Vol. X. Philadelphia and
, Feb, 1895. No. 2. Lancaster
TWELVE REMEDIES IN HEADACHE, WITH
By W. A. Dewey, M. D.,
52 West 25th Street, New York.
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
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.