Nervous palpitation with irregular intermitting pulse, it acts on the nerves of the heart. Cactus acts on the muscles. Trembling of hands. Palpitation especially after surprises, pleasant news, joy, etc. It will often relieve the last moments of the dying, particularly those suffering from abdominal complaints and consumption.



A native of Ethiopia and Arabia, thence to West India, America, etc. Hahnemanns Lesser Writings contains an article on Coffea.

We use the raw not the roasted bean, as roasting destroys the caffeine. It belongs to the same family as China and shows a similarity of symptoms. The following case shows its action well.

M. Charcot was consulted some weeks before his death by a Paris merchant regarding a peculiar condition of mind and nerves that afflicted himself and family and which also seemed to affect any new servant of the family. The family were all extremely irritable, so much so that hardly a meal passed without some explosion and a scene. The least provocation was the signal for an outbreak; the father would storm, the mother would scold and the children would cry. A general hysteria seemed to control the whole family.

The father was afflicted with tremors and involuntary gesticulations and was extremely irritable; the mother was subject to sudden attacks of migraine and was terribly hyperaesthetic a sudden noise, a too bright light, or any sudden impression would at times bring on the attacks of general pain; the daughters were hypochondriacal and hysterical; the boys were emaciated and nervous; and the youngest child, a little girl of eight years was suffering from incoherent muscular movements and chorea.

In the middle ages the family could have been termed bewitched, and benedictions and exorcisms resorted to for their relief, and they might have ended their lives on the wheel, at the stake or by drowning in a vat. An inquiry into the condition of the home developed the fact that the father was a coffee manufacturer and merchant, being extensively engaged in the roasting and packing of coffee extracts and essences. The family lived in apartments above the factory and stores, and the furniture, clothing and rooms were all well impregnated with a strong coffee odor. A removal to the pure air of the seashore and a change of habitation on return restored the family. Charcot diagnosed the trouble chronic caffeinism.

The active principle of coffee is called caffeine and is similar to that found in tea.

Coffea is a general stimulant of cerebral activity. It increases the kidney or urinary secretion, it increases the function of the skin and uterus. The increase of brain power after coffee is undoubted. Coffee prepares for work, both mental and physical. It affect especially the reasoning power, unusual activity of mind and body is a condition produced by coffee and hence a guiding condition for its homoeopathic use. It produces oversensitive.

nervous erethism; all the senses are more acute, sight, hearing, smell and taste are finer; the sensorium is more vivid, hence the great susceptibility to pain. Pains are felt intensely, seem almost insupportable, driving to despair. Talcott says, “The absolute and unutterable astheticism of sensitiveness is reached when Coffea is the remedy.” Great sensitiveness with general excitability, ecstasy, full of ideas. Reads fine print easily, music sounds loud and shrill.

It is useful in hemicrania, as if a nail were driven into the parietal bone, worse in open air, in toothache relieved only by ice cold water in the mouth.

The genitals are very sensitive, cannot be touched, itch voluptuously on account of the painful sensitiveness.

Coffea is a most useful remedy in labor, the pains are insupportable, and the patient feels them most intensely. Protracted cases where there is great nervous irritation. Hahnemann tells of a patient who suffered from after pains and loss of blood, and a craving for coffee, which stopped both, though in health she could not support coffee.

Itching of anus. Spasmodic stricture of rectum, spasm of sphincter ani. Pain constitutes a very prominent and characteristic indication for Coffea, being always most intense.

Nervous palpitation with irregular intermitting pulse, it acts on the nerves of the heart. Cactus acts on the muscles. Trembling of hands. Palpitation especially after surprises, pleasant news, joy, etc. It will often relieve the last moments of the dying, particularly those suffering from abdominal complaints and consumption.

Coffea is very useful in sleeplessness, because the patient is full of ideas, great mental activity, especially after pleasant surprises, sleeplessness owing to excessive agitation of body and mind and here it must be given high. Sleeplessness from the bad effects of too good news!.


