Solanum dulcamara. Woody nightshade bitter sweet. N.O. Solanaceae. Tincture prepared from fresh stems and leaves, gathered just before flowering.
DULCAMARA Is a membrane of the botanical family Solanaceae, to which also belong belladonna, stramonium, hyoscyamus and capsicum. It contains an alkaloid called solanin, to which it owes many of its properties. Solanin depresses and paralyses. the vagus, with resulting slowing of the respiration with dyspnoea and oppression of the breathing and acceleration of the action heart the pulse becoming quick feeble and thready. The pulmonary tissues become filled with a serous exudation and isolated patches of the lung become emphysematous. The membranes of the medulla oblongata are highly injected but the nervous substance itself shows no organic change. When injected into the blood-stram solanin has a depressing and paralysing effect on nerves and muscles. Ecchymoses are found in the serous membranes and the kidneys, and the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines is swollen and congested, and contains numerous extravasations of blood. The abdominal lymphatic glands are often swollen and congested, blood-casts fill the lumen of the tubules of the kidneys, and albumin and haemoglobin appear in the urine.
From the provers of the tincture of dulcamara and from cases of poisoning caused by eating the berries we obtain symptoms answering to the action of the alkaloid sketched above and other effects besides, especially in the skin and joints.
DULCAMARA produces catarrh in the stomach and intestines and in the nose eyes and ears.
Nose.- The nasal catarrh is usually dry is worse from rest and in cold air and better from moving about and is renewed by the slightest exposure. Herpetic sores form on the lips every time the patient takes cold.
Digestive Tract,- The throat is sore and the tonsils may be sore and inflamed. There is an increase of saliva or the mouth may be dry without thirst. Tooth -ache is apt to be caused by cold, especially if at the same time diarrhoea has been excited. The tongue becomes swollen and half paralysed so that articulations is interfered with. The jaws and tongue become stiff and lame if chilled with cold air or water. Much mucus collects in the throat. There is nausea with inability to vomit, or there may be vomiting of greenish yellow, limy substances. Vomiting is accompanied by chilliness, and provoked by cold drinks. Yellow. or greenish, watery or slimy diarrhoea occurs and each stool is preceded by cutting pain in the abdomen about the navel.
Respiration.- Catarrh may affect the larynx and cause the voice to be rough and hoarse and produce a cough with copious expectoration of mucus accompanied by a catarrhal fever. The cough is worse lying down, and in a warm room, better in the open air.
The skin eruptions of dulcamara are a miliary eruption of fine vesicles all over the body or on special parts, and an urticarial rash mostly on the lower half of the body. All eruptions burn and itch much and are not relieved by scratching, though the impulse to its is almost uncontrollable; scratching produces sore abrasions, which may become ulcers and these may be of a phagedenic character. Chills, heats and perspirations accompany the eruptions. which are better from keeping still and worse in bed and after each meal. They are preceded by restlessness insomnia and a febrile state. There may be foetid perspirations all over the body with itching, but without any rash. Herpes appears on the prepuce and the labia from catching cold, and the irritation and heat associated with it cause increased sexual excitement in both sexes.
Urinary System.- Nephritis and cystitis with albumin, blood and mucus in the urine, have been caused by dulcamara in poisonous doses. There may be retention or strangury from exposure to cold; at every little chill the patient must hurry to urinate, but paresis of the bladder prevents or delays the function.
Head.- The head is hot the mind restless, and the patient disposed to be quarrelsome the face and hands may be of a dark, purplish colour. Headaches are in the forehead and occiput and are worse in cold, damp weather. They may come on from a coryza being checked by cold air and are relieved when the nasal flux is re-established.
Eyes.- The sight is dim and the eyes ache and are inflamed from exposure to cold, there may be paralysis of the upper lids.
Back and Limbs.- Dulcamara produces pains of rheumatic character in the joints and muscles, especially those of the head and lumbar region. One prover experienced a violent pain in the left wrist, centred at the pisiform bone and extending downwards along the little finger and upwards along the ulnar nerve. Sharp shootings occurred in the left thumb and toes. The joints affected are swollen and sensitive to touch. Pains are rending and take an upward direction, but those felt in the lumbar region extend to the lower limbs and are relieved by motion. Rheumatic symptoms in general are relieved by motion (rhus).
Nervous System.-Dulcamara causes great restlessness, with desire to be moving and relief to most of the symptoms from movement. Spasmodic and convulsive movements are caused by it; in some provers twitching of the eyelids and lips and slight convulsive movements of the hands were observed, occurring only when the patient was exposed to cold and damp weather and readily removed by external warmth. One-sided spasms, paralysis of the tongue, speechlessness, and paralyses of the limbs from repelled eruptions are other symptoms of dulcamara.
