Clinical Cases

Cocculus Indicus – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Cocculus Indicus - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Written by Maja Letić

Homeopath Maja Letić presents the case of a 90 year old woman who broke her arm beyond the elbow and then developed congestion in her chest. Antibiotics and inhalers failed to help. A deeper look at Cocculus was needed to see that it was indicated.


“Those who love are awake. Those being loved are still asleep“-

Duško Radović

In November 2016 a 90-year-old lady broke her arm, beyond the elbow. Her son asked me for help. He described his mother as an energetic woman, 168cm high, 45 kg weight, unable to stand still even for a moment. She had swung her arm so strongly that the bone broke, he told me. There was no swelling and the arm wasn’t painful. Even though she broke her arm she was in a good mood. Iprescribed Symphytum for bone healing. She recovered well.

At the end of January 2017 her son asked me for help again. She developed congestion in her chest. She was given a vaccine against fluevery year. A doctor claimed that she couldn’t get a flu since she was vaccinated. He claimed that wasbronchitis.She was also given many antibiotics, injections, inhalers and products for expectoration but she still couldn’t manage to throw out secretions from her lungs. A cough worked her into exhaustion and she was losing her strength. She found it very hard to get out of bed. I prescribed Antimonium tartaricum 30c, split dose. She could breathe more easily and slept better the night after taking it. Three days later, her lungs were clear and the cough stopped but now she wasn’t able to get out of bed. Actually, she coulnd’t even lift her head from a pillow. Her family tried to put food in her mouth but she couldn’t swallow. It was16 hours since she hadlast urinated. The family was prepared for the worst. Her son decided to try homeopathy once more. Being aware of the long history of asthma and this weakness, Stannum metalicum was what I had on my mind. However, I asked to talk to her in person.

When I entered the room, thisgrandma,tiny and skinny, was lying alone in a double bed.  The bed sheets were clean, she had a few pillows to support her head, and next to the bed was a table full of medicines, vitamins and products for immunity. It was completely obvious that she was given everything available on the market for her condition. Next to her right hand I saw a glass bell, made by well-shaped fine crystal.

I was asked to come close to her and to speak loudly because her hearing was impaired. She was speaking quietly herself. I had to strain in order to hear her.

I asked her where she got the crystal bell from. She lifted it and the bell rang with a pleasant sound. Only a few second later, her younger son appeared at the doorway and asked what she needed. She praised it as a gift  from her older son who is rich and who pays for everything she needs. She lived with her younger son, daughter-in-law and grandchild who looked after her. I asked how she was doing.

‘I can’t stand helplessness. I’m bed-ridden. If I want to go to the bathroom, I must ring for help. If I’m hungry, I must call someone. I’m nearly 91years old. I have never been sick’,she responded. Then I asked her to tell me more about herself. She was talking about how she had already finished university and had a job in her profession when she met a man whom she would marry. Those were the years after the end of World War 2 when there were few highly educated men, and even fewer highly educated women. She was one of them. She liked her job and wanted to keep it, but after marriage she was forced by her husband to abandon it and focus on family.

‘It didn’t feel fair that he demanded that from me. I found it harsh. Though I didn’t want to leave my job and I suffered really hard, I did it for the sake of his love. My whole life I was focused on my family. I gave birth to two sons, had them educated. Our flat was always clean, everythingin its place. My husband had nothing to worry about once he would step into our flat. I cared about everything. When my older son got married and had two children there were seven of us in one flat.My daughter-in-law was working, everyone was working and I took care of them all. As in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, every morning I would make seven breakfasts, seven snacks, make seven beds, prepare lunch and dinner for seven. I ironed for seven. Cleaned for seven. And I didn’t have any help with it but I didn’t mind. I could manage it all. My whole life I was doing everything on my own. My husband had diabetes and when he had his leg amputated because of the complications, I even took care of him for many years’.

There was no one like her. Both daughters-in-law could never match her. She could always do more, faster and better. Even though they really loved her and were grateful for her help, they also felt underestimated and frustrated because of her. She was unreachable, a living legend.

