SEPIA Medicine

SEPIA symptoms of the homeopathy remedy from Plain Talks on Materia Medica with Comparisons by W.I. Pierce. What SEPIA can be used for? Indications and personality of SEPIA…



      Hahnemann, who with five others, all men, first proved Sepia, says: ” This brownish-black juice (before me used only for drawing),” when prepared with caustic lye it forms a beautiful brown color, “is found if a sac in the abdomen of the large sea animal, called cuttle-fish. This the animal occasionally squirts out to darken the water around it, probably in order to secure its prey, or to conceal itself from its enemies.”

Teste says, ” It would seem that Hippocrates believed the flesh of Sepia possessed the same properties which are ascribed to the liquid in the pouch. What is still more remarkable is, that several physicians among the ancients, such as Dioscorides, Soranus, Plinius and Marcellus, used either the flesh, the eggs, or even the only bone which constitutes the skeleton of this animal, for leucorrhoea, gonorrhoea, catarrh of the bladder, gravel, spasms of the bladder, freckles and certain kinds of tetters, in other words, for the very disease for which we employ the juice of sepia in our own practice. I need scarcely say that this drug has been out of use for centuries” (Mat. Medorrhinum Trans. by Hempel. 1854).

Sepia was reproved by the American Institute of Homoeopathy for the Transactions of 1875, Dr. Carroll Dunham having charge of it. While thirty persons agreed to take part, only twenty-six reports were handed in, nine of which were from women. Dr. T. F. Allen supervised six of the provings.

Sepia should be obtained from our pharmacies not lower than the 3rd trituration, and higher potencies can be made from that trituration. The crude drug while diffusible, is not soluble in water, nor, as Hahnemann says, is it soluble in alcohol. While the American Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia gives a method of preparing it by using the crude drug and dilute alcohol, it says: ” Triturations of this remedy are preferable.”.


      Sepia produces general relaxation, and weakness, goneness or prolapsus are words that are constantly used in the pathogenesis or given us by patients who are suffering from conditions calling for the remedy.

Weakness of the female sexual organs is its most prominent feature; next, perhaps, in importance is its action on the liver and then its action on the skin.

It is a remedy that seems to be especially suitable for persons with dark hair (88). Allen, Lippe, Hering, Boenninghausen, Farrington and Dearborn are some who speak of Sepia being especially suited to dark-haired people. Taste, on the other hand, says it is “principally suitable to people with blond or red hair.” I cite this simply that we may not err by giving too much credence to the type of patient that a remedy is said to be adapted to. Let it be the last of the totality, rather than the first symptom around which we build the others.

There is a general aggravation twice a day in Sepia, about 11 A.M. and 4 P.M. and aggravation form having the hands in water, as after laundry work (8). There is an aggravation of the conditions before the menses and during the climacteric. The pains are frequently worse after eating, are worse during rest, with “relief from exercise in the open air” (Dunham) (10). There is general tendency to emaciation and faintness.

Mentally the Sepia patient is anxious and full of forebodings about real or imaginary diseases (132), with inclination to weep; or she 1s apathetic, with complete indifference, not only in her own affairs but in those of her family (131), and with desire to be alone (9).

Sepia is of value for hypochondriasis, especially when associated with gastric or uterine conditions, “for mental depression following subinvolution of the uterus (204) and for mild cases of melancholia in chlorotic (17), puffy, and pot- bellied women and for those who have suffered from miscarriages” (Talcott).

While Sepia has such a marked effect on the female sexual organs that it is well named a uterine tonic, being so often indicated in atonic conditions of that organ, we must also remember that it is frequently called for in remote affections that have their origin in some abnormal uterine condition, and as Dunham says, ” It is peculiar to Sepia that, along with its symptoms of disease in the sexual organs” of women “there occurs a considerable number of sympathetic symptoms in different organs, e.g., the toothache, salivation, neuralgia,”

The headache of Sepia may be neuralgic, extending from the occiput (100) to the eye, or it maybe located over one eye. While either side may be affected (76), Lippe gives the preference to the l. side.

