James Tyler Kent describes the symptoms of the homeopathic medicine Belladonna in great detail and compares it with other homeopathy remedies. …

Generalities and modalities: Belladonna is a remedy that takes hold of the system with great violence. It is especially suitable to plethoric, vigorous individual, and intellectual people brainy people have complaints coming on suddenly, providing they are in a substantial state of health, and are reasonably plethoric and vascular.

The complaints of Belladonna come on suddenly, run a regular course, and subside suddenly. The pains and suffering come on suddenly and with great violence, and subside suddenly.

Colds ultimate rapidly, run a sharp course, a course of great violence, and subside sudden. Belladonna especially affects the whole vascular system, the heart, lungs, brain and nervous system.

Among the earliest conditions to examine is the heat. It has inflammations of all the organs, especially the brain, lungs, and liver.

The intestines are also involved as well as the other organs. These inflammations are always attended by violent heat; the heat is some thing unusual.

It is more marked in Belladonna than in almost any other remedy. When you put your hand upon a Belladonna subject you will suddenly withdraw it, the heat is so intense.

The memory of the heat is carried in the hand and fingers for some time.

Pains, inflammations, and sufferings, nightly attacks of delirium, violent attacks inflammatory in character are attended with that kind of heat.

No matter where the inflammation is, there is that same intense heat, There are times, though, when that kind of heat is present, and it is not Belladonna, and that is when the fever is of the continued type.

Fever: Belladonna has no continued fever in it. It is true the older books tell you about Belladonna for this violent heat in typhoid and some other continued fevers, but if you examine Belladonna from beginning to end you will find nothing continued in its fever.

Its fever is remittent. It never comes on in its complaints gradually like typhoid. It has not the gradual rise and the gradual fall like a continued fever.

I only mention that so that you will not be lost.

Our lamented Hering, one of the ablest teachers the world ever had, classes Belladonna for typhoid fever when the delirium and the heat are somewhat like Belladonna, but let me tell you just what will take place.

When you give Belladonna for the delirium in typhoid fever – for such a delirium as looks like Belladonna – you may subdue the delirium, but other manifestations will rise in that fever.

You will not subdue the fever, but you will subdue the patient. The patient will be sick longer, will go into a greater state of prostration than if you had let that delirium alone.

But Stramonium fits perfectly Hering’s description of a case in which he says Belladonna should be given.

The idea of that heat must be well fixed in the mind.

Heat, intense heat, violent heat.

There is another phase of Belladonna that runs all through these inflammatory complaints and its fevers.

The inflamed parts, and very commonly the skin, are very red, and, as the inflammation advances, grow dusky; as the fever advances the face becomes mottled; but the first representation of Belladonna is bright red, and the skin is shiny.

An inflamed part than can be seen will be red. In inflammation of glands the skin over the glands will be bright red in spots.

Hence red spots in the neck over inflamed glands. Inflammation of the parotid glands, inflammation of the sub-maxillary glands, inflammation of the glands of the neck, there will be a spot as red as fire over each.

The throat is as red as scarlet. The mucus membrane is inflamed, and red as scarlet. After a little it grows dusky, finally mottled; showing the character and direction of the Belladonna constitution.

It travels gradually towards a zymotic state, such as we see in scarlet fever, in low inflammatory conditions; at first intense congestion, but vaso-motor paralysis follows.

Intense congestion and blueness, or purple and mottled.

Burning: Another grand feature of Belladonna is present in its inflamed parts, and in its painful parts, whenever Belladonna brings out anything like a decided action, it has burning; intense burning.

The burning in the throat with a Belladonna sore throat is like a coal of fire. Inflammation of the tonsils, burning like fire.

The skin burns, and it is burning hot to the sensation of the patient, and intensely hot to the doctor. The skin burns in scarlet fever. He says,

“It burns so, doctor, it burns so;”

in bilious or remittent fever. In inflammation of an organ, the skin burns, there is a burning fever, and the part itself burns.

Inflammation of the bladder, with burning. Congestion of the brain, and the head burns. Congestion of the throat, and the throat burns.

It is hot locally, and it also burns subjectively. In gastritis there is burning.

In inflammation of the liver, the liver burns. Congestion of the liver with jaundice, and the liver burns. Now, we have three leading features; do not call them “key notes,” for that is not what I mean; heat, redness and burning.

We will see how they modify the whole feature of the sickness, how they permeate and ramify, and how they take meaning.

Swelling: But, that is not all. We have much swelling in Belladonna The inflamed parts swell rapidly; are extremely sensitive to touch; are very painful, with the sensation as if they would burst, with pressive pains, stinging and burning.

