Blood root is an old domestic remedy. A great many eastern farmers’ wives will not go into the winter without blood root in the house. In the cold winter days, when the coryzas come on, a “cold” in the head, throat and chest, then they get the blood root ready and make a tea of it. With them it is a routine remedy for “colds.”
They give it to combat all complaints, and there is no doubt but that even in this crude form it does break up “colds,” because the provings show its relation to chest troubles and “colds” that go to the chest.
Periodic headaches, when the headache comes once in seven days; it begins in the morning on waking or wakes the patient up. It begins in the occiput and travels upward and settles over the right eye and in the right temple. It gets worse during the day and is aggravated by light, so that he is driven into a dark room and compelled to lie down. Vomiting comes on and the vomited matter is bile, slime, bitter substance and food, and then comes relief of the pain. The headaches are relieved from passing flatus up or down. If the patient suffers when he goes to bed with hot palms and soles, so that he must put them out of bed, this is an additional striking feature.
Take an individual who has missed his chronic headache, by some means, for a considerable time, but since then he has become increasingly sensitive to cold, and “colds” settle in the nose, throat and bronchial tube, and these parts feel as s if on fire, with rawness and burning; the expectoration is thick, tenacious mucus; disturbance of the belly, with much belching, and the belching is especially noticed after a violent attack of coughing.
It is not a very long acting remedy. When a periodic sick headache is interrupted by Sanguinaria, if a deeper drug, an antipsoric, is not given, the headache will return or something worse will come on, as Sanguinaria does not go deep into the nature of the case. I remember a case in which the patient missed his Sanguinaria headache and an epithelioma developed, which was cured by Phosphorus. I am convinced that if Phosphorus had been given at the end of the attack the cancer would not have developed, as Phosphorus was his constitutional remedy. If a chronic sick headache is interrupted the patient will tend to phthisis. Chest troubles come on and grow worse and worse. Its ability to palliate phthisis is very well known.
A patient much debilitated with bronchial catarrh; susceptible to cold, to every change in the weather, from change to damp weather, to every draft, to change of clothing; always taking new “cold.” There is burning in the chest behind the sternum; thick, tough, ropy expectoration; spasmodic cough, and every cough ends in belching; eructations of gas; empty eructations. If to the burning in the chest, the severe pains in the larynx and trachea when talking, and cough ending in belching, you add heat in the palms and soles, Sanguinaria will patch him up and mitigate the trouble. Many such cases get Sulphur, but to their destruction. There is a class of remedies that suits these phthisical patients better than Sulphur, Silicea and Graphites; remedies such as Pulsatilla, Sanguinaria, Senecio gracilis and Coccus cacti, which palliate, mitigate his sufferings, and may even build him up so that he could take a medium potency of a deep remedy. But the deeper remedies ought to be avoided if the vital force is low, if the body is too much damaged to be repaired. Hahnemann warned against the use of Phosphorus in such cases of deficient vitality. Sanguinaria is a surface remedy; it does excellent palliation.
Catarrhal conditions of nose and throat, especially those due to colds and to poisonous plants; also rose colds. The Sanguinaria patient has “rose colds” in June. Sensitive to flowers and odors; subjects with hay fever. Hay fever patients with burning in the nose, in the throat, as if dry; as if the mucous membrane would crack open. Dryness and burning in the larynx, with hoarseness; dryness and burning throughout the chest, with asthma; associated with burning of the palms and soles. Examination shows the palms to be dry, wrinkled and hot to the touch; so, also, the soles, where the skin is thickened and indurated. Corns that burn; the toes burn and the patient puts the feet out of bed for relief.
When the headache is present it seems to be a general congestive headache; although beginning in the morning, coming up the back and extending to the right eye, the whole head is hot and aches.
Sulphur, Silicea and Sanguinaria have periodic weekly headaches. Arsenicum has a headache every two weeks. Not that these remedies will not cure other headaches, for Sanguinaria has also a headache every three days. The majority of headaches coming every two weeks are cured by Arsenicum or greatly mitigated in broken down constitutions. The attempt to cure a chronic sick headache should be made before the senile decline.
“Pulsations in the head with bitter vomiting; aggravated by motion.” The headache is generally aggravated by motion, but not so strikingly as in Bryonia. When the Sanguinaria headache increases towards the afternoon or night, it becomes so severe he must go to bed; and the head becomes sore, and then a step or jar is extremely painful. A severe headache is likely to be disturbed by light, noise, motion, etc.
“Headache as if forehead would burst with chill, and burning in stomach.” “Headache over right eye.” This is a characteristic feature. “Periodic sick headache; begins in the morning, increases during the day, lasts till evening; head feels as if it must burst, or as if eyes would be pushed out; throbbing, lancinating pains through brain, worse on the right side, especially in the forehead and vertex; followed by chills, nausea, vomiting of food or bile; must lie down or remain quiet; ameliorated by sleep.” Some of these things are not found in every case, but they all go to make up a Sanguinaria headache.
All sorts of neuralgic pains; cutting, tearing, lacerating pains ; as if the muscles were torn, or put on a stretch. Tearing pains anywhere, neuralgic or rheumatic. Pains about the scalp, but more particularly about the shoulder; and neck; stiff neck; cannot turn over in bed; cannot raise the arm, though he can swing it back and forth. Pain streaks up the neck; pain in the deltoid. It prefers the right side, but also cures the left side. Rheumatic pains in the right shoulder so that he cannot raise the arm, and all the muscles of the neck and back of the neck become involved; stiff neck. If the pain comes on in the day it increases as the day advances to o night. Complaints are worse at night in Sanguinaria.
