Case Quizes Clinical Cases

Revisiting: The Insane Rash!

Did you come up with the answer to last month’s insane Quiz?

Shana, where are you?

Here I am, Mom!

I like your new look, don’t change a thing!

I’m helping to promote the new Peanuts Movie coming out in November!  (Which, by the way, I want to see!)

Oh, promoting!  Well, that’s different.  Never mind!  Where did you get the shirt?

Mom, that’s not a real picture of me!

What?  It’s not?

It’s a thing, on the internet!

Oh, a thing!  Well, why didn’t you say so?  Never mind!

It’s still me, but it’s not me.


And now for my announcements.  James Taylor was on “Ellen”.

He was on what?

Geez mom, don’t you know who Ellen DeGeneres is?  She’s married to Portia De Rossi.  Don’t ask me how I know these things.  

If we could possibly move this along, I have a sink full of dirty dishes.

I have a rather unfortunate death to announce.  Shari Lewis’ husband, Jeremy Tarcher, died of Parkinson’s Disease.  This is Shari Lewis and Lambchop:

Oh, and the Pope was here.

And so was the Queen of Soul.

Now we can present the case.

What case should we do?

Why don’t you do the case of your mysterious rash?

Oh right, the insane rash!

Is that what you’re going to call the quiz?

Brilliant idea, Shana!  What would the Quiz do without you?


You don’t have to answer this second but do try to get your answer in before the buzzer.  

What buzzer???

It was a dark and stormy night in August—August 6th, to be exact—when we went to visit our cousins Nancy and Janet in Penn Valley.

Mom, it was sunny and clear in the afternoon!

Ah yes, I remember it well.  We dined at 10.

We dined at 8!

You had the crab.

I ate a steak!

Ah yes, I remember it well.

Alright Mom, I get it, you’re trying to do that famous song from “Gigi”; but the ’50’s called, and they want their Musical back!

I guess I got carried away, or maybe I just really don’t want to talk about the insane rash!!!!!

It doesn’t show up well in this picture, you have to look really hard (that’s my upper arm, by the way), but, these eruptions only appear AFTER scratching!!!!!  And at first, the area, due to scratching, would be completely red and the bumps raised almost like ridges, and the scratch marks were red; and then it would quiet down to almost nothing.  The picture depicts the rash only after the itching has died down and moved to somewhere else!!!! 

Insane itching, which scratching does not ameliorate.  After scratching, there’s just more itching and a kind of burning or irritation until it makes up its mind to stop and then appear elsewhere!

In trying to recount how it happened, I remembered writing to Claire about it; see our emails below:


August 11th

Meanwhile Claire, I don’t know what my problem is.  It’s like an allergy?  All of a sudden, I’m itching here, there and there–it moves around, and there are no eruptions, but if I scratch, eruptions appear, then they go away, it makes no sense at all!  It keeps me up at night; and I wake up scratching.  Like right now, it’s itching under my left arm, but it will surely move and be itching somewhere else in due time.

I do know that the last time I mowed the lawn, there was a weed that I tried to pull up and I remember thinking I shouldn’t have touched it without gloves.  

I just ignored the itching at first, thinking it would go away, now I’m coming to realize it’s not just a passing thing.  Now, my right thumb itches, my left elbow itches, and my left lower back itches.  It’s ridiculous!  I wonder if it’s feathers from the comforter I threw out? 

Did you try Urtica urens?

No, I will try it now.

Do you have homeopathic Histaminum?

I tried that, and I thought it was working at first, but repeated doses haven’t helped.  Maybe I need to plus the bottle.  I will try plussing Histaminum right now.  Maybe it’s the orange juice I’ve been buying from Whole Foods which they make fresh.  Maybe the oranges aren’t organic.  Maybe I should make a remedy out of that…

August 16th

Well, Claire, the rash update isn’t good.  Bottom line: remedies work in the beginning, then stop working.  I made the orange juice remedy.  It showed promise in the beginning–I made a 6C.  It’s up to 11C now.  It’s not doing anything.

Apis showed real promise, then stopped working.  Histaminum 30C showed real promise, then stopped working.  It seems it’s possible to get a remedy to work once, maybe twice, and that’s it!

