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

Belladonna. [Bell]

      **Belladonna is the first remedy that comes to mind in headache; its symptoms are clear and sharply defined. **Throbbing is the great keynote, but violent shooting pains in the head, driving the patient almost wild, are scarcely less characteristic. The patient cannot lie down, must sit up, nor can he bear light, a draft of air, noise or jarring; this last is most characteristic. The location of the ache is mostly in the frontal region or right side, flushed face, dilated pupils accompany. **Glonoine is the only remedy having throbbing as characteristic as **Belladonna. **Glonoine, however, does not have such a lasting effect as **Belladonna; it is more relieved by motion, the face is not so deeply flushed, and there is aggravation from bending the head backwards, and it has the explosive bursting characteristic of nitro-glycerine; all of which will serve to distinguish the two remedies; it has the feeling of a tight band across the forehead. Its curative action is rapid.

**Cinchona also has throbbing, but here it is due to anaemia. **Belladonna has also a symptom common to **Nux vomica and **Bryonia, namely, a feeling as if the head would burst. The headaches of **Belladonna are usually worse in the afternoon, the whites of eyes are red, and the cornea is glassy, and moving eyes aggravates. The face is puffed and red.

Nux vomica. [Nux-v]

      It is quite safe to assert that **Nux vomica is more often indicated in headache than any other remedy; this is presumably due in the main to the cause of headache calling for **Nux vomica; thus, we have the headache from the excessive use of alcohol, the morning “big head,” tobacco, coffee, headache from digestive troubles, constipation, and specially auto- “intoxication” and hepatic insufficiency. These are all common causes of the **Nux vomica headache. It suits the gouty and Haemorrhoidal, which makes up four-fifths of all migraines. The ache is situated over one or the other eye, usually the left, or else in the occiput. It is apt to being in the morning with giddiness on first rising, and last all day until night, and is accompanied with sour taste or perhaps nausea and violent retching. The dull, wooden, bursting feeling of the head following a debauch is most characteristic of **Nux vomica. Headaches of high livers call for **Nux. The complexion looks muddy and the whites of the eyes are yellow, and the urine is scanty and high colored. Jousset recommends the 12X or 30X between attacks.

There are some modalities of the **Nux vomica headache that should be carefully noted, as this point will sometimes aid greatly in making a selection; for instance: Stooping and coughing aggravate the headache; it is worse in the morning; moving the eyes and motion in general makes the head feel worse. What relieves the **Nux vomica headache is not so clear; certain headaches calling for **Nux will be better by wrapping the head up warm and by rest, but these conditions are rare ones calling for the drug. In general, nothing relieves the **Nux vomica headache; but it will often disappear by rising and being about for a few hours. This is a characteristic point in those headache due to alcoholic excesses. A headache “all over the head” is also characteristic of **Nux.

**Ptelea trifoliata. Dr. Kopp holds this remedy without a rival in frontal headaches, and it will often cure after other remedies have failed.

Sanguinaria. [Sang]

      Genuine sick headache calls for this drug, and the symptoms in brief are these: The pain begins in the morning and in the occiput; it comes up over the head and settles in the right eye. The pain increases in severity until there is vomiting of food and bile, then oftentimes the ache is relieved will be so intense at times that the patient will frantically bore her headache into the pillow for relief. It is especially suitable to women who menstruate too freely.

**Belladonna may easily be differentiated by the following points: It has hot head, more throbbing, flushed face and cold feet, and the pain coming up from the occiput is not so marked as under **Sanguinaria. The **Sanguinaria headache is relieved by lying down, **Belladonna by being propped up in bed, and **Sanguinaria is more useful in the gastric form of headache. There may be also profuse micturition with **Sanguinaria relieving the headache, as we find under **Gelsemium, Ignatia and in a less degree under some other drugs.

Iris versicolor. [Iris]

      The **Iris headache characteristically commences with a partial blindness, or blurring of vision, being similar here to **Gelsemium and Kali bichromicum, and it is especially a remedy for gastric or bilious headaches. This blurring of the sight may be preceded by drowsiness and the head begins to ache as soon as the blurring disappears. It is useful remedy for Sunday headache, not, however, in that form which sometimes occur as a convenient excuse for non-church attendance (which is incurable), but that form which occurs in teachers, scholars, professors, etc., in whom a relief of the strain of the preceding six days produces the headache. The pains are mostly located over the eyes in the supra-orbital ridges, usually in one side at a time, mostly the right. The dental nerves are frequently affected. The pains are throbbing or sharp, and when at their acme vomiting occurs, which is apt to be copious, bitter or sour. Especially characteristic is vomiting of matters so sour that the teeth are set on edge. The headache of Iris is aggravated by violent motion, cold air and coughing; moderate exercise in the open air relieves. In sick headache with continuous nausea it is one of our most useful remedies, and if indicated closely by the above symptoms it will not fail. When headaches are produced by eating sweet things Iris is probably the remedy.

**Paullinia is also a useful remedy in sick headaches involving the whole head, with nausea, even vomiting.

**Chionanthus. Sick headache, pain in forehead over eyes, eyeballs painful, vomiting of bitter, green-looking matter, pain in liver and cramps in abdomen. It will frequently cure habitual headaches.

Gelsemium. [Gels]

      **Gelsemium is another remedy which has a headache commencing with blindness, and especially is it a remedy for headaches due to eye strain. **Onosmodium is another; here we have dull aching extending down back of neck or over on one side, generally the left; there is a strained stiff sensation in the corresponding eye. The ache under **Gelsemium commences in the occiput or nape of the neck, comes up over the head settles in the eye as in **Sanguinaria. There is a feeling as if a band were about the head, the patient is dull and apathetic, and there is great soreness in the eye when moving them. Occipital headaches, which are dull and dragging, often find their remedy in **Gelsemium. Cocculus is another remedy for these conditions. Dr. Henser, in the Allgemeine Homoeopatische Zeitung, December, 1887, recommends **Gelsemium 30 in nervous headaches, saying that three doses will usually relieve.

Remember the copious urination which relieves the headache, and that the headaches are accompanied with visual troubles, such as double vision, squinting and dim sight, and **Gelsemium will be easily recognized. **Gelsemium headaches are also relieved by sleep, and dizziness may accompany.

A characteristic of **Gelsemium is a sensation of a band around the head just above the ears. It also suits “tobacco headaches.”

**Kali bichromicum has a headache commencing with blindness; the pain settles in a small spot, is very intense, then the blindness disappears.

Cocculus. [Cocc]

      Another remedy for occipital headache is **Cocculus, and it is a most excellent one; the symptoms are these: the ache occurs in the lower part of the occiput and extends to the nape, and it is intense and nearly always associated with vertigo there is constant nausea. Among the causes of headache calling for **Cocculus may be mentioned riding in the cars and a carriage. A peculiar symptom of **Cocculus is the sensation as if the occiput were opening and shutting. This is also one of the most characteristic symptoms of **Cannabis; Another is a tendency to constant headache, it has also pain in left orbit and frontal protuberance. The headache of Cocculus in general are worse from mental effort, and are better indoors and during rest, and there is a constant tendency to stretch the head backwards.

Spigelia. [Spig]

      This remedy holds about the same relation to the left side of the head that **Sanguinaria does to the right side. The pains are neuralgic in character, settle over the left eye, and they are apt to follow the course of the sun, beginning in the morning, reaching the acme at noon and subsiding at sunset. There is often a sensation as if the head were open along the vertex. Noises and jarring of the bed, as under **Belladonna, aggravate the pain; stooping and change of weather also make the pain worse. The pure neuralgic character of the pain, and its left side preference, should lead to the remedy.

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.