Last modified on January 8th, 2019

A.C. Cowperthwaite

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

      Synonym. Helleborus Albus. Natural order. Melanthaceae. (Liliaceae). Common names. White Hellebore. European Hellebore. Habitat. A perennial herbaceous plant growing in the mountainous portions of Middle Europe, and as far east as Asiatic Russia. Preparation. Tincture from the dried root.


Through the cerebro-spinal nervous system Veratrum acts especially upon the system of nutrition, affecting profoundly the entire vegetative sphere. The blood becomes disorganized, and separated into its constituent elements, the circulation is embarrassed, and, as a result, general torpor of the vegetative system occurs, giving rise to a true choleraic condition, general coldness, prostration, collapse, copious watery vomiting and purging, spasmodic colic, cramps, spasms, rigid contraction of the muscles, and profuse, cold, clammy perspiration. It also affects, but to a less degree, the sensorium, causing excitation of the cerebral nerves, resulting in delirium and mania. It also produces exhaustion of nerve power, even to complete extinction. The chief feature of Veratrum is the choleraic condition above described.


Mind. Mania; persistent raging, with desire to cut and tear, especially clothes (Belladonna, Stramonium); with inconsolable weeping, howling (Cicuta), and screaming over some fancied misfortune. Delirium; talks about religious things (Arsenicum, Aurum); praying, cursing, and howling all night;l loquacious. Disposed to talk about the faults of others or silent; but if irritated, scolding, calling names. Despair about his position in society; feels very unlucky. Depression of spirits; despondency and discouragement Anxiety and apprehension, as after committing a great crime (Coccul., Ignatia).

Head. Vertigo, with cold perspiration on the forehead (Opium, Tabac.). Congestion to the head when stooping . Head to head. Paroxysms of headache, as if the brain were bruised or torn , with pressure (Coffea c., Acid Muriaticum). Headache, with vomiting. of green mucus. dull pressure on vertex; on movement become throbbing. coldness on the vertex as of ice were lying the (Agaricus, Calcarea c.). Painful sensitiveness if the hair were electrified.

Eyes. Eyes distorted, protruding (bell., Stram); fixed, sunken (As.). lusterless; surrounded by blue or black rings (Cinchona, Kali iod., Phosphorus, Secale, Sulphur Lachrymation,. with redness of the eyes. Excessive dryness of the lids; feel sore; are stiff and agglutinated; as in coryza. Sensation as if salt were under upper lid. Pupils contracted (Mercurius cor., Opium, Phosphorus, Physos., Phytolacca); dilated . Double vision.

Nose. Grows more pointed; seems to be longer; face cold and sunken (Arsenicum, Camph.). Dryness as from dust. Epistaxis (Aconite, Belladonna, Bryonia, Hamamelis, Ipecac.).

Face. Face pale, cold, sunken., Hippocratic; nose pointed (Arsenicum, Camph.); face bluish. Face is red while lying in bed, but becomes pale on rising (Aconite). Heat and burning of the cheeks. Cold perspiration on the face, especially of forehead (Cina). Stiffness of the masseter muscles. Lockjaw (Cicuta, hyos., Ignatia, laur., Nux v.). Risus sardonicus.

Mouth. Tongue cold (Camph., Naja); dry, blackish (Opium, Phosphorus); cracked; red and swollen (Belladonna, Rhus tox.). Inability to talk. Dryness of the mouth and palate, with thirst. Much flow of saliva from the mouth, like waterbrash. Biting taste, as from peppermint in the mouth.

Throat. Throat dry and burning. Roughness, dryness and scraping in the throat (Argentum nit., Rumex).

Stomach. Violent hunger; craves fruit, juicy, acid things (Ant. tart., Cinchona, Phosphorus ac., Ptelea trifoliata), or cold salt food. Excessive thirst, especially for cold water (Aconite, Arsenicum, Bryonia, Phosphorus). Aversion to warm thighs. Violent empty eructations (Ipecac., Mercurius, Phosphorus). Hiccough (cic., Hyoscyamus, Ignatia, Acid Sulphuricum). Violent vomiting, with continued nausea; with great exhaustion, and desire to lie down. Nausea, with profuse salivation and violent thirst (Mercurius). Vomiting violent, forcible, excessive; of food (Ipecac., Kreosotum, Phosphorus); of green mucus; of slimy, acid liquid; whenever the moves or drinks; with cold sweat. Painful distention of pit of stomach. Violent pressure in pit of stomach, which extends into the sternum, the hypochondria, and the hypogastrium. Acute pains in the stomach and epigastrium (AEsc., Arsenicum, Cantharis, Iris, Phosphorus).

Abdomen. Great sensitiveness of the abdomen to the touch (Aconite, Belladonna, Coloc.). Distention of the abdomen (aloe, cham., Cinchona, Colchicum) Colic; cutting, griping and twisting, especially about navel, better after stool (Aloe, colic.); as if intestines were twisted in a knot; flatulent; cold sweat; worse after eating.

Stool and Anus. Diarrhoea, violent, painful, copious, with profuse perspiration. Stools watery, greenish, mixed with flakes; rice water; sudden, involuntary, copious frequent, with shivering constipation; stools hard and too large size (bry.).

Urinary Organs. Urine suppressed (Aconite, Belladonna, Stramonium); involuntary (Arsenicum, Belladonna, cic., Hyoscyamus); greenish. Dysuria. Diuresis.

Female Organs. Menses too early and too profuse (Calcarea c., Nux v.).

