If you didn't know, the symptoms of a kidney stone are basically intense agony in the affected side and throwing up. Mine is in the right hand side and I drove myself to A&E, parking outside and chucking up in the shrubbery, then a second time in a bin before I got into reception. My sister in law went and parked my car and my wife booked me in. It was the shortest wait I've ever had in A&E but a middle aged man moaning in the corner and vomiting into those papier mache kidney bowls, disturbing the kids with saucepans stuck on their heads, I reckon they wanted to be shot of me forthwith.
A Google search came up with this site first, HPathy. The closest I could see to my symptoms from their lengthy and confusing list was berberis:
“Excellent remedy for renal calculi.” Pains shoot: radiate from a point . Cannot make the least motion: sits over to painful side for relief. Sharp, darting pains following ureter and extending down into legs. Pains run up into kidneys and down into bladder. Formation of little calculi like pin-heads in pelvis of Kidney, start to go down to bladder, with great suffering. “You will be astonished to know how quickly Berberis will relieve this particular colic.” “Anything that is spasmodic can be relieved instantly.’-Kent. Burning and soreness, lumbar, in region of kidneys. Cannot bear any jar : has to step down carefully. Urine dark, turbid, with copious sediment: slow to flow: but constantly urging. May be associated with biliary calculi.
But that doesn't really cover my symptoms. My pain was very localized although I couldn't really sit comfortably. A&E didn't give me any berberis.
So let's try another site. Medindia anyone? Here's what they say about berberis:
Berberis vulgaris-used in the treatment of patients who complain of sensation of some urine remaining after urination, or in those whose urine contains mucus with sediments. Also used in the treatment of bubbling sensation in kidneys, pain in loins and thighs during urination, marked soreness in lumbar region. With pain radiating to the groinBut that's not my symptoms either. In fact, those aren't the symptoms from the first site. What's going on?
To solve the problem of whether I should or shouldn't expect berberis to work for my kidney stone, let's go to another site altogether, Homeopathic Materia Medica, with a title that proclaims ancient knowledge in the Latin name. Here's what they say about the use of berberis:
Blimey. All that. Is there a pain that isn't included? If I were a homeopath, I'd just give out berberis all the time. It seems to do everything. Except I still can't find my symptoms.Rapid change of symptoms-pains change in regard to place and character-thirst alternates with thirstlessness, hunger, and loss of appetite, etc. Acts forcibly on the venous system, producing pelvic engorgements and hæmorrhoids.Hepatic, and rheumatic affections, particularly with urinary, hæmorrhoidal and menstrual complaints.Old gouty constitutions. Pain in region of kidneys is most marked; hence its use in renal and vesical troubles, gall-stones, and vesical catarrh. It causes inflammation of kidneys with hæmaturia. Pains may be felt all over body, emanating from small of back. It has also marked action on the liver, promoting the flow of bile. Often called for in arthritic affections with urinary disturbances. Wandering, radiating pains. Acts well in fleshy persons, good livers, but with little endurance. Spinal irritation. All Berberis pains radiate, are not worse by pressure, but worse in various attitudes, especially standing and active exercise.
Head.--Listless, apathetic, indifferent. Puffy sensation, feeling as if becoming larger. Vertigo with attacks of fainting. Frontal headache. Chilliness in back and occiput. Tearing pain in auricle, and gouty concretions. Sensation of a tight cap pressing upon the whole scalp.
Nose.--Dry; obstinate catarrh of left nostril. Crawling in nostrils.
Face.--Pale, sickly. Sunken cheeks and eyes, with bluish circles.
Mouth.--Sticky sensation. Diminished saliva. Sticky, frothy saliva, like cotton (Nux mosch). Tongue feels scalded, vesicles on tongue.
Stomach.--Nausea before breakfast. Heartburn.
Abdomen.--Stitches in region of gall-bladder; worse, pressure, extending to stomach. Catarrh of the gall-bladder with constipation and yellow complexion. Stitching pain in front of kidneys extending to liver, spleen, stomach, groins, Poupart's ligament. Sticking deep in ilium.
Stool.--Constant urging to stool. Diarrhœa painless, clay-colored, burning, and smarting in anus and perineum. Tearing around anus. Fistula in ano.
Urinary.--Burning pains. Sensation as if some urine remained after urinating. Urine with thick mucus and bright-red, mealy sediment. Bubbling, sore sensation in kidneys. Pain in bladder region. Pain in the thighs and loins on urinating. Frequent urination; urethra burns when not urinating.
