Cocculus Indicus

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

We will study the general system and The mind as usual. Cocculus slows down all the activities of the body and mind, producing a sort of paralytic weakness. Behind time in all its actions.

Slowly: All the nervous impressions are slow in reaching the centres. If you pinch this patient on the great toe he wants a minute and then says “oh,” instead of doing it at once. In response to questions he answers slowly, after apparent meditation, but it is an effort to meditate.

And so with all nervous manifestations, thought, muscular activity, etc. He cannot endure any muscular exertion, because he is weak; he is tired. First comes this slowness, then a sort of visible paralytic condition, and then complete paralysis. This may be local or general. There are certain causes which produce these effects. A wife nursing her husband, a daughter nursing her father, becomes worn out by the anxiety, worry and loss of sleep.

She is exhausted; unable to sustain any mental or physical effort; weak in the knees, weak in the back, and when the times comes for her to sleep she cannot sleep. Sickness brought about in this manner is analogous to that caused by the Cocculus poison, and hence Cocculus from the time of Hahnemann to the present time has been a remedy for complaints from nursing, not exactly complaints that come on in the professional nurse, for Cocculus needs the combination of vexation, anxiety and prolonged loss of sleep, such as you have in the mother or daughter who is nursing, or the nurse when she takes on the anxiety felt by a member of the family; a wife nursing her husband through typhoid, or other long spell of sickness.

At the end of it she is prostrated in body and mind, she cannot sleep, she has congestive headaches, nausea, vomiting and vertigo. That shows how a Cocculus case begins. One who is thus exhausted in body and mind goes out for a ride. She gets sick headache, pain in the back, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. She gets into the car to take a journey. Sick headache comes on. She goes on a mile or two and will have nausea, vomiting and sick headache. She feels weak all over, feels as if she would sink away.

The Cocculus patient gets into a wagon to ride, sick headache, nausea, vertigo come on. The Cocculus patient cannot endure motion. Aggravated by talking, by motion, by the motion of the eyes, by riding. Wants plenty of time to turn the head cautiously to see things. Wants plenty of time to move, to think, to do everything. The whole economy is slowed down, inactive.

Tremulous, tired, excitable. The hands tremble when taking hold of anything, or he takes hold of awkwardly and drops it. Incoordination runs through this remedy, and hence it has been used with good effect in locomotor ataxia. It has staggering and numbness. Numbness is quite a feature of this remedy. Numbness of the lower extremities, in the fingers, in the shoulder, of the side of the face. Complaints from anxiety.

Mind: Extreme irritability of the nervous system. The least noise or jar is unbearable. You have heard that Belladonna is worse from a jar. So is Cocculus, and quite like Belladonna Cocculus is also like Belladonna in its sleeplessness, and other general conditions.

This sensation of seasickness and dizziness is sometimes felt all over the body; a sort of faint feeling which is followed sometimes by loss of consciousness, or a paralytic rigidity.

Joints: Stiffness of the joints is a common feature in Cocculus. It belongs to the limbs in general. But it is such a strong symptom I will mention it here. Limbs straightened out and held there for a while are painful when flexed. Persons who have been suffering from anxiety, prostrated, will lie on the back, straighten out the limbs, and get up only with great difficulty.

The doctor comes and he discovers what is the matter. He bends the limbs and she screams, but she is relieved after the bending, and then she can get up and move about.

You cannot find that anywhere else. It is entirely without inflammation. It is a sort of a paralytic stiffness, a paralysis of the tired body and mind. The Cocculus headaches and backaches, pains and distress are present.

A man will stretch out his leg on a chair and be cannot flex it until he reaches down with his hands to assist. Such things are strange. Faintness on moving the body, fainting from pain in the bowels, from colic. With all this slowing down of the thoughts and activities the patient remains extremely sensitive to suffering, sensitive to pain.

Spasms through the body Iike electric shocks, convulsions after loss of sleep. This patient goes on with nervousness and excitement, anxiety and loss of sleep until convulsions supervene. Tetanus. Cholera, attacks of paralytic weakness with pain, paralysis of the face, of the eyes, paralysis of the muscles everywhere, paralysis of the limbs. Even diphtheria has been known to induce a state very much like I have described as due to loss of sleep and anxiety.

I remember a case of paralysis of the lower extremities that was prescribed for by a very careful homeopathic physician many years ago. It was one of the things that surprised me in the early days of my prescribing and observation.

It was the case of a little girl with paralysis of lower extremities after diphtheria and no hope was given. But Doctor Moore (he was then an Octogenarian) looked over the case. I was acquainted with the family and with the doctor.

He studied the case carefully and gave Cocculus c.m. It was not many days before the child began to move the legs, and the condition was perfectly cleared up, and I have never ceased to wonder at it. It was a good prescription perfectly in accord with all the elements of the case.

Doctor Moore was one of the pupils of Lippe and Hering.

You can hardly see what is coming when the mental activities are slowed down, from anxiety, and loss of sleep, such as we have in nursing. The mind appears like approaching imbecility, and as you look upon the true Cocculus case you wonder if that patient has not been growing insane for a year or two, because the mind seems almost a blank. He looks into space and slowly turning the eyes toward the questioner answers with difficulty. It occurs in nervous prostration, in typhoid fever. It is so nearly like Phosphorus Acid., that the two remedies must be carefully individualized. Time passes quickly.

He cannot realize that it has been a whole night. A week has gone by, and it seems but a moment, he is so dazed. Slowness of comprehension; cannot find the right word to express his thoughts, so slowly does his mind work; what has passed he cannot remember; forgets what he has just read; cannot talk; cannot bear the least noise; cannot bear the least contraction.

The tongue will not respond. There is confusion of mind and difficulty of articulation. An idea comes into his mind and becomes fixed. He cannot convert it or move it, but it just stays there, and if he speaks he will say something that will cause you to realize that that same idea is holding on to him. So he appears to be in a state of imbecility.

Vertigo: Mental derangement with vertigo. With most all the mental symptoms there is vertigo. He lies in a state of apparent unconsciousness, yet knows all that is going on and at times is even able to remember and describe what was going on, but does not even wink; does not move a muscle.

There is an appearance of ecstacy, a smile upon the face. Knows what is going on, yet with complete relaxation of the muscles without speech or apparent recognition of anyone. Perfectly relaxed, and yet knowing what is going on. That resembles catatonia. Unable to think.

Fears death. Feels as if some awful thing was about to happen. All this is the result of grief, anxiety, vexation, prolonged loss of sleep.

The vertigo is visually attended with nausea. A Cocculus case cannot look out of the car window, cannot look down from the boat and see water moving, without nausea immediately.

Perhaps you can even now surmise what the head symptoms are to be. With the headaches comes dizziness, extreme nausea and gastric symptoms.

Headaches brought on from riding in a wagon or riding in the cars or on shipboard; headache from motion. Cannot accommodate the eyes to moving objects; dizziness and whirling and headache.

Congestion of the head, pressing, throbbing headache. Headache as if the skull would burst, or like a great valve opening and shutting. Sick headache with vertigo. Headache again from working in the sun. Sick headache from riding in a carriage.

Eyes: Dim sightedness and disturbance of vision. Paralytic weakness of the muscles of the eyes, as well as the muscles of accommodation. The face becomes pale and sickly. Pale as death, with pains in the face, vertigo and nausea.

Tearing pains in the face. Neuralgia of the face.

Face bloated. Quivering and twitching of the muscles of the face. Paralysis of the muscles of the face. Numbness of the face. Twitching, jerking, numbness, paralysis, tearing pains.

Prostration and nervous exhaustion accompany most of the complaints of Cocculus.

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.