EUROPEAN OR WHITE HELLEBORE.
(Veratrum, hellebore; hellebore, origin unknown; Millspaugh giving it as from eye, helein, in injured bora, food).
The two veratrums which we will study now, are the Veratrum album, the European hellebore, and the Veratrum viride, the American hellebore, the former having white flowers and the latter green.
While verat. alb; was first proved for our school by Hahnemann, it was used as a medicine by the ancients and you will find mention in Dunham’s Lectures that Hippocrates (who lived 350 B.C.) used this remedy in a case resembling Asiatic cholera, the symptoms being those on which a homoeopath would prescribe the same remedy; which would lead one to imagine that he had investigated the law of Similar Similibus Curentur to a greater extent than is generally supposed.
As we have already remarked it will be well for us to remember that the statement made by the old school that Hahnemann was not the first to suggest the idea that likes should be treated by likes, is true, and that their charge that Hahnemann pretended to be the originator of its is false; but it was left to him not only to re-assert its value, but by the physiological proving of drugs on the healthy human being, with infinitesimal doses, to institute the labor required in its practical adaptation to the cure of disease.
Veratrum alb. produces a condition that we will find running through its whole pathogenesis, of profound prostration, weak heart and cold skin, with cold sweat and collapse (34). There are most violent vomiting and purging, with terrible colic, and at times cramps. There are muscular spasms, with rigid contraction of muscles., We find violent tonic spasms, with the he palms and doles drawn inward, or a tetanic rigidity of the muscles, face drawn and pinched, with tendency to cramps, especially in the calves (52).
It is a remedy frequently called for in a state of collapse (34), with cold sweat (185). The sweat is cold and clammy, and it is characteristic that almost every important symptom of the remedy is associated with cold sweat, especially on the forehead.
Mentally we can think of Veratrum alb. in delirium, with rage and swearing (184), tearing of the clothes and attempts to escape. Sometimes with hallucinations of having committed a crime, of physical disease of ‘of being pregnant”(Talcott). We many have a sexual mania (146) combined with religious sentiments. or curses alternating with prayers. It is useful in melancholia after great disappointments or from religious excitement (131, with wailing and weeping and desire to be along (132); they can see no way out of their troubles and gloom surrounds them. in all these various mental conditions their vital heat is lowered and they are in a state, both mentally and physically, bordering on collapse.
We have attacks of faintness, upon the least exertion, or persistent vertigo, with cold sweat on the forehead (185) and great weakness.
The headaches are neuralgic and “generally attended with pain in he stomach” (Dunham) and with vomiting, They affect the vertex, in particularly, and are characterized either by a sensation of coldness, as though a lump of ice rested on the vertex (90), or there is a sensation of pressure on the vertex (103), worse the hand (103).
In the eye Veratrum alb. may prove of use in a condition of night blindness (76) preceding menstruation.
The face is pale and sunken, with the predominating cold sweat (185), and found especially in facial neuralgia, or in conditions affecting the stomach, abdomen, chest and heart.
It their is toothache, the pain is severe and pulsating and the teeth feel heavy as if filled with lead.
The tongue and breath are cold (24) and in the mouth there is a feeling of coldness, as if from peppermint, and usually salivation (163). There is an aversion to warm drinks, a thirst for cold water and a craving for fruit, acids (9) and juicy things.
In the stomach there is sensitiveness to touch and a sensation of burning (178). The stomach is very irritable and a prominent symptom for the remedy is retching and violent rejection of every thing taken into the stomach. the vomited matter is profuse, may be of blood (208), and is always attended by great prostration, faintness and cold sweat (185).
Allen tells us that Veratrum alb has been used to the dyspepsia from chewing tobacco, without either vomiting or diarrhoea.
The diarrhoea is very profuse., watery (rice water), sometimes blackish. It is accompanied by thy most terrible attacks of colic and followed by a feeling of great emptiness (58) and weakness in the stomach and abdomen, feeble pulse faintness and cold sweat. the diarrhoea is worse at night, from drinking (57) and from fruit (57). Thirst for cold water or for acid drinks is associated with the diarrhoea, and with the movement we have violent retching and vomiting. It is a valuable remedy in cholera morbus and in true cholera (31).
Dunham, in speaking of the action of Veratrum alb., says: “The blood tends to separate into its proximate constituents, as it would if suddenly withdrawn from the body; the liquid constituents seem to filtrate in a half mechanical manner through the tissues, and thus we have a copious, cold, clammy sweat; copious serous vomitings and diarrhoeas; evacuations that are astounding from their quantity and from the mechanical manner of their ejection; the stomach seeming to become completely filled, and to be emptied by a sudden convulsive effort, provoked by its complete distention.”
Veratrum alb. is also to be thought of in constipation, the stools large, hard (35) and black (35) It is to be thought of in puerperal mania (129) and in dysmenorrhoea with great sexual excitement (146) preceding the menses., In these conditions, as well as in suppression of the menses (135), cold sweat, with vomiting and purging, would be additional and characteristic indications calling for the remedy.
The cough is loose and rattling (45 but the patient is too weak and prostrated to expectorated the mucus (70) and breaks into a cold sweat after coughing (185). We have violent fits or shocks of coughing, which may be followed by eructations of gas (50). the cough seems to start from the abdomen (44), which has to be held when coughing (49)., the cough is worse in a warm room (41), or on coming from the cold air into a warm room (41); it is also worse from eating (41), drinking (41), including cold drinks, and from crying (41). It is a very useful remedy in the bronchitis of old people (47), with prostration and inability to expectorate the large amounts of mucus in the chest. In whooping cough (48) the paroxysms may be accompanied by involuntary micturition (52), or with vomiting and diarrhoea (61) and they are always followed by great exhaustion and cold sweat.
The heart and pulse are weak in Veratrum alb., and any exertion brings on irregular action of the heart and thready pulse; the race may be flushed while lying but on rising up suddenly, it becomes very pale they feel faint and break out into a cold sweat (185).
It is occasionally to use in rheumatism, characterized by pains which are like electric jerks, worse from the hat of the bed (160) and better from walking about (10).
It is of value in congestive chills (31), which commence with coldness in the abdomen, and are associated with cold breath and sweat, vomiting, diarrhoea and threatening collapse. In many of he conditions calling for the remedy, especially when coldness or collapse are pronounced symptoms, we have cramps in the extremities, especially in the calves (52).
Dunham speaks of Veratrum alb. in intermittent fever where the “cold stage always predominates (121) and often overshadows or extinguishes the hot stage” and is accompanied by blueness of the finger-nails (121). “The sweat is cold and clammy: it comes even before the paroxysm begins and lasts until the next.”
I use Verat alb. 1st.