On Neuralgia, Its Causes and its Remedies

De Fromentel is most concerned with synalgies as a means of physiological research, and at this point I leave him, remarking merely that though his work is rather weak for any one conversant with German and English literature, still, as far as it goes, it is very instructive, and particularly for the practitioners of scientific medicine commonly known as homoeopaths.

De Fromentel has hunted all through literature to find examples of his synalgies, and without getting a very alarming number. I would recommended him to run through Rademacherian and Hahnemannian literature, and he will find that, though his Hellenic term synalgie is new, and also, no doubt, original to himself, still the thing existed, and guided medical organopathic and homoeopathic practice fully fifty years ago, and so several decades before de Fromentel was born.


It is not a little curious that neuralgia can be cured with remedies, even where the nerve is supposed to be embedded in the cicatrix of a stump of a limb. Thus professor Tod Helmuth tells us that he was once called in consultation to Jersey City, to see a man suffering from neuralgia of the stump following a thigh amputation made about three months previously. He had taken many remedies which act upon the nervous system, including morphia, without relief. The wound had completely healed, and the cicatrix looked healthy, yet he suffered intensely from sciatica. He was a great smoker, and as he stooped one day to light his pipe with a scrap of a French newspaper, he read what was on it, viz., an account of a case of neuralgia of the stump which had been cured by eating onion. He immediately procured three large ones, and ate them. He continued this onion eating for several days, and was able to sleep every night. Then his physician, Dr. Shelton, thought he would try the onion-Allium cepa-as a remedy, and prescribed the tincture with almost the same effect until the cure was completed. This case of Dr. Shelton’s was clearly one of synalgia. Of course, onions do make most people sleepy. I have myself cured a case of neuralgia of the stump with Hypericum per. 3x.


*Extracted from Diseases of the Nervous System, by C.P. Hart, M.D. Boericke & Tafel, New York, 1881. Art. “Hemicrania.”*

Although I have previously mentioned Sanguinaria as an antineuralgic, the following from Hart is so instructive that I will enrich my pages with it.

Sanguinaria.- Dr. Hering says : ” This is the best remedy in most cases of migraine or sick headache. Still it must prove most useful when the attacks occur paroxysmally, namely, every week, or at longer intervals; or when the pains begin in the morning, increase during the day, and last till evening; when the head seems to feel that it must burst, or as if the eyes must be pressed out, or when the pains are digging, attended with sudden piercing, throbbing lancinations through the brain, involving the forehead and top of the head in particular, and being more severe on the right side, followed by chills, nausea, vomiting of food or bile, forcing the patient to lie down and preserve the greatest quiet, as every motion aggravates the sufferings, which are only relieved by sleep.”

Mrs. H., a very fleshy lady, oet. 50, nearly passed the climacteric, complained of a distressing “sick headache” hanging about her for years. In some degree the symptoms were almost always present. A typical headache would commence in the forenoon, gathering violence with the hours until sunset, when it would quietly subside, or else would confine her to her bed for a day or two. The pains, which originated low in the occiput, drawing upwards in rays, located over the right, sometimes the left eye, attended with vomiting, often of bilious matter. She was subject to sudden flushes of heat, burning of the soles of the feet, and that singular symptom noted in Hale’s third edition, “a quickly diffused transient thrill.” felt at the remotest extremity. At times she had sensible throbbing of every pulse in the body. The urine was generally scanty before and during the severe headache, but quantities of clear urine would pass away when getting better. Prescribed Sanguinaria 200, Six pellets night and morning, for a week. Eight months afterwards patient reported relief from the first dose, during the week complete relief, and from that time until now not a vestige of the old complaint has shown itself.-Dr. J. P. Mills.