Male.--Neuralgia of spermatic cord and testicles. Smarting, burning, stitching in testicles, in prepuce and scrotum.
Female.--Pinching constriction in mons veneris, vaginismus, contraction and tenderness of vagina. Burning and soreness in vagina. Desire diminished, cutting pain during coition. Menses scanty, gray mucus, with pain in kidneys and chilliness, pain down thighs. Leucorrhœa, grayish mucus, with painful urinary symptoms. Neuralgia of ovaries and vagina.
Respiratory.--Hoarseness; polypus of larynx. Tearing stitches in chest and region of heart.
Back.--Stitches in neck and back; worse, respiration. Sticking pain in region of kidneys radiating thence around abdomen, to hips and groins. Numb, bruised sensation. Stitches from kidneys into bladder. Tearing, sticking with stiffness, making rising difficult, involving hips, nates, limbs, with numbness. Lumbago (Rhus; Tart em). Metatarsus and metacarpus feel sprained. Post-operative pain in lumbar region; soreness with sharp pain following course of circumflex iliac nerve to bladder with frequent urination.
Extremities.--Rheumatic paralytic pain in shoulders, arms, hands and fingers, legs and feet. Neuralgia under finger-nails, with swelling of finger-joints. Sensation of cold on outside of thighs. Heels pain, as if ulcerated. Stitching between metatarsal bones as from a nail when standing. Pain in balls of feet on stepping. Intense weariness and lameness of legs after walking a short distance.
Skin.--Flat warts. Itching, burning and smarting; worse, scratching; better, cold applications. Small pustules over whole body. Eczema of anus and hands. Circumscribed pigmentation following eczematous inflammation.
Fever.--Cold sensation in various parts, as if spattered with cold water. Warmth in lower part of back, hips, and thighs.
Modalities.--Worse, motion, standing. It brings on, or increases, urinary complaints.
Relationship.--Compare: Ipomea-Convolvulus Duratinus-Morning Glory. --(Pain in left lumbar muscles on stooping. Kidney disorders with pain in back. Much abdominal flatulence. Aching in top of right shoulder renal colic; aching in small of back and extremities), Aloe; Lycopod; Nux; Sarsap. Xanthorrhea arborea (severe pain in kidneys, cystitis and gravel. Pain from ureter to bladder and testicles; pain in small of back returns from least chill or damp). Xanthoriza apifolia-Shrub Yellow Root--contains Berberine. Dilatation of stomach and intestines, atony, enlarged spleen.Antidotes: Camphor; Bell.
Dose.--Tincture, to sixth potency.
Now I know homeopaths will moan that you need to go to a trained homeopath to be properly assessed and given the individualized treatment that will ensure you and you alone get better as a result. But, everything I read says otherwise. That treatment X will do the job. Besides, it all seems unnecessarily complicated. For easier to understand advice, I went to Homeopathic Doctor where I find this for berberis:
If the stone is on the left side of the body ie left kidney or left ureter, Berberis Vulgaris is more than likely to remove the stone. There is sore bruised pain in the kidney region. There may also be numbness or stiffness in the kidney region, more so in the morning. A characteristic sensation is the bubbling sensation that is aggravated by stepping or any other movement. The pain extends from the back to the urinary bladder or the urethra. It is used both in potencies and mother tinctures.Hang on a second. It is good for the left kidney. What about mine, in the right? Never fear, help is at hand:
I have had great success in the treatment of right sided kidney stones with Lycopodium. Of course one needs to find other symptoms that match this great deep acting medicine. The characteristic symptom is the presence of red sand in the urine. There is intense pain in the back which gets better after urination. The urge to urinate is more during the night. Often the pain gets aggravated during the afternoon or in the evening.Except I have no red sand. Ever have the feeling that this is getting us nowhere?
Not surprising, really, since homeopathy does not and cannot work other than to "cure" diseases that cure themselves. Kidney stones have a means of escape and, surprise, surprise, anyone taking any medicine is highly likely to credit the treatment with causing the stone to be passed. Whether it actually passed as a result of the treatment is impossible to know, but science can answer the question of whether a treatment is effective. Homeopathy, with its collection of anecdotal evidence, has never demonstrated its effectiveness to a level that scientists will accept. The standards of science are much higher than those of homeopathy.
As for me, I am waiting to see if I need laser treatment to break up my stone. Presumably a homeopathic laser would use half a dozen photons and crossed fingers.