Hydrastis Canadensis is commonly known by the names Goldenseal, Orange Root and Yellow Root . It belongs to the family Ranunculaceae. The thick, yellow rhizome (stem of a plant with nodes) of the herb is used to extract the medicine. It is indigenous to the United States and Canada and was introduced in Europe in the 18th century. It is also widely grown in India.
As a homeopathic remedy, it is primarily used for ailments related to the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, ears, and female organs.
Hydrastis Canadensis: Preparation
The homeopathic remedy Hydrastis Canadensis is prepared from the rhizome of the herb called Goldenseal. For the preparation of the medicine, first, the rhizome is freshly cut, which further undergoes the process of cleaning and chopping. The chopped fragments are then soaked in distilled alcohol for some time, after which it is strained and diluted to the desired degree. It is then subjected to the homeopathic process of Succussion, which is a type of oscillatory process done to obtain the desired potency of the medicine.
The ‘Hydrastis’ Constitution
It is well suited to people who have a feeble constitution and who get easily tired. It also works well for chronic alcoholics who have broken down their system by excess use of alcohol. The skin is generally pale, and the patient is susceptible to contracting jaundice.
Hydrastis Canadensis: Drug Action
The herb has a chemical in it called Berberine, which is known to work against many harmful bacteria and fungi, making it a natural antibiotic medicine.
The drug is known to have its action on the mucous surfaces, mucous glandular surfaces, the nutritive system and the circulatory system.
It is used by herbalists today as an anti-catarrhal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, bitter tonic, laxative, anti-diabetic and muscular stimulant oxytocic (a medication that accelerates childbirth) and emmenagogue (a medicine that promotes menstrual flow).
Scope of Hydrastis Canadensis as a Homeopathic Remedy
Effect on the Respiratory System
Hydrastis is one of the most effective remedies used in cases of respiratory troubles. It effectively manages problems of Sinusitis, with Post nasal Dripping (PND), inflammation of the mucous passages of the respiratory tract, cough with loose expectoration (expulsion of phlegm), swollen turbinates. When it comes to the nasal passages and sinuses, the mucous membranes are hyperactive and hence secrete more mucus than usual, thereby blocking the nostrils and increasing the discharges.
Hydrastis acts on these membranes and helps in subsiding the inflammation and regulating the mucous secretions. Usually, the main symptom is blocked nostrils, which leads to a discharge of mucus from the back of the nose to the throat (called as PND or post nasal dripping). This discharge is ropey and stringy, thick, yellow or white mucus.
The nostrils are blocked with mucous (especially the posterior part of the nose). Hydrastis can be of help in cases of nasal discharges, where the discharge feels like it is burning and makes the parts sore. Such secretions are scanty when the person is indoors but is excreted when the person steps out.
The crusting forms quickly inside the nose in such cases. A frontal headache accompanies the nasal discharge. There is a swelling of turbinate bones (soft bones in the nasal cavity), so much so that the patient has to breathe through the mouth and there is constant loud snoring at night. A characteristic feature of this medicine is tickling in the nose, especially the right nostril. The patient has recurrent episodes of sneezing, with fullness over the eyes and a dull headache in the frontal region, which descends to the arms.
Hydrastis can be given for bronchitis as well. Bronchitis refers to the inflammation of the bronchial tubes that primarily carry air to the lungs. After the inflammation, there is a constriction of the passage and hence breathing difficulties, which this homeopathic medication can very effectively manage. Such bronchitis attacks, when they occur in elderly people, can be accompanied by a loss of appetite. Hydrastis helps in taking care of that, minimizing the weakness and improving respiration. The characteristic ‘Old Man’s Cough’ calls for this remedy.
In all age groups, when there is tickling in the throat with a dry and harsh cough or when there is a loose cough, which worsens as the day progresses, with a thick, yellow and stringy mucous, Hydrastis can help.
Hydrastis for Ears
In cases where there is a dysfunction of the Eustachian tube, inflammation of the middle ear, with a thick and tenacious discharge (which is more like pus), blockage of the ear with a postnasal discharge, Hydrastis can work well to treat all these symptoms. With these symptoms, there is also a difficulty in hearing, deafness in some; and tinnitus (abnormal noises in the ear), usually a roaring sound. It can be given for perforation of the tympanic membrane, i.e., the eardrum as well.
Effect on the Gastro-Intestinal System
When it comes to gastric ailments, Hydrastis is used in cases where there is a heaviness in the upper left side of the abdomen. The appetite is negligible with an inability to digest food properly.
