VERATRUM ALBUM


Hahnemann’s proving symptoms of homeopathy remedy Veratrum Album from Materia Medica Pura, which Samuel Hahnemann wrote between 1811 to 1821…


(White Hellebore.)

(From vol. iii, 2nd edit., 1825.)

(The alcoholic tincture of the root of Veratrum album.)

Though the subjoined symptoms indicate a powerful action of this medicinal substance on the human health, a great capacity for effecting changes in it, and consequently show that we may expect great things form its suitable employment, yet the investigation of all its medicinal symptoms is so far from complete, that the following can be regarded as only a fraction of its wealth of pathogenetic effects.

In the meantime, however, I have resolved to communicate to the world what I have been able to ascertain up to the persent moment, because even this amount is capable of being usefully employed.

I might certainly have adduced the symptoms recorded by the older Greek authors in corroboration of my own, but I have refrained from doing so in order to avoid the appearance of wishing to make a display of learning.

This much is, however, certain, that the ancients could not have obtained so much reputation for their hellebore treatment at Anticyra and other places in Greece, unless they had effected much with it, and unless they had restored many sick persons to health by means of this medicinal plant.

Our modern physicians do not know how to make any good use of this valuable medicine, and indeed, do not employ it at all, as they are unable to give it in a Justa-dosis, i.e. in drachms and ounces, without killing their patients.

Consequently they must leave uncured those diseases which cannot be cured without this root.

Physicians have no notion of the power possessed by this drug to promote a cure of almost one third of the insane in lunatic asylus (at all events as a homoeopathic intermediate remedy), because they know not the peculiar kind of insanity in which to employ it, nor the does in which it should be administered in order to be efficacious and yet not injurious.

As there can be no rapid and permanent cure of dynamic diseases, unless by medicines endowed with the dynamic power of producing similar morbid states, as I have shown often enough, so we have only to make ourselves acquainted with the peculiar kinds of insanity in the following observations, regard being pain to the other symptoms, in order to know in which of the manias white hellebore root may be homoepathically employed with good effect.

We must not imitate the ancients in their doses. No doubt many of their patients were cured, but not a few succumbed to their enormous doses. For even in those times, just as nowadays, the delusion existed in the medical art that diseases depended on a morbific matter in the body, and consequently that they could not be cured without the elimination of this (imaginary) morbific matter. Hence the ancients in their treatment of chronic diseases gave their white hellebore root almost in such doses (a drachm and more of the medicine in the form if coarse sifted powder) as were capable of exciting excessive vomiting, and at last also purgation; and (blinded by the above theory) even those cases in which the patients were cured of their diseases by white hellebore, without undergoing vomiting hot purging, failed to convince them that the cures were effected in quite another way than by evacuations upwards and downwards.

It is also quite false that the patients affected with emotional and mental diseases as a rule require and bare enormous doses of medicine, as our physicians still imagine. No doubt, allopathic and unsuitably chosen drugs, even in large doses, seem to have but little effect on the grosser part of the organism and the general health of such patients. But in such diseases the general health is but little implicated, and their subjects are often very robust in that respect; as a rule, the malady has settled in the fine invisible organs of the mental and emotional spheres undiscoverable by anatomy (which serve as the medium of the purely spiritual soul by which the grosser body is ruled). These subtle organs suffer most in those diseases, it is they that are most morbidly deranged.

When unsuitable, unhomoeopathic (allopathic) drugs in large doses when administered to such patients, the more massive body assuredly suffered but little from them (it was often seen that twenty grains of tartar emetic caused no vomiting, &c.); but, on the other hand,(and this our physicians did not observe, for, as a rule, they are gifted with but small powers of observation), the mental and emotional organs were all the more severely affected; the mania or melancholia was much aggravated by such violent unsuitable remedies, sometimes even rendered incurable.

On the other hand, it is undeniably true, though not hitherto suspected, that patients suffering from mental and emotional diseases soon regained a healthy state of their mental and emotional organs, that is to say, a perfect recovery of their health and reason, by means of doses as small as those that suffice for other non-physical maladies, namely, by quite small doses, but only of the appropriate and perfectly homoeopathic medicine.