Cimicifuga. Sleeplessness of drunkards, delirium tremens, opium eaters. There is pain in the base of brain, extending to the nape of neck and sometimes to the shoulders. Mentally there is a sense of crushing depression, a feeling as if the mind were wrapped in the blackness of eternal darkness. Throughout the body there is a condition of active and distressing tremulousness.

Arsenicum. Sleeplessness of those who are suffering from blood degeneration and from malnutrition, accompanied by an exhausted nervous system. The brain and whole body are anaemic. Restlessness and anxiety due to anaemic irritability. (Aconite, restlessness due to erethistic hyperaemia). The Arsenicum insomnia needs liberal use of milk and beef-tea warmth, and rest both day and night. Such a patient needs restorative treatment.

Phosphorus. For sleeplessness following intense mental over-work and anxiety, coupled with distressing confusion, pain and vertigo in the head. Patient falls asleep easily enough, but is awakened as easily. He sleeps and wakens many times in a single night. Five drops of the 3x in half a glass of water, spoonful doses every half hour during the evening, followed by a bowl of hot soup or a cup of beef tea at bedtime, will generally relieve the pain and restlessness of brain fag and secure a sound and refreshing sleep.

Silicea is the remedy for sleeplessness of utter mental and physical inanition, when food fails to nourish. Then the heart loses courage, and there is object despair and total absence of hope. Talcott says it will often work a wondrous and magical change in the condition of affairs.

Coca in cases of mental exhaustion, utter prostration at times, and again the patient is bright and well and eager for work. Sometimes you meet a patient who is suddenly awakened after going to sleep by a sense of shock in the brain. Weak and nervous women and worn out brain workers are peculiarly liable to such conditions. If it is a spasmodic anaemia Coca is the remedy.

Opium. Sleeplessness from shock of bad news, fright (Aconite with agonizing restlessness), but with Opium dullness and dazed depression. Stupor of cerebral congestion, particularly where there is a tendency to atrophy.

Eat lettuce, it has an ancient reputation as a soothing and soporific agent. We are told when Venus was left inconsolable after the death of Adonis, she threw herself on a bad of lettuce to soothe her grief. So Galen cured his insomnia.

Chronic affections after the abuse of coffee require Chamomilla, Ignatia, Nux vomica, etc.

Strong black coffee as hot as possible is indispensable as an antidote in a large number of poisons, especially narcotics when causing drowsiness, intoxication, loss of consciousness, delirium, etc. In general it antidotes narcotic substances such as Opium, Nux Belladonna, Tobacco and Chamomilla. Also wine drinking. Tea antidotes beer.


The ipecacuanha cephaelis is a creeping herbaceous vine growing in Brazil. It was proved by Hahnemann and we prepare a tincture from the dried root. It is an every day drug, and by that is meant a drug, that having to use daily, you should know well. There should be at least 25 drugs that every physician should know well, and Ipecac is one of these.

The common German name Brech Wurzel or vomit-root, tells best its primary action and this is due to its alkaloid which is called Emetin. There is also excited by its odor sneezing and asthma, due probably to a volatile oil.

The most marked effects of Ipecac are observed on the gastro- intestinal and respiratory tracts. It produces nausea and vomiting, considerable increase of secretions, especially in the upper portions of the intestinal canal. It greatly increases the bronchial secretion.

Now you can see that these effects can be utilized in two ways, both legitimate, both efficient, both yours to use as a physician if you choose, one however is its homoeopathic usage and the other is not. It is an emetic, and true to its rough generalizations, the old school is satisfied with its emetic properties. Though used by them for centuries, they have failed to discover the great curative powers in the drug that can be elicited by careful proving and subsequent employment according to the law of similia.

