“People use mental models to explain how things work. The model is not reality, it is simply one way of describing how we see reality, based upon the totality of our observations and experiences. As we add to our understanding, we often need to refine our models to reflect this new view or reality“.
To begin a story about Stramonium without having an insight into Hercus’s perspective on the remedy and the cycles would be absurd. We can’t upgrade anything without its base. Paul Herscu invites us to build further on his insights by defining a way in which we should work – to refine our models to reflect this new view of reality.
When we analyse the symptoms of the patient in order to find a homeopathic remedy, many of us fall back on aphorism §153 of the Organon, …the most striking, strange, unusual, peculiar signs and symptoms in the case are especially, almost exclusively, the ones to which close attention should be given… And by making this choice, we settle for a middle ground. We are no longer paying attention to the whole patient, but rather to a part (Herscu.P, 1996.)
So this time, in order to get new insights into the case, let’s pay attention to the symptoms that are not striking, strange, unusual, peculiar, as well as the ones that we ignored in the past just because they were hard to understand and we haven’t seen them as parts of the bigger picture, even though we see them a lot in our practice. Let’s start with the case.
A man, 62, long-term heart patient, a diabetic, for the past 20 years on insulin, asthma. Former alcoholic. Over 50 years of smoking history. His legs are blue and swollen, skinny, abdomen swollen.
Case was taken 21.1.2015. Dijagnoza je uspostavljena 28.12.2014.
R91, Pulmo ad diagnosticam abnormalis;
Infiltratio pulmonis sinistri;
Meta in LGE mediastini susp;
J44 Morbus pulmonis obstructivus chronicus alius Diabetes Mellitus tip II;
St. post IM par. Anterioris aa XVI;
St. post PCI cum impl. Stenti No I in ACXI;
Cardiomyopathia ischaemica dilatativa decomp.;
Macroangiopathia et polyneuropathia diabetica;
Nephropathiadiabetica; Insuff. Renum chr. GR 2-3;
It was terminal phase, prognosis that he has about 6 months of life left.
His son asked me for help. His wife was in the last months of her pregnancy with their third child at the moment. Their children were going through puberty. His father in the terminal phase, his mother psychotic for a long period of time, his pregnant and mentally unstable wife and 2 kids all started living together in the small apartment because the patient wanted to be near the doctors and he moved from countryside to the city. The patient rarely left the apartment and the overall situation was heavy.
When I entered their apartment, the patient’s wife helped him to come to the livingroom and sit down. He could barely walk. When he finally sat down, he harshly pushed his wife away. She found her place at the most distant corner of the room, started staring outside the window and looked like she’s not with us anymore. The patient had a voice so quiet, I barely heard his words. He was avoiding eye contact. I asked him how can I help.
Patient: “There is not much help for me. I have trouble sleeping. I spend my nights sitting and thinking, then I fall into some dreams. I feel like I’m falling. I wake up every night around 12.10. Then I take a nap for half an hour. I get up at 5 in the morning and make myself a tea. I think about the ways to fight with myself, to ignore the illness. I struggle to master psychology. I have previous experience, when I had heart problems, asthma and diabetes. I’m certain that I will win again. I don’t want to give up. It’s only up to me and my psychology how well will I manage to ignore the pain and the illness. I’m taking diclofen, they also gave me patches for killing the pain. They told me that there is no cure for me because my heart works only 25% and they can’t give me any therapy. If there is something I should try, I’ll try it myself.
I sometimes feel nervous when there is too much happening around me, like slaming the doors, a crowd… otherwise I’m very disciplined. The thing I mind the most is being in Belgrade right now, instead of being in the nature. I have diabetes, heart problems and asthma. Having cancer was a shock for me, but I didn’t alow it to make me jump out of the track. I have the power to get through this. I want to fight. I prayed to God for my health earlier, but I stopped because, if he is true, he wouldn’t let me suffer this much. Maybe I carry someone else’s sin? I’ve been thinking about my sin and I realised that it doesn’t exist. I never killed no one, never mistreated anyone, never took anyone’s property.
I’ve been explaining myself that I have to stay strong, that there has to be cure for every disease. The hardest thing for me is to be traped inside these four walls and these horrible weather changes.
