Clinical Cases

Revisiting: The Godfather, Part-II

Written by Elaine Lewis

Elaine gives the answer to last month’s quiz. Revisiting: The Godfather, Part-II

Does anybody remember last month’s quiz?  Who could forget the extreme indigestion case of “Mamie Eisenhower” and our tribute to the Godfather of Soul, James Brown?  Here it is again:


Hi, Elaine, sorry if it seems like I’ve dropped off the face of the earth; but, between packing and the kids, packing and the kids, and packing and the kids…!!!!  Well you get the idea.


Who is this?

It’s me, Kelly!

Didn’t you used to work here?

Just tell me what the response was to last month’s tribute to James Brown!

James Brown 2

Oh, Kelly, the response was unbelievable!  Absolutely unbelievable!

No one wrote, did they?

I’ll have you know that I’m holding a letter in my hand right now as we speak!

Oh really?  What does it say?

Dear Mom, 

The James Brown edition of ‘Homeopathy for Everyone’ was the best ever!  Please play more James Brown.

Yours truly,

Shana Lewis

Excuse me, but isn’t Shana Lewis your daughter?

She might be….  and now, by popular demand, here he is, the one and only, the Godfather of Soul, Jaaaames Brown!!!!

He’s phenomenal!  Don’t you think so, Kelly???  Kelly???  Well great!  We’ve lost Kelly again! Is ANYONE willing to go on after James Brown?  OK fine, I can do this by myself!  Luckily one of my chronic cases got food poisoning this week!  The patient, “Mamie Eisenhower” (no relation to President Eisenhower’s wife, Mamie) wrote in with the following:

Elaine, I ate a hamburger, but not before I burned it in a teflon pan!  I was very tense.  As soon as I ate it I felt like I had swallowed a rock (or been punched hard in the stomach)!  Within a day or two, that feeling did not leave but progressed into a feeling of a pool of acid sitting in my stomach, just sitting there, eating away at the tissue.

Nothing would stop it: no position made it better and eating didn’t make it better, though I kept thinking it would, but, in fact, eating made it worse.  Then nausea joined in and headache and body pain and chills.  I was shivering.  I was also very thirsty for cold water but drinking made the nausea worse and I was also very irritable.

Wow!  Well, how did we do?


This case seemed to confuse everyone!  We basically got votes for the expected food poisoning remedies like Arsenicum and Carbo veg. with two votes for Bryonia thrown in as well (probably because of the thirst and irritability), but let me explain why Bryonia is irritable.  It’s more that they want you to leave!  Your being there and asking so many questions (“How are you?  How do you feel now?  Is your stomach still hurting?”) only makes them worse because of the grand keynote of Bryonia which is: the slightest motion aggravates, and talking to you requires motion!  All they can do is lie perfectly still.  A Bryonia case of nausea would mean the slightest motion makes the nausea worse.  Do you realize that?  Even breathing sometimes makes them worse!   Every intrusion is a major aggravation for them.

Another big keynote of Bryonia is the sharp stabbing and stitching pains. “Mamie Eisenhower” doesn’t seem to have this problem.  I once knew I had a Bryonia stomach upset because I had so many sharp pains!  And the thing about it was, there was nothing I could do; rubbing didn’t help, bending forward didn’t seem to be an option; it was then that I realized, “All I can do is hold perfectly still!”  Bryonia!

Then there’s the extreme dryness of all the mucus membranes in Bryonia, hence the need to drink.  All things considered, this case does not have the Bryonia presentation.

Carbo veg?  In all honesty, we would want to see some burping, flatulence and bloating to make this elligable for Carbo veg.  In fact, even in heart and lung cases you might see burping and bloating.   I guess people picked it because of the shivering.  The peculiar thing about the Carbo veg. patient is that despite their chilliness, they want to be fanned!

What about Arsenicum?  Well, you can’t go wrong considering Arsenicum in food poisoning, but, here’s the problem.  This case has a mental concomitant: irritability.  Our remedy HAS to match that!  Did anybody read my article, “Acute vs. Chronic Remedies, the Hierarchy of Symptoms and the Kitchen Sink“?  (There’s a catchy title for you!)  There’s a hierarchy of symptoms we have to follow.  The local symptom isn’t as important as the physical general symptom which isn’t as important as the mental/emotional symptom!  Why is that?  Because when you’re sick in a local area, you’re not as sick as you are when you’re sick IN GENERAL!  And we’re always aiming out remedy for the WORST thing in a case.  Now, what’s WORSE than a mental/emotional disturbance, I ask you?  

