Last modified on January 10th, 2019


Symptoms of the homeopathic medicine BRYONIA from A Text Book of Materia Medica and Therapeutics by A.C. Cowperthwaite. Find all the symptoms of BRYONIA

      Synonym. Bryonia Alba. Natural order. Cucurbitaceae. Common name. White Bryony. Habitat. A high climbing perennial plant growing in hedges and along fences, especially in Germany and France. Preparation. Tincture from the fresh root.


Bryonia acts especially and powerfully upon the serous membranes and the viscera they contain, more particularly the pleurae and lungs; next the brain, and finally the liver. Then comes the action upon the synovial membranes and muscular fiber, and last upon the mucous membranes of the respiratory and alimentary tracts. The condition set up is not one of acute inflammation, but rather of subacute; more closely simulating that condition when infiltrations, exudations, or, effusions are about to occur, the symptoms indicating a condition intermediate between inflammation and nervous irritation. When, however, the synovial membranes and the muscular fibres are involved, the inflammation, while still being subacute its character, partakes more decidedly of a rheumatic or arthritic nature, and possibly this condition may be said to always characterize the bryonia inflammation, regardless of the tissues involved. The most characteristic expressions of Bryonia are its stitching, tearing pains, and the aggravation of all its symptoms by motion.


Mind. Very morose, ill-humored (Agaricus, Ailanth., Borax., Chamomilla, Nux v.); inclined to needless anxiety; fright, fear and vexation (Aconite). Exceedingly irritable, and inclined to be angry (Aurum, Cinchona, Chamomilla, Hepars., Kali carb., Nux v., Ignatia). Great anxiety; mental depression and apprehension about the future; fears she has not the wherewithal to live (Aurum, Arsenicum, Natr. mur., Nux moschata, Pulsatilla). Delirium about his business; worse at night. Weakness of mind so that his ideas disappear, as if he would faint.

Head. Confusion of the head. Confusion in the head and aching, as after a night’s dissipation; does not wish to rise (Nux v.), morning on awakening. Confusion in the head with drawing in the occiput, extending into the neck, before going to sleep. Sensation in bed as if she were sinking deep down. Vertigo, as though objects were reeling; as though brain were turning around; as if head were turning in a circle (Belladonna, Carls., Coni., Nux v.); causing him to reel backward; on rising from the chair (Sulphur), or bed (Phosphorus,Rhus tox.); on sitting up in bed; on raising the head (Aconite, Cinchona).

Headache commences in the morning, not on waking, but when first opening the eyes. Great heaviness of the head, and pressure of the brain forward. Pressure on the head, as if the brain were too full and pressed outward (Aconite,Cinchona, Nat. mur., Mercurius). Headache as if everything would press out of the forehead (Aconite, Asafoetida); worse on stooping.

Pressive pain above the left eye, followed by dull pressive pain in occipital protuberances; thence spreading over the whole body; on quick motion and after eating pain so severe that it seemed a distinct pulsation within the head. Stitches through head on stepping hard, mostly from before backwards. Pressive pain in head on coughing. Slight drawing in the temporal bones from above downward toward zygoma. Throbbing headache on top of head (Natr. ars., Gloninum, Stramonium) morning when waking. Continued deep stitch in brain, left side, on coughing (Carb v.). Pressive pain in the occiput, drawing down into neck; relieved toward noon. Headache, as if head would split open (Ammonium carb., Caps., Cinchona, Mercurius, Natr. mur., Pulsatilla). Pain like a heaviness which pressed upon a sore spot, in morning when lying on back, extending to shoulders. Headache from ironing; from washing perspiring face in cold water.

Hair seems fatty in morning and hands become fatty while combing it. Scalp sensitive towards evening.

Eyes. Severe burning and lachrymation of right eye (Arsenicum). Swelling of right upper lid, with agglutination. Twitching drawing together in left upper lid, with heaviness. Every object appears covered with rainbow colors, followed by photophobia. Very sensitive pressive intermittent pains in left eyeball, especially violent on moving the ball (Physos., Spigelia), with feeling as if eye became smaller, and were retracted within the ears.

