INTRODUCTION AND DERIVATION OF THE FAMILY SOLANACEAE

INTRODUCTION AND DERIVATION OF THE FAMILY SOLANACEAE
by

Editors: Dr. Meghna Shah & Dr. Alifiya Dedanwala

The name ‘Solanaceae’ is derived from word Solanum ‘the nightshade plant’.

The Solanaceae are economically significant flowering plants. They belong to the order Solanales in the Subclass Asterid, under the Dicotyledons. We are surrounded by this family in our day to day lives. Although some of them contain alkaloids which can be toxic but many others including tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers, chili and tobacco are widely used.

Solanaceae include a number of commonly collected and cultivated species. For eg. S.tuberosum commonly known as potato, S.lycopersicum (tomato), S.melongena (eggplant). We have another genus Capsicum produces both chilies and bell peppers. Nicotiana contains tobacco. Some of them possess psychoactive alkaloids such Stramonium (Datura), Mandragora, Belladona (deadly nightshade). They have been known for their psychotropic actions and are widely used to medicinal purposes.

The toxins released from the berries of these psychotropic plants can be intoxicating producing effects on the gastrointestinal system (diarrhoea, vomiting, pain) and neurological disorders (hallucinations and headache). In higher doses, these medicines can also be lethal. Thus, we can see how these plants have gained significance in the homeopathic pharmacopeia from the medicinal point of view.

Now let us understand the theme of ‘Solanaceae’ family from the ‘SENSATION’ point of view.

When we examine the Materia Medica for remedies such as:

  • Hyoscymus niger
  • Capsicum annum
  • Tabacum
  • Mandragora officinalis
  • Solanum nigrum

We 1st characteristic that we get is intense ‘Fear of Death’. This can be confirmed from the following:

  • Belladona
    1. Fear that death is near (Allen’s Encyclopedia)
    2. Dreams: danger, death of (Complete Repertory)
    3. Fear, general, alone of being, die, lest he (Complete Repertory)
  • Hyoscyamus niger
    1. Excessive fear of death (Allen’s Encyclopedia)
  • Solanum mammosum
    1. Dreams of death with violent weeping (Clarke)

The other prominent aspect is ‘Violent attacks’. On examining the repertory we get:

  • Mind; RAGE, fury; convulsive, spasmodic (5) : 2bell., 2canth., , 2stram., ars.
  • Mind; VIOLENCE, vehemence; general; deeds of, rage leading to (39) : , 2camph., 2hep., 2ign., 2iod., 2kola., 2nux-v., 2verat., agar., anac., ars., bar-c., bry., calc., canth., carc., chin., cic., cocc., con., croc., cupr., hyos., iodof., kali-ar., lach., lil-t., lyc., mosch., nat-c., nicc., nit-ac., phos., plat., stram., stront-c., tarent., tub., zinc.
  • Mind; RAGE, fury; shrieking, with (12) : 2anac., , 2verat., canth., corv-c., cupr., hyos., lach., plb., sec., sol-n., stram.
  • Mind; RAGE, fury; strength increased (3) : 3Bell., 2agar., hyos.
  • Mind; RAGE, fury; uncontrollable, can scarcely be restrained (4) : 2hyos., cere-s., germ., stram.

The third underlying characteristic is ‘Explosion, bursting & shooting’ nature of complaints

  • Atropinum purum
    1. Head feels as if it would burst (Allen).
  • Belladonna
    1. Sudden, explosive anger (Morrison).
  • Hyoscyamus niger
    1. Shooting pains from the eye into the nose and head (Hering).
    2. Shooting pains below the navel when walking (Hahnemann).

Last but not the least feature of the family is intense ‘Outbursts’ that manifests itself in different forms.

  • Tabacum
    1. The slightest word would cause an outburst of passion (Choudhuri).
  • Stramonium
    1. Sudden outbursts of anger and violence (Boed).
    2. Its fury is cyclonic and its outbursts volcanic (Fisher).
    3. It comes in an outburst, almost as a convulsion or neurological discharge (Morrison).

The main sensations exhibited by the Solanaceae family include.

  • Sudden
  • Violent
  • Splitting
  • Bursting
  • Explosive
  • Tearing
  • Pulsating
  • Spasmodic
  • Jerking
  • Constricting
  • Choking
  • Shooting
  • Sun strokes
  • Apoplexy
  • Violent terror
  • Pursued
  • Murder, killed
  • Snakes
  • Themes of black and white, light and dark

The below table gives an understanding of Active and Passive reactions exhibited by patients. Patient’s can exhibit both reactions in different stages of life. In order to confirm for the ‘Solanaceae’ sensation in the patient, the physician should be able to extract both the reactions.

ACTIVE REACTION PASSIVE REACTION
•      Senses acute•      Hurried

•      Shrieking

•      Startling in sleep

•      Spasms

•      Striking

•      Escape

•      Panic

•      Rage

•      Fight or flight reaction

•      Anaesthetic•      Stupefied

•      Lack of irritability

•      Sluggish

•      Cowardice

•      Faintness

•      Stupor

•      Unconsciousness

The pace of the disease and the patient determines the ‘Miasm’. Similarly different remedies classify under different miasms. Below is the list of remedies with its corresponding Miasms as given by Dr. Rajan Sankaran.

  • Acute: Belladona, Stramonium, Hyoscyaminum, Nicotinum
  • Typhoid: Hyoscyamus
  • Malaria: Capsicum
  • Ringworm: Dulcamara
  • Sycosis: Fabiana
  • Tubercular: Atropinum
  • Cancer: Tabacum
  • Leprous: Mandragora
  • Syphilis: Franciscea

To summarize, the sensation of Solanaceae family is sudden unexpected violence with splitting, bursting, explosive, spasmodic pains, it’s a matter of life and death, danger, black and white. It triggers the ‘fright and flight’ mechanism in the body. There is a state of intense fear and terror resulting in an adrenaline rush affecting the mind and body. These remedies work wonderfully for neurological complaints such as convulsions, anxiety, paralysis, depression, schizophrenia, high fevers, coma, delirium etc. To conclude, this family has a great contribution to the Homeopathic pharmacopeia and has given some astonishing results in practice.

References:

  • Wikepedia
  • Rajan Sankaran’s Schema
  • Rajan Sankaran’s Insight into Plants Volume 2
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