Hyoscyamus is said to be especially poisonous to fowls: hence its name. Some animals eat it, especially the young shoots, with impunity: but its effects even here are more or less purgative.’
Hahnemann tell us that, when dried, the plant loses a great portion of its medicinal powers. But this is the case with many of the plant remedies: one needs to employ a competent homoeopathic chemist always, in prescribing.
Old school uses Hyoscyamus and Hyoscine as “cerebral depressants, in acute mania, delirium tremens, febrile delirium and insomnia, sometimes, with good results. They are mostly used in asylum practice”. The drug is also “put in to stop griping when Aloes, etc., are used for purgation”.
Poisoning, provings and experience of Hyoscyamus show its very definite range of action, also its striking resemblances to its natural relations, Belladonna and Stramonium. But it is, all through, easily distinguished from them.
In DELIRIUM it has its own peculiar features. Like Belladonna it causes and cures cases with “increased cerebral activity”, but with Hyoscyamus, unlike Belladonna, they are non-inflammatory in type. One peculiar symptom belongs pre-eminently to Hyoscyamus: “desire to uncover.” iN INSANITY Hyoscyamus may act as a mountebank, grimacing and making ridiculous gestures, and displaying a “comical alienation of mind”-or displaying a horrible “lascivious mania”, all its own. “In FEVERS the Hyoscyamus patients throw the bedclothes off not because off not because they are too warm, but because they will not remain covered.” “A keynote for Hyoscyamus in fevers is, that the patient will not remain covered. “(Later on we will quote KENT, who discusses this question.)
And here, in regard to Hyoscyamus in fevers, we cannot do better than quote from Hahnemann’s description of an epidemic of war typhus in Leipsic in 1813 (the year before waterloo) where he treated 183 cases, “of which not one died”.
If the case had gone beyond Bryonia and Rhus, into its second period of delirium (“a metastasis of the whole disease upon the mental organs)” ” the patient ceases to complain of his symptoms, he is not, does not desire to drink, does not know whether to take this or that, does not know those about him, he abuses them, makes irrelevant answer, talks nonsense with open eyes, does foolish things, wishes to run away, cries aloud or whines, without being able to say why he does so, has a rattling in the throat, the countenance is distorted, the eyes squinting, he plays with his hand, behaves like a madman, passes the excrements unconsciously, etc. Should the disease pass into that stage of delirium and mania, the Hyoscyamus niger meets all the indications of the case.” A still later, third stage, of practical paralysis, mental and physical, may need the Sweet Spirits of Nitre, he tells us. N.B.-We reproduced in HOMOEOPATHY, July 1935, this most interesting description Hahnemann’s successful treatment of the terrible epidemic that followed the wars of Napoleon. It is well worth studying.
The CHOREIC symptoms of Hyoscyamus are definite enough and unmistakable. “Every muscle of the body twitches, from the eyes to the toes.” “Constant state of erethism: not a single part of the whole body, nor a solitary muscle in a quiet state for a moment. Convulsive motions. Spasms: spasms clonic.”
The Hyoscyamus chorea, unlike ” the gyratory motions of Stramonium” has the coarse angular jerks that hurl the patient about, and make a pitiful little object look in danger of turning herself inside out with a jerk, when told to put out her tongue. Hughes speaks also of “local chorea”-squinting, stammering, twitchings of face.
In the EPILEPSY of Hyoscyamus there is, before the fit, vertigo, ringing in ears, sparks before eyes, gnawing hunger: during the fit, face purple, eyes projecting, shrieks, grinding teeth and enuresis: followed by sopor and snoring. Belladonna has spasms of larynx and clutching of throat during fit. In Stramonium there is risus sardonicus, and quick thrustings of head to the right. Stramonium has also “a stupid friendly look”.
