No VIII – Colchicum

Colchicum ranks, in almost all respects, next to Bryonia. It acts especially on the serous and fibrous tissues. Its characteristic pains are sticking….

Colchicum ranks, in almost all respects, next to Bryonia. It acts especially on the serous and fibrous tissues. Its characteristic pains are sticking.

1. Differences. 1. Bryonia is adapted rather to acute diseases; Colchicum to sub-acute and chronic. 2. Bryonia affects the vascular system more deeply than Colchicum, exciting fever. 3. Bryonia attacks the larger serous surfaces; Colchicum rather the smaller ones (articular serous surfaces), and the sheaths of the muscles, rather the fibrous and fibro-serous, than the purely serous tissues; hence the periosteum and muscular sheaths are especially attacked.

2. Mucous Membrane. The action of Colchicum resembles that of Bryonia; the secretions are diminished in quantity, and thickened; but Colchicum produces a far less degree of irritation than Bryonia does; hence its applicability in chronic cattarh, with a moderately copious tenacious mucous secretion (catarrh of old people).

3. Nervous System. No especial primary action.

4. Adaptation. Colchicum corresponds to the venous constitution, the phlegmatic, melancholic temperament; Bryonia rather to the nervous, erethistic temperament.

The pains of Colchicum, like those of Bryonia, are aggravated by touch and by motion; those of Colchicum, however, are worse in the evening and during the night; while, generally, the symptoms of Bryonia are aggravated in the morning on awaking.

Colchicum, like Bryonia, produces tearing, sticking pains; but those of Colchicum appear as tearing or sticking jerkings through the periosteum, while the pains of Bryonia are accompanied by the general feeling, as if beaten (zerschlagenheitschmerz) throughout the muscular system.

Colchicum, then, is more suitable when the excitation is slight, when the disease inclines rather to a torpid character, therefore to diseases of torpid, phlegmatic individuals.

5. Chief Sphere of Action. Rheumatism (sub-acute and chronic, but not of very ancient date), chronic gout, with thickened secretions, especially if characterized not so much by pain as by impediments to the free motion of the parts (semi-paralysis, quasi-paralysis). In the latter stages of acute rheumatism Colchicum is often indicated. (Kaspar appears to find frequently appropriate in acute rheumatism, 1st, Aconite; 2d, Bryonia; 3d, Colchicum).

In dropsy, conjoined with a general torpid condition, with little or no irritation, dropsy after examination diseases, also, but less frequently, in dropsical affections of the synovial sacs, and of the thoracic cavities, Colchicum is indicated.

In diarrhoea, with plastic excretion and rheumatic complication, characterized by great flatulence, in a low grade of autumnal dysentery, or rather in sanguineous diarrhoea than in real dysentery, Colchicum is appropriate.

In hydrops oculi, diseases of the sclerotica and cornea, and especially opacity of the cornea, and among affections of the chest, in chronic catarrh, with scanty plastic secretion, and great sensibility to changes of temperature, especially to cold air, Colchicum shows itself efficacious.

Carroll Dunham
Dr. Carroll Dunham M.D. (1828-1877)
Dr. Dunham graduated from Columbia University with Honours in 1847. In 1850 he received M.D. degree at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York. While in Dublin, he received a dissecting wound that nearly killed him, but with the aid of homoeopathy he cured himself with Lachesis. He visited various homoeopathic hospitals in Europe and then went to Munster where he stayed with Dr. Boenninghausen and studied the methods of that great master. His works include 'Lectures on Materia Medica' and 'Homoeopathy - Science of Therapeutics'.