Citrullus colocynthis. Cucumis colocynthis. Bitter Apple. Cucurbitaceæ. Native of Turkey & Syria
The Colocynthis cucumis furnishes us with a gourd about the size of an orange with a smooth marbled green surface. When dried it appears of a brownish color.
In the provings it has found to cause violent intestinal irritation, first of watery evacuations and later of mucus and blood. The pains are atrocious; griping, cutting, etc. But this is not all. The drug also affects the nervous system powerfully, whence comes its beneficial effects in the treatment of various neuralgias.
This remedy so long restricted to the relief of colic alone, has lately wrought cures in certain deep-seated ovarian diseases, as ovarian tumors.
It is indicated in affections of the ovaries by stitching pains as from a needle deep in the right ovarian region, and crampy pains relieved by bending over or from pressure.
The symptoms : persistent bitter taste ; violent thirst ; empty eructations ; nausea ; vomiting of a bitter fluid or of food ; griping pains which force him to bend double or to press firmly against the abdomen. This griping is the well-known key-note of the drug, and it is indicatory whether it be of local origin or reflex, whether arising from flatus, undigested food, or cold ; or whether resulting from violent emotions, as in what has been termed li nervous colic.”
The stools may be fluid, copious, faecal, flatulent and papescent ; or slimy and bloody and preceded by severe tenesmus ; but in every case there is this griping which more often precedes the stool and is relieved afterward, although sometimes it continues after stool.
These evacuations are provoked by the slightest food or drink, as is also the pain. In some instances the griping develops into cutting, stabbing pains, which spread all over the abdomen and down into the pelvis. They are relieved by the emission of flatus or by stool. The pressure of flatus may disturb the bladder, relief.
Colocynth is a remedy sometimes needed in summer complaint and in dysentery.
Colocynthis may be used in children when violent emotions produce cramps and even bilious stools.
We may confidently employ the remedy when the griping involves the bladder in some forms of strangury or of spasm of that viscus, and also in menstrual colic, whether uterine or ovarian. All that is requisite is that the nervous element should predominate over the inflammatory, with the relief from bending double and from firm external pressure.
It also acts on the cerebro-spinal system, we find symptoms like the following : left-sided tearing crampy pains after vexation or mortified feelings ; boring, tearing pains in the head, boring stitches, sharp cutting pains in the eyeballs and extending thence up into the head ; worse at rest and on stooping, and better from firm pressure and from walking ; eye, on stooping, feels as if it would fall out ; profuse acrid tears. These symptoms suggest Colocynth as a remedy in gouty and bilious headaches, and also in the intense pains of iritis, ciliary neuralgia and glaucoma.
The remedy works well for sciatica ; pains extending down the sciatic nerve to the knee or even to the heel, aggravated by any motion. The attacks of pain are followed by numbness of the whole limb and partial paralysis. Sometimes the cramps in the leg are so severe that the patient feels as
if the whole leg were fastened down by iron bands. The pains are usually worse at night.
Reference: DIctionary of MAteria Medica: J H Clarke.
Clinical Materia Medica: E. A. Farrington