AMONG the polycrests we are reviewing in this Seminar of our Country Society, there will be no other remedy presented that is prescribed as often by our Homoeopathic physicians, as Bryonia Alba. Its provings are so diversified, that its applicability to diseases is extraordinary. The symptomatology almost runs the gramut of diseases of all kinds and conditions, particularly those of the serous and mucus surface. The three schools of medicine, Allopathic, Eclectic and Homoeopathic, use this remedy, however, our school more often than the other two schools combined.
Bryonia Alba or wild hops is a perennial type of climbing plant, growing throughout Europe, but more plentifully in Germany and France. From the latter two countries, our best tinctures are secured. The dried roots are used in preparing the tincture. It is well macerated and mixed with alcohol and water and allowed to stand for fourteen days with frequent succussions, to form the tincture. The first potency is made by adding 62 per cent alcohol to the tincture, other, potencies, the usual 75 per cent alcohol.
Bryonia is so generally prescribed for so many diseases, particularly in colder climates, that it would be difficult to substitute a remedy of equal value, to attain the same results. There are many diseases that have a similar symptomatology to the Bryonia provings, that this remedy naturally is given and with satisfactory results. It would certainly follow that knowing these symptoms of the drug and those of the disease under treatment our confidence in the similarity and its applicability to the disease, we could look confidently for results and are not often disappointed.
There are definite characteristics, modalities and aggravations in Bryonia that if we keep them in mind constantly, we can employ them to great advantage in our treatment of the sick. The action of Bryonia is particularly upon serous membranes of the body but there is no organ or tissue that at sometime may not be greatly relieved or cured by the administration of this universally employed polycrest. The potencies generally used are from the first to the twelfth. Hahnemann is reported to have used Bryonia in the lower potencies which was rather the exception for him.
Reviewing the more easily remembered characteristic, we would state that Bryonia could for convenience be spelled “dryonia” as most of the symptoms in the diseases calling for Bryonia are dry: dry tongue, dry skin, dry hard stools, dry harsh cough, dry cracked lips and dry red face.
Characteristics Modalities Aggravations
Dry skin Worse in heated room Pins in motion
Dry cough ” evenings Pains on coughing
Dry tongue ” on deep breathing Pains on deep pressure
Dry stools ” on exertion Pains worse from worry
Dry cracked lips ” lying on well side Headaches worse by sitting up
Dry red face Better lying on affected Children worse on side lifting from crib
Coated white Better when quiet, Cough aggravated on tongue physically and mentally entering warm room
Bitter taste ” worse from cold drinks
Sharp stitching ” from cold food pains
” in a lying position ” in the open air
Some of the more prominent general symptoms are little appetite, however, favors cold foods, if any, often vomits after eating, of a bitter, yellowish or greenish fluid, patient is irritable and obstinate, aching of the entire body, more particularly head and chest.
After enumerating the above methods by which we can picture a true Bryonia patient, we may now look at some of the practical uses for Bryonia in various diseases .
We older physicians in Philadelphia, some forty years ago had many of these cases of typhoid to treat and Bryonia was our stand-by in the early stages of the disease and was often continued until the strawberry tongue of Rhus Tox appeared. Bryonia was more often given during the course of the disease than the five other notable remedies: Gelsemium, Baptisia, Rhus Tox, Belladonna and Ipecac. How beautifully the Bryonia symptomatology compares with the typhoid case – dry white tongue, dry skin, fever, aching of the body, particularly of head, slight delirium, dry cough, flesh sensitive to touch, stools dry and hard, abdomen distended and petechia over body.
This disease is ever-present, however, more during the winter months and here-in lies the value of Bryonia. It alone has saved thousands of lives of this dread disease. Our older physicians did not have pneumonia sera, or methods of typing the pneumonia patients. Neither did they have sulfanilamide, sulfapyridine or sulfathiazole to combat the pneumonias. They did have, however, a superlative knowledge of our remedies useful in pneumonia, more particularly, Bryonia Alba.
Incredible as it may seem to us with our present method of treatment our old Homoeopaths were able to keep the death-rates in pneumonia down to 6 and 8 percent according to the statistics of that time. The present generation owe everlasting gratitude to those pioneers in the Homoeopathic use of Bryonia in the treatment of this heretofore very fatal disease. The symptomatology of Bryonia corresponds so closely with pneumonia: the chill, sharp stitches in the chest, dry skin, dry cough worse on motion, slight delirium, red cheeks, fear of coughing as it causes stitches in chest, all pains and cough worse at night. Wants to lie still and not be disturbed.
