Allium Cepa | Materia Medica by J. T. Kent
Allium cepa is used principally for “colds.” There are various phases of these “colds,” in the nose, in the throat, in the larynx, in the bronchial tubes. The patient and all the phases of his “cold,” his coryza, his laryngitis, his cough, all his complaints, are aggravated by warmth, are worse in a warm room, excepting the tickling in the larynx, which is sometimes aggravated by drawing in cold air. In this way the cough is sometimes excited by cold air, but the patient himself is better in cold air and sensitive to heat. Most of the symptoms are worse in the evening, the symptoms of coryza, the “cold,” and the general symptoms. These are the two most striking general features of Allium cepa.
It is not strange that the old ladies used to bind onions on the ear for earache and around the neck for sore throats, for onion is very frequently indicated in almost every climate for the effects of cold. Cold, damp, penetrating winds, in any climate, are likely to bring on Allium cepa complaints—coryza, la grippe, influenza or whatever they may be called, and usually there is a congestive headache. Rawness in the nose, copious flow of water from the eyes, which is always bland; copious watery discharge from the nose, which is always excoriating. Rawness in the larynx and throat, extending down into the chest. Rawness in the nose. In twenty-four hours it reaches the larynx. Cough, excited by tickling in the larynx and when lying down at night in a warm room. On going to bed in the evening Allium has its most troublesome aggravation. I have heard patients describe the pain in the larynx on coughing, saying that it felt as if someone was reaching down with a hook at every cough. Tearing in the larynx with every cough. Sneezing, rawness of all the mucous membranes and that tearing cough, all symptoms worse in a warm room and in the evening; it is astonishing how quickly the onion will break up that “cold.”
Now we will take up the particulars of the coryza. Among the earlier symptoms will be the sneezing, which comes with increasing frequency. A watery discharge drips from the nose constantly, burns like fire, and excoriates the upper lip and the wings of the nose until there are rawness and redness. Notice that the fluid from the nose is excoriating and the fluid from the eyes bland. Bear that in mind, for when we come to study EUPHRASIA we will find just the opposite. We will find just such a watery discharge from the nose and such copious lachrymation; but the lachrymation is acrid and the discharge from the nose bland. The nasal discharge of Cepa fairly eats the hair off of the upper lip. And there is so much congestion that the patient has a sensation of fulness in the nose, with throbbing and burning, and sometimes nosebleed. Pains through the jaws, in the face; and these pains extend into the head. Dull frontal headaches, occipital headaches ; headaches very severe and the eyes cannot stand the light; tearing, bursting, throbbing in the head.
Now, there is another phase of this medicine. Why it begins on the left side and goes over to the right I do not know, but it usually does this. Stuffing up of the side of the nose, watery, acrid discharge from the left side of the nose—in another twenty-four hours the right side is invaded, “Profuse nasal discharge. Colds after damp northeasterly winds.” That is, after damp, cold winds, for they may come from different directions in different localities. Fluent coryza with headache, tears from the eyes, want of appetite, cough and trembling in the open air. “Every year in August, morning coryza, with violent sneezing, very sensitive to the odor of flowers and skin of peaches.” That is one form of hay fever cured by Allium cepa. It will wipe out an attack of hay fever in a few days, when the symptoms agree. You may know that the true nature of hay fever is not generally understood. It is really only an explosion of chronic disease, that is, it is a manifestation of psora, and can be eradicated only by antipsoric treatment. Many a time have I seen hay fever wiped out in one season by a short-acting remedy, only to return the next just the same, and perhaps another remedy will be required. As soon as the hay fever is stopped you must begin with constitutional treatment. There will be symptoms, if you know how to hunt for them, that differ altogether from the acute attack. When the hay fever is on these do not appear. It is a difficult matter to find a constitutional remedy when the hay fever is at its height, for it resembles an acute disease; but it is a manifestation of psora, like any other manifestation of psora, as eruptions, cough, etc. The nose may manifest only a certain phase of chronic disease in one season which may, for instance, be suited to Allium cepa. I remember one time having occasion to prescribe Allium cepa at long distance. It was near a homeopathic pharmacy. I wired the pharmacist to send my patient Allium cepa, and he labeled it. Well, the patient kept the bottle and used it next season, but it did no good. That is likely to be the case, even when the symptoms seem to agree. In a psoric condition a short-acting remedy is insufficient, it may help for one day only, and the deep-acting remedy that includes the patient as well as the hay fever and all the other symptoms will have to be administered. The best time to treat hay fever is after the acute attack subsides and until it begins again the next season. It will then occur in a greatly modified form, different from any the patient has ever had, and calling for a different remedy. That will be the case if the constitutional remedy has been properly selected.
