Tincture of whole plant when beginning to flower
The essential features
When one “clearly perceives what it is in medicines which heals,” as Hahnemann enjoins, then one no longer thinks of a medicine in narrow terms. That is to say, when one understands the essence of a remedy, one can envision the possible applications of that remedy in their broadest context.
Many of our medicines are spoken of as “acute remedies” or “constitutional remedies”, but no such artificial boundaries exist in homeopathy. In the course of my personal experience I have observed that belladonna, a medicine generally considered as an acute remedy, is among the most frequently used polychrests for chronic conditions as well.
Belladonna is a remedy characterized by great intensity and vividness. Both belladonna patients and belladonna disease processes are impressive because of the great energy they manifest. Thus, belladonna pathology can be among the most extravagant produced by any remedy in our entire materia medica. Great forcefulness seems to characterize the pathological processes of belladonna. Similarly, the constitutional belladonna individual generally appears vital and intense. He seems to possess a great amount of well-balanced energy. One rarely finds a use for this remedy in depleted, apathetic individuals. Rather, belladonna people look healthy and robust. They seem to be people without deep miasmatic illness, without many layers of sickness. Consequently, there is frequently a paucity of mental and emotional symptoms in the first stages of pathology of these patients. Furthermore, they almost invariably have clear aggravations after taking the remedy and generally require little long-term management.
In most homeopathic materia medicas great emphasis is placed on the “suddenness” of belladonna conditions. This “sudden” quality certainly pertains to acute conditions and also to some of the individual crises of chronic conditions, but in the typical chronic cases one very frequently sees a slow steady intensification of symptomatology over the years. Thus, it is usual to find a history where the symptoms began rather innocuously but have been progressing steadily, such that within the last year or so the condition has become unbearable, driving the patient to seek treatment. The pathology of the constitutional belladonna patient generally confines itself to the physical level; this contrasts with the usual patient course seen in other remedies. Typically, a patient will initially manifest only physical symptoms, but, with added stress or suppressive medical therapies, the disease penetrates to involve deeper levels of the organism, i.e., the mental-emotional sphere. Consequently, in most cases, one sees a mixture of both psychological and physical symptoms. Belladonna constitutions, however, seem to “quarantine” the pathology to but some specific physical disorder, perhaps because of their relatively higher vitality. In these patients one usually encounters a history of a progressive intensification of the physical disorder and little evidence of mental or emotional affections. For example, one often hears a patient relate a history of migraine headaches which originally were infrequent and rather mild but which have in the past two years increased in frequency to several times a week and which consist of an almost maddening pain.
As a consequence of the above observations, one can say that the diagnosis and prescription of belladonna is generally made on the basis of physical disorders. However, a characteristic belladonna personality does exist.
The external appearance
The belladonna external appearance is one of vitality. These people are full of life and may appear plethoric. Their faces are often red and flushed, and their eyes seem to glisten. As mentioned below, they are not easily ignored or passed by, but tend to stand out in the crowd.
The mental emotional picture
Belladonna individuals are vivid; they have a type of presence which is not easily ignored. They are the kind of people who stand out in a group; they may even tend to find themselves the center of attention at parties as a result of their bright eyes and great vitality. However, they are not people who seek out company. The belladonna personality possesses substance and richness. They are intellectuals with a high I.Q. and a great number of vividly expressed ideas. They have strong, vivid emotions and sentiments, vivid thoughts and imaginations. More than anything they are excitable. Although they do not avoid company, it appears that their thoughts and imaginations are so vivid that they do not need extra stimulation from outside sources. In fact, they seem to avoid strong stimuli and have an aversion to noisy, bright places. Furthermore, their strong characters do not need support from others. They do not like to reveal their suffering (although in a crisis they are usually unable to hide it). They do not require consolation, and they tend to keep their problems to themselves.
The irritability and anger
In our materia medicas the belladonna pathology is presented in such a manner as to make you think that unless somebody is totally mad, or convulsed or in a delirium you cannot prescribe this remedy. My experience with the chronic patients of belladonna, with those I call the constitutional type, is quite different. I have seen a lot of belladonna cases that had no mental pathology at all. As stated, the pathology in constitutional belladonna is generally confined to the physical plane. But, of course, when the patients’ defenses are extensively harrassed, there can be deterioration to deeper levels and then we see a sudden appearance of mental pathology. We do not see a progressive psychopathological state. The mental-emotional pathology that does finally appear in belladonna can be seen as an accentuation of the described personality type. The same “intensity” that characterizes the belladonna physical pathology applies to the mental-emotional pathology: they both come on like a storm.
Irritability, anger, and finally violent impulses and violent mania can be witnessed. Irritability is the one symptom which is consistently present even in the early stages of pathology. One very often finds a history of impatience and sudden flares of temper. These patients may literally explode with anger. There are paroxysms of anger and shouting, and a patient may say that when he is angry, “the whole building hears me shout!” The anger is such that it can bring about coughing while the face becomes extremely red. The patient becomes angry even at his own mistakes and then wants to break things. Sometimes the anger alternates with weeping in a state beyond his control.
The anger is, however, equally rapidly forgotten, like a storm that rages and quickly subsides. But beware, should anyone try to give advice to a belladonna patient while in this temper, however kindly one may try, the result will be to make him mad and explode in an even worse manner.
The anxieties and fears
Because the belladonna individual is generally strong of character, he is not prone to suffer fears and anxieties. One does find anxiety about health in some cases, especially fear of cancer, but this fear is easily overcome by the reassurance of a physician and soon forgotten. Anxiety is not generally marked in belladonna cases, though it may appear sometimes alternating with rage, or in a crowd, or during menses. There can also infrequently occur fear of death or fear of the dark. Of course, the most famous fear of belladonna is the fear of dogs and fear of animals in general. As belladonna is a remedy with a vivid imagination it is natural that there should be a fear of imaginary things.
There is also an element of violence running throughout belladonna. When the patient does begin to show signs of mental-emotional pathology, he may mention a desire to perform violent acts. In the earlier stages the patient may struggle to control various compulsions to violence; e.g., a temptation to bite or to pull someone’s hair. He may even feel compelled to grab the hair of an unknown bystander, but he restrains himself. In a state of rage or delirium he may lose control however, and actually strike those around him, biting people or objects, such as a spoon.
Belladonna can become very destructive in its insanity or delirium. There is a desire to tear one’s clothes, to kill people, or to be killed. A belladonna patient can become very destructive under the influence of alcohol. The Belladonna mental pathology is very much aggravated by drinking spirituous liquors.
The rage and the mania
Finally, when all control is lost, one sees the occurrence of one of the most violent manias produced by any remedy. As stated, the belladonna constitution is generally resistant to psychological impairments, but it may suddenly deteriorate into advanced mental pathology. The belladonna rage can appear during headaches, or, alternatively, during the excited state a fit can be brought on by simply touching the patient. The belladonna patient can become frighteningly destructive and wildly violent, wanting to strike people or bite them as previously described. There is a wildness in him, a wild look on his face, and his strength may be greatly increased.
He may turn to barking and growling like a dog in his delirium. During an interval from the enraged state he may want to die, and may try to commit suicide.
Belladonna is indicated in cases of manic-depression where the state of mania that we have just described is succeeded by long periods of depression with a desire for death, where the patient wishes to commit suicide by hanging or stabbing himself, or in any other kind of violent way.
These violent episodes may also occur during febrile deliriums. One may see such a case in utter delirium, groping around the room and literally trying to climb the walls or trying to gather objects off the wall. In this state the patient sees black animals on the walls and furniture, he spits around and makes grimaces while his strength is tremendously increased. It is truly frightening to observe such a case. At other times the patient hallucinates and sees all manner of phantoms, evil spectres and faces with vicious fangs. He may talk about devils, saying that he will be taken away by the devil. In the midst of these vicious hallucinations the patient may laugh in a sardonic and almost evil manner. Further symptoms that may be found during a belladonna state of mania include bouts of knocking the head against a wall, attempts to strike out at imaginary objects, or at people imagined to be on their abdomen or face. Sometimes there are convulsions during the mania state and the fury. In epileptics we see the fury and rage with the full intensity of the remedy and frightful distortions of the face.
In a belladonna case a state of insanity may arise due to a number of factors in which the natural outlets for the emotions are suppressed. For example, an individual may suffer from excessive anger, whatever the cause, and be unable to find a proper outlet for this anger. Alternatively, a person may be unable to fulfill his ambitions, or may have to suppress them. Other factors include an eruption which may have been suppressed, or a terrible fright, grief or mortification suffered by the patient. These situations may all lead to an insanity state. The form of the insanity may be different, depending mostly on the cause, but the common characteristics are the glistening of the eyes, the heat of the face, the inner excitability, the senseless restlessness and the increased strength. Belladonna should also be thought of in conditions like pyromania and kleptomania.
In a case where the ambitions have been affected the resulting insanity will show excessive pomposity. The person for instance may say that he has made a great discovery from which he stands to gain a lot of money. He signs cheques for vast amounts to overpay people for buying things that he cannot afford or does not need. He brags a lot and talks in an excited and intense manner. He sleeps but a few hours at night and roams about in an aimless way all day. Should anybody try to contradict him he flies off in a temper and becomes very aggressive, with an impulse to kill.
