The theme for this month’s issue is ... no theme! My co-editor, Iain Marrs, and I offer a collection of valuable homeopathic nuggets from a variety of practitioners.
Lucy de Pieri has shared a little-known but important remedy, which she proved in 2007 as her graduation thesis at the Vancouver Homeopathic Academy. Her article ties into the very popular piece she wrote in the November 2011 issue of Interhomeopathy on the work being done by homeopaths in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.
Of her two cases in this issue, Katharina Riedener’s first case also has links to the DTES work just referred to. She tells the story of a man who overcame his addiction to pain medication through homeopathy. This is an example of homeopathic resourcefulness. Remedies made from either of the drugs Oxycontin or Oxycodone, drugs to which many thousands of people are now addicted, are not yet available in any of our homeopathic pharmacies. Katharina thought again, and came up with a remedy that served this patient well.
We then have two lovely pieces which show the beauty of a case presented literally in the words of a patient. Carrying on from the theme in February’s issue of Interhomeopathy, Jessica Jackson’s patient expresses the essence of another Imponderable.
Kate Thomas’s patient tells the story of a Sarcode, a similarly little-known and underused group within homeopathy.
To counter the charge that Interhomeopathy only talks about “unusual” remedies, Iain and I welcome the chance to showcase a new spin on a “polycrest”. Julek Meissner does just that in sharing the story of a child emerging from autism with the help of a remedy we would not normally associate with that condition.
Last, but not least, in her second case Katharina has given us a picture of a little-known but important plant remedy, largely drawing upon a Jan Scholten plant analysis.
Please take the time to savour this month’s Spring findings!
The world is a dangerous place, I need protection: a proving of Oplopanax horridus
by Lucy de Pieri
Oplopanax horridusis classified as follows:
Division Magnoliophyta Class Magnoliopsida Order Apiales Family Araliacea
Genus Oplopanax Species Oplopanax horridus
The Araliaceaeis a family of flowering plants that includes 254 species of trees, shrubs, lianas and perennial herbaceous plants.
Devil’s club is related to well-known medicinal plants, including the Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng C A Meyer), the American ginseng (P. quinquefolius L.), Eleuthero (Eletherococcus ginseng Maxim) formerly called Siberian ginseng, and Sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis L.), (Lantz et al, 2004). The entire proving of Devil’s club is available online (see below: De Pieri, 2007).
It is interesting to connect the chemical composition of Devil’s club with the symptoms from the proving, as also with the use of the plant by First Nations. The chemical analysis of Devil’s club (Kobaisy et al,1997, Moore 1993, Xu L. 2000) isolated certain compounds found to have significant anti-mycobacterial and anti-fungal activities. These compounds are most active against common bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coliand Candida albicans – all bacteria regarded as the cause of serious infections and currently becoming resistant to most of the known available antibiotics. Further, other compounds found in Devil’s club were active against Mycobacterium tuberculosisand Mycobacterium avium, both held to cause tuberculosis in immune-compromised hosts.
As master prover and collator of the proving, I did a literature search on Devil’s club. However, in order to avoid any bias, I did so only after writing up the symptoms of the provers and the Materia Medica. Hence it was fascinating to find evident in the proving particular symptoms typically associated with tuberculosis. Some of the relevant rubrics are:
CHEST – CONGESTION, lungs, mucus with
CHEST – OPPRESSION, respiration, difficult, with
CHEST – OPPRESSION, accompanied by stomach oppression
A number of rubrics concerned a dry and persistent cough – a cough that would eventually bring up yellow, gray, green mucus streaked with blood. The need to be in the open air was also found in the journal of several provers. The tickling cough was aggravated by dust, smoke and exertion.
Accordingly, it was fascinating to find that the First Nations (Pojar and MacKinnon, 1994) have been using Devil’s club, taken in the form of a tea, to treat tuberculosis (Lumni, Skagit, Dena’ina First Nations).
Looking elsewhere, I also found that naturopaths prescribe patients with borderline diabetes tinctures made from the Devil’s club plant. So, once again, it was fascinating to find that symptoms associated with diabetes were reported in the journal of provers:
Prover #7 on day 7 reported “Comparing to the amount of water I drink, I have frequent urination.”
Prover #2 on day 4 at 5:30 am: “I felt my energy was very heavy. Heaviness but it went away slowly. Groggy, heavy after breakfast I felt normal.”
Prover #5 on day 10 at 10am: “My energy feels drawn away from me.”
Prover #3 day 13 3:30 pm: “Before supper started I feel shakey, like my blood glucose was low. Having this feeling before and I checked my blood sugar and it was actually 13.4 – this was a couple of years ago. I had a few times of that feeling 3-5? years ago and have not had it for a couple of years, that I can recall... I used to get quite panicky with it, wondering what caused that, but was OK this time.”
(In the above, errors are not typing mistakes: making mistakes in writing is one the symptoms of this remedy.)
Further to this theme, a number of provers reported cravings for sweets between meals. There was a sense of weakness and loss of energy, feeling depleted and drained, together with vertigo or lightheadedness experienced before breakfast or a meal. The sensations were resolved with eating: these are all symptoms associated with diabetes.
Likewise, First Nations use the tea from the inner bark of the Devil’s club to heal diabetes.
Another aspect found in the proving of Devil’s club is its affinity for the joints, especially pain in the extremities and in the back. The pain rubrics in the back included burning, biting, stitching, stiffness, aching and soreness. The pain was better by heat, lying down, and motion. The pain was worse in the morning, going downhill, and going from sitting to standing.
The types of pain in the extremities included cramping, numbness, lameness, sore, sciatic pain, pulsating, intermittent, pulling, and pinching. Knees and hips, as well as the arch of the foot, were most affected.
