Spigelia was named by Linnaeus in 1737 after Adrian van der Spigel, a Belgian professor of anatomy. He should have been satisfied without this additional honor, as one of the lobes of the liver had already been named for him; but as he had been dead for a hundred years (d. 1625) when this plant was christened, he was not wholly to blame.
Anthelmia, from anthelmintic, a worm destroyer.
We use the Spigelia anthelmia, the Demerara pinkroot. The old school use the Maryland Spigelia anthelmia, the Demerara pinkroot. The old school use the Maryland Spigelia; both are used as vermifuges, but with us the position of Spigelia as a worm remedy is one of very minor importance.
Spigelia was first proved by Hahnemann.
“The sphere of action of Spigelia is not extensive” (Dunham) and we usually connect it with neuralgia and especially with neuralgic pains in the head, chest and heart, and although its range of action is limited, it is apt to startle our patients with the speedy cures that it makes.
It is a remedy that has a decided preference for the left side of the head and body (125).
There is an aggravation from motion in Spigelia, especially from any motion of the arms, and aggravation from lying on the back. There is an intolerance of pain (148) and “great sensitiveness to touch (166) and the least touch on the body sends a shudder through the whole frame. There is no marked periodicity” (Dunham) in Spigelia.
There is one symptom that is quite characteristic of the remedy, and that is, that the pains often start from a point and spread out, or radiate from that spot, like the ribs of an open fan.
Spigelia is very valuable in neuralgic or nervous headaches, generally beginning at one point, on the left side of the head, and radiating in different directions. The pains are burning, jerking and tearing, and are worse during stormy weather (98). These neuralgic headaches are also worse from shaking or jarring the head, as in walking (96) and especially by a false step; by noise (96), speaking aloud, or movement of the facial muscles.
Sometimes the headaches end with vomiting; sometimes they begin in the morning and last until evening (95); at times with the headache there is a sensation as if the head were opening (106).
Spigelia is of great value in supraorbital neuralgia of the left side (76), with radiating pain, or jerkings or streaks of pain like electric flashes, the pains worse from any motion and especially worse from stooping. It is of frequent use in ciliary neuralgia (75), with very severe radiating pains, and in rheumatic iritis (74), with the ciliary pains.
It can be thought of in ptosis (78), with sharp, stabbing pains and hot lachrymation.
I will not ask you to make any note of its supposed use in post-nasal catarrh, with dropping of mucus into the throat, as I do not know that the reports that have been sent out concerning its value in this condition have been verified clinically. It is of value, however, in facial neuralgia, with shooting, burning pains, radiating in every direction.
In the jaw we have tearing in the lower jaw extending to the ear, worse moving the head, and an intermittent jerking in the teeth, worse from smoking (188). It is useful in severe neuralgic toothache, with shooting pains, and worse from cold water (187) and cold air (187).
Spigelia is to be thought of in neuralgia of the bowels and for colicky pains in children when associated with worms (208). It is useful in intercostal neuralgia (120) of the left side, with aggravation from deep breathing.
In the heart and cardiac region, Spigelia is of great value and is frequently called for, not only for neuralgia and nervous conditions, but for true inflammation as well.
It is of value for pericarditis and endocarditis, with severe sticking pains, and in aurotitis, with pain under the sternum; in all these conditions, with numbness of the left arm, dyspnoea from lying on the back, profuse cold sweat (185) and violent (112), irregular beating of the heart.
We have palpitation worse sitting down (111) and bending forward, and palpitation and trembling (109) of the heart due to nervousness (111).
The palpitation at times may be felt by the hand at the pit of the stomach (181), or the palpitation is so violent that the beats of the heart are audible and visible through the clothes. It is also of value for irregular and tumultuous action (112) of the heart, a condition found in tea and coffee drinkers and in tobacco smokers (111).
We find frequent use for the remedy in neuralgic pains about the heart, with pains running from the heart down the left arm (110) and in many cases of pseudo or true angina pectoris (107), with pain and numbness of left arm, the pain worse from motion, from using the arms or raising them above the head.
I use Spigelia 3rd.