If the reason for madness is a love disappointment the form of the insanity may take an on very different aspect. Here you will have a patient who may strip down to only his shirt and run out into the streets in broad daylight, gesticulating and uttering many absurd things. He may start a sort of wild dancing, with shrieking, singing, clapping of the hands. The dancing may alternate with sighing. He jumps over chairs and tables, tears his own hair, indulges in obscene talk and cursing. He may spit and bite at those around him.
The madness may alternatively result from grief, and here you may see a different picture again, though the basic characteristics should be present as already mentioned. This patient has a tendency to sit and break pins or sticks, making gestures as if he were drinking. He may go to hide with fear in his eyes. He has a feeling of being possessed by the devil or pursued by the police, or he may feel that he is divided into two parts. He may have the illusion that he is a dog and start growling and barking. He is impelled to touch everything, and aimlessly walks round and round in a circle.
The delusions, hallucinations and visions
During the belladonna insanity and febrile states the patient experiences vivid delusions, hallucinations and visions. The vivid imagination of belladonna and its excitability have been mentioned. In certain circumstances this imagination may suddenly burst forth giving rise to hallucinations or visions. Most often this occurs in febrile states, but it also arises in mental disorders. These visions may occur with the eyes wide open; furthermore, the hallucinations are not of pale ghostly images but rather sharp, vivid pictures. If the patient mentions that he has a tendency to be delirious and to see visions as soon as he suffers a fever, this can be a strong confirmation of the diagnosis for belladonna.
The delusions of belladonna can be triggered by fever, by injuries to the head, by suppressed menstruation and by hysteria, and they are almost always accompanied by dilated pupils and a red face.
A typical belladonna delirium is described here: “In the evening he was seized with such violent delirium that it required three men to confine him; his face was livid; his eyes injected and protruding, pupils strongly dilated; carotid arteries pulsating most violently; a full, hard pulse, with loss of power to swallow. Violent delirium; broke into fits of laughter, then gnashed teeth disposed to bite and strike those around.”
The following examples may serve to illustrate the almost unlimited delusions of the belladonna delirium: The patient throws his arms about, moves his lips as if talking, urinates outside the pot. He has delusions of fire on distant home; of someone trying to take away the bed clothes; of body sinking down between the thighs; of cockroaches swarming about the room. He believes that he sees cucumbers on the bed, or dead persons, or black dogs. He imagines himself dreaming when awake; sees giants, a friend’s head sticking out of a bottle, a transparent and speckled head. He thinks himself a juggler, thinks that he has a transparent nose. He sees brilliantly colored, glittering objects. He thinks that a physician is a policeman, that he is riding on an ox. He misrepresents his sensations. He sees spectres, ghosts, spirits in fire. His head and nose seemed to be transparent; trees seem to be people in fantastic costume. He sees large turtles in room.
Kent summarises the whole picture beautifully: “The mental symptoms of belladonna are delightful to study, but dreadful to look upon. The mental symptoms are such as come on in intense fevers, such as are observed in maniacal excitement, in delirium. Excitement runs all through. Violence runs all throughthe mental symptoms.
It is a wild state. He is wild; striking, biting, tearing things, doing unusual things; doing strange things; doing unexpected things. He is in a state of excitability.
These mental symptoms that come on during fevers, the delirium and excitement, are very commonly ameliorated by eating a little light food.”
The intensity that characterizes the mental-emotional pathology of belladonna is mirrored by the intensity of the sleep, which in this remedy is of exceptional interest. Patients may talk loudly during sleep, even in a quarrelsome manner. They confess things they have done during the day in a very vivid manner. They sing or croak during sleep. They turn around restlessly in bed in a kind of fury and stretch and kick the sleeping partner. They grind their teeth and in general those who sleep with them will tell you of the intense activity that characterises their sleep. They may be prone to somnambulism, or may suffer from sleeplessness the whole night, with starting at the least noise, burning skin, constipation and headache.
The belladonna vitality and vividness are nowhere more apparent than in the child, who is full of energy and restlessness. His appearance is characterised by red cheeks, hot skin and glistening eyes. He jumps around all over the room, from the chair to the table to the bed. In the consultation room he will not stay in one place. This is a lively child, full of imagination and very impressionable. Whatever the child experiences during the day seems to be re-lived during sleep. The mother will tell you about his sleep and the intensity with which this child sleeps, the restlessness, talking or screaming during sleep, even getting up and walking around. The child is difficult to wake and has nightly enuresis, particularly after sugar or sweet things. He is aggressive and fights with other chidren, but is not malicious like the Stramonium child.
While studying the child’s history you will learn that the child is prone to convulsions with high fever. When suffering from abdominal pain there is vomiting of all food, and a violent thirst develops, coupled with great prostration. Lying flat on the abdomen ameliorates the pain. The convulsions are brought on from light, from a draft of cold air, from the infant becoming cooled. They are more likely to occur in nervous, brainy children, with a good sized head.
In the case of an inflammation of the meninges the child becomes wild and beside himself. The aggressiveness increases tremendously, he strikes those around him, makes terrible grimaces, has contorsions of the limbs and becomes tremendously restless. In delirium the child talks a great deal, and this is followed by laughing; he does not recognize his parents. The convulsions can be so strong that the child may fly off the bed to the floor from the sudden convulsion. While the child is unconscious and convulsed, he bores in to the nose with his fore-finger, so hard and with such force that he bores a hole there. If the nurse tries to prevent the child’s hand from doing such damage to himself a severe convulsion supervenes. Special attention should be placed here on this strange symptom for belladonna: boring with the finger in the nose and cheek ameliorates the general condition of the child.
Kent writes: “In Bell. the infant also commonly remains in a profound stupor, the profound stupor that goes with congestion of the brain; pupils dilated; skin hot and dry; face red, throbbing carotids. Finally the child becomes pale as the stupor increases and the neck is drawn back, because as it progresses the base of the brain and spine become involved, and the muscles of the neck contract, drawing the head backwards, and he rolls the head; eyes staring, pupils dilated. This mental state is associated with scarlet fever and with cerebro-spinal meningitis.”
belladonna is one of the remedies that fits most closely the symptomatology of the terrible disease that hits the young age: the Gilles de la Tourette’s syndrome. The child makes terrible tics and grimaces, and is so restless that he cannot be restrained to sit quietly for five seconds. He makes terrible sounds with his nose and larynx, groans, coughs, barks, looks retarded, sometimes is destructive and other times tender. He seems impulsive, doing everything and anything that comes to his mind.
Crying seems to ameliorate the belladonna symptoms, even in adults. A tearful mood in children and even babies is characteristic, but they do not want consolation, which only aggravates their condition. They cry for the sake of crying and this seems to do them good. Eating ameliorates most of the conditions in belladonna. It has been observed in hydrocephaloid children that they cry until they get something to eat. Restlessness during stool is another characteristic in belladonna children. When children are sick in bed with congestion of the brain, they have an intensely hot head while throbbing is apparent. The temporal arteries and the carotids pulsate, with great violence.
During fever, belladonna children can also behave like Chamomilla or Cina. They are capricious, cannot stand being talked to in a nice pacifying voice, fly into a temper on being given good advice for anything, complain that everything tastes bitter, desire things which when offered are refused, and cry with the least provocation. Lastly, belladonna should be considered in cases of worms in children.
The sexuality of belladonna is usually well-balanced, but when this sphere is affected the result can be a tremendous increase in desire leading to excessive practices suchas nymphomania and frequent masturbation. This heightened sexual excitement cannot be satisfied easily. Thus we find cases of belladonna who are shameless in their sexual conduct and sometimes practice exhibitionism. The excitement is so great that interrupted coition can cause a general upset of the organism leading to the appearance of a headache or even a fever. In women the increase in desire can lead to an obsession with the idea of marriage.
The belladonna speech is characterized by a number of difficulties and impediments. There seems to be a weakness of the organ of speech, leading to stammering like one who is intoxicated. Speech may be confused, hasty, incoherent, even unintelligible. Temporary speechlessness may occur, where the patient cannot utter a sound.
The causative factors
The symptomatology in this remedy may be brought on by a number of different factors, the main one of which concerns the circulation which, when affected by a stressor, especially heat or cold or excitement, may cause symptoms to appear. Unfulfilled ambition is another factor, when one expects that he will become rich or famous from a project and this does not come true. Injuries to the head, disappointed love, reverses of fortune, grief, anger and fright are further factors to be considered in a belladonna case.
The belladonna pathology tends to be carried to extremes. For example, when irritability appears, it tends to be extreme irritability. Similarly one may note the greatly heightened intensity of the physical complaints; for example, the headaches are rarely mild and nagging but severe, throbbing and bursting, indeed they are among the most violent in all of our materia medica. Again, when the fever rises, it rises fast and is very high. It seems that the expression of the symptomatology cannot be restrained by the organism; it breaks out, rages wildly and then passes suddenly leaving the patient exhausted. As stated, the individual crises may occur with suddenness, but the chronic conditions tend to slowly mount in intensity, gradually approaching the extremes described.
As previously stated, the vast majority of belladonna cases involve predominantly physical pathology. The pathological processes of belladonna tend to be concentrated on the vascular system. Flushing and vascular congestion are the hallmarks of this remedy, with engorgement of blood vessels and throbbing, pulsating pains. In acute conditions the congestions may be truly violent, characteristically involving intense heat and a sensation as if the part were burning. The patient is compelled to use cold compresses, even ice, to find relief. This heat can be so intense that one can literally see steam emanating from the compress. In the chronic conditions, however, milder conditions can be seen. Flushing of the face is a well-known characteristic of belladonna, but one may also see flushing in other regions such as the back or the extremities. For example, episodic congestions of the legs can occur where the feet become hot and have to be uncovered for several days until the congestion subsides. Belladonna also has marked dryness of the skin and of all the mucous membranes, yet when this dryness involves the mouth, there is generally little thirst.