There was also a swelling, with stiffness and sensitivity to pressure. These symptoms from the proving can be associated with rheumatism and arthritis – although, of course, for a homeopathic prescription the rest of the remedy picture would need to match. Once again it was fascinating to learn that First Nations used Devil’s club as a tea for rheumatism and arthritis (Nuxalk, Ditidaht, Coastal Sahish, Cowlitz, Sechelts, Squamish, Halq’emeylen: see review by Lantz et al, 2004).
There is a growing concern (Lantz et al, 2004) with respect to the harvesting of wild Devil’s club; it is harvested because of its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and also for its ability to help with diabetes.
When I first decided to do a proving of Devil’s club, I was puzzled by the need of this plant to put such effort into defending itself, with such stout thorns on the stems and even under the leaves. The thorns on the stem break easily and the tip of the thorn imbeds itself in the flesh, causing a localized infection. The area becomes red and swollen, with a dull pain; within a few days a green-gray tip appear, the area starts to throb and the pain increases. Eventually the pain resolve when the pus is discharged. This is notably similar to the typical picture of Staphylococcus aureus infection in the skin, to MRSA or to certain Superbug infections. Given that “like cures like,” a substance that can cause disease in a healthy volunteer can heal the same disease in a sick person. Devil’s club can cause a Super-bug-like infection: will it be able to address a Super-bug infection?
The plant defends itself, as is evident both from its form and from many of the provers’ experiences. However, the themes of protection and defense apply not only to the plant itself, and to its dynamic effects: the same themes can be observed in the past, in how the First Nations used this plant, as well as in the present, with respect to the survival of the plant species. With regard to this survival, although Devil’s club is still found from the Alaskan coast down to central Oregon, Montana and Idaho, and around Lake Superior in Michigan and Ontario, it has been placed on the USDA Threatened and Endangered species in Michigan State. It need hardly be said that naturopathic tinctures and pharmaceutical preparations require large amounts of the plant, whereas preparation of the homeopathic remedy uses only the smallest amount of the substance. Homeopaths, in this way, remain faithful to, and aligned with, the protection theme of Devil’s club.
With regard to past uses of the plant, First Nations practice was first to remove the thorns from what then becomes the handle, to cut a length above that and then use the thorn-covered stick as a weapon (hence the name). They also mixed the black charcoal gained from burning Devil’s club with bear fat and marked their faces with this mixture before a battle. The black marking scared their enemies, and so the markings again had a protective action – leaving aside what effects may permeate within through the warrior’s own skin. When handling the plant, I experienced a great sense of empowerment, extra confidence and an attitude that “I can do anything.” Such an attitude, of course, is a pretty useful gift for a warrior…
Strength, as with the themes of violence and of protection, was a central aspect of the proving. During the day there was a feeling of strength, confidence and knowing that you can do anything; at this same time there was a desire for company. Later on, this feeling was replaced by exhaustion, ennui, lack of energy, and depression, and there was a need for solitude. The lack of energy brought the need for stimulants; provers wanted to have beer and coffee, even if they would not usually have had desires for such drinks prior to the proving. The night was full of violent dreams and of dead bodies, murdering, drugs dealers, sickness, and of humans destroying the Earth. There were dreams of people, gathering around the world, seeking ways to survive on this planet with its present overcrowding. As noted, protection is a big part of this remedy - not only the plant protecting itself, but here also protecting the species, the First Nations, the health of people and the entire planet, all experienced in vivid dreams during the proving. There were also dreams of people gathering in celebration.
One picture that came into my mind was of veterans: after being in battle, on returning home, they can become depressed, isolated, and they often need stimulants. Of the veterans that I know, their dreams are so horrific that they will usually refuse to talk about them. Once again, if the remedy picture matches, Devil’s club may be of use for people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorders.
A brief case
A First Nation woman, of 53 years old, banged her leg on a corner and the skin of her left leg split open, ulcerating to about the size of a business card. The ulcer was deep and, over a period of 4 years, she had two skin grafts that got infected with MRSA; the first time the infection cleared with antibiotics. The ulcer was roughly 13 cm by 6 cm; it was deep. Devil’s club was given because she said, “If I was with my people, they would give me tea made from Devil’s club and Alder.”
Hence, Devil’s club 30c was prescribed in a liquid form, 3 pellets dissolved in her water bottle and sipped during the day. She was on several medications as well as methadone; she was “on a puffer,” as she had breathing problems. She had a cough with greenish-gray mucus and had problems walking, especially going upstairs. After Devil’s club, the ulcer started to drain a light brown liquid with a bad smell. The ulcer was healing and, over time, its size changed and it became less deep. The ulcer was also washed with distilled water containing 3 pellets of Devil’s club. Although we started with the 30c in water, we later moved to 200c and then to a 6c over a period of several months. (We find that for many clients living in the Downtown East Side of Vancouver, remedies get “burned through” very fast.)
Despite it being clear that the ulcer was healing, at one point she was put on antibiotics; the draining and the healing slowed down. She had surgery on that leg and her leg got infected again; the other leg also developed a hole, with burning pains. Over time, the drainage returned and her leg healed. After two grafts and the antibiotics, even the nurse agreed that it was the homeopathic Devil’s club that had turned the case around.
The last time we saw her she was running downstairs, because a taxi was waiting for her. She has since moved in with her family and is raising kids, just like her grandmother did.