I’m thinking my best shot is an auto-nosode, but of what?  Last night I was literally up all night trying to find a remedy that would stop the itching long enough for me to go to sleep.

This rash started as an annoyance and is turning into a nightmare!  The most recent remedy to be “working” is Dulcamara.  The 30C let me finally sleep last night.  When I woke up, I was itching again.  Repeating Dulcamara 30C, didn’t work.  Just took a dry dose of Dulcamara 200C.  It seems to be working but like previous remedies, may fizzle out by the end of the day or night.  I hope not but that’s how it’s been going.  Very scary because it’s taking over my life.

At the moment, Dulcamara is working, but I’m starting to itch again, so I have to redose.

August 17th

The truth is, Claire, I don’t know what is going on here!  It’s one of the worst things to ever happen to me.  I only got 2 hours sleep last night.  It’s severe itching, you can’t sleep with it, and scratching doesn’t make it stop at all, and it can itch in several places at once.  It’s really murder.  Maybe it was the Chinese food from visiting my cousins; we ordered out, and the Chinese are so famous for adding MSG to everything.

I better order Dulcamara 1M. 

It suddenly occurred to me that this could be a yeast rash–Candida albicans?

I looked up natural treatments for candida and followed advice on mixing apple cider vinegar with witch hazel and I’ve been dabbing it on my body the minute I start to itch and it’s been a life-saver!  I actually slept last night. 

August 19th

Still using apple cider vinegar, Elaine?

Definitely, or I’d be in big trouble!

Well that’s good!  Are you taking any ACV internally?

No.  Maybe I should.  I still have itching, it’s just that now I can put ACV on it and stop it.  I did take Dulcamara again last night because it seemed like I was up and down applying ACV from one minute to the next and it was enough already!

Does the rash wander?

Definitely.  It’s funny, the rash breaks out from scratching.

Would Pulsatilla have any relevance just for the wandering part?  Have you tried taking extra Vitamin C, it is an antihistamine, right?

Yes, all these are good thoughts.  Here’s what I did 3 hours ago, it seemed like the ACV had reached its limit in terms of being able to help.  I scratched a particular spot until it bled.  It was near my elbow; so I said, OK, here’s my chance to make an auto-nosode!  So I did.  “Rash 6C”.  I’ve taken 2 doses and the itching has died down considerably to just one place itching now, much better.

It’s funny, the rash breaks out from scratching!

I know, but it is in the Repertory: Skin, itching, scratching, eruptions, after.  Something like that.

September 26th

Claire, I still have that mystery rash; only, I have a theory now!  Yes, I know, I’ve said that before!  I’ve had a million theories that didn’t pan out; but, I saw a commercial on TV by Perdue Chicken that said, “We don’t feed our chickens antibiotics!”  I was like, “Huh???”

Chicken????  OMG!  The Chinese Restaurant we ordered from at my cousins’ house, I ordered chicken!  Then simultaneously I remembered your antibiotic rash we published here in the ezine, remember?  “The Rashy Horror Picture Show”?  And you described it as “Insane itching”?  I thought to myself, “Yes, that’s what this is, insane itching!”  So, putting it all together very quickly, I went to check to see if I had ___________ and luckily I did; so, I took __________30C immediately!  

I’ve been taking it just about every day, and even though the itching is not completely gone, it’s much better than it was, I would say 80-90% better, and it doesn’t prevent me from falling asleep anymore, which is really big, let me tell you!

OMG!  I had no idea you still were dealing with that rash!  So it is insane itching like the kind *I* had!  WOW!

In fact, I should take another dose now because I’m starting to itch again.  I’m telling you Claire, you cannot eat out anymore if this can happen to you!  Buy organic and cook at home!


So, OK everybody, what do you think the remedy was?  Was it… uh-oh!  Wait a minute… What did I take again???  Ah!  Yes.  I remember it well!

Write to me at [email protected] and let me know, the answer will be in next month’s ezine!






Nux vomica


OK, I’m ready if you are!  Will the first contestant enter and sign in, please!