Anything that markedly alters the circulation can provoke or aggravate the belladonna state. Generally, overheating and abrupt exposure to cold can provoke or aggravate the symptoms, not just in the immediate sense but also chronically. One often hears a history of chronic headaches or vertigo, etc., which began after a patient washed his hair and immediately went out into the cold air. Belladonna patients can be either warm-blooded or chilly or sensitive to both heat and cold. Rarely does one find in the constitutional belladonna extreme chilliness or warm-bloodedness. The consistent theme is that abrupt temperature changes provoke symptoms by altering the circulation. Belladonna can be adversely affected by exposure to the sun, to overheating from sitting in the sun. It is curious that such apparently vital patients can be so easily discomfited by so mild a stress as entering the cold when overheated. It is as if the intense energetic state of belladonna is but precariously held in balance, vulnerable to the slightest bit of extra stimulation.
Also, hormonal disturbances may bring about these circulatory changes; consequently, many of the complaints of belladonna occur around the time of menstruation — before, during, or after. Symptoms may also follow childbirth or hysterectomy.
The complaints of belladonna usually come on suddenly and subside suddenly. This is a general rule but not, of course, without exceptions.
Burning heat, bright redness especially of the head and dryness of the skin are very marked in almost all the acute cases. Hot head with cold extremities in all kinds of acute or chronic ailments, whether there is a fever or not, constitutes the main keynote for belladonna. Hot body, hot parts – especially the head – and hot discharges are keynotes.
Stupor interrupted by screaming is a keynote as also stupor with twitching of limbs.
Pulsations are felt all over, in the head, chest, throat etc. The whole body throbs.
Any kind of sudden jar can be unbearable to these patients, in both acute and chronic conditions. Belladonna is the main remedy in conditions which are aggravated from a jar. Every jar, turning or movement of body increases the pain; the patient therefore lies immovably on his back.
Another general characteristic of belladonna is worse on lying down. This refers to headache and all kinds of inflammatory affections. Belladonna symptoms are frequently right-sided: right-sided headaches, sinusitis, ovarian pains and even right-sided convulsions. Once the pathology begins, any kind of strong stimulus can disturb these patients. They often want to lie down in a dark, quiet room, usually lying on the abdomen. Light bothers them.
The belladonna convulsions come on from a reflected light, from a mirror, from water, after mental exertion. The convulsions are accompanied by coldness of feet and hot head, and by stretching out parts of limbs before and during convulsions. The patient throws his body forward and backward while lying, with constant change from emprosthotonos to opisthotonos. Tetanus, trismus, and eclampsia.
Restlessness during stool, restlessness at night; grinding of the teeth, and now and then convulsions.
Twitchings more in arms and face; difficult articulation; throws head back, rolling head.
Starting on falling asleep; the feet are jerked upward and the head forward.
Semiconsciousness and loss of speech; convulsive movement in limbs and muscles of face; paralysis of right side of tongue.
Paroxysms of stiffness, and immobility of all limbs, or of single limbs only.
Noises can cause an aggravation not only of the headache but also the sciatica, the gastritis, the convulsions etc.
In tetanus a sudden noise, a slight touch, a jar, an attempt to speak or to move or to drink will induce a spasm. Teeth are clenched with such force that they cannot be opened.
Great irritability and impressionableness of the senses is another belladonna symptom; he tastes and smells everything more acutely; cannot tolerate any touch, the skin is supersensitive. Spasms and convulsions of limbs renewed by least contact.
A lot of the symptomatology of this remedy appears around the time of menses. Weakness and headaches mostly come on before, during and after menses, with desire to lie down.
Belladonna has a liability to take cold, with great sensitiveness to draughts of air, especially when uncovering head, or after cutting hair.
Sensitive to changes from warm to cold, to damp weather, to chilling from having the head uncovered; better from being wrapped up warmly in a room. Feels very chilly, wants warmth of a stove.
Cool hands and forehead, with much thirst, but no fever.
Shuddering, or violent chill in back, epigastrium, or arms.
Several attacks of fever in one day, during which hot stage followed cold within a few minutes to half an hour, always without thirst in either stage, and mostly with confusion of head.
Heat of forehead, with cold cheeks. Coldness of limbs, with heat of head. Temperature of head very much increased, of rest of body diminished.
Unconsciousness from working in hot sun.
Belladonna has nervous shuddering on going to sleep, and on falling asleep an electric-like shock. There are pulsations on waking in the morning. In general sweat occurs suddenly and quickly disappears. It has a smoky odor, and stains the linen. There is cold sweat after urination. Belladonna has congestion of the liver with jaundice, the liver burns.
In general the inflamed parts swell rapidly, throb, are extremely sensitive to touch, are very painful, with the sensation as if they would burst. The inflamed parts, and very commonly the skin, are very red, but as the inflammation advances they become dusky.
Belladonna can have inflammations anywhere: inflammation of nerves [neuritis]; inflammation of the marrow of bones [osteomyelitis]; inflammation of bursae [bursitis]; inflammation of cartilages [chondritis, perichondritis]; inflammation of muscles [myositis] and all these inflammations come on suddenly.
Worse in all complaints from motion. Motion brings on convulsions, motion brings on pain, motion increases the action of the heart and brings on throbbing, motion brings on many complaints and increases the suffering.
Walking in the wind aggravates.
Better wrapped up warmly in a room.
Holding the breath ameliorates.
Boring in ear and nose with fingers ameliorates.
Belladonna’s influence is felt more in intelligent and plethoric persons who are jovial and entertaining when well, but violent when sick. It is therefore a great children’s remedy.
– Some pathological conditions for which belladonna must be considered:
The clinical application of belladonna is so broad that one can say that it encompasses all disease-conditions and can be prescribed in all of them once the main characteristics of the remedy are present.
This remedy is considered to be useful primarily in chronic headaches.
It should be thought of in cases of high blood pressure with redness of the face and flushes, where the patients look as if they are about to have an apoplectic attack. Patients with high blood pressure and diabetis melitus.
It should also be thought of in brain affections, delirium, delirium tremens, meningitis, convulsions. One-sided paralysis, with convulsions, spasms or twitching of the well side.
Other conditions for which belladonna is considered useful are:
Epileptic spasms followed by nausea and vomiting; epilepsy, with violent congestion to head; epileptic convulsions, followed by an apoplectic condition; epilepsy; patient clutches wildly at throat; eyes roll back in their sockets, he froths at the mouth.
Chorea during pregnancy.
Ear affections, especially otitis media on the right side with excruciating pain, throbbing and redness of the face.
Peritonitis where the patient cannot endure the slightest pressure, even the pressure from the bed covers or a cloth compress is not tolerated.
Pneumonia when the main characteristics of the remedy are present.
Cholocystitis where the pain is aggravated very much on lying on the right side, even touching the area is painful. Sore throat as if there is a coal there, or an area where the mucous membrane is raw. Vertigo especially on turning in bed.
Exophthalmic goitre, with extreme thyroid toxaemia.
Catalepsy after fright.
The belladonna fever is very high, you will seldom see a patient running a low fever, and it is remittent, not continued.
Belladonna is almost a specific for the following conditions: scarlet fever; traumatic erysipelas.
Belladonna is one of the main remedies in Menière’s disease. Vertigo when stooping, or when rising after stooping, in the act of lying down. Vertigo while lying, as if feet were going up, or as if feet were sinking down through or with the bed.
The vertigo is frequently aggravated by moving the head or, even more often, by turning from one side to the other in bed; patients may even become fearful of turning over in bed because of this aggravation.
Sometimes vertigo is seen which comes on quite suddenly even though the patient is sitting still. He may feel that he is about to fall over and is only relieved by jumping up and moving around vigorously. This type of attack is often attended by heat throughout the body and tachycardia. Belladonna is also indicated in patients who are prone to motion sickness when riding in a car.
Vertigo, mostly at night on turning over in bed, or when getting up in the morning, also when walking, and on every change of position. Vertigo that makes him feel as if he were bouncing up and down in bed. Vertigo with dilated pupils.
Vertigo from motion of eyes.
Sensation as if rocking.
Vertigo in sunlight and heat.
Vertigo, with perceptible pulsation in the head, with dilated pupils and nausea.
To summarize we can say that belladonna produces all varieties of vertigo; perhaps as many as one-fourth of all cases of vertigo will require belladonna.
The headaches are like many of the other pains; it feels as if the brain was going up and down, tearing and burning at every step he takes, and from every motion of the eyes, or turning of eyeballs, or going up-stairs, rising from his seat, or sitting down; all motion creates violent pains; feels as if the head would burst, as if the eyes would be pressed out.
Very frequently the symptomatology of belladonna is focussed from the cervical region upwards. Perhaps fifty percent of all belladonna chronic cases involve long-term headaches. Some statistics suggest that a great number of migraine headaches may require belladonna as a constitutional prescription. Generally, belladonna produces headaches of vascular origin, but one frequently sees a hormonal component as well, such as migraines occurring in relation to the menstrual cycle or after an abortion or hysterectomy-oophorectomy. Headaches may also arise from abnormal cervical spine curvatures or malalignments. The headaches are of various types and may vary even in one individual case. For example, a patient may complain of frequent, minor headaches which are punctuated once a month by severe headaches which drive her to bed.
