The purpose of my paper is to differentiate between Bryonia alba and Ranunculus bulbosus-two purely homoeopathic drugs having no physiological use, the first well known, the latter less so. Yet these two remedies are quite similar as to their general modalities and the tissues upon which they act.
Before discussing these two drugs, I should like to bring forth a thought which has occurred to me over and over again during my short time in prescribing homoeopathic remedies: Why are so many of us prone to use those drugs which have supposedly given excellent results on previous occasions for like conditions or states of a disease instead of using a remedy which is little known or tried but which appears to be more indicated than the one chosen? ARe we to prescribe drugs for given conditions because someone else has had favorable response? For if that is so we are losing all that homoeopathy stands for-the personal equation. Let us not forget that each individual is an entity unto himself and should be treated as such.
I shall now discuss the two remedies mentioned above and then give a brief case which I attended and after careful study chose Ranunculus bulbosus.
As we all know, Bryonia-a member of the watermelon family, a polychrest-has three great fields of action: (1) respiratory, (2) gastrointestinal, (3) arthritic, the main effect being on serous membranes and the viscera they contain, as dura, pericardium and pleura.
The Bryonia patient is always a toxic case., It affects the constitution of a robust, firm fiber and dark complexion with tendency to leanness and irritability. It prefers the outside, evening, open, air, warm weather after cold days, to manifest its action most markedly.
In the respiratory field we have the hard dry cough, sharp shooting pains; or in the gastrointestinal field the coated tongue, dry mucous membranes, feeling of stone in the stomach, nausea when arising; and again in the arthritic field the red, swollen, tender joints-and all these symptoms explained by dehydration toxicity. For these reasons we find the Bryonia Patient sluggish, < on motion; profuse hot sweat with intense thirst: < from warmth, exertion and touch; cannot sit up; > lying on painful side, > from rest, pressure and cold things. The skin is characteristic: yellow, pale, swollen or dropsical, hot and painful. Hair very greasy. It is a right-sided remedy.
In the case of RANUNCULUS bulbosus or buttercup we find that this remedy acts especially upon the muscular tissue and skin and has its most characteristic effects upon the chest wall as in pleurodynia. It acts on nerves and serous surfaces and is mainly left-sided. The sensations are variable as seen with the bruised sensation under the sternum, ribs, intercostal spaces, to pains of a stitching, shooting, character.
General characteristics of this drug are obtuseness of the senses, quarrelsome, angry mood, easily provoked, does not like to be left alone. The modalities: cannot lie on the affected side, < inspiring or moving; < dampness, cold, drafts, touch. Cant rest; anxious, oppressed breathing; > sitting up, walking or bending forward. Skin: Burning, intense itching. Eczema with vesicles. Corns sensitive.
On July 11, 1938 a male patient age 67 presented the following picture. During the first week in July he complained of sharp pain in his chest, awaking him in the early morning hours. He found that he had some relief on sitting up or walking, but could cause the pain to become quite severe by taking a deep breath. This pain was < on motion while lying down and it was impossible to lie on the affected side.
Breathing appeared dyspnoeic at times. Patient has had a rheumatic diathesis since 1920. Five years ago he suffered from coronary attack (thrombosis). Has had all possible foci of infection removed. He had been in apparent good health until recent illness which took place while patient was travelling from West Coast east. Heart and lungs negative. G. U. tract negative.
Physical examination showed on much pressure tenderness over and above floating rib, left side; tenderness suprascapular region left side and less tenderness anterior right chest between sixth and seventh ribs. Pain did not radiate, nor was it along course of nerves under ridge border. Rheumatic diathesis, < damp weather; changeable weather. Patient is of light texture, medium in build and for year has been troubled with an eczema of face, scaly skin < shaving. Ran, b. 2c. given. In forty-eight hours much relief.
On July 19th remedy was repeated in the same potency, with apparent complete recovery.
NEW HAVEN, CONN.