Nux vomica is a drug very frequently used in Homoeopathy. The fruit of the tree is about the size of an orange and contains a bitter, gelatinous pulp. This pulp contains Strychnine. The Nux itself is the seed deprived of the pulp and shell. The smallest fatal dose of Nux vomica is said to be 3grs.
The temperament of Nux is as follows:
By this I dont mean that you should not use Nux if the constitution which I would shortly describe does not confirm to Nux vomica but that it acts better if the nux constitution is present. The question of constitutions has been well described by Dr. ROBERTS recently in which he says you can safely prescribed any drug provided the symptoms agree even though the constitution1 of the patient does not correspond to the remedy.
It is best adapted to thin, irritable, careful zealous persons with dark hair and bilious or sanguine temperament. It does not seem to act so well on the fleshy. The person is extremely susceptible to external impressions and hence cannot tolerate noise, odours or light. Disposed to be quarrelsome spiteful, malicious; nervous and melancholic. You will find Nux of great value for those who deprive themselves of sleep and exercise in pursuance of their studies. Hahnemann says that Nux is chiefly successful with persons of an ardent character; of an irritable, impatient temperament, disposed to anger, spite or deception.
It is useful in those overdrugged by tea, coffee or wine. Old coffee drinkers become sensitive, oversensitive to noise, their symptoms are fitting. Such patients will do well for a few days on Nux. Some of their symptoms will drop out and they will settle down (KENT). Also good many physicians almost invariably prescribe Nux vomica the first thing in cases coming from allopathic hands because the use of patent medicines, tonics, aromatics has brought about a condition that stimulates the symptoms produced in the provings of Nux vomica.
Constantine Hering has given the following as some of the characteristic symptoms of Nux vomica: after aromatics in food or as medicine, particularly ginger, pepper etc. and after almost any kind of so-called vegetables pills.” The Nux patient frequently lies awake at night, the mind is so wrought up that he cannot sleep. He does not fall to sleep until long after midnight and then awakes in the early morning, perhaps at 4 or 5 Oclock. Falling asleep again, he awakes once more late in the morning, tired and weak (reverse of Pulsatilla).
He has a bitter taste in the mouth and dull headache, and in fact every symptom that points to wearing out of the system from overwork. This is the kind of patient in which you will find Nux vomica most effective. What I have described above is the nervous temperament, but there is another type of Nux vomica (cf. CHAMO, IGN., STAPHYSAGRIA, etc.). But Chamomilla does not know the bad temper but Nux does. Kind of condition belonging to this nervous group of Nux vomica that has not so much of the excitable in it. “Hypochondriasis, with studious men, sitting too much at home with abdominal complaints and costiveness.”
But the first, i.e. the nervous temperament proves to be the predominent one. If the gloomy or hypochondriac condition of mind persists then certain other remedies are to be thought of, viz., Aurum, Nat-mur. The Nux vomica patient is inclined to commit suicide but is afraid to die. Nat. sulph. has a strong impulse to destroy himself. Argent. nitras, also particularly by jumping from a height but he avoids placing himself in such a position. Nux is oversensitive to open air, to a draft of air; always chilly, always taking cold and it settles in the nose and extends to chest. The Nux patient has a great deal of trouble with the digestive organs.
He suffers from headache situated either in the occiput or over one eyes, usually left. Then, he has sour taste in the mouth and sometimes associated with this is the vomiting. But the prominent feature of the vomiting is the violent retching, often more or less ineffectual, showing the irritated condition of the stomach. The bowels are constipated and this constipation consists, characteristically, in ineffectual urging to stool. Thus, it is not due to atony of rectum but irregular fitful action.
He suffers from gastralgia which is usually worse by eating (reverse of Anacardium) also pressure in the stomach an hour or two after eating as from a stone (c.f. Ars., Bry., Merc., and Puls.); immediately after, Kali bichrom and Nux moschat; also tightness about waist; must loosen clothing (c.f. Lachesis, Calcarea and Lycopodium.) says if I could only vomit I would be so much better. Nux will relieve very quickly the nausea after a meal (c.f. Ars. Bry and Puls.). Nausea after drinking indicates Puls. or Rhus tox. In this gastric irritability we have to compare Nux with Bismuth, Arsenicum and Kreosote.
