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

Sepia is suited to tall, slim women with narrow pelvis and lax fibers and muscles; such a woman is not well built as a woman.

A woman who has the hips of a well-built man is not built for child bearing, she cannot perform the functions of a woman without becoming relaxed in the pelvic organs and tissues. Such a build is a Sepia build, very tall, slim, narrow, straight from the shoulders all the way down.

Mind: One of the strongest features of the Sepia patient is found in the mind, the state of the affections. To a great extent, the remedy seems to abolish the ability to feel natural love, to be affectionate. To illustrate it in the language of the mother:

“I know I ought to love my children and my husband, I used to love them, but now I have no feeling on the subject.”

The love does not go forth into affection, there is a lack of realization, a lack of ability to register such affections; the love does not manifest itself. Upon reflection it will be seen that the love itself cannot be so changed, but the affections can be as they are the expression of the love.

It is a striking feature of this remedy that the affections are stilled; all things seem strange; she does not realize; she may even be estranged and turned aside from those she loves. This is on the border land of insanity; it is quite a different state of affairs from that when a woman abused by her husband knows in her rational mind that she does not love him.

This state is brought out in a woman during confinement, after uterine and other hemorrhages, after prolonged indigestion; high living with disturbance in the circulation, pallor, enfeeblement of body and mind. It is seldom manifested in a man, but it is a striking feature in the woman. It often comes on when nursing a child, from nursing an over-vigorous child or twins who require much lacteal fluid and drag her down. It may be brought out in a woman who has an overvigorous husband. Excessive sexual excitement and over-indulgence brings on coldness and she becomes a cold woman.

She who has been excitable, nervous, and fidgety becomes the opposite, cold, takes on a stoical state of mind. Yet Sepia has all the excitability of any medicine, aggravated by noises, excitement, company, extreme irritability of tissue and mind; an excitable suicidal patient; melancholy, sits and says nothing; taciturn; answers questions in monosyllables when pressed to answer.

An absence of all joy, inability to realize that things are real; all things seem strange; no affection for the delightful things of life; no joy; life has nothing in it for her. She is worse in company yet dreads to be alone; and when she is in company she is spiteful, in the midst of her dullness of mind she is spiteful; she vents her spite on those she loves best. The Sepia woman permits no opposition to her opinions. The best impression of her is lost if controversy arises.

Skin: The next most general state is a peculiar sallowness which you will need to see to fix in your mind.

Sepia has jaundice, yet this peculiar sallowness is a waxy, anaemic appearance, mottled with yellow, a yellow, sallow tint across the nose and the cheeks described as a yellow saddle across the nose and down the sides of the face.

It is also common for the whole face to be covered with enormous freckles, great brown patches as in pregnancy, brown spots on the cheeks, brown warts, warts that have been red or pink become pigmented; liver spots on the face, chest, and abdomen.

The skin of the face is sallow and doughy, looks as if the muscles were flabby; you will seldom see Sepia indicated in the face that shows sharp lines of intellect; a person who has been thinking a long time has the lines and sharp angles of a thinking person, of one who possesses will and intellect. The Sepia subject is one who is rather stupid and dull, thinks slowly and is forgetful; the mind is anything but active and we see it in the face.

Face: In many instances, however, the Sepia patient is a quick patient, but the dullness of intellect is the most striking feature and it reflects itself upon the face.

The face is generally puffed, often smooth and rounded and marked by an absence of intellectual lines and angles.

This patient is anemic, pale lips and ears, pale, sallow face, fingers and hands become shrivelled, sallow, waxy, bloodless. Sepia establishes a progressing emaciation of the body and the skin becomes wrinkled; the person looks prematurely old; wrinkles intermingled with sallow spots on the face in one who is 35 years of age, making him look as if he were fifty. A child looks like a shrivelled dried up old person.

Bowels: With all complaints there is constipation.

The bowels lose their ability to expel their contents and the patient is always constipated; constipation during pregnancy; slow, difficult stool; stool like sheep dung. Always has a feeling of a lump in the rectum, never able to empty the bowels; though he goes to stool there is always a sensation of a lump remaining in the rectum. When the stool passes into the lower bowel, it is not expelled until there is an accumulation, which presses the stool out.

Hunger: Another feature present in most Sepia patients is a gnawing hunger, seldom satisfied; even though he eats plentifully he feels a gnawing, empty, hungry feeling in the stomach, not relieved by eating or relieved only for a moment. This is striking especially when associated with the constipation and the peculiar state of the affections.

When these symptoms are associated with prolapsus, Sepia will certainly cure, no matter how bad the prolapsus has been or what kind of displacement there is. It is the result of the state of relaxation of all the internal parts as if they were let down, wants a bandage to hold the parts up or wants to place the hand or napkin on the parts; a funneling sensation, better sitting down and crossing the limbs.