Mom, it’s Wayne, your soul brother from Australia!

Hi Elaine!

Hi Wayne!

Another toughie!

I know, but, it’s all real-life stuff that happens!  As a matter of fact, not only does it happen but someone named Nasir wrote to me from Canada and said, “Help!  I have the same rash!”  I couldn’t believe it!  I said, “You have to be careful, because it’s not just antibiotics that have this side-effect, virtually any drug can cause itching and rashes, all the more reason to stay away from drugs and doctors (since they can’t cure anything) and get into natural healing and organic foods and cook them yourself!  

It sounds like you had a case of allergic reaction to penicillin.

Yes, it does, doesn’t it; and hence, the remedy is?????????

There is a remedy Penicillin.

Yes, quite so!

but skin signs are weeping, edema, herpes and the like and doesn’t seem to fit.

Wayne, that doesn’t matter!  Look, let’s say you took a drug and it made you sick, and I looked the drug up online and said to you, “Sorry Wayne, but, your symptom isn’t here.”  So what?  We can see with our own eyes that the drug made you sick!  What are we going to believe, our own eyes or a write-up that, for a lot of reasons, might be missing a number of symptoms?  Here’s what Murphy’s Materia Medica says under Penicillin:


Changeable sycotic condition with boils, skin diseases, warts and muco-purulent weeping. Boils, especially on the face with edema. Eczema, oozing out a pale liquid. Warts. Acne. Herpes-type eruption on the face. Weeping, macerated impetigo mycosis of the epidermis.


Changeable sycotic condition with boils, skin diseases, warts and muco-purulent weeping. Fever continues for a very long time, worse in the evening. Hot or cold perspiration with a stale odor. Limbs cold with paraesthesia. Ecchymosis. Recurring angina.


The words, “skin diseases” and “eczema”, can refer to almost any skin condition at all!  

Penicillin side effects listed at include “rash” and “itching”; the word “rash” covers a wide territory.

So, what’s of interest here in the Materia Medica is the word “changeable”.  This was a characteristic symptom in my case, the rash and itching kept changing places, it wasn’t just in one spot.  Other characteristic symptoms in the case were: itching without eruptions; eruptions appear after scratching; and itching, scratching agg.  If we repertorize these we get:

I probably tried most of the top 12.  Remember, this went on for over a month!

I looked under
Skin, Itching, eruptions

The actual rubric is itching WITHOUT eruptions.  So what are the characteristic symptoms, what characterizes this case, making it different from any other case of skin rash?  1. The rash wanders.  2. The eruptions come after scratching.  3. Scratching doesn’t stop the itch, it aggravates.  4. Itching without eruptions.

Skin, Itching, scratching aggravates,

That was the only characteristic symptom you picked.

Diseases antibiotics, worse from,

That isn’t quite accurate.  It’s not a disease that antibiotics have made worse.  Antibiotics are actually the cause of the disease, the etiology!

Arsenic was the only remedy in all three rubrics;

But you only had actually one valid rubric: itching, scratching agg.  The two other big ones were “eruptions come after scratching”, and, “itching, wandering”.

it has a vast range of skin conditions, with a burning which is not mentioned here.

Didn’t I say there was a kind of “burning” after scratching?  Hence, the “scratching agg” rubric.  I’m pretty sure I tried Arsenicum as it came up #3 in my repertorization.

Arsenic is the best I can do, so I will wait for your answer.

Do you remember last month we talked about the Hierarchy Of Symptoms?  Remember I said the H.O.S. was like a game of “poker” (a card game)?  If you have an Ace (equivalent to whatever is at the top of the hierarchy), it beats out all the “lower” cards?  Now, look at this case, look at our “lower” cards—the the wandering itching, the itching without eruptions, scratching aggravates and so on…they are now irrelevant!  Why?  Because we have an Ace!   The etiology!  The etiology is at the top of the Hierarchy and, in this case, it is: “Ailments From Antibiotics”!  This was the big break in the case!  It made all those local symptoms irrelevant!!!!!!  And PS, this is why none of the remedies I took worked!  Because they did not cover the etiology! 

