GELSEMINUM SEMPERVIRENS symptoms from Manual of the Homeopathic Practice by Charles Julius Hempel. What are the uses of the homeopathy remedy GELSEMINUM SEMPERVIRENS…


(Yellow Jessamine.).


Aconite, Belladonna, Cannabis-indica, Caulophyllum, Opium, Veratrum-viride, Chloroform.


We prepare tincture of the root, and likewise use the resinoid Gelsemin.

This drug was first recommended to the homoeopathic profession by Dr. B.L Hill, in the year 1856, who at that time filled the Chair of Surgery in the Cleveland Homoeopathic College. We have made extensive use of this drug in our own practice, and can recommend it in the following affections, where a number of other homoeopathic practitioners have likewise tested and verified its curative virtues, both in high and low attenuations, and large, material doses.

Gelseminum exerts a marked influence over the muscles. In one of the few cases of poisoning reported by King, a prominent eclectic writer, we find the following effects recorded of the poison: “Complete loss of muscular power; was unable to move a limb, or even to raise his eyelids, although he could hear and was cognizant of circumstances transpiring around him. His friends, greatly alarmed, collected around him, watching the result with much anxiety, and expecting every minute to see him breathe his last. After some hours he gradually recovered.

This case shows that Gelseminum is specifically homoeopathic to cataleptic conditions and to attacks of hysteria resembling catalepsy. We have used it with advantage in such attacks.

We are in possession of a number of excellent provings of this drug, all of which shed a good deal of light upon the therapeutic powers of this remarkable agent. Its influence upon the eyes is very great; it causes dimness of sight, amaurosis, paralysis of the upper lids. Provers have experienced a variety of pains in the head; sometimes the pain was felt over the whole head, sometimes only in the forehead, or extending from the occiput to the forehead, or in the side of the head. A symptom in Dr. Henry’s proving reads: “The pains seem to wind round the right eye.” The Gelseminum pains in the head seem to show a tendency to occur periodically, or to shift from one region to another and then to reappear again in the former. Headaches of this character come within the province of Gelseminum. They are nervous, or rheumatic headaches. In nervous hemicrania Gelseminum must prove useful. There is no vomiting, as in sick headache, but great nervous suffering, the irritation being confined to one side of the head, involving the eye, and causing great nervousness. Rheumatic headaches, with drawing or heavy dull pains, or sharp, shooting pains in the forehead, pains in the top of the head or down the occiput, yielded to Gelseminum. In both these classes of headache the eyes are more or less affected. Irritation of the eyes characterized by soreness of the eyeballs, disturbed vision, lachrymation, pricking pain in the eyes, heaviness and drooping of the lids, would be additional indications for Gelseminum. Such headaches are likewise very often accompanied by the dizziness which all our provers of Gelseminum have experienced in a greater or less degree.

The influence of Gelseminum over the nervous and muscular systems has already been alluded to. It causes, and therefore will cure catalepsy. It likewise causes pains resembling those of neuralgic rheumatism. They are drawing and crampy pains in the muscles and toes. In Mr. Bigelow’s proving these drawing, contracting and crampy pains extended from the thighs to the toes, and seemed to proceed from the bones as well as the muscles. Gelseminum being possessed of such a remarkable power to extinguish muscular activity, we may derive benefit from its use in some attacks of rheumatic paralysis. Consensual abnormal impressions of the general sensorium, such as Gelseminum is capable of producing, may furnish additional indications for its use in an attack of this kind.

In hysteria, with excessive melancholy, prostration of the muscular power, excessive nervous irritability, spasmodic attacks, Gelseminum has effected fine cures. Its action upon the mind, as elicited by our provings, account for its successful use in hysteric affections. Even hysteric convulsions have yielded promptly and permanently to its influence. so have puerperal convulsions in the hands of Dr. Douglas and our own. Tetanic convulsions are said to have been cured with Gelseminum. We have no experience to offer in this respect. In trismus, more especially in the trismus of hysteria, we have known it to relax the spasm very promptly.

In neuralgia, particularly of the face, Gelseminum should not be overlooked. It is not, by any means, the equal of Aconite in this disease; and, in the intermittent neuralgia of districts where fever and agues are endemic, Quinine exceeds it by far in therapeutic power. Nevertheless, if the attack is attended by dizziness, a sensation as if the brain would float off, blurred vision, soreness and redness of the eyeballs; or if the attacks is chiefly experienced in the eyeball itself, or in the region above or around the orbit, Gelseminum may be advantageously given in alternation with Quinine, below but in moderately large doses. In congestive neuralgia, when the affected part feels swollen, with a good deal of burning and throbbing distress; or in tic-douloureux of the French, when the pains are lancing, boring, gnawing, sticking, screwing,., we never hesitate, in case the external and internal use of Aconite does not afford speedy relief, to administer this remedy in alternation with Gelseminum.