Classically the headaches begin at three p.m. ; however, it is even more common to find headaches which originate at eleven a.m. to noon and which then peak at three p.m. or between two and three p.m. Very frequently the headaches may last for long periods of time; e.g. , twelve or even twenty-four to forty-eight hours. Probably the most common headache is pulsating and pounding in quality, but one also sees headaches which are felt “as if a knife were being driven into the head.” The patient may describe a sensation as if he were being struck by a hammer in one single spot. The common element is the severity of the pain, for belladonna headaches are the most intense in the whole of our materia medica. The patient may say that the pain is “maddening”, as if the pain will drive him mad, or he may say that the pain is so intense that, “I don’t feel my head anymore.” Frequently the pain is severe enough to provoke nausea and vomiting. When the headache finally subsides, it leaves the patient exhausted.
Another type of belladonna headache can be related to high blood pressure. Here the patient may describe a sense of pressure arising from inside the head, as if the head would burst open or as if the eyes would “pop out”. The patient presents with a red, congested face, engorged blood vessels and headache. This presentation may occur during a full-blown hypertensive crisis, accompanied by hypertensive retinopathy and papilledema; consequently, it is imperative to monitor the blood pressure in such cases. The headaches often originate in the cervical region or the occiput. Though not mentioned in the Repertory, there are headaches starting in the occiput and radiating anteriorly which are provoked by changes in the weather. These headaches may also be located in the temples or the forehead, especially the right temple or just above the right eyebrow.
As previously stated, with the headache the patient usually wants to lie down, usually on his abdomen, in a dark, quiet room. Loud noises, light and sudden jars cause a marked aggravation of the pain. Even the jar of each step while walking can be unbearable. Also, any kind of excitement or emotional stress may precipitate or aggravate the crisis. There can also be an aggravation from stooping forward. The headaches are worse from the sun and from the heat. Sometimes during the headaches the congestion in the head is so intense that the patient may feel thay he actually has a fever. He wants cold applications or even ice on the head for relief. He may also find relief from hard pressure and from binding the head very tightly. In general, the patient is better during cloudy or rainy weather; he has far fewer headaches in such weather.
Finally, belladonna headaches may be triggered by the following: eating acid food; suppressing a catarrh; during dentition; after nursing; smoking tobacco. The headache may be accompanied by a desire for lemonade.
Other head symptoms for belladonna include:
Sensation as if skull were as thin as paper; as if the skull were transparent. Boring of head into pillow.
Children tear their hair.
Brittleness of hair.
The eyes of the belladonna patient easily become red and bloodshot, often without any inflammation and with little or no irritation. During a fever the eyes are glistening, sparkling or may become almost dark red. There may be ecchymosis from coughing. Redness of eye during headache or during menses is characteristic of belladonna.
Erysipelatous inflammation of eye.
Belladonna is especially indicated in hyperaemia of optic nerve and retina, if dependent upon cerebral congestion and accompanied by aching pain in eye, aggravated by any light.
Scrofulous ophthalmia: cannot bear artificial light; abundant flow of hot tears.
Blueness of conjunctiva.
Conjunctivitis with dryness of eyes, thickened red lids, and burning pains in eye.
Chronic keratitis, when suddenly the eye becomes intensely congested, with heat, photophobia; pains often sharp, shooting through ball to back of head.
Apoplexy of retina, with suppression of menstruation.
Ciliary neuralgia appearing and disappearing suddenly.
Violent pain deep in eyes aggravated by movement, but particularly by light. Severe pains of glaucoma.
Belladonna may be indicated in cases of strabismus due to spasmodic action of muscles, or when resulting from brain affections. Belladonna is one of our most important remedies for photophobia, possibly because of the well-known effect of mydriasis. Photophobia during chill; during rage.
Wild look during meningial inflammation.
Staring look during headache.
Looking steadily upward aggravates.
Eye turned inwards; turned outwards.
Pulsation in eyes.
Sensation of eyes being smaller.
Sensation of rough cornea on winking.
Visions on closing eyes.
On closing eyes for sleep a sudden shock runs through body from below up.
Lachrymation with pain in face. Lachrymation on side affected by headache. Very salty tears.
Sensitiveness of the eye.
Pupils dilated during headache, during heat, during epilepsy, during perspiration and in general in many disturbances requiring this remedy. Pupils dilated and immovable. Protruded eyes with dilated pupils.
Pupils contracted with headache, during chill, during heat, during perspiration. Spasmodic motion of eyes.
Eyes are in constant motion, pupils extremely dilated. Constant, convulsive movement of eyeballs, aggravated by light. Nystagmus. Vision – Triplopia. Diplopia with convulsions. Diplopia during pregnancy, after vertigo.
Amblyopia caused by stoppage of menses; veil before sight; chromopsia; dilated pupils and stitching in right eye. Everything he looks at seems red.
Flickering before eyes; sparks, or dimness of vision.
Outlines of objects are blurred and indistinct.
Vision of snow flakes.
When reading lines appear crooked.
Weakness of sight in the light.
Partial blindness, cannot read anything printed.
Vision obscured as from a white vapor.
Dimness of vision, or actual blindness. Dim vision after dinner.
Loss of vision in the evening at sunset, on waking in the morning.
Blindness following severe congestive headaches, after scarlet fever.
Complete amaurosis caused by a severe nervous fever, or from large amounts of quinine.
Amaurosis from a cold, with much vertigo; pressing pain and feeling of fulness in eyeballs; black spots before eyes; increased pain by candlelight, and much congestion of vessels.
Amaurosis of four years’ duration, occurring after suppression of rash in scarlatina; only a perception of light remained; pupils dilated. Falling of lids in the morning after waking.
Styes on upper lid.
Ulceration of lids under surfaces.
Painful quivering of lids.
In blepharitis, lids are painful and swollen like erysipelas.
There is a tendency for edema and swelling of the lower eyelids, and one frequently sees this swelling as part of the aggravation response to the administration of the remedy.
The almost absolute deafness seen in cases of belladonna poisoning is indicative of the ability of this remedy to cure similar conditions.
Belladonna is frequently indicated in acute or recurrent otitis media, especially right-sided otitis media. Here one finds a sudden onset of the infection with pulsating, throbbing pain or tearing stitching pains with the general modalities of the remedy. A peculiarity is that the pain from the ears extends everywhere: to chest, to face, to forehead, to occiput, to teeth but mostly downwards to neck. The infection can be accompanied by ringing or roaring in the ears. The earache is worse from least noise.
As mentioned, belladonna can be indicated in Menière’s syndrome with vertigo and tinnitus, with or without a middle ear infection. Ear sensitive to wind – sensation of wind in ear.
Heat inside ear. Heat of ear during chill.
Discharges of blood from ear during cough.
Sensation of distension of ear.
Belladonna has a great variety of noises in ear. These include:
Roaring, ringing, tingling, murmuring; fluttering sounds in the morning; humming noises in ear aggravated while sitting; humming in ear with vertigo; warbling of birds in ear.
The noises in ear are heard while sitting and on waking; they are ameliorated while lying, while standing, while walking. Hearing is impaired after hiccough, after scarlet fever.
Deafness as if a skin were drawn over ears.
Hardness of hearing, owing to having taken cold.
Acute hearing during heat.
Acute hearing during perspiration.
belladonna is an important remedy in sinusitis. The sinusitis can involve either the frontal or maxillary sinuses. In belladonna one finds a very troublesome maxillary or frontal sinusitis with heaviness and marked tenderness to light touch but relief from hard pressure. Every time the patient stoops forward the pain intensifies, and the patient experiences a sense of stuffiness of the sinuses.
In belladonna there is dryness of all the mucous membranes and great dryness of the nose. Frequent dry sneezing, with tickling, especially in left nostril.
There is a tendency for epistaxis, especially nosebleeds which occur at night while asleep. Nosebleed with congestion to head; in children at night. At other times the nosebleeds occur as part of a typical syndrome – red face, injected eyes and hypertension. Epistaxis may also occur with vertigo; with numbness of nose.
Sneezing after coughing.
After suppressed catarrh, maddening headache.
Inflammatory swelling and redness of internal and external nose.
Inflammation of nose in drunkards.
Pain as if bruised, when touching nose.
Cramp at root of nose.
Sudden redness of tip of nose, with burning sensation.
Tip of nose red, swollen and shining, feels that with every step the tip of the nose will fall off.
Tip of nose red and hot, particularly in warm weather.
Swelling of tip of nose in warm weather.
Perspiration on nose.
Oversensitiveness to odors. Extreme sensibility of smell; odor of tobacco is intolerable. Smell in nose as from herring brine or sour beer.
Putrid smell from nose.
The typical belladonna face is red, shiny, glowing, dry and hot. The expression is often one of astonishment or fright and may sometimes be wild or fierce. The face may equally be pale with sudden alternations to a red hue. There may be bluish discoloration during maniacal rage, or mottled discoloration with pale spots in face. Belladonna is one of the main remedies for flushing of the face. This symptom can appear independently or it may be associated with other complaints such as headache, vertigo, toothaches, hypertension, etc. Of course, one of the most famous symptoms of belladonna is a hot, flushed face with cold extremities.