When I concluded, from watching the Perdue Chicken commercial, that I had an antibiotic rash?  I went straight for Penicillin 30C without even thinking about it!  Why?  It’s the etiology!!!!  The TOP of the hierarchy!  It triumphs over everything! 

You can’t off-set the etiology with a bunch of local, peculiar, mental, etc. symptoms–even if you have 20 or 30 of them, it just doesn’t matter!  Agaricus covered the whole case!  But did it work?  No!  The reason?  Nothing beats the etiology!  That’s why none of those other seemingly great remedies worked or held!!!!!  (Does everybody get that now?)

So, yes, the remedy was Penicillin 30C, which I repeat every so often when the itching starts again and it always works–Thank God!

Thanks again for your insight.  If it was hard for you then it certainly was difficult.

Actually, it was only difficult because I didn’t know the cause!!!!!  Once I figured that out—thanks to a TV commercial— the case was easy!  It shows you that if all you have is the totality of symptoms, you may not be able to solve your case!  Pretty sobering thought, is it not?  In my interview with Robin Murphy, I asked him, “What are the biggest mistakes homeopaths are making?”  He said, “Making etiology just another symptom in the totality—equal to all the others.”

Great explanation.  One I won’t forget.


Bye, Wayne!  Will our next contestant enter and sign in please?

Mom, it’s our friend Maria from Greece!

Hi Elaine and Shana!

Hi Maria, I have high hopes for you getting the right answer!

My vote for this month’s quiz is Nux vomica.


I could be wrong since under Toxicity/Antibiotics,ailments from, there are many remedies.  But since Nux vomica is the big gun under ailments from drugs, I’ll vote for it.  If I missed something I will try again.

Well, Maria, you get points, at least, for having the right idea!  And maybe Nux v. would have worked too, who knows?  But, I did the easiest thing of all—do you want to take a second guess?

Ηmmmm, ailments from bad meat?

The meat wasn’t “bad”, it was just filled with antibiotics!


Go stand next to Wayne.

I can’t come up with anything else.

Well, Maria, if antibiotics were the cause, then what is the cure?

I would say a remedy made from an antibiotic.  I am sorry I can’t guess, I don’t even know the names of any antibiotics.  Oh wait, is it penicillin?

YES!!!  It is Penicillin!!!!!  Penicillin is actually in the Materia Medica!  (It’s in Murphy’s anyway.)  And I happen to have Penicillin 30C here, for some reason— but thank Goodness!!!!  

Wow, good for you Elaine!  It’s a good opportunity for the rest of us to learn about it too!

It would seem like an important remedy to buy if you don’t already have it.

Shana, who else is here?


Look, Mom, it’s Miroslav and Jitka!

Hello Elaine and Shana,

Hello Miroslav and Jitka!!!

It’s us, your faithful participants.

Good for you, for your desire to learn!

We are always looking forward to your quiz, just as we do pay-day… 🙂

Really?  Wow.  My quiz is like Pay-Day!  I had nooooooo ideeeeeea!

Here are our answers:

Miroslav thinks: Arsenicum alb.

It seems to be a very popular choice.

I think that in this case a real etiology is food poisoning and that is why I chose Arsenicum album.

Well, something was in the food, alright!

Moreover, the following rubrics match:

– Eruptions after scratching

– Scratching does not improve case

– A sort of unpleasant burning is mentioned

– Hives – that’s probably a specific kind of hives

– Symptoms are severe at night

– She scratches until it starts to bleed

– Last but not least the food poisoning

I don’t think we can call this “food poisoning”.  There was no gastro-intestinal involvement, no nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

The only thing that does not match is the modality with multiple exclamation marks, namely:

“changing places after scratching“.  I’m not sure, however, whether immediately after scratching or it takes some time, until scratching subsides.

No, no, after scratching eruptions appear.  Changing places occurs randomly, not because of scratching; and by the way, changing places isn’t a “modality”.  The modalities are the things that make the complaint better or worse, and the truth is, nothing made this complaint better or worse!  Scratching didn’t help, hot compresses didn’t help, cold compresses didn’t help…nothing!