I have never found it necessary to give a dose of more than a single drop, often only a small portion of a drop, of white hellebore tincture, diluted to such an extent that one drop contains a quadrillionth of a grain of this root. This dose may, when necessary, be given to the patient without his knowledge in his ordinary drink – consequently without it being requisite to employ the slightest force, which is always prejudicial in such cases, provided the regimen is so regulated that all the conditions generally required to sustain healthy life are simultaneously enforced, and everything than can interfere with the cure, from heterogeneous medicinally-acting food and drink to moral and physical hindrances, is most carefully eschewed. This is not the place to treat this subject in greater detail.

Paroxysms of pains similar to those the white hellebore root can itself produce, and which always brought the patient for a short time into a sort of delirium and mania, often yielded to the smallest dose of the above solution.

Also in agues which consist of outward cold only, or are attended by only inward heat and dark urine, this root is often employed advantageously, especially when cold sweat of the body or, at least, of the foreheads, is present.

In several hypochondriacal affections, as also in certain kinds of inguinal hernia, it is very useful, at all events as an intermediate remedy.

Sudden, grave accidents from taking white hellebore root are most surely removed by a few cups of strong coffee. But if the predominant state is pressive pain in the head with coldness of the body and unconscious sopor, camphor is the antidote.

If an anxious, distracted state, accompanied by coldness of the body or burning sensation in the brain is present, then aconite is of service. The other chronic affections caused by the abuse of white hellebore root, e.g. a daily forenoon fever, are best relieved by small doses of cinchona bark.

Among the following symptoms of white hellebore root, some seem to belong to the secondary action (i.e. the opposite state developed in the organism after the primary action), but these can only be elucidated by repeated observation.

I have seen the positive effects of this root, even in small doses, last five days and longer.

[HAHNEMANN was assisted in this proving by BECHER, FRANZ, FRIEDRICH HAHNEMANN, STAPF, TEUTHORN.

Citations are made from the following old-school sources;

ALBERTI, Jurispr. Medorrhinum, vol. vi.

ALSTON, Lectures, on the Materia Medica.

BENIVENIUS, in Schenck, viii.

BERGIUS, Mat. Medorrhinum

BORRICHIUS, Acta hafn., vi.

DESSENIUS, Composit. Medicam., lib. x.

DOBRZEWSKY, in Eph. Nat., Cur., Dec. I, ann. 2.

ETTMULLER, Opium, tom. ii.

FORESTUS, P., xviii.

GALENUS, CL., Comment., v.

GESNER, CONR., Epist. Medorrhinum

GRASSIUS, S., Misc. Nat. Cur. Dec. I, ann. 4.

GREDING, Vermischte Schriften.

KALM. Nordameric resa., iii.

LEDELIUS, S., in Misc. Nat. Cur., Dec. iii, ann. 1.

LENTILIUS in Misc. Nat. Cur., Dec. iii, ann. 1, app.

LORRY, De Melanch., ii.

MURALTO, J. DE, in Misc. Nat. Cur., Dec. ii, ann. 2.

MULLER, F., in Hufel. Journ., xii. i.

REIMANN, in Bresel. Samml. 1724.

RODDER, L. in Alberti, Medorrhinum Leg.

SCHOLZIUS, in Schenk. Lib. viii.

SMETIUS, Misc. Medorrhinum

SMYTH, in Medical Communications, vol. i.

VICAT, Plantes venen de la Suisse.

WINTER, in Bresl. Samml. 1724.

The Frag. De Vir. Gives 267 symptoms; the 1st edit 711: this 2nd edit. 716, 8 new symptoms being added to HAHNEMANN’s own observations, and 3 symptoms omitted from the “observations of others.” Many of the symptoms quoted from modern authors are given in HAHNEMANN’s thesis, On the Helleborism of the Ancients, for the purpose of comparison with the effects “white hellebore,” recorded in the works of ancient physicians, especially those of ANTYLLUS, a physician who flourished between the second and fourth centuries of our era, and who was the first writer who described the operation of tracheotomy; but, for the reason given (p. 689.), HAHNEMANN has not admitted there latter symptoms into his Materia Medica.]

