Today on the BBC News website I read:
A new strain of group A streptococcus, which is able to produce significantly more toxin, is spreading in England and Wales, scientists say. Strep A causes a range of infections, from a sore throat to scarlet fever. The new strain’s emergence, reported in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, coincides with a rise in rare but potentially deadly invasive infections. However, it does not explain the mysterious surge in scarlet fever cases during the past five years
It got me thinking about how we homeopaths go about treating Scarlet Fever and the use of Deadly Nightshade (or Belladonna) as one of the main homeopathic remedies in treating this condition.
The history of poisonous Belladonna, used as a homeopathic remedy makes fascinating reading…
The original proving of belladonna was conducted by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann (the founder of homeopathy). Dr. Hahnemann described prophylactic effects of the medicine when used in treatment for scarlet fever. Interestingly, he discovered the potential prophylactic effect during an outbreak of scarlet fever in 1799, when three children of four in a family under his care became ill. The fourth, who was usually the first to become ill, remained free from disease. Dr. Hahnemann reasoned that since the child had been taking belladonna for an affliction of the finger joints, she was in some way protected from the infection.
Dr. Hahnemann continued to make frequent use of belladonna during this epidemic with great success. So great was his success that many conventional physicians adopted his treatment protocol and began singing the praises of homeopathic belladonna. Dudgeon reports on 10 allopathic physicians at this time who used prophylactic belladonna on 1,646 children with only 123 cases developing in the group.
Hufeland, the great Prussian Doctor at the time, reviewed all the results of the prophylactic use of belladonna for scarlet fever. His subsequent declaration of its efficacy would be akin to the UK’s Chief Medical Officer recommending the use of homeopathy in the treatment of HIV-related disease today. Hufeland’s support of belladonna as a prophylactic carried so much weight that the Prussian government made its use obligatory during scarlet fever epidemics in 1838.
Belladonna remains one of homeopathy’s most widely used remedies (diluted many-fold, of course, so there’s no toxic effect).
Common clinical indications for belladonna include the following:
Conditions that come with sudden inflammation marked by the hallmarks of pain, swelling, redness, and heat
On the mental-emotional level this intense inflammation may be seen as sudden, intense rage, fears, or delusions
Intense sensitivity to heat, light, noise, bending, pressure, sneezing, jar, and congestion (as occurs before the menstrual period)
High fever (especially with confusion or delirium), often seen with flushing of the face and coldness of the extremities
Without thirst, or worse for eating or drinking
Pains that are throbbing and intense
Intense cramping and spasms almost anywhere in the body
Restless, moving, wanting to escape, wanting to move
Jumping, jerking, or even seizures
Strong fears (especially of dogs, nightmares, and distortions of thinking including hallucinations and confusion
Weakness, exhaustion, delirium, paralysis, neurasthenia
A commonly seen clinical scenario where belladonna may be indicated is a patient with rapid onset of high fever, flushing of the face, intense throbbing headache, sensitivity to light, where the patient wants to lie down and rest but cannot find comfort.
Common conventional diagnoses where belladonna should be considered as a potential for treatment (if the typical belladonna indicating signs and symptoms are present) include:
Influenza or influenza-like illness
Croup or other spasmodic cough
Sinusitis or other respiratory infections
Fever (especially if any aspect of delirium is present); Scarlet Fever
Attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity
Sleep disorders and nightmares
Premenstrual syndrome especially with dysmenorrhea
Gout or other inflammatory arthritis
Kidney stones (nephrolithiasis)
Belladonna would be indicated to treat these diagnostic conditions or others provided the clinical hallmarks of the medicine were present. And if the remedy is correct the fever should come down within an hour or two and recovery should be quick (1-2 days). These type of acute conditions (sore throats, ear infections, hay fever etc) are often a great way for demonstrating how quickly and effectively homeopathy acts; typically hours and days and frequently making antibiotics seem redundant (a good thing in these days of drug-resistant bacteria). And many a sceptic has been won over after witnessing the cure of some painful acute condition with homeopathy!