Homeopathy Papers

Heavy-Hitters in Insanity

Written by Elaine Lewis

In insanity cases, the same remedies seem to pop up over and over again. Here are 5 of our most often prescribed remedies with emphasis on what differentiates one from the other.

In insanity cases, the same remedies seem to pop up over and over again.  As a friend of ours recently noted on the Hpathy.com Discussion Forum when asking for help for a friend with uncontrollable rages, “The problem is, he looks like all these remedies!”  We finally settled on Hyoscyamus because he spent hours in front of the mirror picking his face.  (Hyoscyamus is known for “picking” gestures.)

I know, I know; shouldn’t we be prescribing on something more substantial?  What about violence, shrieking, cursing, destruction of property?  Well, that’s what our friend meant when she said he had all of those things—all the common symptoms of insanity; how to choose the right remedy? Answer: The peculiar symptom!

The following are 5 of our most often prescribed remedies in insanity with emphasis on what differentiates one from the other; in other words, their peculiar or characteristic symptoms:

STRAMONIUM (Stink-weed)

High energy and intensity are striking in this remedy.  VIOLENCE or fear of violence.  Night is a good time to look for Stramonium symptoms because they are AFRAID OF THE DARK, they are worse at night and may need ALL THE LIGHTS ON; a hall light or night light may not be enough. NIGHT TERRORS–shrieking in sleep, tossing and turning, sitting up and not knowing anyone, terrified, doesn’t remember the event the next morning.  What would cause this state in a person? High fever, a stroke, Meningitis, a recent FRIGHT or a fright they’ve never gotten over, sunstroke, dog bites, head injury, rabies, alcoholism, etc.

Other Stramonium symptoms are:
Ceaseless talking.
Fear of tunnels.
Desire to escape.
Eyes staring wide; eyes half open during sleep.
Face–expression of terror.
Believes he is possessed by the devil.
There is a peculiar absence of pain where pain would be normal.

RAVING MANIA, super-human strength, dilated pupils, red face, violent rages, manic-depression.

Biting, striking, strangling.

Fear of water—sight of running water, sound of water, GETTING THE HEAD WET in the shower or the pool, shining objects, reflecting objects, glittering objects, animals, dogs, mirrors, disease, ghosts, suffocation, claustrophobia, death, anything like death, such as the color black or cemetaries, etc.


STAMMERING.  Makes explosive efforts to get the first syllable out.

Grimmacing, twitches.
Hallucinations: sees wild animals coming at him, sees ghosts, talks to spirits, hears voices.

(All the insanity remedies seem to have religious affections — praying, talking to God, believing he is some great religious figure, etc., so, we can’t really use this feature to differentiate among these remedies.)


LACHESIS (the Bushmaster snake)

Intense people, egotistical, arrogant.  This remedy is especially associated with an excessive use of alcohol.
LOCQUACIOUS, jumping from one subject to another.  Patient TALKS a lot and talks LOUD!  (But, in a sense, most of these remedies talk loud.  Hyoscyamus talks loud, but, no one talks as much as Lachesis.)
Lachesis knows how to strike at the weak points of others and devastate them; sarcastic wit.  Think of the sharp teeth of the snake and how they will suddenly STRIKE, taking the victim completely off guard!

JEALOUS and envious.  Very POSSESSIVE.  SUSPICIOUS that the partner is cheating.  The Lachesis spouse will listen in on the wife’s phone conversations, go through her personal papers, have her followed, watch her carefully when she’s with other men, and finally will make an outrageous statement, like, “I know you’re seeing Howie Flurgg!”  The wife will say, “I don’t even like Howie Flurgg!”  But eventually it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy; the wife will get fed up and leave, but she’ll have to call the police to get her husband, the snake, away from her!

Suspicious in general of everyone’s intentions, which can escalate into PARANOIA.  Suspicious of you, the remedy, and probably will refuse to take the remedy, will suspect you of trying to POISON him.  As Lachesis is a venom, look for them to have a big issue with poisoning, fear of being poisoned, etc.