VERATRUM ALBUM

Vertigo. [SMYTH, (Effects of tincture given for cutaneous disease.) in Medical Communications, vol. I, p. 207. – S. LEDELIUS, (Effects of infusion in wine.) in Misc. nat. Cur., Dec. iii, ann. I, obs. 65.]

Vertigo; all goes round in a circle with him (aft. 3.1/2 h.).

Vertigo; all goes round in a circle in his head. [GREDING, (Effects when administered to patients, all of whom were melancholics, maniacs, or epilepto maniacs. These do not succeed one another in regular classes as in those treated with Belladonna, Hyoscyamus and Stramonium, and hence cannot be identified as there; but all symptoms of the mind and disposition, and all spasmodic and convulsive phenomena occurring in these subjects, may safety be ascribed to their disease rather than to the drug, as its dosage was quite moderate.) Vermischte Schriften, p. 87.]

Excessive vertigo. [REIMANN, (Effects of infusion in wine.) in Bresl. Samml., 1724, p. 535.]

5. Want of ideas.

Mental work will not go on continuously; a want of ideas soon ensues. [Stf.]

Intoxication and giddiness (aft. 24 h.). [Fr.H-n.]

When walking the headache increases to giddiness, but is relieved when sitting (aft. 2 h.). [Trn.]

His reason leaves him.

10. Memory almost destroyed; he forgets the word on his tongue. [GREDING, l. c.]

His memory leaves him.

His consciousness is as if in a dream.

Mild delirium; cold on the whole body, with open eyes, cheerful, sometimes smiling countenance; chatters about religious subjects and of vows to be fulfilled, prays, and thinks he is somewhere else than at home (aft. 1 h.).

Almost complete extinction of the senses. [VICAT, (From powder taken in soup.) Plntes venenneuses de la Suisse, p. 167.]

15. Dizzy, he feels as if there were nothing steady in his head.

In the morning very dizzy.

Dizzy continually for three days.

Stupid in the head with nausea for two days. [Fr.H-n.]

Headache with some stiffness. [GREDING, l. c., p. 45.]

Headache with vomiting of green mucus. [GREDING, l. c.]

Headache and backache with bellyache and inclination to vomit. [GREDING, l. c., p. 85.]

Painful confusion of the head, with tensive pressure, sometimes in the temples, sometimes more in the vertex, most violent when sitting bolt upright and standing, but diminished when stooping forward and lying on the back, with rather contracted pupils. [Stf.]

Intermittent throbbing headache (aft. 6 h.).

25. Throbbing pain above the left eye, for a quarter of an hour (aft. 1 h.).

Aching throbbing pain in the head.

In the morning after waking, obtuse pressure in the crown of the head.

Pressive, semilateral, accompanied by pain in the stomach (aft. 4 h.).

Dull pressive headache, which extends from the temples to the forehead, is aggravated by lying forwards, but goes off by bending backwards and by external pressure; on the other hand, it recurs after raising himself up (aft. 3 h.). [Trn.]

30. Flat-pressing headache in the vertex, which became throbbing when moving. [Bch.]

Internal cutting in the vertex (aft. 4 h.). [Fz.]

Single stitches in the forehead even when sitting (aft. 4 h.). [Trn.]

His head is very heavy and all turns round in a circle in it. [LEDELIUS, l. c.]

Humming and buzzing in the front of the forehead, with dull internal headache (aft. 4 h.). [Fz.]

35. Drawing pain in the head and sacrum. [GREDING, l. c., p. 87.]

Violent headache with diuresis. [GREDING, l. c., p. 80.]

(Sensation as if a drop of water ran down on the temple, but not like a coolness.)

Extremely violent headache, which goes off on the occurrence of the menses. [GREDING, l. c., p. 81.]

Headache as if the brain were shattered.

40. By fits, pain here and there in the brain, compounded of bruised feeling and pressure.

Constrictive headache, with constrictive pain in the oesophagus.

Shock in the head and twitching in the left arm, with paleness of the fingers. [GREDING, l. c., p. 59.]

The blood rushes strongly into the head when stooping (aft. 8 h.).

