Chelidonium is a remedy more suitable for acute diseases, though it cures certain chronic conditions. It is not a very deep acting remedy. It is about like Bryonia in its general plane, length and depth, of action.
It has been used principally in gastric and intestinal catarrhs, in acute and semi-chronic liver troubles, and in right-sided pneumonia. The skin is likely to be sallow, and gradually increases to a marked jaundice in connection with these complaints.
Semi-chronic gastritis, with jaundice. “Gastro-duodenal catarrh. Congestion and soreness in the liver, with jaundice. Right-sided pneumonia, complicated with liver troubles, or jaundice.” This remedy seems to act throughout the system, but almost always along with it the liver is involved, and it is suitable for what the old people and the doctors called “biliousness.” The patient is generally bilious, has nausea and vomiting. Distension of the veins. Yellowish grey colour of the skin.
Very few mental symptoms have been brought out in its proving, not enough to give us a good idea of the desires and aversions. We do not get a clear idea of the intellectual faculties. It needs further proving, yet in many regions it has had superabundance of proving. “Sadness and anxiety.” Brooding over some sort of trouble generally runs through the mental state. “Anxiety, allowing no rest,” keeping the patient uneasy day and night. Sadness, as if she had committed a crime; as if some dreadful thing was going to happen. So sad that she thinks she must die. Weeping despondency. Distaste for mental exertion and conversation. If you examine those medicines that act primarily upon the liver, that slow down the action of the liver, you will find the word “melancholia.” With heart troubles, great excitement. With liver troubles, slowing down of the mental state, inability of the mind to work, sluggishness of the mind, inability to think, inability to meditate, slow pulse. Sluggishness of the whole economy. The sensorium is very commonly disturbed, and the patient is dizzy. “Things go round in a circle.” Dizziness comes, and it does not let up until nausea, and sometimes vomiting, follows. “So much turning in the head that he vomits. Confusion of mind. Loss of consciousness and fainting.” These are also common features with liver troubles.
The mind symptoms are present more or less with the following liver symptoms: There are pains of a dull aching character, “soreness.” Bruised pains. Tenderness of the liver to touch. Aching pains, that seem to involve the whole right lobe of the liver; creating a sensation of fullness. Pressure upwards, with difficulty of breathing. Pressure downwards, sympathetic with the stomach, with the nausea and vomiting.. And then more intense pain felt under the right scapula. “Dull aching pains under the right scapula; sharp, shooting pains under the right scapula;” these complicate themselves again with pneumonia, with pleurisy. It cures pneumonia and pleurisy; it cures various forms of congestion in the liver, when these pains go from before backward, and seem to be felt through the back. “Stitching in the region of the liver, extending through to back. Hard pains felt through the back.” Some patients will describe these pains as shooting pains; some as tearing pains, and others as sharp pains, going through the right hypochondrium or through the right lobe of the liver to the back. “Pains from the region of the liver, shooting towards the back and shoulders. Spasmodic pain in the region of the liver. Pressing pain in the region of the liver.” In congestion or inflammation, fullness and enlargement, semi-chronic cases, or even acute, this medicine proves suitable for such conditions. The right hypochondrium is tense and painful to pressure.
This remedy has cured gall stone colic. Practitioners, who know how to direct a remedy, relieve gall stone colic in a few minutes. We have remedies that act on the circular fibers of these little tubes, causing them to relax and allow the stone to pass painlessly. In a perfect state of health, of course, there are no stones in the bile that is held in the gall bladder, but this little cystic duct opens its mouth and a little gall stone engages in it, and it creates an irritation by scratching along the mucous membrane of that little tube. When this pain is a shooting, stabbing, tearing, lancinating pain, extending through to the back, Chelidonium will cure it. The instant it relieves the patient says: “Why, what a relief; that pain has gone.” The remedy has relieved that spasm, the little duct opens up and the stone passes out through the ductus communis choledochus. Every remedy that is indicated by the symptoms will cure gall stone colic.
A patient lying in bed, with great heat, extreme sensitiveness, cannot have the body touched, screaming with pain, red face and hot head, with gall stone colic, will be relieved in three minutes by Bell., but that is not at all like this remedy. Natrum sulph. and many other remedies have cured gall stone colic in a few minutes, when the symptoms agreed.