We naturally would expect a great deal from Gelseminum in affections of the eyes. It has proved an excellent remedy in asthenopia, or weakness of sight, occasioned by abusing the visual organ, or overstraining it. Gelseminum will prove beneficial to literary persons who have weakened their eyes by reading at night, or to mechanics, who have to strain their eyes by fine work. Ruta has been the stand-by of homoeopathic physicians in this trouble, but we have never derived much benefit from it. Gelseminum promises much better in this respect. In amaurosis and amblyopia, with spots floating before the eyes., Gelseminum has affected very brilliant cures. However, it will not supercede either Aconite or Belladonna in this affection. In a case of amaurosis, resulting from rheumatic exposure, attended with intense pain in the region where the internal carotid winds round the optic nerve, a few drops of the tincture of Aconite, in half a tumbler of water, in dessertspoonful doses every ten or fifteen minutes, effected a speedy cure.

In ptosis, a paralytic dropping of the upper lids, Gelseminum is specifically indicated by our provings, and by the few cases of poisoning reported in King’s Dispensatory. In strabismus, when resulting from accidental spasmodic irritation of the muscles of the eyes, Gelseminum competes with any of the remedies upon which we are in the habit of relying for curative effects in this disease.

Whether Gelseminum will prove of much use in affections of the sense of hearing, we are unable to say. Dr. Allen, of New-York, reports a curious case of sore throat, with deafness and dysmenorrhoea, where all these symptoms disappeared as if by magic under the operation of a dose of Gelseminum 100.

Enuresis of children as well as old people, resulting from weakness or paralysis of the sphincter, has been satisfactorily treated with Gelseminum. In spasms of the urethra and bladder, when caused by exposure, or by the passage of calculi through the ureters, Gelseminum competes with Belladonna and Chamomilla.

In seminal emissions, with relaxation of the parts, Gelseminum has afforded much relief; likewise in spermatorrhoea. Dr. Thomas Nichol reports a very brilliant cure of this latter disease. The patient was a young man who had brought himself to the brink of the grave by self-abuse. The Doctor placed him upon the first decimal trituration of Gelsemin, one-third of a grain, morning, noon and night; and, in the space of nine months restored him to perfect health.

In gonorrhoea, Gelseminum has likewise effected cures. Dr. John Douglas, of Chester District, S. C., states that some thirty years ago, a patient came into his office with gonorrhoea of several months’ standing, which had been improperly treated. One of his pupils begged him to allow him to treat the case, saying he could cure the most obstinate case in a few days with the root of yellow Jessamine. A small handful of the root was put into a common junk-bottle of whiskey, and the patient ordered, in a day or two, to take tablespoonful of this mixture night and morning. He took but a few doses when he became much alarmed with the effect upon his eyes, thinking that the medicine had destroyed his vision. Every symptom of gonorrhoea had, however, disappeared, and the cure was permanent. Since that time he has treated many cases with it, and invariably with the same success. In this disease the medicine has to be given in tolerably massive doses. Brilliant cures have been effected by this drug with quantities large enough to cause blindness.

In affections of the bowels our personal experience with Gelseminum is very limited. Eclectics profess to have employed it with great success in bilious diarrhoea, dysentery and in spasmodic colic, causes by the presence of worms. There is certainly no reason why it should not moderate the tormina and tenesmus in dysentery, or relax the spasm in strangulated hernia, or the spasmodic distress caused by worms. Dr. Hale says, that “he has had unusual success in treating worm affections with Gelsemin 2, decimal trituration, alternated with Podophyllin, 1st or 2d, and Santonin, one tenth, each in grain doses, two hours apart. After two or three days the worms are either expelled in large numbers, or the verminous symptoms all disappear. A weak dilution of the tincture injected into the rectum will often bring away large quantities of ascarides.”

We have already alluded to the fact, that Gelseminum has evinced fine therapeutic powers in dysmenorrhoea. Dr. Allen, of New- York, relieved a case of dysmenorrhoea of long standing by a small dose of Gelseminum 100. This seems a most extraordinary case, where dysmenorrhoea, chronic sore throat and deafness were cured at one blow. Nevertheless, all these ailments may have resulted from one and the same condition of abnormal innervation, and, for this reason, yielded to a remedial influence that was adequate to remove the first cause of these derangements.

Spasmodic labor-pains and distressing and exhausting after pains, are controlled by Gelseminum. In uterine haemorrhage, from atony of the uterine vessels, Gelseminum has been employed with success. In prolonged menorrhagia it may be depended upon as an efficient agent to arrest the flow of blood. The homoeopathicity of this drug will have to be determined by the accompanying symptoms and the general nature of the case.