De Pieri L, (2007) A homeopathic proving of Oplopanax horridus, Devil’s club. http://homeopathyvancouver.com/wp-content/uploads/files/ophopanax.pdf
Kobaisy M, Abramowski Z., Lermer L., Saxena G., Hancock R E W, Towers G H N (1997)
Antimycobacterial polyenes of Devil’s club (Oplopanax horridus) a North American native medicinal plant. J. Nat. Prod. 1997; 60:1210-1213
Lantz T.C., Swerhun K., Turner N.J. (2004) Devil’s Club (Oplopanax horridus): An Ethnobotanical Review. HerbalGram, 2004; 62: 33.48. The Journal of the American Botanical Council.
Moore M. (1993) Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West. Santa Fe (NM); Red Crane Books
Pojar Jim and MacKinnon Andy (1994) Plants of coastal British Columbia, Lone Pine Xu L., Wu X.H., Zheng G.R., Cai J.C. (2000) First total synthesis of optical active oplopandiol acetate, a potent antimycobacterial polyene isolated from Oplopanax horridus Chinese Chemical Letters, 2000;11:213-216
Admitted to hospital Oct. 09, 2009 with severe abdominal cramps; a 3 foot length of his small intestine had died off due to a congested vein, and was removed.
Colostomy until April 2010; total parenteral nutrition.
Removal of gallstones, June 2010 (side effect of TPN); gall bladder is fine.
Between January and March, 2010, 2 bouts of septicemia and hematoma on upper thighs, which required hospitalization.
Current medications are Warfarin, Pepsin and Acidopholus to aid digestion.
Since release from hospital after partial intestine removal, the patient has used a Fentanyl patch.
(Fentanyl is approximately 100 times more potent than Morphine; 100 micrograms of fentanyl are approximately equivalent to 10mg of morphine and 75mg of Pethidine (meperidine) in analgesic activity.) His current dosage is 12 mcg/h, the lowest dose available.
“One patch is supposed to last 72 hours, but after 48 hours I have severe withdrawal symptoms and need another patch. Even though I use it after 48 hours it means a sleepless night in agony.”
Patient describes himself as being an introverted, hard-working person. He has been healthy all of his life, and is happily married and has 2 sons.
“I never tried drugs in my life! No reason for the blood clot could be found. I felt healthy until shortly before, then I had some abdominal complaints, ‘flu-like. I haven’t had any pain since June 2010 and I only use the patch because I am addicted to it; I have tried to get off the patch. I was given large amounts of Oxycondone for when the withdrawal symptoms come, but they don’t really work. They continue to prescribe the Fentanyl patch because of my addiction; once I lost a patch at lunch time and at night I couldn’t handle it anymore; I went to hospital and they gave me a Morphine injection.”
“I cannot relax; my lower legs are constantly moving, trembling. I feel like I want to throw my arms around; I’m extremely restless, cannot concentrate on reading or anything.
I take everything very personally and I become obsessed with things that normally don’t bother me. I say things that I regret minutes later, I’m very impulsive, up and down all the time.
I cannot let go of the simplest things, and I worry about everything for hours, even if it is the most common task. I feel like I am in a constant defensive attack. It is impossible to sleep; if I do sleep it is very restless, with terrible dreams. Everything is dirty and disgusting, dog shit is everywhere and I step into it. I am not actually active in the dream: it is the surroundings that are very disgusting; I had these dreams when I was on high doses of morphine in the hospital.
I have memory gaps; sometimes for days I don’t remember what I did. The day I lost the patch I had hallucinations of a road worker with a shovel; he was in front of the car.
My eyes are very sore when I’m on withdrawal; it’s strange sensation, almost like a headache. Temperature fluctuations: I feel hot and cold with shivering and perspiration when hot.
I can manage a day at work, then I am done - I cannot do anything else.
My bowels work normally. I am sensitive to onions, garlic and cabbage now, which I never was before.
I snore extremely since using the patch.”
Neither Fentanil nor Oxycondone are available as homeopathic remedies. The closest homeopathic remedy available is Morphinum. The patient feels like a drug addict; the effect of the drugs and the addiction are what need to be treated in this case. I looked at this as an acute situation rather than trying to find a constitutional remedy.
Feb.8, 2011: Morphinum LM 5, 4 drops daily, 10 succussed. Repeat 2 -3 times if withdrawal symptoms kick in.
Feb. 15, 2011 (after 1 week): I still have about 75 % of the withdrawal symptoms. I’m sleeping a bit better and now go to sleep about midnight; previously it was 3 a.m.
My moods are not quite as aggressive.
Eye pressure is gone.
More tired in general.
Still using the patch every second day.
Morphinum LM 5, 6 drops 15 succussions on regular days; 8 drops 15 succussions on withdrawal days.
Feb. 24, 2011: Still problems with sleeping when the patch is changing, though not as extreme as before. I manage to stay in bed, and the restlessness doesn’t drive me up the walls anymore.
Moods are the same, but I do feel better inside; I don’t have such obsessive thoughts anymore. I feel very positive; there has been a definite change in two weeks.
No more temperature fluctuations.
Eyes are fine.
LM 5 10/12 drops 15 succ.
March 15, 2011: Less withdrawal symptoms, sleeping much more now. Restless legs are much better.
I had my last patch 5 days ago, Oxycontin 20 mg., every 12 hours instead.
Patient decided to cut the pills in half and take them only every 24 hours. After 3 days the withdrawal symptoms (restless legs only) started to come back; he took 12 drops of the remedy and had no problems after that, then took nothing again for 24 hours.
“I am very happy and excited about this progress; it has been absolutely amazing for me. I am in the best shape I’ve been in since a long time.”
LM 5 10/12 drops 20 succ.
March 24, 2011: GP prescribed Oxycontin 10 mg, which the patient cuts in half and them twice daily.
Still progressing well, sleeping well. “I am really happy to have a life again; after work I enjoy my relaxing time. I’m feeling better overall, less tired. Moods are better, nicer again, and my family says there is huge improvement. I still have a few obsessive thoughts, but much less, and no more weird dreams.”