I have a feeling that the cancer stoped growing, eventhough they told me that it is galloping. I stopped taking insulin. The nights are the hardest because of insomnia.I was a smoker for 50 years. When I started coughting and choking, I quit smoking easilly. There were no problems.
Beldam (that is how he calls his wife) gets on my nerves because she has troubles hearing and I have to repeat everything for a hundred times, but she’s not bad enough for me to strike her. Insomnia is killing me because it makes me nervous. Give me something that can make me sleep better”.
His son told me that the patient used to be a cheerful, friendly man, loved by his friends and was always ready to have fun, going to the bar and hanging out.
I asked the patient what he longed for the most. He looked in the distance and it was obvious that the memories were going through his mind. His look became lustfuland shameless. Although his son and wife were in the room he answered: “Women… I miss being able to have all those women“. His wife was sitting in silence, with dull expression on her face, looking through the window.
Terminal cases themselves are hard, and with a lot of pathology and states of high intensity, they add even more pressure on homeopaths by expecting them to make a miracle. Often, we will search for the remedies for palliation in the rubrics DESPAIR; FEAR; death of; FEAR suffering of, RESIGATION… Once in awhile the person has hope, searches for some rare remedy, treatment or something like that, or is trying to understand why he/she got sick.
Even though he says that there is not much hope in the first sentence, he pretty fast lifted his own spirit from that state. So this case doesn’t belong to either of those two categories. Through the entire story, we can feel the patient’s attitude towards his illness, like he is going to cure himself with the power of will, his psychology (it’s wrong to use the term psyche). He will convince himself that he is healthy, and his illness will disappear, because there is a cure for every illness as he says, ”I have to ignore it and it will go away“, his strategy for fighting. a galloping cancer… a small thing for him. The attitude ”I am stronger than my illness, I can beat every illness“, has it’s rubrics in repertory:
MIND – DELUSIONS – power – diseases; he had power over all
MIND – DELUSIONS – small – things – appear small; things
To this, we can add the rubric EGOTISM, meaning having too much belief in himself and his abilities.
MIND – EGOTISM
He claims that he managed to beat the heart disease, asthma and the diabetes all by himself, even though it is obvious that he didn’t. Neither had had done his own heart surgery, nor did he feel well after it. He regularly takes medicines for asthma. For the past 20 years he has been taking insulin injections – how did he beat the diabetes then? He claims that he can cure the cancer with the power of his will, that he feels like the cancer stopped growing, and all that he want’s from me is a remedy which will help him sleep better.
He doesn’t believe in God. He used to belive along time ago, he used to pray, and then he gave up, because if the God was true, he wouldn’t let him suffer that much. Now he decided to solve his problems himself.
“Maybe I carry someone else’s sin? I’ve been thinking about my sin and I realised that it doesn’t exist. I never killed anyone, never mistreated anyone, never took anyone’s property“, he says. His perception of sin is that if he didn’t kill or mistreat anyone, and didn’t take anyone’s property, he is clean of sins. There’s nothing wrong in him.
MIND – DELUSIONS – pure; she is
His wife had obviously learnt how she has to be obedient to avoid being beaten. She wasn’t supposed to get on his nervs much. He however didn’t think that he was physicaly or mentaly abusing his her.
MIND – STRIKING – rage; with
He was using the wrong words while talking. For example, istead of psyche he said psychology, istead of “I have a sick heart“ he said “I have a heart“, “I should ignore the illness“ instead of “I should convince myself“…
MIND – MISTAKES; making – speaking, in – words – wrong words; using
To sum up, his heart is working at 25 % of capacity, he has asthma, an insulin dependant diabetes and galloping cancer. What is he thinking about? About women. With a lustful face expression.
MIND – LASCIVIOUS
MIND – DELIRIUM – erotic
MIND – SHAMELESS
The case is terminal, the intensity of the symptoms is very high, and the patient’s energy low, so I decided to start with the prescription of 30C potency once a week.
The remedy showed effects very fast. He managed to sleep better during the first night after taking it, and he was less nervous, more tolerant and more independent. He started leaving the apartment little by little. He got stronger every day. Three weeks later, his daughter in law gave birth to a little boy. He stayed in the city to see his grandson, and then went back home to the countryside with his wife. The winter was comming to an end, so it wasn’t that cold and heavy. He enjoyed walking through the fields and down the village streets. His son said how it is so hard to believe now that his father is going to die soon. He was getting better and better. I don’t have the information whether he continued taking the insulin injections.
