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Mar 6, 2014


Vol. X. Philadelphia and Lancaster, Feb, 1895. No. 2.
By W. A. Dewey, M. D., 52 West 25th Street, New York.
I. Belladonna. 
Belladonna is probably the first remedy thought of in headache; 
its symptoms, however, are so clear that by rights it should 
only be thought of when indicated. Of course throbbing is the 
great keynote, but violent shooting pains in the head, so severe 
as to drive the patient almost wild, are scarcely less characteristic. 
The patient cannot lie down, must sit up, nor can he bear 
light, noise or jarring; this last is most characteristic. The 
location of the ache is mostly in the frontal region or right side, 
flushed face, dilated pupils accompany. Glonoine is the only 
remedy having throbbing as characteristic as Belladonna. Glonoine, 
however, does not have such a lasting effect as Belladonna, it 
is more relieved by motion, the face is not so deeply flushed and 
there is aggravation from bending the head backwards, all of 
which will serve to distinguish the two remedies. Cinchona also 
has throbbing, but here it is due to anaemia. Belladonna has 
also a symptom common to both Nux vomica and Bryonia, 
namely, a feeling as if the head would burst. The headaches of 
Belladonna are usually worse in the afternoon. 
II. Nux vomica. 
Probably, taken all in all, Nux vomica is more often indicated 
in headache than any other remedy; this is, presumably, 
due in the main to the causes of headache calling for Nux 
vomica; thus, we have headache from the excessive use of alcohol, 
the morning “big head,” tobacco, coffee, headache from digestive 
troubles, constipation, bilious derangement. These are all common 
causes of the Nux vomica headache. The ache is situated 
over one or the other eye, usually the left, or else in the occiput. 
It is apt to begin in the morning and last all day until night, 
and is accompanied with sour taste and perhaps nausea and 
violent retching. The dull, wooden, bursting feeling of the head 
following a debauch is most characteristic of Nux vomica. Head- 
aches of high livers call for Nux. 
There are some modalities to the Nux vomica headache that 
should be carefully noted, as this point will sometime aid greatly 
in making a selection, for instance: Stooping and coughing aggravate 
the headache; it is worse in the morning; moving the 
eyes and motion in general makes the head feel worse. What 
relieves the Nux vomica headache is not so clear; certain headaches 
calling for Nux will be better by wrapping the head up warm 
and by rest, but these conditions are rare ones calling for the 
drug. In general, nothing relieves the Nux vomica headache, 
but it will often disappear after rising and being about for a few 
hours. This is a characteristic point in those headaches due to 
alcoholic excesses. 
III. Sanguinaria 
Genuine sick headache calls for this drug, and the symptoms 
in brief are these: The pain begins in the morning and in the 
occiput; it comes up over the head and settles in the right eye. 
The pain increases in severity until there is vomiting of food 
and bile, then oftentimes the ache is relieved. Noise and light 
are unbearable, and sleep relieves. The pain will be so intense 
at times that the patient will frantically bore her head into the 
pillow for relief. Belladonna may be easily differentiated by the 
following points: It has hot head, more throbbing, flushed face 
and cold feet, and the pain coming up from the occiput is not so 
marked as under Sanguinaria. The Sanguinaria headache is 
relieved by lying down, Belladonna by being propped up in bed, 
and Sanguinaria is more useful in the gastric form of headache. 
There may be also profuse micturition with Sanguinaria relieving 
the headache, as we find under Gelsemium, Ignatia and in 
a less degree under some other drugs. 
IV. Iris Versicolor. 
The Iris headache characteristically commences with a partial 
blindness or blurring of vision, being similar here to Gelsemium, 
and it is especially a remedy for gastric or bilious headaches. 
It is a useful remedy for Sunday headaches, not, however, in 
that form which sometimes occurs as a convenient excuse for 
non-church attendance, which is incurable, but that form which 
occurs in teachers, scholars, professors, etc., in whom a relief of 
the strain for the preceding six days produces the headache. 
The pains are mostly located over the eyes in the supra- orbital 
ridges, usually on one side at a time. The pains are throbbing 
or sharp, and when at their acme, vomiting occurs which is apt 
to be bitter or sour. Especially characteristic is vomiting of 
matters so sour that the teeth are set on edge. The headache of 
Iris is aggravated by motion, cold air and coughing; moderate 
exercise in the open air relieves. In sick headache with continuous 
nausea it is one of our most useful remedies, and if 
indicated closely by the above symptoms it will not fail. 
V. Gelsemium. 
Gelsemium is another remedy which has a headache commencing 
with blindness, and especially it is a remedy for headaches 
due to eye strain. Onosmodium is another. The ache under 
Gelsemium commences in the occiput or nape of the neck. Comes 
up over the head and settles in an eye like Sanguinaria. There 
is a feeling as if a band were about the head, the patient is dull 
and apathetic, and there is great soreness in the eyes when moving 
them. Occipital headaches often find their remedy in Gelsemium. 