LM 8, 5 drops, 10 succ.
April 12, 2011: Oxyc. 5 mg now, cut in half, twice a day.
Morphinum LM 8, 8 drops, 15 succ.
April 28, 2011: A couple of days of withdrawal symptoms after switching to 5 mg, but now back to feeling good.
May 12, 2011: Oxyc. 2.5 mg, 2 x a day
Morphinum LM 9, 5 drops 10 succ.
June 15, 2011: Some withdrawals symptoms after cutting Oxyc. in half
Morphinum LM 9, 8 drops, 10 succ.
Feeling good overall, energy levels about 70 % from before surgery.
July 8, 2011: Hospitalized with kidney colic from kidney stones.
Unfortunately the patient did not get in touch with me.
“They gave me pain killers which didn’t work so they put me on morphine for 3 days! I was home after 4 days but still had severe pains and needed more morphine.”
Patient is discouraged due to the return of withdrawal symptoms and went back to Oxycontin 5 mg twice daily.
Morphinum LM 9, 8 drops 10 succ. twice daily.
11 Aug. 2011: “I haven’t been able to reduce Oxycontin; I’m still sleeping well but the bad moods and some restlessness have come back.
Morphinum LM 9, 10 drops, 15 succ.
Oct.11, 2011: 2 bouts of kidney stones and gall stones, as well as bladder infection and prostate infection. Anti-biotic treatment and morphine in the hospital, 5 mg daily.
Oct. 18, 2011: Pain in kidney and bladder are almost all gone. Patient discontinues Warfarin, and takes Berberis 6 CH daily.
Nov. 8, 2011: No more kidney/bladder problems. Oxycontin 5 mg a day
Morph. LM 10, 10 drops, 10 succ.
Dec. 13, 2011: Feeling quite well. Will try to reduce Oxycontin again.
Morphinum LM 11, 5 drops 10 succ.
Feb. 14, 2012: As of Jan.19, 2012, patient stopped taking the Oxycontin, and continued the Morphinum LM 11 for another 7 days and then stopped that too. “I’ve had a couple of nights where I felt funny but then I was fine. Occasionally I have a few seconds where I feel like I am on withdrawal but it passes quickly.” No more kidney or bladder problems.
Feeling very good emotionally, as well as physically; still gets tired sometimes. Food sensitivities are much better too.
Plan: Wait and look at for constitutional remedy in about 2 months.
April 4, 2012: Patient continues to feel well; energy levels have increased even more.
During a visit to his family doctor the patient reports having discontinued his Warfarin treatment, feeling that it has contributed to his kidney stones. The GP denied the possibility of such a connection, so the patient did a trial for himself: on repeating the Warfarin for a few days the kidney symptoms returned, and he decided to stop the Warfarin.
Prescription: Berberis 200 CH
At this point it appears that Berberis is a good remedy for my patient and we will continue with a monthly dose of 1M.
Kidney and bladder symptoms
Responsible family-oriented individuals
Hardworking, responsible (Iron series)
Feeling of danger and of problems coming at them from all sides - which can make them feel restless and on the edge
Del. Night, terrifying
Del. Dirty, he is
Restlessness, nervousness general
Katharina Riedener practices in Osoyoos, B.C. (Canada) and can be found at www.homeokat.com
Anger is big for me, and depression. My number one physical complaint is achiness between my hips. It’s heavy. It brings me down. I can’t handle being touched there. It’s like this (makes a fist). That area feels angry, big, hard and heavy.
I hate it when people say, “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” I gravitate toward stories of other people’s misery. It makes me feel better knowing things could be worse.
I lost my best friend to cancer. We were close, we had plans in life. We’d be roommates in heaven. We were serious teenagers. I begged her parents to adopt me. I had an abortion 2 weeks after she died. It was too much. We were outsiders; excluded from those who never got in trouble for doing things we got shit for. Favoured people don’t have to abide by rules.
My sister is favoured. I hated being compared. We have different mothers. It wasn’t okay if I was better at something. I wasn’t good enough.
I felt excluded and angry! I kept a grudge. I wouldn’t tell friends she existed. I wiped her out of my life. Blood is thicker than water, people say. That’s crap.
My best friend and I didn’t fit in. She made me feel I wasn’t the only one. She walked out. I hated her for that. I was jealous. Both my sisters are better looking than me. I’m the odd one out. I don’t look like I belong.
I never belonged anywhere, being of mixed race. I didn’t know anyone who was like me. I didn’t belong and wasn’t supposed to be here. I shouldn’t have been born. If my evil stepmother had her way we wouldn’t be here.
I hold anger in. If I let it out, I’ll kill somebody. I feel like causing pain. I’m not a violent person but I feel like committing violent acts. I wish I could kill God. Being creative used to curb my destructive tendencies, to create instead of destroy. Everything is designed to make my life hard, to keep me down.
Anger festers in me. I hate being cheated or penalized. I feel I could explode. Every part of my body is filled with anger.
Explode is like a bomb, exploding into tiny pieces and I won’t be here anymore. I can’t contain anger. It’s bigger and stronger than me. I’d end up in little pieces if it got the better of me. I wouldn’t be strong enough to prevent it. I don’t really want to hurt someone but if I had a gun I’d go on a killing spree, or wrap myself in explosives and do away with myself. I want to destroy my body. I’m angry with God, the world and everybody. I just want to destroy it all! I want to do something as bad as the creation of the world is good. I want to do something that big, anger as big as the universe.
I’d have to be God-like or Satan-like. I wish I had the power of Satan to destroy the world. He’s more powerful than God. Satan is the opposite of good. Anger is Satan’s domain. You can’t have the good without the bad to judge it against. I feel like destroying everything good and bad.
