Know Your Remedies: Belladonna (Bell.)
Common Name: Deadly nightshade.
Belladonna is a highly toxic plant which is rendered safe when placed in homeopathic potencies above 7C.
It treats intense symptoms with a rapid onset, inflammation with heat, redness, congestion, and throbbing pain.
The person’s temperature will be high, their eyes glassy in appearance, or pupils dilated. They will be oversensitive to light, noise, and being bumped or jarred.
The fever may produce hallucinations, and the throat and mouth will be dry. Hands and feet will be cold but the rest of the body hot to touch.
Affected parts, such as areas of inflammation and the head during headaches, feel better when elevated.
Complaints are usually worse on the right side of the body.
Colds, Coughs and Sore Throats
- Throat red, raw, sore, and swollen – worse on the right side.
- Dry mucous membranes.
- Bright red tongue.
- Dry cough from tickling and burning in larynx.
Headaches and Sinusitis
- Violent, throbbing, bursting pain, worsened by stooping and better for sitting propped up.
- Triggered by cold air (haircut), getting head wet, or too much sun.
- Worst from light, motion and pressure (such as wearing a hat).
- Dizziness on rising, tending to fall to the left.
- Ear infections, usually right-sided, with severe pain, and worse at night.
- Throbbing pain, worse when lying and better when sitting propped up.
- Deep painful boils – fiery red.
- Hot head and flushed face but icy-cold hands and feet.
- Glaring or glassy eyes with dilated pupils.
- May hallucinate – see ghosts or hideous faces – and hit or bite.
- Usually thirstless but may want lemon juice or lemonade.
- Sweat on covered parts only.
- Rapid onset with restlessness.
- Flushed face and dilate pupils.
- Dizziness with nausea and vomiting.
- Animals with episodes of sudden aggression who bite or attack
- Painful inflammations with lots of heat, redness, and swelling.
Where do I find it?
Belladonna (Bell) is available from our online store as a single remedy and is also included in the following Complexes (combination remedies): Cramps – Muscles; Sinus Pain; Sore Throat; Headache – Migraine.
While above self-limiting or acute complaints are suitable for home treatment also contact your healthcare provider during emergency situations or if symptoms worsen or fail to improve. Chronic or persistent complaints, which may or may not be mentioned above, require a different treatment and dosage protocol so are best managed by a qualified homeopath for good results.
Dosage Instructions (suitable for babies to adults)
For the home treatment of acute and self-limiting complaints take one pill or five drops of the remedy every 1 minute to 4 hours (1 minute for intense or emergency symptoms (plus seek emergency help), 4 hours for milder ones). Once an improvement is noticed, stop dosing and repeat the remedy only if symptoms return. If there is no improvement at all by three doses, choose a different remedy or seek professional guidance.
Note: Chronic symptoms or complaints require a course of professional treatment by a qualified homeopath to manage the changes in potencies and remedies that may be required.
Guidelines on which potency to use
From Past Masters
Homeopathy is a 200-year system of medicine. Early medical homeopaths recorded initial provings, remedy relationships, and their early experiences with each remedy in great detail.
These writings were then shared with others to advance homeopathic knowledge and practice.
Today, these same writings give a fascinating insight into the symptoms and clinical conditions for which each remedy was used.
The following extract, with minor editing, is one example.
Leaders In Homoeopathic Therapeutics by E. B. NASH M.D.
All acute inflammatory diseases present prominent head symptoms, pain, red puffed face, throbbing carotids and delirium, and spasms, or jerks and twitchings.
Eyes staring, red, blood-shot and pupils first contracted, then greatly dilated.
Mouth and throat very dry, red, sometimes greatly swollen; all mucous surfaces correspondingly dry and hot.
Pains appear suddenly, and after a while disappear as suddenly as they came.
Skin very red and hot, fairly radiates heat; burns the hand touching it, but sweats on covered parts.
Several inflammations which streak out in radii from a center.
