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

It is said to be a very good medicine for women, for blondes, especially for tearful blondes.

Mind: It is one of the polychrests and one of the medicines most frequently used, as well as often abused.

The Pulsatilla patient is an interesting one, found in any household where there are plenty of young girls.

She is tearful, plethoric, and generally has little credit for being sick from her appearances; yet she is most nervous, fidgety, changeable, easily led and easily persuaded. While she is mild, gentle and tearful, yet she is remarkably irritable, not in the sense of pugnacity, but easily irritated, extremely touchy, always feels slighted or fears she will be slighted; sensible to every social influence.

Melancholia, sadness, weeping, despair, religious despair, fanatical; full of notions and whims; imaginative; extremely excitable. She imagines the company of the opposite sex a dangerous thing to cultivate, and that it is dangerous to do certain things well established in society as good for the human race.

These imaginations belong to eating as well as thinking. They imagine that milk is not good to drink, so they will not take it. They imagine that certain articles of diet are not good for the human race. Aversion to marriage is a strong symptom. A man takes it into his head that it is an evil thing to have sexual intercourse with his wife and abstains from it.

Religious freaks; an especial tendency to dwell on religious notions; fixed ideas concerning the Scripture; he misuses and misapplies the Scriptures to his own detriment; dwells on sanctification until he becomes fanatical and insane; thinks he is in a wonderfully sanctification state of mind, or that he has sinned away his day of grace.

This goes no until he becomes insane on other subjects, and then the tendency is to sit day after day in a taciturn way. He will not answer questions unless hard pressed, when all he will say is “Yes” or “No,” or be will merely shake his head. Puerperal insanity in a woman who was mild, gentle and tearful, later sad and taciturn, and then she sits in her chair all day answering nothing or merely nodding her head for “Yes” or “No.”

Many of the complaints are associated with weakness of the stomach and indigestion, or with menstrual disorders. Women who abort; various irregularities of the menstrual flow; false conception. The mental symptoms are often associated with the ovarian and uterine difficulties.

With such a mental state the general state of the body is worse in a warm room and, relieved by motion. Tearful, sad and despondent, ameliorated walking in the open air, especially when it is crisp, cool, fresh and bright.

Suffocation and an increase of the pains, and even chilliness in a warm room; a nervous chilliness when the patient perspires from the heat of a room. The inflammatory symptoms, neuralgias and rheumatisms are relieved by a cold, by eating and drinking cold things, by cold applications, or cold hands. Cold drinks relieve, even though the patient is not thirsty. Cold foods are digested while hot food make the body warm from which symptoms are worse. Ice cold water feels good going down the oesophagus, and is retained in the stomach, though there is not thirst.

Modalities: Many symptoms worse after eating. It is often only a lump in the stomach, but the mental and nervous symptoms also are worse after eating. The stomach symptoms are worse in the morning, the mental symptoms worse in the evening. Aggravation from fats and rich foods.

Complaints brought ort by eating fat, pork, greasy things. cakes, pastries and rich things. The Pulsatilla stomach is slow to digest. Hours after eating there is a sense of fullness in the stomach, a lump in the stomach, ameliorated by slow walking in the open air.

The patient is commonly relieved from slow motion in the open air, becomes frantic when trying to keep still, worse during rest, ameliorated by doing something, generally slow, moderate motion. This relief from motion and aggravation from rest, relief in the open air, and aggravation in a warm room give us a good summary of this beautiful remedy.

In Pulsatilla patients the skin feels feverish and hot, while the temperature of the body is normal, There is aggravation from much clothing; she wants to wear a thin dress even in moderately cold weather. Does not need to dress warmly. Much clothing and covering aggravate. Often be cannot wear flannels or woolen clothing because they irritate the skin, causing itching and eruptions like Sulphur, and this is not surprising, as Pulsatilla and Sulphur are antidotes.

There is no remedy like Pulsatilla to antidote Sulphur when it has been used every Spring to “cleanse the blood.”

Some people use Sulphur until the skin becomes red, hot, easily irritated, and aggravated by clothing. Pulsatilla is the antidote. Old cases of psoriasis; little flat, brownish patches about the size of the thumb nail, which itch tremendously, in old Sulphur patients are cured by Pulsatilla.

A general feature of the skin is itching and burning, but a more marked Pulsatilla state is a Lachesis appearance of the skin. It is mottled, erysipelatous; spotted, purplish in spots; veins engorged; capillaries tumid; a vasomotor paralysis of the capillaries or veins producing a mottled appearance. Pulsatilla has an unusually venous constitution.