Dr. Mills regards what he calls “sun headaches” that is those increasing in violence with the sun’s ascent, decreasing as it declines, when preceded by scanty urine and pass off attended by profuse flow of clear urine, as indicating Sanguinaria, and the urine symptom as its keynote, giving the following case as an additional illustration : Mr. W., railroad engineer, was taken early of the morning with headache and nausea, the symptoms increasing hour by hour. At 4 P.M. the pain and distress had reached such a height that, fearing ” brain fever,” I was summoned. I found the patient on the bed groaning and writhing in agony, face very red, head hot, injected eyes, sensitive to light. The arteries about the head and in the scalp were distended like whip-cords, the blood coursing through them at a furious rate, giving a sensation to the head as if the scalp and temples were alive with irrepressible pulsations. The pain was over the whole head; paroxysms of retching occured every few minutes, with such violence that I feared rupture of bloodvessels. I prescribed Belladonna, Gloninum, and Bryonia in succession, but without benefit, not thinking at first of Sanguinaria, though I was a ware that the headaches passed off with free flow of clear urine, and that he, being an engineer, would be subject to kidney trouble. At midnight a messenger came, saying that Mr. W. was wildly delirious, with no abatement of symptoms. I sent Sanguinaria 200, to be given in water every half hour. Fifteen minutes after the first dose, symptoms began to abate; in an hour and a half, he fell into a quiet slumber for a little time, awaking quite relieved from the acute pain, but an intense soreness continued for two or three days, which compelled him to keep quiet or to walk with great circumspection.- Idem.


Periodical headache, generally confined to the right temple, or to the left eye and left temple, pulsating, darting or boring, commencing every morning with the rising of the sun, reaching its height at midday, and gradually declining till the sun sets, and accompanied with pale face, nausea, and vomiting. Aggravated by motion, stooping, noise, thinking, or mental emotion.

Miss. T., oet. 36, had suffered from periodical attacks of left-sided hemicrania for upwards of nine years. The attacks set in early every summer, and continued to recur regularly about every two weeks, lasting each time about three days, and compelling her during that time to exclude herself from society. The paroxysms, which set in just after sunrise in the morning, were of the most violent character, causing severe pulsating pains in the left temple and eye, and reaching their greatest intensity about noon, when they were attended, with vomiting and retching, after which they gradually declined, and at sunset gave place to anxious and disturbed sleep. The slightest motion or noise greatly aggravated the headache; even the movement of the eyes would increase it. After the paroxysms subsided the scalp felt sore to the touch, and the brain confused. After trying two or three other remedies without any marked benefit, I placed her upon Spigelia 30, five pellets every night and morning for one week. No more paroxysms occured until July of the following year, when the remedy was repeated : four years later she remained quite well. This is a brilliant cure.

It may be noted that nearly all these case are synalgias. How important, therefore, that they should be then scientifically cured.

I think de Fromentel would be not a little amazed were he to read Dr. Hart’s Diseases of the Nervous System.


Hart says :- Neuralgia trigemini is liable to be confounded with rheumatism and hemicrania. From the former it may be distinguished by the character and severity of the pains, by the shortness of the paroxysms, and by the attacks being excited by such causes as a sudden jar or touch. From hemicrania it may be known by the transient and darting character of the pains, and by their corresponding accurately with the course and distribution of the nerves. Many cases of hemicrania, however, have their starting point, as we have seen, in the supra-orbital branch of the trigeminus; but these, instead of being confined to the trifacial nerve, soon extend over the scalp, and, by Involving the sympathetic, give rise to vasomotor and sensory disturbances peculiar to that affection.

Not much is known regarding the pathology of facial neuralgia. In some cases the affected nerves have been found more or less red and inflamed, but quite as often the most diligent search has failed to reveal anything abnormal about them. There is no doubt, however, that the sympathetic is sometimes at fault, for in no other way can w explain such symptoms as contraction of the pupils, conjunctival injection, chemosis, and other ocular disturbances, flushing of the face, and the constitutional derangement sometimes met with; but it is not certain whether these disturbances are primary or only secondary phenomena; in other words, whether the changes which take place in the sympathetic system are secondary to the trifacial disturbances, or vice versa.

James Compton Burnett
James Compton Burnett was born on July 10, 1840 and died April 2, 1901. Dr. Burnett attended medical school in Vienna, Austria in 1865. Alfred Hawkes converted him to homeopathy in 1872 (in Glasgow). In 1876 he took his MD degree.
Burnett was one of the first to speak about vaccination triggering illness. This was discussed in his book, Vaccinosis, published in 1884. He introduced the remedy Bacillinum. He authored twenty books, including the much loved "Fifty Reason for Being a Homeopath." He was the editor of The Homoeopathic World.