Ears. Roaring in the ears.

Nose. Swelling of the nose, with very sore pain when touched (Alumina, Mercurius). Profuse coryza. Nosebleed (Aconite, Belladonna), especially in morning when rising (Agaricus, Ambr., Calcarea c., Cinchona).

Face. Hot, red, soft puffiness of the face; red, round, hot spot on malar bone. Heat in face with redness and thirst. Pinching pressure in articular cavity of right jaw, more violent on motion. Twitching, externally in malar bone, extending to right temple, worse on touch. Painful pressure under right cheek, better on pressure. Lower lips cracked. Upper lip and nose swollen, red and hot (Belladonna, Mercurius).

Mouth. Great dryness of mouth, lips and tongue (Aconite, Arsenicum, Hyoscyamus, Kali nitr., nux m.); tip of tongue moist (Mercurius). Drawing, sticking toothache while eating, extending to muscles of neck; aggravated by warmth. Toothache relieved by cold water (Bism., Coffea, Clem.), aggravated by taking anything warm in the mouth (Calcarea c., Mercurius, Pulsatilla); aggravated by lying on painless side; goes away if one lies on painful side. Jerking toothache; when smoking (Ignatia). Gums pain as if sore and raw, with painful loose teeth. Aphthae on tip of tongue; sometimes bitter rises into mouth, without eructations, with nausea. Dryness in mouth, better for a moment from drinking,then worse, so that the tongue sticks to the palate. Tongue thickly coated white (Antim crud., Mercurius). Taste flat, insipid; sweetish (Mercurius); intensely bitter (Arsenicum, Coloc., Cinchona, Nux v., Pulsatilla, Sulphur); pasty. Taste for food lost, bitter when not eating. Frequent drinking of cold water relieves the bitter taste and the inclination to vomit. Soapy, frothy salivation.

Throat. Great dryness of throat (Baptisia, Belladonna). Stitches in throat when swallowing (Calcarea c., Belladonna). Back of the throat seems swollen (Cina). Tough mucus loosened by hawking.

Stomach. Too great appetite (Ferrum, Iodi., Lycopodium). Desires things immediately, which when offered are refused (Chamomilla, Rhododendron). Excessive thirst (Belladonna, Rhus tox.); desire for large quantities of water (Podo; reverse Arsenicum). Great thirst with longing for wine (Cinch); for coffee. Hiccough; after eating (Hyoscyamus, Ignatia). Bitter eructations after eating (Cinchona, Nux v.); also sourish. Nausea and vomiting from slightest motion; in the morning on waking. Vomiting of solid food but not of drinks. Cutting in pit of stomach. Pain in stomach while eating. Contractive pain in stomach, better from drawing legs up against the abdomen (Coloc). Stomach distended and sensitive to pressure (Arsenicum, Belladonna). Pressure in stomach after eating, as from a stone (Aconite, AEsc., Arsenicum, Nux v., Pulsatilla), makes him fretful. Epigastric region painful to touch and pressure (Arsenicum, Antim crud., Belladonna, Lycopodium), with anxiety; soreness in pit of stomach when coughing.

Abdomen. Tensive pains or transient stitches below false ribs, right side; especially sensitive on deep inspiration (Aconite, Chelidonium, Cinchona, Mercurius). Distension of abdomen and colic (Aloe, Coloc, Lycopodium); after eating; heaviness in abdomen. Passage of offensive flatus (Aloe). Pain in abdomen as if diarrhoea would ensue. Griping-pinching colic, painful cuttings, and digging pains relieved by diarrhoea (Coloc.). Abdomen very sensitive and sore (Apis,Belladonna) . Twitching on left side, as if in muscles of abdominal walls, then sticking pain deep in left side of back.