Veins: The veins are engorged, in a state of stasis, hence there is over-heat of the skin. This unusual fullness, redness and purple aspect of the face is a false plethora. it often goes on to a puffiness and swelling, and especially at the menstrual periods. Considerable bloating of the face and eyes, bloating of the abdomen; feet puffed so that she cannot wear shoes, feet red and swollen at the menstrual period, ameliorated by the menstrual flow.

Many women are late and are preparing for a week or ten days; face purple, red, puffed and bloated; abdomen distended; dyspnoea; and all this is relieved by the menstrual flow. She feels these symptoms perhaps one or two weeks, and is relieved by slow motion in the open air. Cannot breathe in a warm room; wants the windows open; chokes and suffocates in a warm bed at night. This increases until the menstrual flow starts. The stomach is so full and distended that she cannot eat. No appetite or desire for food.

With the engorgement of veins ulcers surrounded by varicose veins are common in this remedy. Ulcers bleed black blood which coagulates early; little black clots; bleeding is not copious; clots easily, dark, tarry, offensive. Ulcers bleed and ooze, discharge a bloody watery fluid or there is a very thick yellow or green flow.

This brings us to the catarrhal state. Wherever there is mucous membrane there is catarrh. The mucous membrane is covered with purple spots, dry spots; tumid, puffed, looks erysipelatous. Wherever there is inflammation of the mucous membrane it looks purple; a venous congestion.

Thick, green, yellow catarrhal discharges are most characteristic. The catarrhal discharges are bland with the exception of that from the vagina, which is excoriating, causing rawness of the parts. From the eyes, ears, nose and chest there arc thick, yellow, green, bland, discharges, but there is thick yellow green excoriating leucorrhoea. Remember, however, that Pulsatilla has a bland leucorrhoea, in keeping with the general state. Discharges are often offensive, sometimes bloody, watery, but even then mingled with yellow green purulent fluid.

Eyes: The Pulsatilla patient suffers from vertigo from affections of the eyes, ameliorated by wearing well-adjusted glasses; attended by nausea which is worse lying down, worse from motion, worse from the motion of the eyes, and ameliorated in a cold room, and by riding in a carriage in the cold air. As soon as she enters a room that is warm she has nausea, even to vomiting. Vertigo with vomiting after eating.

Head: Pulsatilla has violent headaches. Headaches in school girls who are about to menstruate. Headache accompanying menstruation. Headache associated with suppressed menses, with menstrual disorders; not caused from them, but associated with them.

Pains through the temples and sides of the head are common Pulsatilla headaches. Headaches before, during and after menstruation; but more commonly before, when there is a general state of congestion, stasis, and tumefaction of the veins, and amelioration of the headache when the menses set in if the flow is normal.

It is common to have the head and nervous symptoms through the menses, because the flow is so scanty, often little more than a leucorrhoea, and for a single day a little clot of dark blood.

One-sided headaches and one-sided complaints are peculiar to Pulsatilla. Perspiration on one side of head and face; fever on one side of the body; one side cool and normal and the other side hot. I remember a case of puerperal fever with sweat on one side of the body and dry heat on the other and confusion of other symptoms. Pulsatilla was given and the patient recovered.

The Pulsatilla headache is a throbbing congestive headache; much, heat in the head, ameliorated by the application of cold, by external pressure, and sometimes by slow motion, aggravated by lying and sitting quiet, ameliorated by walking slowly in the air; becomes worse towards evening and gradually increases through the evening and night, worse from the motion of the eyes and from stooping. The pains are often constricting, throbbing and congestive. Periodic sick headaches, with vomiting of sour food. Headache when be overeats. Though he likes ice cream, he has headache and congestion of the stomach after eating ice cream.

Eyes. Catarrhal symptoms. Pustules about the lids and over the ball; on the cornea. Inflammatory features. Thick, yellow-green pus. Granular lids. Continued formation of little pustules. Isolated granules on lids, grow out here and therein bunches as large as pin leads. Eyelids inflamed and bleed easily. Every time he catches cold it settles in the eyes and nose.

Eyes red, inflamed, and discharge, In infants catarrhal diseases of the eyes of a gonorrheal character; ophthalmia neonatorum. In early days the infant often needs the same constitutional remedy as the mother. Yellow green discharge from the eyes; eyes are ameliorated by washing in warm water, or tepid water; even cold water feels good to the eyes.

The Sulphur patient is made worse by bathing; the eyes smart, burn and become increasingly red after washing in water. Pulsatilla causes a tendency to the formation of styes; recurrent styes; always having styes. Pustules, papules and little nodosities on the lids.