In general, Gelseminum is one of those agents which will prove of vast benefit to an accoucheur. It has power to speedily overcome the rigidity of the os uteri, which is so often an obstacle to labor, and will quiet the nervousness which is so troublesome to parturient females, or during pregnancy, and will afford them a refreshing sleep, if they should be tormented by sleeplessness.

Our provings point to Gelseminum as an a gent that may do good service in catarrh and influenza. The headache and the peculiar irritation which this agent occasions, the sharp, shooting pains in the forehead, the catarrhal irritation of the Schneiderian membrane, fluid discharges from the nose and throat, soreness and irritation of the air-passages, cough, and the general debility, chilliness and the more or less general myalgia which we find recorded among the pathogenetic symptoms of this drug, justify its use in simple catarrhal affections. Of course, it will not supercede Aconite, Arsenic, Tartar-emetic and other drugs belonging to the same series.

In spasmodic and racking cough, having a catarrhal origin, with irritation of the lining membrane of the air-passages, we have derived benefit from the use of this drug. We have never depended upon it either in acute bronchitis or acute pneumonia, although in pulmonary congestion, its employment would seem justified upon homoeopathic principles. Some of the pathogenetic symptoms of this drug point to acute congestion of pulmonary parenchyma. One of Dr. Henry’s symptoms reads: “Short, paroxysmal pain in the superior part of the right lung; on taking a long breath, it sticks from above downwards; this pain in the lungs is one of the most prominent symptoms.”

In spasm of the glottis, Gelseminum has been used with some benefit by some homoeopathic physicians. We have cured the most threatening cases of this disease with Aconite, but should not hesitate to employ both drugs in alternation, giving a much larger dose of the Gelseminum than the Aconite.

In fever Gelseminum commends itself to the attention of homoeopathic practitioners. In the common catarrhal, or even rheumatic fever, we have always got along very satisfactorily with Aconite, Chamomilla, Mercurius-vivus, using in the more deep-seated cases a few doses of Belladonna,. Gelsemium has proved a most acceptable addition to th is group of remedies, especially when the fever-type approximated to the remittent type. In the infantile remittent fever, which Schoenlein describes as acute scrofula, Gelseminum is a very efficient curative agent. It must not be expected, however, that such a fever can be cured as if by magic. In infantile remittents the fever depends upon an acute irritation of the mesenteric ganglia, on which account, Schoenlein likewise denominates such a pathological condition “acute ganglionitis,” If there is much stupor, dry heat of the skin, especially of the abdomen, flushed face, dilatation of the pupils, Belladonna may be required. Iodine and Aconite are useful agents in this disease. Let us likewise be thankful for the powerful aid of Gelseminum. We would suggest, however, that in some of the fine cures reported as cures of infantile remittent fever, the fever really was an acute attack of irritative fever of the remittent type, but where no ganglionic congestion stood in the way of a comparatively rapid cure.

In cerebro-spinal meningitis we commend Gelseminum as a reliably useful curative agent. In the third volume of the Proceedings of the N.Y. State Homoeopathic Medical Society, Dr. S. Searle, of Troy, N.Y., has set forth the homoeopathicity of Gelseminum to this disease in such a strikingly convincing manner, that we take the liberty of quoting some of his remarks: “Gelseminum has direct relation to the incipient or congestive stage of cerebro- spinal meningitis, and also in some degree to the consequent inflammation: while Cimicifuga-racemosa is, in my judgment, homoeopathic to the inflammation of the sero-fibrous tissues involved, and to the irritation of the cerebro-spinal system, which is due to the proximity of the inflammation of its investing membrane, and which manifests itself in spasms. It seems also correlative to that state of the blood which results in the petechiae so common in the severe cases of the disease, and, to use the post hoc ergo propter hoc argument as cumulative and confirmatory; I may say that I have used remedies, relying upon their homoeopathicity, with complete and uniform success.

“Let us now briefly compare the toxicology of these drugs, with the symptoms of the disease under discussion. An attack of cerebro-spinal meningitis is usually sudden, and is ushered in by a severe chill, accompanied by evident congestion of the spine and brain, with its ordinary symptoms, among which, I believe, dilatation of the pupils is always seen. This state is followed, except in those cases which die collapsed, by reactionary fever of corresponding violence. In such a condition of the system no remedy is so homoeopathic as Gelseminum. In cases of poisoning by Gelseminum, the universal symptoms are prostration; complete loss of muscular power, of vision and speech; staggering gait; icy coldness of the hands and feet; pulse very feeble or imperceptible; respiration labored, feeble; nausea and vomiting. All of these symptoms are relieved by cerebral stimulants, showing what portion of the organism feels the depressing power of the drug. One symptom which is prominent and constant, that it is almost characteristic of Gelseminum, is languor and heaviness of the eyelids; they close in spite of all the efforts of the will. No language could more accurately described the incipient stage of the malady under consideration. In short, every symptom of intense congestion to the brain and spine, and the partial paralysis which necessarily attends it, may be found described with equal accuracy in the pathogenesis of this drug, and the diagnosis of the disease.