Generation after generation of medical students are content to write in their note-books on one page, Ipecac, an emetic, and on the other page, homoeopathy, a humbug, never dreaming that the latter alone can dignify a common emetic to the rank of a noble remedy in many acute forms of disease. Now, if we wish to make use of this emetic power of the drug we must use it in a sufficiently large dose, one large enough to produce symptoms, one large enough to overcome the bodily resistance for we are acting upon a healthy organ. We must use at least 5 grams in a little water every five or ten minutes.

This is, of course, not a homoeopathic use. Remember, in this connection that it is a mild, certain but tardy emetic. Its tardy action renders it an unfit emetic in cases of poisoning, where Zinc sulphate or Copper sulphate are to be preferred. Or suppose we wish to make use of its property as an expectorant. (A drug or measure which increases the absolute amount of sputum formed, or modifies its character as to facilitate its expulsion.)

In croup, especially, where the mucus is not expelled but is swallowed or accumulates in the air passages, an emetic dose of Ipecac often gives relief and may prevent suffocation. This is not a homoeopathic procedure but a purely mechanical one and wholly rational, do not forget that. In small children it often works wonders, clearing out the passage so that your homoeopathic remedy has a chance to act.

Ipecac acts only for a short time, but it is speedy, intense and well marked in its action. Hence Ipecac corresponds more to acute diseases of short duration liable to run a rapid course. Hence, too, it is particularly suitable to diseases of children in whom pathological phenomena develop themselves most rapidly. In women and young people generally it is more frequently indicated than in the old.

GENERAL ACTION. A study of the provings of Ipecac show that its chief action is upon the ramifications of the pneumo-gastric nerve, producing spasmodic irritation in chest and stomach. Its symptomatology embraces a wide field of application in reflex conditions of the nervous system. The great characteristic key- note of Ipecac is intense nausea and you will find it nearly always acts when it is indicated in distressing and intense nausea and inclination to vomit, or when, after vomiting, there is immediate inclination to do so again. Constant nausea with a clean tongue is the watchword.


MENTAL. The Ipecac patients are full of desires, for what they know not. The child will scream and cry almost continually. Adults are irritable, morose, holding everything in contempt.

HEAD. When they have this nausea, rheumatic patients complain of a sensation in the head which is characteristic. It is a feeling as if the head or bones of the skull were crushed or bruised. This feeling goes down into the teeth or root of the tongue.

Cocculus has a similar headache with the same intense nausea, but there is more vertigo, stupefaction and the sensation is as if the brain were being compressed or rolled up into a smaller compass.

In nervous, unilateral sick headache commencing over one eye, accompanied with deathly nausea, Ipecac is a wonderful remedy. Blue rings encircle the eyes upon a very pale face and the expression of the mouth betrays nausea. The corners of the mouth are drawn down. If at the commencement of these headaches, Ipecac 30 or higher be given at short intervals it will cure.

GASTRIC SYMPTOMS. The principal feature of Ipecac, as has been stated, is its persistent nausea and vomiting. This condition forms its chief indication in all diseases. These and other gastric symptoms usually predominate when Ipecac is the remedy. The tongue is usually clean, but sometimes it is yellowish or white and moist. The mouth is moist and full of saliva. Constant nausea with all complaints. Vomits food, bile, mucus, or blood just after eating. With it the stomach feels relaxed as if hanging down.

There is cutting, clutching worse around the navel. The gastric symptoms are accompanied by this nausea and vomiting, the same nausea accompanies the various haemorrhages of Ipecac. The nausea is a marked indication for the drug in malarial fevers. This homoeopathic use of Ipecac has also been discovered by the old school. Says Ringer: “Few remedies are so efficacious in checking certain kinds of vomiting. In numerous instances I have witnessed the efficacy of drop doses of the wine of Ipecac administered every hour or three times daily, according to the urgency of the case”.

