Phytolacca signs and symptoms of the homeopathy medicine from the Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica by J.H. Clarke. Find out for which conditions and symptoms Phytolacca is used…

      Phytolacca decandra. Virginian Poke. Pole-root. Red Ink Plant. Garget Weed. *N. O. Phytolaccaceae. Tincture of fresh root dug in winter. Tincture of the ripe berries. Tincture of fresh leaves. Solution of the resinous extract, Phytolaccin.


Abortion, threatened. Albuminuria. Angina pectoris. Anus. fissure of. Asthma. Barber’s itch. *Boils. *Bone, *diseases of, tumours of. *Breasts, *affections of Cancer. Cholera. *Cicatrix. Ciliary neuralgia. Constipation. Corpulence. Cough. Dentition, difficult. Diarrhoea. *Diphtheria. Diplopia. Dysentery. Dysmenia. Ears, affections of. Erythema nodosum. Eustachian tubes, affections of. Glands, enlarged, Gleet. Glossitis. Gonorrhea. Gout. Granular conjunctivitis. Haemorrhoids. Headache. Hearing, altered. Heart, affections of, hypertrophy of, fatty. Impotence. Influenza. Intestinal catarrh. Itch. Lactation, abnormal. Laryngismus. Leucorrhoea. Lichen. Liver, affections of. Lumbago. Lupus. Mercury, effects of. Mouth, ulcerated. Mumps. Neuralgia. Nipples, sore, painful. Nursing, painful. Orchitis. Ozaena. Panophthalmitis. Paralysis, diphtheritic. Parotitis. Prostate, affections of. Rectum, cancer of. Respiration, abnormal. Rheumatism, syphilitic, gonorrheal. Ringworm. Rodent ulcer. Salivation. Sciatic. *Sewer-gas poisoning. Spinal irritation. Spleen, pain in. Stiff-neck. *Syphilis. Syphilitic eruptions. Tetanus. *Throat, *sore, diphtheritic, herpetic, granular. Toothache. Tumours. Ulcers. Uterus, affections of. Warts. *Wens.


*Phyt-dec. is a branching herbaceous plant, with a thick perennial root, sometimes larger than a man’s leg in diameter. The young shoots, though extremely acrid, are rendered harmless by boiling, and are eaten like asparagus in the United States. The berries have a popular repute as a remedy for cancer and rheumatism. The berries of *P. octandra are used in Mexico and the West Indies as a soap. According to Raffinesque, quoted by Hale (who introduced the remedy into homoeopathy), the ash of the plant (which has been used as an escharotic in cancers, ulcers, &c.) contains 45 per cent. of caustic potash, and the plant contains besides an acid, *Phytolactic acid, which is closely allied to *Malic acid. The plant is common throughout North America, the Azores, North Africa, and China. It grows in damp places. Some rather severe cases of poisoning have been reported. Vomiting, diarrhoea, frontal headache, sore throat, are the most common symptoms observed. One boy who drank two or three drachms of a tincture of the root had none of these symptoms, but developed complete tetanus: Extremities stiff, hands firmly shut, feet extended, toes flexed, lower lids drawn down, teeth clenched, lips everted and firm, general opisthotonos. Respiration difficult, rales heard all over the room. For an hour muscular rigidity increased generally, with convulsive action of muscles of face and neck, chin drawn close on sternum. This condition would last five or ten minutes, to be succeeded by perfect relaxation, and return in twenty minutes more with the same violence. After cold-water affusion, cupping, and sinapisms, the boy slept about twenty-five minutes. On awaking some twitchings, especially of lower limbs, pain in back of head and stomach. Next day he was quite recovered. A boy, 8, who ate a quantity of berries, was found in great agony, complaining that his stomach was “inched together.” He had nausea, violent vomiting, throat sore and dry, fauces dark red, tonsils swollen. After vomiting ceased, purging set in, stools dark brown and thin, severe pain in stomach on pressure, extorting cry. Later he had burning griping in umbilical region, dim vision, tongue coated white, spasmodic jerkings in arms and legs. In a woman, 45, who took *Phytolacca as a “blood purifier,” a general rash, in appearance not unlike the rash of secondary syphilis, was set up. In a family of four poisoned by eating the root in mistake with their food, these symptoms were observed: Dread of movement, seems stupid, falls asleep after a paroxysm of cramping pain has ceased, pain in forehead worse after eating, vomiting of clotted blood and slime, copious discharge of blood and mucus which looked like scrapings of intestines, involuntary stools from straining, which occurred even in sleep. In the mother of the