Prior to menstruation, in young girls especially, things get black, before the eyes, like a gauze or a veil. Nervous manifestations, twitchings, spell of blindness and fainting. In the early stages of paralysis of the optic nerve Pulsatilla is a great remedy. The patient is always rubbing the eyes; whether or not there is mucus in the eyes it matters not; but it is a sensation of gauze before the eyes, ameliorated by rubbing.

Pulsatilla has cured incipient cataract. Itching of the eyes, in keeping with the skin symptoms. Itching in the ears, nose, tickling in the throat, in the larynx.

Ears: In the ears we have the same catarrhal condition.

Thick, yellow, offensive, purulent, bland discharge; very foetid, sometimes bloody. Pulsatilla is commonly indicated in earache of children; when the child, is a gentle, fat, plump, vascular red-faced child always pitifully crying. If it is a case of earache in a nondescript child Pulsatilla will also prove to be a temporary remedy, so closely is it related to pain in the ear. Pains in the ears in the evening or in the night, ameliorated by walking slowly about the room.

In Chamomilla you have a snap. ping and snarling child, never pleased, scolds the nurse and mother ameliorated by walking about. The irritability decides for Chamomilla. You can detect a pitiful cry from a snarling mad cry. Both are ameliorated by motion, by being carried. Both want this and that and are never satisfied; they want amusement. But the Pulsatilla child when not amused has a pitiful cry and the Chamomilla child a snarling cry. You will want to caress the one and spank the other.

Ear troubles with a ruptured drum and no healing; otitis media. Abscess in the middle ear; inflammation of the middle ear; copious thick bloody discharge, then yellow-green. The case goes on night and day until rupture takes place. I have found this condition as an endemic, in which Mercurius, Hepar., and Pulsatilla were the most frequently indicated remedies.

Ear troubles following eruptive diseases. Offensive catarrhal discharge dating back to scarlet fever or measles; badly treated and drugged patients. Inflammation and swelling of the external ear; erysipelatous purple conditions. Scabs on the tragus.

Nose: The patient is subject to repeated attacks of coryza, with sneezing and stuffing up of the nose; a febrile state; sometimes with chills, fever and sweat.

Pains in the face through the nose. In the evening considerable watery discharge with sneezing; in the morning stuffing up of the nose with thick yellow-green discharge. Pulsatilla is suitable to chronic catarrhs, with thick yellow-green discharge which is bland; stuffing up of the nose; copious discharge; patient has a bad smell in the nose; smells various offensive things, sometimes like manure, but more commonly described as the offensiveness of a stinking catarrh.

Large bloody, thick, yellow crusts accumulate in the nose, harden down and are blown out in the morning, accompanied by thick yellow pus. In old lingering cases, loss of smell and taste. The mucous membrane is in a state of thickening and suppuration, with the formation of crusts and ulcers. Fullness high in the nose; stuffing up and fullness in the posterior nares. Hawks up thick yellow mucus in masses, with crusts in the morning, very often offensive to others.

Many Pulsatilla patients in this catarrhal state get relief from this horrible stench by blowing out great crusts. Thick clinkers of dried up pus or dried mucus and pus accumulate for several days and this terrible catarrhal smell comes on; but as soon as he blows out these clinkers the odor goes away and he has relief until they form again in a few days.

The patient himself feels better in the open air, and worse in a warm room. He breathes better in the open air; feels stuffy in a warm room. But there are times when his nose stuffs up more in a warm room, where he sneezes more in a warm room,

The loss of smell is present in chronic and acute catarrhs. Much stuffing up of the nose occurring in the evening; he blows the nose easily and cleans it out during the day, but it stuffs up in the evening and he cannot clear it out.

Remember that the mental symptoms are worse in the evening. He gets up in the morning with a stuffed up nose, but can clean it out; his mouth is foul, tongue coated, rancid taste, requires much brushing of his teeth and washing out of his mouth before he can take his breakfast.

So you see the mouth and stomach symptoms are worse in the morning, the mental symptoms are worse in the evening and there is also a stuffing up of the nose in the evening. Compare this with the cough. There is a dry evening cough in Pulsatilla and a loose morning cough.

Copious expectoration in the morning, but a dry, tight, constricted feeling in the chest in the evening. Stuffed up in the evening, making breathing difficult. To repeat, then, Pulsatilla is one of our sheet anchors in old catarrhs with loss of smell, thick yellow discharge, and amelioration in the open air; in the nervous, timid, yielding, with stuffing up of the nose at night and copious flow in the morning.

With the catarrhs and acute colds there is often bleeding of the nose, blowing blood from the nose; the crusts cling tight, and when blown out they are torn loose, and this causes bleeding; but the nose bleeds easily, subject to epistaxis. Nose-bleed during the menstrual period; nose-bleed before the menstrual period; nose-bleed with suppressed menses; bleeding dark, thick, clotted, almost black, venous blood.