Of course Hyoscyamus is “beautifully homoeopathic” to DELIRIUM TREMENS, and to HYDROPHOBIA. We will quote at length a footnote of Hahnemann’s (Materia Medica Pura-Hyoscyamus). He tells us that:-
For some cases of hydrophobia Belladonna is curative, for some Stramonium, while for others (according to the symptoms he enumerates,) Hyoscyamus. “Belladonna”, he says, “has already effected some perfect cures, and would have done this more frequently, had not either other interposing remedies been administered at the same time, or, and especially, had it not been given in such enormous doses that the patients were killed by the remedy.” He adds, what is interesting and important, in italics:
“Large doses of drugs, homoeopathically suitable, are much more certainly injurious than such as are given without any similar (homoeopathic) relation to the disease, or such as have an opposite (antipathic) relation `o the case, that is to say, are quite unsuitable (allopathic). In the homoeopathic employment of medicines, where the totality of the morbid symptoms has a great similarity to the action of a drug, it is really criminal not to give quite small doses, indeed as small as possible. In such cases the doses of the size prescribed in the routine practice become real poisons and murderous agents. Convinced by a thousand-fold experience, I assert this of the Homoeopathic employment of medicines universally and invariably, particularly when the disease is acute; and this is especially true of the employment of Belladonna, Stramonium, and Hyoscyamus in hydrophobia. So let it not be said, `One of these three medicines was given in the strongest doses, and not too seldom, but every two or three hours, and yet the patient died.’ `That was precisely the reason’, I reply with firm conviction, `that was precisely the reason why the patient died, and you killed him.’ Had you let him take the smallest portion of a drop of the quintillion-fold or decillion-fold attenuation of the juice of one of these plants for a dose (in rare cases repeating the dose after three or four days) then the patient would have been easily and certainly saved.”
Here is an accidental proving of Hyoscyamus:
A doctor tells how he once gave to a woman with hysterical paralysis, who had been in bed a month, an injection of Hyoscine 1/50 of a grain. She got up in ten minutes, ran round and round the room as if intoxicated, shrieking with laughter; jumped into bed, shrieking with laughter, and jumped out the other side: couldn’t be kept in bed. Next day she could remember nothing-only knew that she had been doing something foolish. Then she went slowly back to her old state.
“Hyoscyamus is a drug of strikingly alternating symptoms. As, – The calls to stool and frequent evacuation of henbane are alternating actions with the delayed stool and absence of call thereto: but the former appears to be the principal primary action. Hahnemann indeed senses a two-fold alternating action: `much urging with rare evacuations:- and more frequent evacuation with rarer calls:- with little or no evacuation, also with more frequent evacuations. But the frequent urging with the scanty and rare evacuations is the principal alternating action.'” *Footnotes, Materia Medorrhinum Pura.
Again,- “The excitation of the bladder of urinate and its loss of irritability- the scanty flow of urine and the copious diuresis are in henbane alternating actions, so hat much urging to urinate with scanty and copious flow of urine-as also inactivity of the bladder with scanty and very copious secretion of urine may be present at the same time; but much urging to urinate with scanty flow seems to be the principal, more frequent primary action.” *Footnotes, Materia Medorrhinum Pura.
And again,- “The overwakefulness is in henbane an alternating action with drowsiness and sleep, but the over-wakefulness seems to be the chief primary action.” *Footnotes, Materia Medorrhinum Pura.
But the uses of Hyoscyamus are not confined to desperate conditions. For instance, it is a prompt and effective remedy in a not very serious, but very annoying form of COUGH. One has many times seen its success here, and been told by the grateful patient, “You are wonderful!” But it is Homoeopathy that is wonderful, when drug-picture and disease-picture match. The cough is a spasmodic, or a dry, tickling spasmodic cough, by night: especially by night. The patient lies down, and coughs, and coughs, and coughs; sits up, and ceases to cough; lies down again, and coughs and coughs and coughs; sits up again, and again finds peace. This may go on all night, and night after night till Hyoscyamus is given and that finishes it.
The most notable remedies of suspicion and jealousy are LACH., HYOS., PLUS., Nux and Stramonium
An interesting case of Hyoscyamus jealousy will bear repeating here, where it belongs.