When these symptoms group themselves together, the gnawing hunger, the constipation, the dragging down, and the mental condition, it is Sepia and Sepia only. One is not sufficient but it is the combination.

Sepia has a marked catarrhal tendency, tendency to milky discharges from mucous membranes. Long after digestion has ceased and the stomach is empty comes nausea and sometimes vomiting.

It is a catarrhal state of the stomach and when it persists with the milky vomiting, Sepia is very valuable. This is not an uncommon feature in the vomiting of pregnancy. Vomits up food and after emptying the stomach of its contents, vomits or eructates a milky fluid; morning vomiting, first of food, then a milky substance. Do not confound this with vomiting of milk. Some medicines vomit milk alone and Sepia does this also.

Whitish, milky discharges from the posterior nares, from the vagina, excoriating, milky leucorrhea, which at times takes on the appearance of curds, thick, cheesy, and horribly offensive; it has also thick, green and yellow discharges; it has dry crusty formations on mucous membranes.

Nose: Prolonged inveterate catarrh of the nose, thick, green, and yellow crusts are blown from the nose and sometimes are hawked from the posterior nares, thick, leathery formations.

Loss of taste and smell. The smell of cooking food, meat and broth causes nausea. Catarrh of the chest with thick, tenacious, yellow expectoration, accompanied with a violent cough, retching, gagging, violent prolonged retching, vomiting; dry cough and yet there is rattling. Whooping cough; asthmatic cough with retching and loss of urine.

Cough: The cough is a violent one.

Cough during first sleep (Lachesis, in irritable children Chamomilla). Tuberculosis. Quick consumption after a suppressed gonorrhea; if given soon enough it will check. Spasmodic dry cough in the evening until midnight; holds the chest during the cough (Bryonia, Natr. sulph., Phosphorus)

Skin: Eruptions of the skin.

Tendency to produce herpetic eruptions about the genitals, lips and mouth; ring-worm upon the face and body. It has cured zona, and herpetic eruptions of the labia and foreskin. Vesicular eruptions in the axilla, upon the tip-s of the elbows; eruptions that pile up in great crusts on the elbows; thick crusts form upon the joints; eruptions between the fingers; moist eruptions that pour out a watery fluid, or thick, yellow, purulent fluid.

Sepia produces the induration that belongs to some forms of eruption like epithelioma; indurations will form on the lips and crack and bleed. The scaly eruption that looks like epithelioma is especially Sepia. When the scales come off a yellow, green, ichorous base remains, and as soon as one crust peels off, another forms; finally if torn off prematurely, it bleeds. Sepia has cured epithelioma of the lips, wings of the nose, and eyelids It has cured old indurations caused by the use of a clay pipe, where it continues to form, and beneath it is seen this thick, yellow, purulent exudation.

It is indicated in lumps and lupoid formation on the skin, where there is infiltration; sometimes healing from the centre to form a ring; this is a typical Sepia condition. The hardness and purple color are what are peculiarly Sepia. Sepia stands on a par with Lachesis for this purple aspect.

Mind again: Sepia has a hysterical diathesis.

Breaks out in spells of weeping, is sad one minute, gentle, yielding, and in another she is disagreeable, excitable, obstinate. You do not know what she is going to do next. She says and does strange things, makes errors, no dependence can be placed on her; no mental endurance; no affection for her family; whole Mind weak and disordered, not when there is fever, but it is a chronic manifestation of psora or sycosis.

Fear of ghosts; that something unusual will happen; atmosphere full of figures, not seen, but she knows that they are there; departed friends or other forms and very often in accordance with religions belief.

Never happy unless annoying some one; relating her grievances; sarcastic; insulting fear of insanity, poverty.

“Fears to starve, is peevish and feels mortified, easily frightened and full of forbodings.”

“Passionate, irritable; the greatest irritability from slight causes, very easily offended.

Vexed and disposed to scold.”

Head: The headaches are nervous, bilious, periodic, violent, involving the whole head; congestive.

Generally better lying down, keeping perfectly quiet; worse from ordinary motion, but relieved by violent motion, like most Sepia symptoms in general; she can walk off her sufferings. Stasis of the brain, slowness of thought, mind will not work and, mental labor aggravates the headache. A good substantial sleep relieves it, but if she is awakened after sleeping a short time, the headache is worse.

The same is seen in regard to motion; moving the eyes, head, or body, moving about in a warm room aggravates the pain, but a good, long walk in the open air until she becomes heated up, relieves. It is a sluggish state of the body which requires exercise, and violent exercise to keep it in a state of comfort.