He passed away unexpectedly around the middle of April. He noticed a wound on his arm and didn’t know how and when he got it. He scratched it, and it got inflamed. The local medicals gave him injections of antibiotics, the third day he passed away peacefully in his home, in his toilet, conscious and mobile till the very end. On the death certificate it was written that the cause of his death was sepsis.
This is the case of a high quality palliation. We can conclude that the Stramonium covered the totallity of the symptoms of this patient, and that the simillimum was reached
Doctor Kent says that if the patient suffers his whole from only one disease and that is the one he was born with, it progresses during his life and changes the ways in which it manifastes from smaller to heavy consequences. This patient got his remedy too late to be healed with it. On the other hand, he got it at the right time to help him spend the last weeks of his life peacefully and with dignity. Fortunately, most of our patients have some mental state and are not in the terminal phases.
Let’s take a look at what are the caracteristics of this case. First of all is the feeling of power over every illness, and believing that he only has to convince himself.
Religious affectation – too occupied by religion
This is the well known caracteristic of Stramonium who reads the Bible the whole day, prays and has the delusion that he is comunicating with God. How is that not seen in this case? He mentions God and he mentions praying, but also he mentions something else. He says that he doesn’t believe in God anymore, that God betrayed him because he used to pray and God allowed his suffering. He decided to solve his own problems with the power of will.
The delusion that he will beat his illness with a willpower.
MIND – REFUSING – medicine; to take the
MIND – DELUSIONS – power – diseases; he had power over all
MIND – DELUSIONS – head – disease will break out of head
MIND – DELUSIONS – small – things – appear small; things
MIND – EGOTISM
If we know that Stramonium is a scared, insecure person who spends his/her days reading the Bible and praying, it will be clear for us that this is the other polarity of his personality, rarely and hardly recognizable, but also real and present. This patient helped us to clarify how that other side activates, and what is it’s purpose.
Let’s start with familiar and often recognized rubrics:
MIND – AILMENTS FROM – excitement – religious
MIND – DELUSIONS – religious
MIND – DESPAIR – religious despair of salvation
MIND – ECCENTRICITY – religious
MIND – EXHILARATION – religious
MIND – INSANITY – religious
MIND – MANIA – religious
MIND – RELIGIOUS AFFECTIONS – too occupied with religion
MIND – RELIGIOUS AFFECTIONS – too occupied with religion – bible all day; wants to read the
MIND – RELIGIOUS AFFECTIONS – too occupied with religion – children; in
MIND – RELIGIOUS AFFECTIONS – too occupied with religion – fanaticism
MIND – RELIGIOUS AFFECTIONS – too occupied with religion – melancholia
MIND – RELIGIOUS AFFECTIONS – too occupied with religion – narrow-minded in religious questions
GENERALS – CATALEPSY – religious excitement, from
In this set we see that most of these rubrics have a small number of remedies, 4 or less remedies per rubric. In rubrics that have 20-30 remedies, Stramonium had the two points. Only the rubric MIND – RELIGIOUS AFFECTION – too occupied with religion, consists of 72 remedies. Stramonium is the only remedy that has 4 points in that rubric, which means that most of the provers showed the presence of this symptom. Rubrics with a small number of remedies give us the strange, rare and unusual effects of this remedy.
To define the term of religion is a huge and difficult task, but it’s important for our understanding of Stramonium’s occupation. Let’s use the most basic definition that will be enough for our purposes of understanding. Religion is a gathering of cultural systems, a system of beliefs and perspectives on the world which refer to the human being and his relation with the God and the world around him. Now we need to understand the relation that Stramonium has with God. In the repertory we find the following rubrics:
MIND – PRAYING – piety, nocturnal
MIND – PRAYING – kneeling and
MIND – DELIRIUM TREMENS – praying, with
Add the next rubrics:
MIND – EGOTISM
MIND – DELUSIONS – pure; she is
MIND – CLINGING – persons or furniture; to
Egotism – the fact of thinking that you are better or more important than anyone else:
Pure – not mixed with anything else; with nothing added (in the context of stramonium there is nothing bad, wrong or sinful in him)
Clinging – to hold on tightly to something or somebody
The rubric DELUSION, pure she is is one of the leading rubrics for recognizing the Stramonium personality. Let’s explain it a little more through the following case.