(1) In Bismuth there is much burning in the stomach with violent ejection of food. Patient vomits at intervals when the stomach becomes full and then the amount of vomited matter is enormous. Water is vomited as soon as it reaches stomach. But unlike Nux, the pains are usually relieved by cold drinks, and though the patient is greatly prostrated, the surface of the body is warm.
(2) Arsenic:– Indicated when in addition to the burning pains we have the intolerable restlessness and anxiety, thirst, etc. It produces a perfect picture of sub-acute gastritis.
(3) Kreosote:– Here though the stomach retains of food several hours it finally ejects it undigested. Pains do not begin until 3 hours after eating.
In gastric symptoms following debauchery when Nux fails Carbo vegetabilis is a good remedy, although Sulphur may be required (FARRINGTON). Pulsatilla is preferable to Nux vomica, when the symptoms have resulted from a mixed diet such as meats, pastry, nuts, ice-cream, etc., especially if the temperament agrees. In constipation Nux vomica is similar to various other remedies.
(1) Lycopodium: has constipation with ineffectual urging to stool but under this remedy the ineffectual urging is caused by constriction of the rectum and anus.
(2) Carbo-vegetabilis:–has an urging to stool similar to that of Nux but it is relieved by the passage of flatus, showing at once the cause of urging.
(3) In Opium, Bryonia and Alumina the constipation is unattended by urging to stool; Opium has constipation from inactivity of the bowels; stool consists of hard, round, black balls.
The Bryonia constipation results from dryness of the alimentary tract. The stools are large dry and hard, and small hard stools with ineffectual efforts indicate Lycopodium and Sulphur. Marked inactivity of the rectum characterises Alumina, the evacuation of even a soft stool requires great effort. Nux vomica is one of the best remedies to counteract the effect of allopathic dosing. Immensely useful also in flatulent colic, causing embarrassment to breathing or urging to stool and urinate or from sudden stoppage of haemorrhoidal flow. In enlargement of liver Nux should be given in repeated doses and the liver will resume its natural proportions.
If it does not, then you must fall back on Sulphur, Sepia or Magnesium mur. Nux may also be indicated in the enlarged liver of drunkards (c.f. Sulphur, Lachesis, Fluoric acid, Arsenic and Amm. mur.) Nux is useful in jaundice provoked by violent anger, by abuse of quinine or by too high living. Chamomilla may be employed in jaundice resulting from a fit of anger, as also may Bryonia, Nat. sulph. and Aconite. Bryonia is especially useful in jaundice when the case has been spoiled by the abuse of calomel or Blue- mass. In jaundice form the effects of of quinine you should compare Hepar sulph., Mercurius, Puls. and Arsenicum.
In haemorrhoids Nux may be useful when there is itching keeping the patient awake at night and frequently so severe as to compel him to sit in a tub of cold water for relief. The analogues of Nux in haemorrhoids are as follows:—
(1) Aesculus:–Indicated in throbbing of the hypogastrium and dryness in the rectum as though little sticks or splinters were pricking the folds of mucous membranes, and weak feeling at the sacroiliac symphysis. (2) Aloes:–Has abdominal plethora and flatulence, like Nux and Sulphur, and haemorrhoids like Nux, Sulphur and Aesculus. But it differs from them in that it acts almost entirely on the rectum, producing catarrh of its mucous lining. The stools are accompanied by an expulsion of copious flatus, and feeling of insecurity in the rectum.
(3) Collinsonia:–Indicated in haemorrhoids *Haemorrhoids alternating with heart, chest, or rheumatic symptoms–L. D. D. when there is a sensation of sticks in rectum. Constipation is usual.
(4) Hamamelis:–Is called for when there is considerable haemorrhage with marked SORENESS of the affected parts; the back feels as if it would break.