Modalities: < after 3 P. M. or after midnight from uncovering, or draft of air, and lying down; > from covering and head high.
Great liability to take cold; sensitive to draft of air, especially when uncovering the head; from having the hair cut (Hep.); tonsils swell after riding in a cold wind (Acon.).
Imagines he sees ghosts, hideous faces, and various insects (Stram.); black animals, dogs and wolves.
Abdomen tender, distended < by least jar, even the bed; obliged to walk with great care for fear of a jar.
Pain in right ileo-caecal region, < by slightest touch, even the bed covers.
Pressing downwards, as if the contents of abdomen would issue from the vulva; < standing and sitting erect; worse mornings (compare Lil., Mur., Sep.).
Tongue: Red and dry, with red edges and white coating in the middle; Papillae bright and prominent, like scarlatina (Acon., Ant. t.), offensive, putrid taste in throat when eating or drinking, although food tastes natural.
* * * * *
We now come to consider what I call the trio of delirium remedies –Belladonna, Hyoscyamus and Stramonium. Many other remedies have delirium, but these three deserve to head the list.
Belladonna may also be called pre-eminently a head remedy. In most complaints where this remedy is indicated head symptoms preponderate. The blood all seems to be rushing to the head. (Amyl nitrite, Glonoine, Melilotus).
The head is hot while the extremities are cool. The eyes are red and blood-shot. The face is also red, almost purple red. The carotid arteries throb so as to be plainly visible. There is either great pain, pressure or sense of fullness, or an almost stupid condition.
The wild, terrible delirium, if present, may be found with pain, or even with no complaint of pain. In delirium the patient “imagines he sees ghosts, hideous faces and animals and insects.” Fears all sorts of imaginary things and wants to run away from them; breaks out into fits of laughter or screams and gnashes his teeth; bites or strikes those around him; in short, performs all sorts of violent acts and is controlled with great difficulty.
No remedy has more persistently violent delirium than Belladonna. One of the characteristic features of Belladonna in delirium as compared with the other two remedies is the decided evidence already mentioned of a surcharge of blood in the brain. When the throbbing of the carotids, the heat, redness and congestion of face and conjunctiva go away, the delirium subsides in proportion. Belladonna may have delirium with pale face as its alternate, but it is the exception. Even the upper lip is congested and swollen.
In inflammations, which localize, Belladonna is in the first stage as often the leading remedy as any other.
It does not make much difference where they localize, whether in head, throat, mammae or elsewhere, if they come on suddenly, pursue a rapid course, are red, painful and especially throbbing. It is astonishing how many local inflammations, even a carbuncle or boil, will so disturb the general system and circulation, as to produce the general inflammatory fever, with the characteristic head symptoms calling for Belladonna, and no less astonishing how this remedy controls the whole condition, both local and general, when indicated.
What! exclaims the believer in local applications, give Belladonna internally for a boil on the hand or foot?
Yes, indeed, not only Belladonna, but Mercurius, Hepar Sulphuris, Tarantula Cubensis, and many others, and you will not have any need for local medication at all. It is only in the first or congestive or active inflammatory stage that this remedy is in place; but, if properly administered then, it will often abort the whole thing and never leave it to finish all its stages, or if not, so modify as to make it comparatively insignificant.
Belladonna is one of our best remedies in the diseases of children, even vying with Chamomilla. They come suddenly, almost without warning.
This sudden and intense onset of fever is sometimes duplicated in Cina cases, but there is helminthiasis in connection with it. Child is well one minute and sick the next, and one very characteristic symptom in these cases is, the child is very hot, with red face and semi-stupor, but every little while starts or jumps in sleep as if it might go into spasms. This condition is often found in children and then Belladonna is like “oil upon troubled waters.”
Remember Belladonna inflammations localize more than they do in Aconite. I drew the difference between these two remedies in inflammations and inflammatory fevers when writing upon Aconite. There is no use of confounding them. Some do so; but, in so doing, only exhibit their ignorance.