Respiratory organs. Paroxysms of constriction of larynx; suffocative fits, with protruded eyes. Difficult respiration, with tightness and constriction of the chest (Phosphorus). Tickling low down in air tubes, provoking cough, with slightest expectoration. Pressure in. chest, in region of sternum. shortness of breath on slightest motion (Aconite, Arsenicum). Deep, hollow cough, occurring in shocks. Cough, with much expectoration, blueness of the face, and involuntary micturition (Alumina, Causticum, Colchicum). Cough on entering warm room from cold air (Bryonia).

Heart and Pulse. Palpitation, with anxiety (Aconite, Arsenicum, Spigelia, Sulphur), and rapid, audible respiration. Pulse rapid; slow; feeble; irregular; intermittent (Coni., Digit., Natr. mur.); imperceptible.

Neck and Back. Neck so weak child can scarcely keep it erect (Coni.), especially in whooping cough. Rheumatic pain in neck, extending to sacrum. Pains in loins and back, as if beaten (Arnica, Arsenicum, Bryonia).

Limbs. Painful paralytic weakness in all the limbs. Falling asleep of the limbs (Sepia, Silicea, Sulphur). Pain as from fatigue. Nails blue from coldness. Pains in limbs resembling a bruised; worse during wet, cold weather; worse in warmth of bed; better walking up and down. Pain in middle of let forearm, as if bones were pressed together. Icy coldness of the limbs; of hands and feet (Silicea).

Lower Limbs. Difficult walking first right, then left hip joint feels paralytic. Cramps in the calves (Calc c., Camph., Chamomilla, Nitr. ac., Nux v., Silicea, Sulphur). Pain in bone below knee, as if broken, when stepping. Stinging in toes when standing.

Generalities. Trembling of the whole body (Colchicum). Sudden sinking of strength (Arsenicum, Camph., Secale). Extreme weakness and prostration (Arsenicum, Ferrum, Phosphorus); in the morning with shivering. Excessive chronic weakness. Spasms, with convulsive motion of the limbs. Attacks of pain, with delirium, or driving to madness. Pressure and bruised sensation in muscular parts of body.

Skin. Wrinkled skin; remains in folds after pressure. Skin blue, purple, cold. Dry eruption, resembling itching.

Sleep. Unusual sleepiness (Ant. tart., Apis, Nux moschata). Yawning.

Fever. Coldness and chilliness over the whole body (Bryonia); with thirst; creeping running from head to toes. External coldness, with internal heat. Cold perspiration (Euphorb.) over the whole body, especially on forehead (Camph.).

Aggravation. After drinking; before and during stool; on rising.

Amelioration. While sitting and lying (except weakness).

Conditions. Especially useful; in children.

Compare. Aconite, Ant. tart., Arnica, Arsenicum, Cinchona, Colchicum, Coffea c., Cuprum, Digit., Drosera, Ferrum, Ipecac., Iris v., Opium, Phosphorus ac., Rhus tox., Secale cor., Zincum met.

Antidotes. Aconite, Camph., Cinchona, Coffea c.

Veratrum Antidotes. Arsenicum, Cinchona, Ferrum, Opium, Tabac.


The chief use of verat. alb. is in the treatment of cholera and choleraic conditions characterized by terrible colic, even cramps, cramps in the calves, cold sweat on forehead, very profuse, watery, flaky stools, violent retching and vomiting, great prostration, burning in the stomachs sensitiveness to touch. the violent retching and vomiting with cold sweat on the forehead and violent pain are the most characteristic, and differentiate the drug from other cholera remedies. With this class of symptoms the drug may not only be indicated in true cholera, but also in cholera morbus, worse at night, after fruits and vegetables; peritonitis diarrhoea, coming on suddenly at night, in summer; intussusception of the bowels.

The drug is also valuable in constipation when the stools are large and hard (Bryonia). Dyspepsia, with craving for fruit and juicy things, characteristic vomiting, etc. Veratrum alb. is often a valuable remedy in nervous diseases. Mania; melancholia, especially religious; delirium, especially after severe illness, etc., as indicated in symptoms. Neuralgic headaches, with coldness on vertex. Neuralgia in the head, convulsive shocks on raising up the head, vomiting, pains so severe they cause delirium, better from pressure on vertex. Facial neuralgia, with cold sweat on forehead, vomiting, pinched features, violent neuralgic toothache, with other Veratrum symptoms. Violent tonic spasms, palms and soles drawn inward. Trismus. Tetanus. Chorea. Paralysis, especially after cholera or from debilitating causes. Rheumatism, pains like electric jerks, worse during wet weather (Rhus tox); getting worse in warmth of bed (Mercurius); better on walking about. Hemeralopia, before the menses, with cramps, vomiting, etc., suppression of urine. Suppressed menses, with despair of salvation, vomiting, purging, etc. Dysmenorrhoea, with vomiting and purging, or exhausting diarrhoea and cold sweat. Nymphomania of lying in women (Cinchona, Platina); preceding menses. Puerperal mania. Chronic metritis, with great sensitiveness of uterus to touch, and Veratrum characteristic. Endometritis, with violent pain, vomiting, purging cold sweat, etc. Bronchitis in old people or children, with profuse expectoration, or great accumulation or inability to expectorate, blueness of face, cold sweat, involuntary micturition. Spasmodic cough, with suffocative fits, from constriction of larynx. Whooping cough, attacks followed by great exhaustion; cough worse on entering warm room from cold air. Cardiac debility following acute diseases; tendency to faint on moving; on sitting up suddenly the red face turns deadly pale; very weak, thready pulse, cold sweat. Congestive chills, with characteristic Veratrum symptoms. Typhoid forms of fever, especially in cholera seasons; also when vital forces suddenly sink. Chronic affections from abuse of cinchona; from copper especially colic. Bad effects of fright, fear or vexation.

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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