“It is stated by Hale ‘that the intense hyperaemia of the brain caused by Gelseminum stops just short of inflammation.’ As we have no record of post-mortem examinations in any case of reported death, there are no means of affirming or disproving this assumption; but I feel confident he is in error, and that the same law obtains in toxicology as in disease, viz: that long- continued congestion, especially if violent, must end in inflammation. The only conceivable exception is in cases where the congestion to vital organs is so overwhelming as at once to suspend their functions, and thus destroy life. Thus believing, I have continued the use of Gelseminum when its characteristic symptoms were manifest, even in the inflammatory stage of the disease. The indications which should determine its use, after inflammation has become decided, may be found in the pathogenesis of the drug, and are quite as distinctively characteristic of the disease when fully developed, as in its inception.”

We consider it as one of the remedies to be employed in bilious remittent fever, with frontal or general headache, dizziness, tendency to stupor, jaundiced color of the eyes and face, foul taste in the mouth, nausea and vomiting, bilious discharge from the bowels or constipation, prostration, pains in the muscles and bones,.

In intermittent fever its therapeutic powers are highly valued. In our region of country where intermittents are endemic, and where we cannot possibly get along with the use of Quinine we attach a good deal of importance to Gelseminum as an inter current remedy, or as a remedy that may be profitably used in alternation with Quinine. In an attack of true congestive chills we certainly should not depend upon Gelseminum alone to ward off the next attack.




Pain of the head, quite constant, dull, stupefying, and pressive; most frequently in the forehead and temples. Bruised pain above the back of the orbits. Tightness of the brain. Often more or less headache, with nausea. Giddiness is pretty constant: an intoxicated feeling, and tendency to stagger, often with dizziness and imperfection of vision, aggravated by smoking.


Irritable and impatient mood; incapacity to think or fix the attention; confusion of mind; stupid, intoxicated feeling; dullness of all the mental faculties. In one case great mirthfulness.


Great heaviness of the lids; difficulty of opening the eyes or keeping them open; eyes close in spite of him, on looking steadily at an object; fullness and congestion of the lids; diplopia when inclining the head towards the shoulder, but vision single when holding the head erect. Dryness of the eyes; misty or glimmering appearance before the eyes; pain in the orbits, sometimes excessive.


In a few cases watery discharge from the nose.


Thirst during the sweat. Mawkish taste in the mouth, clammy feverish taste; great hunger.


Feeling of emptiness and weakness in the stomach and bowels; eructation; nausea; hiccough.


Slight pain in the transverse colon. Gnawing pain in the transverse colon Slight pain in the left iliac region. After chills, headache, fever and prolonged sweating. Seventeen hours after taking the drug was awakened by severe gripings in the lower abdomen, soon followed by a very large and natural stool, but followed by no diminution of pain until another large deeply bilious discharge, followed by instant relief of pain.


Rather increased in quantity, clear and watery; frequent micturition.


Paroxysms of hoarseness, with dryness of throat, voice seems weak; stitching sensation in the region of the heart; constrictive pain around the part of the chest.


Pain in the back, as in the cold stage of ague (many cases).


Coldness of the extremities, especially the feet, often severe; feet feel as if in cold water. Anguish feeling, with pain in the legs. Pain in popliteal space.


Febrile chilliness; cold extremities; heat of head and face, with headache. Pulse uniformly depressed, and rendered less frequent. Pulse soon becomes very feeble in many cases; sometimes scarcely perceptible, with chilliness, cold feet, heat and pain of the head. In a majority of cases perspiration follows the fever. The pathogenesis of no drug represents so completely and so uniformly all the stages of the ordinary fevers of this country.


Disposition to yawn; a sort of stupor; cannot keep the eyes open; is obliged to lie down and sleep. Drowsiness and long sound sleep are very general symptoms.


The Gelseminum produced a peculiar and very marked eruption in most of the cases. It appears on the face most frequently, but sometimes also upon the back, between the shoulders. It is papulous, very much the color of measles, which it closely resembles; but the papulae are more distant and distinct. Though very conspicuous, they are attended with little or no sensation the patient being unaware of any eruption until he happens to see himself. Persons have frequently been asked what was the matter, of it they had the measles, when they were not aware of the eruption. It generally appears the second or third day of the proving and continues one or two weeks.

Charles Julius Hempel
Charles Julius Hempel (5 September 1811 Solingen, Prussia - 25 September 1879 Grand Rapids, Michigan) was a German-born translator and homeopathic physician who worked in the United States. While attending medical lectures at the University of New York, where he graduated in 1845, he became associated with several eminent homeopathic practitioners, and soon after his graduation he began to translate some of the more important works relating to homeopathy. He was appointed professor of materia medica and therapeutics in the Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia in 1857.