The world would cease to be. It would be a black nothingness like what we started with. Nothing would exist but a black mist floating around, the universe gone, with no substance or possibility of life emerging again, not quite nothingness but the death of everything.
I see a black mist, evidence of life that is gone forever and could never come back.
When I’m really angry I hate God. I want to destroy everything he did, to get revenge on God.
As a child I was obsessed that I would go to hell.
People talking about bones or anything internal makes me ill. A breast exam makes me barf and pass out.
I like things to be clean and tidy, so I can think.
Dreams: flying in the clouds, of birds, things that fly, fairies, a flying woman.
Fears: spiders, being home alone, of robbers breaking in and killing me.
My parents were cut off from their parents for having me. I was an unwelcomed baby. If my parents behaved, I wouldn’t be here.
Analysis: Unwelcomed, not belonging, hatred, destruction, angry with God.
Prescription: Positronium 200C
MIND - DELUSIONS, God – God’s works are ill-made and ill-done
MIND - DISGUST - grossness of physical things; at the
MIND - RAGE, fury
DREAMS - FLYING
DREAMS - FORSAKEN - everyone, by
MIND - FASTIDIOUS
Proving: “I’m wholly evil and I don’t care. Feeling evil and malevolent. Feel as if it would be a pleasure to hurt people and things. Feel I’ve got the devil inside me. I had felt a sense of malevolence and evil, as an entity or a devil inside. I felt hatred and resentment to all who are close to me, in fact to the whole world. Nothing was pure, bright and clean any more - all tarnished, decayed and impure. I hated the whole of mankind, all God’s works were ill-made and ill-done…”
Destruction and Oblivion.
Follow-up: 11 September 2010
The ache is better. I’m less angry, no urges to kill, but way more depressed.
My mother talked to herself, saying stuff I shouldn’t have heard. Talking to her was as if I hadn’t spoken. It was like being invisible. She’d get insanely mad at me, regularly, excessively. She’s evil when she’s mad, totally frightening. She looks at me like she hates me.
I haven’t been as angry. I still think God is the devil and likes to fuck with people but I’m less concerned about it.
I wanted to walk away from my family. Wanting to and not wanting to; it feels like a life sentence, like punishment.
I see everything negatively. With my kids, it’s like being torn; one gets upset if I’m conversing with the other. I can’t be what they both need me to be. It’s like being divided. Divided means not whole. I’ve always been divided. Am I my Dad’s daughter? Am I my Mom’s daughter? Going back and forth, with different expectations at each house. Things I could say in one family were the wrong things to say in the other. It made me feel not good enough.
My breasts are no longer sore before my period.
My body knows when I’m around people who were kinky with me. It feels like I could faint. Things get darker. I avoid my family.
Analysis: Depression, negativity, torn and divided.
Positronium proving: Drained by [family], pulling at me, trying to divide me. Torn apart, two opposing people, feeling guilty and in the wrong.
Prescription: Positronium 1M
Follow-up: 15 December 2010
I started working. My moods are better.
The back pain is better. I’m calmer. The depression is gone. I’m happy, with happy thoughts and things to look forward to.
Follow-up: 12 February 2011
I had the best visit ever with my mother-in-law. I feel I belong somewhere. I dream of my grandmother’s house, the closest thing to home. It was stable.
I dreamt of my first friend. He’d draw demons and devils, scary Satan. For a kid to have that in him! Now he’s quiet, and gentle, and he heals people. He made a choice for what is good. I know he feels bad about the kinky stuff he did with me. I don’t see how it could have been different. We were under the influence of our parents sleeping together.
ANALYSIS: Continued improvement.
Follow-up: 20 August 2011
I’m angry, with people, not God. I want to explode.
I’m not as important as my sister is.
My stepmother is evil.
Had a spat with a co-worker. I hate that bitch!
Prescription: Repeat Positronium 1M
Follow-up: 8 December 2011
Overall better, more peaceful, calm. The biggest difference is the constant ache in the pelvic area is much less. I’m cluttered there. After the remedy it’s always much better.
The body remembers and keeps things in, if you ignore them. It’s all locked in there. It isn’t me, but it’s in me, a retained essence of bad things. There’s no positive spin on it. The clutter is there because I haven’t dealt with it.
I’ve had an easier time with touch, more enjoyment.
I like crows. They’ve been around a long time.
Analysis: Continued improvement.
Dreams of birds: positronium.
Jessica Jackson lives and practices homeopathy in Edmonton, Alberta. Website: www. edmontonhomeopathy.ca
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Illustration for John's Milton "Lost Paradise" by Gustave Doré, 1866
I bring everything inside me, hold on to it and slowly it dissolves in my system
by Kate Thomas
What is striking in this case is the sheer clarity of expression of the patient’s vital force as it ‘shouted’ at me what was required in order to bring about healing. This led me to prescribe a remedy I was not previously aware of, which has no proving.
A 32 year old male, of medium build, presents with intestinal bloating and stomach acidity. He is casually dressed but very eloquent and expressive. He is very artistic and works in interior design and the theatre. There is a calm air about him but at the same time a startling intensity in his striking blue eyes.
Initial consultation January 29th 2010
(The case is presented solely in the patient’s words.)
I swell up and de-swell. When I get anxious, oooop! (hand gesture, HG) in my intestines. When I wake up, it is ok, but once I start to think about things, I bloat up. Even though I might look calm, I bring everything inside me,hold on to it, and slowly it dissolves in my system. In my work, the theatre, there is a lot of anxiety and you must show calm on the outside. All this swells me up.