A 70 year old woman complained about a year long constipation. It seemed as if the case was going to be simple, symptoms were all clear, there were a lot of modalities that refered to Bryonia. However, Bryonia didn’t help, so she was given some other homeopatic remedies but the case didn’t progress at all, not until one day when she came to a follow up angry. She explained how she tried fasting for the last 7 days because she wanted to get communion for the first time after 30 years, although she was very religious. She went to church and when it was her turn to commune, the priest asked her if she had a confession, because he couldn’t remember. She felt offended. Why would she have to confess? She didn’t kill anybody, she hadn’t stolen anything! There was no reason for her to confess. She just wanted to get communion.
At that moment I managed to understand her constipation. The fact that she didn’t kill anyone or steal anything gave her the right to believe that there is nothing wrong with her, she was completely clean of sins. Stramonium 12c in split dose for the first 24 hours caused strong cleansing. Her comment was: “I didn’t have any idea that I had so much feces in me“.
Stramonium is not conscious that there is something wrong with him.
So what is the nature of Stramonium’s relationship with the God? First of all, there is no room for humility and acceptance of God’s will in that relationship. Stramonium actually doesn’t believe in God at all. He believes in his own excellence, his own pureness, sinless and the power of his own prayer. God should just hear his prayer and make it happen. His prayer is not a prayer, it’s a demand directed to God. It’s some kind of ultimatum: I did everything I should, I was good and I prayed – don’t you dare to fail me. The truth is that most Stramonium patients believe that they didn’t pray hard enough. That’s why they spend their days reading the Bible. Many of them stay in the previous state for a very long time, some even to the very end. But many of them will sooner or later become angry with god if their prayer doesn’t come true. Some will give up eventually, like this patient who said: “I was good, I havn’t done anything wrong, there’s no need for him to punish me, and he still made me suffer. I will have to fix it myself, with my power of will.“
And that’s the change that we most of the time don’t recognize as a Stramonium state, and we continue searching for another remedy. He wouldn’t say how he had believed in God, but he doesn’t anymore. He will claim that he believed and that God didn’t fulfill his prayers, so he deceided to solve his problems all by himself. He gave up on the God.
Stramonium needs a lot of security in order to feel safe and loved. He needs protection and will do anything to get it. That is why he will surround himself only with people of absolute confidence. That means constant checking of people’s loyalty, which has to be unconditional. Even the closest ones, like wife or life partner have to go through rigorous checking of loyalty.
Version of his partner: “He made me delete all my male friends from facebook. I was crying while deleting them and he harshly told me that if I loved him, it wouldn’t have been that hard“.
MIND – DELUSIONS – jealousy – lovers concealed behind stove; wife has
MIND – DELUSIONS – wife – faithless; wife is
MIND – DELUSIONS – neglected – he or she is neglected – husband; by her
The loyalty of a spouse (woman) is something that usually shouldn’t even be questioned, and these are the rubrics of delusion, so they give us the explanation of a patinet’s state of mind, and not of the real circumstances. Whatever the truth was, his wife (spouse) will be accused of infidelity. We can expand this term a little more with the fact that the spouse is the closest person to a patient, his fellow traveler, his partner in life… So we can consider all the people who are very close to the patient, and who he has the confidence in, as parts of this rubric. All those people will constantly have to defend and justify themselves and prove their loyalty in the eyes of our patient.
Checking, checking, checking
The roughness of a Stramonium has the function of checking out the amount of confidence and loylty he can expect from the other person. For him that’s the way of checking how much that person would be able to endure just to stay with him. The more rough and repellent he is, while the person stays with him, the more confidence he has in her. Those who are not prepared to endure his mood swings and his awful temperament are not welcome in his life. This doesn’t necessarily referto only to romantic relationships, but also to the general friendships, business and all other kinds of relations. At the begining of every relation he will in some way announce how he has a terrible temperament that not everyone can handle, but that’s the way he is. He can’t and will not change. It’s like the other person has to sign the blank paper in order to guarantee that he/she is willing to cope with everything he does with no right to complain, because he warned about it in advance. We can see it in the next version:
“But this is my bad part of life. I don’t get easily pacified. In my bad mood I don’t care about anything. I can go away and break the relations in a minute, and never go to the person again. I have a list of persons whom I loved or liked very much but I broke the ties with them because of bad mood. The bad part is I don’t clear anything till now, no matter what ever happens.You will not understand how many relations I broke in my life, my dearest one even“.
