Abstract: Homoeopathy is one of the leading systems of alternative medicines in the world and is becoming popular day by day. It’s effectiveness and genuineness have been established by various stalwarts since its origin. This system of healing deals with a large number of medicines from various sources of nature of which vegetable kingdom is the most significant. The composite family plays a vital role in the homoeopathic materia medica, as almost all the members of this family have wide array of symptomatology which make this family worth of studying thoroughly. It is one of the large families widely distributed throughout the world.
Here, in this article, the authors have gone through some of the authentic sourcebooks and also tried to evaluate the actions of the members of the compositae family in daily life and also looked for their adverse reactions, if any.
Keywords: homoeopathic remedies, compositae, family
The use of complementary therapies by patients has increased over the past years, both in terms of self-medication and physician prescriptions. Among homoeopathic medicines, those containing extracts of compositae, are especially popular in the primary-care setting.1 Compositae is a very large order, from which we obtain a number of drugs; namely, Arnica montana, Bellis perennis, Chamomilla, Cina maritima, Eupatorium perfoliatum, Eupatorium purpureum, Echinacea angustifolia, Artemisia vulgaris, Artemisia abrotanum, Artemisia tridentata, Absinthium, Millefolium, Taraxacum officinale, and Calendula officinalis.2
Compositae family is also named as asteraceae family or the daisy family. The word “aster” means “star” in Greek, referring to the appearance of some family members, as a “star” surrounded by “rays”. The name “daisy”, widely applied to members of this family, is derived from the old english name of daisy (Bellis perennis): dægesege, from dægeseage, meaning “day’s eye”. This is because the petals open at dawn and close at dusk.3
One of the key features of the compositae family plants is what appears as a single flower is actually a cluster of little flowers formed as a ray of petals; another important feature of these plants is that they can thrive in the harshest conditions and on poor soil. They have survived in those conditions being tough plants.3
So many remedies from this family have a theme of injury:4
Repertory of the Homoeopathic Materia Medica by Dr J.T. Kent 4 –
Generalities: injuries, blows, falls and bruises; operation, disorders from (Arn, Bell-p, Calen, Echin, Mill)
Female: Injuries to the pelvic organs(Abrot, Arn, Bell-p,Calen, Tarax)
Mind: sensitive, oversensitive; touch, to(Abrot, Arn, Cina)
Ailments after physical injury (Arnica, Bellis p,Calendula, Echinacea, Chamomilla).
Theme of injury also present on the emotional level of these remedies. They can be easily hurt or feeling insulted, wounded by words; feeling abused, can be insulting, abusive or harsh. They may be violent by hitting someone or something. They can also take a lot of beatings, bruises, bumps, falls, and injuries. They may think of themselves as being tough. Therefore might want to protect others from injury. They can be very useful in conditions like shock from being injured or insulted; fear to be hurt, injured; fear of being touched or approached.3
Delusion, being insulted: Chamomilla
Mind, offended easily: Arnica, Cham
Fear, of others approaching: Arn, Cham
Aversion of being approached: Arn, Cham, Cina
Mind, touched, aversion to: Arn, Cham, Cina
The persons who are benefitted by the Compositae drugs have strong drive for individuality, independence and living their own lives. They have a strong aversion to being interfered with and told what to do; even when they are sick, they do not want to be hassled by doctors or others; as is seen in Arnica montana, when he says he is well and sends the doctor away. They have a feeling that they are not strong enough to keep other influences out of their system; they may feel vulnerable. Most of the ailments arise from being belittled, criticised, and humiliated. They have some peculiar sensations of being injured, scalded, being wounded, sore or bruised, hurt or insulted; fear to be touched and approached.3
Discussion of remedies – compositae family
Arnica montana: Arnica montana is applicable to both the acute and the chronic effects of injuries. The acute injuries for which it is useful are the following: simple bruises in which there are well-marked ecchymoses; concussions of the brain or spine or of both.2In the chronic effects of injury we may use Arnica montana when diseases (which may even be entirely foreign in their appearance to the ordinary symptomatology of the drug) may be traced to a traumatic origin. No matter what that disease may be, whether of the brain, eyes, lungs or nerves, if the injury is the exciting cause, the administration of Arnica montana is proper.2In cases of injury, Arnica montana is suited more to tumefaction of the other tissues. Calendula officinalis is to be thought of when the injury causes a torn or ragged wound, possibly with loss of substance. Calendula officinalis removes the inflammatory condition of the part, and so permits of healthy granulation.2
The changes in the blood vessels due to the typhoid favour the formation of ecchymoses here and there over the body. There is also a passive congestion of the brain. This is shown by drowsiness and indifference to those about him and to his condition. The patient falls asleep while answering questions and there is “the head is hot and the body cool, or at least not hot,” implying that there is a difference in temperature between the head and the rest of the body. The patient complains of a bruised feeling all over the body, so that the bed feels too hard to him. He is restless and tosses about the bed to find a soft spot on which to rest; and yet the fault is not with the bed, but with himself. Sugillations from hypostasis appear on the back. The lungs become affected-and here, too, the same character of Arnica montana shows itself.2,5