In Influenza or Grippe, none of we physicians would call on these patients without having Bryonia with us. It is not always the first remedy given in these cases where there is chilliness and beginning aching of body. Gelsemium or Aconite would be better indicated, but later in the attack when there is stitching pains in the chest and throughout the body, with the characteristic dry cough, dry tongue, dry skin, repression of cough because of stitches in the chest and fever with great thirst for cold drinks, Bryonia often can be continued throughout the entire grippe attack. Coughs and aches respond to it.
The aching is not as deep seated as we see in Eupatorium cases, but is quite extensive, and severe tenderness to touch. The eye balls are sore to touch and ache, the back of the neck pains, extending upward into the scalp, a deep hurt so to speak.
In rheumatism of any portion of the body or in the treatment of rheumatic fever, here again we have a very useful drug in Bryonia. The joints are red and swollen, hot, and painful to the touch, can not endure the least motion, heat is not desired usually, rather aggravates the patient. Is irritable and restless.
Desires cold drinks. The redness of Bryonia is not as intense as that of Belladonna or Rhus Tox. Bryonia is applicable to tendon-sheath and joint inflammation worse on least motion, whereas Rhus Tox is more effective in the muscular type of rheumatism, the superficial and deep muscular tissues where the patient is improved by moving about for a short period of time.
Bryonia in acute colds of the mucous membranes of the head, larynx and chest is again a very valuable remedy and prescribed often for their relief, particularly is this true for the coughs present in these acute inflammations of the upper respiratory tract. The coughs are hard, dry, rasping, often accompanied by stitches of pain in one or both sides of the chest, so painful at times that the cough is suddenly interrupted by these stitches of pain, cough worse in the evening and during the night.
Pleuritic pain worse on motion, little expectoration; if there is, it is blood-streaked secured only after a cough of side-splitting character. Coincidental with these hard coughs, a myalgia or intercostal neuralgia may occur about and around the chest wall, which, too, will respond to Bryonia. In frank pleurisy it is often the only remedy required, in addition to immobilizing the chest wall. In rhinitis, laryngitis and tracheitis when the congestion is the result of exposure to cold or damp winds, during our winter months.
The symptoms are sneezing and stuffy nostrils, at first dry, later a greenish discharge from nose and post nasal space. Congestion over frontal and maxillary sinuses, breathing difficult, pain over sinuses on stooping forward, dry and inflammed pharynx and hoarse voice with a sore and painful trachea.
The abdominal conditions calling the use of Bryonia are those found in hyperacidity or atonic type of indigestion. Abdomen is distended, soreness on pressure, feeling of emptiness sometimes after eating, often a stone-like feeling in the center of the stomach directly following a meal. Lots of gas both up and down, bowels are constipated, dry and hard faeces. In cross and irritable also, sometimes vomits bile accompanied with symptoms of a cholecystitis.
Bryonia has many uses in the special field of womens diseases. The menses are too early and profuse and very dark, sharp pains in ovaries made worse by pressure or by movements of the body. Menstrual periods irregular, breasts tender to touch and hard on pressure. The soreness of abdomen and ovarian regions is worse on moving about or lifting objects. These menstrual symptoms are worse on cold windy days or chilly damp weather, but the patient feels better out of doors notwithstanding.
Bryonia is a splendid remedy for headaches either of a rheumatic, neuralgic or bilious type with the usual characteristics, worse on slightest motion, pressure outward as though head was too full, pains begin on opening eyes in the morning. In the bilious, there is considerable vertigo, objects reel before the eyes as though the head was moving in a circle, the tongue is badly located, has a foul breath and general malaise. I have seen splendid results in these bilious cases, with vertigo and vomiting by prescribing Bryonia,
There are so many uses for Bryonia when the diseases have the usual characteristics as we have just enumerated. You will find it beneficial in neuritis of any nerve of the body, as for instance sciatic, brachial-plexus or intercostal nerves. It is also a good remedy for effusions, whether of the pelvis, plural or pericardium. It is often the first remedy thought of and most often prescribed in these exudative conditions.
In the dysfunctioning of many of the organs of the body Bryonia plays a leading role in their recovery. It is truly a sheet-anchor remedy for many of our serious diseases and also for our minor ills. I have referred to but a few, as time allotted me would not permit of extensive discussion of this very useful drug, in its application to disease.
If and when Hitler is banished to St. Helena, dont permit him to take the every helpful Bryonia with him, if you wish his early demise.