Even though on first sight, this looks like an honest confession and warning to the other person about the dark side of his personality, between the lines there is a blackmail: if you want us to stay in contact with me you have to be ready to let me behave like I do, and I will not put even the smallest effort in building our relationship or being honest. You also have to know that I will abandon you whenever I want without any explanation or apologies. The other person can just press the button “agree“ and begin the relationship based on inequality and disrespect from the very beginning, consciously knowing that he/she is not worth his effort and respect.
Communication is the exchange of information, thoughts and ideas.There is a verbal and non verbal type of communication, the other one is based on body language and gestures that have some meaning. Verbal communication is the highest type of communication and can exist only between humans. Now, try to picture a person that’s coming home from work and without talking, but only by gestures, tells his spouse that he wants to have lunch, a glass of water, to have something given to him or done for him. That is the arrogance of Stramonium. He feels as if other people are not worthy of normal human conversation. He sends them only gestures, not words. As if they are lower on the evolutionary chain than him. Other people are not people for him. He doesn’t feel the necessity to answer their questions.
MIND – ABUSIVE – causeless
MIND – ANTICS; playing
MIND – BITING – people
MIND – CRUELTY
MIND – INSOLENCE
MIND – LAUGHING – ill humor, with
MIND – LAUGHING – sardonic
MIND – MANIA – abuses everyone
MIND – PATHETIC
MIND – HAUGHTY
MIND – ABUSIVE
MIND – GESTURES, makes – indicates his desires by gestures
MIND – ANSWERING – aversion to answer
MIND – ANSWERING – disconnected
MIND – ANSWERING – irrelevantly
MIND – ANSWERING – refusing to answer
MIND – LOOKED AT; to be – cannot bear to be looked at
MIND – LOOKED AT; to be – evading the look of other persons
MIND – SPOKEN TO; being – aversion
There is a difference between this and the arrogance of Sulphur. Sulphur has the feeling of superiority but he doesn’t worry about other people, nor see them as primitive beings compared to himself. He is certain about his position, his fame is enough for him, there is no need to humiliate others. Stramonium on the other hand, won’t feel superior unless he can humiliate other human beings. The more the other person accepts that type of conversation, the more appropriate he/she is for his company.
The list of Stramonium’s fears is probbably the longest of all homeopathic profiles’. The theme of teror and fear blows through his whole picture explaining what he fears and how he manages to control his fears through various stages.
MIND – FEAR – animals, of
MIND – FEAR – approaching; of – others; of – touched, lest he be
MIND – FEAR – black – everything
MIND – FEAR – brilliant objects or cannot endure them; fear of
MIND – FEAR – cemeteries; of
MIND – FEAR – devoured by animals; of being
MIND – FEAR – eaten; of being
MIND – FEAR – evil; fear of
MIND – FEAR – injury – being injured; of
MIND – FEAR – misfortune, of
MIND – FEAR – murdered, of being
MIND – FEAR – people; of – being alone; yet fear of
MIND – FEAR – struck – approaching him; of being struck by those
MIND – FEAR – touched; of being
MIND – FEAR – unknown; of the
MIND – FEAR – suffocation, of – rubber dam is placed in the mouth by dentist; after a
There are three defence mechanisms when it comes to Stramonium.
- The first is to try to escape:
MIND – ESCAPE, attempts to – shrieking, with
- The second is to cling to someone and become dependent on them and their help.
MIND – CLINGING – children; in – awakens terrified, knows no one, screams, clings to those near; child
MIND – CLINGING – persons or furniture; to
Those stages can easily be recognized among children because they are literally trying to escape or cling to someone when they are scared. When it comes to grown ups, we need a little more skill to be able to recognize these stages. The word CLINGING can be used when the person demands the presence of another person, never separates from them. In the context of Stramonium this happens because that person gives Sramonium the feeling of safety. If he is not on his teritory, town, country, Stramonium will try to surround himself with famous, wealthy and powerful people, in other words, with people in whose hands he feels safe.
