I love Economics. What a way to begin writing an article about Homeopathy! The inspiration for this article comes from our current economic climate and its consequences. As homeopaths we are keenly aware of the relationship between physical symptoms and mental state. As we cope with an era of economic stress, themes emerge that are relevant to our patients.
We are now in what astrologers call the Age of Aquarius. We’ve come from psoric times to sycotic times and now, are we facing the syphilitic? Or have we gone back to psora? Is this a time where we are struggling with the basics of what we need to live, or pining for what was, in the generous times of years gone by?
We hear tales of woe in the media speculating about what will happen next in In the global economic crisis. Many have been forced to think about living day to day and how to put food on the table. People have been forced into jobs they don’t want, but can’t live without. Families have to decide who stays home and who goes to work.
Many have lost jobs and the ones who are left are taking up the slack for the people that are gone. There is more bullying in the workplace, employees being made to feel like they’re lucky to have a job. People feel like failures because they haven’t been able to keep their jobs.
Will it end in the foreseeable future? Are there solutions? Or is this an existential crisis of sorts? These questions are the ones we seek to answer and homeopathy can help!
Depression is a huge theme as is the helplessness that goes with it. Emotional shock and shame are mixed into the pictures that we see in our practices. Here are some themes and related remedies that are emerging in practice.
Humiliation and Failure
People often feel like they have failed. When the success that came so easily in the past is lost, it can be devastating. The loss of livelihood can weigh heavily. Failure has a broader meaning now, as so many businesses have failed. Humiliation and shock may be followed by the need to blame someone or something else, as a kind of self-preservation.
Some remedies in emotional shock
Aconite – Acute shock with trembling and great fear and anxiety accompanied by physical and mental restlessness and acute illnesses that come on very suddenly. Fright, where the patient may “predict the hour of death.”
Arnica – Acute shock where the patient doesn’t want anyone to touch him and keeps saying “I’m Fine!”. Arnica is a great sleeplessness remedy which is often overlooked. It can bring about a sense of calm in a patient where it is called for.
Belladonna – Shock with great restlessness, sometimes accompanied by fever. Glands can be impacted and there can be a sense of dryness internally in the patient – they feel like they’re completely dry inside (because of the heat the remedy picture produces). The remedy in the acute phase has delirium in a fever state, but there are other symptoms that may point to Belladonna such as retention of urine, abdominal distension, greenish or chalky stool, humming in the ears with ear infection and glandular interaction of the glands in the neck and dryness of all the mucous membranes.
Calcarea carbonica – Shock often accompanied by digestive disorders and chilliness. There’s a problem with assimilation in the Calc carb patient, whereby no matter what they eat, the body doesn’t use it properly and they’re always feeling weak and sickly. They get cold easily and have recurrent colds and catarrhal issues. On the mental sphere, they’re anxious and easily frightened (they will start easily if someone suddenly walks into the room). These patients have lots of fears and anxieties in general. They can be quite fastidious and seem organised, but with fixed ideas that can be obsessive. During an anxiety state they try hard to control things. They eventually burn out, because they’re way outside their comfort zone in a fearful place where they can’t interact with the world at large and want to retreat.
Physical symptoms include headache with cold hands and feet; photophobia with eyes tearing, worse for fresh air and wind; nasal polyps and bleeding as well as inflammation of the sinuses with the characteristic stoppage of the mucus membranes; glandular swelling; heart palpitations with feeling of coldness and oppression of the chest. They are sleepless from activity of the mind and are generally worse from mental and physical activity.
Ignatia – Sighing is a common symptom in a patient who needs Ignatia. It’s a remedy used where there is grief with shock. Physical symptoms include rumbling in the bowels or colicky, gripping pains. There can be a feeling of a lump in the throat during recurrent throat infections. These patients can be chilly, but the chill may not be relieved by external heat.
Opium – An important remedy when the effect of the shock is on the nervous system. These patients can be zoned out, not at all within their bodies, disconnected from what has happened – its shock with stupor. The patient wants nothing, or may be delirious. They might be making all kinds of crazy plans for the future. They may experience vomiting with colic and convulsions; retention of urine; stertorous breathing; fever with a low pulse. They’re worse for heat, during and after sleep and better for cold things and constant movement.
