Clinical Cases

Revisiting: Homeopathy in the Middle of the Night

Terrible virus with extreme head pain. Did you guess the right remedy?

Shana, you’re back!

I couldn’t find Kelly.

She’s sick!

Isn’t she supposed to get sick BEFORE the ezine comes out?

You’d think she’d know that by now….

What are you going to do for a case if Kelly doesn’t show up?

Luckily, Shana, I’ve saved some of my best cases for emergencies like this one!  Actually, “emergency” is an apt word for this case.  This happens to be one of my favorite cases because, you know, nothing says “homeopathy!” like a middle-of-the-night Emergency, and this case comes as close to that as you can get!  I often say, “What on Earth do people do in the middle of the night when their child gets sick and they don’t know homeopathy?”  I can’t think of anything worse!  I feel so sorry for them, having to go to the ER in the middle of the night?  OMG!  Here’s a perfect example, submitted by our friend Shobi, regarding her son’s attack of God-only-knows-what at 3 a.m.!

Sept. 18, 2007:

Well here’s the scenario, Elaine.  My four-year-old son, Luke, went to bed very tired and woke up at 2.45 a.m., not just crying but screaming and crying in pain—a forceful, angry cry.  Holding his head, he was shouting in pain.  It was a horrible kind of scream.  When I touched him he was burning up.  A dry kind of heat.  All over.  He kept telling me that the pain was so bad he couldn’t hold on.  He wanted me to hold him, then he would scream even louder that it was worse.  He wanted me to put pressure over his eyes and this helped a little but then the screaming would begin again.  So I asked him to hold on and checked my repertory and very quickly and decided on __________. 

He was so upset and in such pain that I decided to match the strength of the pain and discomfort with a 200 instead of a 30c.  In literally a few minutes he calmed down a little and then started vomiting.  He cried but not the loud angry cries. 

Soon after the vomiting he settled down and went to sleep for the rest of the night.  No pain, no fever; and woke up this morning like none of this ever happened.  So there you go. 

Thank you, _________ 200c!”

So, how did we do? Here’s a list of the remedies you voted for:


  • Belladonna – 19
  • Aconite – 7
  • Bryonia – 6
  • Chamomilla – 4
  • Arsenicum – 4
  • Apis – 3
  • Nux v. – 3
  • Lachesis – 1
  • Kali carb – 1
  • Eup-p. – 1
  • Gelsemium – 1

Total: 50

And the winner is……..BELLADONNA!

Yes, the hpathy readers cannot be fooled!  (Except for the ones who were.)  But seriously, I can’t blame the people who picked Aconite, because there is a great similarity between the two: high fevers in children with sudden onset–Aconite and Belladonna are the two most likely choices.

I also knew that as soon as Shobi emphasized the scream, I would get votes for Apis, often indicated when we hear the  “brain cry”, as in brain injuries and encephalitis.  (We rarely see Apis in viruses though.)  And I knew we’d be getting votes for Chamomilla (angry crying)–more about Chamomilla later; and I also knew that the “better pressure” modality would bring out votes for Bryonia.  The sudden onset and “worse pressure”, however, eliminated Bryonia as a possibility.  We needed a remedy that was in both rubrics: better pressure and worse pressure, because clearly, we could see both modalities in this case.  What about Arsenicum?  Arsenicum is a very weak and collapsed remedy.  It lacks the intensity and energy seen in this case.  Expect to see moaning and groaning in Arsenicum cases, not screaming and shouting.

Maybe most importantly, I knew that the vomiting at the end would cause people to vote for gastrointestinal remedies like Nux vomica and Arsenicum.  Let’s start with that because it brings up an important point: the vomiting was NOT part of the case!!!!!!  The vomiting was an example of Hering’s Law (healing takes place from the inside out); we know that the right remedy leads to discharging, don’t we always tell our patients that?  Didn’t the child become calm first, THEN began vomiting?  That’s a perfect picture of Hering’s Law of Cure–“inside-out”!  The complaint moves to the outside.  It’s really important to understand Hering’s Law or we’ll misinterpret a remedy response and not be able to reassure a parent who’s child is vomiting after a remedy.  I always ask the parent, “How is he doing mentally/emotionally?  How are his spirits?” Very often you get the answer, “Oh, much better, he’s very relaxed!”  That’s a very important question, because you can be so alarmed by a frantic parent that you’ll be scrambling around looking for another remedy when the child’s already better!

It is in this way that homeopathy is COMPLETELY OPPOSITE to standard medicine, because what we see with standard drugs is the local complaint going away (if you’re lucky), but the patient, on the inside, starts feeling sick!  How often has this happened?  You take an antibiotic, the local infection goes away, but something major starts occurring at deeper levels. It could be stomach pains, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, drop in blood pressure, feelings of depression and anxiety or other disturbing mental symptoms.  This is not an acceptable direction for healing: “outside-in”!