Hydrastis is a renowned remedy when it comes to carcinoma of the stomach. It acts wonderfully as an intercurrent remedy in such cases, and can effectively manage symptoms when given with conventional medicine. In such cases of cancer of the stomach, the condition initially is generally asymptomatic. Before the disease is diagnosed, usually in the ‘pre-cancerous stage,’ patients typically complain of chronic intermittent pain. They then slowly start losing their strength, the epigastric region becomes sensitive, the appetite decreases with frequent episodes of vomiting. There is indigestion of the food eaten; it feels as if the food simply lies in the abdomen. Constant production of the acid, with sour acidic vomiting and a coated tongue, are some other symptoms.
It has been mentioned in the homeopathic literature that Hydrastis can help a lot in cases of inflammation of the lining of the liver and cases of cancer of the liver as well. Even though there is no clinical evidence of a cure, the homeopathic medication Hydrastis can help in managing a few symptoms. The presence of these symptoms is not indicative of cancer. In the region of the liver (that is the upper right abdominal area), there may be a feeling of fullness with a constant, dull pain. There is the development of jaundice, with yellow skin, dark yellow urine and pale stools. The appetite is diminished, breathing is difficult, and it hurts to touch the area of the liver. Along with this, there could be an inflammation of the lining of the gallbladder and bile duct as well.
Hydrastis can take care of chronic constipation as well when the movements of the bowels are sluggish, and hence the stool formation is delayed. The patient skips days when it comes to clearing the bowels, and can only pass the stool after taking laxatives. The stool, when passed, could be in the form of small pellets. There is straining while passing stool, so much so that the rectum starts to burn and ache because of the continuous efforts to empty out the bowels. Sometimes, there is a feeling as if the stool would pass, but when tried, only gas escapes.
Other than this, Hydrastis can be given for cases of hemorrhoids (piles), where the underlying cause could be chronic constipation as discussed or pregnancy. There could be bleeding piles, with significant weakness. There could be offensive haemorrhoidal discharge from the anus, with a burning pain in the anus, during and after each stool.
Hydrastis Canadensis can also be helpful in cases of a fissure in the anal region, with constipation and continuous discharge. Some physicians have also noted excellent results with this remedy in cases of colorectal cancer.
Effect on Female Organs
Hydrastis Canadensis has shown remarkable results in various clinical conditions in females. This remedy can be useful in cases of leucorrhoea, uterine prolapse, uterine fibroids, congestive dysmenorrhoea (pain with menses), pelvic inflammatory disease, endometritis (Inflammation of the endometrium), menopausal syndrome, etc.
The remedy has also proven to be beneficial in cases of cancer of the cervix, uterine cancer, and breast cancer. Herein, the epithelium of the cervix and the vagina is eroded, and there is ulcer formation.
When microscopically seen, the membranes are swollen and hardened. Hydrastis can help in maintaining the normal lining of the mucosa, by healing the eroded and ulcerated areas.
Other than this, there is a pain in the lower back along with the uterine complaints. There are hemorrhages from the uterus, menses last too long, and the patient, as a result, becomes weak and anemic. There are sharp pains in the right iliac region (lower right side of the abdomen).
The leucorrhoea, i.e., abnormal vaginal discharge, in such patients is generally very tenacious and thick, yellow in color, and ropey in nature. There is intense itching with the leucorrhoea.
When given for cancer of the breast as an intercurrent (while the disease is progressing) remedy, the pains are very intense and extend up to the shoulders and down the arms. It is given in the scirrhous tumor of the breast, which is a slowly growing, solid, malignant tumor. The breast becomes hard, and adherent to the skin and the nipple is retracted. Along with this, the lymph nodes in the axilla (armpits) are enlarged. In open cancers of the breasts, Hydrastis can help in relieving the constant burning pain, and can also promote healing.
Keynote Indications for the use of Homeopathic medicine Hydrastis
1.Posterior nasal drip: Thick, tenacious from posterior nares to the throat. It si very effective in chronic cases of posterior nasal discharge
2.Eustachian tube catarrh: Eustachian tube catarrh with deafness.
3.Sinusitis: Frontal sinusitis with dull frontal headache; Sinusitis with thick, viscid nasal discharges.
4.Pharyngitis: Follicular pharyngitis with hawking of yellow, viscid mucus.
5.Constipation: Constipation with fissure anus/ prolapse of rectum/headache.
6.Leucorrhoea: Vaginal discharges of acid, tenacious, corroding nature.
7.Rectal fistula: Fistula of rectum associated with rectum prolapse/ constipation.
8.Prolapse of the rectum: Rectal prolapse with chronic constipation.
9.Gastric ulcers: Gastric ulcers with a sore feeling in stomach, weak digestion, and dyspepsia.
Homeopathic medicine Hydrastis Canadensis is recommended in low potencies for respiratory troubles and can frequently be repeated.
It can be given in the form of mother tincture as well.
For malignant tumors and other chronic ailments, it should always be taken under the guidance of a homeopathic physician.
Hydrastis Canadensis and Other Homeopathic Remedies
Hydrastis is antidoted by Sulphur, and Merc Sol is its antidote.