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'Tis the season... - Nux vomica, the overindulgence remedy

"Up too late the night before, too much to eat, too much to drink, and now everyone is suffering the consequences" is a good indication for the "hangover remedy," Nux vomica. Dr. W. Pierce aptly expresses the suffering of this remedy when he says, "The call by the system for Nux vomica serves as an illustration that all forms of wickedness are not to be punished exclusively in the next world."1 Not that the person needing Nux vomica has not tried to reform; they "would like to but cannot."
     Nux vomica has been described as the king of the polychrests. A polychrest is a homeopathic remedy, which, because of its ability to heal many different ailments, is commonly used by many people.
     Nux vomica is prepared from the seeds of the poison-nut tree. In large doses these seeds can cause oversensitivity, irritability, spasms, and convulsions. In small, homeopathically prepared doses, Nux vomica has been shown to help people experiencing such symptoms.

A cycle of coffee, cocktails, cigarettes
The person needing Nux vomica can be extremely sensitive, responding to the slightest irritation with angry outbursts and black moods. Stimulants and depressants such as coffee, cigarettes, and alcohol, upon which he depends, make him feel and act much worse. His brain is over-excited resulting in insomnia until the wee hours of the morning, and just as he finally gets to sleep, the alarm goes off to announce it is time to get up. His head feels as if he has been hit with an axe or as if it will burst, nausea overwhelms him, the light is too bright for his oversensitive eyes, and he feels dizzy. Coffee or a cocktail and a cigarette look extremely appealing at this point, and so the cycle continues. Dr. Boericke stated: "Nux vomica is pre-eminently the remedy for many of the conditions incident to modern life."2
     According to Dr. Choudhuri of India, "If the inhabitants of this big universe were to be grouped according to their characters, I truly believe that Nux vomica will fully cover three-fourths of this enormous mass of humanity. It is a remedy that suits ardent characters. It is never in the nature of the Nux vomica patients to be lukewarm in anything they undertake. They are always in the front rank of all enterprises and in consequence they generally occupy the topmost places in all occupations and all departments of life. They are the foremost scientists, the best doctors, the best lawyers, the commercial magnets and the sure leaders of every movement and enterprise ... It is thus suited to careful and zealous persons, to people who are over-cautious, intellectual and irritable in their disposition."3

- from The Flora Homeopathica by Edward Hamilton, MD, 1852

Animal anecdotes
Dr. Margaret Tyler (1857--1943) told several interesting anecdotes concerning animals and Nux vomica.4 "Years ago, in the country, a wretched hen was cooped all alone because if one of the others touched her, she had a fit." When the coop was shaken, she immediately crumpled up into convulsions. After a few doses of Nux vomica, the hen was able to happily join the company of her fowl friends with no further seizures. Nux vomica is known for curing convulsions that are worse from touch or movement.
     Dr. Tyler also related the story of a horse that "picked up a nail" and developed lockjaw. The veterinarian proceeded to put the animal out of its misery by administering a large dose of strychnine (poison). Upon inquiring about the horse several days later, much to the vet's surprise the owner replied, "I'm driving him!" Strychnine, in this case, was homeopathically similar to the symptoms of lockjaw in the horse, and therefore healed him. Strychnine is one of the alkaloids in the poison nut, from which Nux vomica is prepared. This accounts for Nux vomica's reputation for curing lockjaw.

From hyperactivity to hemorrhoids
Because it is able to calm extremely irritable states, Nux vomica has often been helpful for hyperactive children, as well as children and adults who are extremely angry or prone to rage. Its effects on the digestive system make it useful in nausea and vomiting, morning sickness, travel sickness, colic, and constipation (especially with its characteristic spasms) among other ailments. For hay fever, asthma, and even the common cold, Nux vomica has brought relief. Nux vomica's healing touch extends to all parts of the body, not the least of which is its soothing relief of hemorrhoids.
     Those who need Nux vomica are often very chilly and sensitive to the slightest draft. They hate the cold, feel better from warmth, and want to keep covered up. They feel worse in the early morning, and are worse from noise, light, and odors.
     Nux vomica is not exclusively the remedy for drunkards and "high livers," as some would have us believe. It is indeed, a many-faceted polychrest.

1. Pierce, W.I., Plain Talks on Materia Medica
2. Boericke, W., Pocket Manual of Materia Medica
3. Choudhuri, N.M., A Study on Materia Medica
4. Tyler, M., Homeopathic Drug Pictures

About the author:
Diane Fuller, working as an RN, found homeopathy when one of her children became ill and was cured with homeopathy. She studied homeopathy by correspondence with Misha Norland from the School of Homeopathy in England and then did the two-year HMC course with Lou Klein. She lives and practices in Prince George, B.C., Canada.