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Bryonia Alba






Common Names: Wild Bryony, White Bryony. Wild Hops.


Parts used:  The root.


Description:- Bryonia is a perennial climber, native of Europe.  Leaves heart shaped.  5-lobed; flowers small, greenish white or  yellowish;  fruit, berries size of a pea, of a black color.  Root spindle shaped  1 to 2 feet long, fleshy.


Properties:  The dried root of Bryony is in -odorous, bitter and contains bryonin, starch, gum fat, malates etc. It yields its properties to alcohol or hot water.  The herbalists use this drug for pectoral conditions as in the spasms of whooping cough.  It is very powerful and poisonous in large doses.


In Homeopathy it is a drug of par excellence and one of the great polychrest remedies, being widely used in our practice.


Constitutional taint:  Sycosis.


Typical  Subjects:  Persons of gouty and rheumatic diathesis.  Persons of  black hair, dark complexion, firm muscular fibre.  Persons  who  over eat.  Dry, nervous slender people.  Venous,  sluggish.


Notes and features: 1. Sluggishness.  Like Aconite, it has no violence at the onset of an attack, but complaints increase into violence. The patient takes cold, but then, unlike Aconite develops complaints after a day or two and not in a few hours.


Dryness.  Dryness of  mucous membranes, everywhere, but especially in mouth and stomach.  Dry mouth . Lips dry, parched, cracked.  Dry, hard, painful cough, there being scanty or no expectoration.  Dry, hard stool. Stool dry as if burnt.

Thirst.  *For large quantities at long intervals.

Hardness: Hard nodosities, in several parts of the skin, like small indurating glands.  Dry, hard stools. In mastitis breast is stony hard.

Swelling:  Swelling of legs.  Dropsical swellings. Dropsical swelling of abdomen.  Synnovial swellings. Red shining swelling of some parts of body, with sweating during movement.

Stitching Pains: *Stitching pains  worse from motion ( as in pleurisy, meningitis, peritonitis, etc. at the onset of inflammation.)  The patient lies on the affected part, so as to keep the part at rest.

SuppressionRepurcussion. In cases of metrorrhagia, nose-bleed occurs as a vicarious flow.  There may be nosebleed, when menses should appear. Vicarious menstruation taking the form of nose-bleed, haemoptysis, etc. Complaints caused by suppression of milk, such as mild leg, fever, etc. Diarrhoea from suddenly checked perspiration in hot weather.

Motion: As in Pulsatilla, so as in Bryonia, the leading characteristic lies in its modality. Three words express it "Aggravation from motion."

Pressure: Another  very valuable modality of Bryonia is again expressed in three words- amelioration from pressure.  This is the reason the patient, much to the astonishement of the nurse, wants to lie on the painful side or part (opposite of Belladonna, and Kali Carb)




Bryonia is called the "grumpy bear" remedy, because the person who needs this remedy is irritable and wishes to be left all alone.  Whatever the disorder-fever, headache, sore throat or gastritis the patients feels worse with the slightest movement and is very thirst.


Bryonia affects especially the constitution of a robust, firm fiber and dark complexion with tendency to leanness and irritability.  It prefers the right side, the evening, and open air. Warm weather after cold days, to manifest its action most markedly.


Mind:- Exceedingly irritable and inclined to be vehement.  Despair of being cured with fear of death. "Desires thins immediately which are herd to be had, or which when offered are refused." "Children dislike to be carried or to be raised." Constant disposition to sigh. Over -sensitiveness of the senses to external impressions.  Momentary    absence of mind. Delirium; wants   to go home; talks of business.


Head:   The head complaints may be looked upon as striking features of the remedy, because there is pain in the head with almost every acute complaint. Headaches are associated with inflammatory and congestive complaints.  The mental dullness and confusion of the mind is spoken of with the congestive headache, and bursting headache. The head feels so full she wants to press it with the hand or tie it up; tight pressure, over the whole skull, is grateful. The headaches are worse in warm room and commonly worse from heat.  Sometimes superficial neuralgias  have relief from local heat, but a warm room or a close room is very distressing to the Bryonia headache.  Headaches are of bursting, splitting type, as if everything would be pressed out as if  hit by a hammer from within < motion, stooping, opening eyes, motion, even of eyeballs. . Headache become seated in the occiput.  Vertigo, nausea, faintness on rising, Frontal headache, frontal sinuses involved.