The flushing can cause confusion with other remedies such as Pulsatilla, especially with the timid type of belladonna patient sometimes encountered. Also, it may resemble Lachesis, especially because belladonna may also have an intolerance to tight clothing around the neck and because both remedies can have complaints around the time of the menses.
In general, one can see great sensitivity of the face in the belladonna patient. In some cases one finds a marked aversion to having the face touched, not from a specific inflammation but simply because of a general sensitiveness, much like Chamomilla.
Abscesses, acne and erysipelas are the most frequent skin conditions on the face. Belladonna produces a malignant type of acne of the face and sometimes of the back. The skin becomes very red, and the pimples themselves are huge, almost small boils. When the lesions heal, they frequently leave scars on the face. The whole condition can be aggravated by heat, but an even more pronounced aggravation is caused by sunlight.
The belladonna small pox eruption on the face is characterized by intense pricking like a thousand needles, ameliorated by compresses dipped in boiling hot water and changed every few minutes.
Eruptions may appear at the right hand corner of the mouth and inside the left side of the nose. There may be boils at margins of hair, or abscesses on upper lip. The face may have unusually thick skin.
Other conditions which may require belladonna are:
Chronic atrophic polychondritis, a degenerative disease involving the cartilages of the nose and ears. In these cases one can see sudden, violent inflammations of the face with redness and marked swelling of the cartilagenous tissues of nose and ears.
Right sided trigeminal neuralgia with aggravation from cold applications; the condition increases gradually and ceases suddenly, or comes and goes suddenly. Pains that cause redness of face and eyes.
Violent shooting in right maxillary joint, extending to ear, when chewing.
Extraordinary mobility of facial muscles, especially on left side.
Convulsive movement of facial muscles, with distortion of mouth.
Continual winking and trembling of eyelids, alternating with cramps of hands and feet. Sensation as if lower jaw was drawn backward.
Convulsive closing of jaws, and contraction of muscles of face and extremities.
Trembling of upper lip.
Numbness of affected side of face.
Paralysis of right side of face.
Hard painful swelling of jaw and glands in general.
Painful swelling of submaxillary glands.
Swelling and aching of right parotid gland.
Inflammation and swelling of submaxillary and cervical glands.
Inflammation of parotid glands with metastasis to testes.
Swelling of lips, mostly of the upper lip.
The lips and mucous membrane of mouth, fauces and nose are very hot and dry.
The mouth is exceedingly dry without thirst. The dryness is almost beyond relief.
Dryness of mouth and pharynx, with a sense of constriction of the throat.
Troublesome, continued dryness of the mouth, lips, and throat, with a violent longing for drink, but not satisfied by drink. Mouth feels scalded; feels hot.
Bloody frothy foam from mouth. Frothy foam from mouth with odor of rotten eggs.
Sensation as if mouth were enlarged.
Gums – Extremely troublesome itching of gums, with pain in throat.
Vesicle in gum below one of front teeth, with a pain as if burnt.
Pulsating pain in gums.
Swelling of gums on lower left side with stitches up to left temple.
Bleeding of gums around decayed tooth during menses. Heat in gums.
Taste – salty; sour; bitter; offensive.
Bread tastes sour.
Putrid taste rising out of throat; also when eating or drinking, although food and drink have proper taste. Putrid, disagreeable taste in mouth, with a clean tongue.
Acute sense of taste.
Bad taste ameliorated after eating apples. Apples taste bitter. Bitter taste at noon.
Bitterish-sour taste of milk.
Food tastes saltish.
Meat tastes spoiled.
Odor as of stool.
Speech – Hasty speech; often inarticulate, confused sounds.
Inarticulate speech from hindered mobility of tongue.
Tongue dry and dislike to talk.
Loss of speech.
Paralytic weakness of organs of speech.
Paralysis of tongue which is drawn to the left.
Tongue – Paralytic weakness of internal parts of mouth.
The tongue and palate dark-red; she complains of dryness of the throat, and of difficult swallowing.
Tongue: inflamed and much swollen; papillae of deep red color; tip and edges light red.
Papillae on tongue erect.
The papillae on tongue are of a deep red color, inflamed and much swollen.
Trembling of tongue when protruded.
Smacking with tongue.
Feeling of coldness and dryness of forepart of tongue.
Dryness of tongue and throat becoming so great as to interfere with speech. Tongue dry, cracked and difficult to move. Tongue adheres to roof of mouth.
Tip of tongue burns, aggravated by touch.
Red streak in middle of tongue.
Milky white tongue.
White stripes on tongue.
Painful pimples on tongue.
Saliva – Salivation succeeding dryness of mouth. Increased flow of saliva.
Salivation at night, aggravated by lying down.
Salivation with cough.
Mucus and slime in morning.
Thick whitish mucus accumulates in the mouth and throat, with constant inclination to hawk and swallow.
Collection of slimy mucus on tongue. Saliva thickened, tenacious, clings to tongue like glue.
Teeth – Grinding of teeth. Grinding of teeth during sleep.
Grinding of teeth, with foam at mouth.
Convulsive grinding of teeth. Teeth clinched firmly.
Grinding of teeth during maniacal rage.
Sensation as if her teeth would be forced out of her head.
Numbness of teeth.
The teeth feel elongated.
Sensation of elongation of incisors.
Toothache from excitement.
Pain aggravated from jarring.
Toothache immediately after lying.
Toothache, with red, hot face and throbbing in head.
Toothache with otalgia.
Rheumatic toothache, particularly in females, especially when pregnant. Throbbing in teeth.
There is great dryness of the mouth; sometimes there is dryness without thirst (Bry., Nux m., Puls.).
Dryness of esophagus.
Troublesome continued dryness of mouth, lips and throat with a violent longing for drink, but not satisfied by it.
Great dryness of mouth and throat; desires drink but cannot swallow.
Dryness of fauces, causing excessive difficulty of swallowing; and alteration of voice. Painful narrowing and contraction of gullet.
Dryness of mouth and pharynx, with sense of constriction of throat. Belladonna has all manner of pharyngeal and tonsillar inflammations, often as a consequence of exposure to cold or to drafts. In fact, belladonna is probably the most frequently indicated remedy for acute suppurative tonsillitis; perhaps thirty percent of these cases require Belladonna.
The throat becomes red and inflamed and sensitive to air.
The fauces, uvula and tonsils are scarlet and shiny.
Follicular inflammation; erysipelatous inflammation.
Inflammation on right side of throat.
Tonsillitis worse right side; parts bright red, worse swallowing liquids.
Burning pains in the throat are very common. There can be a burning pain in the pharynx from the passage of air during inspiration.
Sudden and rapid onset of cervical adenitis. The glands soon swell and become hard.
There can be a sensation as of a foreign body in the throat: sensation of foreign body in esophagus; sensation as of a lump, which cannot be removed; sensation as if a large tumor were growing in the throat and stopped it up.
In belladonna there is also constriction of the larynx which occurs from being touched at the throat. There is an aversion to being touched at the throat or on the face.
Pain in the throat from cold air, from motion, while lying down, from speaking, ameliorated from swallowing.
Constant pressing and burning in throat.
Felt great soreness in throat, which looked very red about tonsils and palate; soreness extended to ears.
Sore throat, which increases every hour.
Spasmodic constriction of throat.
Spasms in esophagus. Spasms of esophagus on swallowing liquids.
Only with difficulty and by constantly taking liquids is he able to swallow solid food.
Difficult swallowing due to convulsion.
Constant urging and desire to swallow; seemed as if he would choke if he did not swallow.
During deglutition, feeling in throat as if it was too narrow, or drawn together, as if nothing would pass properly.
On attempting to pour down liquid, tetanic closure of mouth, and regurgitation of liquid.
He swallows water with greatest difficulty, and can only get smallest quantity of it down.
Chokes easily; things go down wrong way.
Choking on going to sleep.
Aversion to all fluids, so that she behaves frightfully at sight of them.
Aphthae on tonsils.
Pulsation of glands.
Cervical glands inflame suddenly.
Mucus like false membrane. Glazed appearance of throat.
The intolerance to tight collars of belladonna has been mentioned; a subtle distinction between this intolerance and that of Lachesis is that Lachesis has a sense of constriction that is largely of psychological origin. Belladonna patients have this aversion to tight collars because of the increased heat and congestion of the head which they induce. However, belladonna does not have a sensitivity to tight clothes in other parts of the body such as the waist as does Lachesis.
The pains of the stomach often radiate to the back, especially between the shoulder blades. The pain is aggravated by touch or local pressure; however, bending forward gives some relief. There may be stomach pain around the time of the menses.
The food cravings of belladonna are for vegetables, sour things and sweets, but most characteristically for lemons and lemonade. Desire for lemons is perhaps the most important food preference; even in acute cases one can witness a craving for lemonade. One sees aversion to fat, fruit, fish, and beans or peas but strong desire for bread and butter. Also, one may see an aversion to sour, sweets and vegetables as opposed to a desire for these substances. Generally belladonna is considered a thirstless remedy; one can, though, see very great thirst. There is also an aversion to warm drinks.
During the crises, belladonna pains can be so severe as to cause vomiting. Thus, one frequently sees violent right-sided migraine headaches with vomiting (Sang.). The differentiation from Sanguinaria rests in the fact that vomiting affords no relief in belladonna while marked relief from vomiting occurs in Sanguinaria.
