Synonyms: Latin: Phytolacca Americana L. English: Poke, American nightshade, Scoke Biological classification: Family: Phytolaccaceae (Pokeweed Family) Range
and habitat: Indigenous to North America, it has become a common weed
in Mediterranean countries; found on cleared and in low ground, also on
the side of new roads. Preparation and Classification: Tincture of the root (Class C)
(Homeopathica Pharmacopoeia of the United States)
Introduced into homeopathy by Hale (4), Phytolacca is one of the most important remedies made from a purely American plant (5). Phytolacca
is highly associated with glandular conditions, particularly such
swellings associated with heat and inflammation (2). It is particularly
useful in complaints of the breasts, nasal pharynx, throat and tonsils
Missing berries - a birdie feast.
Nash, who points
up an interesting symptom associated with this remedy “irresistible
inclination to bite the teeth or gums together,” pronounces Phytolacca
an exceedingly valuable remedy for sore throats when the symptoms so
indicate. The throat having become generally inflamed, the tonsils
swell, becoming at first very red followed by the appearance of white
spots, which can spread and coalesce. Boericke’s Materia Medica says
throat dark red or bluish red, much pain at the root of the tongue,
soft palate with swollen tonsils, especially on the right, sensation of a
lump in the throat.
Phytolacca in the late summer.
The pain in the
throat may radiate into the ears on swallowing. Clarke adds to the
description of the swelling in the throat area that the uvula can be
enlarged and almost translucent. He describes a sensation of dryness in
the throat and nasopharynx, which can provoke cough and a tendency to
clear the throat. The various authors describe the throat symptoms as
being aggravated by hot drinks, even to the point that the patient is
unable to swallow anything hot.
Another acute condition in which Phytolacca can be useful is that of mastitis. Boericke’s Materia Medica describes the mastitis in patients who may respond to Phytolacca
as being characterized by breasts that are hard and very sensitive.
Boger describes the breasts as stony hard, heavy, swelled, worse on the
left. Nash comments that every time the child nurses the pain radiates
from the breast all over the body. Clarke describes mastitis where the
hardness is very apparent from the first and is associated with great
burning; very sensitive nipples. Nash describes the nipples as being
cracked or inverted. Worse: Electrical changes. Raising up.
Motion. Swallowing. Hot drinks. Getting wet when it rains. Exposure
to damp. Cold weather. Change of weather. Night. Right side. Better: Warmth. Dry weather. Rest. Lying on abdomen. Cold drinks.
1. Allen, MD, T. F. The Encyclopedia of PureMateria Medica. New Delhi: B. Jain Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 1990, pp. 502-519. 2. Boericke, MD, William. Pocket Manual of Homeopathic Materia Medica. Philadelphia: Boericke & Runyon, 1927, pp. 514-516. 3. Boger, MD, C. M. A Synoptic Key of the Materia Medica, 4th Edition, 1931, p. 221. 4. Clarke, MD, John Henry. A Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica, Volume 3. London: The Homoeopathic Publishing Company, 1925, pp. 802-806. 5. Millspaugh, Charles F. American Medicinal Plants. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1974, pp. 557-561. 6. Nash, MD, E. B. Leaders in Homeopathic Therapeutics. Philadelphia: Boericke & Tafel, 1898, pp. 348-351.