Nux vomica may be used in diarrhoea coming on after a debauch. In dysentery when there is frequent ineffectual urging to stool, ceasing as soon as the bowels move, Nux is the remedy. (c.f. Merc. sol., Mer. cor., and Aloes).
(1) Merc. sol.:–There is the constant urging even after the stool is passed.
(2) Merc. cor.:–Tenesmus with great desire to urinate.
(3) Aloes:–Griping before stool and an extraordinary amount of mucus must be expelled.
Nux is suited to initial stages of the ordinary coryza particularly when caused by dry cold air or by sitting in cold places especially cold steps……….coryza is worse in a warm room. The trouble is associated with sneezing, with fluent coryza, in a warm room and during day. There is body-ache and chilliness even when covered up warmly in bed. FARRINGTON says: if despite the use of Nux the cold travels downwards and involves the chest, Phosphorus follows it well. Useful in eustachian tube catarrh when there is itching along the eustachian tube, inducing a frequent desire to swallow. In stomatitis Nux is useful when the trouble is of gastric origin.
In asthma from gastric disturbance Nux is a grand remedy (c.f. Zingerberis). Carbo-vegetabilis and Lycopodium are similar to Nux in asthma from abdominal irritation with marked flatulence. In haemoptysis Nux is indicated when the trouble results from debauchery. In renal colic Nux is a useful remedy especially of the right kidney. In gonorrhoea Nux is useful after the abuse of Cubebs or Copaiba when the discharge is thin.
Nux is useful in sexual excesses, especially for the bad effects of early masturbation. It is one of the group of remedies indicated for this condition ever since the the days of Hahnemann. This group consists of Nux vomica, Sulphur, Calcarea carb., Lycopodium and Cobalt. Nux is indicated when the patient has headache, frequent involuntary emissions at night, especially towards morning; he complains of backache and difficulty in walking. Do not repeat your medicine too often.
(1) When improvement ceases under Nux, Sulphur will almost always be the next remedy indicated.
(2) Calcarea carb. usually follows Nux, and Sulphur particularly, when night sweats follow every emission or after marriage, every coitus is followed by weakness of mind and body.
(3) Lycopodium is indicated still later when the case has gone on to complete impotency. The erections are either absent or imperfect. The genitals are cold and somewhat shrivelled.
(4) Staphysagria is called for in bad effects of masturbation, particularly if there is great emaciation, with dark rings about eyes, sallow face and well marked peevishness and shyness.
(5) Cobalt:–an excellent remedy for backache in the lumbar region, following seminal emissions, whether voluntary or involuntary; the backache is particularly worse while sitting.
Nux is closely related to Sulphur and often antidotes the action of Sulphur. It seldom goes to the bottom and antidotes the constitutional action of Sulphur, but will remove its exaggerated action, its superficial action.
Menses under Nux are generally profuse, dark in colour (c.f. Calcarea carb. and Graphites.) too early, too long and are accompanied by retching and cramps in abdomen. Labour pains with soreness like Arnica; but sometimes menses are irregular, never at the right time c.f. Iod., Nux m., Rhus tox and Sep).
In pregnancy Nux is a useful remedy for the morning sickness, the more retching predominates over vomiting the more cure we expect of Nux. The backache cured by Nux is located in the lumbar region and the patient cannot turn over without sitting up. It is thus useful in lumbago. Nux is indicated in torticollis arising from cold or due to spinal trouble.
NUX IN FEVERS:–
In intermittent fevers when the chill is preceded or accompanied by blueness of the finger nails; gaping or yawning is well marked. There is always aching of the limbs and in the back; this is followed by fever and that by sweat. During apyrexia we have prominent gastric and bilious symptoms. Patient is chilly even during high fever. Sweat after midnight, hot sweat like Opii but Opii wants covers off, while Nux does not dare raise covers; the patient is very chilly and the last uncovering aggravates (c.f. Rhus tox. and Silicia.)