Especially do we find catarrhal subjects in women who have late, scanty, light colored menses; scarcely more than a leucorrhoea; if bloody, then only a little black stain or clot. Chlorotic patients who have their menses once every two or three months; chlorotic girls who are irregular, and are subject to these catarrhal states.

Pulsatilla is very useful in hay fever. The management of hay fever requires considerable study because you have to deal with the troublesome imaginations of the patient, he will refuse to let you study him; he wants the hay fever treated; he don’t want the hemorrhoids, the thick skin on the soles of the feet, the pains in the sacrum, the diarrhea which alternates with constipation, talked about or inquired into; these are always better when the hay fever is present.

Sometimes he will tell you that he is always well except when he has hay fever. He may feel well, but it is impossible for him to be well; he has always had these complaints and he does not want you to bother with them. The hay fever will hardly ever reveal the indications for a remedy for the patient.

Another individual has epilepsy, and if you expect to find in the fit the remedy that cures the patient you will be mistaken. When an acute mimicking manifestation of disease follows several times the same beaten track the details are hard to find. He does not know much about his hay fever. If you suggest several things he has them all. In nearly all these acute expressions you do not find in the exaggerated attack the symptoms that will lead you to the remedy.

You will find these symptoms by getting the state of the patient before he was taken with bay fever. These primitive symptoms are of more importance. Sometimes it is important to know what region was affected before the nose was affected. At times you will find spinal symptoms; great soreness in the back relieved by lying on something hard. Few remedies have that. They do not tell you that at first but continue to dwell on the bay fever. In many nervous women the attack comes on with sneezing and watery discharge and then a copious, thick, yellowish-green discharge. These are the natural symptoms of hay fever, but in the “back” symptoms you see something.

In Pulsatilla the menstrual symptoms and the prolapsus come in. When the hay fever comes on, all the other symptoms are better, she feels nothing except the hay fever, however, all the symptoms interweave with each other.

The Natrum mur. symptoms will be worse in the morning and until toward noon, while in Pulsatilla they are worse in the evening, the nose filling up with thick, yellowish-green, ropy mucus, and when the nose has been cleared, a dry, burning, smarting feeling remains; if the room is warm at night, she cannot sleep.

Natrum mur. is a little like that in the smarting and inability to sleep at night in a warm room. In Natrum mur. too, the discharge may continue day and night. We have an acute class in which Pulsatilla is sometimes indicated-copious watery discharge which ends in sneezing. In the beginning we will think of Carbo veg., Arsenic, Allium cepa, Euphrasia.

With Carbo veg. there is a watery discharge and the irritation extends into the chest, with hoarseness and rawness. In Allium cepa we have one group of symptoms that points to this remedy. Excoriating discharge from the nose and bland discharge from the eyes; in the larynx, sensation as if hooks were there, and sometimes this extends below the larynx; this always means Allium cepa; it is also worse in a warm room like Pulsatilla

The Euphrasia looks like Cepa, only the discharge from the eyes is copious, watery and burning the lachrymation burns the eyes and excoriates the cheeks; discharge from nose is bland like Pulsatilla; sometimes this goes into the chest, then it is no longer Euphrasia.

Iodine is worse in a warm room; thick discharge from nose which bums and excoriates and is yellowish-green; but there is one thing that differentiates it from all the others -the patient immediately begins to emaciate when the complaint comes on and is very hungry.

Kali hydr. with the thick yellowish discharge, worse in a warm room, there is a great amount of rawness and burning in the nose; external nose very sore to pressure; sensitiveness in the root of the nose; whole face aches and patient is extremely restless; wants to walk in the open air which does not fatigue him.

Iodide of Arsenic; anxiety, restlessness and weakness; frequent sneezing and copious watery nasal discharge that burns the lip. Burning, watery discharge from the eyes like Arsenic. Arsenic wants to be very warm; wants hot water applied to the eyes; the only relief is from sniffing hot water up the nose. The Iodide of Arsenic is worse in a warm room, and, for days after sneezing, the discharge thickens and becomes gluey, looking like thick yellow honey, this excoriates; much pain through the root of the nose and eyes; often rawness in the chest with dyspnoea.

The remedies having the dyspnoea are Arsenic, Iodide of Arsenic, Iodine, Kali hydr., and Sabadilla; these are the ones I have found most frequently indicated in the asthmatic forms of hay fever. If the complaint has been developed after being overheated about that time, you will find that Silica, Pulsatilla and Carbo veg. must be carefully compared.

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.