Gastric Affections

Dr. Dewey discusses the homeopathy treatment of Gastric Affections in his bestselling book Practical Homeopathic Therapeutics….

Nux vomica [Nux-v]

      Is a remedy influencing both in glandular secretion and muscular tone of the digestive organs. Among causes of dyspepsia are mental overwork, sedentary occupations, high living and dissipation, and these are all keynote symptoms of **Nux vomica.

This drug will be thought of when the patient is “cranky” and irascible, when he is drowsy and stupid in the evening, feels miserable in the morning and has a dull frontal headache. This headache is a constant element in Nux disease. With **Nux the food and drink taste normal, and the gastric and abdominal disturbances do not commence immediately after eating as under **Lycopodium and Nux moschata, but come on half an hour or so after meals, especially the dinner. There is often nausea, empty retching, scanty, sour or bilious vomiting, water brash, sour, bitter, metallic or putrid taste, and there is vertigo. All these symptoms are aggravated in the morning, and there is also an after dinner aggravation. Headache usually attends the gastric disturbances of **Nux. In the flatulent and pituitous dyspepsia of drunkards **Nux usually precedes **Carbo vegetabilis and Sulphur. **Kali bichromicum is more often indicated in the dyspepsia of beer drinkers. It is well indicated in dyspepsia when there is a feeling as if digestion had stopped after a meal eaten with relish and the food lies like a load; the distress comes sooner than the with **Nux vomica.

The appetite is impaired, the patient does not want even his accustomed stimuli, or there may be an abnormal hunger, and this abnormal hunger usually precedes an attack of dyspepsia, which attack may sometimes be avoided by attention to diet as soon as this symptom of abnormal hunger appears, which it usually does some twenty-four to thirty-six hours previous. This is a symptom of a misused stomach. The eructations of **Nux are painful, bitter or sour. The nausea is especially after a meal. The stomach is sensitive to pressure and to tight clothing, and the patient will say:”If I could only vomit I would feel much better.” In the distress after eating we must compare **Nux with Abies nigra, which has a pain coming on immediately after eating, and with **Kreosote, which has the symptom that three or four hours after eating the patient vomits. **Nux has also gastric irritability with pains radiating in various directions from the epigastrium which are worse in the morning. **Bismuth has burning and lancinating pains of a purely nervous character, a pure gastralgia, with spasmodic vomiting. **Nux has an abnormal thirst, and there is distension even after a light meal and a very characteristic sensation of a lump or a load in the stomach. This oppresses the brain and soon develops flatulence.

**Mercurius has a deathly faintness at the pit of the stomach.

**Calcarea carbonica has a tenderness at the pit of the stomach.

**Lycopodium has a pain in the pit of the stomach when the hypochondria are pressed and a pain in the hypochondria when the pit of the stomach is pressed; there is fullness even after a light meal, but **Lycopodium does not have the intestinal irritability of **Nux.

**Sepia, Sulphur and Natrum carbonicum have an all gone sensation at the pit of the stomach worse at 11 A.M. The pains of **Arsenicum are burning and the dyspepsia of **Pulsatilla is especially after rich and fat food. Waterbrash is more characteristic of **Nux vomica, while heartburn is more characteristic of **Pulsatilla. Atonic dyspepsia with a putrid taste in the mouth in the morning compelling the patient to rinse out the mouth, with a desire for beer and bitters, and an aversion to coffee will strongly indicate **Nux vomica, and when **Nux fails to act perhaps the best remedy is **Carbo vegetabilis. The tongue of **Nux is coated, white usually, and this coating is more on the posterior part; the front half of the tongue may be clean.

Dr. Dyce Brown finds that when the gastric symptoms are prominent the lower dilutions act better, but if constipation be present the higher ones are to be preferred. It acts better when given in the evening.