- The third strategy is to try to win another person with his charm, in order to convert a dangerous situation to his benefit. One way to do that is making jokes about himself.
MIND – LAUGHING – actions, at his own
When we laugh about something, we usually don’t give that thing too much credit, we don’t take it seriously. That laugh can be some kind of self criticism, which is a powerful tool in avoiding critics or the mocking of other people. When we laugh about our own work or words, we feel as if other people don’t have the right to blame, criticize or hurt us.
While in the beginning Stramonium seeks absolute safety and loyalty from people around him, as the fear grows and becomes overwhelming, his confusion grows as well. This is the part where the serious problems start, because he doesn’t know for sure whom to trust and most of the times he falls into the wrong hands.
MIND – CONFUSION of mind – knows not where he is
MIND – CONFUSION of mind – loses his way in well-known streets
MIND – CONFUSION of mind – identity, as to his
MIND – CONFUSION of mind – identity, as to his – duality, sense of
MIND – CONFUSION of mind – bed, while in – jump out of, makes him
Confusion can be defined as the state of inability to differentiate two or more things, for example the distinction between good and bad, and it leads to becoming confused in choosing his contacts. His criteria decrease and he starts to accept anything that looks even a little bit like the safety he seeks.
MIND – NAIVE
MIND – FILLS pockets with anything
MIND – HEADLESS
A pocket is a part of the clothing in which we store the things we want to have close in order to be able to approach them easily, so we always have them with us. Anything, means without selection, no criteria; this rubric gives us the worse state of Stramonium in which he is not anymore in the situation to recognize what is good for him and what is safe. The ability to judge properly is lost and he easily makes dangerous and harmul friendships.
MIND – RECOGNIZING – not recognize; does – relatives; his
MIND – RECOGNIZING – not recognize; does – speaking; the one to whom he is
MIND – DELUSIONS – strange – everything is
MIND – DELUSIONS – strange – familiar things seem strange
MIND – DELUSIONS – strange – objects seem
MIND – DELUSIONS – strangers – friends appears as strangers
Materia Medica Pura –Proving of Stramonium, Samuel Hahnemann
“After waking, all objects seem to him new, even his friends as though he had never in his life seen them before“. “His surroundings appear to him quite strange: although in the first minutes he knows that he is surrounded by his friends, he forgets this in the second minute, and imagines he is quite alone in a desert, and is afraid“
Stramonium doesn’t like surprises and new things. He loves to feel familiar with situations and the people around him. As he did everything, he could surround himself with familiar and pleasent situations. Every new situation is perceived as a potential or real danger for him, as it comes unexpectedly and overwhelms him. This leads to growing fear and paranoia.
Astonished– to fill with sudden and overpowering surprise or wonder; amazement:
Surprise– an event, a piece of news, etc. that is unexpected or that happens suddenly
MIND – ALERT
MIND – CAUTIOUS
MIND – FEAR – unknown; of the
MIND – FEAR – strangers, of
The story about Stramonium doesn’t end here. We touched only a few topics with this text, and it carries the same message as Paul Herscu’s book – that this is not the end, on the contrary, this is just the beginning of a deeper understanding of this remedy. It gives us new insights into the possibilities of using this remedy. We hold to Hahnemann’s ideas that were the products of his lifelong work and research and which the Paul Herscu continued working on and upgraded in 1996. It is our task now to collect our knowledge and insights from the past twenty years and add one more step for further generations to lean on, and to work on in order to eventually give their own contribution.
- HERSCUP, 1996. “Stramonium With an introduciton to Analysis using Ciycles and Segments“, The New England School of Homeopathy Press
- TYLER M.L. 2004., “Homoepathic drug pictures“, B.Jain Publishers (P) Ltd.
- VITHOULKAS G., 1991. “The Essence of Materia Medica“ , B.Jain Publishers (P) Ltd.
- BAILEY Philip M., 1995. “Homeopathic Psychology“, North Atlantic Books Homeopathic Educational Services
- HAHNEMANN S., 1825. “Materia Medica Pura“
- SCHROYENS , “Synthesis 8.1“
- SCHROYENS , “Synthesis 9.0“
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