There are, in every remedy, symptoms of sensation, circumstance, constitution or modality which are peculiar both to diseases and remedies. These symptoms are not always easily accounted for. The attempt to explain them from a pathological standpoint is not always possible or even necessary were it possible. A simple acceptance of them as facts is often more sensible than to wait long to find the often unfindable. To act as a prescriber upon what we know is better than waiting, because we cannot explain or account for it.
For instance, it is not easy to tell why “the pains of Belladonna appear suddenly and after a time disappear as suddenly as they come,” while those of Stannum “gradually increase to a great height and as gradually decline,” or Sulphuric acid “begin slowly and decline suddenly,” or “gradually increase and suddenly cease” but so it is, and the acceptance of these facts enables the homeopathic prescriber to cure his patient, whether he can explain them or not.
Guernsey says -“This medicine is particularly applicable, and in fact takes the lead over all others in cases in which quickness or suddenness of either sensation or motion is predominant.”
To be sure all these symptoms have their pathological explanation if we could give it; but, acting on our law of Similia, we can cure our patients and are not left at sea, without chart or compass, because we cannot explain.
We know that these symptoms are the natural outcry of the pathological state, and that the administration of a poison which is capable of setting up a similar outcry cures the patient. What else is necessary? Either this is true, or Homeopathy is a humbug.
The simple fact, abundantly proven, that the remedy having the symptoms corresponding to the symptoms of the patient, cures him, no matter what the pathology, where a cure is at all possible, is one of the greatest discoveries of scientific investigation. Long live the name of Hahnemann the discoverer.
From out description thus far of this remedy you would expect it to be a good one for congestive headaches, and so it is, and not only so, but for neuralgic headaches. Throbbing pains, with the already described evidence of congestion of blood to the head.
Belladonna headaches, whether congestive or neuralgic, are worse on stooping forward, bending downward, or lying down, anything that takes the patient out of the perpendicular. “Worse on lying down,” in fact, seems to be a very reliable general characteristic.
The elder Lippe once told me of a case of suspicious enlargement or swelling and pain of the breast of long standing, which, as he expressed it, seemed likely to prove a case for the surgeon (cancer), which was entirely cured by a few doses of Belladonna, to which he was guided by this symptom of the pains being so much worse on lying down.
Since then I have observed and verified this symptom in many cases of different kinds. I will not stop to give all the symptoms that might be present in Belladonna headaches.
No remedy has greater affinity for the throat. The burning, dryness (Sabadilla), sense of constriction (constant desire to swallow to relieve the sense of dryness, Lyssin), with or without swelling of the palate and tonsils, is sometimes intense. I once witnessed a case of poisoning in which these symptoms were terribly distressing.
There are two very characteristic symptoms in the abdominal region, viz.: “Tenderness of the abdomen, aggravated by the least jar, in walking, or stepping, or even the bed or chair, upon which she sits or lies“; and “pressure downward as if the contents of the abdomen would issue through the vulva, < mornings.”
This last symptom is found under other remedies, notably Lilium tigrinum and Sepia. With Belladonna there is often associated with this pressure downward a pain in the back “as if it would break.” “Starting and jumping,” or “twitching in sleep,” or on going to sleep is characteristic.
So also is “sleepy, but cannot sleep,” and “moaning during sleep.”
With Belladonna the head likes wrapping up or covering, takes cold when it is uncovered or from cutting the hair (Silicea). (Glonoine; can’t bear hat on).
Uniform, smooth, shining, scarlet redness of the skin, so hot that it imparts a burning sensation to the hand of one who feels of it, is very characteristic (H. N. Guernsey).
Convulsions with other symptoms of Belladonna are very frequently found under this remedy.
I have here endeavored to give an outline of this great remedy. A volume might be profitably written upon its virtues. No one remedy would be more greatly missed than this, if it were to be expunged from our great Materia Medica, but we must leave it here and proceed to notice.