back Cicuta Virosa

Natural order. - Umbelliferae.

Common names .- Water Hemlock. Cowbane.

Habitat. - A perennial plant growing near streams and ponds and on wet lands in Germany and "Western France.

Preparation. - Tincture from the fresh root.


Acts pre-eminently as a cerebro-spinal irritant, producing tetanus, epileptic and epileptiform convulsions, trismus, and local tonic and clonic spasms in general.  Its action closely resembles that of Nux vomica, with the important difference that in the latter the consciousness is unimpaired, while in Cicuta the functions of the brain are paralyzed, and an entire loss of consciousness is the result.


Mind. - Weeping, moaning and howling (Verat. alb.).  Aberration of mind, singing, performing the most grotesque danc- ing steps, shouting (Hyos., Stram.).  Quiet disposition, contented, happy.   Dull and stupid, mental torpor (Hyos., Op.); loss of ideas; unconsciousness.   Anxiety, excessively affected by sad stories.   Excitement and apprehension about the future.

Head. - Vertigo; and reeling; falling to the ground.  Jerking and twitching of the head.  Severe occipital headache, Stupefying pain externally in forehead; worse during rest.  oAffections of the brain from concussion; spasms (Cupr.).

Eyes. -Staring at objects. Pupils dilated and insensible (Bell., Hyos., Op., Oenan.).  Pupils at first contracted, afterward dilated. Objects appear double (Aur., Bell., Phyt., Stram.).  Objects appear to alternately approach and recede.

Ears.- Hardness of hearing.

Face.- Face red; pallid; cadaverous (Ars., Verat. alb.).  Distortions, either horrible or ridiculous (Cupr.).  Convulsions of the facial muscles (Agar., Ign., Nux v.).

Mouth. - Teeth clenched, lockjaw (Absinth., Hyos., Laur., Nux v.).  Grinding of the teeth (Arm, Hell., Ign., Cina., Podo.).  Swelling of the tongue; white, painful, burning ulcers on edges of tongue; painful to touch.  Speech difficult; when talking he feels a jerk in the head, from before backward, as if he had to swallow the word, as in hiccough.  Foam in and at the mouth (Coccul., Cupr., Laur., Naja).

Throat.- Inability to swallow; throat appears to be grown together.  Dryness in the throat.

Stomach.- Great thirst (Acon., Bry., Cham.).  Longing for coal.  Violent hiccough (Nux v., Hyos., Stram., Sec. cor.).  Burning in the stomach (Ars., Cam ph., Canth.); and pressure.  Swelling and throbbing in pit of stomach.  Vomiting; with convulsions.  Sudden shock deep in the stomach causes opisthotonos.

Abdomen.- Rumbling and roaring in the abdomen.  Distension and painfullness of abdomen.

Stools. -Frequent liquid stools.  Diarrhoea early in the morning, with irresistible desire to urinate,

Urine.- Involuntary micturition.  Spurting of urine.  (Ars, Bell., Hyos., Op.).  Passes large quantities of urine or else none at all.

Male Organs. - Testicles drawn up.  Stitches in fossae navicularis, with nightly emissions.

Female Organs.- Menses delayed; spasmodic state if the menses do not appear.  Tearing and drawing in the os coccygis, during menses.  oEclampsia during child-birth.

Respiratory Organs.- Oppression, want of breath; may arise from tonic spasm of pectoral muscles (Cupr.).  Tightness of chest; scarcely able to breathe.  Cold sensation in chest.  Burning and heat in chest.

Back.- Back bent backward like an arch (Cupr. Nux v., Op.).  Pain on inner surface of scapulae.  Tearing and jerking in coccyx.

Limbs.- Trembling in all the limbs.  Weakness of arms and legs.  Spasmodic distortion of the limbs (Cina.).  Complete powerlessness of limbs after sudden jerks.

Upper Limbs. - Frequent involuntary jerking and twitching in arms and fingers (Cupr. ).  Nails blue.

Lower Limbs.- His legs refused to carry him and he stag- gered. Trembling of one leg. Jerking.

Generalities. - Spasms of all muscles (Agar., Zinc). Spasms with dark redness of face, blue lips and bloody froth from the mouth.

Convulsions, with loss of consciousness (Absinth.); frightful distortion of the limbs and whole body (Agar.).  Convulsions with opisthotonos (Absinth., Nux v., Op.).

Epileptic attacks, with swelling of the stomach, as from violent spasms of the diaphragm; hiccough, screaming, redness of the face, trismus, loss of consciousness, and distortions of limbs (Absinth., Bell., Oenan.).  Tonic spasms renewed from slightest touch (Stram.); from opening the door and from loud talking (Stram.).  oSudden rigidity with jerks, afterward relaxation and weakness, during worm affections.  Sensation in many parts, as from a bruise.  Catalepsy, limbs hang down and patient appears lifeless.  Sweat, most at night; on abdomen. Chills; chilliness, with a desire for warmth and warm stove.

Sleep .-Frequent waking, with sweat all over feels refreshed Vivid dreams about events of previous day.

Skin. - Elevated eruptions as large as peas, on face and hands with burning pain when touched; later becomes confluent (Ant. tart., Crot. tig.). Burning, suppurating eruptions. Eed vesicles on right scapula, painful to touch.

Compare. - Absinth., Acon., Bell., Coni., Cupr., Lach., Hydroc. ac, Hyos., Nux v., Puls., Stram., Verat. alb.

Antidotes. - Arn., Op.; for large doses : Tobacco.

Cicuta Antidote.- Opium.

THERAPEUTICS. Cicuta is an invaluable remedy for convulsions from any cause where consciousness is lost- epileptic, hysterical, from indigestion, worms, repercussed eruptions, etc., frightful distortions, opisthotonos, frothing at the mouth, and other symptoms above detailed.  The paroxysm always followed by profound exhaustion. Spasms relieved by touch, jar or loud noise.  Spasmodic affections in general.  Chorea.  Affections from concussion of the brain, especially convulsions. Cerebro-spiual meningitis, especially with convulsions.  Mania.  Melancholia.  Has been used for deafness in old people, with sudden detonations in ears, especially on swallowing.  Neuralgia of coccyx, especially during menstruation. Pustular eruptions, with yellowish honey-colored scabs, becoming fatty, especially about the corners of the mouth, matting the whiskers.  Has been used in somnambulism.

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