Bryonia Alba

When that case is looked into thoroughly it may be covered by Kreosote; another is never satisfied with anything and rejects everything he asks for; you look into that case and it may be covered by Chamomilla.

“Desire for things that cannot be had which are refused, or not wanted when offered.”

“Apprehensiveness; fearfulness.”

“Anxiety in whole body compelled him to do something constantly.”

There is a feature worthy of consideration because it sometimes makes a case appear inconsistent. It is due to his anxiety that pervades the whole body.

In Bryonia alba, as in Arsenic there comes an anxious and uneasy feeling which compels him to move, but he is worse from motion, yet so uneasy and anxious that he must move.

There are pains so violent that he cannot keep still, and yet when he moves he screeches from the pain. So it is really not an inconsistency but simply due to the great violence of the pain. Even though he knows that the motion is going to make him worse, he cannot keep still, for the pain is so violent.

Early in the case he was able to keep still, and found that he was better from keeping still, and that the mental state was better from keeping still, and that the anxious restlessness increased the more be moved, until finally a reaction comes and he is obliged to move.

You would think, looking at the case superficially, that that patient is better from motion as in Rhus tox., but in Rhus you find that the patient moves and in moving he gets feeble, and when he sits down the pains begin to come on again.

There is the distinction between the two, and yet they look alike if not examined into carefully. It is common for Bryonia to be ameliorated from cool air, and from cool applications.

Now, if he moves, he gets warmed up, the pains are worse, but there are rheumatic complaints of Bryonia which are better from heat, and under these circumstances he is better from continued motion.

It is another form of relief, and another of the modalities. I sometimes wonder whether Bryonia has a greater element of relief from heat, or greater element of relief from cold.

Most of the head complaints that are of a congestive character are better from cool applications, from cold air, etc. Yet there are some of the Bryonia head com plaints that are relieved by hot applications, and these seem to have no accompanying cerebral congestion.

So that Bryonia has opposite modalities, but in all its opposite states there is still a grand nature running all through, sufficient to detect it.

In a damp climate Bryonia is one of the most frequently indicated remedies, but in the clear climates, where the thermometer runs low, Aconite will be indicated more than Bryonia.

Still further South, the complaints assume more of the constitutional state of Gelsemium in inflammatory conditions. We know in the far North the sudden, violent cold brings on violent colds like Aconite, while here the complaints are more insidious, like Bryonia, land further South.

These atmospheric changes should be thoroughly considered in relation to our Materia Medica.

The mental state of Bryonia is usually relieved from cool air, he wants the windows open.

Anxiety, confusion of mind, fear, etc., are ameliorated from being cool. Sometimes the delirium, and the congestive fullness of the head affecting the mind, will increase if the room becomes very warm, or from the heat of the stove, from becoming heated, or from warm covers.

In children this will be noticed, whereas if the window be thrown up to relieve the stuffiness of the room the child will sleep quietly. Such remedies as Bryonia, Apis, Pulsatilla, and many others, come in here.

If you go into a room and find the child raging with delirium, turning and tossing, and the mother is trying to keep the room warm because she is chilly, and you say,

“Why, how stuffy it is in here!” and you open the window and then notice that the child goes off to sleep, do not overlook that; because that relief was caused by something.

There should be nothing that can possibly occur to a patient, but that you should solve the meaning of before you leave the room. Settle in your mind as to what it was that caused it.

“Fear of death.”

Full of fear, anxiety, despair of recovery, great despondency. Both mental and bodily quietness is required, that is, he wants to keep still.

Often he wants the room dark. It has complaints from getting excited. Bryonia patients are nearly always worse from visitors.


Do not cross a Bryonia patient for it makes him worse.

“Bad effects from mortification.”

“Ailments arising from chagrin; ” these are headaches usually.

Violent, congestive headaches that come on a few hours after altercation or controversy, or little misunderstandings with somebody that he cannot talk back to, will be covered by Staphysagria, but Bryonia also has that.

Staphysagria is suited to irritable, violent, nervous, excitable people, that get into violent altercation or dispute. If a headache comes on, such a patient may need Bryonia.

If in a chronic state a patient says,

“Doctor, if I ever have a dispute with a man over anything I come down with nervous excitement, sleeplessness, headaches;”

you do not have to work long upon that case, because more than likely Staphysagria will be suitable.

Bryonia has dizziness; the dizziness is worse in a warm room. You will notice, as I go through, that in everything of a nervous nature, nervous excitement, and commonly the bodily state, the patient is worse from a warm room, worse from too much clothing, worse from the warmth of the bed, wants the windows open, wants to breathe fresh, cool air.

He suffers more than ordinary persons, from a stuffy room. Persons who are subject to Bryonia conditions in church, at the opera, in close warm rooms, like Lycopodium. Girls that faint every time they go to church are relieved by Ignatia.

Head: We commence now with the study of the head.

The head complaints may be looked upon as striking features of the remedy, because there is pain in the head with almost every acute complaint.

Headaches are associated with inflammatory and congestive complaints.

The mental dullness and confusion of the mind is spoken of with the congestive headache, and bursting headache.

The head feels so full she wants to press it with the hand, or tic it up; tight pressure, over the whole skull, is grateful. The headaches are worse in a warm room and commonly worse from heat.

Sometimes superficial neuralgias have relief from local heat, but a warm room or a close room is very distressing to the Bryonia headache. Headaches as if the skull would split open; the pains are worse from every motion, even the winking motion of the eyes, the motion necessary to talking and the effort of thinking so that all exertion of body or mind becomes impossible with a severe headache.

Must keep perfectly quiet. Sometimes lying down and keeping perfectly quiet in a dark room will give some relief. Light aggravates; if you think a moment you will see that the accommodation to light and shadow of a room involves motion; it is said that the light aggravates, but even here it is the motion that is carried on by the muscles of accommodation.

The headaches of Bryonia are very commonly the forerunner of other complaints, congestion of the lungs, bronchitis, congestion of some other part of the body; he wakes up in the morning with headache; if it be coryza that is coming, he has the headache in the morning and through the day he commences to sneeze; or if the trouble is in some other part of the body, before the symptoms develop, he wakes up in the morning with this congestive headache over the eyes or in the back of the head, or both; it seems as if the head would burst; better from pressure, worse from the warmth of the room, and worse from every motion.

Headache over the eyes, sometimes like the stabbing of a knife, worse from the first motion. He realizes it on waking upon moving the eyes, with soreness in the eyeballs, with bruised feelings all over.

The motion of the arms, doing work with the arms as in various kinds of business that are carried on with the use of the arms and hands, is generally accompanied by complaints of the upper part of the body and especially the head, so that one of the old key-notes in the time of Hering was “complaints from ironing.”.

You know that ironing is commonly carried on in a warm room, it involves the motion of the arms, and thus brings in two most striking features of Bryonia, so that this key-note is no longer an abstract statement; it is not to be considered apart from the general nature, but only serves to bring it out.

Splitting, violent congestive headaches; headaches as if everything would burst out of the forehead. Pressure pain in the forehead, fullness and heaviness in the forehead as if the brain were pressed out.

This fullness or congestion of the head, is accompanied by what was described as sluggishness of the mind, and it will often be noticed that the countenance is somewhat besotted.

The patient looks as if he were an imbecile. The face is mottled, and purple, with congestion in a marked Bryonia state. The eyes are red, and congested; he is listless, does not want to move, to speak, or to do anything, because all these things are motion, are efforts, and they make him worse.

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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