In Ignatia the chills are better uncovering. While in Nux they are not better from any amount of covers. Patient must be covered in every stage of fever: chill, heat or sweat; Fever, great heat, whole body burning hot (c.f. Aconite), face red hot (c.f. Bell.) yet patient cannot move or uncover without being chilly. Chilliness not relieved by external heat (c.f. Bell., and Phos.; and heat relieves in Ars., Ign., and Kali carb.). Fever and ague with much gastric disturbance (c.f. Ip., Puls.).
Great heat and yet wants to be covered (c.f. Hepar. Wants to be uncovered in Hyoscyamus and Secale). A peculiarity of Nux, well worthy of mention, is that it seems to intensify the action of Sepia. The Nux patient is always better after an uninterrupted sleep. Farrington says that Dr. P. P. Wells cured his friend Dr. Dunham of Diphtheria with Nux, a characteristic symptom of the case being marked relief from a nap. When the sleep is disturbed the Nux patient is always worse.
Complementary: Sulphur, in nearly all diseases. Nux is one of the leading dry air remedies, other dry remedies are Bryonia, Causticum, Hepar and Aconite. As against these are some prominent wet weather remedies such as Dulcamara, Nux m., Nat. s., and Rhus tox. It is better to remember such things for one positive indication is worth two or three vague ones.
Inimical to Zinc:–Must not be used before or after.
Follows well after: Ars., Ip., Phos., Sep., and Sulphur.
Is well followed by: Bry., Puls., and Sulphur.
Aggravated: Morning; waking at 4 A. M.; mental exertion; after eating; touch, noise, anger, spices, narcotics, dry weather and in cold air.
Ameliorated: In evening; while at rest; lying down; by heat except head (like Ars.), and in damp wet weather.
Nux acts best when given in the evening, several hours before going to bed. According to Hahnemann sensitive persons should not take it fasting in the morning or on first awaking because its most powerful symptoms are then called out. Neither should it be taken just before or after a meal or when the mind is on a strain. Therefore acts best during repose of mind or body.
Now I will describe a few cases treated with Nux vomica. CASE No. 1.:–
Last year a young man aged 30 came to me for persistent attacks of sneezing and nasal cold. Sneezing was worse in the morning. Also he had no energy to do any work during the attack; cold bath aggravated his cold; he was chilly; worse by a draft of air; worse in cold weather; extremes of temperature were unsuitable to him ; waking at night made him worse; also he could not drink ice-water or water which was very cold; was constipated and hence had to take liquid paraffin, one ounce, every alternate day; had to change his food continually ; mentally very excitable; stimulants made him worse; constitution thin and lean; odours made him worse. The prescription was based on the following rubrics:–
(1) Aggravated by draft of air.
(2) Aggravated by cold in any from, e.g. bath, cold water.
(3) Irritability of temper.
(5) Agg., morning.
(6) Stimulants, as tea, coffee, made him worse.
(8) Worse by odours.
Nux vom was given in the 200th. potency, a single dose in the evening. The next day he was better in every way; and he was free from the trouble in three days time. After 15 days the nasal cold appeared again and Nux vomica 200 was repeated; and after 24 hours Sepia 200 was given as a deep acting remedy. Since that time he is practically free from attacks of sneezing and cold. He had forgotten to tell me in the beginning that marital connection was a dread to him as it made him dispirited and very weak, i.e. coitus agg.; Sepia covered this symptom.*Nux vom. also has aggravation after coition,–L.D,D.
CASE NO II:–
Attacks of cold in Hindu male, aged about 40 years persistently throughout the year. History was as follows: Greenish discharge from nose, always chilly so that he had always to shut the doors and windows of his room. History of Tubercular affection of left lung about twenty years back, also Tubercular rib excised about 10 years ago. Severely constipated and hence was taking some kind of purgatives every day. Highly excitable. Sneezing; appetite poor; could not exert himself physically or mentally; cold in any from made him worse.