The older son added: ‘’It was only after my dad’s death eight years ago when we finally realized how much weight she had lost. She became a shadow and never after had she managed to gain some weight again“.

I asked her how she was coping with her husband’s death.

‘’It’s hard when you lose your husband but the living with the living, the dead with the dead. I’m a really realistic person, especially when it comes to illness with no cure’’

‘’I don’t have any daughters, but I do have two daughters-in-law. I think that if I had my own daughter she wouldn’t be that caring and good to me as my daughters-in-law are. I’m satisfied with my life. I don’t lack inanything. I hope I’ll get better, but I’ve lived a long life already. I have attention, love, respect. If I died now I wouldn’t be sad.’’

I asked her what she finds hard to do.

‘’The hardest thing is breakfast. When my daughter-in-law gets into my room carrying food and says: ’Come on, you have to’, but I just can’t. I just don’t feel like eating.’’

‘Which part of your body is the weakest?’ I asked her.
‘’My legs. The knees are weak“, she replied.
I told her that I was given the information that she hadn’t urinated for 20 hours. So I wanted to know if she was feeling any pain that could indicate a urinary infection.

‘’No, no…’’ she responded ‘’I can’t get out of bed. They have to bring me to the toilet and I do not want to torture them so I put up with it. Now I don’t need to’,she responded.


There is no particular rule for what a patient is expected to talk about at a homeopathy session. However, from our expirience it’s usually the patient’s state and current situation that will be the topic. It’s something that is ongoing and present now, related to the treatment and the recovery. Thus it was unusal that grandma was talking about events from sixty years ago. If we were looking for strange, rare and peculiar sympthoms- we have just found them.

For half an hour that we spent together she made the whole retrospective of her life. She did not start from her childhood but from the moment when her husband forced her to leave her job instead. It was on us to understand the story and the feelings behind it.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

This detail of her story wouldn’t be as conspicuous if not for a mistake in calculation. Even though she was an economist and was good at math she didn’t realise she had made the mistake. One Snow White plus seven dwarfs equals eight. But the grandma’s family consists of seven people including her. So, six people plus grandma. Her need to identify with Snow White was so firm that she didn’t pay attention to this simple calculation. It’s not about the mistake that was made but the need for her identifying with Snow White to be discussed.

Who are the dwarfs in her story? She believed her family wasn’t able to function without her. They wereimmature, incompetent, messy and only she could manage to have everything under control.

A brilliant woman with an ambition to work was forced to leave her job and become a housewife. How to deal with it? Her strategy to cope with that situation was to upgrade her housewife role into a profession and show her abilities and value. She wasn’t an ordinary mother, wife, housewife. She was unique, the only one capable of doing it all. That became the purpose of her life.

She reached the point in her life where death was near but she wasn’t scared, angry or outraged. She was satisfied with her life, calm and ready. Despite it all, she was hoping for a recovery.




Pulsatila is a demanding person, she needs someone to care for her and attention.

Causticum is a fighter, and nothing satisfies him. Staphisagria  – this is not a story about suppressed anger, and she found purpose in her sacrfice. Arsenicum isn’t content and he is a high demanding person also.

Prescription: Cocculus indicus 12c, only three times one pill at 12 hours.

Follow up two weeks later

Two weeks later I saw her again. In the meantime I was given updates that she was better, that she urinated after taking remedy, managed to eat a bit the following day and that two days later she finally got out of the bed.

When I came to see her, she was sitting in an armchair and looking good. She didn’t want to be in bed anymore and insisted on having our follow up at the dining table. She stood up quickly and went straight to the table ignoring her sons’ disapproval.

‘’I am feeling better’’, she said. ‘’The only problem was food. The first week I faced disgust every two days when I had to eat, but it’s better now. I ate pretty well yesterday.’’

In fact, they were worried how much her appetite had grown. The day before she asked  fortwo pieces of meat. They asked her carefully if she was sure she could eat it all. She got angry and put as much as she wanted on her plate. And she ate it all. That made them worried that she was likely to become sick. But she felt excellent after the meal and even helped herself to some cookies as well.

