This is a very imperfectly proved remedy, and it is only possible to present fragments of it. The mental symptoms have not been brought out, but the remedy has some striking features.
You will notice the resemblance of this drug to Mercury, and it is an antidote to Mercury. In those lingering mercurial bone pains, where the patient had been salivated; the pains come on at night from the warmth of the bed; the body aches; a chronic, sore, bruised state; soreness of the periosteum where the flesh is thin, over the tibia; joints; soreness of the muscles; drawing and cramping; drawing in the muscles of the back; backache, worse at night; worse from the warmth of the bed. The patient suffers from these symptoms in cold, damp weather, as in Mercury. Tendency to ulceration, hence its usefulness in syphilis; old, chronic, syphilitic ulcers; the patient has been salivated; had Mercury rubbed in; he became saturated with it, but it no longer helps. Ulcers in the throat; on the skin; on mucous membranes anywhere.
Spasmodic conditions; drawing in the muscles; this may extend to violent spasms; opisthotonos; sometimes the cervical region is affected and the head is drawn back; jerking and twitching of the muscles.
Phytolacca is a glandular remedy. The glands become inflamed and hard. It produces sore throats, with inflammation of the glands of the neck, particularly the submaxillary and parotid. Inflammation of the throat with the accumulation of thick, tenacious mucus; swelling of the tonsils, Low grade inflammation like erysipelas. The symptoms are aggravation at night, on cold days, in a cold room, and from the heat of the bed; so that there is a controversy between heat and cold.
It seems that the remedy centers in the mammary glands. Soreness and lumps in the breasts from each cold, damp spell; becomes chilled and a sore breast results; sore breast in connection with the menses; a nursing woman is exposed to the cold, the breast inflames and the milk become stringy; coagulated milk. This comes out in the proving, but poke root has been extensively used by cattle raisers when the cow’s milk became thick and there were lumps in the bag, and when the condition was brought on from the cow standing out in the rain.
Almost any excitement centers in the mammary gland; fear or an accident; lumps form, pains, heat, swelling, tumefaction, even violent inflammation and suppuration. No other remedy in the Materia Medica centers so in the mammary gland. Mercury is similar; when the patient takes cold the glands become sore. If every tribulation makes the glands sore in a nursing woman, give her Phytolacca. When a mother says she has no milk, or that the milk is scanty, thick, unhealthy; dries up soon; Phytolacca becomes then a constitutional remedy if there are no contra-indicating symptoms. A bloody watery discharge which continued five years after weaning the infant was cured by Phyto. The breast is so sore that, when she nurses the child, she almost goes into spasms, with the pain extending down the back and limbs and all over the body.
Diphtheria. In certain epidemics; great tumefaction of the throat; swelling of the glands of the neck, parotid and submaxillary; aching in the bones; foetor from the mouth, with heavily coated tongue; great aching in the back; nose bleed; soreness of the muscles. Analogous to Mercurius; they are closely related in diphtheria. At times in diphtheria we can only obtain the foetor, loaded tongue, exudation, swollen glands and stiff neck. This looks like Mercurius of one of the Mercuries. The Protoiodide is right sided, and stays there or may go to the left side. The Biniodide goes from left to right. The Merc. cyanide has a thick, green membranous cast, extending from the nose to the throat. In Phytolacca we have many features of Mercury.
It has cured syphilitic nodes on the skull and shin bones. Many eruptions. “Squamous eruptions; pityriasis, psoriasis.” “Ringworm.” “Barber’s itch.” “Rash on body; measles; scarlet eruption all over body.” It is not surprising Olaf it cures scarlatina, as it has this scarlet rash, the sore throat and glandular involvement
It has the ability to delay the formation of malignant growths, especially in the breast; glandular tumors that become hard and scirrhous. Until this remedy was known there was but one remedy for the old cicatrices in the mammary gland. Women who were confined years before, had abscesses of the breast which were poulticed and lanced had a cicatrix left, and now in the present confinement they have trouble; inflammation in the old cicatrices; ulceration which eats off the ideal glands or turns the ducts aside and twists them; high inflammation; throbbing and pain; milk bloody. Graphite was the old routine remedy, but Phytolacca is a better remedy and suits the general concomitants oftener. The symptoms usually found in an inflamed breast after confinement are: Aching in the back and bone pains; fever and shivering. Phytolacca has these and falls into the very nature of the case. Graphite: has it only in a limited way. If there is high fever; congestion to the head; throbbing carotids; much redness, and the redness radiates from the nipple, Belladonna is the remedy. When the entire gland is as heavy as a stone, and hard, and the patient is sensitive to motion and touch, Bryonia. Mercury when the general symptoms agree. Hepar and Silicea after suppuration is inevitable, especially when the only comfort is obtained from heat. Hepar when there is extreme pain and soreness, irritability and this relief from heat; it limits the extent of the suppuration and opens the part without pain.
The most distressing, lingering, inveterate, old catarrhs with destruction of the bones of the nose. “Total obstruction of the nose; when riding, must breathe through the mouth.” “Coryza and cough, with redness of eyes and lachrymation; photophobia; feeling of sand in the eyes, with soreness and burning.” “Syphilitic ozaena, with bloody, sanious discharge and disease of bone.” “Noli me tangere and cancerous affections of nose.”
It is somewhat like Graphite:, in that it seeks out fissures in, which to establish inflammation, induration and eruptions. Where the circulation is feeble it has the tendency to establish induration.
“Face sunken, pale, hippocratic; blue around eyes: yellowish complexion; looking blue and suffering.” “Pains in bones of head and face at night.” “Swelling around left ear and side of face like erysipelas; thence over scalp; very painful.” “Lips averted and firm. Tetanus.” “Ulcers on lips.” “Parotid and submaxillary glands swollen.” “Tongue thickly coated on back; coated yellow and dry.” This is found in all acute complaints and is like Mercury. Phytolacca holds a reputation among the Eclectics, and in their results we see a shadow of its homoeopathic action. In Cincinnati they used three drops in a tumbler of water and gave it for ulcers in the mouth. It was a standard remedy with them and they made some homoeopathic cures. “Ulcerated sore mouth.” Syphilitic ulcers find a curative remedy in Phytolacca; when the symptoms agree.
There are several pages in the Guiding Symptoms showing homoeopathic cures of the throat; diphtheria; sore throat; inflamed glands; aching bones worse at night; violent cases, with difficult swallowing, pains in the tonsils; enlarged tonsils; tendency to slough. Syphilitic and mercurial sore throats. The sore throats are often aggravated from warm drinks; he wants cool things; and there is an aggravation at night. Here is a summary: “Diphtheria; sick and dizzy when trying to sit up; frontal headache; pains shooting from throat into ears, especially on trying to swallow; face flushed; tongue much coated, protruded”; thickly coated at back, fiery red at tip; breath foetid; putrid; vomiting; difficulty of swallowing; tonsils swollen, covered with membrane, first upon left; three or four patches; tonsils, uvula and back part of throat covered with ash-colored exudation. Pain in the root of the tongue on putting out.”
Old gout and rheumatism of the limbs; in acute rheumatism which is prolonged, worse at night, worse from the warmth of the bed, worse from warm applications. Gouty rheumatism; syphilitic cases; pains as if in the bones. “Sharp cutting pains in hip, drawing; legs drawn up; cannot touch floor.” “Syphilitic or gonorrhoal sciatica, etc.” “Ulcers and nodes on the legs.”
A certain class of physicians used- to call Podophyllum “vegetable Mercury.” Phytolacca ought to be called “vegetable Mercury” because it is so full of symptoms analogous to Mercury.
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.