Nux vomica, 200, was given as it corresponded to the case. It relieved him completely of the cold and after 48 hours, Bacillinum, 200, was given and now I am glad to say that his weight had increased by 7 lbs, he does not take purgatives, and eats well. Bacillinum, 200, was repeated every 6 weeks for three four times [*If Tuberculinum bovinum be given in 10 m.. 50m., cm., and mm., potencies, two doses of each potency at long intervals (of approximately six or eight weeks-L. D, D.), all children and young people who have inherited tuberculosis may be immuned from their inheritance and their resistance will be restored. Kents Materia Medica, P. 967, 2nd edition.*] and now he is getting Bacillinum 1000 every 6 weeks.
CASE NO. III:–
A female patient aged about 35 years; chief complaint: persistent nasal cold and headache, on 18-10-40. There was also fever, extreme chilliness; she said that the nasal discharge had diminished and the headache had started since that time. The discharge was yellow; on examination the left frontal sinus was found to be inflammed. Light in general aggravated the headache. Pressure, external, ameliorated headache; sense to smell was poor. Patient was excitable; pain in left frontal sinus was rather severe. She was worse by cold; could not walk on stone- pavement with bare feet.
Nux vomica 200 one dose was given on 19-10-40. Headache was better the next day. For these catarrhal headaches I have found that either Nux or Pulsatilla comes very prominently after repertorizing. The differentiation between the two is easy as the mental symptoms of the two drugs vary entirely. On 22-10-40 the patient began to complain of pain along the right upper extremity and stiff neck.
Pain was better by hot application, worse by lying on painful side and cold. Nux vomica, 200, was repeated and the next day the pain disappeared but she began to complain of pain in the right side of throat extending to ear on the evening of 23-10-40. Then I referred to Boger- Boenninghausens Repertory, page 451, whether Nux covered this symptom or not. Nux vomica got 3 marks. So I waited, the symptom vanished in about two days time. I think I made a mistake in repeating Nux vomica 200 on 22-10-40, as I had given it on 19- 10-40. i.e., so very early, otherwise even that pain also would have disappeared by giving Placebo and waiting.
I should have observed the rule *(As long as old ailments reappear or are worse, without the appearance of essentially new symptoms which lie outside of its sphere of action, we should guard against a repetition of the remedy, or changing to a new one.”– Boenninghausen) that if the symptoms for which a remedy is given are removed and new symptoms appear, withhold the hand if you wish the cure to go on to recovery (Lippe)–Homoeopathy, Oct. 1940, P. XI.
CASE NO IV:–
Patient, male Hindu, aged about 34, came to me on 11-9-40 for cough and cold. Previous history: had acute lobar pneumonia twice, once in 1932 and again in 1935 in December. That time I had treated him homoeopathically and the indicated remedy was Bryonia, because of the excessive thirst for large quantities of cold water and affection at the right base of lung, pain in the right side of chest, better on lying on painful side. He came out of those attacks fairly well but the cough troubled him off and on severely. Then he took good many injections of Catarrhal Vaccines which only relieved him temporarily. At last he was tired of being injected and then he submitted himself again to Homoeopathic treatment.
From his history the following rubrics were chosen. (1) Cough aggravated by drinking cold water, (2) Bathing in cold water, aggravates, (3) Water and washing, aggravate, (4) Aggravated by draft of air, (5) Cough, aggravated after midnight, (6) Cough, aggravated by tickling in throat, (7) Constipation and sneezing, (8) Fretful and irritable. After repertorizing Nux vomica stood high and was given in 200 potency, single dose, on 11-9-40., The cough became gradually less from the next day and the cold also disappeared after a week. He again got cough and cold on 30-9-40., with same symptoms. Nux vomica 200 was again given and since that time on he is free from cold and cough.
CASE NO. V:–
A female, aged about 33 years, came to me on 18-6-40 for persistent nasal cold and early menses. She was very chilly, was worse by drafts, violent thirst, cold was worse before menses. It was also worse during menses. Nausea and vomiting, during menses; appetite poor; feeling extremely weak although she looked fat and plump. Body was aching and profusely sweating.