There is heat, redness and burning in these inflamed parts, as well as swelling. Swelling, stinging, burning, throbbing. All over he throbs with all congestions and inflammations he throbs.

The part itself throbs, and his carotids throb. When children are sick in bed with congestion of the brain, they have an intensely hot head. If old enough to talk about it, they will say “it burns.”

But then we will notice the throbbing. The temporal arteries and the carotids pulsate, with great violence. A turmoil is going on. An earthquake is taking place. Everything is being shaken when the patient needs Belladonna

It is one of the most painful of remedies. It is so sensitive to pain. So sensitive that be suffers more than ordinary people do from the pain.

And, remember, the pains comes suddenly, they remain longer or shorter, and they go suddenly. They do this in neuralgia; they do this in inflammatory conditions, they do it in inflamed organs; they do it wherever they come.

Pains, tear, shoot, burn, and sting, and press, and smart, all at once. All of these characteristics are bundled up into one bundle, so that he suffers.

All of his pains are worse from motion, worse from light, worse from a jar, worse from cold. He wants to be wrapped up warmly, and is worse from any exposure or a draft.

The headaches are like many of die other pains; it feels as if the brain was going up and down, tearing and burning at every step he takes, and from every motion of the eyes, or turning the eyeballs, or going up stairs, rising from, his seat, or sitting down; all motion creates violent pains; feels as if the head would burst, as if the eyes would be pressed out. If he moves he starts the heart to pulsate on his sore parts and he calls them “hammering pains.”

Wherever that pain is he cannot have it touched. If it is touched it will throb. If uncovered it will become worse. If some one walks across the floor, the jar makes him worse.

The jar of the bed, if he is in bed, is a common aggravation of Belladonna If he is so sick that he is in bed, the jar of the bed makes all of his complaints worse.

You go to the bedside of a patient suffering from, an inflamed liver, and he will not let you put your hand on the bed, for the jar makes him worse. If the pain is in the abdomen; if it is an inflamed uterus; if it is in confinement, it is the same.

This aggravation from the jar is such a marked feature that it is not always confined to inflammations. It is often a modified in a state of nervous hyperesthesia.

A woman in confinement, when there is no inflammation, and none threatening, is in such a state of hyperesthesia that she wants the windows closed to keep the air out; she does not want to be touched; she does not want the bed moved, any little jar aggravates; she is so sensitive to a jar, even when there is no sensitive part.

You go to such a case, and you will realize in time that you are going to have a difficult and painful labor, without Belladonna

But with a dose of Belladonna all of these complaints pass away quickly, so quick is the action of this medicine. The jar of the bed will often reveal to you the nature of the remedy. If you walk to the bedside of a patient suffering from gallstone colic, with violent pains, he cannot have the bed touched.

His face is red, his skin burns, he cannot be touched, he is in excruciating, agony, and he tells that before you have crossed the room, You see it all. He says,

“Don’t touch the bed, doctor.”

That is a special feature; the aggravation from a jar is marked.

Spasms: general spasms and local spasms. Spasms of little canals, of the circular fibers, of tubular organs, like that I have spoken of in the gallstone colic.

In the ductus communis choledochus there is a clutching – or it may be in the cystic duct that the circular fibers, clutch that little bit of stone and will not let it through.

The passage is large enough to admit it and it has started to go through – but the irritation of the part causes a spasm and it clutches, that little stone; you put a dose of Belladonna on his tongue, the spasm lets up, stone passes on, and there is no more trouble; in fifteen minutes the gallstone colic is gone.

There is never a failure in homoeopathic prescribing in gallstone- colic. The symptoms are not always Belladonna, but in this instance, where that horrible sensitiveness is present, it is Belladonna

“Convulsions in infants.”

They are violent and are usually associated with cerebral congestion. The skin is always in a state of fever. They are brought on from light, from a draft of cold air, from the infant becoming cold.

Nervous, brainy children, those with a good sized head, and plump, large-headed boys; boys especially, but also girls that have boys’ heads, when exposed to the cold have convulsions. Light, motion and cold will bring on these convulsion.

The Belladonna subject as an individual, like Bryonia, is worse in all his complaints from motion.

Motion brings on convulsions, motion brings on pain; motion increases the action of the heart and brings on throbbing; motion brings on many complaints and increases the sufferings.

Now think of these generals whenever you come to Belladonna This idea of Belladonna must prevail. No matter how many little symptoms you accumulate, get at these first.