Snake venom causes the victim to hemorrhage, so, think of BLEEDING problems in Lachesis patients, such as nose bleeds or history of nose bleeds.  In fact, think of disturbances of the blood –the vascular system, the cardio-vascular system: HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, heart disease, hot flashes of menopause.

DISCHARGES AMELIORATE.  That means that the headache will improve with a nasal discharge, or PMS will get better when the menstrual flow starts.  Any discharge may make the person feel better; conversely, stopping normal discharges will aggravate a Lachesis person.

Think of THE COLOR PURPLE.  Problems on the skin will have a bluish/purplish/black appearance — ulcers, boils, blisters, swellings, and the color of the sore throat will be purplish.

Think of how a snake can be completely controlled by being grabbed around the THROAT; therefore, Lachesis cannot bear TIGHT collars or tight clothes in general.  I was fooled once by a Lachesis.  I missed the remedy because the person wore very tight clothes; but what I didn’t know was, she took them off the minute she got home, it was only for fashion!  Find out what your patient wears when they can wear anything they want.  Similarly, the Lachesis person cannot tolerate any “tight” or “restricting” situations!  For example, working under authority, having to adhere to a schedule, having to answer to someone, having to follow orders.

They may be angry, aggressive, sarcastic, hate-filled, vengeful.

SLEEP is not their friend!  Sleep is a very bad time for Lachesis!  They may have insomnia, may resist going to bed, or they may wake worse than they were before they went to sleep.  May prefer to sleep in the chair; and they don’t sleep for very long either.  Waking with a feeling of SUFFOCATION is a common complaint of Lachesis.  Again, issues of the throat — a sensitive area for Lachesis.

LEFT-SIDED complaints, or complaints that start on the left and move to the right.

Lachesis people are hot and better from cool/cold open air and cold drinks.

Fear of heart attacks, suffocating, or SNAKES, or may really like snakes and think they’re interesting.  I knew a Lachesis person once.  He said he had such an aversion to snakes that he couldn’t even bear to watch them on TV, like on a nature show. 

They may have a fear that they’re being followed, delusion: someone is behind them.

Tendency to alcoholism — another poison.

Mania, aggression, loud speech. 

These are men who will suspect the girl friend or wife of cheating, have her followed, listen in on her phone conversations, and possibly end up killing her in a jealous rage!

They prefer not to sleep on their left side.

Aversion to touch or pressure.

Trouble with SWALLOWING, especially empty swallowing or swallowing water, better swallowing food.  You’ll see this if they complain of a sore throat.  They’ll say it’s easier for them to swallow food than water.

Issues with the tongue — may not be able to extend it outwards, may have a tremor, may catch on the teeth or lower lip.

Ailments that come on after jealousy, better from cold open air.

Cold hands and feet.
The greatest danger from Lachesis is when they’ve been drinking, at which time they may fly into a jealous, murderous rage.



Loquacious and suspicious and JEALOUS like Lachesis.  The etiology for this state may be disappointed love.  (Mrs. Hyoscyamus may end up calling the police too, just like Mrs. Stramonium!)
Mania, rage, aggression, increased strength.  Delusion he will be poisoned.  Delusion he is pursued by the police.  Delusion he sees ghosts and spirits.

Fear of poison, dogs, animals, WATER.

Ability or desire to kill.  Mania and rage; desire to break things.  Attempts to escape.

Like Lachesis, may have trouble swallowing liquids.

What Hyoscyamus is well known for is: LEWDNESS, LOUD (inappropriate) LAUGHTER, NUDITY, undressing in public, SHAMELESSNESS, CURSING, WILD TALKING, dancing, SILLY AND FOOLISH behavior, making strange gestures, restless fingers, “PICKING” at things — picking anything — imaginary things in the air, picking at the bedspread, the clothing, and so on.



Sleepless from mental agitation, nightmares.

Just as suspicious as Lachesis, fear of being poisoned.