Feeling of warmth and coldness at the same time on the head during which the hairs are sensitive.

45. Chilliness on the crown of the head and at the same time in the feet (aft. 1 h.).

Itching on the forehead.

Cold sweat on the forehead.

Itching, eroding, persistent prick on the hairy scalp, that compels scratching (aft. 10.1/2 h.). [Fz.]

Feeling in the hair on the right side of the head as if a tuft of it were electrified, a creeping in it and as if it stood on end, with a slight shiver of the skin under that hair (aft. 5 h. and more). [Stf.]

50. During the headache a painful stiffness in the nape. [Stf.]

The pupils have a tendency to contract.

Contraction of the pupils (aft. 1.1/2 h.), with persistent contractive pain in the eyes.

Contracted pupils (immediately and aft. 6 h.). [Bch.]

Very contracted pupils in the first six hours. [Stf.]

55. Dilated pupils.

Very dilated pupils (aft. 4 h.).

Very dilated pupils (aft. 4 h.). [Trn.]

Enormously dilated pupils with very marked weakness of sight; he cannot recognise people even close to him, or only very slowly, at seven p.m. (aft. 8 h.). [Stf.]

Pain in the eyes. [GREDING, l. c., p. 34.]

60. Complains of pain in both eyes and moves the hands over the head. [GREDING, l. c., p. 62.]

Aching pain in the eye with loss if appetite. (At the same time the blood has an inflammatory coat.) [GREDING, l. c., p. 58.]

After a short siesta at noon, aching in the eyelids as if from too great dryness of them, followed by watering of the eye, at noon after dinner. [Stf.]

Painful dry feeling in the upper eyelid, as if there were salt betwixt it and the eyeball, without much redness of the eye, at noon after dinner. [Stf.]

Sensation of dryness of the eyelids.

65. The eyelids are dry, especially when he has slept; they are painful as if they had been rubbed sore; they are stiff and stick together.

Excessive dryness of the eyelids.

Painful aching shooting in the upper eyelid, at the outer canthus (aft. 10 h.). [Fz.]

A kind of paralysis of the eyelids, they felt too heavy, he could hardly raise them with the greatest effort.

Fine sharp pricks in the canthi. [Fz.]

70. Internally in the coverings of the eye a pricking itching (aft. 2 h.). [Fz.]

The right eyeball is painful at the outer canthus as if bruised, in repeated attacks; by pressing on it ceases to be painful (aft. 3 h.). [Fz.]

Heat in the eyes with headache. [GREDING, l. c., p. 63.]

Redness of the white of the right eye. [GREDING, l. c., p. 39.]

Painful inflammation of the eyes with excessively violent headache, on account of which he cannot sleep at night (aft. 6 d.).

75. Inflammation of the eyes with tearing pain.

Inflammation of the white of the eye with tearing pain in it.

Inflammation of the right eye. [GREDING, l. c., p. 59.]

Inflammation of the right eye with febrile heat. [GREDING, l. c., p. 36.]

Severe inflammation of the eyes. [GREDING, l. c., p. 63.]

80. Eyes of a watery appearance, as if they were covered with albumen. [Trn.]

Blueness of the left eye with frequent eructation. [GREDING, l. c., p. 62.]

Distorted projecting eyes.

Eyes turned backwards, so that the white only can be seen, for an hour [BORRICHIUS, (Not accessi.) Acta hafn., vi, p. 145.]

Sparks before the eyes. [GREDING, l. c., p. 35.]

85. When he rises from his seat black spots and sparks come before the eyes, on account of which he could not rise for eight hours, but must either sit or lie (aft. 3 h.). [Trn.]

Diplopia.

Feeling of weakness in the eyes.

His sight leaves him; he cannot see. [BORRICHIUS, l. c.]

Dull appearance of the eyes with blue rings round them.

90. Copious flow of water from the eyes and cutting pains with dryness and heat in them at the same time (aft. ½ h.).

Frequent flow of tears from the eyes, with redness of them, as in catarrh. (aft. 6 h.). [Bch.]

Long continued intense hot feeling in the eyes.

The eyelids stick together in sleep (aft. 2 h.).

