Our worthy chairman of this bureau asked me to differentiate Belladonna, Glonoine and Melilotus.
The idea of differentiation of remedies had its origin with Hahnemann ; it was forced upon him as it is forced upon every student of Homœopathic Materia Medica by the bewildering general likeness of many drugs to cadi other.
But it may be asked, why try and differentiate remedies so very similar as these three ? Is not homœopathy the method of meeting morbid state by similars, and may not a drug be more or less similar, more or less homœopathic to a condition ? Why, then, place boundaries to its similarity ? The clinical test must be the court of final appeal-and what does clinical experience prove to us ? What else but the certainty of curative response by the organism to remedies of greater and less homœopathicity and that the homœopathic relationship is not anything absolute ; it can never be that, for it is a similar, the very conception of that term being-elastic. But your purist exclaims it is the simillimum we want- that is the goal. Granted, but the simillimum is again dependent on present knowledge, on your and my interpretation of the patient’s totality plus your and my knowledge of our Materia medica. It, too, is an elastic thing, not absolute. The simillimum in any case is the ideal-a realizable ideal only when modified and interpreted by and adapted to these inevitable limitations. Thus we see that the practical application of similia brings with it a wide range of adaptability. From the beginning of our school the question has been asked and answered more or less tentatively, “What do we mean by similarity,” similar to what Objective conditions, -ultimate anatomical lesions, if disease processes, as such-or subjective symptoms of the patient ? Undoubtedly all these go to make up the grand totality, and curative’ response is to be found to some extent in following any of direction but clinical experience again has taught us that for purpose of homœopathic prescribing the characteristic individual symptoms of the particular patient offer the surest similar to be met and covered by a remedy having similar characteristics. Close individualization of remedy and patient is the only method sanctioned by experience as characteristic of homœopathy, the one prolific method for enhancing and previsionizing our knowledge of drugs as curative agents. With these thoughts in view, let us precisionize our remedial trio in the field that they occupy in common-they all three produce symptoms of congestion, they differ in degree and area invaded, and respond somewhat differently to various stimuli, hence we look for different modalities. For practical purposes the circulation in the brain, the headaches and mental states are only lesions common to all three. Here as elsewhere those characteristics determine the choice-that express the genius of the drug, its peculiar life manifestation, its special mode in action.
Atropa Belladonna, L.
I hardly need to call attention to the familiar classical picture of Belladonna-the sudden, determined, fierce entrance into the bodily arena as shown in its rush of blood to head and face, hot red face, dilated pupils, throbbing carotids, sparkling eyes, bounding pulse, excited mental state, sensorial hyperæsthesia, restless sleep- the red, burning hot skin, dryness of mouth, yet frequently associated with aversion to water and dread of drinking, all drinks being loathsome with the possible exception of lemonade, which is taken in small sips. The tendency to delirium is always marked, the brain irritation, especially in children, an early and constant symptom. So many pains run downward from the head ; they come and go quickly, no matter where they appear or how long they last. With all this general circulatory storm, sooner or later localizing somewhere, the Belladonna patient is chilly and very sensitive ; he feels better wrapped up in a room. Any draught, cold application, having his hair cut, aggravates. Very marked and characteristic is the afternoon aggravation. The sensitiveness is seen ill the great aggravation from any noise, jar, light, touch. Position, too, influences the comfort of the Belladonna patient. He feels better in a semi-erect position, worse lying down. The right side is more markedly affected than the left. These symptoms when present in any type of patient will certainly yield to Belladonna in almost any potency, and do not hesitate to use the higher of this greatest of drugs. Remember it was Belladonna that led Hahnemann in 1800 to go beyond the chemical and material elements and seek drug action in some imponderable force made evident or developed or set free by his pharmaceutical method. But Belladonna, however universally applicable to all ages and conditions of patients, when indicated is especially suitable to persons of plethoric habit, pleasant and jolly folks, but who become irritable when sick ; children especially respond quickly to Belladonna. They are sensitive, twitch from slightest ailment, easily delirious and suddenly develop serious symptoms. Such ate the main distinctive Belladonna features. How does, Glonoin differ ? It too, expresses itself as a congestive drug. In the suddenness and violence of its symptoms, it goes beyond Belladonna. In the prescientific era of pharmacology, many and various were the methods pursued to obtain a knowledge of drug action and drug uses. Among these, on the surface a pure vagary, was a Paracelsian method of signatures. Some basis to the doctrine of signatures there is apparently.
Well the signature of Glonoine is easy to read. Nitro-glycerine is explo verso is its action on the organism. Suddenly and with greatest violence it determines blood to the periphery, so quickly, so surely it does this that the antipathic uses of this wonderful drug bid fair to outdo its homœopathic uses. Its terrible bursting pains coming in shocks certainly are the true signature of Nitro-glycerine. Throbbing, pulsations, blood rushes to head and heart and arterioles or great blood waves and surges with sensation of overfullness and bursting in different parts, this is the pathological state it produces and cures, especially when we have the patient frantic with pain, every jar, every concussion, no matter how slight, increasing the pain. Similar aggravation we have from heat, and stimulating things. Compared with Belladonna we find its violence greater, the explosiveness ail its own, while Belladonna is more persistent, regular, deeply anchored in its organic inflammation and tissue changes. Glonoin has more tendency to sudden and violent irregularity of the circulation due to climacteric disturbances, menstrual suppression, exposure to great heat, hence sun-stroke, open furnaces, gas jets, summer beat of our interior valleys. Insanity caused by long-continued heat of sun. With Glonoin headaches, patient has confusion of ideas, loss of sensation of location is very characteristic, he loses his way, cannot tell where he is, cannot find his room, familiar thing seem strange or even with unconsciousness. Glonoin cannot bear any heat, differing here from Belladonna. The face, too, is more livid, neck feels full so that the collar must be opened -he swells up under the ears.
Melilotus seems to me to typify more a suffusion, a gradual filling up and weakening of vessels, so that they rupture, and we have epistaxis or other hæmorrhage to the great and immediate relief of all suffering. Its symptoms are worse at the approach of a storm or changeable whether. The symptoms are better from the use of vinegar, differing from Belladonna, with which it shares the fiery red face, aggravation from talking and motion. With Melilotus more than either Glonoin or Belladonna we are apt to have a smothered feeling or oppression of the chest, often combined with a cough, which is relieved by violent nosebleed. Dr. Leonard, an excellent and reliable and a recent prover of Melilotus, verifies the above symptoms, and says that congestions relieved by hæmorrhage, with great redness-efface and head, and when Belladonna Glonoin do not relieve. Its action is very rapid, relieving irritability of nerves and any local hyperæmia in a very few minutes. Its best range of action is on the brain, especially in insanity and all forms of spasms. In nervous headaches and conditions of cerebral oppression it relieves at once if given. The Mother Tincture is given by olfaction. I got this hint from so sane and a critical practitioner as the late Dr. R. Hughes, who mentions this procedure in his Pharmacodynamics. To recapitulate, then, the relief of hæmorrhage and the very red face which proceeds, and the aggravation by changeable, rainy weather, seems to distinguish Melilotus from the others. This glowing redness of the face is probably its chief guiding symptom. Melilotus, like Belladonna, is frequently indicated in infantile spasms, in nervous children during dentition, by with Melilotus we are more apt to have constipation marked, there being no desire for stool until there is a large accumulation, the stool is painful, difficult, and anus constricted.
Reference: Pacific Coast Journal of Homœopathy, Oct., 1936.