Talks rapidly, changes subjects often, laughs immoderately, rolls on the ground, dances, gesticulates, and in general behaves wildly and shamelessly.

In the Repertory, “Mind: insanity, crazy person, behaves like a” — Hyoscyamus is the only “3” in this rubric (which means the only remedy in Bold).


ANACARDIUM (Marking Nut)

The idea in this remedy is a DIVIDED self, or the idea of being separate; separate from the family or group, separate from society — doesn’t fit in; and in general, two selves divided.  He might be described as a DEVIL by some and an ANGEL by others who aren’t aware of  his other side.  He might believe that he is possessed by the devil.  He may say that he HEARS VOICES and the voices tell him to do bad things.  He may sense the presence of “others” or another, where no one is there. The remedy itself in it’s physical form is a nut (no pun intended) that is very sweet on the inside and hard and caustic on the outside, which very aptly explains this remedy — hard, as in no feeling for the suffering of others or the suffering that he may cause.  These are the people who can be very CRUEL TO ANIMALS.

The Anacardium person may be someone who was pressured by domineering parents to become something the parents could be proud of.  Unable to achieve this, he has both ANGER and LOW SELF ESTEEM. 

His most often repeated phrase may be “I HATE…!”  (“I hate my life, I hate school, I hate everyone…” and so on.)

There is a lot of CURSING, SHOUTING, acting in CRUEL and malicious ways, especially if he’s a child or adolescent who’s been beaten and ABUSED in childhood, which is frequently the etiology for this remedy.  Some important characteristic symptoms of this remedy are:

INDECISION.  Consistent with his divided self, he finds deciding between one thing and another next to impossible and exasperating.

POOR MEMORY.  These are people who have to read the same paragraph over and over again before any of it sinks in.  May avoid the company of others because of feeling “different”.

EATING AMELIORATES ALL COMPLAINTS.  Whether it’s fever or headache or a fit of rage, eating will calm this person down and make him feel better.

There may be a propensity to say the opposite of what he intended, or write the opposite of what he meant, or do the opposite of what he meant to do… again, the theme of opposing forces struggling to hold sway.


NUX VOMICA (Poison Nut)

Kuchla seeds strychnine tree for sale (Strychnos nux vomica)

Nux Vomica is Latin for “poison nut”.  The key words for this remedy are: OVER-SENSITIVE to all impressions, OVER-ACHIEVING and NEED FOR STIMULATION.  When you think about it, everything that’s wrong with Nux Vomica springs from here.  Let’s start with over-achieving.

This is not your remedy for timidity and low self-esteem!  Nux Vomica sees what he wants, has a goal, and goes after it; nothing can stop Nux Vomica!  These people are focused!  Just try and stop them — you can’t!  These are football players who plow their way into the end zone, they don’t care if they get hurt or who’s in their way!  They want power, they want their way, and they’re never wrong — according to them.  They don’t shrink from confrontation, in fact they welcome it — just itching for a fight!  In fact, they may “start something” if the scene they’re occupying is too bland!  This is because of their need for STIMULATION (which may explain their desire for SPICY FOOD — in fact, their lives are anything but bland!)  They crave stimulation, challenges.  Their idea of relaxing is to TAKE ON MORE WORK!  (“OCCUPATION AMELIORATES”)

But this constant need for stimulation can be problematic.  The Nux Vomica “family man” simply can’t be content in a tranquil, peaceful home.  Such bland surroundings would irritate him immensely.  So Mr. Nux Vomica finds fault with everything and everyone in his home:  Dinner wasn’t served on time!  Someone’s sitting in his chair and messing it up!  And if Mr. Nux Vomica has a drinking problem (and he probably does) look out!  They have a fiery temper — so angry they could kill!  EXPLOSIONS!  OUTBURSTS!  This is the house where the wife and the kids are walking on egg shells because they don’t know what’s going to set Dad off next!  And after he’s got everyone in the house crying and screaming, he’ll have the nerve to say, “Shh! I need to be quiet!”  What????   (OVERSENSITIVITY, easily irritated)  And the family is like, Yes!  Please be quiet!  That would be a welcome change!