Now as to the pneumonia, it is generally of the right side, or right-sided spreading to the left. The right-sidedness is marked, and but small portions of the left lung are involved. The pleura is generally involved, and so there are stitching, tearing pains. One may not practice long before he will find a Chelidonium patient, sitting up in bed with high fever, bending forward upon his elbows, holding himself perfectly still, for this medicine has as much aggravation from motion as Bry. All of the pains are extremely aggravated from motion. This patient is sitting with a pain that transfixes him; he cannot stir, he cannot move without the pain shooting through him like a knife. The next day you will see that his skin is growing yellow. If you see him in the beginning Chelidonium will relieve him and you will prevent that pneumonia. It is not uncommon in children, and it is extremely common in adults.
Do not get confused with Bryonia. Both are violently worse from motion. Bryonia wants to lie on the painful side, or wants to lie on the back if the pneumonia is mostly in the posterior part of the right lung. In Chelidonium he is worse from touch and motion.
Bell. has that extremely painful, tearing, rending of the right lung with pleurisy, but in Bell., one cannot touch that right side, cannot press it, but must lie on the other side and he cannot move. Cannot stand a jar of the bed, because of the extreme sensitiveness to motion. I mention all three in this particular way because they have some things in common, but the remedies are different.
Chelidonium has cough with chest symptoms of the right side, liver affections, and the mental affections that commonly belong to these, violent aggravation from motion. The pains are ameliorated by heat. Pain that extends to the stomach, ameliorated by heat. Mental symptoms ameliorated by eating. Craves hot milk; hot fluids. Eating warm food ameliorates the liver, the chest and stomach symptoms.
“Bilious vomiting. Retching; bilious eructations. Nausea and retching during an attack of anxiety.” These are all commonly present during the complaints described. The pains, when they become severe, seem to strike the stomach and cause vomiting. Ameliorated by something hot. “A feeling of anguish in the pit of the stomach. Persistent pain in the stomach; aggravated by motion and ameliorated by eructations. Constriction and sensitiveness in the pit of the stomach.” These are all aggravated by touch and ameliorated by eating. “Constant aching pain in the stomach, ameliorated by food. Constrictive, pinching pain in the stomach better from drawing up the limbs and lying on the left side, ameliorated by eating.”
It has many eye symptoms. Stitching pains. “Opacity of the cornea.” Inflammations. “Bruised pain in the eyes. Right supra-orbital neuralgia.” In many instances it prefers the right side.
In the face the jaundice is the most marked thing that is expressed; and, then, we have the dirty gray complexion. “Pale, dirty-yellow face.”
The headaches are brought on from heat, unlike the stomach and the liver, and the lungs, etc. The head is aggravated from motion, aggravated from heat, aggravated from a warm room, aggravated from warm applications. There is where it differs from the internal or general state. There are numerous headaches. Periodical bilious sick headaches, with vomiting of bile, brought on from exposure to heat, from being overheated, aggravated from motion, wants to lie perfectly quiet in a dark room, and better from vomiting bile. Old-fashioned bilious sick headaches.
Bilious diarrhoea. Along with jaundice, clay-like, pale, faecal, puttylike stool. Bileless stool. Stool too light colored. Stool quite white in children. Diarrhoea and constipation alternate. Stool brown, white, watery, green mucus, thin, pasty, bright yellow, or grey tinged with yellow. Hoarseness. “While coughing, pain in the larynx, and pressure in the larynx.”
The difficult breathing comes on with liver symptoms and pneumonia and chest troubles in general. “Difficult respiration, with short fits of coughing. Short, quick breathing. Anxiety as if he must choke. Difficult breathing; tightness over the chest as if breathing would be hindered.” It has also nightly attacks of humid asthma-This is brought on from every change of the weather. All its complaints are brought on from changes in the weather. – He cannot stand weather changes, either too cold or too warm. Rheumatic complaints in the shoulders, hips and limbs, from changes in the weather.
With complaints of the liver, lungs and chest, there are coughs. They are spasmodic. The chronic cough is violent, spasmodic, dry, corning in paroxysms. “Spasmodic cough,
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.