Last modified on January 8th, 2019


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

      Synonyms – Acinula Clavus. Ergota. Natural order – Fungi. Common names – Spurred Rye. Ergot. Preparation – Tincture from the fresh fungus.


Acts powerfully upon the cerebro-spinal system, giving rise to two distinct and characteristic conditions known as convulsions and gangrenous ergotism; the former resulting directly from nerve poisoning, while the latter is due to secondary blood disorganization, or, as is well maintained, to the power Ergot possesses over the unstriped muscular fiber, producing persistent contraction of the arterial coats, diminishing their caliber, and so reducing their current of blood. This, too, might produce cerebral and spinal anaemia, and thus also cause the convulsive form of Ergot poisoning. A full description of these conditions may not be presented here, but sufficient may be gathered from the annexed list of symptoms.

To the powerful action of ERgot on the unstriped muscular fiber also is due the important effects it displays upon the gravid uterus, exciting contractions thereof, and expelling its contents. To avert such a disaster Secale is often the true homoeopathic remedy, but to give it in parturition, in order to hasten delivery is an inexcusable practice.


Mind. Stupid, half-sleepy condition (Belladonna, Opium). Dulness of all the senses. Moaning. Mild or raving delirium (Belladonna, Hyoscyamus, Stramonium). Great anxiety and fear of death (Aconite, Arsenicum)

Head Stupefaction. Vertigo. Aching. Dullness. Heaviness of the head and tingling in the legs.

Eyes. Eyes sunken, and surrounded by blue margins (Phosphorus, Cinchona, Kali iod., Sulphur). Eyes look fixed, wild, staring (Cantharis, Belladonna, Hyoscyamus). Obstruction of sight. Pupils generally dilated (Belladonna, Hyoscyamus, Stramonium). Cataracts, hard and soft, with headache, vertigo and roaring in the ears.

Ears. Roaring in the ears, with great difficulty in hearing. (Calcarea c., Mercurius, PHos. ac., Sulphur). Hard hearing after cholera.

Nose. Bleeding of the nose (Aconite, Belladonna, Bryonia, Hamamelis).

Face Pale, sunken, Hippocratic, anxious expression (Arsenicum, Camph., Veratrum alb.). Lips bluish or deathly pale. Risus sardonicus.

Mouth. Tongue clean or coated white (Antim crud., Bryonia, Nux v., Pulsatilla). Painful crawling in tongue; burning and tingling. Very offensive breath (Arnica, Hepar s., Iodi., Mercurius, Nitr. ac., Nux v.). Increased secretion of saliva (Hepar s., Mercurius, Kali iod.). Feeble stuttering, indistinct speech, as if the tongue were paralyzed (Causticum, Gelsemium, Hyoscyamus, Stramonium).

Throat Dryness of the throat (Apis., Arsenicum, Nux moschata).

Stomach Ravenous hunger (Bryonia, Cina, Ferrum, Lycopodium). Violent, unquenchable thirst (Aconite, Arsenicum, Bryonia, Rhus tox., Sulphur). Hiccough. Nausea and inclination to vomit (Ant. tart., Ipecac.). Vomiting of bilious matter (Bryonia, Iris., v., Nux Podophyllum); of mucus; of dark-brown, coffee-grounds fluid (Coni.); of all food and drink. Haemorrhages from the stomach (Hamamelis, Phosphorus). Great anxiety and oppression in stomach, with great sensitiveness to the touch. Violent pressure in the stomach, as from a heavy weight (Aconite, Arsenicum, Bryonia, Nux v., Pulsatilla). Burning in the stomach (Arsenicum, Cantharis, Iris, Sanguinaria), with pain in abdomen.

Abdomen. Abdomen distended and tympanitic (Arnica, Cinchona, Phosphorus). In liver: enlargement; inflammation; gangrene. Painful colic, with convulsions. Continual bearing down in lower abdomen. Cold feeling in abdomen and back. Pains in hypogastric region.

Stool and Anus. Paralysis of rectum and anus. Anus wide open. Diarrhoea; frequent brown, slimy discharges; dark colored (Arsenicum); very offensive (Arsenicum, Asafoetida); thin, olive green; involuntary (Arnica, Arsenicum, Hyoscyamus); very exhausting (Cinchona, Phosphorus); pernicious. Haemorrhage from the bowels (Hamamelis, Opium). Constipation (Alumina, Bryonia, Nux v., Opium, Phosphorus, Sulphur).

Urinary Organs Paralysis of the bladder (Belladonna, Causticum, Coni., Hyoscyamus). Retention of urine (Belladonna, Opium, Stramonium). Suppression of urine. Urine pale and watery (Natr. mur., Phosphorus ac., Staphysagria).