A patient comes to you after exposure to cold; he cannot raise the arm; it hangs by his side; pain worse at night in bed, worse turning over (as he uses the shoulder muscle to turn over). It is probably in the deltoid but you need not speculate on the tissues involved.
It competes with Ferrum. All red-faced, highly flushed people, who cannot raise the arm and have pain which is worse in the daytime, not night, and ameliorated by slow motion need Ferrum. Sanguinaria is not relieved by motion; it is aggravated by such motion as calls the arm into use. Ferrum has relief from slow motion, aggravation from rapid motion and the pain comes in the daytime. While Ferrum has a uniformly red, plethoric face, Sanguinaria has a pale face. In the chest complaints Sanguinaria has a circumscribed red spot over the malar bones, such as seen in hectic patients.
Headache from stomach disturbances, overeating, rich food, drinking wine. Almost as useful as Nux in old drinkers. Those who disorder their stomachs and weaken their digestion by beer drinking; they cannot eat; vomiting of even a teaspoonful of water. No food or drink stays on the stomach. Headaches associated with such troubles. Vomiting and diarrhoea with complaints.
Catarrhal affections are prominent. Chronic catarrh of the throat; apparent thickening of the mucous membranes of the throat. Nose and pharynx fill with mucus. He hawks it out; there is a dry burning sensation, but the burning is most marked every time he takes a fresh cold.
Acridity of discharges is another feature. Acrid mucus forms in the nose, causing burning in the throat. Acrid, hot fluids eructated from the stomach, excoriating the throat and mouth. The diarrhoea is accompanied by an acrid watery stool; especially in infants; the nates become raw and red. This burning extends all through the bowels; burning in the abdomen and stomach in old gastric troubles; vomiting of even a teaspoonful of water with burning; old gastric irritation; dyspepsia; all sorts of disorders of the stomach.
Tongue red and burns as if in contact with something hot. Burning in pharynx and oesophagus, burning in roof of mouth. Tonsillitis with burning. “Heat in throat, ameliorated by inspiring cold air; throat so dry it seems as if it would crack.” This burning excoriated feeling applies to all the mucous membranes affected.
Patient suddenly taken to bed with a chill; burning in the chest; symptoms of pneumonia; rusty expectoration; violent cough; every cough felt as a concussion at the bifurcation of the trachea; as if a knife were in the parts; as if torn asunder; and after the cough copious, loud, empty eructations. No other remedy has this.
“Nausea with burning at the stomach, with much spitting.” Nausea not relieved by vomiting. Keeps on vomiting and retching. Burns as if on fire. Arsenic is often given by mistake, because of the great burning.
“Vomiting of bitter water; of sour, acrid fluids; of ingesta; of worms; preceded by anxiety; with headache and burning in stomach; head relieved afterwards; with prostration.” Such symptoms occur is headache, disordered stomach, sour stomach. The sour stomach is manifested by sour eructations or sour vomiting. A patient often speaks of “a sour stomach,” and you must find out whether he means sour eructations or sour vomiting. He says he “spits up” sour food.
With the headache and many complaints Sanguinaria has a faintness; like a hunger, yet not for food. A finking, faint, “all gone,” empty feeling. It is like Phosphorus with its “hungry headache.” Psorinum leads all others in “hungry headaches,” but Psorinum wants to eat and cannot get enough. Sanguinaria has a hunger, but it is not for food; aversion at the thought and smell of food. Psorinum can eat a wolf meal, and so can Phosphorus. It is a false hunger with the headache in Sanguinaria. “Burning in stomach; with headache and chill.”
Belching up of acrid hot fluids in asthma; hay asthma. Sanguinaria palliates asthma associated with stomach disorders. Do not forget Nux in asthma from stomach troubles.
Liver complaints; pains and aches and sense of fullness. Bilious trouble described in general terms. It seems as if the liver makes an enormous quantity of bile, but there is a gastro-duodenal catarrh, so that the bile is regurgitated into the stomach instead of going down, and it is eructated as bitter, green, yellow fluid; vitiated bile. This is a peculiar thing. If you watch a chronic Sanguinaria patient you will notice that the stomach will be disordered for a week; spitting up bile; much flatulence; sour hot eructations; then all at once this will disappear, and a diarrhoea, which fairly floods him, comes on suddenly; a bilious, liquid, gushing stool. Natrum sulph., Sanguinaria, Pulsatilla and Lycopodium cure this alternation of diarrhoea and constipation.
“Os uteri ulcerated; foetid, corrosive leucorrhoea.” “Distension of abdomen in the evening and flatulent discharges by vagina from os uteri, which was constantly open; at same time a pain passing in rays from nape of neck to head.”
“Chronic dryness in throat, sensation of swelling in the larynx and expectoration of thick mucus when associated with dryness, rawness, burning and smarting.” ” Whooping cough; constricted, spasmodic action across throat beneath jaws; cough worse at night with diarrhoea.” Cough worse at night with diarrhoea is the feature this remedy is prescribed for. “Severe cough occurring after whooping cough, when patient takes cold, which partakes of the spasmodic nature of whooping cough.” An adult takes cold and has a spasmodic cough, like whooping cough. He says it is a stomach cough, because there is a gagging with it. In all there is burning and diarrhoea.
“Distressing, dry, spasmodic, exhaustive coughs, especially in children; worse towards night, lying down, going into a cold room to sleep; feeling of rawness and burning in bronchi.” The trachea seems so sore, and it is sore; a bolus of food passing down the oesophagus can be plainly felt; he can outline the part where the food passes.
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.