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Colocynthis – Homeopathic Medicine: Its Use, Indications and Dosage

The medicine Colocynthis is derived from the plant bitter cucumber or bitter apple, with the scientific name citrullus colocynthis belonging to the family cucurbitaceae.

The pulp of the fruit of this plant undergoes potentization (process to prepare homeopathic medicines that bring out the medicinal powers of a drug) after which it gets converted into homeopathic medicine Colocynthis. It leads the list of homeopathic medicines to treat complaints of sciatica and stomach cramps.

The ‘Colocynthis’ Constitution

This medicine is most suitable for people who get angry easily. It suits persons who have crampy, colicky abdomen pain (sharp, localized gastrointestinal or urinary pain), and joint pain.  Besides these, it is suited to people who have a tendency to get obese.

Drug Action

Primarily, it acts well on nerves, gastric system, limbs, and joints. Other than this, it works well on muscles, back, face, and female genitals.

Clinical Indications

Sciatica, stomach cramps, colicky pain, cramps in legs, facial pain, trigeminal neuralgia, ovarian pain, painful menses, back pain, neck stiffness, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, thigh pain.

Scope as a Homeopathic Remedy

1. Lower limbs (sciatica, joint pain, thigh pain, cramps)

Colocynthis is used broadly on lower limbs to treat numerous complaints. It is a highly recommended medicine to treat sciatica. Traveling along the path of the sciatic nerve, sciatica is a pain that starts in the lower back and radiates down the hip, back of the thigh, and back of the leg up to the feet. It is often the first choice of homeopathic medicine to begin the treatment of sciatica. Though effective to treat sciatica on any side, it is more effective in treating left-side sciatica than on the right side. It is indicated by drawing/ tearing/ shooting pain. The pain gets worse with long-continued motion, and also at night. One gets relief by applying heat treatment, rubbing and pressing. The affected area may be tender and painful to touch. In some cases, numbness occurs along with pain. Other than this prime indication, Colocynthis works well in cases of joint pain, and stiffness, and at places where tendons are shortened. There is a pain in the hip joint, mostly cramps. One gets relief from pain by lying on the painful side of the hip. Pain is mostly on the right side which can be throbbing and stitching (pinching) type which starts from the hip joint and extends to the knee or leg in some cases. The hip joint is swollen, so the buttock area is sensitive to touch. Pain increases even on the slightest motion if you bend the leg inward. Rest and a warm bed relieves pain.

Colocynthis can also improve knee joint pain especially when it is of the stitching type (as if someone’s pricking needles). The knee is stiff and a cold sensation is felt in the knee; the pain aggravates on walking.

This medicine also proves to be effective in cases of cramps in the legs, middle of the thigh and feet, and when the calf muscles feel numb. Colocynth is also indicated to manage thigh pain. Drawing pain (muscle pull-like pain) in the right thigh is felt that may extend to the knee. Standing and walking make the pain worse. The right side thigh muscles feel stiff. Drawing pain on the inner side of the left thigh is also felt.

Key indicating features

1. sciatica on the left side with drawing/ tearing/ shooting pain

2. sciatica gets worse by long continuous motion and gets better by warming, rubbing, and pressing

3. cramps in the hip joint which get relieved by lying on the painful side

2. Gastric system (stomach cramps, colicky pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting)

Colocynth is of great service in treating various gastric problems. The foremost indication to use it is stomach pain, stomach cramps, and colicky pain in the abdomen. The pain worsens even with the slightest intake of solid food or liquid. There is relief in pain by bending or pressing the stomach. Cramps may get better by burping.  Sometimes there is tearing/ burning/griping type of pain in the abdomen. Cutting or twisting pain around the navel followed by its spread to the upper part of the abdomen is also a prominent symptom. Another striking feature for its use is flatulent colic means pain in the abdomen due to gas. Croaking (deep rough sounds) and rumbling in bowels are felt.

