WHEN writing of Pulsatilla, we described it as largely a womans remedy. Nux vomica could be considered chiefly as a mans remedy, although, under the stress and strain of modern life, it may apply equally to both sexes, since it fits particularly the “nervous temperament”. In prescribing homoeopathic remedies it is necessary to get a general outline of the mental make-up of the patient. Owing to a lack of that knowledge Nux vomica is often a much abused remedy in that it is wrongly given.
The Nux patient is one who is oversensitive, easily irritated,never contented. Take for example a business man who has has a strenuous time at the office and as a result has acquired what may be termed frayed nerves. Yet it has not been the big things that have worried him but the small petty details of the days work.
He returns home at the end of the day irritated, annoyed and impatient and “takes it out of his wife and children”. A chair gets in his way and over it goes with a kick. He goes up to change for his evening meal; his collar wont button, and collar and stud are flung into a corner. This irritable, peevish state of mind, largely due to ” brain fag”, accompanied him to his meal. The most inoffensive word spoken annoys him, everything is wrong, the food is wrong, nothing is right. The food doesnt please him; he ” cant stand meat, hates the sight of it”. In spite of his dislike for meat, he often desires fat and plenty of it. He wants something pungent, something bitter, something that will brace him up.
He must have stimulants, wants strong coffee or tea, certainly plenty of coffee and wine, yet they both disagree with him. Eventually he retires to bed with his mind still in a state of fret over business details. His sleep is fitful and finally he awakes at 3 a.m., his mind still occupied with business and he goes over and over again some detail of business. Then, when nearly time to get up, he falls asleep; eventually he gets up tired mentally and physically. The usual sequel to this condition of things is a “nervous breakdown” which can be avoided by a course of Nux vomica.
The Nux patient is a chilly one and is sensitive to the slightest draft or cold air. He is always catching cold, always afraid of getting a cold. He perspired easily and consequently easily gets chilled. His colds often settle in his nose and throat, and one peculiarity of these colds is that the nose is stuffed up while indoors, particularly at night, but in the daytime it is fluent with a watery discharge.
These cold extend to the chest, producing an irritation in the air passages and usually ending in an irritating cough. It is a dry teasing cough accompanied by soreness in the chest, very much like the Bryonia cough. If this type of patient develops a temperature, he must have extra clothing on the bed until he gets unusually hot. Most people who get hot and feverish want to throw the bed-clothes off, but the Nux type must be buried under the clothes and if these are lifted or disturbed he begins to feel chilly.
Another peculiarity of this patient is that when he is quiet and not exerting himself he feels fit and well, but the very thought of work irritates and exhausts him.
Nux vomica is popularly supposed to work wonders in digestive troubles and in constipation. So it will if the indicated symptoms are observed carefully. For instance, the patient complains of discomfort after eating, a symptom common to many remedies. But this discomfort is worse “two or three hours after food” and it very often taken the form of ” a pressure in the stomach as if a stone rested there.” A sour taste in the mouth is complained of ; a tightness round the waist after eating which necessitates loosening the clothing.
In addition there is the Nux temperament and a general feeling of depression. Regarding the constipation, this will only be relieved if the characteristic symptoms are present. These are, a constant desire for stool with very inefficient results. The passing of only small quantities of faeces and yet a frequent desire to go to stool have been described as ” a never get done feeling: though that also applies to a similar condition for which Mercurius solubilis may be indicated.
The above will give a simple idea of the type of patient which Nux vomica will help.