You know how bad it is when you have the flu, right?  Well, just imagine having the flu AND being scared at the same time!  That makes it, oh, so much worse!  If an illness has a mental concomitant, your remedy has to cover that—UNLESS, the mental concomitant is normal or common or expected!  (“So-and-so has cancer, AND she’s depressed; so, we need a depression remedy!”  No, sorry, it’s quite normal to be depressed if you think you have a fatal disease!  What you need is a cancer remedy!)  But there is nothing about the flu, per se, that leads to being scared.  I’ve had the flu plenty of times with absolutely no fear whatsoever except for one time, making “fear of death” during the flu a super-characteristic symptom that the remedy would absolutely have to cover!

Here in this case, the irritability on the mental/emotional plane is not normal nor common.  Not everyone with an upset stomach is irritable, it’s peculiar to this case; and the STRANGE, RARE and PECULIAR symptom in homeopathy, especially if it’s also the mental/emotional concomitant, trumps just about everything else!  

Now, since we know that this case has a mental/emotional concomitant and we know that the remedy has to match it, what is the mental state of Arsenicum?  Did everyone read Mati Fuller’s “You Try Living with Arsenicum!” from last month’s ezine?  Well, drop everything and read it now!  Arsenicum’s mental state is unmistakable!  You should familiarize yourself with it because you will definitely see these people:  They are anxiety-ridden, they’re afraid they’re going to die, they need you to stay with them and hold their hand, they’re restless, weak and, in a word, clingy!  There’s no sense of this in “Mamie Eisenhower’s” case at all.  They can also be very negative, judgmental and fault-finding.  You just want to get away from Arsenicum but you fear you are stuck there!

So, what did I do?  I looked at this case and I was bewildered!  I couldn’t see a whole picture, just bits and pieces of this and that…. So, I went with the Hierarchy Of Symptoms.  I said simply, “I need an indigestion remedy that’s irritable.”  Note: I said I needed an INDIGESTION remedy that is irritable.  You see, the “state”, or diagnosis, is higher in the hierarchy than the mental/emotionals.  We need a remedy, first and foremost, known to cause digestive problems in a healthy person.  

If I had a heart patient who was irritable?  I’d be looking at the heart remedies and wondering, “Which one of these is irritable?”  The first thing that came to my mind, in terms of an irritable indigestion remedy, was Nux vomica!  I looked at the rest of the case.  Is Nux vomica chilly?  Yes, very chilly!  Is Nux vomica worse after eating?  Yes.  Is their digestion slow and sluggish?  Definitely.  Then, I remebered a peculiar symptom of Nux vomica: Sensation as if a stone in the pit of the stomach after eating!  That sounded very close to Mamie’s “rock” description!  OK in all fairness, Bryonia has that too!

So, I went with Nux vomica 30C and the whole thing went away, and she had been suffering with this for days!

Then, she said, “You know, if I could have thrown up, I’d have felt better, but I couldn’t; I’ve always been that way.”  Well, of course, if I had known that from the beginning, it would have made this case a lot easier.  “Wants to but can’t” is a keynote of Nux vomica; even in bladder infections where the person wants to urinate but can’t, where ever you see this, think of Nux vomica.

Katie came close enough in my opinion; here’s what she said:

Although repertorizing was overall steering me towards Nux Vomica, the following rubric caught my attention: “stomach, digestion, as if stopped” in Murphy – only Alumina and Kali Bic were listed. The MM descriptions of Kali Bic generally seemed to fit: Digestion seems to have ceased; food lies in stomach like a load; great weight in pit of stomach.  Highly irritating acid causing gastritis.  Worse for eating; cannot digest meat.  Irritable, ill-humored.  Chilly, worse from cold. Nausea, headache.  From Murphy – Nux V has pressure 2-3 hours after eating, but the effect is immediate with Kali-Bi (and Nux M).

Katie, see, here’s the problem: I’m not as smart as you are, so I picked Nux vomica!

Thanks, LOL.  I was teeing off of Murphy’s rep at home.  Now that I’m back at work I did a reverse rep in Kent on Kali-bi (didn’t have that link at home) and then took a look at those rubrics again in the regular Kent rep.  I saw Nux V come up in rubrics I hadn’t see it in before.  Still it was a chance to learn about a side of Kali-bi I didn’t know.  I had only associated it with respiratory, spotty changeable pains, ropy discharges, etc.  That is my main goal of working on the quizzes.  Your write-ups are much more valuable if I have gone through the pain of trying to reason it out for myself.  I was late getting into the meat of this quiz because I was inexplicably hung up for a while on the symptoms of teflon poisoning.  [insert rolleyes emoticon here] Once I got past that silliness I was able to slowly lurch forward. K.

Other than Katie, Dr. B, our only winner was Gabi who simply said, “Nux”.

I want to thank everyone for voting; see you back here again next time!

Elaine Lewis, DHom, CHom.  Elaine takes online cases. 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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