A boy, mentally deficient, was, among other things, frightfully jealous, especially of the man his sister was engaged to. Whenever he came to the house the boy “was very naughty, and passed his stool into his trousers”. Hyoscyamus was found to have the symptom, involuntary stool from excitement. He got a dose of Hyoscyamus cm, and the next report was that “people remarked how much quieter he was, and that though the sister’s finance had been staying in the house, he had not been jealous”.
Among its fears and suspicious, is the fear of poison-suspicious of being poisoned. This fear of poison, it shares with Lachesis and Rhus. Belladonna and Kali Bromium have also a fear of poison.
A queer Hyoscyamus symptoms “thought the saw a policeman come in”, led to its successful prescription in a bad case in pneumonia. (Kali brom. has also that symptom.)
KENT says (we will condense and epitomize): “Hyoscyamus is full of convulsions and contractions and trembling and quivering and jerking of muscles Chorieac motion, s but angular motions of the arms, etc. The intermingling of jerkings and quivering and tremblings and weakness and convulsive action of muscles are all striking features.
“The mental state is really the greatest part of Hyoscyamus delirium, and illusions and hallucinations all mingled together. Suspicious-of everybody; of his wife that she is going to poison him: that she is untrue: refuses medicine, because it is poisoned. He is pursued: people have all turned against him. Carries on conversations with imaginary people: really imagines that someone is sitting by his side, to whom he is talking. Talks to dead folk: calls up a dead sister or wife or husband, and enters into conversation as if they were here again on earth. Another freak in this mental state:-lies and looks at a queer paper on the wall and tries to turn the figures into rows imagines the things are worms, vermin, rats, cats, mice, and he is leading them as children lead round their toys one patient had a string of bedbugs going up the wall, and he had them tied with a string, and was irritated because he could not make the last one keep up Lies and picks things.”
Tongue “rattles in mouth, so dry”, looks like burnt leather. Muscles of throat-tongue-pharynx-oesophagus are stiff and paralysed so that swallowing is difficult. Fluids come out through nose (Gelsemium), or go down into larynx.
He compares Belladonna, Stramonium, Hyoscyamus In order of fever, Bell very hot: Stram, most violent and active, but usually only moderately hot: Hyoscyamus fever, not very high with its insanity.
In regard to violence of conduct, the order would be, Stramonium, Belladonna, Hyoscyamus- a more passive medicine: does not go into violence.
Then in regard to their reaction to water, and hydrophobia. Fear of water, of running water: all three. Stramonium: fear of water: of anything that might look like water” shining objects: fire, looking-glass, or that have the sound of fluids (Hydrophobinum). Hydrophobinum has cured involuntary urination, or discharge from bowels on hearing running water.
Kent explains the “wants to go naked” of Hyoscyamus thus:-He has such sensitive nerves all over the body in the skin that he cannot bear the clothing to touch the skin, and takes it off. He appears to be perfectly shameless: but has no thought of doing anything unusual: he does it from hyperaesthesia of the skin. One wonders how “nudists” would react to Hyoscyamus in potency! But besides this, the insanity of Hyoscyamus has obscenity: with violent excitement and nymphomania, and exposure of the person. lascivious mania. Especially where in the pure and good these things are merely a phase of sickness or insanity.
He is violent; beats people; strikes and bites; sings constantly and talks hastily. After convulsions, eye troubles, squinting, and disturbances of vision. “An object looked at jumps.” Both urine and stools are passed without his knowledge. Many complaints come on during sleep:- “sleepless, or constant sleep”. Suddenly sits up and lies down again:-keeps on doing that all night. Laughing during sleep.
BLACK LETTER SYMPTOMS.
Ravings: delirium: with restlessness: would not stay in bed.
Foolish laughter: talks more than usual: more animatedly: hurriedly.
Silly: smiling: laughs at everything: silly expression.
Comical alienation of mind: performs ludicrous actions like monkeys.
Makes ridiculous gestures like a dancing clown.
Strips himself naked: lies in bed and prattles.
Carphology. Picks at bedclothes: mutters and prattles.
Unable to think: cannot direct or control thoughts.