Colocynth is beneficial for relieving nausea and vomiting. The vomit consists of food particles and greenish substances. This medicine can be used in case of long-term diarrhea with watery, yellow, frothy and sour-smelling stool, accompanied by abdominal pain and gas. A very characteristic symptom when colocynth can be administered is diarrhea due to emotional stress, like outbursts of anger or grief. Its use is also indicated in dysentery when there is a loose stool with blood and bowel pain, and a burning sensation in the anus after passing stool.

Key indicating features

1. stomach cramps and colicky pain better from bending double and from pressure

2. abdomen pain from gas

3. diarrhea from emotional causes like anger and grief

 3. Upper limbs (joint pain, hand pain)

With its action on upper limbs, it helps to manage joint pains. It is recommended for pain in the shoulder joint, elbow joint and finger joints. Pain in the shoulder is mostly on the right, which gets worse on pressing or on moving. Finger joint pain is bilateral, which means present on both sides along with stiffness and swelling. Colocynth also manages pain in the palms when there is difficulty in opening hands and spreading fingers.

Key indicating features

1. pain in the right shoulder which gets worse by moving or pressing

2. pain in finger, swelling, stiffness

4. Face (facial pain and trigeminal neuralgia)

This medicine acts well on the face where it is chiefly helpful in relieving facial pain, and trigeminal neuralgia which refers to a sudden intense shooting or electric shock-like pain in the face due to pressing of the trigeminal nerve or its injury. Colocynth works well in case of left-sided facial pain of a tearing/ burning/ shooting/ biting nature. The pain spreads between the temples in the head, ear and jaw. Excessive eye watering may be a symptom, the face looks pale and sunken due to pain which increases on touch, but is relieved by pressing.

Key indicating features

1. left-sided facial pain, trigeminal neuralgia

2. tearing/burning/ shooting/stinging pain in the face along with watery eyes

5. Women-related Problems (ovarian pain, painful menses)

Colocynth shows substantial clinical improvement in cases of ovarian pain mainly on the left side. It can handle different sorts of pain in ovaries, for example, cramping/ boring (radiating from outside in) / drawing/stitching/ burning or clutching pain. The pain is intense which gets relieved by pressing it or bending. There may be swelling in the left ovary. Colocynth can effectively deal with ovaritis (inflammation of ovaries), ovarian tumors, and cysts. The other well-acknowledged effect of this medicine is to help cases of painful menses (dysmenorrhea). Females having cramps, and intense pain which can even lead to screaming and crying during menses can be highly benefitted from this remedy. The pain worsens on eating or drinking but gets better by bending forward.

Key indicating features

1. left-sided ovarian pain

2. pain gets better by pressing and bending double

3. painful menses with cramps which get better by bending forward

6. Neck and Back (back pain, neck stiffness)

Colocynth can rectify certain neck and back problems too. It is mainly useful in managing lower back pain which gets worse on movement but better by pressing. Pain is a stitching (pricking) type. Weakness in the lower back can be felt with pain from the back extending down to the lower limbs. The medicine gives relief to neck stiffness which gets worse if one moves the neck. It is accompanied by drawing pain and stiffness on the left side of the neck muscles.

Key indicating features

1. pain in the lower back which gets worse on moving but better by pressing

2. lower back pain radiating to lower limbs

3. stiffness in the neck which gets bad on movement

Modalities

Worsening factors: complaints worsen by anger, exposure to cold, eating and drinking

Relieving factors: complaints are relieved by bending forward, pressing, lying on the abdomen, applying heat or by passing stool

Dosage

It works well in both low and high potency. The potency is selected depending on the case details. The dose and frequency are decided on an individual basis, but as a general rule low potencies can be repeated often while the frequent repetition of high potencies should be avoided.

Relationship with Other Remedies

Antidoted by: Camphor, Causticum, Coffea Cruda, Chamomilla, Opium and Staphisagria

Followed well by Belladonna, Bryonia, Chamomilla, Nux Vomica, Staphisagria, Pulsatilla and Spigelia

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