Sleep.-The patient is drowsy but cannot sleep, or sleep is restless, with uneasy tossing from side to side and confused dreams and perspiration.
The guiding indication for the employment of dulcamara in diseases in that they shall have been caused by exposure to damp and cold, and that the symptoms should be aggravated by those conditions and relieved by the opposite conditions of dryness and warmth. In these respects it resembles rhus and also in the fact that most of its symptoms are better from movement and worse from rest. There is a partial exception to these modalities in connection with the skin eruptions of dulcamara, which are worse from warmth and better from keeping cool, and with the moist cough which is also worse in the warmth and relieved in the open air, but both eruptions and cough are worse at rest and better when moving about.
Bearing these modalities in mind as being necessarily present if dulcamara is to be prescribed we will enumerate the complaints in which it has been found curative. Firstly, it has been much used for colic and diarrhoea when brought on by exposure to cold or by exposure to cold or by a check to the perspiration; such attacks occur frequently in the early autumn when, after becoming hot and perspiring from exercise in the sun, the patient meets a current of cold air which suddenly chills him and checks the perspiration, with the result that he has an attack of colic and diarrhoea. A single attack may be followed by a chronic recurrent diarrhoea or dysentery.
Instead of colic and diarrhoea a nasal coryza may be the result of the chill. If it is dry there will be a severe headache at the root of the nose and in the occiput, which will be worse in cold air and better in a warm room and from the constant application of warm fomentations that relieve the dryness and bring on a watery, mucous discharge with amelioration of the headache; if the patient again goes into the open air the discharge will dry up and the headache return. The catarrh is better in the morning after a night of equable warmth in bed.
Eyes.-Ophthalmia of catarrhal or rheumatic origin comes under the influence of dulcamara; every time he takes cold it settles in his eyes.”
Respiratory.-Post-nasal catarrh, sore throat and quinsy may be caused by a chill and require this remedy; or a dry, hoarse cough may be induced followed by copious expectoration of mucus and the accompaniment of some fever; the cough is worse when lying down and in a warm room, better moving about in the open air. Dulcamara has been found very useful for a humid asthma with a loose cough and rattling of mucus in the chest (nat, sulph), and the alkaloid,solanin,is a valuable remedy for bronchitis in old people and young children when the chest is filled with mucus which the patient has not the ability to expel on account of threatening paralysis of the expiratory muscles.
Urinary.- Then again it is very serviceable in kidney and bladder complaints brought on by exposure to damp and cold; for nephritis, for instance, when it is caused by the patient being chilled after an attack of scarlet fever; for cystitis brought on by sitting on a damp seat or from exposure to cold air; in these cases there is a copious discharge of mucus or muco-pus in the urine, there may be strangury, or retention from Paralysis of the bladder.
Dulcamara is useful for rheumatic pains and paralyses which have their origin in exposure to cold and wet for paralysis of the face and tongue, for rheumatic of the back relieved by motion for similar pains about the finger-joints and for rheumatic paralyses of the limbs. The paralysed parts feels icy cold and relief is experienced from warmth. All kinds of ailments that result from the perspiration being suppressed by exposure to cold and damp are suitably treated with dulcamara. the patient cannot bear rapid cooling, he is constantly taking fresh colds, especially in the winter, and goes through every winter troubled by a succession of coughs and colds.
Dulcamara is indicated in paralyses and other affection such as dropsical swellings that come on from suppressed eruptions.
Skin.- It is a remedy for facial and other eczemas and impetigo, for small boils scabby eruptions and urticaria; the eruptions itch much, and scratching makes them sore without relieving the irritation; they are worse from warmth. Ringworm and herpes circinatus are curable with dulcamara.
Sexual.- It is useful for nymphomania associated with itching , heat and herpetic eruption on the genitals, and has been given to subdue the increased sexual appetite in maniacs and others.
(1) Symptoms are better from movement and worse from rest.
(2) Ailments brought on and aggravated by cold and damp.
(3) Ailments caused by perspiration repressed or eruptions repelled by the same causes.
(4) Paresis and paralyses from cold and wet.
(5) Colic and diarrhoea; catarrhs; inflammation of kidneys and bladder.
(6) Skin eruptions of urticarial or eczematous character. Warts. Ulcers.
(7) Catarrhal rheumatism from exposure to cold and damp.
From rest, warmth (cough and nettlerash), cold air, damp weather, getting wet, using water, cold drinks.
From motion, warmth, Open air (moist cough).