The vomiting of Ipecac proceeds from the stomach. We know this from the experiments of dividing the pneumogastric nerves so that their gastric extremities shall not be impressionable and no vomiting can be set up by Ipecac. This is different with Antimonium tart. and Apomorphia. Vomiting therefore from gastric irritation rather than from cerebral disease is the indication for Ipecac. Useful too, especially in gastric catarrh in children after sour things, sour unripe fruit, berries, etc.

Vomiting of pregnancy when occurring in the morning and excited by the first waking movements. Take a dose immediately on waking in this case. Nausea may be constant throughout the day. Again some women who, during pregnancy, are not troubled with nausea and vomiting will suffer during the time of suckling, or again women will suffer during the menstrual period in this way. Ipecac generally relieves.

Further, the morning vomiting of drunkards, of chronic alcoholism, or vomiting that often accompanies general weakness met with in convalescence from acute diseases. Vomiting of children from acute catarrh of the stomach. Vomiting of whooping- cough. Vomiting after meals without nausea or pain. The food is partially rejected, regurgitation of food. Vomiting due to cancer, chronic ulceration, etc., will need a deeper acting remedy such as Arsenicum.

Pulsatilla is a very similar drug in gastric troubles, both have bad effects from eating pastry, fat, etc., but Pulsatilla is more useful when the distress comes when the food is still in the stomach, Ipecac when the stomach is empty. The tongue of Ipecac is clean or only slightly coated, while with Pulsatilla it is foul, white or yellow, with a bad taste in the mouth.

Arsenicum has actual catarrh of the stomach from indigestible food, sudden chilling from ice cream or iced water, burning pains, diarrhoea and restlessness.

ABDOMEN AND STOOLS. Stools pitch-like, looking like frothy molasses or of blood and mucus, or green as grass. Griping at navel after indigestible food, raisins, cake, lemon peel. Face pale with blue margins about the eyes and constant look of nausea. Useful in diarrhoea and dysentery when you have the inevitable nausea and vomiting, the green frothy mucus, moist furred tongue, a good deal of griping and the relaxed feeling in the abdomen.

The old school uses large doses in dysentery of malarial and tropical climates. In many of these cases the liver is embarrassed from want of proper eating and Ipecac, in a physiological dose producing vomiting, relieves. At the same time this dose causes congestion of the internal glands, liver and pancreas and increased secretion. The stools become feculent and contain bile when the tenesmus and griping cease. But the patient must now get over the Ipecac disease that takes the place of the dysentery.

RESPIRATORY: A characteristic of Ipecac is spasm and hence it is useful in spasmodic affections of the respiratory organs. This is seen in the constant constriction of the chest, in the dyspnoea, asthma, the convulsive cough, the colic, the tenesmus and the convulsions which the drug causes. Ipecac produces little or no pain, but the symptoms of spasm are numerous and well marked. Now if you bear this in mind, together with its special affinity of action, i.e., stomach and bronchi, you can understand its usefulness in many different forms of disease. Continued sneezing, eyes reddened, eyes smart or water with a copious discharge from the nose.

More commonly the influence of the drug is shown lower down, in dyspnoea and wheezing cough ending in a profuse mucous expectoration. Incessant and most violent cough with every breath. Spasmodic asthma with great constriction in throat and chest and wheezing. The chest seems full of phlegm, but it does not yield to coughing. Ipecac is the remedy for asthma most frequently used; dyspnoea is considerable, constriction of throat and chest. The cough is constant with rattling of mucus, nausea and vomiting. The surface is cold and damp and the face pale.

Similar symptoms call for it in bronchitis, the pale bluish complexion, asthmatic breathing, soreness of chest, sensation as if dust had been inhaled. Bubbling rales in chest and suffocative cough. Also in hay fever with these prominent chest symptoms, the symptoms are worse evening and at night. The same symptoms call for it in influenza, cough dry and tickling, coryza, short respiration, sweats after the fit of coughing. In bronchial asthma, coughs, etc., the Ipecac in the form of a spray sometimes acts magically. Coughs where dyspnoea is very marked yield quickest. Suffocative cough where the child becomes stiff, blue in face, rattling breathing. Cough with inclination to vomit. Whooping-cough with nosebleed and vomiting or bleeding from mouth, the child loses its breath and stiffens out.