Arnica montana develops a true myalgia. The pains occur in the muscles of any part of the body. They are of traumatic origin, or they come from over-exertion, and are accompanied by the sore, bruised feeling.2
In rheumatism, we may think of Arnica montana, not for true inflammatory rheumatism, but for the local rheumatism which occurs in winter weather, and which seems often to be the combined effect of exposure to dampness and of cold and strain on the muscles from over-exertion. The affected parts feel sore and bruised. Any motion, of course, aggravates this sensation. There are sharp, shooting pains, which run down from the elbow to the forearm, or which shoot through the legs and feet. The feet often swell and feel sore and bruised.2
Arnica montana has an action on the skin, producing crops of boils all over the body. They begin with soreness and go on to suppuration, and are followed by another crop. It may also be used in boils and abscesses which have partially matured but which, instead of discharging, shrivel up by reason of absorption of the contained pus.2
Bellis perennis: It should be the first remedy in injuries to the deeper tissues, after major surgical work; results of injuries to nerves with intense soreness and intolerance of cold bathing. It acts upon the muscular fibres of the blood vessels, thus useful in venous congestion due to mechanical causes. It is also very useful in traumatism of pelvic organs, auto-traumatism; ill effects of masturbation; sprains and bruises. Complaints which arises after intake of cold food or drink when the body is heated and the affections due to cold wind, are also covered by this remedy.6
Artemisia vulgaris: It is a very serviceable remedy in epilepsy, brought on by violent emotions, and especially by fright. The attacks come in rapidly repeated seizures, that is to say, several convulsions come close together and then there is a long interval of rest. The paroxysms are usually followed by sleep. Artemisia vulgaris, like other members of the order (Cina more prominently than any of the others), has an effect on the eye. One can find under the drug the symptom: “coloured light produces dizziness;” for example, when seated near a stained-glass window the patient becomes dizzy.2
Absinthium: It causes exhilaration of the mind, soon followed by horrible delirium and eventually epileptiform spasms. In this delirium the patient is obliged to walk about. This symptom runs through all the remedies of the order. Chamomilla and Cina maritima have relief from moving about; Artemisia vulgaris has desire to move about; and under Absinthium, the patient walks about in distress, seeing all sorts of visions. Absinthium is useful in the sleeplessness of typhoid fever when there is congestion at the base of the brain.2
Millefolium: It is a remedy in haemorrhages from the lungs, uterus, bowels, etc. The flow of blood is bright red, and usually profuse with no anxiety.2
Taraxacum officinale: It is a decided liver remedy. The tongue is mapped, and there are bitter taste in the mouth, chilliness after eating or drinking, pain and soreness in the region of the liver, and bilious diarrhoea.2
Eupatorium perfoliatum: A popular remedy for chills and fever. The chill begins from seven to nine A. M., preceded by headache and insatiable thirst, which rarely continues into the fever. It first appears in the back and is accompanied by aching in the limbs, as though every bone in the body were being broken. This is followed by high fever with increase of the aching, and this by sweat, which is scanty or profuse. In some cases, there is a double periodicity; the chill comes in the morning of one day and in the evening of the next.2,6It is also useful in influenza with hoarseness worse in the morning, and cough with extreme soreness along the trachea and even to the finest ramifications of the bronchial tubes. With this there will be the aching all through the body as if in the bones, which impels the sufferer to move, but no relief is obtained thereby.2
Eupatorium purpureum:It has been used for chill beginning in the back.2
Echinacea angustifolia:It is used for septic conditions, blood poisonings, bites of poisonous animals, lymphangitis, gangrene, acute auto-infection; and is called as “corrector of blood dyscrasia”. It has slowness in every action. It eases the pain of cancer in late stages. It has cured foul discharges with emaciation and great debility.6
Artemisia abrotanum: It is indicated in marasmus occurring in weak children who are emaciated, first noticed in the lower extremities, wrinkled, pale, with blue rings around the eyes, gnawing hunger and bloated abdomen.2,5It is suited to cases of suddenly appearing spinal inflammation and to chronic myelitis. There are sudden aching pains in the back which are relieved by motion; numbness and paralysis. It is especially called for in rheumatic patients with lameness and stiffness of the joints. It is useful in patients of the class who are suffering from the effects of suppressed conditions. There is a strong tendency to metastasis. Thus rheumatism goes to the heart from the extremities, either spontaneously or from local treatment. After the extirpation of haemorrhoids or the checking of diarrhoea, gastric symptoms supervene. It is also applicable in the metastasis of mumps to the testicle or mammary gland.2,5