Food and Drink – belladonna is sensitive to food intake and patients often find their condition ameliorated by eating. The following particuliarities can be found: Desire for gruel which aggravates.
Desire for bread and butter, sweets and cakes.
Desire for lemons, cider and lemonade which ameliorate.
Desire for slate pencils, earth, chalk, clay, indigestible things. Desire for snuff.
Aversion to liquid food, to smell of milk, to smell of food, to solid food, to vegetables, eggs, broth, beer, acids, coffee and fat.
Aversion to food, particularly meat.
Ailments from eating sausages, shell-fish, sugar, from drinking coffee or liquor.
Thirst for large quantities often. Can drink all the time, anything that is liquid. Excessive thirst for cold water. Desire for drinks, but refuses when offered.
Desire for drinks without thirst.
Thirst during menses.
Thirst after midnight.
Violent burning, suffocative, unquenchable thirst, with inability to swallow least drop, or with great aversion to drinks.
Thirst during and after convulsions.
Gulping of food.
Complete loss of appetite. Appetite wanting before menses. Diminished appetite after perspiration
Hiccough, Eructations, Nausea and Vomiting – Crying on account of pain from hiccough. Hiccough after perspiration which causes crying. Hiccoughing eructations; spasm composed partly of eructation, partly of hiccough.
Hiccough while vomiting.
Half suppressed, incomplete eructations.
Bitter, frequent eructations, with want of appetite and giddiness.
Sudden vomiting, vomiting mucus in the afternoon.
Vomiting after eating or drinking. Nausea, with loathing of food.
Nausea and bitter eructations Anxiety with and after nausea.
Passing flatus ameliorates nausea.
Unsuccessful inclination to vomit. Vomiting impossible.
Vomiting: of mucus; of bile and mucus, or undigested food; watery, sour, bloody mucus.
Vomiting after convulsions.
Vomiting during suppressed menses. Vomiting blood during suppressed menses.
Urging to vomit after stool.
Faecal vomiting in intussusception.
Faecal vomiting in strangulated hernia.
Tensive pressing pain in pit of stomach, particularly after eating.
Pressure in stomach after eating.
Excruciating pains about pit of stomach.
Chilliness in pit of stomach.
Feeling as if stomach would fall out.
Spasm in stomach like cramp.
Chronic spasm of stomach, always occurring during a meal.
Pain in stomach extending through to spine, between shoulders.
Sensation of burning ball in stomach.
Sensation of a hand clutching intestines.
Region of stomach sensitive to touch.
Gastritis and duodenal ulcer: the pain is aggravated before and after menses, aggravated by breathing, by jar of walking, by jolting in a vehicle, from motion, etc. Distension of epigastrium, with tensive pain in stomach.
Distension in evening in bed.
Epileptic aura starts from the stomach.
It would appear that belladonna is indicated in perhaps five percent of cases of acute appendicitis. The attacks begin abruptly. As in most belladonna complaints, there is aggravation from touch (local pressure) and/or from a jar. However, generalized pressure on the abdomen may often ameliorate the pain; consequently, lying on the abdomen or bending forward will relieve, but local pressure will aggravate. The patient is unable to even lie on his right side during the attack of appendicitis or cholecystitis. Belladonna will be the remedy to be thought of in the following cases: Peritonitis, inflammation of liver or gall bladder, spastic colitis, intussusception, inflammation of inguinal hernia with vomiting, strangulated inguinal hernia, inflammation of inguinal glands, typhlitis, acute and chronic hepatitis. Of course, belladonna is well-known as a remedy for colitis. In colitis there is a striking tendency for complaints to affect the transverse colon, and sometimes spasms in this region will be visibly reflected in motions of the abdominal wall. I once saw a striking example of this phenomenon in an infant with intussusception. There was complete bowel obstruction, and upright abdominal x-rays showed air-fluid levels. I examined the child and saw that the face was hot and flushed. The hands, however, were quite cold. Then I noticed spasms travelling in ripples (that were visible in the abdomen) across the transverse colon. We scrambled to find a dose of belladonna. Meanwhile the child was being prepared for immediate surgery. We gave a dose of belladonna 10M, and within forty minutes the child passed some stool and repeat x-rays showed resolution of the condition. Of course, the colitis pains are ameliorated by bending forward or lying on the abdomen.
The modalities of the pains in the abdomen have all the general characteristics of the remedy. They are violent, aggravated by slightest pressure, by touch, even the touch from clothes, by a jar, by sneezing, by lying on painful side, by motion. They come quickly and disappear suddenly or sometimes may come gradually and go away gradually.
There is a strong dragging, bearing down sensation in lower abdomen before menses as if everything would be pushed out, much like Sepia. The general picture of the Belladonna patient is quite different from the Sepia one of course, the first being full of life and energy and the other lifeless. The local symptoms however seem to be quite similar: Pressing downward as if contents of abdomen would issue through vulva, worse mornings; often associated with pain in back as if it would break.
In the morning, immediately after getting out of bed, a violent, tensive, pressing pain in the whole of the hypogastrium.
Severe pain in abdomen in cases of colitis, appendicitis or peritonitis where the patient cannot endure the slightest pressure, even the pressure from the bed covers or a cloth compress is not tolerated. Strikes the two legs together in peritonitis so the inside of the knees are blue.
Flexing the limbs or lying on abdomen ameliorates the pain; sitting bent forwards or bending backwards makes him feel better. In women we have amelioration of the pain once the full flow of menses has started. There are pains from constipation and from straining for stool.
Pains like clutching with nails
Pain in right hypogastrium worse any jarring or even breathing.
Acute pain in region of liver; pains go to the shoulder and neck.
Long-lasting painfulness of the whole abdomen, as if it were all sore and raw with chronic constipation. Colic, as if a spot in the abdomen were seized with the nails, a griping, clutching, clawing. Pain in inguinal region which causes urging to urinate.
Distension of transverse colon.
Sense of fullness in hypogastrium in evening.
Heat in abdomen ascending to chest.
When the belladonna abdomen is distended it becomes very sensitive, even to touch.
Heaviness in hypochondria as from a load when walking. Sensation of a lump in abdomen – spleen.
On standing the intestines seem to press outward below umbilicus; the patient feels better by pressing them back towards the genitals.
Although it is not mentioned anywhere in the Repertory, belladonna is one of our best remedies for chronic, obstinate constipation. Belladonna, in my experience, cures more cases of constipation than Silica or Alumina, although the belladonna constipation is of a much milder variety than the other two. It seems that there is a dryness of the rectum, as in all of the mucous membranes, which may cause this constipation. There is no urge for stool and the rectum is stopped-up – both constant features of the chronic cases. Patients suffer with pains in abdomen, especially on straining. The constipation may be associated with headaches and congestions of the head which are aggravated if there is no defecation. The passage is perceptibly retarded.
Belladonna is also a very useful remedy for treating hemorrhoids. The veins are red, swollen, bleeding and very sensitive to touch. In these patients one can see a marked irritability after stool.
The symptoms are similar to those of Aesculus: bleeding piles, back pains associated with them as if the back were breaking.
Hemorrhoids so sensitive to touch that he must lie with nates separated.
Touch aggravates hemorrhoids.
Diarrhea after hair cutting, from bright light, from sudden noise.
Involuntary hard stool in bed at night.
Involuntary stool on coughing or sneezing. Involuntary evacuation, temporary paralysis of the sphincter.
Stool in lumps like chalk.
Slimy, mucous stool.
Slimy and bloody diarrheic stools.
White, chalk-like stool.
Yellow granular stool.
Pressure alternating with contraction.
Spasmodic contraction of anus.
Constriction of rectum alternation with itching – with pressure.
Straining to stool; the evacuation is undoubtedly diarrheic, but very little is voided, and immediately after follows much-increased straining. Impossible straining.
Painful itch in rectum
Prolapsus of rectum in children
Belladonna is indicated in children with enuresis. Most of the urine seems to be produced at night in bed during deep sleep. As a consequence, the belladonna child is unaware of his incontinence and cannot be made to wake up. The parents will often explain how they wake up before the child loses his urine and try to waken the child to go to the toilet. When this proves to be impossible, the child has to be carried half asleep in their arms where they manage to make him urinate but without really waking the child. Retention of urine in children
Belladonna is indicated in acute prostatitis where there is long hesitation before urination. It is also indicated in cases where there is very frequent desire to urinate, even if only a few drops have accumulated. Urination is difficult and retarded, must wait for urine to start, then press. Emission of prostatic fluid without erections.
Pain in prostate gland aggravated by jar.
Belladonna is useful in pyelitis or pyelonephritis. Urine becomes turbid like yeast, with a reddish sediment.
Pain in kidneys on coughing.
Tearing pain in kidneys extending down ureters, aggravated by motion, touch, jar, sneezing and inspiration.
It is also indicated in cases of cystitis where there is pain in neck of bladder on urging to urination.
Burning pain in bladder at night.
Sore, tender pain in bladder aggravated by motion and jar.
Twisting sensation in bladder. Sensation of worm in bladder.
Paralytic weakness of sphincter.
Weakness of sphincter.
Copious urine at beginning of menses.
Scanty urine alternating with copious flow.
Scanty urine with brain affection.
Urine watery during fever.