The Sepia symptoms are worse in the open air unless combined with continued motion, better from exercise in the open air and worse in the house. The headache is worse from stooping, motion, coughing, going up stairs, jarring, light, turning the head, lying on the back and from thinking, but continued, hard exercise relieves, as does a tight bandage, and the application of heat, though worse in a warm room.

There are Sepia headaches that particularly affect the occiput, worse in the morning; great pain through the eyes and temples; relieved by sweat, worse on beginning to move; throbbing felt on stooping, worse on going up s airs.

The Phosphorus headache is relieved by sleep, but continued, rapid motion aggravates. Cannot endure it. Sepia is suited to the old fashioned bilious headaches. It is better from vomiting; the pain gradually increases, loathing of food, then nausea, vomiting and the patient falls asleep and wakens without the headache. Sanguinaria resembles it, is better vomiting, better in a dark room; the direction is different, however.

Neuralgia of the head; periodic sick-headaches in gouty people; violent, congestive headaches in young women sensitive to noise, women of extremely delicate fiber, especially those with dark eyes, dark skin, and who become sallow from sickness. Jaundice often sets in with the headaches; at the close of the headache vomiting, and in a few days jaundice, which passes away but returns again with the next headache.

Headache every morning with nausea; the smell of food repulsive. Sepia takes on a stupid state of mind as mentioned above; will not work; will not answer questions; as if intoxicated, benumbed; eyes and face swollen, sclerotics yellow and jaundice.

This sometimes ends in violent vomiting spells. Craves spicy, pungent, bitter things like beer – in old drunkards with headache; threatening apoplexy.

“Apoplexy in men addicted to drinking and sexual excesses, with a disposition to gout and hemorrhoids, etc.”

“Threatening apoplexy in a dissipated, middle-aged man, who is subject to arthritic and hoemorrhoidal complaints; they have usually passed through several light attacks of apoplexy and are frequently visited with prodromic symptoms!”

Under external head we have eruptions and falling out of the hair yellow crusts; oozing of pus and other fluids; vesicles eczema of infants.

Face: Eyes; catarrhal symptoms with vesicles and pustules granular lids ulcers and psoric manifestations; various infiltrative conditions of the eyes and about the eyes; pustules on the margins of the lids, pustules on the globe of the eye, seems as if looking through a gauze; tarsal tumors, agglutination of lids, styes, etc.

The ears discharge thick, yellow pus; offensive.

The nose is a favorite locality; loss of smell; yellow or green thick crusts fill the nose and cannot be blown out; inveterate discharge of thick yellow pus.

“Large offensive-smelling plugs from the nose, often so large that they have to be drawn back into the mouth and expectorated, causing vomiting.

Dry coryza especially of left nostril, following of large lumps of yellow or green mucus or yellow-green crusts with blood from the nose.”

This is descriptive of the worst forms of catarrh; very few will let it run on thus far, they apply local treatment and heal the nose up, and, the process at once going to the chest, phthisis pituitosa comes on.

The gums settle away from the teeth. Toothache and neuralgia from taking cold.

Sensation of a lump in the throat (like Lachesis), but the latter is better from swallowing. (The same in worm troubles indicates Cina.) Uneasiness of the collar and corsets like Lachesis Worse in the first, sleep like Lachesis

Stomach: Sepia brings out many things in connection with the appetites, thirst, eating, drinking and stomach, etc.

The Sepia patient is generally conscious of a spoiled stomach, sour and bitter eructations of food, of mucus and bile, sour and bitter vomiting of food and mucus; all-gone, hungry, empty feeling in the stomach sometimes not relieved by eating.

At times a gnawing pain, a sinking, a gnawing hunger which is not always relieved by eating. Almost constant nausea, especially in the morning, nausea and eructations and vomiting of milky fluid; when the stomach is empty, vomiting, spitting up, eructations of milky fluid.

Aversion to food, to the smell of food cooking, like Colchicum and Arsenicum The patient gets up in the morning with an all-gone feeling, distress and fullness in the stomach followed by belching and uprisings of mucus, and milky fluids; vomiting of pregnancy; vomiting of milky water in the morning; this is a characteristic of Sepia.

Acrid, burning eructations; heartburn; rancid eructations, excoriating the throat; pyrosis which is another form of eructation; acrid, sour fluids burning all the way up, causing contraction, tingling, smarting.

Nausea violent; deathly sinking accompanied with an awful anxiety in the stomach.

Phosphorus has more of the typical hunger which is relieved by eating. The Ignatia patient is always sighing; cannot get rid of “that feeling.”

Oleander has an all-gone empty feeling as if he would die; food does not relieve, is not digested, but panes undigested the next day.