Cina maritima: Itis indicated in children who are irritable, nervous and peevish; who resent being touched or even looked at, obstinate and permit no one to approach them.2,5The sickly pale appearance of the face which is cold or red and hot, the blue rings about the eyes, grinding of the teeth, restless sleep with rolling of eyes, squinting associated with loathing of food or canine hunger, nausea, vomiting; pain in the umbilical region: abdomen hard and distended; constipation; urine turbid when passed and turns milky after standing; frequent sudden attacks of very high fever with convulsions and twitching and contortions of limbs: vomiting of lumbrici and ascarides give a perfect picture for the drug. Cina maritima corrects the abdominal organs and tones up the abdominal ganglia and the mucous membrane of the alimentary tract pours forth a normal secretion, and the worms, no longer having a proper environment to subside, die and are expelled.2,7 Cina maritima is efficacious in asthenopia from defective accommodation; when the patient attempts to read, the eyes begin to ache, the letters become blurred and a cloud comes over the field of vision, relief is obtained by rubbing the eyes; strabismus from worms or abdominal irritation; pain in head and eyes from sewing, especially when presbyopia forms in middle-aged women.7
Matricaria Chamomilla: apparently acts best upon patients with a morbidly sensitive nervous system. Slight impressions produce distress and anguish of mind; pains often result in fainting. In every disease in which Chamomilla is indicated, this peculiar excitability should be there. The patient, whether it be child or adult, a woman in labour or with toothache, is cross and excitable. Mental calmness contraindicates Chamomilla.2,6When violent emotions, like anger, affect the viscera, as, for example, the liver with jaundice, we may think of Chamomilla.2
It is useful for insomnia in children, when they start during sleep and the muscles of the face and hands twitch. With these symptoms there is apt to be colic; the face is red, especially one cheek, and the head and scalp are bathed in a hot sweat.These nervous symptoms of Chamomilla are generally reflex from the abdomen.This same nervous state of Chamomilla is seen in rheumatism. Rheumatic pains drive the patient out of bed and compel him to walk about. He is thirsty, hot, with red cheeks and almost beside himself with anguish.2
It is indicated in the catarrh of children, when the nose is “stopped up,” and yet there is a dropping of hot, watery mucus from the nostrils; there are sneezing and inability to sleep; and with these a dry, teasing cough, which keeps the child awake, or may even occur during sleep; or there is rattling cough, as though the bronchi were full of mucus. Chamomilla is especially useful in colds brought on by cold windy days.2It is useful in biliousness produced by anger. Chamomilla produces a diarrhoea with hot, yellowish-green stool, looking like chopped eggs, and often mixed with bile, causing soreness at the anus, and having an odour of rotten eggs; it is especially worse toward evening; it is apt to occur during dentition.2
It is indicated when labour pains begin in the back and pass off down the inner side of the thighs with great nervous excitement. After the labour is over, the lochial flow is dark and too profuse, and the after-pains are violent and intolerable. Chamomilla may be used in threatening abortion caused by anger.It is useful in induration of the mammae of new-born babies; also of children.2,7
A recent study showed that treatment with remedies belonging to compositae or asteraceae family is not associated with a high risk of adverse drug reactions.1
Conclusion: So, it has been seen that, the drugs produced from the compositae family have not only huge symptomatology and effectiveness for better health care, but also with very minimum side effects. This kind of group study could lead us to a great height in exploring new dimensions in the understanding of materia medica and use in our day-to-day practise.
- Jeschke E, Ostermann T, Lüke C, Tabali M, Kröz M, Bockelbrink A, Witt CM, Willich SN, Matthes H. Remedies containing Asteraceae extracts. Drug safety. 2009 Aug;32(8):691-706.
- Farrington E.Clinical materia medica. New Delhi: B Jain Publishers (P) Ltd.1995.
- Internet source: https://rlhh-education.com/backend/web/images/product-materials/Compositae%203rd%20July%202_20210705140157720.pdf retrieved on 7th September 2022.
- Kent JT. Repertory of the homoeopathic Materia Medica. New Delhi: B Jain Publishers (P) Ltd.2015.
- Allen HC. Keynotes and characteristics with comparisons of some of the leading remedies of the materia medica. Kolkata: A.B. Publications. 2002.
- Boericke W. Pocket manual of homoeopathic materia medica & repertory. New Delhi: B Jain Publishers (P) Ltd. 2010.
- Farrington E.Comparative materia medica. New Delhi: B Jain Publishers (P) Ltd.1995.
About the authors
- Dr Koushik Bhar, M.D.(Hom.), Homoeopathic Medical Officer, State Homoeopathic Dispensary, Mangalbari Rural Hospital, Matiali, Jalpaiguri, Govt. of West Bengal
- Dr Supriya Pramanik, M.D.(Hom.), Lecturer, Dept. of Organon of Medicine, The Calcutta Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata
- Dr Sheetal Mishra, M.D. (Hom.), GDMO (Homoeo), District Hospital Mayabunder, North Andaman
- Dr Prabin Kumar Shaw, M.D.(Hom.), Corresponding author , Lecturer, Dept. of Homoeopathic Materia Medica, The Calcutta Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata