Homeopathy Papers

A Warning on Lycopodium

Dr. Pierre Schmidt shares his warning on Lycopodium and presents two case summaries, acute cholecystitis and right sided sore throat, to illustrate

Reprinted from: The Art of Casetaking by Pierre Schmidt  – Courtesy B. Jain Publishing ISBN 978-81-319-02448

Today, I shall discuss the art of interrogation but first I shall mention one or two points about homoeopathic treatment. The remedy you select may be of mineral or vegetable or animal origin or a nosode. If you are considering a mineral remedy, before giving a mineral remedy, please try to begin the treatment of your case always with a vegetable remedy.

There is only one exception to this rule and that is Lycopodium. It is a vegetable remedy but please generally avoid beginning the treatment of a case with Lycopodium. With Lycopodium it is the experience of the old homoeopaths – it is so deep in action, like Sulphur and Calcarea, comprising the 3 big remedies of our materia medica – that when you begin with such a remedy you create a turmoil and you may have sometimes an aggravation that you do not wish, so sharp.

And so, you have to be cautious not to begin with Lycopodium unless it is absolutely indicated. I make also an exception there, because all remedies in the materia medica have two phases – an acute phase and a chronic phase. We have an acute Sulphur, an acute Lycopodium, an acute Arsenic and so on. Sometimes, even a deep acting remedy may be indicated for a short while in an inflammation or something of that kind but it has to be prescribed carefully.

I remember a friend in Lyons who made two mistakes. In the first case, the patient was a lady doctor who had a very high temperature. It was 43’C. She had at the same time a crisis of acute cholecystitis and pneumonia, and she was delirious and in a very bad state.

She had received all kinds of remedies and at last the doctor had given her Lycopodium. In the acute phase with cholecystitis and lung trouble it is such a risk. At the moment when the patient is trying to help herself, to give the remedy so deep in action is dangerous, of course.

The result was very quick — the delirium became worse, she could not recognise any one, and she was in such a bad state with high fever, trembling and sometimes with semi- convulsions that a priest was called in to give her benediction before she died.

And at this time we were asked to see the lady. I go every month to Lyons which is some 200 miles from Geneva, to deliver lectures to 40 to 42 physicians there and this was one of my students in Lyons. So I said the only thing to do now is to antidote the Lycopodium.

Of course, Lycopodium was her own drug but especially because it has an action on the liver, you know, it aggravated the case. She had terrible pains, she was shrieking, she was in a really bad state. Now she was extremely agitated, she was very red in the face, she did not know what she was saying.

And with this high fever, she was also very thirsty. So I thought the best thing is to give Aconite 10,000 first and then wait and see what we can do. Then she began to recover a little consciousness, she began to pray and she said to us: “Now I wish to pray with you” and she was always speaking of praying.

So with this high fever, this agitation, this praying, it was typically Stramonium. So we gave a 10,000 of Stramonium two days after the Aconite and this moved us a little towards a better situation. But, when we came to see her after the Stramonium, she still had a very high fever because of the lung condition.

It seems that the pain in the liver was a little better but she was extremely nervous and stood up with a 42C fever to tell us : “Oh, I do not know why you are coming. I am extremely well. I have nothing, no trouble. I am cured. I thank you very much. You are very kind. But there is no need to come now,” and so on, but she did not realise that she was so sick.

This is typical indication, as you know, of Arnica. So we gave her Arnica 10,000. She rallied very beautifully and started bringing out some Lycopodium symptoms, probably she had had too much of Lycopodium.

But by and by we could see she was better and after about two weeks she was again on her feet, cured. And now it is three years she is quite well. She was very pleased. It had been a mistake to give her Lycopodium at that moment.

In the second case, the son of this physician, who had given the Lycopodium had a sore throat, which began on the right side and went to the left, with a very dry mouth. He was very thirsty with a very bloated stomach and he was asking for water all the time.

He was, I do not know why, having irritation in the throat. The throat had one or two little white patches, and was very red with no ulceration, but he had terrible pain on swallowing. He could not swallow. There were some indications for Lycopodium and so his father gave him Lycopodium.

But in such situations, you should rarely begin treatment with Lycopodium. Please generally begin with something else. You can give Aconite, you can give Bryonia, Belladonna, Pulsatilla, any remedy in the vegetable kingdom except Lycopodium.

So, he was growing worse, not better, and day after day the fever went up, he was not able to swallow a little even and he was emaciating. The father was anxious, the mother was worried and they were not at all pleased. So, I came and I looked at the case and I must say frankly that by taking the symptoms carefully I found it was a plain case of Lycopodium. Now what to do?

We waited three days and were watching the case. I thought of many things to do. I thought I would do what Hahnemann did for the rest of his life. There is a way to give a remedy which is less harmful and less reaction-making — that is by inhalation.

So, we gave Lycopodium but not the 200th which had been given already but one inhalation of the 10,000th because he had had it already lower. So I gave him just one nice whiff, one little inhalation. But now, how do you apply the inhaling method?

Hahnemann said, take one single globule of poppy seed size in a clean new bottle, not a washed bottle in which something else had been kept but a new fresh bottle that has never known any remedy, which is absolutely virginal. In this you put some drops of the potency in alcohol, and you hold this under the nose — one good inspiration there and you stop.

You must realise that you are actually inundating the system with the medicinal energy. You are putting this on a surface of 81 square metres which is the total lung surface. In the evening the fever went down and the next day the boy was completely cured. His fever had been going on for 4 days, you know, and now in a very short time he was cured. This is an exception of an acute Lycopodium case. So I tell you, habitually, pay attention to Lycopodium and do not give it very easily.

About the author

Pierre Schmidt

Pierre Schmidt M.D.(1894-1987)
Dr. Schmidt was introduced to the results of homeopathic treatment during the 1918 flu epidemic while living in London. There he met both J. H. Clarke and John Weir. In 1922 he came to the United States and began his studies with Alonzo Austin and Frederica Gladwin, who had been a pupil of Kent's. He became the first graduate of the American Foundation for Homeopathy course for doctors. Returning to his native land he set up practice in Geneva, Switzerland. He was responsible for reintroducing classical homeopathy into Europe, teaching several generations of physicians, including Elizabeth Wright Hubbard. Dr. Schmidt helped edit the "Final General Repertory" of Kent, and translated the Organon into French. In 1925, he was one of the main founders of the Liga Medicorum Homoeopathic Internationalis (LIGA).


  • Please don’t frighten inexperienced prescribers with this sort of article. I have given Lycopodium many many times as a first prescription and don’t recall producing a single aggravation. I’m not saying that it can’t happen but I believe the issue here is more to do with potency than the remedy.

  • It is good to know about the aggravation effects of any remedy. Although I wish to confirm that I have used for myself and for my patients lycopodium in 6 and 30 potency many a times with good results especially for lower abdomn gas and for travel phobia away from home and for stage fright. I think use of higher potency for chronic ailments should be left to the Doctors.

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