back Cocculus Indicus

Synonym. - Cocculus Indicus. Natural order.- Meinsper- maceae. Common names. - Indian Cockle. Indian Berries. Habitat. - A strong climbing shrub, found in the eastern parts of the Indian Peninsula, in eastern Bengal, and in the Malay Islands. Preparation. - Tincture from the coarsely powdered dried fruit.

Acts pre-eminently upon the system of animal life, through the motor nervous tract, affecting first the voluntary muscular system, and then the sensorium; in the former producing paralysis and tetanic convulsions, in the latter vertigo and confusion. Through the nervous irritation there is also produced a peculiar nausea and faintness, and sense of general prostration, which, in connection with the vertigo, gives a condition quite similar to that of seasickness, and either with or without the vertigo assumes a similarity to many nervous and hysterical affections, which is the most essential feature of the drug's action.

CHARACTERISTIC SYMPTOMS.

Mind. - Constant sad thoughts ; takes no notice of anything but herself. Irresistible inclination to sing. Distracted; forgets what he has just thought; memory lost. Anxiety, as if she had committed a great crime (Ign.). Very sensitive mood; everything worries (Caps., Nux v.), and offends. Startles very easily (Sep., Sil.).

Head. - Vertigo, as from intoxication (Cinch., Led., Nux m., Puls., Rhus tox.); or with inclination to vomit when rising up in bed (Bry.); must lie doivn, with dullness, as if a board were across forehead. Sensation of emptiness and hollowness in the head. Confusion and stupefaction of the head, generally increased by eating and drinking (Nux v.). Headache with inclination to vomit (Ipec.,Nux v.). Pressive headache, as if the head were compressed by a bandage, or as if screwed together (Merc, Nitr. ac). Headache, as if the eyes were being torn out. Headache aggravated after sleeping, eating or drinking (Ign.); from riding in a carriage (Kali c, Petrol.); in the open air; better during rest and in a warm room. Convulsive trembling of the head from weakness of the muscles of the neck.

Eyes.- Dimness of vision. Bruised pain in the eyes, with inability to open the lids at night. Eyes closed, with balls constantly rolling about.

Ears.- Noise in the ears like the rushing of waters (Cham.), with hardness of hearing.

Face.- II e; it in face, and redness of cheeks (Ferr.). Earthy countenance, with painful expression.

Mouth. - Swelling and induration of the submaxillary glands (Calc. c, Iodi., Rhus tox.). Dryness of the mouth (Nux m.). Dry tongue, with whitish-yellow coat, without thirst. Nux m., Puls.). Bitter taste at root of tongue. Metallic taste, with loss of appetite (JEsc, Merc, Naja). Foamy phlegm before the mouth (Cic, Cupr.).

Throat.- Dryness of the throat. Choking constriction in upper part of throat, which impedes breathing and provokes cough.

Stomach. - Extreme aversion to food (Ant. crud., Ipec), especially acids. Desire for cold drinks, especially beer. Eructations empty, offensive (Am., Cham., Psor.); bitter (Am., Nux v., Puls.); ineffectual, instead of which there is hiccough. Attacks of nausea increasing to syncope (Tabac.). Unusual nausea and inclination to vomit, while riding in a ivagon (Nux m., Petrol.), or from getting cold. Nausea in morning, so that she can scarcely rise. Inclination to vomit associated with headache, with pain in intestines as if bruised. Violent cramp in stomach; griping, squeezing, lacerating sensation. Sensation as though a worm were moving in the stomach.

Abdomen. - Great distension of the abdomen (Aloe, Cham., Cic, Cinch.). Emptiness and sensation of hollo wness in the abdomen. Constrictive pinching in epigastrium, taking away the breath. Spasmodic flatulent colic about midnight; passing flatus without relief; aggravated when coughing. Painful inclination to inguinal hernia (Alum., Nux v., Nitr. ac).

Stool and Anus. - Contractive pain in rectum, preventing sit- ting, afternoons. Stool soft, thin, whitish-yellow; hard and difficult evacuations (Alum., Bry., Sulph.).

Female Organs. - Menses too early, with cramps in the abdomen, distension, and colic pains. Suppression of menses, with cramps in chest and fainting nausea. oDuring menses so weak that she can scarcely stand or talk (Amm. carb., Carb. an.). oLeucorrhoea (Alum., Ars., Calc c, Kreos., Hydras., Puls.) in place of menses, like serum, mixed with a purulent ichorous liquid. Painful pressure in uterus, with cramps in chest, nausea and fainting.

Respiratory Organs. - Fatiguing- cough from oppression of the chest. Contractive tension of right side of chest, taking the breath. Cramps in chest; also hysteric obstruction of breath at pit of throat, as from constriction (Asaf).

Heart.- Nervous palpitation of the heart (Asaf.).

Neck and Back. - Weakness of the cervical muscles ; unable to support the head (Verat. alb.). Pressure in scapula and nape of neck. Painful stiffness in neck when moving it (Chel., Rhus tojc.). Paralytic pain in small of back; with spasmodic drawing across hips, preventing walking, with anxiety and fear. Trembling in the back.

