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.