Aurum Metalicum – Shame in those who have a strong sense of duty and responsibility. Depression sets in as they feel they are responsible for the situation. They become hopeless, despondent and may have suicidal thoughts. Physical symptoms include heart palpitations, bone pains, violent headaches with vertigo and a roaring in the head. Glandular problems can also be apparent which can cause stitching into the ears and pain on swallowing in tonsillitis.
Ignatia – Shame with a sense of numbness. They blame themselves and think they have done something wrong. This the chief remedy for hysteria according to Willilam Boericke. Their mood is changeable and they are introspected and brooding.
Nux Vom – Shame with anger. They lash out and try to blame others. We all think we know the typical Nux patient. They’re ambitious, determined, competitive, fastidious, ordered and structured. They’re also furious at being reprimanded or criticised. They are completely intolerant of criticism yet they are cited for their ability to criticise. Boericke says that Nux is “pre-eminently the remedy for many of the conditions incident to modern life”. Does that say it all really for these times? We talk about these patients being irritable and nervous but many are very straight forward, get on with things and are very successful leaders in business who derive respect from colleagues, employees and clients. The response to stress in some of these individuals can be a more introverted one, with a sense of disbelief at the situation they find themselves in – partly because they’re not used to being there. Physical manifestations can be headaches over the eyes with vertigo, inflammation in the sinuses, nausea after eating, sore throats that are raw leading to tonsillitis with hoarseness, constipation and sleeplessness after 3am.
Opium – Shame with emotional shock in the picture also. They seem to be in a depressed stupor. Hahnenmann said that it is one of the most difficult of remedies to determine when it is required. There is a general sluggishness and lack of vital reaction.
Staphysagria – Shame with indignation where the patient may feel angry and humiliated.
Argentum Nitricum – He has feelings of failure and anxiety felt in the stomach, in particular. Arg Nit acts largely on the nervous system and mucous membranes, producing violent inflammation of the throat and ulcerated mucous membranes. There’s a characteristic desire for sweets, along with flatulence and acidity. They may think that everything they do will fail. They may have weak memory, feel time passes too slowly, and are apprehensive about their health, fearing they will die of some incurable disease. They are nervous, impulsive and hurried yet timid and anxious. They have lots of phobias like crowds, narrow spaces, high buildings and, of course, fear of failure. They come across as coming to strange conclusions and can be obstinate in their unusual perceptions. Sometimes it seems like they will make objections just for the sake it.
Aurum Metalicum – Feeling of failure with bleak despair, suicidal thoughts and great depression.
Nux Vomica – Failure with humiliation. They may turn to stimulants such as alcohol or drugs in anger and vexation.
Silica – Feelings of failure with a sense of inadequacy where self-esteem is vitally diminished and they fear that no matter what they do, they won’t succeed. They are discouraged and fatigued by the disappointment. The remedy is indicated for shy anxious individuals who can be very sensitive, both physically and mentally. They find it hard to stand up for themselves as they perceive themselves to be a bit weak mentally and physically. They are often exhausted from the ongoing mental and emotional strain. Physical manifestations include sinusitis and sciatica. Skin disorders can be a feature such as boils, abscesses and ulcers. Tonsillitis can be common as well as digestive disorders such as constipation (the classic shy stool is characteristic in constipation where the stool is partially expelled and then seems to go back into the rectum). These patients don’t have a huge appetite, can become easily chilled and are very sensitive to the cold.
Veratrum Album – sense of failure with loss of money and position. They are angry and humiliated by the loss of position and power.
I’ve heard so many stories of people in horrendous situations at work where they are being bullied daily, with unkind remarks, rudeness and constant undermining behaviour. Depending on the individual here this can lead to different responses. Some become angry and resentful, others will internalise and try and amend their own behaviour. Common physical responses are headaches including migraines, stomach and digestive disorders including irritable bowel syndrome and disturbed sleep where this is out of the ordinary, including early waking.