Genitalia – male
One must not be fooled by the great vitality and plethora of belladonna into assuming that the sexual drive in this remedy is very strong. Instead belladonna patients generally have average or medium-range desire — healthy and balanced. Yet when this sphere has been affected or if they are in a manic state the desire can be tremendously increased and leads to frequent masturbation, exhibitionism and copious seminal emissions.
Pimples on penis.
Vesicles on scrotum.
Genital hair falling off.
Heat of penis.
Cutting or drawing pain in spermatic cord during urination.
Pressing pain in male genitalia alternating with contraction of anus.
Genitalia – female
In the belladonna female the desire for sexual contact may be greatly increased, and there is often an obsession with being married. Desire is increased before menses and during pregnancy.
As has been mentioned, many of the complaints of belladonna are aggravated around the time of the menses.
Inflammations and abscesses of ovaries, especially of right ovary. Enlarged ovaries.
The pains in the ovaries have the tendency to extend backwards and present the general modalities of the remedy: aggravated by jarring, by stepping, by motion, by sneezing etc.; they occur mostly before menses.
Intermittent pain in ovaries.
Endometriosis with a feeling of congestion of uterus. At every step violent shootings in the genital region. Pain in uterus ameliorated during menses.
Pain in uterus aggravated by motion; by walking.
Paroxysmal pain in uterus.
Pulsating pain in uterus.
Pain in uterus comes and goes suddenly.
Wandering pain in uterus
Pain in uterus extending to back
Prolapsus of uterus in the morning, after confinement.
Bearing down pain in uterus and region of uterus as if everything would come out. Bearing down pain during stool, during menses, aggravated by walking, ameliorated by pressing on vulva or by supporting the abdomen with hands.
Bearing down pain in uterus and region of uterus while sitting, she feels as if pushing something up, ameliorated when standing erect. Belladonna is indicated in cases of menorrhagia that start suddenly with a hot flow of dark blood with black clots.
Menses too soon and very profuse, of thick, decomposed, dark-red blood.
Offensive, acrid menses.
Fluid blood of menses contains clots.
Metrorrhagia appears suddenly and ceases suddenly.
Metrorrhagia with convulsions.
Metrorrhagia after fright.
Gushing metrorrhagia in labor.
Hot metrorrhagia in labor.
Metrorrhagia from polypus.
Vagina open and dry.
Heat of vagina during labor.
Pressing pain in vagina before and/or during menses.
Labor pains ceasing and convulsions come on.
The belladonna pulsating can be felt also in ovaries or in the uterus.
Belladonna patients may complain of pulsation in the chest in the morning on waking. At other times there can be a sense of constriction in the heart area which may worry the patient and make him want to press his chest and bend forward. In belladonna the cough aggravates the whole condition; the headache and all pains are bothered by the cough. The head feels as if it would break open with each cough. Lastly, one finds inflammations of the breast where the pain is aggravated by lying down.
Larynx and Trachea – Constriction of larynx during cough.
Painful dryness of larynx with aversion to drink.
Constriction of larynx from touch.
Dryness of larynx at night.
Dryness of larynx on coughing.
Pain in larynx during heat, on motion, by respiration, on touch.
Larynx sensitive to slightest pressure.
Violent scraping in larynx excites a dry cough.
Sensation as if someone constricted his larynx.
Sensation of foreign substance in larynx.
Painful hoarseness. Hoarseness, which was especially noticed when crying. Sudden hoarseness. Sudden loss of voice.
Now and then, while speaking, the voice, which had been weak, becomes suddenly loud and clear.
Respiration – Anxious respiration with oppression during heat.
Asthmatic respiration in the evening, in warm wet weather.
Respiration difficult after rising in the morning, ameliorated in cold air.
Respiration difficult when bending head backwards, from coffee, with constriction of larynx, when drinking, with epistaxis, after sleep, when swallowing, on touching larynx.
Respiration intermittent during sleep.
Respiration rapid and somewhat oppressed.
Cough and Expectoration – The barking cough of belladonna is well known, with aggravation after 3p.m. until almost midnight. Barking cough, like a dog. Cramps in chest from cough.
Dry cough at night aggravated by motion, on inspiration, on talking. Cough from fright.
Grasping throat during cough.
Cough from lump in throat.
Paroxysmal cough consisting of few coughs.
Empty swallowing ameliorates cough.
Violent cough during sleep, with grinding of the teeth.
Before each attack of coughing the child is quiet, and immediately before the cough comes on, she begins to cry.
Bloody expectoration in the morning on coughing.
Expectoration after eating.
Expectoration with taste like that of putrid meat.
Expectoration with taste like that of wine.
Anxiety in heart region in the evening, after dinner, aggravated by lying on left side.
Anxiety in heart region during menses.
Constriction of chest in the evening in bed.
Convulsive constriction of chest.
Gurgling of heart when breathing.
Hemorrhage of hot blood.
Chest hot and glowing.
Pain in chest when lying on left side – lying on painful side aggravates.
Pain in right side of chest.
Pain in chest while lying on painful side.
Sore, bruised pain in chest during non-menstrual periods going up and down stairs.
Aching pain while sitting.
Crampy pain in chest during sleep.
Gnawing pain in costal cartilages of short ribs.
Stitching pain aggravated by sneezing and yawning.
Violent palpitation of heart.
Bubbling palpitation of heart.
Pulse much increased in force and frequency.
Spasms of diaphragm.
Sensation as if heart were swelling.
Trembling of heart in forenoon.
Perspiration of chest during menses.
Redness of chest.
Erysipelas of mammae.
Hypertrophy of mammae. Pain in mammae while lying. Sensation of lumps under sternum.
Belladonna produces a peculiar type of lumbago with pain that radiates up to the head. In this condition, and indeed in many of the complaints of the lower half of the body, the patient wants and is ameliorated by warm applications.
There is a characteristic coldness of the back and of the extremities – especially legs – during menses. Pain in back from suppressed menses. Pain as though the back would break during suppressed menses.
The coldness of the back can extend over the whole body.
The pains in back have all the modalities of the remedy: aggravated by coughing, by jarring, while walking; ameliorated when bending backward, lying on something hard, by gentle motion, by sitting up, by standing.
The pain from the back extends to groin, to bladder, to stomach, to lower extremities. Pain with chill in lumbar region extending to bladder and groins. Drawing pain in lumbar region extending into arms and thighs during labor.
Pain from left side goes to the right, from left scapula to the right.
Pain in lumbar region with hemorrhoids.
Pain in coccyx while lying on back.
Swelling of glands of nape.
Boils in scapular region.
Eruption of pustules in cervical region.
Coldness of extremities with hot head should be considered a universal symptom for this remedy.
In belladonna we find all kinds of convulsions and cramps: convulsion of extremities after hiccough; convulsion of flexor muscles; convulsion of upper limbs at night; convulsion of thumb.
Cramps in hand during stool alternating with dim vision; in thumb while writing; in nates while stooping; in the thigh etc. Upper Limbs – Eruption of boils on shoulder.
Eruption of red spots on back of hand.
Pustules about finger nails.
Cracked skin at tips of fingers.
Dark, hot, pale or shining swelling of hand.
Erysipelatous inflammation of upper arm.
Drawing pain in upper limbs ameliorated by motion.
Painful drawing in the posterior joint of the left middle finger, as if in the periosteum.
Pulsation in forearm.
Pulsation in tips of fingers.
Hasty motion of hands.
Paralytic tearing pressure in the anterior surface of the left upper arm.
Paralytic pressure in the left upper arm, with paralytic feeling and weakness of the whole of the left arm. Paralytic tearing in the middle joint of the right index finger.
Sensation of paralysis in upper arm.
Paralytic weakness of upper arm.
Sensation as if upper limbs were too short.
Lower Limbs – Bubbling sensations are felt in the extremities, in lower limbs, moving downward towards the knee, or the foot. Formication of foot extending upward over body.
Formication of heel extending to toes.
Redness of extremities.
Red eruption on extremities.
Ulcers in lower limbs, elevating limb ameliorates.
Pain in hip ameliorated by lying on painful side.
Pain in thigh ameliorated by walking.
Pain in foot feeling as if it were dislocated.
Gnawing pain in lower limbs ameliorated by walking.
Pressing pain on sole of foot ameliorated by pressure.
Shooting pain in lower limbs ameliorated by walking.
Perspiration of foot while sitting.
Restlessness of extremities at night.
Swelling of joints.
Tension in nates when stooping.
Trembling of knee while sitting.
Twitching in one side, paralysis of the other.
Painful twitching of leg.
Paralysis of the lower extremities, together with neck of the bladder, and the sphincter ani.
Sensation as if cold water were running from clavicle down to toes along a narrow line.
Hip seems bathed in warm water, with cold water running down to toes.
Weakness of extremities alternating with dim vision.
Paralytic weakness of leg.
Ascending weakness in calf.
Whizzing sensation in thigh.
Belladonna can produce convulsions, mainly febrile. The convulsion frequently localizes to the right side of the body, often beginning in the right arm.
Feet ice-cold; can scarcely be warmed.
Chill in the evening when undressing.
Chill from bathing.
Chill beginning in and extending from both arms at once; from sacrum; from scrobiculis cordis.
Chilliness in the afternoon; after dinner; during stool.
Drinking warm drinks aggravates chill; eating warm things aggravates chill.
Chill after eating.
Chill after exposure: during the rains, to the heat of the sun, from becoming wet.
Chill in hot summer weather.
Periodicity of chill regular and distinct – not marked.