Because of all of Mr. Nux Vomica’s bad habits — his overwork, lack of sleep, use of drugs and coffee and alcohol (STIMULANTS), his nerves are frayed!  He can’t tolerate interruptions, he can’t tolerate noise; in fact, in order to work, he must have COMPLETE QUIET!  And by that I mean, the television can’t be on anywhere in the house!  To go to sleep, Mr. Nux Vomica needs absolute QUIET!  Odors also bother him.  In fact, any DISHARMONY in the environment at all is intolerable.  He says, “My house is a constant irritation to me!”

Everything he does is done perfectly and systematically with attention to detail and efficiency, and don’t you try to help because you won’t know how—according to him!  He can’t delegate authority because everyone is so incompetent!  He won’t even let the family order in a restaurant.  If the wife orders fish, he’ll say, “You don’t want the fish.  The fish isn’t good here.  Let me handle this.  Waiter, my wife will have the roast beef.”

With all the drugs and coffee and alcohol, it should come as no surprise that Mr. Nux Vomica’s digestive system is too toxic to function.  It doesn’t eliminate.  He tends to be constipated, he has heartburn, does a lot of burping, has a lot of bloating, unbuckles his belt after a meal.

Morning is a very bad time for him.  He may wake feeling very toxic and he’s not going to really feel good until the evening.  I’m trying to think of famous Nux vomicas….

Archie Bunker

Archie Bunker

George Jefferson

Mr. Jefferson

Ralph Kramden

Ralph Kramden

Lou Grant

Lou Grant


Here are some confirmatory symptoms for Nux Vomica:

CHILLY and worse least draft of air.
Desires rich, fatty food, red meat, cigarettes, alcohol, coffee, spicy.
CHARACTER CHANGES FROM USE OF DRUGS AND ALCOHOL, and we don’t necessarily mean illegal drugs; Rx drugs are a problem for Nux Vomica too.
Domestic violence.
twitching and trembling.  Spasms.
INSOMNIA, waking at 3 AM.
SYMPATHETIC, because of their sensitivity, can empathize with the pain of others.  Can’t tolerate cruelty to animals.  Can’t bear to see suffering.
Kindness with spells of angry outbursts
Loves to take charge
Tenesmus–wants to but can’t: Wants to urinate but can’t, nauseous but can’t vomit, etc.
Reverse parastalsis–stool seems to be moving the wrong way!

I wish you a family full of Calc-carbs!

10 Life Lessons We Learned From Charlie Brown


Elaine Lewis, DHom, CHom

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

Visit her website: https://ElaineLewis.hpathy.com

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:
https://elainelewis.hpathy.com/ and TheSilhouettes.org


  • This article provides a detailed and helpful picture of the 5 remedies considered. However, I find it a bit risky to keep the list as short as the author has chosen to. It is difficult to address the subject of insanity and leave out such remedies as Kali bromatum, Cannabis indica, and Anhalonium, for example. I think the article points to a need for a more exhaustive volume on the homeopathic treatment of disorders which primarily effect the mental processes. “Insanity” per se, means little in today’s world of hyper-sophisticated DSM oriented diagnosis. It would be useful for one such as myself to know more about smaller remedies, which, based on recent theory, ought to be more useful, even if they have not yet been proven. These would include many of the lesser Bromatums, such as Calc brom, Nat brom, mag brom or baryta brom. Although one might suspect cocainum to be a big remedy for true bipolar disorder, I rarely see a case of it published. The literature needs to be greatly enriched in the area of mental pathology.

  • Teste quotes HAHNEMANN 33 percent lunatics covered under VERATRUM used by ancients in crude form purge out mania.thermal response is more imp in maniacs Lache vertex hot burn Veratum vertex icy cold inside brain burning squeezes own intestines craze even eat street dung icy water thirst as if stomach on fire.

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