Silica – The patients are very sensitive, both physically and mentally and they find it hard to stand up for themselves, as they perceive themselves to be weak mentally and physically.
Lycopodium – For Lycopodium to be a choice here there must really be some digestive disorder. That can be anything from diarrhoea or constipation to irritable bowel syndrome and everything in between. They are the intellectual types who get bullied at work and constantly think about it and can’t quite understand why it’s happening to them. It affects their self-esteem and they can become quite introverted, solitary, seething and brooding.
Staphysagria – This remedy is indicated in angrier patients. They display much more irritability, are more sensitive to rudeness and indignant about the situation. They can have passionate outbursts of anger or violence. It comes about from the fact that ultimately they are sensitive about how others perceive them. Physical manifestations are cutting pains and headaches where the brain feels squeezed by the skull; toothache and sinusitis where the pain can be felt in the teeth; crave tobacco and other stimulants; cystitis with ineffectual urging and a feeling of pressure in the area of the bladder with burning during urination. They are always worse for anger, indignation, grief and stimulants.
Excessive or harsh criticism or reprimand that is on-going can be used by individuals as a means of controlling others. People who are sensitive in general or sensitive to reprimand or criticism can also perceive constructive criticism as negative. Studies have shown that an email reprimand by a senior employee to a less senior employee can have an impact on blood pressure.
Ignatia – These people swallow criticism and reprimand and don’t say what they think. They bottle it up and get sore throats with stitching into the ears, cramps in the stomach with rumbling (may be confused with Lyc).
Nux Vomica – They’re furious at being reprimanded or criticised. They are completely intolerant of criticism, yet they are cited for their ability to criticise.
Silica – These people are sensitive to criticism and reprimand as they find it very difficult to express themselves in that situation.
Staphysagria – These peoples will tell you afterwards what they should have said. They go over and over it in their heads as they kick themselves mentally and emotionally for not having said what they should have said. But, when the situation arises again, they will still be reluctant to tell it as it is!
People are worried about keeping their businesses afloat and keeping their jobs.
Bryonia appears in the front-runner here for sinusitis and stress and tension headaches. There seems to be a little epidemic of sinus problems, so musty mention Bryonia here. The characteristic pains are everywhere – even the bed feels too hard. But lying on the painful side helps! The patient is irritable, grumpy, worried about work and doesn’t want to be sick, as he wants to go back to work.
What people fear in this economic crisis are uncertainty in financial matters, in their jobs, even about where they should keep their money. Fear can be underlie any of the themes we have looked at above and can be concomitant in any of the above scenarios. In case-taking, fears can be extremely helpful as a guide to the remedy. They can highlight the distinguishing features in a case.
Final Tips and Tricks
I once went to a seminar on Tissue Salts and the one liner that sticks in my mind from that day is: “You can run a practice on Combination B tissue salts”. Combination B is for stress and fatigue is like rocket fuel. It consists of Ferrum Phos, Calc Phos and Kali phos., Let it be nowhere more than ten feet from any stressed out patient at any time!
Spectrum – this is the colour remedy that encompasses all the colours and is great for general fatigue that arises from all stressful life challenges. It can help to balance the chakras and allow patients to reach a sense of calm and ease that can be so far from their grasp at times.
Transitions – I want to mention Ind. Essences Poppy and Sunflower. These are wonderful essences for the transition periods in our lives, as we try to let go of the past and embrace the new challenges of the future however fearful they seem.
Of course we have to mention Bach flower essence Rescue Remedy – little drops of heaven to banish anxiety in an instant. A friend of mine never has it far from her bed-side locker and uses it when she wakes in the middle of the night to help her settle back to restful sleep.
Psorinum comes to mind strongly as the theme here is worry about money and financial matters. They love to wear hats (SRP – they feel better wearing a hat). They’re chilly – this is one of the chilliest remedies in the repertory. There can be lots of anxiety, foreboding, constant thoughts of dying, the business is prosperous but he thinks he’s going to be poor – they really have a huge fear of poverty.