In these coryzas the inflammation soon spreads to the ears, the throat and the larynx. The old mothers used to put onions on the baby’s ear when it had earache. That is not surprising, when we see all the pains and aches belonging to this remedy. Jerking pains from the throat toward the Eustachian tube. Violent earache, even to the discharge of pus from the ear. Ringing in the ears. Stitches towards the ear from the forehead. Pain like thick threads drawing from deep within the head. Stitching, tearing pains in the ear, with whooping cough, with coryza, with laryngitis. In the household where a medicine case is kept PULSATILLA is the standard remedy for earache, and it is true that only occasionally has a doctor to be sent for. PULSATILLA has such a strong affinity for the ear that it will cure earache in almost all sensitive children who cry pitifully. But those who are snappish, who are never suited, who will throw away something they have asked for and slap the nurse in the face must have CHAMOMILLA. With PULSATILLA, CHAMOMILLA and Allium cepa you can cure the majority of earaches in children.
Further, as to the eye symptoms that accompany the Allium cepa colds. Remember that the discharge from the eye is bland. Although there is burning in the eyes the tears do not excoriate as they flow down over the cheek. Profuse, bland lachrymation. Lachrymation in the evening in a warm room.
We all know what a flatulent vegetable the onion is. It is a wonderful medicine for babies with colic. Cutting, rending, tearing pains drawing the poor little thing almost double. It screams with the violent cutting in the lower abdomen. “Stitching pains in the abdomen.” “Colicky pains beginning in the hepatic region and spreading over the whole abdomen, worse around the navel; worse when sitting.” Wind colic. Allium cepa is a wonderful remedy in whooping cough, and when it is indicated the child will often have indigestion, vomiting and flatulency; will pass offensive flatus, will be doubled up with colic. Allium cepa also cures a ragged, sensitive condition of the anus, with bleeding, in infants.
Acute complaints of the voice; catarrhal hoarseness; copious expectoration of mucus from the larynx. Violent inflammation of the larynx coming on very rapidly, with that cough I spoke of, and the tearing in the larynx. Some will describe it as a sensation as if something were being torn loose. Those who describe more accurately will say that it feels as if a hook were dragging up through the larynx with every cough. Tickling in the larynx with hoarseness. In the whooping cough there is this same painfulness of the larynx. The child shakes and shudders and you can see that it dreads the cough because of the tearing pain in the larynx. Cough and difficult breathing from inspiring cold air, yet a warm draft will so increase the tickling that it is sure to set the patient coughing. So the cough is aggravated both by cold air and a warm room. Colds sometimes travel down into the bronchial tubes and are attended with fever and rapid pulse. If the tickling in the larynx, the cough from inspiring the cold air, worse in a warm room and in the evening, with tearing pain in the larynx, are present, Allium cepa will cure. The cough is spasmodic and resembles croup or whooping cough. Cepa has a record for croupy cough. The old lady binds onion on the throat of the child with croup, and no doubt, out in the back woods, where there are no doctors, it was far better than Old School treatment.
Here is a fairly good description from the Guiding Symptoms: “Hoarse, harsh, ringing, spasmodic cough, excited by constant tickling in the larynx; cough produces a raw, splitting pain in the larynx, so acute and so severe as to compel the patient to crouch from suffering, and to make every effort to suppress the cough.” “Severe, laryngeal cough, which compels the patient to grasp the larynx; feels as if cough would tear it.” The child will reach up to the larynx and clutch it. This is wholly different from the ACONITU condition, when the child, after exposure to a dry, cold wind, wakes before midnight with a hoarse, barking cough, and clutches the larynx. So ACONITE cannot be substituted for Allium cepa.
Another affection over which this remedy has marvelous power is traumatic neuritis, often met with in a stump after amputation. The pains are almost unbearable, rapidly exhausting the strength of the patient.