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October 2009 | Vol 6 | Issue10

October 2009 | Volume 6 | Issue 10

Veratrum Album…the Clinical Prism


Dr. Syed Afsar Ali, M.D.(hom)
6/1, Mistry Para Lane
PO-Entally, Kolkatta
West Bengal -700014
Phone:98307 66274


       Dr. Syed Afsar Ali is a young enthusiastic physician practicing at kolkatta.He has done his post graduation at National Institute of Homoeopathy Kolkata, West Bengal. He is highly dedicated for the development of Homoeopathic System and he presents a article on Veratrum Album... the Clinical Prism

       Veratrum album is one of the Hahnemann’s trios remedies for Asiatic cholera, Camphor and Cuprum metallicum being the other two. During early days of homoeopathy Veratrum helped homoeopathy to win war against the other systems of treatment due to its marvelous effect on digestive system especially cholera and people started in believing homoeopathy.

    Common name: White Hellebore, Europian hellebore

    Family: Melanthaceae

    Source: Vegetable kingdom

    Habitat: It grows throughout the year, in the mountainous parts of central Europe and Siberia

    Parts used: The tincture is prepared from the root-stock

    Prover: Dr. S. Hahnemann

    The proving of veratrum is in the third volume of the “Reine Arzneimittellehre”, and is an enlargement of one that had already appeared in the “Fragmenta De Viribus”

    Constitution: For children and old people, the extremes of life, persons who are habitually cold and deficient in vital reaction

    Temperament: Young people of a nervous sanguine temperament

    Thermal relation: Chilly patient

    Miasmatic background: Psoric

    Sphere of action: Acts upon the nutritional system affecting profoundly vegetative sphere. Also have a profound action upon the blood and nervous system.

       It causes degeneration of blood and separates it into its constituent components. The circulation becomes embarrassed and as a result a torpor state of vegetative system develops. It causes choleric condition, general coldness, prostration, collapse, copious watery vomiting and purging, spasmodic colic, cramps and spasms. It also affects cerebral nervous system there by giving rise to delirium and mania.

       Worse at night, cold wet weather, from least motion, after drinking, before and during menses, during stool, when perspiring, after fright. Better by walking and warmth.

    Guiding symptoms
    In the advanced stage of cholera with great nausea and vomiting, evacuations are frequent and in huge quantities, like rice water stools, thirst is excessive.

    Rapid sinking of vital force, complete prostration and collapsed condition.

    Patient is cold blue, collapsed, dark rings around the eyes, cold clammy perspiration on forehead, tongue feels cold, breath is chilly, pulse imperceptible.

    Cholera with violent cramps in calves, thighs and masseter muscles, and colic, felt mostly near umbilicus.

    Restlessness tosses about and exhibits great anguish in all his features.

    Mania de grandeur, squanders money.

    Puperal insanity caused by suppressed catamenia, become extremely affectionate and exhibit great love for everybody, it merges into an amorous and lascivious state, may pass on to real vehemence and fitful rage.

    Epistaxis during sleep, from the right nostril.

    Incarcerated hernia, intussusception of bowels, serious cases of gastrodynia.

    Chronic constipation due to an inert rectum.

    Spasmodic variety of cough with great exhaustion, cold perspiration, emission of urine when coughing and vomiting of tough stringy mucus in whooping cough.

    Convulsions and eclamptic fits during parturition.

    Pernicious fevers with general exhaustion, rapid sinking of strength and profuse diarrhoea, paroxysm at 6 am, chill prominent and craves for cold and refreshing drinks, face becomes congested and brain confused during the heat stages.

    Craving for acids, refreshing things, fruits, cold food, water and juicy things.

    Aversion to warm things.

    Violent vomiting with profuse diarrhoea.

    Intense unquenchable thirst for large quantities of cold water, wants everything

    It has characteristic “cold sweat on the forehead”. It makes no difference whether it is cholera, cholera infantum, pneumonia, asthma, typhoid fever or constipation; if this symptom is prominently present, and the patient is in anything like a faint, collapse, or greatly prostrated condition, Veratrum album is the first remedy to think of.

    Collapse- “Rapid sinking of forces; complete prostration; cold sweat and cold breath”, “Skin blue, purple, cold, wrinkled, remaining in folds when pinched.”, “ Face hippocratic ; nose pointed.” “Whole body icy cold.” “Cold skin, face cold, back cold.” “Hands icy cold.” “Feet and legs icy cold.” “Cramps in calves.” - All these are verified symptoms of collapse and show to what an extreme degree of collapse case may come and yet be cured irrespective of disease.

    Characteristic peculiar sensation
    As if he had a bad conscience and had committed a crime.

    As if a lump of ice on vertex.

    As if tongue too heavy.

    As if peppermint-coolness-in mouth and throat.

    As if something alive were rising from stomach into throat.

    As if knives cutting bowels, hot coals in abdomen, pinching as with pincers in abdomen, intestines twisted into a knot.

    Cold water running through veins.

    Bones pressed or broken, as if a heavy stone were tied to feet and knees.

    As if she would have to fly away.

    Mind: Hahnemann said about this drug in “Materia Medica Pura” that- “Physicians have no notion of the power possessed by this drug to promote a cure of almost one-third of the insane in lunatic asylums because they know not the peculiar kind of insanity in which to employ it, nor the dose in which it should be administered in order to be efficacious and yet not injurious.”

       It has got all three types of mania- The violent mania of Belladonna, the religious mania of Stramonium and the lasciviousmania of Hyoscyamus and each one of them tries to supersede the other. Also it produces a state of brooding, full of despair and hopelessness. The patient is melancholic, sits and broods in silence. The strong mental symptom of veratrum album is that it has –a strong “Mania with desire to cut and tear things, especially clothes, with lewdness and lasciviousness talk, religious or amorous.”

    Kent says:- “Veratrum is a remedy that would keep many women out of the insane asylum, especially those with uterine trouble ……….During menses, cold as death, lips blue, extremities cold and blue, dreadful pains, sinking sensations, mania to kiss everybody”, “hysteria with a coldness at the menstrual period, copious sweat, vomiting and diarrhoea…”

       Abnormal mental impression arising from disturbance in the sexual sphere, in nymphomania, for instance.

    Prophylaxis: some physicians regard Veratrum as a great prophylactic against cholera and advocate its use in very early stage.

    Remedy relationship
    After Camphor in cholera, after Ammon carb and Bovista in dysmenorrhoea.

    Complementary- Arnica

    Remedies that follows well- Acon. Ars. Arn. Bell. Carb-veg. Chin. Cuprum. Cham. Dulc. Ipecac. Puls. Sep. Samb. Sulph.

    Antidotes: Coffea

       Hahnemanns’ case of Veratrum album, One of the earliest homoeopathic cure of Hahnemann, which he mentioned in his lesser writing, was a case of recurring colicodynia of severe character and long standing, possibly - as the patient was a printer-due to the action of lead. Veratrum was given because of the similarity of the symptoms to those it causes, and, though the dose was so large as at first to cause a painful aggravation, it effected a speedy and permanent cure.