SECALE CORNUTUM signs and symptoms from the Characteristic Materia Medica by William Burt of the homeopathic medicine SECALE CORNUTUM…


This is a powerful cerebro-spinal remedy, and through this system it disorganizes the blood.

Whether the toxication of the blood is prior to the violent irritation of the nervous system, or whether the disorganizing action of the poison reaches the blood from the nervous centres, seems to some extent immaterial in a therapeutic point of view.

Wibmer says: At first the patient only complains of languor, and of formication in the tips of the toes and fingers, which sometimes look blackish-blue in some places. Frequently it commences with nausea, violent vomiting and pains in the stomach; the abdomen becomes distended and hard; the head feels dizzy; the senses become blunted. At a later period the patients are attacked with violent convulsions of the hands, feet, knees, shoulders, elbows, mouth, lips and tongue. These shift from one side of the body to the other, and are generally accompanied with violent pains; at times by a burning heat and at other times by chilliness; sometimes they abate periodically, and then return again; sometimes the spasms assume the form of emprosthotonos; at other times that of opisthotonos. These convulsions most frequently terminate in epilepsy. They are very destructive to children. Between the paroxysms the patients lie in an uninterrupted sopor; after the paroxysms, most of them manifest a craving for food, without being able to satisfy themselves.

They are exceedingly feeble and languid; complain of dizziness and hardness of hearing; their limbs are rigid and motionless.

Sometimes they are rigid and motionless. Sometimes they are attacked with violent diarrhoea; the tongue swells very much; the secretion of saliva is increased the eyes frequently become covered with a thick mist, so that the patients…..

become blind or see double. Their mental faculties, are disturbed; melancholy, madness, intoxication, set in the vertigo increases, the pains now cease, sensibility is extinguished. The hands and feet are sometimes covered with spots resembling flea- bites; they dry up as it were; the skin turns black, wrinkles whole extremities sometimes become gangrened and fall off. In this way the patients sometimes escape death, dragging their mutilated bodies about for months and even years afterwards.

Many, however, die within nine or twelve weeks. A number had relapses after the lapse of a year; most frequently in the months of January and February.

It was observed in various epidemics, that the convulsions and pain in the limbs, with stupor would prevail; and in other epidemics, gangrene of the extremities; hence the distinction between convulsive and gangrenous ergotism.

It will be seen by this that Secale poisons the very fountains of life, and is adapted to deep-seated, inveterate affections, where the circulation is at fault. The most remarkable feature of the physiological action of Secale, is upon the generative organs of women.

Wibmer says of it: Numerous experiments show that it excites the uterus to contract, and that, in ten to fifteen minutes after its exhibition, it causes the uterus to contract, and expels the foetus, unless the drug is given in too large a dose, or at an improper period. It is especially during labor that it manifests this power of exciting uterine contractions.

The continued use of this drug may likewise cause miscarriage. In animals that were killed by Secale, the uterus and its ligaments were found inflamed, and an effusion of blood had taken place in the uterus, as well as in the vagina; the foetus was destroyed by asphyxia, in consequence of the excessive contractions.

Diet found, in his experiments upon animals, blood was discharged from the uterus, even when unimpregnated. It has a powerful action on the blood vessels of the spinal cord; diminishing the amount of blood in the spinal cord, and its membranes.

Brown Sequard says: The two remedies most powerful in diminishing congestion of the spinal cord, are Belladonna and Secale.

These two remedies are powerful excitants of unstriped muscular fibres in the blood vessels, in the uterus, in the bowels, and in the iris.


This remedy is often indicated in thin scrawny women, and in those who are afflicted with melancholy, anguish, dread of death; with constant sensation of pressure and bearing-down sensation in the uterus.

The patient is of a passive character; of thin, scrawny, cachectic appearance, and subject to passive haemorrhages.

Desire to be uncovered, even in cholera, with cold perspiration; worse from warmth.–F.

Diseases that have a strong tendency to putrescence.

Generative Organs of Women.–Passive haemorrhages, in feeble, cachectic people, the corpuscles are dissolved, particularly when the weakness is not caused by previous loss of fluids.

Passive haemorrhages; everything seems open and loose; no action, in thin, scrawny, cachectic women.