Jitka thinks: Alumina

Thanks to revisiting your quizzes, we found out that our translation of Murphy´s repertory is not completely perfect, therefore sometime I have distrust towards it.  Therefore, for finding the remedy for your itching I used online Abchomeopathy- remedy finder.  I chose three symptoms that seemed to be most significant in your case.

skin; itching; without visible out-break on skin;

Meaning, “Itching without eruptions”.

skin; itching; changing place on scratching;

No, scratching causes the rash to break out, not “itching changes place on scratching” which Staphysagria is so famous for.  Again, the changing places is random and you never know when it’s going to happen, and it can be in several places at once.

skin; itching; unchanged by scratching

Right, and the other characteristic symptom is “eruptions after scratching”.

Alumina came out as the most similar remedy.  Less similar remedy were also Agar, Mez, Barytac, and so on.

Actually, I repertorized, and Mezereum scored very high but it did nothing!  I can’t remember if I took Agaricus but I must have.

But I was reminded of your conversation with Shana about your dinner in the lead-in to your quiz where your thinking seemed somewhat impaired and sluggish.  Therefore, I think that Alumina might be the right remedy for your crazy itch.

Jitka, at 68, my thinking is always sluggish and impaired!  In fact, I’m really not sure who you are, are we related?

Now, Miroslav and Jitka, you are forgetting last month’s lesson on the Hierarchy of Symptoms!  Do you remember that what’s at the top of the hierarchy trumps everything below it?  Remember I said that if we’re playing cards and I have a queen and all your cards are 2’s and 3’s and 5’s, that means I win?  And it doesn’t matter how many cards you have because my queen is higher!?  Good!  So, OK, now that I’ve refreshed your memory, tell me what is at the top of the hierarchy, I will just calmly sit here and wait …

                […ten years later…]

Hello Elaine, it’s Jitka and Miroslav again!

Good, I was beginning to nod off!

We tried to correct our previous mistakes as follows:

In a rubric “rash after scratching” is a total of 61 remedies.  After
excluding already-tried and ineffective remedies, I would chose Sulphur this time.  But
there is that crazy itching which I couldn’t find in the repertory.  My eyes fell on
the rubric : “Itching, with despair” and the only remedy there is Psorinum.

I’m pretty sure I tried Psorinum, I may have seen that rubric too!

Although Psorinum is not in the rubric: “Rash after scratching” I vote for
this remedy.

OK, you’re voting for Psorinum then.  Jitka, you’re next!

I didn´t notice that you have ever had a problem with distracted thinking…. 🙂

That’s because you’re the same age I am!

I like your fun conversations with Shana, but this time I thought it was kind of “a helping trick”.

Have I ever tried to be helpful?

…pretending that you’re somehow scatterbrained.

My mom is always pretending to be scatterbrained!  And do you know why?  She’s a fan of Gracie Allen!!!!  She loves Gracie Allen!  Once you realize that, everything falls into place!

Gracie Allen 

I hope that this time I correctly understood your explanation about the cards and a queen, and that the “queen” in this case (or as we say, “ace in the hole”) was “allergy to antibiotics in the chicken.”

Exactly!!!!!  Just to show you the degree of this problem of antibiotics in chicken, see below:

(This story is the first in a series called, “Farmaceuticals”.)

By Brian Grow and P.J. Huffstutter

ATLANTA/CHICAGO, Sept 15 (Reuters) – Major U.S. poultry farms are administering antibiotics to their flocks far more pervasively than regulators realize, posing a potential risk to human health.

Internal records examined by Reuters reveal that some of the nation’s largest poultry producers routinely feed chickens an array of antibiotics – not just when sickness strikes, but as a standard practice over most of the birds’ lives.

Yeesh!  Well, Jitka, if antibiotics are the cause, then antibiotics must be the cure!

I dug through the whole of “Murphy’s” to find the right rubric.  In the chapter “Food” I found no rubric on allergy, only in the chapter :
– Diseases – allergic reaction – hives, and swelling, with – 29 remedies.
– Chapter -Skin – rash after scrathing – cca 64 rem
– Chapter -Skin- itching – migratory/wandering – 26 rem.
In all three rubrics is a prominent remedy for itch Sulphur and therefore I think you used Sulphur.