In my relationship, when A. starts to get out of hand, I swallow it (HG). Slowly it ferments inside (HG) then it goes away. I don’t want it to come out and upset someone. Itis a process that I have learned, like sucking in air to live... It is not a solution, it is a process. I prefer to take it inside and mill it (HG), rather than to eat it. I can be calmer and operate better if I swallow the outbursts of the other person, because if there are two outbursts, that cannot happen.
When something bad happens, I won’t say anything outwardly. I take it in, I work on it, try to solve the problem, go ahead and see how will I process that inside me to find a solution. I don’t like to see that there are problems. I like everything to be well. I hate misery; I want everything to be ok. I can’t understand these outbursts. A. has lots of these outbursts. Sometimes I come outside of myself and watch it all and don’t make a lot of comments. I play arole. I see the whole thing more spherical.
All that which I swallow, somehow I filter it all (HG) and then I forget... You enfeeble it (HG). This way, you separate it. That which you swallow is a recipe of ingredients, and you say, 'Ah, here is the salt, here is the pepper,’ you break the problem up.
This (HG) is upside down, things mixed up (laughs), that which is mixed up, you break it (HG). You take hold of it and break it so that it can leave... It is like you break the nucleus of it, separate it into pieces.
It is like the camels when they eat; they store the food and regurgitate it and re-chew it and think about it, maybe. If its mechanism has not worked properly and it has not broken it up it comes again and it has to rethink about it.
If we imagine a ball like the earth, you swallow this thing and you pressurise it; it is on fire, suddenly it goes bap! (HG) and the pieces are gone and only the clean stuff is left. And because it has been in the fire there is heartburn (laughing).
I have a ball here (points to stomach area); I have swallowed it, and it turns and turns (HG), like an explosion could happen. And this thing could happen on its own, if it is not something big, or I must return back to this matter to deal with it. Because I don’t keep things inside, I move ahead. It is not that I forget, but whatever happens I move ahead. Moving ahead. You can’t keep things inside.
It makes you turn things over. It sits here (HG), going to and fro together with your mind, like equations going around, like it is looking, looking, looking for the code to break it up, to find the solution, going around and around... As it turns, it is like chemistry, like chemical symbols going round and round until it breaks - then, bam! (HG), clear light. Halleluiah! Inspiration, a lightening, relief, calmness, purification. Halleluiah is a cosmic bam, ahhhhh! It’s that ‘now I understand’ moment. Something flowing inside you, all is clear and clean and everything is functioning smoothly. You are whole and in a magical world.
Flow is a very important word. When there is flow in life, something is moving along, everything is normal, but when this flow stops then there is a problem. When the flow stops, it is not nice. Yup! Things get dark, like when you put the brakes on suddenly.
I could throw up, as this system is not working yet. It has not calmed down; it has notbroken up...That which turns inside me - that ball, round and round again and again, all the time - it turns, turns with so much strength, that all the equationsover it doesn’t have the time, they cannot unlock it, it doesn’t let them. It doesn’t know from where to catch it, to solve it, this thing, so it turns and turns... Maybe it has to do with alchemy. Spherical... Things turning... It is confused inside me.
How would someone close to you describe you?
A pleasant person. They trust me and feel that I am part of their family. I make people laugh, give solutions to others. I give a lot to others, and I need to look after myself more. I find it difficult to give limits to myself. I need to look more towards myself. I care more for others.
Tell me about the theatre...
It comes out of me spontaneously, without thought; that is beautiful. There is no time, no limits. I turn things over in my mind and put them out, creating. I am in another world and there is flow, flow of thoughts.
It was clear to me that I needed to throw out any preconceived idea about a remedy and simply search for a substance in nature which mirrored the patient’s superb description of his state and that the patient was referring to the digestive process in every area of the case taking.
As I understand from Sankaran’s teachings, a person requires a sarcode when their whole being responds as if it were one part or tissue. This certainly seemed to be the case here. I searched the sarcodes involved in the digestive process and came across secretin.
Secretin is a hormone formed in the cells of the duodenum which passes into the blood rather than along the alimentary canal. It activates the intestinal pancreatic secretions, stimulates peristalsis and is an essential link in the digestive feedback system. Through its action in assisting intestinal peristalsis it assists in overcoming constipation and relieving intestinal stasis, fermentation and putrefaction.
Prescription: Secretin 1M, single dose.
Follow up (3rd May 2010)
There was an immediate and steady improvement of bloating and acidity over the first two weeks following the remedy, and then a total absence of physical symptoms for nearly 3 months. “I have felt well and calm throughout. I digest things more easily; it is all starting to function.”
A partial relapse in the previous two weeks, with slight bloating, had led to a repeat prescription of Secretin. As he said then, “I do feel it has blocked somewhat recently.”
Following this, the patient remained well for many months. Unfortunately, after that period of time, I lost contact with him.
Note: I recently attended a seminar with Geoff Johnson on the sarcodes and I see that this case fits in very well with Geoff’s concepts of that remedy group. He proposes that the sarcode theme is of having a use, a function, a job which must be done perfectly and with control in order to keep balance within a delicate system. In the above case, we see that the patient’s function is to swallow, grind and filter his anxieties, and this must be done well in order to have good flow.
Kate Thomas practices homeopathy in West Wales and on Skype, having returned home after living in Greece for many years.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Greer Spring stream; Jeff Brown
Keywords: anxiety, digestive process, bloating, acidity, swallow, break up, grind, filter, ferment, flowing
Clinging and letting go: a case of autism spectrum disorder
by Julek Meissner
This is the case of Johnny (not his real name), a three-year-old boy recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He has been my patient since he was two months old, but I’ve only seen him once in person as he lives a long distance from my practice. Otherwise, all interviews with his mother have been conducted by phone.