Nose:  Many of the complaints of Bryonia commence in the nose; sneezing, coryza, running at the nose, red eyes, lachrymation, aching through the nose, eyes and head the first day; then the trouble goes down in to the posterior nares, the throat the larynx, with hoarseness, and then a bronchitis come on, and if not checked it goes into pneumonia and pleurisy, so that the trouble has traveled from the beginning of the respiratory tract, the nose, to the lung tissue. This is a field for the complaints of Bryonia. .All are worse from motion, all parts are subject to a good deal of burning and congestion; more or less fever, sometimes intense fever, the patient is himself worse from the slightest motion and wants to keep still; dullness of mind, pressive congestive headaches, sore, lame and bruised over , often worse at 9  o' clock in the evening ; increased dullness of mind after sleep on waking in the morning. Frequent sneezing.  Sneezing between coughs.  "Loss of smell". Bleeding from the nose in these congestions, or with coryzas. During the menstruation there is epistaxis. Congestion of the head is present at the menstrual period.  Epistaxis appears as a vicarious flow in case of menses. If the menstrual flow should be checked suddenly from cold, nose bleed comes on.  Dryness in the  nose.


Ear:  Aural vertigo. [Aur; Nat. sal.; Sil; Chin.] Bryonia is highly spoken of  by Dr. Dudley Wright of London, in Meniere's disease as suiting those cases where the vertigo comes on from any sudden motion, as on rising from a seat. Roaring, buzzing in ears.


Eyes: Bryonia may be thought of in rheumatism of the eyes, with violent pains shooting through the eyeball into the back of the head or up towards the vertex; worse by moving the eyes.

           In rheumatic iritis it is the first remedy to be thought of, and  it is quite as useful in syphilitc; in fact, in any form of iritis; the pains are sharp shooting in character, extending into the head and face, moving or exciting the eye aggravates the pain.  A sensation as if the eyes were forced out of the socket is also found under Bryonia.  It comes in after Aconite or Ferrum Phosphoricum, which are the remedies for the first stage, especially for the sudden variety with burning and dryness.  Terebinth has rheumatic iritis with intense pains in the eyes and head, and the urinary symptoms are perhaps present.  Arnica is a useful remedy in rheumatic iritis, but it corresponds especially to the traumatic form, here Hamamelis shoud be thought of, especially if there be haemorrhage into the iris or anterior chamber.


Bryonia may be found useful in glaucoma.  There is an increased tension of the eyeballs, lachrymation and photophobia.  The eyeballs are sore, it is not so useful when the external coats of the eyes are involved.


Mouth:- Great dryness of the lips; the lips are parched and dry.  "Children pick the lips.". "Lips cracked and bleeding" such will be seen in typhoid states, where the whole mouth is mouth is dry and brown, cracked, parched and bleeding; dry, brown tongue.  Sordes on the teeth.  Bryonia has toothache <warm drinks; from warm foods , worse in a warm room, wants cold foods in the mouth, wants to be in cold air, but < motion. "Toothache > by cold water or lying on painful side." Pressing hard upon the painful tooth ameliorates it.  "Toothache< from smoking."


Thirst for large quantities of water at long intervals. Many remedies want to sip water all the times.  In bryonia the large quantities relieve the thirst immediately. In Arsenic the drink does not relieve, he wants a little and wants it often( in small quantities).


Throat:  Dryness, sticking on swallowing, scraped and constricted (Bell). Tough much in larynx and trachea, loosened only after much hawking; worse coming into warm room.


Stomach: Bryonia stands alongside of Nux Vomica and Pulsatilla for disorders of alimentation.  All three remedies have a sensation as of a stone in the stomach. Bryonia leads  in thirst, Nux vomica less, and Pulsatilla little or none.  All have bad taste in the mouth; Bryonia and Pulsatilla bitter and Nux Vomica sour.  All have nausea and vomitting; Bryonia < on motion, as rising up, Nux vom in the A.M. and after eating. Pusatilla in the evening and also after eating. 

The stomach complaints of  Bryonia are relieved from warm drinks; that becomes a particular because his desire is for cold drinks, but his stomach is better from warm drinks.  In his fever and head complaints and febrile states he wants cold things, which often bring on and increase cough and pains, but the hot drink, which he does not crave, relieve stomach and bowel complaints.  In the chill, Bryonia often has desire for ice cold water, which chills him dreadfully; and hot water relieves. "Desire for cold and acid drinks." Aversion to rich fat food, all greasy things, "Desire for things which are not to be had."


The gastric derangements of Bryonia often occur as a result of dietetic errors, especially when warm weather sets in after cold. Those of Nux vomica more from continued overeating and inactivity, the abuse of drugs, coffee, tobacco, or alcoholics; Pulsatilla from too rich foods, pastries, fat foods and ice cream(in excess); a little ice cream feels good in the Pulsatilla stomach, but much overdoes the matter, because it is too rich.


Abdomen:  Bryonia  has inflammation of the liver and many other liver symptoms, with soreness and tenderness to pressure, and he cannot move. Every motion, every touch, every deep breath causes pain in this organ, as in the abdominal viscera. The breathing is short, quick, and when followed by taking a deep breath it causes pain through the liver; it burns and stitches.  With this, he has the disordered stomach, nausea and retching worse from motion; spitting up of  bile. So he has burning pain, stitches; worse pressure, coughing , breathing. Tenderness of abdominal walls.


