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Homeopathic Materia Medica by Farrington



COLOCYNTHIS CUCUMIS

(coloc)

This is the bitter cucumber. It is not indigenous to this country but is imported from Syria and Turkey. In shape, it is something like an orange or lemon with the rind dried. Its pulp is dry and membranous.

Like the other members of this group, Colocynth causes violent intestinal irritation with profuse watery evacuations. If a very large dose of the drug be taken, death may result from its action. Homeopathically, Colocynth is a valuable drug, although in a limited but well defined line. It is useful in neuralgiae affecting the ganglionic and sensory nerves. In its neurotic symptoms it is closely allied to DIOSCOREA VILLOSA.

I will now give you briefly the symptoms of Colocynth. You will find it useful for nervous phenomena which follow violent emotions, as anger and indignation. As a result of these emotional influences, the patient suffers from colic, vomiting and diarrhoea. I have been wont to term this colic which Colocynth cures, a nervous colic, because it is dependent on irritation of the nervous system rather than on any inflammatory condition. The drug may, however, be used in enteritis, metritis and frequently in dysentery. But its action is not to directly reduce the inflammatory condition, but indirectly by its action on the nervous system.

In the bad effects of anger, Colocynth is closely allied to CHAMOMILLA and STAPHISAGRIA and, more remotely, to CAUSTICUM. It resembles Chamomilla in the violence of its emotions. Both drugs may be used in children when violent emotions produce cramps and even bilious stools. Chamomilla differs from Colocynth in the violence of its congestive symptoms, hot sweat on the head, etc. The characteristic Chamomilla temperament also helps you to decide.

Staphisagria is sometimes to be substituted for Colocynth in the effects of violent emotion in women and children when the violent abdominal cramps fail to yield to that remedy.

The colicky pains of Colocynth are very characteristic and are among the first symptoms of the materia medica which the student memorizes. They consist of griping pains in the abdomen FORCING THE PATIENT TO BEND DOUBLE FOR RELIEF, with the hands pressed firmly against the abdomen. Sometimes, they may be attended with cramps in other localities than the abdomen. They may or may not be associated with stool. A movement of the bowels usually relieves the pains. A colic with the character of pain just described often occurs during the course of dysentery, in which disease Colocynth is called for when the stools consist of blood and slime and shreds. The discharges are provoked at any attempt to eat or drink. Sometimes, the colicky pains continue after stool, but they usually lessen for awhile at least. In this symptom, Colocynth is exactly opposite to MERCURIUS and similar to NUX VOMICA.

I must say here that coffee lessens the remedial action of Colocynth in colic.

You should compare ACONITE with Colocynth in these abdominal pains.

VERATRUM ALBUM has abdominal pains forcing the patient to bend double, but he must walk about for relief. He also has cold sweat on the forehead. It is especially suitable in ileus or intussusception of the bowels.

The colic of BOVISTA finds relief from bending double after eating. The urine is red.

CROTON TIGLIUM has these pains with profuse watery diarrhoea. The stools are yellowish, brownish or green in color, and profuse, coming out with a gush as water from the hydrant. They are aggravated after nursing or eating.

 

The character of the pain in the colic of Colocynth may be transferred elsewhere. I remember once curing a lady of ovarian colic from which she had suffered for three years, with Colocynth. The pains were griping and were relieved by bending double. There were no organic changes.

Two cases of ovarian tumor have been reported as cured by Colocynth administered on this symptom.

In that painful affection, sciatica, Colocynth is one of our best remedies, when the pains in the affected part are of a sharp shooting character, and extend down the course of the sciatic nerve, to the feet. At times, they may be of a burning, cramping or boring character. The attacks of pain are followed by numbness of the whole limb and partial paralysis. If the case is of long continuance, the nutrition of the limb is defective. Sometimes the cramps in the leg are so severe that the patient feels as if the whole leg were fastened down by iron bands, so severe is this cramp. The pains are usually worse at night.

GNAPHALIUM is very similar to Colocynth in sciatica. It has intense neuralgic pains along the course of the sciatic nerve, alternating with numbness.

In cramps of the muscles you should compare Colocynth, NUX VOMICA, VERATRUM ALBUM and CHOLOS TERREPINA.

Colocynth may be used in an affection in which it is very much neglected, and that is in arthritic headache and ophthalmia. Bryonia seems to be preferable in RHEUMATIC headache and ophthalmia when indicated by the symptoms to be enumerated in my next lecture. Colocynth applies more to gout. The pains whether it be headache or ophthalmia are the same; boring pain in the head or eyes, relieved by hard, firm pressure. In the case of the ophthalmia, there is a profuse flow of acrid tears.

In rheumatism, Colocynth may be useful especially for the stiffness of the joints following the acute disease.

If, however, there are concretions in the joints, you should think of CAUSTICUM and GUAIACUM.