Stool and Anus. Stools followed by a burnings in anus (Arsenicum, Cantharis, Sulphur). Burning in rectum with evacuation of stool and urine. Diarrhoea accompanied by confusion in head; also constipation with same, and rush of blood to head from great straining. Stools offensive, pasty or bilious and acrid; smelling like old cheese. Obstinate constipation, stools large, hard and dry (Calcarea c.), as if burnt (Sulphur), with great effort (AEsc.).

Urinary Organs. Urine dark (Arsenicum,Ant. tart.), almost brown (Causticum), like beer (Coloc.); scanty and dark (Aconite); red.

Female Organs. Stitching pain in ovaries on deep inspiration. Menses too early and too profuse (Arsenicum, Calcarea c. Nux v.). Suppressed, with bleeding of the nose (Carls., Hamamelis, Pulsatilla, Sepia). Breasts swollen, very tender, painful, red, worse on motion and deep inspiration. Flow of milk suppressed, or scanty secretion. Child does not like to take hold of the breast, but after mouth becomes moistened it nurses well.

Respiratory Organs. Tough mucus in trachea (Nux v.), loosened only after frequent hawking (Kali bichromicum). Coming into warm room from cold air excites a cough (Natr. carb., Veratrum alb.). Voice rough and hoarse (Carb v., Phosphorus, Spongia). Hacking dry cough from upper part of trachea. Sensation of a vapor on going from a warm room into open air, causing cough, with feeling as if he could not inspire air enough.

Cough from irritation of mucus in trachea, after coughing; pain, pressure and soreness in trachea, the pain worse while talking and smoking. Dry cough; as if coming from stomach (Sepia); with sticking pains under sternum; preceded by crawling and tickling in pit of stomach. Cough from constant crawling upward in throat, followed by expectoration of mucus.

Constriction of chest, must breathe deeply, but so doing causes pain in chest. Stitches in sternum on coughing; obliged to hold the chest with the hand. Intense sticking pains or stitches in chest (Aconite, Kali carb., Phosphorus, Pulsatilla); cannot bear to move or to draw a deep breath (Borax, Bell, Cimic., Mercurius, Phosphorus, Sulphur).

Sensation of heaviness beneath the sternum, extending toward the right shoulder, impeding respiration; deep inspiration difficult; oppression of right side of chest, with very fine, extremely severe stitches in right axillary gland.

Short but violent stitches in right side of chest, so that they must hold the breath in order not to cry out. Sharp pain in left infra-mammary region; worse during inspiration.

Heart. Pressive pain in praecordial region; stitches. Heart beats violently and rapidly. Pulse full, hard and rapid (Aconite).

Neck and Back. Pain in nape of neck as after taking cold. Drawing and stiffness in muscles of right side of neck. Shooting stitches from the back through to the chest. Twitching and tearing pain in region of last dorsal vertebra and sacrum; at union of right ilium, with sacrum, in evening. Pain in muscles of lumbar region, worse on lying outstretched, on waking, turning, or any motion; better at rest with the body bent forward. Pain in small of back, making walking or turning difficult. Pain in small of back, as if bruised, (Arnica, Arsenicum), when lying on it.

Limbs. Weariness and heaviness in all the limbs; weakness; stiffness. Joints red, swelling (Cimic., Pulsatilla), stiff with stitching pains from slightest motion. Transient drawing and tension in almost all the limbs and joints; paralytic pains. Stitches in the joints on motion and on touch.

Upper Limbs. Painful tension and pressure in right shoulder when at rest. Swelling of the right elbow joint, with stitches. Sensation in right elbow as if arm were broken, with paralytic pain, then drawing pain extending to shoulder joint. Tearing pains on inner surface of forearms, in a line from elbow to wrist. Pain in wrists, as if wrenched or sprained, on every motion (Aconite, Calcarea c., Eupat., Rhus tox.). Swelling and sticking pains in finger joints (Colchicum), worse on exertion and touch.