Answers no questions: cannot bear to be talked to.
Is violent, and beats people.
Jealousy with rage and delirium: with attempt to murder.
Lascivious mania: uncovers: sings amorous songs.
Suspicious. Fears: alone: of being poisoned (Lachesis, Rhus., etc.); of being injured. Wants to run away. Fears being bitten.
Wants to get up and attend to business, or go home (Bryonia).
Delirium: talks of business: of imaginary wrongs.
Pupils dilated: insensible.
Small objects seem very large (reverse of Platina).
Constant staring at surrounding objects. Self-forgetful.
Pressive squeezing on the root of the NOSE.
Deafness (from paralysis of auditory nerve.)
Swallowing difficult: inability to swallow.
Tongue red or brown: dry, cracked, hard, looks like burnt leather.
Or clean, parched; white, tremulous. From at mouth.
Sordes teeth and mouth. Grating the teeth.
Dread of water (Stramonium).
Inflammation of stomach, or peritonitis with hiccough
Cutting low down in the abdomen. Pinching in abdomen.
Urging to stool. Stool passed involuntarily in bed.
No will to make water in childhood.
Puerperal spasms: shrieks: anguish: chest oppressed: unconscious.
Much in larynx and air passages, which makes voice and speech not clear.
Almost incessant cough while lying down: disappears when sitting up. Dry COUGH at night.
Cough at nigh: frequent cough at night, which always wakes him, after which he again falls asleep.
Angular motions: jerks of single muscles or sets of muscles.
Suffocating spells and convulsions during labour.
Epilepsy: before attack, vertigo, sparks before eyes, ringing in ears, hungry gnawing: during attack face purple, eyes projecting, shrieks, grinds teeth, urination.
Epileptoid spasms. Epilepsy daily so violent it seemed as if spine or joints would be broken.
Very profound slumber.
Sleeplessness: long-continued sleeplessness: on account of quiet mental activity.
Unable to sleep the whole night: tried lying on one side and the other, yet unable to get quiet. (Arsenicum)
Starts from sleep as if in a fright.
Intense sleeplessness of irritable, excitable, persons, from business embarrassments-often imaginary.
Sleepless, or constant sleep, with muttering.
Cannot bear to be talked, to or least noise during chill.
CURIOUS, OR CHARACTERISTIC SYMPTOMS
They babble out almost everything a sensible person would have kept quiet about all his life.
Fancies men are swine.
Ran against all objects that stool in their way, with wide-open wild eyes.
Ridiculously solemn acts in improper clothing, mixed with fury:
As “In a priest’s cassock, put on over nothing but a shirt, and in fur boots, he wishes to go to church, in order to preach and to perform clerical officers there, and furiously attacks those who try to prevent him.”
Rushes at people with knives: strikes and tries, to murder those he meets.
Peculiar fear of being bitten by beasts.
Reproaches himself and others: complains of the injustice that he imagines has been done to him. (Staphysagria)
In despair wishes to take his life, and throw himself into water.
Serious illness from jealousy and grief about a faithless lover.
Desires to be naked (hyperaesthesia of cutaneous nerves).
After a fit of passion and sudden fear: so timorous as to hide himself in every corner, to dread and run away from flies.
Frequent looking at her hands hands because they seem too large.
Fingers feel too thick. Feels a if teeth would fall out.
Brain feels too loose: swashing, like water, in head.
Head shaken to and fro.
Objects look red (Belladonna, black, Stramonium).
Stupid expression. Muscles twitch, makes grimaces.
Bites the tongue when talking.
Paralysis of tongue.
After fright, loss of speech: motions of tongue impaired, with numbness and lameness.
Spasm; or constriction of throat: inability to swallow liquids.
Involuntary stool while urinating.
Paralysis of sphincters: involuntary stool and urine.
Frequent emission of urine clear as water.
Every muscle of the body twitches, from the eyes of the toes (in chorea, etc.). Clonic spasms.
Patients with fever throw the bedclothes off, not because they are too warm, by they will not remain covered.