This plant was so named on account of some resemblance of the pod or seeds to a flying swallow; because it flowers at the time of the return of that bird; or because it was once supposed that when the eyes of young swallows became, through injury or otherwise, affected with a white film, the parent birds gathered and applied the juice of this plant and so cured the trouble. Tetterwort (tetter, a skin eruption), so-called from its employment in cutaneous diseases.)
The European or Chelidonium majus is naturalized in the United States, and, according to Millspaugh, is at the present time “not found growing at any great distance from dwellings.”
“A fine gamboge-yellow, acrid juice, pervades the plant, root, stem and leaves. This fact led those who practiced upon the doctrine of signatures” (where the peculiarities of form and color of plants indicated in what diseases or part of the body they would prove curative) “to employ the drug in hepatic disorders, from its resemblance to bile in color. It proved one of the hits of that practice” (Millspaugh).
Hahnemann, who first proved this remedy, in commenting on this ancient method of prescribing, says: “The importance of human health does not admit of any such uncertain directions for the employment of medicines. It would be criminal frivolity to rest contented with such guesswork at the beside of the sick.
“Only that which the drugs themselves unequivocally reveal of their peculiar powers in their effects on the healthy human body-that is to say, only their pure symptoms – can teach us loudly and clearly when they can be advantageously used with certainty; and this is when they are administered in morbid states very similar to those they are able to produce on the healthy human body” (Mat. Medorrhinum Pura).
The most prominent action of Chelidonium is upon the liver, with symptoms of congestion, inflammation and jaundice, of disturbed function of the bowels and kidneys and sympathetic affections of the r. lung.
It is a r.-sided remedy (163) and in the majority of cases in which it is prescribed you will find more or less hepatic disorder and pain beneath the angle of the r. scapula.
Chelidonium “has a narcotic action on the nervous system” (Millspaugh), and mentally we find great lethargy, sleepiness, debility, weariness and indisposition to make any effort. A pathogenetic symptoms reads, “horror of movement.”
The Chelidonium patient is apt to grow very forgetful (133), imagines that she cannot think and that she will lose her reason (120) and in melancholia, associated with enlarged liver and jaundice she is anxious and uneasy, with fears of having committed a crime (53) or “the unpardonable sin” (Hering).
It is a remedy to be thought of in convulsions due to indigestion (36).
Vertigo is very marked, noticed especially on rising up in bed (207) or from a chair, or “on closing the eyes” (Hering) (207), with inclination to fall forward, and associated with jaundice and bilious vomiting.
R. sided headaches are the rule in Chelidonium, often neuralgic usually associated with hepatic symptoms (95) and bilious vomiting (97). These headaches begin somewhere in the r. side, extend down behind the ear and generally to the r. shoulder-blade, where they become seated.
We also have violent neuralgic headaches in the r. side of the head, affecting especially the r. eye and ear and r. cheekbone, with sharp cutting pains. When the pains are located in or over the r. eye (76) there is usually profuse lachrymation (104).
There is a feeling of heaviness in the occiput (107) so that one can hardly raise the head from the pillow, and Lippe gives, “sensation of coldness in the occiput (90), ascending from the nape of the neck.”
There are many interesting conditions in Chelidonium in reference to the stomach and liver; interesting, provided the muzzle of the gun is not pointed in your direction. The whites of the eyes, the forehead, nose and cheeks, and the tongue are yellow (122), in gastric and hepatic disturbances, and the tongue shows the imprint of the teeth along the margins (192). The taste is bitter (186), there is a bad odor from the mouth and an accumulation of tough mucus.
We have gastric catarrh (178), with nausea and vomiting, coated tongue, bitter taste, etc., and bilious colic, with violent pain in the region of the stomach going through to the back (180) and r. shoulder-blade, or over towards the liver. Generally the gastric disturbances are relieved temporarily by eating (174), with preference for hot drinks and hot food. Sometimes very hot water relieves the vomiting for a time.
Chelidonium is of value in enlargement and congestion of the liver, with sticking pains, bloated abdomen and pain under the angle of the r. shoulder-blade; usually with jaundice (122), heavily coated tongue, showing the imprint of the teeth (192), bitter taste, etc.
A sensation in the umbilical region, sometimes noticed in liver troubles, is as if the abdomen were constricted by a string (165). In all the gastric, intestinal and hepatic affections of the remedy, the pains are worse on the r. side and generally become seated under the angle of the r. scapula (163).
While the urine is usually dark yellow or brown, with sediment when fresh, we may have, in jaundice, clear, offensive urine and dark stools.
The diarrhoea is of thin, bright-yellow or white (58), pasty stools, or we have alternations of diarrhoea and constipation (58), in general associated with jaundice (122) and disturbances of the liver, or with symptoms of intestinal catarrh.
In Chelidonium, says Hahnemann, there is a longing for milk, which agrees well with him and does not produce the usual flatulence; and with the diarrhoea there may be a desire for milk (57) or hot drinks.
The cough is loose and rattling (45), with expectoration that is profuse but difficult to loosen. The cough is often spoken of as racking, partly because of the difficulty in raising the mucus and party because of the pain we are apt to have, when coughing, in the r. side of the chest (49) and under the angle of the r. scapula. These pains are especially noticed in a severe bronchitis, broncho-pneumonia (151) or pneumonia associated with liver troubles. It is to be thought of in particular in r. sided pneumonia.
There are numerous rheumatic pains in Chelidonium, those in the upper extremities being especially associated with hepatic derangements. In the upper extremities, on both sides, but especially the r., we have pain in the shoulders, arms and tips of fingers (161), with yellowness of fingers and coldness, and blue fingers-nails. The flesh is sore to touch and while there is perspiration, there is no relief of the pains from sweat (185).
In the lower extremities the r. is more apt to be affected, and we find the pains in the hip, thigh and knee (125), frequently with stiffness of the r. leg as if it were paralyzed.
In reference to the itching to be found under Chelidonium and associated with jaundice or other liver symptoms, Dearborn says it is “better after eating”.
I use Chelidonium 3d.