Lower Limbs. Legs so weak they will hardly hold him. Stitches in hips; in hip joint extending to knees. Great weariness in thighs; worse going up steps. Tensive painful stiffness of the knees. Feeling in right knee cap as if he had knelt too long. Pain and stitches in knees. Pinching, tearing or bruised pains in calves. Tension in ankle on motion. Hot swelling of the feet; of instep, with bruised pain on stretching of the feet (Arsenicum, Pulsatilla). Pains as if sprained in the feet; always worse on motion. Tensive pain in feet in evening, with swelling. Sudden pain in ball of great toes.

Generalities. Unsteadiness of all parts of the body when walking, worse after rising from a seat and on beginning to walk, better from continued walking. Stitches in all joints on motion and on touch. Bruised suppurating pain in whole body when taken hold of (Arnica), especially in pit of stomach, worse mornings.

Great weakness and exhaustion (Arsenicum, Phosphorus, Secale), worse from walking; in morning; on rising. Sitting up in bed causes nausea and fainting (Aconite). Every spot in body painful to pressure. Drawing, rheumatic pains in various parts of the body (Coloc., Ledum, Pulsatilla). Dropsical swellings increase during the day; diminish during the night.

Skin. Yellow skin of the whole body, even of the face. Red, round hot spot on the cheek over the malar bone. Red elevated rash, like eruptions, over the whole body (Belladonna, Rhus tox.). Slow development of rash in eruptive fevers; or sudden receding of rash, causing respiratory or meningeal troubles or dropsy (Gelsemium, Helleborus).

Sleep. Frequent yawning the whole day. Much sleepiness during the day (Ant tart., Apis., Mercurius, Nux moschata, Nux v., Phosphorus, Sepia) Sleepiness and restless sleep; before midnight. Dreams, vivid, frightful (Arnica,Aurum, Belladonna); about business or household affairs. Starts in a fright before falling asleep (Agaricus,Arsenicum, Belladonna, Hyoscyamus, Stramonium).

Fever. Intermittent; chill commences on the lip and tips of fingers and toes; great thirst during all stages. Dry burning heat, internal, blood seems to burn in the veins (Arsenicum). Chilliness; after midday nap, with confusion of the head; in evening in bed; all over in evenings, with gooseflesh, thirst, and with hot and red cheeks. Sweat in morning all over body when walking in cold air, after slightest exertion. Profuse, easily excited sweat, sour or oily sweat (Mercurius).

Aggravation. Morning and evenings; from motion; from heat; from warm food; after eating; while coughing.

Amelioration. In cold weather; in cool room; from cold food; while sitting; while lying, especially on painful side; after a short rest in bed.

Compare. Aconite, Antim crud., Ant. tart., Arnica, Ars, Baptisia, Belladonna, Carbo vegetabilis, Chelidonium, Colchicum, Cinchona, Iodium, Ledum, Ignatia, Lycopodium, Mercurius, Nux v., Pulsatilla, Phosphorus, Rhus tox., Senega, Sulphur, Veratrum v. Bryonia follows well after Aconite, Nux v., Opium, Rhus tox. Following Bryonia are frequently indicated Alumina, Kali carb., Nux v., Phosphorus, Pulsatilla, Rhus tox., Sulphur

Antidotes. Aconite, Alumina, Camph., Chamomilla, Clem., Coffea, Ignatia, Acid Muriaticum, Nux v., Pulsatilla, Rhus tox., Senega.

Bryonia Antidotes. Rhus tox., Chlorine.


Bryonia is a useful remedy in headaches of a rheumatic or congestive character. They are always worse from motion, even moving the eyeballs causing an aggravation. They are most often located in the occiput, but may be frontal. Headaches from gastric derangement; from ironing, from washing perspiring face in cold water; fro suppressed eruption (meningitis). Very frequently the headaches aid in sleeting Bryonia in intermittent and remittent of fever, in which it is often useful, either rheumatic, gastric or bilious. It may also be useful in scarlet fever or measles when the eruption does not develop well or has been suppressed. In measles it is standard remedy, particularly indicated when the eruption is delayed, and when there are pulmonary complications. Bryonia may be indicated in typhoid fever, when there is confusion of mind, irritability, delirium about business, great thirst for large quantities of water. According to Hering the symptom “they want to go home” strongly indicates Bryonia in the later stages of the disease.


