Bryonia Alba

We may have in two remedies the same set of symptoms, and yet they are all made worse from all the opposite things.

Thus you see modalities indicate and contraindicate remedies. This is the studying of remedies by their modalities, for modalities sometimes constitute strong generals.

Taste: You will not be surprised to know that Bryonia loses his sense of taste, so that if he has a coryza nothing tastes natural.

Not only is there mental sluggishness, but there is a slowing down of his sensations, his whole state is benumbed.

“Taste flat, insipid, pasty”

His intelligence is so affected that he does not know where be is even, thinks he is away from home, and even his tongue is no longer intelligent; so that something that is sour tastes as though bitter; his senses deceive him.

“Tongue thickly coated white.”

In typhoid, in cerebral congestion, in sore throat, in pneumonia, in all diseases of the respiratory apparatus, in rheumatic affections, the tongue is thickly coated.

“Dry, and bleeding and covered with crusts.”

Such a tongue is found in typhoid fever, a dry, brown, cracked, bleeding tongue. When he takes a cold the mouth becomes dry. It is very common for the Bryonia patient to have great thirst; he is apt to drink large quantities of water, at wide intervals.

With this dry, brown tongue, however, he loses his taste for water and does not want it; dry mouth and thirstless like Nux moshata.


“Bad odor from mouth.”

Throat: Bryonia has nondescript sore throats, with stitching pains, with dryness, with parched appearance of the throat, and thirst for large, quantities of water at long intervals.

“Constitutional tendency to aphthous formations in the throat,” little white spots in the throat.

Desires and aversions: Then we come to the desires and aversions that relate to the stomach, and they are greatly perverted. He is worse from eating. The stomach has lost its ability to digest, and hence he has an aversion to all food.

“Desires things immediately, and when offered they are refused.”

He is changeable, does not know what he wants. He craves in the mind the things he has an aversion to in the stomach.

When he sees it he does not want it. His intelligence is in a state of confusion. He craves acids.

“Great thirst day and night;” he wants cold water.

“Thirst for large quantities at long intervals.”

Many remedies want to sip water all the time. In Bryonia the large quantities relieve the thirst immediately. In Arsenic the drink does not relieve, he wants a little and wants it often.

The stomach complaints of Bryonia are relieved from warm drinks that becomes a particular because his desire is for cold drinks, but his stomach is better from warm drinks.

In his fever and head complaints and febrile states he wants cold things, which often bring on and increase the cough and pains, but the hot drink, which he does not crave, relieves the stomach and bowel complaints.

In the chill, Bryonia often has desire for ice-cold water, which chills him dreadfully; and hot water relieves.

“Desire for cold and acid drinks.”

Aversion to rich fat food; all greasy things.

“Desire for things which are not to be bad.”

When patients are under constitutional remedies, they need caution about certain kinds of foods that are known to disagree with their constitutional remedy. A Bryonia patient is often made sick from eating sauerkraut, from vegetable salads, chicken salad, etc., so that you need not be surprised after administering a dose of Bryonia for a constitutional state, to have your patient come in and say she has been made very ill from eating some one of these things.

It is well to caution persons who are under the influence of Pulsatilla To avoid the use of fat foods, because very often they will upset the action of the remedy. It is well to say to patients who are under Lycopodium

“See that you do not eat oysters while taking this medicine.”

These medicines are known to produce states in the stomach inimical to certain kinds of foods; certain remedies have violently inimical relation to acids, lemons, etc.

If you do not particularly mention the fact, and say,

“You must not touch vinegar or lemons; nor take, lemon juice while taking this medicine,” you will have the remedy spoiled, and then wonder why it is.

The medicine often stops acting and the patient gets a disordered condition of the stomach and bowels a medicine that should act for a long time ceases action and you do I not know what the trouble is.

Homoeopathy will rule out such things as are inimical to the remedies and inimical to patients in general, or do not agree with a particular constitution.