Carbo vegetabilis. [Carb-v]

      This is a putrid remedy, and will be found most useful in the putrid variety of dyspepsia. **Carbo is putrid and **Sulphuric acid is sour. When **carbo is indicated the patient will be below par, the digestion will be slow and imperfect, there will be a weight in the stomach and intestines and a faint, gone sensation in the stomach not relieved by eating, but after a few mouthfuls there is a sense of repletion. There is a ***burning in the stomach extending to the back and along the spine to the interscapular region. There is great distension of the stomach and bowels, which is temporarily relieved by belching. The flatulence of **Carbo vegetabilis is more in the stomach, and that of **Lycopodium more in the intestines. The eructations are rancid, sour or putrid. There is heaviness, fullness and sleepiness after eating, but not so much as in **Nux moschata and Lycopodium. The symptoms are worse from fat, fish, oysters, ice cream, vinegar or cabbage. Coffee disagrees, and milk increases the flatulence. There is violent ***burning in the stomach, chest and abdomen, with paroxysmal and crampy pains which force the patient to bend double; the stomach feels heavy.

**Carbo is a valuable remedy in chronic gastric catarrh and condition based upon degeneration and induration.

Flatulence gives rise to asthmatic breathing and dyspnoea, which is worse by motion and the erect position and from 4 to 6 P.M., just the time of the aggravation of **Lycopodium.

We may find here the symptom that the patient wants to be fanned. There is frontal headache worse in the morning and in a warm room, crossness, irritability. **Carbo, being a putrid remedy, is especially useful for the effects of over-eating, high living or from eating tainted meats, where, digestion being slow, the food putrifies before it digests. There is great craving for salt and other things that always make him sick. Remember that **Carbo has a more upward pressure of gas on the diaphragm, causing distress of breathing, than **China has, and not so much pressure down on the intestines as **Nux vomica has, and that it is more applicable to putrid dyspepsias and the chronic dyspepsia of ***old people. It has more burning and flatulence than **Nux vomica, though, like **Nux vomica, it is suitable for the bad effects of debauchery and high living, and haemorrhoids worse after a spree. It comes in after **Nux. Another distinguishing feature between **Carbo and Lycopodium is, that in Carbo the tendency is more to diarrhoea, while in **Lycopodium it is more to constipation.

China officinalis. [Chin]

      **China is useful in cases where, like **Carbo vegetabilis, there is depression o vital power, but here it seems to be especially limited to the loss of animal fluids. Like **Lycopodium and Colchicum it has tympanites, and is still further like the former in the sensation of satiety after a few mouthfuls of food. The distension calling for **China is painful and only momentarily relieved by belching. There are sour or bitter eructations and the flatus is offensive; there is slow digestion and the patients faints easily, as in **Nux moschata, and they are worse after late suppers. There is also a sensation as if the food had lodged in the oesophagus behind the sternum. **Pulsatilla has this, but in a less degree than **China. The boiled-egg sensation of **Abies nigra is lower down. Many times these symptoms of **China are caused by drinking tea to excess. When **China is well indicated there will be a yellow diarrhoea, which is worse at night and after meals. **China does not have the rancid belching with burning, which will distinguish it from Carbo vegetabilis. In cases where the food does not digest, but lies a long time in the stomach, causing eructations and finally is vomited undigested, **China is the remedy.

Lycopodium [Lyc]