Mind: The mental symptoms of Belladonna are delightful to study, but dreadful to look upon. The mental symptoms are such as come on in intense fevers, such as are observed in maniacal excitement, in delirium.

Excitement runs all through. Violence runs all through the mental symptoms. The mental symptoms are all active, never passive. There is no passive delirium in Belladonna It is a wild state.

He is wild; striking, biting, tearing things; doing unusual things; doing strange things; doing unexpected things. He is in a state of excitability. These mental symptoms that come on during fevers, the delirium and excitement, are very commonly ameliorated by eating a little light food.

That is not generally known in Belladonna, but it is quite a strong feature. But remember the violence, and with it, if you go to the bedside where there is this violent delirium, keep in mind the heat, redness and burning.

Full of imaginations. Sees ghosts, and spirits, and officers, and wild things. In the early part of the fever the delirium is very violent and excitable; but as it passes on he goes into a sleep, a sort of half-slumber a semi-comatose state.

Apparently in a dream, and he screams out. Dreams horrible things. Sees in his dreams the things that he talks about. When he has real sleep, or resting, as near as it is for him to rest, he has violent dreams; night-mare.

Sees things on fire. He is in a delirium, and in torment. He becomes stupid at times, appears to lose consciousness. Loses the memory of all things and then becomes wild. His delirium goes ort when he appears to be sleeping.

These symptoms often occur with cerebral congestion, the violent cerebral congestion of the infant. If they are old enough to talk they will talk about the hammering in the head.

In Belladonna the infant also commonly remains in a profound stupor, the profound stupor that goes with congestion of the brain pupils dilated; skin hot and dry; face red, throbbing carotids.

Finally the child becomes pale as the stupor increases and the neck is drawn back, because as it progresses the base of the brain and spine become involved, and the muscles of the neck contract; drawing the head -backwards; and he rolls the head; eyes staring, pupils dilated.

This mental state is associated with scarlet fever and with cerebro-spinal meningitis.

Again, these mental states take the form of acute mania, when the patient will bite the spoon; will bark like a dog; will do all sorts of violent things; even jump out of the window. He has to be restrained, put in a strait-jacket.

The face is red, and the skin is hot, and the patient at times says that he burns all over, or that the head burns, and the head is very hot.

During all this time the feet are cold. Head hot, feet cold, or feet and hands cold as ice. It seems all the blood is being hurried to the head. All sorts of delusions and hallucinations are mingled with the acute mania; ghosts; horrid monsters; strange things, and deformed subjects.

Fear of imaginary things, and wants to run away. In the delirium of Belladonna he wants to jump out of the window, wants to run, wants to get away from his attendants. He thinks they are doing him injury.

Throughout the acute mania, and throughout the delirious state, all the manifestations partake of violence. Destructiveness.

The Belladonna patient in the most acute state must be watched, controlled, handled, and sometimes tied. In the text it describes these states as “rage, fury.”

He wants to do violence.

“Moaning. Instead of eating, bit wooden spoon in two, gnawed plate, and growled and barked like a dog. A boy violently sick ran around the room laughing immoderately.”

It has an insane laughter. A loud, boisterous laughter.

“A piece of bread, which he took to be a stone, he threw far from him. He turns and rolls in bed in a perfect rage. Aversion to noise and company.”

Aversion to light; is better in the dark. At times a more passive state intervenes between these attacks of violence.

The active time is always that of violence; but there is sometimes a more passive state when the patient will sit or lie in bed and tear the bed clothing, or break anything that she can get her hands on. If it is a stick, she will break it up.

Running all through the complaints, whether delirium, fever, or pains, there is starting.

Starting in sleep like an electric shock. just as soon as he falls asleep a sensation like an electric shock throughout the body.

“Starts in fright at approach of others. Fear of imaginary things, wants to run away from them.”

“Great anxiety”

runs through the remedy. As a patient comes out of these attacks of delirium, as he comes out of convulsions, fear is depicted upon the face.

The patient is in great excitement; the circulation is in a state of great excitement; the heart is in great excitement; motion and emotion increase the beating of the heart.

It may have been gleaned that Belladonna is a remedy that is over sensitive; a state of hyperesthesia extreme irritability of tissues. This is said to be an increased irritability of the nerve centres.

This develops a state of increased ability to taste, and to smell and to feel; excibility of the sensorium.

Sensorium: Sensitive to impressions. Sensitive to light, to noise, to touch, to jar. The sensorium is violently excited.

Excessive nervous irritability stands out, perhaps, as one of the most prominent features of Belladonna in contrast with medicines like Opium that deprive the patient of all sensitivity.

