back Colocynthis

Synonym.- Cucumis Colocynthis. Citrullus Colocynthis. Natural order. - Cucurbitaceae. Common names. - Squirting Cucumber. Bitter Apple. Habitat. - A slender plant with perennial root, growing in dry regions of the western hemisphere. Preparation. - Tincture from the dried fruit, freed from the outer rind and seeds.

Colocynth acts especially upon the ganglionic nervous system, more particularly upon the trigeminus, the solar plexus, the lumbar and crural nerves, and the tissues which these nerves supply. The condition produced is one of irritation resulting in neuralgia, and at times passing into a true inflammation. This latter is particularly the case in the profound action had upon the alimentary canal through the solar plexus, giving rise to vomiting, purging and an intense griping colic, which is the most important action of the drug. Through the trigeminus we obtain neuralgic affections of the face, eyes and head, due entirely to functional derangements of its sentient extremities, and through the lumbar and crural nerves we get Bcial ica and other neuralgic affections. The chief characteristic of Colocynth is its severe colicky pains, obliging the patient to bend double, and worse in any other position.

Mind.- Disinclined to talk, to answer, to see friends (Gels.). Extremely irritable and morose; impatient; easily offended (Caps., Nux v.). Anger, with indignation (Bry., Cham., Coni., Nux v.).

Head.- Confusion of the head, with pressive pain in the orbits. Intimations of vertigo and nausea. Passive frontal headache, worse while stooping or lying on the back. Heaviness in sinciput with stupefaction. Painful tearing, digging through the whole brain, becoming intolerable when moving the upper lid. Severe boring in right side of forehead. Boring stitches in right temple, disappearing on touch. Pressing and dull throbbing in left temple, growing gradually more acute and cutting.

Eyes. - Smarting in eyes, with pain in eyeball. Painful pressure in eyeballs, especially on stooping. Pain in the eyes; sharp cutting in right eyeball. Twitching of the right upper lid.

Ears.- Roaring and throbbing in both ears, especially the left.

Nose.- Fluent coryza, worse in the open air. Throbbing, burrowing pain from left side of nose to glabella.

Face.- Dark redness of the face (Bapt., Op.). Constriction and pressing in left malar bone, extending to left eye. Left-sided tearing or burning and stinging pains, extending to ear and head. Sticking pains in upper jaw. Tearing pains in cheeks.

Mouth.- Persistent, bitter, disgusting taste (Bry., Cinch., Nux v., Puls., Sulph.). Burning of tip of tongue as if it had been scalded (Iris, Plat.. Sang., Verat. alb.).

Stomach.- Violent thirst (Acon., Ars., Bry.). Aversion to food, with scraping in the throat. Empty eructations (Coccul.). Nausea rising from the stomach. Vomiting of bitter-tasting, yellow fluid. Burning pains in the stomach (Ars., Apis, Canth., Colch., Phos., Verat. alb.). Griping in epigastrium after each meal; worse toward evening. Feeling of fullness in the epigastric region. Cramp in stomach at night, relieved by eructations. Feeling of emptiness in the stomach. Pit of stomach very sensitive to touch. Violent cutting, tearing pains, which from different parts of chest and abdomen concentrate in pit of stomach; better from hard pressure and bending double; obrought on by vexation and indignation.

Abdomen.- Cramp-like pains in both sides of abdomen; worse after pressure, or leaning with abdomen on table. Abdomen distended and painful {Acon., Bell., Merc.). Terrible contractive, twisting (Cina.), griping, cutting pains mostly about the umbilicus; has to bend double (Aloe, Canst., Iris, Nux v., Rheum., Sulph., Verat. alb.), being worse in every other posture (reverse Bell.); great restlessness and loud screaming on changing position; worse at intervals of five or ten minutes; discharge of stool or flatulence affords temporary relief [Carb. v.). o Colic so distressing that they seek relief by pressing the corner of a table or head of a bed-post against the abdomen. Feeling in the abdomen as if the intestines were being squeezed between stones (Nux v.). Pain in the groin as from a hernia, and on pressing sensation as if a hernia were receding. Isolated deep stitches, sometimes in left, at others in right flank, apparently connected with the ovaries. Constant rumbling and croaking in the bowels as from frogs (Thuja). oCoffee and tobacco smoking relieve the pains in the bowels; every other food or drink aggravates (Ferr.).

Stool and Anus.- Frequent excessive urging to stool, with sensation as if anus and rectum were weakened by long continued diarrhoea. Dysentery-like diarrhoea, renewed after taking the least food or drink (Aloe, Ferr.). Stools: copious faecal, with great discharge of wind (Aloe); bloody; fluid, after eating, with much flatulence and pain in abdomen (Agar.); thin, frothy, saffron-yellow of musty odor; pappy; mucous. Constipation, hard stools; as if passing stones.