The headaches are frequently due to some abnormal uterine position (103) or to menstrual disorder and are aggravated by “light (95), noise ((96) or motion” (Farrington) (96) and relieved in the open air (92). The headaches may be congestive, on the vertex, a venous congestion, with aggravation from any mental effort, and due to disordered liver (95), and associated with great despondency, a desire to be alone, and yellow appearance around the mouth and across the nose.

The supraorbital neuralgia calling for Sepia is usually r.- sided, says Allen (76), is associated with heaviness or ptosis of the upper lid, and brought on by anxiety or fatigue. (95).

It is to be thought of in ptosis of the upper lids (78) and for asthenopia (72) when associated with uterine disease or irregular menstruation. It has been found of value in arresting the progress of cataract (73) but its field of usefulness seems to be confined to women.

The neuralgias and toothaches of Sepia are usually associated with some menstrual or uterine disorder or with pregnancy (188). We find facial neuralgia during menstruation, the pain coming in paroxysms, or intermittent facial neuralgia during pregnancy, some pain in the morning on waking, none at noon, but severe at night. (For neuralgic toothache during pregnancy, Sepia and Pulsatilla are two remedies that are frequently indicated, both having toothache that is better from cold or open air (188).

The leucorrhoea of Sepia is milky (126) and acrid (126) worse before menstruation, the flow more profuse in the morning or only during the day (126).

After menstruation the vagina is dry with pain and sensitiveness when walking, and especially on coition (205)

In the uterus Sepia is of great value of displacements of all kinds, and especially for prolapsus (203), with a feeling of heaviness (202) or of venous congestion and a sensation as if everything world protrude from the vagina (203). This sensation is so pronounced that even when there is no prolapsus of the uterus or vagina, the patient is obliged to sit down and cross her thighs to prevent, as it seems to her, the prostration of the abdominal and pelvic viscera. Associated with this are periods of prostration and weakness, as if she were about to faint, with necessity to sit down and cross her limbs.

There may be amenorrhoea in Sepia (134) and when the menses do appear they are apt to be irregular, either too early (135) or too late (136), but usually scanty, probably painful and associated with pressure downward as if everything would come out through the vagina, sinking at epigastrium and depression of spirits.

In threatened abortion (130 or metrorrhagia “during the fifth or seventh months” (Hering) or t the climacteric, the extreme downward pressure will be your chief guide in the selection of the remedy.

During the climacteric it is of value for sudden rush of blood to the head and face, the “hot flushes” (32).

In gastric conditions the sensation of weakness and relaxation is very pronounced and now the feeling of emptiness or goneness in the stomach (179) is especially noticeable t 11 A.M. (179), with necessity to sit down. Probably the patient, and surely her friends, will feel that she should eat something at this time, but eating will not relieve this sensation of emptiness.

We have nausea in Sepia, worse in th morning and after eating, with bloated abdomen (13), acid (178), sour or putrid eructations and perhaps vomiting. In the morning sickness of pregnancy (153) it is of value when we have, in addition, the sensation of emptiness or goneness in the stomach.

Sepia is of value in atonic dyspepsia (178), with flatulence and depression of spirits, especially when associated with amenorrhoea occurring at the climacteric, or as the result of sexual excesses. With the flatulent dyspepsia there is apt to be an aggravation from milk (6) and a longing for acids (9).

On the liver Sepia is of great is of great value, particularly in torpid conditions, with aching, weight and soreness, which may even involve the r. shoulder, occipital headache. sallow complexion, yellowness of the whites of the eyes

and especially yellow spots (127) on abdomen, chest, face and across the bridge of the nose, the so-called “saddle.”

Constipation is the rule in Sepia conditions, with muscular weakness and inactivity of the rectum, so that prolapsus (160) is common after straining at stool, and even a soft stool is passed with difficulty (34). The rectum feels full even after a stool, or there is a sensation of a lump which cannot be evacuated (35).

Willard Ide Pierce
Willard Ide Pierce, author of Plain Talks on Materia Medica (1911) and Repertory of Cough, Better and Worse (1907). Dr. Willard Ide Pierce was a Director and Professor of Clinical Medicine at Kent's post-graduate school in Philadelphia.