets pain in the back. “Pressure to urinate and involuntary discharge of urine.” “Burning in urethra, when not urinating;” relieved by passing urine.
There are many symptoms of the female sexual organs of great interest. Painful menstruation, dysmenorrhoea; pain in the ovaries at the menstrual period. Every menstrual period is associated with marked congestion of the ovaries, with sensitiveness to touch. The sensitiveness at the approach of every menstrual period, in both groins, will be spoken of by the patient, increasing as the menstrual period comes on, until the soreness proceeds across the abdomen and meets, and then the whole abdomen is painful during the menstrual period. The uterus is sore, the hypogastrium is tender. Inflammation of the uterus. Burning pain mostly in the body or fundus of the uterus. The Bryonia patient is subject to amenorrhoea, or the flow is suppressed upon the slightest provocation. If she becomes overheated from exertion, such as from ironing or washing a few days before the menstrual period, it will be suppressed, and the next time, she will have a harder time than ever. In young plethoric women, after violent exertion, these complaints come on in that way. Violent exertion then scanty urine. Soreness of the abdomen, but the flow does not come, or is postponed a good many days after violent exertion; scanty urine and suppression of menses in plethoric girls.
From overexertion- and becoming overheated, threatened abortion. In inflammation of the breasts and stopping of the milk flow in the lying-in period. Bryonia must be consulted. In milk fever and pains and swelling of the breast Bryonia must be studied. During confinement a woman becomes overheated and naturally perspires; just at the close of it as the delivery takes place, if the nurse and the doctor do not observe and throw more clothing over her, or at least keep the room warm enough, there will be sudden suppression of the sweat, and this will bring on milk fever and other febrile symptoms which will need Bryonia. Threatened peritonitis from such causes, gonorrhoeal troubles, old rheumatic troubles, pains or aches, if made worse from the slightest motion. If due to septicaemia rather than to suppression of the sweat, very commonly a deeper acting remedy is required. In inflammatory conditions of the breast one of the most striking things is the stony hardness of the breasts, hardness and heaviness. Bryonia is often suitable for inflammation of the breasts at other times; heaviness and hardness of the breasts prior to menstruation.
Then we come to the respiratory tract again, which we have only hinted at, and here we have a tremendous study before us. Very commonly the Bryonia conditions commence with a cold; it may be at first loss of voice, with rawness in the trachea and great soreness in the chest; dry, hacking cough, as if the chest would burst from coughing. The Bryonia patient sits up and holds the head, or holds the chest; presses both hands upon the chest when coughing, feels as if the chest would fly to pieces when coughing; pains in the chest on both sides, but mostly the right side. Bryonia prefers the right side when the condition is pneumonia. We see a patient who had first a cold, and the cold has travelled down the air passages, with hoarseness and rawness in the chest and cough; the cough shakes the whole body, then comes a hard chill. He is now down in bed, and when the physician sees him he sees the state of inflammation and knows the meaning of it, and listening confirms the diagnosis of pneumonia. The patient cannot move hand or foot; the pain is mostly in the right lung, and he is compelled to lie on the right side or back and dreads motion. Sometimes the pleura are involved and we have the sharp pains; every respiration causes intense pain, whether it is pleuro-pneumonia or a simple pneumonia. But we see the Bryonia patient lying upon the side that is affected, upon the painful side, in order to diminish the motion that respiration causes; and very often he will have a hand under it to see if he cannot hold it still. With Bryonia the expectoration is of a reddish tinge, is rusty, and if you have this symptom and the right side affected it is all the more strongly Bryonia. There are a few medicines that look somewhat like Bryonia; take, for instance, a case with high fever, intense heat, great excitement, and consider the rapidity with which the trouble has come on, involving the left side and in the pan you see the sputum consists of bright red blood, Aconite will be the remedy. If the liver is involved, there is fullness in the side, stitching pain over the liver, and the face is yellow, it is not impossible for Bryonia to be indicated, for it has such things; but with pain very severe, continually going from the front to the back through the right shoulder-blade, Chelidonium is more likely to cure than Bryonia. These comparisons may be carried out indefinitely, but the study of Bryonia as to the respiratory apparatus is a wonderful one. With these colds that end in loss of voice, it has burning and tickling in the larynx, constant cough. Hoarseness and loss of voice in singers. Great soreness in the trachea; rawness and tightness in the trachea, even suffocation, like Phosphorus. The Bryonia breathing is panting and very rapid, little short rapid breaths, due to the fact that deep breathing increases the pain; the Bryonia patient desires to breathe deep, wants deep breathing, needs deep breathing, but it hurts him so. “Constant disposition to sigh,” but cannot because it hurts him so. Shortness of breath, suffocation, asthma. Asthmatic attacks from becoming overheated. Asthma worse in a warm room, wants cool air to breathe. “Dry, spasmodic cough, whooping cough, shaking the whole body.” Cough compels him to spring up in bed involuntarily; painful cough with difficult breathing, cough that shakes the whole body. Tough, difficult expectoration. “Cough evening and night, dry cough.”
A great deal of the rest of Bryonia, as we go over it, is repetition. If you will only read the text carefully and make application of what has been said, you see the general character and idea of the remedy, you see its image and you will fill it out for yourselves, if you have a full text-book.
Written by James Tyler Kent (1849–1916) and published first in his book "Materia Medica" (1905) James Tyler Kent was an American physician best remembered as a forefather of modern homeopathy.