Clinical Cases

Driven Mad by the Itch!

Homeopath Patricia Hatherly shares a case of a baby driven mad by itch. Astute case taking leads to the cause and the simillimum.



A baby boy of eight months, who had jaundice after birth that persisted for three weeks, was brought to the clinic for intractable eczema which began at four weeks. He is so itchy that it appears to drive him mad.

He rips at his skin until it bleeds so much so that it may become infected (he has been on antibiotics three times). His mother puts mittens on him and swaddles him to try and circumvent that happening.

His mother wants to wean. He’s waking hourly at night and she’s exhausted and she’s tired of having a restricted diet after allergy tests have indicated that he’s intolerant to: wheat; dairy; egg; rice and peanuts. The family is Asian and likes to eat traditional foods, so this list is significant and makes life extra difficult. The mother has test driven a range of formulas, but he’s reacting to all of them.

Reaction symptoms include:

  • vomiting
  • hives
  • very loose stool
  • spotty anal rash

While the mother and I chatted, I kept an eye on him while he lay on the carpet among a bunch of new-to-him toys, and made a short list of the following observations:

  • while being constricted by swaddling, he rubs his head into the ground and the front third of his hairline has been abraded
  • he won’t keep still; the itch is driving him so mad that he wriggles out of his swaddling and pulls off his mittens so that he can scratch
  • he will only stop scratching temporarily with distraction from a new toy or activity
  • he keeps bending his head back
  • craves water constantly; has hiccoughs still
  • his tongue jerks in and out from time to time

These extra symptoms were gleaned from the mother:

  • he sweats profusely at night around the head
  • he sleeps in a starfish position when he wriggles out of his wrap
  • quite often one cheek is redder than the other
  • his stool, especially when teething, is like chopped spinach

These symptoms (especially the jerking of the tongue) point to Chamomilla and it’s a picture that can show up during breastfeeding when the mother consumes a significant amount of coffee. He had hiccoughs in utero; this, and the prolonged jaundice, are suggestive of liver inflammation, so I pointedly asked the mother about coffee consumption, and she confirmed that she craved it in the pregnancy so had several milky coffees daily and that habit has continued.


So, the treatment plan was: Do not wean but give up coffee and stay on the low allergy diet for now, and Chamomilla was prescribed in descending potencies [1M; 200C; 30C] with the baby remaining on the 30C potency daily for a week.

The rash completely settled within a few weeks, and breastfeeding continued affording the baby deeper healing. Going without her coffee was initially difficult for the mother. However, with the combination of removing the maintaining cause and applying the appropriate Simillimum, both the baby and the mother found that Life became much easier!

About the author

Patricia Hatherly

Patricia Hatherly BA DipEd, BHSc (Hom), is a clinician based in Brisbane and a well known speaker both in Australia and overseas. She is the author of The Homœopathic Physician’s Guide to Lactation (2004) and The Lacs A Materia Medica & Repertory (2010). Since sharing knowledge is her passion, she developed an e-Newsletter Milk Matters, so that colleagues and students coould share the insights that she has gained from working with mothers and babies for nearly 40 years. Patricia had conducted and published several provings and is a regular contributor to journals both national and international. Her work (provings, conference papers and journal articles) is available for perusal at:


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