Born seven weeks premature, Johnny was hospitalized for three weeks, of which the first week was in intensive care. Shortly after leaving hospital, he returned for another 4 weeks after contracting a respiratory infection. He needed to be sedated with morphine as he was intubated and on an oscillating ventilator with nitrous oxide used to help expand his alveoli and facilitate gas exchange. During his coughing episodes he would at times stop breathing, his lips turning blue.
Due to the sedation he developed severe constipation, going as many as 7 days without a bowel motion unless a suppository was used. His belly distended, and he cried if it was touched even gently. His pale face would turn beet red when straining for BMs, and he would bend over double. He also developed severe acne all over his head and face. He was bottle-fed his mother’s milk, had no problems with nursing, and his weight gain was normal.
Opium 30c/d did not help with his constipation, although the acne improved. Opium 200c/d did help temporarily; he didn’t need a suppository for 9 days, but then the constipation resumed and he was back on suppositories. He would become irritable from the painful bloating, which would improve once he’d had a BM. Nux vomica was prescribed, which relieved the constipation, but then he started having colds and croupy coughs, which recurred frequently and required epinephrine masks and oral steroids. When he began teething, the pain was relieved by Chamomilla, yet this did not help him with the recurring colds.
Overall, Johnny maintained good spirits throughout these health crises, though he seemed happier when he was held. His colds typically manifested themselves in a croupy, dry, non-productive cough. Falling asleep was also a problem. He wanted to be walked and rocked, and cried when put down.
Pulsatilla , Aconite, Silica, Calcarea carbonica, Calcarea phosphorica, Phosphorus, Ipecac, Coccus cacti, and Tuberculinum all offered some relief over the next few years, but the respiratory crises kept coming back, often landing him in the emergency room. Recurring ear infections led to tubes being placed in his ears.
At the age of 18 months, his behaviour and social skills became a concern. Until this time, his development had seemed normal, but then he stopped talking and began behaving strangely, as if in his own world. He would play with one object for hours, and stopped interacting with anyone other than his mother. Affection was only with her, and only she received any eye contact. He cried if anyone else touched him, even his father - pushing him away, wriggling and screaming.
His parents’ biggest fear was confirmed in January 2012, when he was diagnosed with Autism. At the same time, another cold developed, and he was also diagnosed with systemic Candida. Another visit to the emergency room seemed imminent.
As I re-evaluated, I realized that Johnny’s clinginess stood out as unusual. Autism is typically associated with an absence of physical and social contact with anyone. In Johnny’s case there was an excess of contact, albeit with just one person. This, coupled with his screaming when being put down to sleep, and his fear of heights, helped me to perceive a pattern. In my analysis, I added his traumatic birth history, along with the new diagnosis of Candida. On repertorization, the following rubrics were chosen:
GENERALS - HISTORY; personal - birth trauma; of
GENERALS - CHILDREN; complaints in - nurslings
MIND - CLINGING - children; in - mother; child clings to the - frightened; as if
GENERALS - CYANOSIS - children; in - birth; from
GENERALS - DEVELOPMENT - arrested
MIND - FEAR - downward motion, of
MIND - TALKING - slow learning to talk
GENERALS - COLD; TAKING A - tendency
MOUTH - THRUSH
Prescription: Borax 200c/d for 3 days
Johnny’s cough improved within a few days of the prescription. He became even clingier in the first few weeks, but then slowly improved with time. His parents noticed his increased playfulness, and that he no longer feared being put on the counter to get his shoes tied. Going to nursery school became easier, leaving his mother without looking back. He became more interactive with teachers and with other children at the school.
He began going to bed without a fuss, and sleeping through the night. He let his father hug him on occasion, and became very affectionate with his brother, initiating hugs and being more playful.
Then in March, a month after the remedy was prescribed, he relapsed when his mother gave birth to a baby brother. He suddenly stopped sleeping through the night, started climbing out of his bed and screaming when being put back in, and refusing to fall asleep if not allowed to sleep in his parents’ bed. He would hold onto his mother even after falling asleep, waking if she attempted to extricate herself.
Borax in the 1M potency was prescribed, but with minimal effect. The family’s sleep continued to suffer. He then developed another severe cough.
Here I decided that the solution might lie in the choice of potency, and prescribed Borax in LM 3, three times/day. So far, the results have been outstanding:
his cough improved within 24 hours;he started sleeping up to 10 hours a day and taking 2-hour naps;he became happier both at home and at school;his clinginess lessened;his ability to focus improved;he began hugging and playing with other children;he developed greater eye contact;he began communicating more, with gestures and even with words;he began allowing his father to approach and lift him.
This case is a work in progress, but the preliminary results look promising. Noteworthy is the fact that Borax has also proved useful for other members of Johnny’s family. My hope is that with time his neurological and spiritual systems can integrate and mature more gracefully, promoting a healthier and happier future.
Julek Meissner practices in Ottawa, Canada, at Full Circle Healing.
Photos: Wikimedia Commons
Clinging to the cliffs; Kate Jewell
Tabby cat clinging to a tree; Hisashi
Keywords: birth trauma, Autism Spectrum Disorder, systemic Candida, colds and croupy coughs, ear infections, clinging
Remedies: Borax veneta, Nux vomica, Opium
A case of Pulmonaria officinalis
by Katharina Riedener
First Visit (30 March 2010)
Peter was born in October 1998. His mother describes him as a boy with a wicked sense of humour. He is the family clown yet shrinks in school; his teacher reports that Peter is well-liked and quiet.
Presenting complaint:For about 4 years now he has coughed on and off and with varying intensity.
Family background: Both of the parents were born and raised in a religious community with very fundamental beliefs. The family lived in the community until about 10 years ago when they left and started a life on their own. It was a very difficult process for them; they had a lot of financial problems and were nearly starving.