Bryonia is one of our most valuable remedies in the treatment of serous inflammations, especially of the pleura, in which it is probably oftener indicated than any other drug. Also in meningitis and synovitis. It may be indicated at the outset of the disease, but more often after the violent inflammatory symptoms have abated and exudation is about to occur. In all such cases Bryonia is indicated by the stitching pains worse from motion, so eminently characteristic of the drug. It follows Aconite well after the symptoms indicating the latter have been subdued. The very common practice of alternating Aconite and Bryonia in all cases of acute pleurisy is necessary and unscientific. The same holds true in all other inflammations, especially those of the respiratory tract. In pneumonia and bronchitis, and sometimes in laryngitis, Bryonia is invaluable. In pneumonia, as in pleurisy, it is indicated early in the disease, but not until after the extreme high fever, restlessness, etc., have been subdued by Aconite or Veratrum vir., a nd exudation is about to occur, the symptoms being less violent. There is a dry, rough cough, but as yet little expectoration, that being mucous in character. There is considerable soreness, and the patient feels better when lying on the affected side, and keeping perfectly quiet. Especially valuable in pleuro-pneumonia. Phosphorus often follows Bryonia in pneumonia. As has already been intimated, Bryonia is a valuable remedy in gastric derangement. The tongue is thickly coated white, dryness of mouth and lips, and sensitiveness in epigastrium, bitter taster, nausea and vomiting. Gastric catarrh, in gastric derangement. The tongue is thickly coated white, dryness of mouth and lips, pain and sensitiveness in epigastrium, bitter taste, nausea and vomiting. Gastric catarrh, dyspepsia, bilious conditions; soreness and pain over liver; heaviness; stitches; coated tongue; headache; bitter taste, etc. Hepatitis. Typhlitis. of milk. In first stage of mammary abscess, breast swollen, very tender, red, hot, painful. Last, but perhaps most important of all, is the use of Bryonia in rheumatism, and rheumatic and arthritic inflammation in general. Rheumatism or the joint,s especially of the large joints, the local inflammation intense, part swollen, hot, shining redness, better from warmth, worse from motion. Especially used in muscular rheumatism in any locality. Muscles swollen, sore to touch, painful, worse on motion. Severe muscular pains in neck, back (lumbago), or any other part. Frequently indicated in pericarditis and endocarditis in the stage of exudation. Bryonia is said to be useful in general for complaints from exposure to heat of fire, and complaints when warm weather sets in after cold days.

About the author

A.C. Cowperthwaite

A.C. Cowperthwaite

A.C. (Allen Corson) Cowperthwaite 1848-1926.
ALLEN CORSON COWPERTHWAITE was born at Cape May, New Jersey, May 3, 1848, son of Joseph C. and Deborah (Godfrey) Cowperthwaite. He attended medical lectures at the University of Iowa in 1867-1868, and was graduated from the Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia in 1869. He practiced his profession first in Illinois, and then in Nebraska. In 1877 he became Dean and Professor of Materia Medica in the recently organized Homeopathic Department of the State University of Iowa, holding the position till 1892. In 1884 he accepted the chair of Materia Medica, Pharmacology, and Clinical Medicine in the Homeopathic Medical College of the University of Michigan. He removed to Chicago in 1892, and became Professor of Materia Medica and Therapeutics in the Chicago Homeopathic Medical College. From 1901 he also served as president of that College. He is the author of various works, notably "Insanity in its Medico-Legal Relations" (1876), "A Textbook of Materia Medica and Therapeutics" (1880), of "Gynecology" (1888), and of "The Practice of Medicine " (1901).

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