I’m quite sure I did try Sulphur.  But, Miroslav and Jitka, it’s very simple.  When I saw that commercial on TV—which was my “Aha!” moment—I went right for the most obvious remedy in the world!  Did you know that Penicillin is a homeopathic remedy?  It’s in the Materia Medica!  At least it’s in Murphy’s, anyway!  And luckily, for some strange reason, I had Penicillin 30C here!  So that’s what I took, and it’s been a life saver—and by the way, it proves that I really did have an antibiotic rash and it really was the chicken!  I’m always telling people in my articles, “You can’t eat out!” and ironically, the one time I eat out?  Look what happens!!!!!!

Elaine, you were wondering who I was, if possibly we were related.  I wrote once something, but of course among many of your patients, students, colleagues, etc., you can’t remember everybody.  I am your contemporary, I’ll be 65 next month.  I live in Slovakia (part of former Czechoslovakia – EU).  I have never had luck at good teachers of English or Homeopathy; so I mostly learn everything on my own.  I’m also a liberal like you and I´m among your friends on FB and you are among mine.

Dear God!  I know who you are!!!!!  I was just kidding—making fun of my senior status while I still can!

Say hello to Shana for me, she’s a very nice girl.

She is, she truly is!  Well, thanks again Miroslav and Jitka, and try to remember, I really do know who you are!  Oy vey!


Will our next contestant enter and sign in, please?

Hi Elaine!

Hey everybody, Vamsi’s in the house!

I hope you had a great Halloween.  I was at Portsmouth, UK and we had a great time.

Wow!  That’s great!

Back to your wonderful quiz.  Busy with our Diwali festival, but I can’t miss this.

Btw, the new image of Shana looks cute.

Thanks!  She’s apparently joined the Peanuts Gang!  (Setting her sights high, as usual.)

Okay, coming over to the quiz, an intriguing quiz from you again.  Looks like you had to suffer a lot from a rash.

Yes, very demoralizing and distressing!

I see this could be due to the antibiotic which was injected in the chicken.

Actually, Vamsi, they put it in their feed to fatten them up. (Idiots!)

Then it should undoubtedly be “SULPHUR”. ( Allergy due to Antibiotic)

Am I on the right track ?  Do let me know.

I suspect I probably tried Sulphur.  I tried many things.  Typically a remedy would work one or two times and then stop working.  What finally really worked, once I realized it was antibiotics, was Penicillin 30C.

You know, sometimes nothing but the actual thing that caused the complaint will cure it.  This is why finding the etiology is so important!

Feeding animals and vegetable plants with medicines is ruining our lives.  The destructive side of science.

Looks like the old days were much healthier and happier…….

So Penicillin also works for “Reaction due to Antibiotics”?

Vamsi, don’t think of it as having to be in the Repertory.  If you know that something caused something, that’s the remedy!  Never mind what the Materia Medica says about it!  Let’s say you were getting a rash from a steroid anti-inflammatory like Prednisone.  What would the remedy be?  Prednisone 30C!  Let’s say you were getting a rash from the drug Lipitor, what would the remedy be?  Lipitor 30C.  (See my article “How To Make Your Own Remedy”.)  That’s how you have to look at these things.  I don’t know which antibiotics they feed to chickens.  I took Penicillin 30C just hoping it would be right—and because it was HERE in the house!  Certainly nothing else worked!

Does it work for any reaction of antibiotics?

If you’re taking antibiotics and you get a reaction, make a remedy out of your own antibiotic.  That’s the best way.  Thank you, Vamsi!  Well, I think it’s high time we gave a shout-out to all our winners!

Mom, nobody won!  So you can start dinner now.  I would do it, but I’m watching TV.

Oh!  I didn’t realize you were busy!  Well, see you again next time, everybody, for another grand and fabulous Hpathy Quiz!


Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.

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

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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

About the author

Shana Lewis

Shana spices up the Hpathy Quiz with her timely announcements and reviews on the latest in pop culture. Her vast knowledge of music before her time has inspired the nickname: "Shanapedia"!

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