Limbs. - Painful stiffness in all joints. Paralytic drawing constant and paroxysmal, here and there in the bones. Trembling of all the limbs (Coni., Gels., Merc); worse evenings with chilliness. Painful lameness in arms and legs, could scarcely rise from a seat. Feet and hands go to sleep alternately.

Upper Limbs.- Sticking in shoulder joints and muscles of upper arm during rest. Forearm asleep and sensation as if the hands were swollen. Trembling of the hands when eating; worse the higher it is raised. Arthritic hot swelling of the hands. Hands numb and asleep ; alternately hot and cold.

Lower Limbs. - Paralytic immobility of the lower limbs. Paralysis of lower limbs from loins down. Knees give way ; totters while walking. Inflammatory swelling of the knee, with transient stitches. Soles of feet go to sleep while sitting.

Generalities. - Great weakness so it was difficult to stand firmly; from slightest exertion; with exhausting sweat. Starts easily; inclination to tremble. Kestless. Attacks of paralytic weakness, with pain in back. Intolerance of open air, whether cold or warm (Am. carb., Aur., Nux v., Petrol., Rhus tox., Rumex, Sep.). Feels too weak to talk aloud (Stan.). Hemiplegia on left side. Paralytic tearing, digging pains in bones, as if beaten. Faintness; on motion, with distortion of facial muscles.

Sleep.- Sleeplessness; from night watching; from business thoughts; from anxiety and restlessness. Sleep unrefreshing (Arm, Cinch., Op.).

Fever.- Alternation of heat and chilliness (Calc. c, Merc). Burning heat and redness of the cheeks (Acon., Bell.).

Aggravation.- AH the symptoms and pains, especially in the head, are aggravated by drinking, eating, sleeping, talking, riding in a carriage, smoking, exertion, and by cold air.

Conditions. - Most often indicated in women and children.

Compare.- Ant. crud., Arg. nit., Ars., Bell., Cham., Coff. c, Cupr., Ign., Ipec, Lyc., Nux v., Petrol., Plumb., Phos., Puls., Rhus tox., Sil., Verat. alb., Zinc.

Antidotes. - Camph., Cham., Cupr., Ign., Nux v.

Cocculus Antidotes.- Alcohol, Cham., Cupr., Ign., Nux v.; while coffee is noxious to it.

THERAPEUTICS.

Cocculus has found its chief sphere of usefulness in the treatment of functional neurosis, but it may be of value in troubles arising from organic changes in the spinal cord, as will be noted later on. Probably the greatest use is in hysteria, and in nervous troubles resulting from loss of sleep. The hysteria is usually associated with menstrual irregularities, especially menorrhagia, with cramps and flatulent distension of the abdomen, the patient complaining of being so weak that she can hardly talk, and can bear no exposure to air, whether cold or warm. Frequently the hysteria is brought on by over-anxiety and night watching with consequent loss of sleep. The weakness referred to is very characteristic of Cocculus. It is not an ordinary weak feeling, but seems to partake of a paralytic nature, there being apparently a complete loss of power in the back and limbs as well as other parts, even the organs of speech, so that if the patient undertakes to walk the knees give way and she falls powerless, or if she attempts to speak she can barely utter a sound. With all this there is a sort of paralytic numbness in the extremities, especially in the hands and feet, and not unusually a sensation of hollowness in one or more cavities of the body, especially the abdomen. This condition is due to spinal weakness, and may indicate Cocculus in a variety of nervous troubles arising from spinal diseases, whether that be only spinal anaemia or the grave forms of spinal disease - softening or sclerosis. Hemiplegia on the left side has been directly produced by Cocculus, and the drug is a most efficient remedy in spinal paralysis if the proper symptoms are present. Neurasthenia or nervous exhaustion. It may also be useful in chorea, epilepsy and other spasmodic affections, arising either from functional or organic causes, and usually occurring in women of weak, nervous temperaments. Spasms from suppressed menses or proloDged loss of sleep. Also melancholia and other mental disturbances from the same causes. General bad effects from long continued insomnia ; often a remedy for nurses after prolonged night watching. Nausea and vomiting- are quite characteristic and accompany to some extent almost any disturbance where the drug is indicated, and with the sick stomach there is usually a distressing vertigo. An excellent remedy for nausea accompanying the menses, or for the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Nausea and vertigo from the motion of a carriage, swing or ship - probably our most valuable remedy for car-sickness and sea-sickness (Petrol.). Sick headache in nervous women, especially when brought on by attempting to read while riding in the cars ; pain from occiput down the spine, etc. An excellent remedy in flatulent colic of nervous women, especially when accompanying menstrual troubles, or during pregnancy. The abdomen is greatly distended, even tympanitic. This tympanitis may indicate Cocculus in nervous types of fever, where there is also great prostration, tendency to faint, nausea, vertigo, etc. Cocculus is said to cure hernia, both inguinal and umbilical, and to prevent the same when a weak feeling in the abdomen indicates that a hernia may take place, though the symptom is probably of a purely nervous character. Dyspepsia. Gastralgia from suppression of the menses. Menorrhagia; dysmenorrhea ; amenorrhoea, leucorrhoea in place of the menses. Other symptoms as already noted. Cocculus is also used in intermittent and other malarial fevers, where the characteristic symptoms of weakness, vertigo, nausea, faintness, flatulence, etc., predominate, and especially when the disease occurs in nervous subjects.


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