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.

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.