Stool:  Constipation: stools hard, dry, as if burnt, seem too large.  Stool brown, thick, bloody; worse in morning, from moving, in hot weather, after being heated, from cold drinks, every spell of hot weather.  It also has diarrhoea like other three remedies viz. Bryonia, Nux Vom. & Pulsatilla  although constipation is most characteristic of Bryonia and Nux Vomica, and is only exceptionally found under Pulsatilla.

Bryonia diarrhoea is worse in the morning, on movement, and often occurs as an effect of ever -eating, in the heat of summer. Nux vomica  diarrhoea is also apt to be worse in the morning, is mostly caused by overeating and is apt to put on the dysenteric type. The Pulsatilla diarrhoea is more apt to occur in the night, from causes above mentioned, and is  attended with great rumbling of the bowels.


Urine:  There are plenty of urinary symptoms in this remedy; inflammatory condition of kidneys; pinkish urinary deposits, uric acid crystals, urine profuse.  Whenever he strains himself in lifting, or any unusal motion, there is pain the kidneys, a rousing up of  congesting and long-lasting pain.  It is a gouty constitution with kidney troubles, so that after overheating or overexertion he gets pain the back.  "Pressure to urinate and involuntary discharge of urine. "  "Burning in urethra, when not urinating." Relived by passing urine.


Female: Menses too early, too profuse, worse from motion, with tearing pains in legs; suppressed, with vicarious discharges or splitting headache.  Stitching pains in ovaries on taking a deep inspiration: very sensitive to touch.  Dysmenorrhea; Every menstrual period is associated with marked congestion of the ovaries, with sensitiveness to touch. The sensitiveness at the approach of every menstrual period, in both groins will be spoken of  by the patient, increasing as  the menstrual period comes on, until the soreness proceeds across the abdomen and meets, and then the whole abdomen is painful during the menstrual period.  Pain in breasts at menstrual period.  Breasts hot and painful, hard.  Abscess of mammae.  Freaquent bleeding of nose at appearance of menses.  Menstrual irregularities with gastric symptoms. Ovaritis. Intermenstrual pain, with great abdominal and pelvic soreness (Ham.).


Respiratory: Bryonia is very commonly indicated in Respiratory diseases in our day to day practice. As earlier mentioned about  its characterstic action on mucous surfaces producing dryness, the same condition applies in the lungs and bronchia, which causes hard, dry cough with little or no expectoration, and with soreness and pain the chest when the patient coughs. (Nat. sulph has loose cough with soreness). Cough dry at night<after eating, drinking, with vomitting.The Bryonia patient sits up and holds the head, or holds the chest; presses both hands upon the chest when coughing, feels as if the chest would fly to pieces when coughing; pains in the chest on both sides but most the right side. Bryonia prefers the right side when the condition is pneumonia.  Coming into warm room excites cough.(Nat carb.).

Bryonia has also a very decided effect upon the serous membranes . It is very useful in the second stage of inflammation, after the stage of serous effusion has set in.  In most of these cases the first stage has been attended by symptoms calling for exhibition of such remedies as Aconite, belladonna, Ferrum Phos., etc. but not always;  and the here the characteristic symtpom are the stitching pains and this is why it is a prime remedy in pleurits, meningits , peritionitis  and pericarditis, etc. Only one remedy can equal Bryonia for stitching pains viz. Kali carb.(Stitching pains in the case are particularly found in Bryonia, Kali carb, Natrum mur, Squilla and Merc viv.) And there is this difference between them: The Bryonia stitches come on or are < by the lest motion, while those of Kali carb will occur whether the patient moves or not. (Bryonia > by pressure, Kali carb., not).  Stitches in cardiac region. Angina Pectoris (use tincture).


Back:  Painful stiffness in nape of neck.  Stitches and stiffness in small of back,. From hard water and sudden changes of weather.


Extremeties: Rheumatism with rfed, swollen, hot, shiny joints.  Rest, touch and pressure relieve the pain. Stitching pains, better with firm pressure, worse on motion.


Skin:  Yellow; pale, swollen, dropsical; hot and painful.  Jaundice with stitching pain in the liver region.


Fever:   Rheumatic and typhoid fever marked by  gastro-hepatic complications. Perspiration after slight exertion. Chill with external coldness, dry cough, stitches.


Modalities:  Worse: Motion, Exertion, Light touch(Light touch aggravates; deep touch ameliotrates.), Warmth, Exertion, Eating warm food.


Better: Rest, Cold foods, Firm pressure, lying on painful side (this prevent motion), cold.


Relations:  Alumina, Kalium carbonicum, Phosphorus, Rhus tox. And Sulphur are complementary.


Summary of indications:  Gout-rheumatism-degenerative joint disorders-fevers-constipation.





Aconitum napellus



Coffea cruda

Nux Vom

Rhus tox.


Note:  Alumina and Rhus toxicodendron are both complementary as well as antidotes.



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