Cocculus is another remedy for these conditions. 
Remember the copious urination which relieves the headache, 
and that the headaches are accompanied with visual troubles, 
such as double vision, squinting and dim sight, and Gelsemium 
will be easily recognized. 
Gelsemium headaches are also relieved by sleep, and dizziness 
may accompany. 
VI. Cocculus. 
Another remedy for occipital headache is Cocculus, and it is a 
most excellent one; the symptoms are these: The ache occurs in 
the lower part of the occiput and extends to the nape, and it is 
nearly always associated with vertigo, the head feels numb, 
empty and stupefied, and with this vertigo there is constant 
nausea. Among the causes of headache calling for Cocculus may 
be mentioned riding in the cars or a carriage. A peculiar symptom 
of Cocculus is the sensation as if the occiput were opening 
and shutting like a door. Cannabis Indica has the sensation as 
if the vertex were opening and shutting. This is one of the 
most characteristic symptoms of Cannabis. 
The headaches of Cocculus in general are worse from mental  
effort, and are better indoors and during rest. 
VII. Spigelia. 
This remedy holds about the same relation to the left side of 
the head that Sanguinaria does to the right side. The pains are 
neuralgic in character and settle over the left eye, and they are 
apt to follow the course of the sun, beginning in the morning, 
reaching the acme at noon and subsiding at sunset. There is 
often a sensation as if the head were open along the vertex. 
Noise and jarring of the bed as under Belladonna aggravates the 
pain, stooping and change of weather also make the pain worse. 
The pure neuralgic character of the pain, and its left side preference, 
should lead to the remedy. 
VIII. Cimicifuga 
This is another remedy for the neuralgic form of headache, 
and it has some valuable symptoms. There is first a sensation 
as if the top of the head would fly off. There are sharp, lancinating 
pains in and over the eyes, shooting to the top of the 
head. The brain seems to move in waves, and there may be the 
symptom of a sharp pain extending from the occiput to the 
frontal region, as if a bolt was driven through the head. Headaches 
which are reflex or dependent on some uterine irritation 
are met by this remedy. When there is a feeling as if the 
patient would go crazy it is especially indicated. Many of the 
pains begin in the occiput and shoot down the spine; there is a 
tendency to bend the head forward, which relieves somewhat. 
IX. Silicea
Silicea is a very useful remedy in headache, but one not very 
often used. When a patient with headache has her head tied up 
with a towel or handkerchief it will probably indicate one of two 
remedies. Argentum nitricum if the head be tied up tightly, for 
here we have relief from pressure, and Silicea if the head is tied 
up simply to keep it warm. The headache of Silicea is nervous 
and caused by excessive mental exertion. It is supra-orbital 
and worse over the right eye, the pains coming up from the back 
of the head. Noise, motion and jarring aggravate. Warmth 
relieves. Menyanthes is similar in some respects to Silicea, but 
pressure rather than warmth relieves, and on going up stairs 
there is a sensation of a heavy weight on the vertex. The 
headache of Silicea, like Ignatia and Gelsemium is relieved by 
copious urination. 
An additional indication for Silicea is an extreme sensitiveness 
of the scalp. 
X. Argentum nitricum. 
A characteristic of this drug is that the head seems enormously 
large. There is much boring pain in the left frontal 
eminence. Thuja has a sensation as if a nail were driven into 
the frontal eminence. Ignatia and Coffea have these sharp, 
nail-like pains also. The pains under Argentum nitricum 
increase to such a degree that the patient seems as if she would 
lose her senses. Tying the head up tightly relieves the headache 
of this drug, it being the pressure that relieves. 
XI. Melilotus alba. 
A remedy often overlooked in the treatment of the congestive 
forms of headache is Melilotus. With this remedy there is a 
sensation of bursting; it seems as if the brain would burst 
through the forehead; the pains are intense and throbbing and 
almost drive the patient frantic. The eyes are bloodshot and 
the headache tends to recur every afternoon. Sometimes the 
headache culminates in nosebleed, which relieves. There is 
with this drug, which reminds of Cimicifuga, an undulating 
sensation in the brain. 
XII. Natrum mur 
The headache of Natrum mur. is as if there were little hammers 
beating in the skull, worse from moving the head or eyeballs. 
It comes on in the morning, is worse about 10 A. m., and 
is preceded by partial blindness, as we found under Iris and Gel- 
semium. The little hammer sensation is also found under 
Psorinum. Natrum mur., as well as Calcarea phos., is an excel- 
lent remedy for certain headaches in school girls during menses. 
A malarial basis for a headache will sometimes suggest this 
To read more medicines for headache read Homeopathic medicines for Headache and Migraine.

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