Cactus Grandiflorus

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

Cactus Grandiflorus Generalities: Constrictions, contractions and congestions run through Cactus.

Determination of blood to the head, and coldness of the extremities. Or determination of blood to an organ, the chest, or the heart. There is never an equal circulation of blood in the body; it is spasmodic and irregular. Disturbed by contractions of circular fibres everywhere. When this comes in places where it can be felt; and realized by the senses, it is felt as contractions, as if caged in wires, and this gives us the key to Cactus.

Where contractions cannot be felt, where there is no sense of feeling, we know that it goes on as a spasmodic condition of circular fibres; but these contractions that are felt are more upon the surface of the body, and in organs having circular fibers tubes and canals.

They constrict, and this constriction is felt like a spasm. It has a sensation of tightness and constriction about the head, about the chest, about the attachments of the diaphragm, all over the abdomen. Contractions about the heart that are tonic in character, like a tight clutching; constriction.

“Constriction felt about the heart.”

Constrictions and congestions: These constrictions are felt about the throat, in the oesophagus, causing a spasm; in the vagina, causing vaginismus and preventing coition.

In the uterus it produces the, most violent cramps. Clutching, and constrictions, as it the uterus were grasped and held tightly, like a spasm. But at these times, when these constrictions take place, there are congestions.

“Rush of blood to the part, with constriction.”

“Violent congestion of the uterus with constrictions. Rush of blood to the chest, as if the chest was filled with hot gushes of blood, with constrictions, and constriction of the heart.”

These peculiarities run through Cactus more markedly than any other remedy. Many remedies have similar things now and then, but in Cactus it is common; it is the nature of Cactus to constrict, to cause constriction in places where it has never been felt, and never been thought of.

Constrictions of the whole body, as if the body was held in a wire cage. Constrictions of the scalp, of the skin, growing tighter and tighter. Violent congestions that come on suddenly. Congestion of the brain, with hot head, flushed face.

At the beginning of complaints, at the beginning of pneumonia; congestive chill with hot head and cold body (like Arnica) with violent constrictions and tightness, as if the head were pressed, as if the membrane of the brain were too tight, as if the brain were covered with a tight cloth, and were being screwed tighter and tighter.

Uniform tightness of an organ, as if it were being bound tighter and tighter, but in tubes and canals it is a constriction of a particular part. Many times like as if tied with a string. Constriction, like hour-glass contraction, in the uterus.

It has inflammations, congestions, rush of blood to the part, gradually progressing to inflammation, and infiltration. Inflammation of various parts.

It has rheumatism. It is a remedy very useful in gouty constitutions; very useful in acute inflammatory rheumatism; and in this instance the congestion is in the joints that happen to be affected.

And then again the constriction, as if tied with a tape, or as if bandaged. Tightness, tension, pressure, are involved in that thought. It has such a prolonged determination of blood to the heart that the heart finally becomes disturbed in its function, disturbed in its tissues; and it has a profound curative action upon the heart and even cures organic heart diseases, such as are produced from this cause, conditions coming on from congestion, or coming on through congestion in rheumatic constrictions, where the rheumatism has left the joints partially and the heart has become involved, and there is constriction of the heart.

Various efforts have been made by provers, and by patients, to describe the constriction of the heart. It is sometimes described

“as if grasped with an iron hand.”

It is only to illustrate the tenacity of the constriction. In these rheumatic troubles when the joints have ceased to be affected and the heart becomes affected with this chronic congestion and enlargement, we have enlargement of the valves so that there are murmurs, the head is hot, and the patient gradually emaciates.

Kidney troubles will come on; the heart grows weaker, and then dropsical conditions set in that is, the course of Cactus.

Towards the last, cardiac affections, along with kidney affections, with emaciation, and then swelling of the hands, and feet. That is the very nature of Cactus, and you will not find any medicine in the whole Materia Medica that reads like it.

There is nothing to compare with it in the intensity of these symptoms. All these things that I have described seem to turn upon these words, congestion, constriction and contraction.

The pains in Cactus are violent, no matter where they occur. They compel the patient to cry out, and the pains are clutching pains, constricting pains; they often feel like tearing pains; but there is always that idea of clutching.

Suppose you should tie a tape round a violently congested organ, and tie it tighter and tighter. It seems to me that is about the kind of suffering the patient has with that constriction of a congested organ.

Pains and spasms: Pains in congested parts; pains in sore parts. Tearing; constricting, cramping, when pains occur in the intestines they are constricting, but when the pains are in the long muscles they are not the constricting pains, for it is not the circular fibres then but the long fibres that contract, and we call them cramps.

Cactus produces some spasmodic conditions in long muscles, but not to any great extent. In Belladonna especially, and also in many of those medicines that have this nature of cramping, and constricting and contracting of circular fibres, there is convulsive tendency.

The violent congestion of the brain in Belladonna will commonly be attended with cramps in the extremities and convulsions of the muscles all over or in parts. Not so with Cactus. Violent congestion, and he grows stupid under it.

Congestion of the brain, first with very red face, then darker from the venous stasis, and then stupor. He grows sluggish under the cerebral congestion.

The mental state is that of fear and distress, because of the intensity of the suffering. The patient has never felt such suffering, and he does not see what it can all mean. So much suffering, such violent suffering, such sudden suffering, such cramps, such tearing, such constriction.

When this constriction comes in the heart, and about the chest, it makes the patient think he is going to die, and he is at once, struck with fear, and it is depicted upon the face. He fears death, and it seems he is going to die, his pain is so intense.

But with this intense pain he has nothing of the anxiety we find in, Aconite, which has a similar constriction of the chest and constriction of the neck. The violent choking in Aconite makes him fear he is going to choke, to death, and the anxiety is awful.

It is not so intense in Cactus. Screaming with pains is a common thing in Cactus.

“Taciturn, unwilling to speak a word or to answer.”

Cactus Grandiflorus Mind: That often accompanies the Cactus state, which is the opposite of most of the medicines that have such violent pains.

“Sadness, taciturnity, and irresistible inclination to weep.

Fear of death that is, he thinks he is going to die from the severity of the pain.

“He believes his disease is incurable;”

it seems to him that such suffering must end in death. That violent, irregular action of the heart is followed out through all the blood vessels, because the circulation is so irregular, is so spasmodic. He is not here, and cold there.

Heat in the head, or heat in the chest. The circulation is that of determination to some particular part. With all the cardiac remedies we have violent dreams, great excitement of the brain during sleep, waking up startled and frightened, very commonly with a feeling of failing. Dreams of falling. Dreams full of excitement. These features run through Cactus, especially with the cardiac symptoms.

“Vertigo from congestion; face red, bloated; pulsation in brain. Feels as if he would go mad. Vertigo, worse from physical exertion.”

With most of the cardiac remedies, or remedies where the circulation and heart are much involved, we have marked vertigo.

“Vertigo; worse from physical exertion, turning in bed, stooping, rising from a recumbent position, and deep inspiration.”

Many of the complaints of Cactus are disturbed by irregularities of breathing. Here we see vertigo coming on from deep breathing. If he holds his breath, it seems as if his heart would fly to pieces, it would go so fast. Increased pulsation all over the body when holding the breath.

Headaches: The headaches are constricting, pressing. They are all violent, with intense heat of the head, for they are congestive.

Cactus Grandiflorus has  pressing in the top of the head as if the top of the head would be forced in; but this is ameliorated by pressing hard upon the pain.

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.