Lycopodium has an all-gone feeling sometimes not better by eating, felt as markedly before as after eating, and after eating there comes a throbbing.

Kali carb. has it also, without the amelioration from taking food; it is even intensified by eating, which is followed by a sensation of fullness and throbbing.

In severe liver and heart affections the stomach is not able to keep up assimilation; palpitation, great weakness, liver congested, white stool.

Digitalis comes in here with its deathly sinking not better by vomiting. In Sepia this symptom is associated with the loss of affections, the lump in the rectum, with the constipation, etc.

“Pain in the stomach after the simplest food.

Stitches and burning in the stomach.

Pain in the stomach worse by vomiting.”

This is peculiar, for vomiting usually relieves the distress. The Sepia stomach becomes like a leather bag, fill it up and the food comes up just as eaten or at times sour or mixed with bile. Inflammation of the liver, enlargement with jaundice, pain, fullness, distension, distress in the region of the liver.

Abdomen: distended with flatus, rumbling and distension. These disturbances are often chronic as in pot-bellied mothers; abdomen covered with brown spots. Sepia has removed tape-worm.

Chronic diarrhea, stools jelly-like, lumpy; alternating diarrhoea and constipation; a great amount of mucus with the stools, whether constipated or diarrheic; hard stool covered with a great quantity of jellylike mucus.

Goes for days without a stool and then sits and strains until a copious sweat breaks out and yet no stool, but after assistance with the finger and prolonged strain a little stool is passed, followed by a cupful of jelly-like mucus, yellow or yellow-white and very offensive.

The acute diarrheas and dysenteries with jelly-like stools are more in keeping with Kali bichromicum and Colchicum This is chronic diarrhoea or in constipation with stool covered with or followed by jelly-like mucus is Sepia.

Do not confound with Graphites, which has an enormous stool with much straining and sweating, and coated with and mixed with a substance looking like the cooked white egg, as if covered with albumen.

In Sepia there is much offensiveness; the odor of the stool is unusual, loose stools horribly offensive, foetid; the sweat is foetid, the urine is foetid.

“The stool has a putrid, sourish, foetid smell, expelled suddenly and the whole of it at once.”

Sepia is given in a routine way for constipation, when there are few symptoms.

Rectum: There is always a sense of fullness in the rectum after stool; ineffectual straining and sweating in the effort because the patient is weak and exhausted.

Sepia has the ineffectual urging like Nux. She may go for days with no urging and then the effort is as if she were in labor. Prolapse of the rectum. Weight as of a ball in the anus not relieved by stool.

Soreness of the anus. Expulsion of ascarides. Oozing moisture from the rectum, soreness between the buttocks.

Hemorrhoids soon form when the rectum is so packed with feces, and they give additional trouble.

Urinary: There is much urinary trouble; involuntary urination as soon as the child goes to sleep at night.

Sepia is compelled to keep the mind on the neck of the bladder or she will lose the urine; urine is lost when coughing, sneezing, laughing, the slam of a door, a shock, or when the mind is diverted.

Frequent, constant urging to urinate with milky urine that burns like fire and after standing a while a milky, grayish deposit will form which is hard to wash off the vessel. Bloody urine scanty and suppressed, great pain in the kidneys and bladder with great bearing down; sudden desire with tenesmus as if the uterus would come out. Sudden desire to urinate with cutting like knives and chill all over the body, if unable to pass it, as a lady in company.

I remember a pitiable case. A saleswoman was obliged to go to the closet every few minutes; a violent pain like a knife cutting came with the desire to urinate, and if the urine was not passed this pain would hold right on. She was compelled to keep her mind on the urine or she would lose it. She was tall, slim, with sallow face, distressed look, worn and tired. Sepia cured her and she was never troubled again.

The Sepia patient aborts at the third month. All sorts of ulcerative conditions, displacements, dragging down and relaxations. Retained Placenta. Sub involution, all the pelvic organs are tired and weak. Metrorrhagia during the climacteric or during pregnancy, especially at the fifth and seventh months.

Genitals: Both male and female have aversion to the opposite sex.

In the female there is a state as if she had indulged to excess, when this is not the case. No endurance, tired after coition, sleepless nights, sleep full of dreams, jerking of muscles, twitching, leucorrhoea, congestion of the pelvis.

A woman who has been normal in her relations with her husband brings forth a child, and then the thought of sexual relations causes nausea and irritability.

The menstrual symptoms are of all sorts, no particular derangement characterizes Sepia. At one time it was thought that scanty menstruation was the more striking feature, but this is not necessarily so; from provings and clinical observations, it has cured profuse as well as scanty flow. Most violent dysmenorrhoea in girls of delicate fiber, sallow girls.

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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