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

Weather: If you will observe the weather conditions in sharp climates, such as Minnesota, Massachusetts and Canada, you will find that the cold spells are very intense and that people when exposed, come down with complaints very rapidly and violently.

That is the way the Belladonna and Aconite cases come on, but Gelsemium complaints do not come from, such causes nor appear that way. Its complaints are more insidious and come on with a degree of slowness.

A Gelsemium cold develops as symptoms several days after the exposure, while the Aconite cold comes on a few hours after exposure. The Aconite child exposed during the day in dry, cold weather will have croup before midnight. But in the South diseases are very slow. Like the people themselves, their organs are very slow, and their reaction is slow.

Their colds are not taken from the violent cold, but from getting overheated. Hence, they take colds and fevers of a low malarial type; they have congestive headaches and congestive complaints that do not come on suddenly. When we think of the climate, and consider the people, and the pace of remedies, we see that Gelsemium is a remedy for warm climates, while Aconite is a remedy for colder climates.

Certain acute complaints in the North will be like Aconite, while similar complaints will have symptoms in the warmer climate like Gelsemium The colds and fevers of the mild winters will be more likely to run to this medicine, whereas the colds and fevers of a violent winter will be more likely to run to Belladonna and Aconite

It is true that Aconite has complaints in hot weather, fevers and dysentery of hot weather, but they are different from the complaints of winter.

Gelsemium has been used mostly in acute troubles. In lingering acute troubles and in those resembling the chronic it is very useful, but in chronic miasms it is not the remedy. It is only a short-acting remedy, though slow in its beginning. In this it is like Bryonia. Bryonia complaints come on slowly, and hence it is suitable for fevers coming on in the southern climate, but it also has sudden violent complaints, though not to the extent we find in Belladonna

Complaints: The complaints of Gelsemium are largely congestive. Cerebral hyperemia, determination of blood to the brain and to the spinal cord. The extremities become cold and the head and back become hot. The symptoms are manifested largely through the brain and spinal cord. In connection with brain affections there are convulsions of the extremities, crampings of the fingers and toes and of the muscles of the back.

Coldness of the fingers and toes; sometimes the extremities are icy cold to the knees, while the head is hot and the face purple. During the congestion the face is purple and mottled. The eyes are engorged, the pupils dilated (sometimes contracted), the eyes are in a state of marked congestion with lachrymation and twitching.

The patient feels dazed and talks as if he were delirious; incoherent, stupid, forgetful. It is like this in intermittent fever that gradually develops towards a congestive chill. Great coldness running up the back from the lower part of the spine to the back of the head. Shuddering, as if ice were rubbed up the back.

The pains also extend up the back. With the coldness of the extremities, the very dark red countenance, the dazed condition of the mind, the glassy eyes and dilated pupils, we have the neck drawn back and rigidity of the muscles of the back of the neck, so that the neck cannot be straightened, and there are violent pains up the back and coldness in the spine.

This state would remind one of cerebro-spinal meningitis. Pain in the base of the brain and in the back of the neck. With all states there is a very hot skin and a high temperature, with coldness of the extremities. Sometimes the troubles are ushered in with a violent chill.

This is a very important remedy to study when such symptoms are present in intermittents and in a few days the tongue begins to coat, nausea comes on, ending in vomiting of bile, and instead of there being an intermission a continued fever extends from one paroxysm into another, with a higher temperature in the afternoon.

The chill practically subsides, leaving a state which has the appearance of typhoid, with dry tongue, not much thirst and marked head symptoms, dazed in mind. If this continues many days delirium and all the features of typhoid will come on and the fever will change its type altogether from the intermittent to the continued.

In congestive chill with high temperature occurring in the afternoon, the chill part of it subsiding and the fever becoming continued, Gelsemium is a useful remedy. It is also a very important remedy in afternoon fevers without chill in infants and in children. You will find in malarial districts that it is a common thing for the infants to have remittent attacks, while the adults are having intermittents. it is only occasionally that you will see a child or infant shake with a distinct chill, but they often go into a remittent fever, an afternoon fever which will subside along towards morning, to be followed the next afternoon by fever. With Gelsemium the child will lie as still as in Bryonia but there is more congestion to the head there is the dark red face and duskiness like Bryonia

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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