Pernicious chill with red face, delirium and bursting headache, pale face when lying down, red when sitting up. Chill after perspiration.
Double quotidian chill.
Several chills in a day.
Shaking from chills, with heat of face and head.
Shaking with chill during stool.
Violent chill with delirium.
Violent chill with unconsciousness.
Chill ameliorated by external warmth.
Fever with dry burning heat at night.
Fever at night with perspiration.
Fever with dry heat and delirium at night.
Fever at noon.
Fever in affected parts.
Fever ameliorated in bed.
Fever without chill in the afternoon; evening; night.
Fever with febrile heat only during the day.
Fever during dentition; when drinking beer; with shivering from drinking cold water; after eating dinner. Dry, burning heat alternating with chilliness.
Burning heat with distended blood vessels.
Excessive heat, distended veins, insatiable thirst, with anxiety and trembling.
Burning heat in the afternoon; evening; night.
Burning heat with furious delirium.
Burning internal heat.
Burning hot fever within and without, body turning hot.
Fever with intense heat of the head and face, while body remains cold.
Heat and pulsation in the head, with burning of the eyes.
The head and face hot, the latter somewhat puffy.
Head hot; face red; eyes protruding; pupils dilated, look staring.
Fever with intense heat, with stupefaction and unconsciousness; with convulsions; with delirium. Continued fever at night, temperature running very high.
Burning hot fever with unquenchable thirst.
Exanthematic fevers – measles, scarlatina; exanthematic continued fever.
Fever with external heat in the morning.
Fever after mental exertion.
Remittent fever in the afternoon; evening.
Infantile remittent fever.
Shuddering fever with the heat.
Standing ameliorates fever.
Succession of stages of fever: chill, then sweat, then heat.
Succession of stages of fever: chill followed by heat with sweat. Succession of stages of fever: chill then heat.
Several attacks of fever in one day, during which the hot stage followed the cold within a few minutes to half an hour after, always without thirst in either stage, and mostly with confusion of the head.
Fever in heat of sun.
Fever with aversion to uncovering.
The skin hot, dry, scarlet, especially intense on the face and ears.
Temperature of skin increased, face red, pulse accelerated, with senseless talking, and tottering about as if drunk. Profuse perspiration on covered parts.
Perspiration on uncovered parts.
Perspiration ameliorated on uncovering.
Perspiration during daytime sleep.
Perspiration in the afternoon, from 4 p.m. to midnight.
Perspiration at night before menses; during menses.
Perspiration at midnight on waking; after waking.
Getting out of bed ameliorates perspiration.
Cold perspiration after urination.
Perspiration during convulsions.
Perspiration from fright.
General sweat except on head.
Perspiration before menses.
Smoky odor of perspiration.
Burnt odor of perspiration.
Perspiration on right side.
Perspiration on single parts when lain on.
Perspiration ameliorated during sleep.
Perspiration staining the linen brownish-yellow.
Sudden perspiration, and disappearing suddenly. Complaints from suppressed perspiration.
During the belladonna sleep one often sees evidence of the same intensity and emotional vividness which was earlier described. The sleep is usually very deep with heavy snoring, and the patient is aroused with difficulty. These patients may talk in their sleep, or, at other times, there may be bruxism or grinding of the teeth during sleep. Belladonna patients characteristically sleep on the abdomen, and many of their complaints are ameliorated when lying on the abdomen. Furthermore, they may find it impossible to sleep while lying on the back. Frequently one finds in these patients a history of recurrent dreams of falling (Thuja). They may see themselves jumping from a height or see themselves walking up a flight of stairs and missing a step and plummeting downward. Then, as if striking the ground, they wake up with a jerk. Thus, belladonna is listed in capitals in the Repertory under the rubric “starting from sleep”.
Sleep disturbed by frightful visions on closing eyes.
Delusions with sleeplessness.
Sleeplessness during climacteric period.
Sleeplessness during dentition.
Sleeplessness in insane people.
Sleeplessness from thoughts of business.
Frequent waking at about midnight.
She awakes in the night full of fright and fear.
In the evening, frequent starting as in a fright, when just on the point of falling asleep; the feet were jerked upwards and the head forwards. She started as in affright, in otherwise quiet sleep, feeling as if she were falling deep down, which caused her to shudder violently. Waking is impossible in the morning.
Waking by jerks.
Yawning during menses.
Dreams of battles, of danger of death, of flying, of falling, of giants, of being shot, of swimming, of urinating. Frightful visionary dreams.
Anxious and frightful dreams.
The skin of the belladonna patient can be quite sensitive. It may become raw and red. The skin is exquisitely sensitive to the sun, direct sunlight being possibly very painful on the skin. The eruptions can be markedly aggravated by the sun, even more than the eruptions of Natrum muriaticum.
The skin can also be prone to a type of contact dermatitis. There is frequently a sensitivity to detergents or soaps, and the skin becomes irritated from washing.
Sometimes even bathing in salt water can produce this eruption. Large, red patches of skin may rapidly swell up and rapidly disappear in this dermatitis.
Belladonna can be useful in skin infections. It produces erysipelas with glistening, red, dry skin. Also, belladonna can be indicated in rapidly developing boils. The boils swell and throb with the pulse.
Finally, one can see in the skin the development of erythema nodosum. Large, intensely red nodules appear which give the impression that the disease is of great intensity.
The characteristic skin of belladonna is: “Uniform, smooth, shining, scarlet red, so hot that it imparts a burning sensation to the hand of one who feels it.” Redness of the whole body with quick pulse.
Redness, like scarlatina, of the entire surface of the body.
Scarlet redness of the surface of the whole body, especially of the face, with marked action of the brain.
A scarlet redness suddenly spread over the body, especially the face and limbs, with which appeared heat and exaltation of all the faculties. Scarlet redness of skin of face and neck, followed, on the second day, by peeling off of the cuticle. Inflamed red patches of the skin, and irregularly-shaped scarlet spots over the body.
Red skin with heat.
Bluish-red spots on skin; fiery red spots; scarlet spots.
Erythema of skin.
Eruption of blisters as from a burn.
Eruption of boils in the spring.
Eruptions; confluent; crusty black; flat.
Eruption of smarting pimples; of titillating pimples; of black pocks.
Eruption of humid pustules; of malignant pustules; of pustules after scratching. Bluish rash; fiery red rash; scarlet rash.
Red eruption like insect stings.
Scarlatina; smooth scarlatina.
Erysipelas with swelling.
The face, upper extremities, and trunk exhibited a diffuse scarlet efflorescence, studded with innumerable papillae, very closely resembling the rash of scarlatina. The eruption terminated abruptly at the wrists and flexure of the thighs, the rest of the body retaining the natural color. The skin was hot and dry.
Eruptions like roseola and scarlatina, with fever, sore throat, cough, headache, etc. Sensitive eruptions.
Eruption of painful tubercles; of painless tubercles; of soft tubercles.
Urticaria in the morning.
Drinking cold water aggravates urticaria.
Eruption of urticaria during menses.
Bluish vesicular eruption.
Gangrenous vesicular eruption.
Inflamed vesicular eruption.
Painful vesicular eruption.
Erysipelas in new born babies.
Medullary excrescences – fungus or cauliflower.
Pustules break out on the cheek and nose, which rapidly fill with pus, become covered with a crust. Hot gangrene from burns or gangrenous sores.
Tearing itching of skin.
Tearing itching of skin after scratching.
Sensation as if the skin were hanging loose.
Swelling on affected parts.
Burning ulcers at night; ulcers burn when touched.
Ulcer with crusty black scab.
Ulcers with cutting.
Ulcer tears on motion.
Ulcer surrounded by vesicles.
Abscess. Acne. Amaurosis. Apoplexy. Bladder weakness. Boils. Affections of brain. Disease of bronchial glands. Carbuncle. Colic. Constipation. Convulsions.
Cough. Croup. Delirium tremens. Depression. Diarrhea. Dysentery. Affections of ear. Enteric fever. Epilepsy. Erysipelas. Erythema. Excitement.
Affections of eye. Effects of fear. Glandular swellings. Goitre. Gout. Hemorrhoids. Headache. Affections of heart. Hydrocephalus. Hydrophobia.
Hyperemia. Influenza. Affections of kidney. Affections of lung. Malignant pustule. Mania. Measles. Meningitis. Menstruation. Mouth affections. Mumps.
Neuralgia. Affections of nose. Nyctalopia. Nymphomania. Paralysis. Parametritis. Perichondritis. Perimetritis. Peritonitis. Phlegmasia alba dolens. Pleurisy.
Pneumogastric paralysis. Pneumonia. Disorders of pregnancy. Puerperal mania. Rheumatism. Roseola. Scarlatina. Sensitiveness. Disorders of sleep. Disordered smell. Strangury. Disordered taste. Tenesmus. Affections of testicles. Thirst. Sore throat. Affections of tongue. Tuberculosis. Ulcers. Uterine affections. Vaccinia. Vertigo. Whooping-cough. Worm fever.
Bell. must be compared with the other Solanaceae: Caps., Dulc., Lycopers., Hyos., Stramonium and the alkaloids Atropia and Solania.. It follows well: Ars., Calc-c., Cham., Lach., Merc., Nit-ac.
It is followed well by: Arn., Chi., Cham., Con., Dulc., Hep., Hyo., Lach., Rhus, Seneg., Stram., Tereb., Valer., Verat.
From 3x to the highest.