Her knees were fine. They were not weak anymore. She went to the toilet regularly. There wasn’t any secretion in her lungs. She would wake up rested and in high spirits.

Her son said she is in a good mood. Her old interests came back. She said: ‘’I’m in a good mood from time to time. Mostly I wake up rested and joyful. It still bothers me that I spend a bit more time in bed than I would want to. I don’t find it hard to ask for help anymore. I don’t have anything bad to say. I’m surrounded with love and attention. Not that I need anything else now.’’


Mental and emotinal level

The first time I spoke to her I didn’t see any signs of bad mood but on the follow up she said she was in a better mood. The most important change on a mental level is that she does not refrain from asking for help anymore.

General level

More energy

Physical level

No weakness in the knees, she can move again. She can urinate regularly. Better appetite, disgust over food is gone.

New sympthoms – a desire for meat-  The theory says that when there is a new symptom, which belongs to a remedy we prescribed, the patient begins to verify the remedy and the case should be reconsidered. A desire for meat is a Cocculus’ symptom also. What is happening here?

Since we have an improvement on all levels (mental and emotional, general and physical) plus a new sympthom, I realised that her vital energy was so low that she couldn’t manifest this symptom before. After this remedy she strenghtened and did manifest it. I didn’t consider any other remedy.

Prescription: Sac-lac

18 months later

During the winter 2017/2018 aside from the vaccine for a flu, she was taking Influenzinum 30c once a week. She wasn’t ill a single time during the winter. When she stopped taking Influenzinum in March, 10 days later she was ill for the first time. She had low temperature which was growing slowly and she was complaining about the chill down her spine and she was very sleepy. They couldn’t wake her up. Her son called me for help and since it was late in the evening I prescribed Gelsemiuim 30c, three times one pill every two hours with note that a doctor needed to come to her first thing in the morning. She was 92years old and it could have been anything. However, in the morning she was well. No need for the doctor.

It has been 6 months since then. She is still well, active and attends family events and celebrations and goes to road trips when the weather is good. They asked for my help no more.


It’s easy to recognise a Cocculus patient in situations when he/she is taking care of others. That is the active part of the remedy, when the patient takes every action needed in order to help. However, that can also mean giving up personal needs so as not to burden others. She refrained from asking for help and made the whole siuation even harder for herself.

The other point of Cocculus I want to emphasize, is the one that the patient who gave up his own life to take care of someone would make a compensation and give a purpose to the inevitably. Those acts of caring are rarely the patient’s choice but giving a meaning to life (carbon series) in a situation in which they are and cannot be changed. Scholten’s plant theory says that the position of Cocculus indicus (botanical name Anamirta cocculus 3-642.16.07) in APG3 means that people under it have the need to be a part of a society (family), cannot fight for themselves, have a sense of injustice, think that work is important and that having done a god job will earn them respect and value. They try to satisfy others.

“Copyrighted 2018”: Simillimum Society for Spreading, Promotion and Improvement of Classical Homeopathy, Belgrade, Serbia – Maja Letić

About the author

Maja Letić

Maja Letić was born in 1970 in Belgrade. After studying sociology and law, she acquired knowledge of gestalt psychotherapy in the Gestalt Studio "Belgrade". She graduated from the Homeopathic School "Simillimum" in 2011 and continued her ongoing education at SAKH (Slovak Academy of Classical Homeopathy). She published 17 articles in her country and abroad. Her work has been translated into several languages. In 2022 she was presented with the "Award for excellence in homeopathy" for Accomplishment and Years of Contributing to Hpathy and to the Homeopathic community. She is the founder of the AUDE SAPERE association, focused on the education and training of homeopaths. She cooperates with the Slovak Academy of Classical Homeopathy.


  • Wonderful connection and analysis. Maja has shown for the umpteenth time that homeopathy is a simple science for those who understand and know how to connect the symptoms and what they see in the patient. Everything sounds plain and simple when I read Maja’s article, it took work and time to reach that level. Beautiful Majo.

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