To have an iron-clad rule is not correct practice; the only iron-clad rule is to be sure that the remedy is similar to the patient when you administer it, and the things that he is to have are to be in agreement with that remedy.

It is not an uncommon thing for a patient who has been under the influence of Rhus tox., and has been doing well up to a certain time, after he has taken a bath, to have his symptoms return in the form of a Rhus state; the action of the remedy stops right there.

He must of course take a bath, and yet it is true that some constitutional cases under Rhus must stop taking their ordinary bath, in order to keep themselves under the influence of Rhus. It is the same with Calcarea, a bath will often stop the action.

I only speak of these things to impress upon you the importance of feeding and treating, your patient in accordance with the remedy; in accordance with a principle and not by rule; do not have one list of foods for your patients; do not have a list of things for everybody. There is nothing in Homoeopathy.

The patient himself in all the strange and peculiar things is worse from eating; the cough is worse from eating, the complaints of the head, the headaches, are worse from eating, and the respiration is worse from eating.

The stomach is distended with wind after eating, but especially after oysters. Oysters are not, as a rule, a dangerous article of diet, yet some are poisoned by oysters.

“Worse after eating or drinking.”

When the case is one of whooping cough, the cough is worse, the paroxysms are more violent and all the symptoms are worse a little while after eating, but later, when digestion is finished and the stomach is empty, he is much relieved.

The Bryonia patient is ordinarily relieved from drinking, but if, when overheated, he drinks cold water, all of his rheumatic symptoms are worse, the cough is worse, and the headache is worse.

He will have a violent headache after drinking cold water when heated. In Rhus patients complaints are worse from drinking cold water when heated. The headache increases into a throbbing and bursting pain tenfold greater than it was before drinking.

The Bryonia patient is subject to hiccough, to belching, to nausea and vomiting, so that disordered stomach is the general term.

Bitter eructations, bitter nauseous taste. He vomits bile. After eating all these things are increased. In the stomach and abdomen we have a great many symptoms resulting from disordered stomach, or from taking cold, or from becoming overheated, or from drinking ice water when overheated.

Disordered stomach; irritation of the stomach so that he cannot eat without extreme pain, and this increases until the inflammatory condition involves the whole stomach and abdomen, and there is sensitiveness to pressure, and it can be diagnosed as a gastro-enteritis, with the soreness and tenderness, stitching, burning pains, all worse from motion; nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, tympanitic abdomen unable to move because it so increases the pain.

With the exception of the abdominal and stomach pains, the Bryonia pains are better from pressure.

The Bryonia patient with these inflammatory conditions will often be seen lying perfectly quiet in bed with the knees drawn up; lying with the limbs flexed in order to relax the abdominal muscles; he does not want to be talked to, does not want to think; every movement is painful, and increases the fever and often causes alternation of chilliness with heat; high fever.

The Bryonia patient, when lying perfectly quiet, is sometimes quite free from nausea, but the instant the head is raised from the pillow the dreadful sickness returns, so that he cannot sit up.

He cannot be raised up in bed because of the nausea, and if he persists in rising tip the nausea comes on more than ever, with burning in the stomach. With every motion he gulps up a little mucus and slime, which is putrid.

Stomach: All sorts of pains are felt in the stomach and bowels, but most particularly stitching and burning pains; feels as if the stomach would burst, as if the abdomen would burst. Peritoneal exudations. Awful soreness.

Sensitiveness of the pit. of the stomach, and sensitiveness Over the whole abdomen. This is commonly relieved by heat, although the patient himself wants to lie in a cool room.

The heat of the room is oppressive, yet beat applied is agreeable. Every inspiration, every motion of the chest greatly aggravates these pains, so that you will find a Bryonia patient shortening’ up his breathing instead of breathing deep. He keeps that up until he cannot stand it any longer, and then he takes a long breath that causes groaning.

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.

Comments are closed.