family, severe months pregnant, it very nearly produced miscarriage, the uterus could be felt contracting under the hand, involuntary straining and haemorrhage from the vagina, intense griping pain in small of back and cramps in legs coming and going suddenly, coldness and withered appearance of extremities, whole body cold. In all the above cases the spasmodic action of the drug is evident in some form. From inhaling the dust of the powdered dried root, or the odour given off on slicing the fresh root, intense irritation of eyes, nose, and throat, and severe headache and diarrhoea have occurred. Given to animals, *Phytolacca has caused convulsive symptoms, vomiting, and vomiting of worms. Wild pigeons and other birds which eat the berries acquire a highly red colour and lose their fat. This last observation has led to the use of a tincture of *Phytolacca berries as an anti-fat, and many successful results have been reported. This observation may be taken as the key to one of the great spheres of the action of this remedy the absorption of tissues, especially new growths. There are few remedies which have a wider range in the cure of tumours and indurations, particularly of the female breast. Hale tells us that among dairymen in America the root is used to regulate any abnormality in the milk of cows Scanty, thick, watery, curdy, containing blood or pus. But its chief repute is in caked udders. In breast induration and abscesses of nursing women, and even in cancers (internally and sometimes externally as well), its action has been well confirmed. But it must not be supposed that this action is purely physiological, as is the absorption of fat in birds. A patient of mine, about forty-five, took *Phytolacca 30 for sore throat. After a few doses she was compelled to desist because of its effects on her breasts, both became full and uncomfortable, and in the left one appeared a large lump in its upper segment, which lasted five days, and was only got rid of by dint of vigorous rubbing with camphorated oil. A case of cancer of the rectum has been cured with *Phytolaccin 3x. In the uterus and the prostate gland (the male uterus) specific symptoms were evoked in the poisonings and provings. Muscles, joints, bones, brain, and spinal cord, as well as the special senses, were all more or less disordered. The intense action of the drug on the throat has led to its being used as a routine remedy in diphtheria. It is not a specific, but it has some very characteristic symptoms which will indicate it when present. Among these are: Great pain at root of tongue when swallowing, pains shooting from throat into ears on swallowing, hot feeling as if a red-hot ball in throat, burning worse by hot drinks, dark redness of fauces. Eclectics (*H. R., xi. 429) give the expressed juice of the berries in “spasmodic or membranous croup, or diphtheria.” There is one form of sore throat in which I have found it of the greatest service the so-called “diphtheritic sore throat.” Dark red, swollen mucous membrane and tonsils, pain on swallowing, eruption of herpetic, whitish, or grey spots on fauces, swelling and tenderness of the gland externally at the angle of the jaw. With these symptoms there are generally headache, backache, wandering rheumatic pains and fever. I have cleared up numberless cases of this kind with *Phytolacca 30. Not infrequently epidemic influenza has taken this form, and they Phytolacca has been my most successful remedy. (Nash has relieved chronic follicular pharyngitis in public speakers when there has been much burning, as if a hot substance in throat.) One of the provers had “swollen and tender gland right side of neck,” and swollen and tender glands in many other localities have been remedied with *Phytolacca The headaches of *Phytolacca are chiefly frontal, pressive, involving eyes, worse right side. One headache is peculiar, being associated with *increased sense of hearing. The irritation of the mucous membrane of the throat extends to nose, ears and eyes, producing characteristic symptoms in each. The discharges are tough, stringy, difficult to detach, and may take the form of clinkers. Offensiveness and acridity are also common features. The nervous irritability of *Phytolacca has led to its successful use in disorders of dentition, a keynote symptom being: Irresistible inclination to bite the teeth or gums together. The *pains of Phytolacca come and go suddenly, move about, radiate from a center, or change place. Pain in