Female Organs. Menses too profuse and of too long duration (Ammonium carb., Arsenicum, Calcarea c., Kali carb., Nux v.). Uterine haemorrhages; worse from the slightest motion (Erig., Sabina); discharge black, fluid, and very foetid. Pains as of an expulsive character in the uterus (Caulophyllum). Irregular, stormy contractions. Uterus and right ovary congested and sensitive to touch. Pain in uterus and ovaries. Threatened abortion, especially at third month (Sabina). After abortion uterus does not contract (Caulophyllum); thin, black, foul- smelling discharge. Gangrene of vaginal mucous membrane, with a dark slate-color. Suppressed lochia, followed by fever and inflammation of the uterus (Aconite, Belladonna). Suppression of milk.

Respiratory Organs. Voice feeble, inaudible, stammering. Spitting of blood, with or without cough. Anxious, labored inspiration. Expectoration of blood during violent efforts to breathe. Constant sighing (Calcarea phos., Ignatia); hiccough (Cicuta, Nux v., Hyoscyamus, Stram).

Heart and Pulse. Palpitation of the heart. Pulse small, very rapid, contracted; frequently intermittent (Coni., Digit., Kali carb., Natr. mur.); fluttering, slow, depressed.

Back. Pain in back and small of back (Belladonna, Cimic., Nux v., Pulsatilla). Tingling in the back, which is numb, extending to fingers and toes (Aconite).

Limbs. Convulsive movements of the limbs (Cicuta, Belladonna, Hyoscyamus, Stramonium). Contraction of hands, feet, fingers and toes. Heaviness and trembling of the limbs. Limbs become cold, pale, and wrinkled, as after being a long time in hot water. Numbness, insensibility, and coldness of the limbs, especially tips of fingers and toes. Disagreeable sensation of sleep and formation in the limbs. Cramps in legs, calves, arms, hands and toes. Crawling and tingling in the limbs (Aconite). Drawing pains in the limbs. Burning of the hands and feet (Arsenicum, Sulphur). Fuzzy feeling in the limbs. Cold gangrene of the limbs (Arsenicum); the dead part separates at joints and drops off.

Generalities. Extreme debility, prostration and restlessness (Arsenicum). Unsteadiness of the whole body; trembling. Rapid sinking of strength (Arsenicum, Camph., Carb. v.). Convulsions; tonic; of all extensors; epileptiform spasms. Epilepsy. Cramps in legs, arms and chest.

Skin. Cold and dry. Formication over the whole body. Sensation of something creeping under the skin. Petechia Arnica, Arsenicum, Phosphorus); ecchymosis (Arnica, Phosphorus); gangrenous blisters (Arsenicum). Swelling and pain without inflammation; coldness, blue-color, gangrene. Anthrax becoming gangrenous.

Fever Coldness of the surface of the body, especially the extremities and face; dryness. Heat in internal organs; hands and feet. Profuse cold, clammy sweat over the whole body (Arsenicum, Camph., Mercurius, Phosphorus).

Aggravation During menses; from warmth; heat applied to any part.

Amelioration In the cold air, and from getting cold; from sweat.

Conditions Particularly useful in tall, scrawny women, of lax muscular fiber; feeble, cachetic; in very old decrepit persons.

Compare Arsenicum, Belladonna, Chamomilla, Carb. v., Caulophyllum, Colchicum, Lycopodium, Phosphorus, Plumb., Pulsatilla, Rhus tox., Sabin., Sulphur, Tabac., Ustil., Veratrum alb. After Secale follows Cinchona Resembles Colchicum in cholera morbus.

Antidote. Camph., Opium


Especially useful in uterine haemorrhages, from atony of the uterus; after parturition or abortion; during climacteric; flow black and offensive; worse from slightest motion; skin cold; threatening collapse. Often mused after labor to cause contraction and prevent post-partum haemorrhage. Allen says (Handbook of Materia Medica, p. 993): “During labor or uterine haemorrhage it should be used with great discretion; it is extremely dangerous when there is albuminuria, for it is liable to bring on convulsions; if used too freely during labor it is extremely apt to cause puerperal metritis.” The drug should never be given during parturition in large doses to hasten delivery. Sometimes if the pains are prolonged and ineffectual, irregular, spasmodic, weak or entirely wanting, a dose of the potentized drug may be of benefit. Hour-glass contractions causing retained placenta. Suppressed lochia, with metritis, or offensive, purulent discharge. Often valuable in puerperal fever, with putrid discharges, tympanitis, coldness, threatening collapse. Has cured fibroid and other uterine tumors. Milk suppressed, threatened abortion. A valuable remedy in spasms; epilepsy; puerperal convulsions; extensor muscles especially involved. Paralysis of flexor muscles (Plumb.). Paralysis with flexor muscles (Plumb.). Paralysis, with numbness and formication; spinal anaemia. A valuable remedy in gangrene, especially senile (see symptoms). Ulcers. Anthrax. Petechia. Ecchymosis. Lymphatic tumors. Collapse with choleroid and other diseases (CArb. v.), skin cold, but external warmth intolerable. Asiatic cholera, with collapse, icy-coldness, but cannot bear covering or warmth, face sunken and distorted, particularly about the mouth. Dysentery, threatening collapse. Cholera infantum, watery, offensive, causing great prostration.

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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