Copious flow of black liquid blood; worse from the slightest motion, with convulsive movements in abortion.

Strong tendency to putrescence, discharge of black blood; a kind of sanies, with tingling in the limbs and great debility.

Haemorrhage, with spasmodic contractions; every discharge of blood is preceded by a violent, painful contraction of the uterus, or by distressing bearing down pains.

Labor; the pain is much prolonged; as if pressing and forcing the uterus, especially in thin, scrawny, cachectic women.

She has a constant sensation of bearing down pain in the abdomen; it seems to her too strong to be effectual.

Labor-pains are weak, suppressed, or distressing; in weak, cachectic women; use the 200dth dilution.

Puerperal convulsions in scrawny, ill-nourished women, with too feeble labor-pains.

Lochia very offensive and thin; discharge scanty or profuse; may be painless, or accompanied by prolonged bearing-down pains, in thin, scrawny women.

The inflammation seems to be caused by suppression of the lochia or menses.

Metritis, great prostration, extremities cold; frequent vomiting; the blood discharged from the uterus is fluid, mingled with dark, badly smelling coagula.

Failure of lactation, in thin, cachectic, scrawny females, the breasts do not properly fill with milk, there is much stinging in them; she has been much exhausted with venous haemorrhage.

All her symptoms are worse just before the menses.

Menses too frequent, too profuse, last too long, with prolonged bearing-down pain; cutting colic; cold extremities; cold perspiration; great weakness; small pulse, sometimes violent spasms.

Suppression of the menses, in thin, scrawny married women, who suffer much at the menstrual nisus, with continual, long- lasting, forcing pain in the uterus.

Leucorrhoea, jelly-like, alternating with metrorrhagia, in thin, scrawny women, with prolapsus uteri and excessive menstruation.

Moles, polypi, and morbid growths in the uterus, with prolonged forcing pains.

Digestive Organs,–Putrid, fetid, and colliquative diarrhoea.

Painful diarrhoea, with great prostration.

Involuntary diarrhoea.

Cholera infantum, great debility, vomiting and diarrhoea; much thirst; pale face; sunken eyes; dry heat; quick pulse; restlessness and sleeplessness.

Cholera, cramps, and cold, clammy perspiration; coldness in the back, abdomen and limbs, with tingling in the limbs; cold, dry, livid tongue; serous vomiting; suppression of urine; vertigo and desire to sleep.–RAUE.

Haematemesis; patient lies still, with great weakness, but no pain; face, lips, tongue, and hands deadly pale, covered with a cold sweat; pulse frequent and thread-like.–RAUE.

Skin.–Skin dry and brittle, not emitting a drop of blood when cut.–HEMPEL.

Excessive, offensive perspiration.–F.

Large ecchymoses; blood blisters on the extremities, becoming gangrenous; black suppurating blisters.–HEMPEL.

Dry gangrene of the extremities; the parts are dry, cold, hard, and insensible, of a uniform black color, and free from fetor.–HEMPEL.

The ulcer feels as though it had been burnt; discharges a putrid, bloody fluid, and is sometimes decidedly gangrenous and painless; in thin, scrawny cachectic people.

The limbs become pale, cold and shriveled, or cold and lead- colored, losing all sensibility.–RAUE.

Anaesthesia of the limbs; paralysis of the limbs, with convulsive jerks and shocks in the paralyzed limb.–HEMPEL.

Very thin, scrawny children, with shriveled skin, especially when there are spasmodic twitchings, sudden cries, and feverishness.

General Symptoms.–Quiet delirium, or grows wild with great anxiety, and a constant desire to get out of bed.

Twitching of single muscles; twitching of the head to and fro; contortion of the hands and feet; labored and anxious respirations.

Partial paralysis of the ciliary muscle which renders it difficult or impossible to read, or see any length of time.-.

Violent pain in the sacral region, cannot bear the heat of the stove.–RAUE.

This remedy must reach over, and affect the organic system.

William Burt
William H. Burt, MD
Characteristic materia medica Published 1873
Physiological materia medica, containing all that is known of the physiological action of our remedies; together with their characteristic indications and pharmacology. Published 1881