With homeopathy, the improvement begins first on the mental/emotional plane with a sense of calm over-taking the patient; then, there may be an appropriate discharging to banish the complaint, but always the patient seems fine with it, and then, especially in children, a restful deep sleep ensues, and it’s ALL OVER–sometimes in minutes!  You give a sick child a remedy and a minute later he’s asleep!  So, when you see something “alarming” after giving a remedy, always ask, “Has there been any change on the mental/emotional level?”  This will give you the information you need to evaluate whether the remedy worked or didn’t.  If a patient falls asleep after a remedy, always ask, “Is he sleeping peacefully?”  Because that is the question!  If the answer is yes, then the case is over!

Now, how do we know this is Belladonna?  Anyone out there who has children should get to know Belladonna because healthy children have Belladonna fevers!  It’s a high fever where the child puts out a lot of dry heat that you can feel even without touching the child’s skin, it’s a forceful fever, a robust fever, it shows the child is healthy that he can put out such a fever, because, after all, if fever exists to protect us by burning up pathogens and activating white blood cells, you’d want the fever to be strong, not sheepish!

Healthy children have high fevers!  A high fever means the complaint is going to be over with fast!  Bring the fever down with Aspirin and you just prolong the illness.

So, if you’ve got a healthy child, be ready with Belladonna in a number of potencies–30C, 200C and 1M.  Look for dry heat, redness of the face, intensity, and sudden onset.  There may also be cold feet, dilated glassy pupils and no desire for water.

One way to diagnose Belladonna is to take note of how YOU are feeling!  With Belladonna, you’ll feel that the situation is urgent and you must act quickly!  With Chamomilla, you’ll feel unsympathetic and exasperated because the angry and irritable screaming never stops unless you briskly carry the child!  You will have had it with this in no time!  The Pulsatilla child, on the other hand, makes you feel real sorry for them!  You want to pick them up and reassure them, and they’re actually better for that.  So, ask yourself, “What am I feeling right now?”  Scared?  It could be Aconite.  Sympathetic?  It could be Pulsatilla.  Exasperated?  At the end of your rope?  It could be Chamomilla.  Alarmed?  Frantic to take swift action?  It could be Belladonna!

And P.S., do you have a remedy kit at home?  Then how can you help anyone in the middle of the night when all the stores are closed?  Order a 30C Emergency Kit from here:

A number of my clients have ordered not only the 30C but the 200C Emergency Kit as well.  You may also see them at

Let’s see what some of our readers had to say:

Hi Elaine,
From reading the description of the symptoms, I’m picking out a violent nature of the illness, aversion to touch and a high, hot fever.  This brings me to Belladonna, since it is widely known for sudden, violent attacks of headaches and fevers. That was my guess before I opened my books, and I hope I would’ve given the correct one because that sounded like a horrible night.
Thanks Elaine!



  • Pain, screaming;
  • Headache violent ;
  • Pressure ameliorates;
  • Night headache;
  • Dry heat

It should be Belladonna.


Hi Elaine

I think it’s Belladonna – screams, violent effects, worse at 3, fever with dry heat, headache – likes hand on head.

with best wishes

Janie Rosenwald LCH MARH

Thanks, everyone!  Here are the rubrics I used in the case:

From Murphy’s Repertory:

  • Headaches, fever, with
  • Headaches, maddening pain
  • Headaches, violent pain
  • Headaches, pressure amel.
  • Headaches, pressure agg.
  • Headaches, sudden pain
  • Mind, screaming, shrieking, shouting , pain, with the
  • Mind, screaming, shrieking, shouting, fever, during
  • Fever, dry heat
  • Fever, high, children, in, with excitability
  • Mind, crying, pains with

Belladonna covered all the symptoms with 3’s except the last rubric which got a 1, and pressure agg. was a 1 also. Aconite came in second, Bryonia 3rd. Aconite was not in the pressure aggravates nor pressure ameliorates rubric. Bryonia was missing from high fevers in children, crying with pain and pressure agg.  You know also that Bryonia wants to lie perfectly still, but Belladonna is worse lying and must sit up.

So, congratulations to:

Akanksha Agnihotri, Shashi Kiran, Veronique, Charlotte Robertson, Sergio, Tam, Anu Grewal, Dr. Ágnes Heiczman, Wafa, Amir, Manon Legerstee, Sameer, Janie Rosenwald, V.T.Yekkirala, Anonymous, Sandeep, Debdutta Roy, Pauline, Anne Speirs.


Bye, see you again next time!

Elaine Lewis, DHom, CHom

Elaine takes online cases.  Write to her at [email protected]

Visit her website at:

About the author

Elaine Lewis

Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.
Elaine is a passionate homeopath, helping people offline as well as online. Contact her at [email protected]
Elaine is a graduate of Robin Murphy's Hahnemann Academy of North America and author of many articles on homeopathy including her monthly feature in the Hpathy ezine, "The Quiz". Visit her website at: and


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