Urinary Organs.- Sudden violent pressure upon the bladder, which was full, passed off suddenly on the emission of flatus. Frequent urging to xtrinate, with scanty emissions (Aesc, Apis, Graph., Hell., Merc, Nitr. ac). Urine like brown beer (Bry.), becoming turbid soon as cold (Cina.) depositing copious sediment. Thick, foetid, viscid, jelly-like urine.

Female Organs.- Ci amp-like pain in left ovarian region, as though the parts were squeezed in a vise. oIntense boring or tensive pain in the ovary, causing her to draw up double with great restlessness.

Respiratory Organs.- Frequent tickling and irritation in larynx induces cough at night. Oppression of the chest.

Neck and Back. - Feeling of stiffness in the muscles of the nape when moving the head (Chel., Rhus tox.). Violent tensive drawing in left cervical muscles; worse on motion. Pressure in left side of nape; worse from turning. Drawing pain internally, in region of right scapula, as if the nerves and vessels were made tense. Tensive sticking in the right loin only during inspiration (Bry.); most violent when lying on the back. Bruised pain in small of back and in lower limbs in the evening.

Limbs. - Rheumatic tearing, drawing pains in all the limbs, (Bry., Led., Lyc., Merc.) and joints.

Upper Limbs.- Sticking pains in right metacarpus, hindering opening of the hand and stretching of fingers. Tensive pain in thumb, impeding its motion.

Lower Limbs. - Crampy pain in hip joint, as though the parts were screwed in a vise, with pains extending from the lumbar region down to the legs. Drawing, twitching, with dull throbbing in region of left hip and in right loin. Pain in right thigh only when walking, as if the psoas magnus were too short. Drawing pain in right thigh, down to the knee. Origin of pain in sacral region, corresponding to position of plexus ischiadicus, thence is extended through the incisura ischiadica major towards hip -joint down posterior portion of thigh into fossa poplitea; sensibility of parts affected. Knees and feet "go to sleep. " Cramp in the left calf. Drawing aching in the left foot.

Generalities. - Great tendency to painful cramps and cramp-like contraction in all the muscles of the body (Cupr.). Faintings with coldness of external parts. Weakness. Tearing shootings traversing the whole length of the body. oRheumatism, with all sorts of pains, with formication and numbness.

Fever. - Feeling of coldness in the whole body. External dry heat; worse in upper part of body. Nocturnal sweat, smelling like urine; towards morning.

Aggravation.- -In eA r ening; at rest; after eating and drinking; from auger.

Amelioration. - From discharge of flatus; from coffee; from smoking; from bending double; from hard pressure.

Compare.- Ars., Bell., Berb., Bry., Caust., Cham., Chel, Coccul., Coff., Cupr., Diosc, Lyc., Mag. c, Merc, Nux v., Puls., Stan.

Antidotes.- Camph., Caust., Cham., Coff., Staph. To large doses: tepid milk, infusion of galls, Camph., Op., Coloc.

Colocynthis Antidotes.- Caust.


The chief clinical use of Colocynth is in neuralgia, and in this category must be classed the well-known colic so characteristic of this drug, and which results from nerve irritation rather than from any inflammatory disturbance. No drug equals Colocynth in colic and enteralgia, provided the symptoms already noted are present, as they usually are; especially is it important that the pains are relieved by bending double and from hard pressure; relieved by discharge of flatus or stool; aggravated by every attempt to eat or drink; may have been brought on in the first place by taking cold in hot weather, suppressing the perspiration, by drinking ice-water when overheated, by eating fruits, or by emotional causes, especially anger. Sometimes indicated in dysentery with bloody mucous stools, if the characteristic colic pains are present. Colocynth may be useful in neuralgia of any part, when the pain is sharp, cutting, or boring, and relieved by firm pressure. It is especially useful in sciatica, and often in facial neuralgia. In ovarian neuralgia it is one of the most often indicated remedies, the character of the pain being almost identical with those of colic already mentioned. It may also be useful in ovaritis and dysmenorrhea, or in suppressed menstruation characterized by the same pains. Many cases of cysts of the ovaries and broad ligaments have been reported cured by Colocynth. Said to be indicated especially where the tumors are small and round; paroxysms of colicky pain, better from pressure, wants the abdomen supported by a bandage. Sometimes useful in rheumatic headaches and ophthalmia; heaviness in head, with boring or sharp cutting pains in the eyeballs, relieved by firm hard pressure. Useful to relieve the pains of glaucoma and iritis, when they extend into the head and are better from pressure. Sometimes useful in nephritic colic; also in chyluria, the urine being white like milk, coagulating when cold.

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