      Is especially suitable for chronic congestion and catarrhal conditions of the stomach in patients with liver and gouty troubles; hypochondriacal patients. A grand characteristic of **Lycopodium is this: the patient goes to meals with a vigorous appetite, but after eating a small quantity of food he feels so full and bloated that he has to force himself to swallow another mouthful, and he leaves the tables with his hunger only momentarily satisfied. Here it is seen that the distress is ***immediately upon eating, not a half hour after, as in **Pulsatilla and **Anacardium. **Nux moschata also has distress immediately upon eating. There is intolerance of pressure about the waist after meals, not all the times as in **Lachesis. Now this sensation of satiety is found under **Arsenicum, Carbo vegetabilis, China, Sepia and **Sulphur, but it is especially characteristic of **Lycopodium, digestion is slow and difficult, and the **Lycopodium patient is almost unconquerable sleepy after eating. There is a great accumulation of flatus in the stomach and intestines- -rather more in the intestines, especially the colon–and this presses upwards and causes difficulty of breathing just as we found under **Carbo vegetabilis. We may also have attacks of ravenous hunger under **Lycopodium, which, if not satisfied, will cause a headache as in **Cactus grandiflorus. The patient is worse after late dinners, the distension lasting into the night, making him restless and wakeful. **Lycopodium is especially useful in the atonic and acid forms of dyspepsia, for it has also sour taste, sour belching, and vomiting when it does occur is sour, which is not common, however; there is also also painful swelling at the pit of the stomach and intolerance of tight clothing; the patient prefers hot drinks. Belching of gas in **Lycopodium does ***not relieve. **Lycopodium is, after all, quite similar to **Nux vomica, but the immediate distress after eating belongs to **Lycopodium. In **Nux vomica, from the flatus presses rather downwards. Both have constipation with ineffectual urging to stool. **Nux from fitful intestinal action, **Lycopodium from contraction of the sphincter ani. **Sepia is also similar in some respects to **Lycopodium, but **Sepia has a sensations of emptiness in the epigastrium while that of **Lycopodium is repletion. The urine is high colored, over acid and loaded with lithates or uric acid crystals and it is not so offensive as that of **Sepia. **Lycopodium has also as an important stomach symptom; desire for sweets, which is similar to **Argentum nitricum. **Lachesis desires oysters.

Pulsatilla. [Puls]

      No remedy in the old school corresponds to **Pulsatilla. Dryness of the mouth, putrid taste in the morning on awakening and a sensation as if food had lodged ***under the sternum are characteristics of this remedy. The tongue is coated with thick, rough, white fur, there is acidity and heart burn, food tastes bitter, sour or putrid, there is waterbrash and eructations tasting of food and absence of thirst only a desire to moisten the mouth. There is often a constant taste of food in the mouth as if it had in the stomach a long time after eating it. ***A bad taste is a special indication for **Pulsatilla. There is craving for lemonade and aversion to fats which aggravate. About one or, more often, two hours after eating there is a feeling of fullness and weight in the epigastrium which is relieved for a short time by eating, being here similar to **Anacardium. The characteristic of the flatulence of **Pulsatilla is that it moves about and often cause painful sensations about the chest, and which are relieved by eructations or the passage of flatus. **Pulsatilla, as remarked by Hahnemann, is especially useful for the dyspepsias arising from fatty foods, pork, pastry or mixed diets, being here like **Ipecac, or from chilling the stomach with ice cream or ice water, being here like **Arsenic and Carbo vegetabilis. The circulation is disturbed and the patient is always chilly and, strange to say, worse from heat. After meals there is violent palpitation; the action of the heart is apt to be irregular and it is difficult to convince such patients sometimes that they have not heart disease. Remember its power of acting on mucous membranes and increasing the quantity of mucous formed by them. This mucus in the stomach easily undergoes decomposition and acts as a frequent upon the food; hence nausea, acidity, foul eructations, and the pain arises from the irritating nature of the contents of the stomach rather than from mere bulk and weight which produces the **Nux pain.

Nearly always in dyspeptic troubles calling for **Pulsatilla there will be headache which are supraorbital and worse in the evening and from warmth. The patient is mentally active and this keeps him awake for hours after retiring; the sleep is dreamy and the patient awakes tired and listless. To distinguish between **Nux and Pulsatilla is rather easy; firstly, the mental condition are not at all similar; the patient in **Pulsatilla with digestive troubles in despondent, apprehensive, and lachrymose. **Nux is despondent, but at the same time irascible and domineering.

**Pulsatilla is worse in the evening. **Nux is worse in the morning and after dinner. **Pulsatilla has more heartburn and **Nux more waterbrash. From other drugs **Pulsatilla is easily distinguished. The clean tongue and intense nausea of **Ipecac will separate that remedy. **Antimonium crudum is especially indicated in those who have overloaded the stomach and have eructations tasting of food, vomiting, and especially a tongue thickly coated white, which should distinguish. It pictures atonic gastric catarrh, vomiting predominates, after pickles, sour things etc. It has nausea of a loathing variety, food is repugnant, depressed vitality is always prominent.