It is indicated in bronchial catarrh whenever the tubes are loaded with loose mucus. It is especially indicated in fat children who are feeble and who catch cold in relaxing atmosphere, warm moist weather. Remember then again the spasmodic character, the great dyspnoea, the little expectoration, the constriction of the chest, the retching and vomiting, the chest full of mucus. This is of course past the Aconite stage because exudation has taken place.

If, however, the cough becomes less frequent but the mucus in the chest does not diminish and the child gets drowsy, substitute Antimonium tart. Spasm of the glottis with rapid alternation of contraction and relaxation of the vocal cords. The provings show marked asthmatic symptoms. Several provers speak of it as asthmatic feeling lasting for several hours. Oppression of the chest. Contraction of the chest with shortness of breath and gasping breath, obliged to gasp for fresh air at the open window. Yearly attacks of difficult shortness of breathing. Ipecac is a palliative in asthma though deeper acting remedies may be required for a cure.

Teste recommends Ipecac for croup. Croup is one of those essential diseases which varies but little in its symptoms, that is, the absolute symptoms which establish the diagnosis are about all you meet with. There are but few concomitant symptoms. The result is that certain specific treatments get established, though they ought to be avoided. So we have the traditional Aconite, Hepar, and Spongia treatment, and Teste recommends Ipecac and Bryonia. He says that Ipecac is almost the only remedy indicated in all cases of very acute inflammation of throat, windpipe, bronchia and lungs, no matter what the cause, when the patient is under 10 years, blonde, sanguine and lively disposition and worse at night.

HAEMORRHAGES. Another most important use of Ipecac is in haemorrhages. It produces and hence cures bleeding from nose, mouth, stomach, lungs, womb, rectum, urethra, from any mucous surface. It is most excellent in uterine haemorrhages where the flow is profuse, bright gushing with nausea, faintness, pallor and heavy, labored breathing. There may be pain from navel to uterus, menses too early and too profuse, bright red, accompanied by aching in head, nausea, faintness and vomiting.

Such symptoms indicate it in dysmenorrhoea, and uterine complaints. Do not forget it in haemoptysis, when you have feeling of constriction, rattling cough and expectoration of blood especially when preceded by a sensation like that of bubbling in the chest. Especially in incipient tuberculosis of young girls. Never in haemorrhages in general or when cause is decomposition of the blood. Haematuria especially, from kidneys with nausea and cutting pains. Threatening miscarriage with bright red blood and cutting colic and following miscarriage.

CONVULSIONS. Ipecac may be needed in convulsions. Teething children after indigestible food, in whooping-cough or from suppressed exanthemata. Often children will have spasms from eating rich pound cake, peanuts or raisins; in fact convulsions in children are so frequently due to gastric disturbance that Ipecac with its spasmodic tendency comes in frequently. Also spasms during pregnancy.

Cuprum is a complementary remedy to Ipecac and follows it up in whooping-cough and convulsions. The patient may complain of a strong metallic taste in mouth. In the repercussion of eruptions, striking in, as in scarlet fever, symptoms like excessive vomiting, great stupor, convulsions may appear. Cuprum will remove these and cause a reappearance of the rash.

FEVER. The symptoms of Ipecac reveal a distinctly intermittent character. It is excellent in intermittent fever after abuse of quinine, also in the beginning of irregular cases, especially if there is much nausea. There is excessive sensitiveness to cold and warmth, slight chill with much heat, no subjective perspiration, nausea, vomiting and dyspnoea. After quinine and relapses from improper diet, nearly always with great thirst, but the water is apt to be vomited. Similar to Ipecac in the treatment of intermittent fevers spoiled by quinine is:.

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.