Heat in the eyes and face with redness of the cheeks, as if a hot vapour blew on them.

95. Paleness of face. [GREDING, l. c., p. 63.]

Cold, distorted, death-like face.

Bluish complexion.

Dark red, hot face. [GREDING, l. c., p.p 41 and 64.]

Redness of face with great thirst and diuresis. [GREDING, l. c., p. 42.]

100. Extraordinary redness and heat of the face. [GREDING, l. c., p. 80.]

Burning in the face and head. [CONR. GESNER, (Effects of infusion.) Epist. Medorrhinum, p. 69.]

An itching here and there in the face and behind the ears, as though pimples would break out there (without perceptible redness), with feeling of excoriation behind the ears (aft. 28 h.). [Stf.]

Creeping (shuddering) itching on various parts of the face, more smarting than pricking, where upon small red papules are thrown out, with red, hard, elevated borders, and brown, subsequently yellow, purulent heads, which at first are painless, but when they become ripe, touching causes sore feeling. [Fz.]

Thick miliary eruption on the cheek, with pain in the face. [GREDING, l. c., p. 64.]

105. Copper-coloured eruption on the face, round the mouth and chin. [GREDING, l. c., p. 81.]

Swelling of the face lasting several days. [GREDING, l. c., p. 49.]

(Twitching, pinching sensation in the muscular parts of the face) (aft 3 h.).

At noon twitching in the cheek, sparks before the left eye, paleness of the face and faint feeling, then vomiting of a quantity of white froth – an attack that returns for three days. [GREDING, l. c., p. 60.]

Drawing and tensive pain all over the right side of the chest, with flow of saliva. [GREDING, l. c., p. 35.]

(Sweat in the face and in the axillae when walking.)

In the morning a pressing in the right ear (aft. 2 d.).

Single stitches deep in the left ear. [Trn.]

Aching pain in the meatus auditoriuos externus,

115. In the right ear first a sensation as from a cold breath, followed by sensation of great heat in it, then again cold feeling, and so on alternately several times (aft. 26 h.). [Stf.]

Tinnitus aurium.

Roaring in the ears like wind and storm.

When he rises up from a seat he has immediately rushing and roaring before the ears, and it is as he saw nothing but fire before the eyes, for eight hours (aft. 4 h.). [Trn.]

Sensation as if a skin were stretched over the ear.

120. Deafness; one or other ear is stopped up.

He complains of deafness and pains in the chest. [GREDING, l. c., p. 43.]

(Tearing in the lobe of the ear.)

Under the right ear-lobe smarting formication and itching. [Fz.]

Sharp stitches close behind the left ear and maxilla.

125. Sensation as if the nose were too dry inwardly, such as is caused by the dust of a dry road in the nose (aft. 3 h.).

Sensation as if the nose were ulcerated inwardly.

Sensation as if compression and pressing in of the nasal bone.

Red spots on the nose. [GREDING, l. c., p. 38.]

Vesicles close together on the nose. (The day after s. 128, in the same subject.)130. (Epistaxis at night during sleep.)

130.(Epistaxis at night during sleep.)

Epistaxis form the right nostril. [GREDING, l. c., p. 58.]

A smell of dung before the nose (aft. 16 h.).

Eruption of a pimple near the angle of the mouth, at the border of the red, which is painful per se, but still more when touched.

At the left angle of the mouth vesicular eruption. [GREDING, l. c., p. 41.]

135. red eruption round the mouth and on the chin. [GREDING, l. c., p. 52.]

In the evening dry lips and mouth, not without thirst (aft. 13 h.). [Fz.]

The skin of the lips cracks.

A burning in the vermilion of the upper lip and somewhat beyond it.

Foam before the mouth.

140. On opening the jaws shooting pain in the maxillary-joint, which prevents him depressing the lower jaw sufficiently (aft. 4 h.). [Trn.]

Closed jaws.

When eating all the muscles of the lower jaw are painful, as if bruised, so that he must cease chewing. [Trn.]

Obtuse pressure in the muscles of the left side of the jaw, like a strong pressure with a blunt piece of wood.

Samuel Hahnemann
Samuel Hahnemann