Anacardium. [Anac]

      With this remedy there is a sinking feeling which comes on about two hours after eating, and a dull pain in the stomach extending to the spine, and there are often tasteless or occasional sour eructations. The great characteristic of the remedy is the ***great relief after eating, the symptoms returning, however, and increasing in intensity until the patient is forced to eat again for relief. Such patients become true “lunch fiends.” There are three other drugs that have prominent relief from eating. They are **Petroleum, Chelidonium and Graphites. Petroleum has among its prominent symptoms ravenous hunger and gastralgia relieved by eating, and it is especially called for in long-lingering gastric troubles with a great deal of nausea. Dyspepsia accompanied with diarrhoea will sometimes indicate **Petroleum. **Chelidonium is indicated by its prominent liver symptoms. **Anacardium has violent gastralgia, especially at night, and a great urging to stool as in **Nux vomica, but, unlike **Nux vomica, on going to stool the desire passes away; then, too, here we have the characteristic symptom of a plug in the rectum, which **Nux does not have. The gastralgia of **Anacardium is relieved by eating, that of **Argentum nitricum is worse from eating. Mentally **Anacardium has a great deal of hypochondriasis, confusion of mind and loss of memory. The patient is hungry most of the time, and although eating relieves it is only a temporary relief, for really after eating he is worse. Another distinguishing feature between **Nux and Anacardium, is the paretic state of the rectum in **Anacardium, which **Nux lacks. **Anacardium also has some flatulence, and the symptom that the patient has to pound his back to start the gas is sometimes met with.

Sepia. [Sep]

      **Sepia is more often found useful in women, but the symptoms agreeing it may, of course, be used in men. It is a remedy which has the vehemence and irascibility of Nux and the tearful despondency of **Pulsatilla, and also the aversion to household affairs more marked than in **Natrum muriaticum. Then, too, there are hot flashes as in **Sulphur, with hot hands and cold feet, but in **Sepia the face is apt to have the characteristic yellow saddle across the nose. There is a white-coated tongue and a sour or putrid taste in the mouth. The most characteristic symptom, however, is a feeling of goneness in the pit of the stomach, which is not relieved by eating. This is similar only to Carbo animals, for in **Anacardium, Natrum carbonicum, Phosphoricum and Sulphur this gone sensation is always better after meals. There is nausea at the smell or sight of the food, and **Colchicum has nausea at the thought of the food; even mention food and he vomits. The abdomen of **Sepia is flatulent and the liver is sore and has sharp pains in it; but here again **Sepia is different from all others, for it is relieved by lying on the right side. The urine of **Sepia may help to decide between it and **Lycopodium and **Kali carbonicum, in that while it always deposits a lithic acid sediment it adheres tenaciously to the side and bottom of the vessel and is offensive. The Sepia patient is worse in the forenoon and evening, and there is great longing for acids and pickles. It may be useful in dyspepsias from the overuse of tobacco.

Sulphur. [Sulph]

      **Sulphur is a wonderful remedy in dyspepsia, but its value is seldom appreciated. It has bitter or sour taste and putrid eructations, sour vomiting, congested liver, and like **Nux vomica, constipation. It is useful in the flatulent dyspepsia of those who drink heavily, and it has a feeling of satiety after eating a small quantity of food, being in the former symptom like Carbo vegetabilis and in the latter like **Carbo vegetabilis, Lycopodium and Sepia. It is aggravated from starchy food like both **Natrum carbonicum and **Natrum sulphuricum. There is a ravenous desire for sweets which make him sick; only one other remedy has this, and that is **Argentum nitricum, which has a diarrhoea caused by it, while under **Sulphur sweets cause a sour stomach and heartburn. The **Sulphur patient also craves alcohol, and milk, contrary to custom, increases the acidity of the stomach and causes vomiting; he also has aversion to meat. There is canine hunger; the patient can hardly wait for meals and is forced to get up at night to eat, which is like **Phosphorus, and when he eats he feels puffed up; or else there is loss of appetite. If we have the general characteristics of **Sulphur present, the hot flashes, the hot head and cold feet, the early morning diarrhoea, the “cat nap” like sleep, the aversion to washing etc., the choice will be easy.