The more congestion there is in Belladonna the more excitability. The more congestion there is in Opium the less excitability.

And yet they are very similar in many respects; very similar in aspect; in the appearance of the eyes and face; similar in pathological states. If I were to prescribe on the pathological state, the congestion of the brain, the appearance, without taking in the intensity of the one or other, I would not be able to distinguish between Opium and Belladonna

They often antidote each other. But we do not prescribe on pathology, but upon symptoms, after careful individualization.

“Vertigo,” with this intense excitability. Turning in bed, or moving the head makes him dizzy.

“Things go round.”

“Vertigo with pulsations.”

Moving the head increases the pulsation, and the vertigo. The patient lies in bed; cannot hold the head up.

This increase sensitiveness especially applies to the scalp. We notice it particularly in the woman. She cannot have the hair bound up. It is often the case that Belladonna patients will not have the hair combed or brushed.

“Lets the hair hang down the back;” so sensitive is the scalp.

“Hair feels as if pulled. Does not want the hair touched.”

There are some remedies that correspond to extreme irritation in very sensitive natures; like Hepar, where she faints with the pain; like Nitric acid, when cannot bear the noise of vehicles going along the street, because it creates such violent sufferings; like Coffea, where footsteps aggravate all the complaints; he was so sensitive to pain that the noise of one entering the door when he was on the third floor aggravated his sufferings intensely, though no one else could hear it.

In Nux vomica, even the sound of footsteps increases the pain all over the body. Belladonna has in its nature all this sensitiveness to pain. It is a part of the general sensorium; the who bodily state is intensified.

The Chamomilla patient is oversensitive to pain, but we do not need to sympathize with the Chamomilla patient, he will fight it out himself. But you will pity the Belladonna patient, you will pity the Pulsatilla patient, and the Nitric acid patient.

A strange part of it also is the reactive excitability. The reaction to medicine is so quick and so sudden that I have many times heard a patient say, before I had turned my back away from the bed,

“That medicine has relieved me,” so quick is the reaction.

In many medicines reaction is slowed down, but in Belladonna it is intensified. So it is in Nux vomica and in Zincum. When the case is very acute, but sometimes also when the case is somewhat chronic, this sensibility is marked.

Cuprum is so sensitive all over. It has sensitive warts; it has sensitive skin, sensitive polypi, everything sensitive; and it is so sensitive in its reaction that, when it is needed, partially indicated remedies will not work, because the patient is so oversensitive to everything that everything overacts.

The smallest dose, the mildest dose, the simplest dose overacts and everything aggravates. Odors aggravate; well selected remedies disturb instead of cure.

Cuprum tones down, relieves that sensitivity, and well-selected remedies will then act curatively and long. Cuprum lacks it in that high state of congestion – it is not like Belladonna in that; Cuprum does not have that sensibility along with the active fever and congestion, the throbbing and disturbance of the circulation; but it has it in a chronic state.

Women and children are so sensitive that they get no sympathy and it is not suitable for hysterical ones either, but those that are not able to control themselves perfectly. Such is Cuprum.

We have medicines that are suitable to sensitive people, and especially sensitive women. Sensitive to odors, sensitive to every conceivable influence.

The doctor who will go out and take care of these poor sick little mortals, who understands their nature, perceives their quality, and relieves them of their suffering will command the whole community, in spite of the reputation of all the doctors that are there before him.

He must not be one who measures everybody by his own sensorium he may be a pachyderm, but he will find patients that are sensitive.

Head:This sensitivity is present in most of the Belladonna headaches. There are stabbing pains, throbbing pains, shooting pains, all in connection with congestion.

They are all sensitive to motion, to every jar, to light, even to the winking of the eyes; sensitive to draft. Belladonna will be indicated when the head is rolling – the patient rolling the head because the pain is so severe he cannot keep still, although the motion increases the headache.

James Tyler Kent
James Tyler Kent (1849–1916) was an American physician. Prior to his involvement with homeopathy, Kent had practiced conventional medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. He discovered and "converted" to homeopathy as a result of his wife's recovery from a serious ailment using homeopathic methods.
In 1881, Kent accepted a position as professor of anatomy at the Homeopathic College of Missouri, an institution with which he remained affiliated until 1888. In 1890, Kent moved to Pennsylvania to take a position as Dean of Professors at the Post-Graduate Homeopathic Medical School of Philadelphia. In 1897 Kent published his magnum opus, Repertory of the Homœopathic Materia Medica. Kent moved to Chicago in 1903, where he taught at Hahnemann Medical College.

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