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Homeopathic Materia Medica by Farrington
(berb)Berberis vulgaris belongs to the order BERBERIDACEAE, along with Caulophyllum and Podophyllum. It contains an alkaloid called BERBERINA, which, by the way, is also found in Hydrastis Canadensis. Some chemists have even asserted that what is sold as Muriate of Hydrastine is not Hydrastine at all, but Muriate of Berberine. This Berberine, when given in large doses to animals, produces restlessness, convulsive trembling, thirst, diarrhoea, and, finally, paralysis of the posterior extremities. Man is far less readily poisoned by it than are the lower animals.
Berberis vulgaris acts more on the kidneys and bladder than on any other parts of the body ; next to these the liver, and lastly on the mucous membranes. It also affects the vital powers and damages nutrition, as shown by the sunken face and excessive prostration.
First of all we will consider the kidney symptoms as the most important. Just as I would say that I would recommend Digitalis for several diseases when the heart symptoms decided for it, so would I recommend Berberis in certain affections, peritonitis, metritis, etc., when the Berberis kidney symptoms predominated. We find in the renal regions, sticking, digging, tearing pains, worse from deep pressure, for they are evidently in the kidneys themselves. These tearing pains extend down the back and into the pelvis, along the course of the ureters. There is a sort of tensive, pressive pain across the small of the back ; the back feels stiff and numb ; pains of a sticking or tearing character radiate from the kidneys down into the small of the back. Another symptom which seems to be peculiar to Berberis, is a bubbling feeling as if water were coming up through the skin. It is a peculiar symptom and one that may point very strongly to Berberis as the remedy.
Coming next to the bladder, we find very marked here cutting in the bladder extending down the urethra, burning pain even after urinating. The urine itself presents marked characteristics. We find it yellow, turbid and flocculent. Sometimes the sediment is whitish, later becoming red and mealy. With these urinary symptoms are the tearing pains just mentioned. Now, whenever you have these renal and vesical symptoms, you must think of Berberis, whether the trouble be inflammation of the uterus, of the bowels, of the peritoneum, or of any other part of the body. The face is usually expressive of deep-seated disease, being sunken and worn looking. General prostration is great.
Sometimes the same condition obtains in liver affections. You find very characteristically sticking pain under the border of the false ribs on the right side. These pains seem to shoot from the hepatic region down through the abdomen. These symptoms may be indicative of the presence of gall-stones.
The stools of Berberis are accompanied by violent burning in the anus, as if the surrounding parts were sore; frequent or constant desire for stool. These symptoms have suggested the use of Berberis in fistula of the anus.
You may also use Berberis in complaints of females, when the leucorrhcea or menstrual difficulty is associated with the peculiar urinary symptoms of the drug.
Berberis is to be studied alongside of PAREIRA BRAVA. The difference between the two drugs is this: In the latter drug the pains go tearing down the thighs, while in the former they seldom go further than the hips.
When a fistula in ano has been operated on and other affections follow, CALCAREA PHOS. is the remedy.
We may also use Berberis in diseases of the joints, when there are these tearing and burning pains and this bubbling sensation. It is also a very useful drug in rheumatism or gout, when characteristic urinary symptoms are present. This places it by the side of LITHIUM CARB., BENZOIC ACID, CALCAREA OSTREARUM and LYCOPODIUM.
BENZOIC ACID is useful in gout and in rheumatism with urinary symptoms, when the urine smells very strong, the odor of the urine being compared with that of the horse.
CALCAREA OSTREARUM has very offensive urine, with a white instead of a turbid deposit.
LYCOPODIUM is useful in rheumatism or gout when the urine contains a lithic acid deposit.