” Drinks much, eats little,” is a good **Sulphur indication.

**Robinia causes excessive acidity, one of our best remedies in hyperchlorhydria. Vomiting sour. Starch digestion is impeded. It has burning in epigastrium. When stomach is empty frontal headache, frequent acid eructations. Colic sometimes sufficient to cause the patient to double


**Capsicum is very useful in gastric hyperchlorhydria, chronic pyrosis. Dr. Cartier praises this remedy highly in hyperacidity, he prefers the 3 and dilutions.

Phosphorus. [Phos]

      **Phosphorus corresponds to ***rumination and ***regurgitation. Craving for cold food and cold drinks is characteristic of **Phosphorus, and they relieve momentarily, but are vomited as soon as they become warm in the stomach; spitting up of blood without nausea is also common. The gone, weak feeling in the stomach at 11 A.M., which we find under **Sepia, Sulphur and Natrum carbonicum, is also present under **Phosphorus, and here it also extends to the bowels. There are sour eructations, and as a concomitant we have sometimes the characteristic burning of this remedy, between the scapulae. The tongue has projecting papillae, a verified symptom, and is white more along the middle, as in **Bryonia. As in **Sulphur, the patient hungry at night and lies awake until he gets something to eat. It is a useful remedy in the vomiting of chronic dyspepsia; the patient vomits as soon as the food strikes the stomach. **Bismuth also has the symptom that the patient vomits as soon as the food strikes the stomach; with this remedy, too, there is much pain and burning. **Phosphorus has a special relation to destructive and disintegration processes, and hence is one of the remedies for cancers, indurations, erosions, etc.; a burning, gnawing, circumscribed pain is characteristic. Rapid loss of flesh and anaemia are also symptoms. The 3d potency has seemed to act well.

**Geranium maculatum in tincture is an excellent remedy to control haemorrhage from the stomach.

Natrum carbonicum. [Nat-c]

      **Natrum carbonicum stands between **Nux and **Sepia; it has the hypochondriasis of **Nux vomica, as well as the morning nausea and empty retching; and it has the aversion to household affairs and the sour eructations and the foetid flatulence of Sepia, weak digestion, acid dyspepsia. It has a weak, hungry feeling in the epigastrium at 11 A.M., the same as **Sepia, Phosphorus and Sulphur. The **Natrum carbonicum patient is especially low-spirited and hypochondriacal after a meal, and the patient is worse after vegetable and starchy foods. There is distention of the abdomen with hardness and fullness as in all the alkalis. Dyspepsia from eating soda biscuits.

Kali carbonicum. [Kali-c]

      **Kali carbonicum is indicated where the system is broken down by loss of fluids or protracted illness, as in **China or Carbo vegetabilis. Dyspepsia of the aged or weak, anaemic and easily exhausted patients with tired feelings and backache is met by **Kali carbonicum. Before eating there is a faint sinking feeling in the epigastrium out of proportion to the feeling of vacuity caused by hunger, with sour eructations, heartburn and a peculiar weak nervous sensation. The patient is sleepy while eating. After meals there is an undue flatulent distension of the abdomen. Everything which he eats seems to turn into gas, which is the same as under **Argentum nitricum and **Iodine. The belching is putrid and is similar to **Carbo vegetabilis, in that relieves; there may also be intense pains in the spine. All the stomach symptoms of **Kali carbonicum are aggravated by soup or by coffee. There is a desire for sugar and sweets.

W.A. Dewey
Dewey, Willis A. (Willis Alonzo), 1858-1938.
Professor of Materia Medica in the University of Michigan Homeopathic Medical College. Member of American Institute of Homeopathy. In addition to his editoral work he authored or collaborated on: Boericke and Dewey's Twelve Tissue Remedies, Essentials of Homeopathic Materia Medica, Essentials of Homeopathic Therapeutics and Practical Homeopathic Therapeutics.