Mother: I didn’t like being pregnant, mostly I resented it; I felt trapped. I did not want the religious background (Old Apostolic Lutheran Church). Women are treated as breeding machines. There was always very harsh judgement: women can’t have curly hair, no TV. I was still involved in the Church when I was pregnant. I know it wasn’t great for my babies, but I do feel that my children are loved ones. The feelings would always change after birth, but I would still feel trapped. I felt overwhelmed when caring for a baby, no support, not even from my spouse. I was too tired to even know how cute my babies were. (The mother has responded well to Falco peregrinus.)
The father as described by the mother: He’s mostly a happy person but he can also be a complete grump. He is silly, and rule oriented with the kids, yet does not follow through with the enforcement when he places a rule. Has flimsy boundaries, comes on strong and “Big Man” without warning and then a couple of days later forgets about it. He does not do well with moderation. He still attends the previous church on Sundays; he says he doesn’t know what else to do on Sundays and he wants to do something spiritual. He wants the children to attend as well, which is not always what they would like to do.
Peter has 2 older siblings and 1 younger. He was not vaccinated because of the religion. He was breastfed and was growing very well; a chubby healthy baby.
Mother: Peter was a healthy toddler, good eater and everything – everything went fine. He was in a great mood for most of the time, and then his younger brother was born, when he was about four years old. Peter’s spirit really went downhill when his younger brother was born; he started to get grumpy and cross, he didn’t smile anymore. (She says that she thinks it was a mixture of not getting enough attention and some jealousy of not being the baby anymore.)
Mother: He started to develop asthma at night; he just used a nose spray that helped him breathe easier through the nose. He felt nervous about this appointment. His cough peaks during ‘flu and cold season. When he catches a bug, it goes straight to his chest, and he instantly start coughing and will not go to sleep at night. He has a regular cough now; it doesn’t really change or become stronger anymore, though it is more persistent. Sometimes at night he will wake himself up coughing, even when he is not sick. He is allergic to cats but likes them.
Peter, tell me about your breathing difficulties?
Peter: After I have been running for quite a while, I have to get more air and it kind of hurts in my chest, sometimes I have to slow down. When I am sitting I start coughing, occasionally I have mucus, a little bit of yellow stuff comes up. Most of the time my breathing rattles, but not much is coming up. It is annoying, restrictive; sometimes I can’t go outside especially when there is smoke outside (fires, wildfires).
(Peter is not very talkative and mainly answers questions with yes or no, or by looking at his mother. He tells me that he likes books - real stories, not so much fantasy. He can’t remember any of his dreams.)
Peter: The dark, I share a room with my brother. Big trucks when I am walking or biking.
Mother: After the move he had a bit of a hard time to meet new friends. He really misses his grandmother and her passing was quite hard on him. Rarely do we see him cry, though.
(Peter’s colour choices: his favourite was white, next favourites black and C 8.)
I felt that this boy needed a plant remedy. It seemed that there was a wound from the time his brother was born. Looking at the different families led me to the Boraginaceae (Jan Scholten, Seminar 2008).
Jan Scholten describes this plant family as suited for people who feel they are not seen at all. There is the feeling that there is no space for them, they are just part of the group and they have to adapt. Not having their place, they don’t know where they are. Coming from a big family where the parents have little time for the individual child. (Compare the religious community.)
The father is often domineering.
The whole plant family has an affinity to asthma, wheezing, bronchitis.
Jan also mentioned that the plant family has a lot of Silica aspects.
In Peter’s case, his place in the family changed after his younger brother was born. He lost his place of being the youngest and the baby of the family and ‘his spirit went downhill,’ as the mother describes it. His mother said she was too tired to see how cute her babies were.
Looking at the bigger picture, there is the fact of having lived in a religious community where everybody was a part and had to participate, but didn’t get individual attention. Although they had moved out of this community the overall sense of that lifestyle was still with them, as they didn’t know any different way of life. Also, they really struggled financially and were nearly starving at the beginning of their “life outside the community”.
There is not a lot of Materia Medica for Pulmonaria officinalis, commonly called Lungwort. Murphy lists the following symptoms: ‘HOMEOPATHIC - Pul-o. is used in the treatment of bronchitis, coughs and diarrhea. Bronchial catarrhs, colds. In the past, lungwort was given for the coughing up of blood arising from tubercular infection.’
It is also used as a herbal remedy for similar lung conditions.
According to Scholten’s method, stage 15 (tubercular) was strong in this case, as well as stage 14. Peter lost (stage 15) his formal place (stage 14) in the family when his younger brother entered the family. The theme is the same in the family: they left the “formal” rigid set-up and support of the religious community (stage 14), lost their social status (stage 15) and nearly starved on their own. Peter became more introverted (stage 14) when his lung problems started.
Jan placed the remedy possibly in stage 14/15.
Prescription: Pulmonaria officinalis 200 C
First Follow-up (18 May 2010) with mother, by email: "We have grown closer together throughout this process of healing. He has written well in his journal. Do I hear him coughing? No, no, his eyes are lit up more often and he is not behaving like a 'big grump'."
Second Follow-up (February 2011): Peter had no more problems with coughing or breathing; everything is back to normal and he is feeling very good. The remedy was only repeated once, 4 weeks after the first dose.
Third Follow-up (26 April 2012): Patient continues to do well; no more remedies were needed in the last 14 months, no problems with coughs!
Pulmonaria officinalis; Pat Deacon
Keywords: coughing, breathing problems, birth of a younger brother, fundamentalist community, Boraginaceae, loss, stages 14 and 15
Remedies: Pulmonaria officinalis