sore nipples of nursing women radiate all over the body when the child is put to the breast. When pain in intestines disappears pain in extremities comes on. Pain leaves heart and appears in right arm (this association is unusual, and therefore important). Pains in head and chest go from before backward. Pains run down spine from nape, from sacrum down outer aspect of thighs to toes. The *outer aspects of the limbs are chiefly affected.The shreddy discharge of *Phytolacca mark it as a remedy in certain forms of intestinal catarrh and dysmenorrhea. It is haemorrhagic and haemorrhoidal, acting strongly on rectum and anus, curing tenesmus, bloody discharges and heat. One characteristic pain (noted in a case of constipation) is: Shooting pain from anus to lower part of rectum, along perinaeum to middle of penis. “Gurgling in the prostate gland, repeatedly in the afternoon,” was noted by one prover, and pains in spermatic cords. Entire suspension of sexual appetite with relaxation of the genitals was caused. *Stiffness is a characteristic effect of *Phytolacca, noted in the tetanus case, and in others in less degree. Stiff neck, especially right side. The prostration is so rapid and profound that it has led to the successful use of *Phytolacca in diphtheritic paralysis. Faint and dizzy when standing. Soreness of all the muscles. Restlessness, but he fears to move because motion worse the pains. The rheumatic swellings are hard, tender, and intensely hot. *Phytolacca is suited to rheumatic or syphilitic subjects who are sensitive to damp weather. *Peculiar sensations are: Brain as if bruised. Right side of head as if pressed firmly. As if sand in eyes. As if eyes too large. As if lids granulated. As if tarsal edges raw. As if lids on fire. Nostril as if tickled with a stiff feather. Nose and eyes as if a cold would come on. Tough as if scalded. As if a ball of red-hot iron in throat. As if lump in throat. As if apple core in throat. Throat so full it felt choked. Pharynx feels like a cavern, chest as if it were a big empty cask. Body as if bruised, pounded all over. As if joint were being chopped with an axe. The right side is most affected, and many symptoms were experienced in the liver, there were also some severe ones in the spleen. The liver pains were worse lying on right (painful) side. The spleen pain was better lying on left (painful) side. Nash has removed many breast tumours by giving a single dose of *Phytolacca cm during the wane of the moon. The symptoms are worse by touch (liver, &c.). There is a great general sensitiveness. Pressure worse pain in joints and ulcers. Pressure with hand ameliorates pain in breasts. Pressure on trachea facilitates expectoration. Rubbing ameliorates pain in hip. Riding worse nose and breathing. Worse Stepping down high stem. Rising from bed causes faint feeling. Sitting up causes sick and giddy. Standing causes faint and dizzy. Gaslight worse eyes. Swallowing worse. After breakfast head and throat better, gastric symptoms worse. Vomiting worse headache, better nausea. Hunger soon after eating. (This is like the deadly sinking so often met with in the cancerous diathesis.) Worse At menstrual periods. Must lie down. Worse Lying right side. Better lying left side. Better lying on stomach. Worse standing and worse motion. Worse walking. Worse raising arm. Worse night. Worse Morning, 3, 4, or 5 a.m., on waking. Worse Damp weather, washing, hot drinks. Worse Exposure to air, open air (but it ameliorates eyes). The external use of Phytolacca has been attended with good results in cases of ulceration, and I have found a gargle of a few drops of the to a tumbler of water useful in many throat cases. A preparation of the leaves has been used successfully by Hundall (H. W., xxxi. 217) as an external application for carcinomatoid growths in dogs, and an ointment prepared with a strong tincture of the leaves as well as the juice of the leaves have been used for malignant ulcers in human beings.

John Henry Clarke
John Henry Clarke MD (1853 – November 24, 1931 was a prominent English classical homeopath. Dr. Clarke was a busy practitioner. As a physician he not only had his own clinic in Piccadilly, London, but he also was a consultant at the London Homeopathic Hospital and researched into new remedies — nosodes. For many years, he was the editor of The Homeopathic World. He wrote many books, his best known were Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica and Repertory of Materia Medica