Homeopathy Papers

Notes on Children’s Digestive Troubles

Last modified on May 18th, 2014

The author discusses children who are intolerant of fat and gives indications for relevant remedies.

From Heal Thyself July 1948- Editor: Ellis Barker

digestive-systemI have found, since the commencement of the war, a number of infants who, as soon as they are weaned, develop digestive troubles or diarrhoea. These cases are difficult to deal with until one realizes that the child is unable to digest fats, and in spite of every care and attention, and apparently good feeding, the child does not make any headway and becomes progressively thinner. If this is allowed to go on unchecked it may develop into Coeliac disease and the case will require hospital treatment.

To understand what occurs when fat is taken in the food, one must realize that natural fats, such as butter, dripping, lard and milk are a chemical combination of fatty acids and glycerine, and during the process of digestion the fat is split back to its original constituents. The liberated fatty acids combine the alkali carbonates in the intestines to form soaps, which are emulsified, acted on by the bile and absorbed. Finally, by action of ferments they are reconverted into neutral fats and deposited in the body tissues. When this series of chemical reactions is not carried to completion through some breakdown or deficiency in the infant’s functions, the fatty acids are left in the free state in the intestines, where they act as an irritant.

Nature takes a hand and attempts to get rid of the acids by abstracting calcium from the tissues or the bones, and combines this with the acids to form calcium soaps, which are eliminated as a bulky stool.

These cases can be divided into two types, those that are constipated and those with diarrhoea. The constipated type makes good progress up to the fifth or sixth month, then there is a falling off in the normal gain in weight, the child becomes pale, irritable, restless and the mother notices that the child’s head sweats at night. In one case the mother reported that the child’s legs did not seem to develop. They looked very thin compared with the rest of his body, and he made no attempt to walk. The stools are of grey to off-white colour, very bulky and most offensive, due to putrefaction occurring in the bowel. The urine has a strong odour of ammonia and causes a soreness of the buttocks, and a general state of acidosis develops.  When the cause of the trouble is realized, the supply of fats, including milk, should be stopped immediately and the diet should be high in proteins and carbohydrates, meat broths, cereal products, sugar and fruit juices.

The administration of the appropriate homoeopathic remedy will assist the restoration of the digestive mechanism to a normal state, when fat may be added to the diet in gradually increasing amounts without causing a return of the trouble.

These changes are accompanied by a change in the type of bacteria which are normally present in the bowel, and it has been proved by experiment that by administration of the appropriate homoeopathic remedy in potency that this change can be reversed and a normal type of bacteria produced with an improvement in the condition of the patient.

The homoeopathic remedy for the “constipated ” type should be selected from the following list:

 

Calcium carbonate 6, 12 or 30

This child starts as a fat flabby baby and becomes a precocious child, obstinate and self-willed, slow in teething, probably cuts the teeth with convulsions and a rattling type of cough. Shows signs of rickets, bones of the scalp are slow in closing and the scalp is very thin showing the veins distinctly, sweating of the head when asleep, later develops a pot belly, and enlarged glands in the neck and groins and the legs shows signs of becoming bandy. The child likes eggs and cold drinks, when younger vomits sour smelling milk or food a short time after feeding and cries often, especially at night. He seems better when constipated, stools are yellow or grey, and finally an off-white colour, with a very offensive odour.

 

Causticum 6, 12 or 30

A weepy infant, cries at anything or anyone, timid, afraid of strangers or of going to bed in the dark, must have a light on in the bedroom. Aversion to sweet things, thirsty for cold drinks, walks unsteadily and falls down easily, has a swollen abdomen which feels hard. The stool is large, gray or off-white in colour, with a greasy appearance, although it is a formed stool, and of most offensive, odour.

During the night there is involuntary passage of urine, which smells strongly of ammonia.

 

Iodine  6, 12 or 30

This is a dark complexioned child who has an appetite that is never satisfied, and despite this appetite, gets rapidly thinner. When on a bottle vomits milk, which shows separation of fatty curds, and at any age is very restless both during the day and the night. Very irritable, does not want anyone to touch him or come near.

This child may have alternation of constipation and diarrhoea. The tongue is dry and thickly coated and his breath is offensive. The glands in the groin tend to enlarge. Urine smells strongly of ammonia, the stools are pale coloured and fatty, and when diarrhoea exists, the stools are foamy white, looking like whey and of most offensive odour.

 

Magnesium muriatica  6, 12 or 30

This child is puny, fretty, with marked enlargement of the abdomen, and tends to become rikety, with a disposition to take cold easily and a general sensitiveness to cold. Food is brought up easily, frequently demands drinks, and a frequent desire to pass water both by day and night.  The urine is a deep colour. Constipated, passing gray to light coloured stools, which look like sheep dung. Difficulty in passing the stools which are crumbly and very offensive. Give to very small infants, two pilules of the selected remedy dissolved in a teaspoonful of water, three times a day after meals. From three years old, give three pilules three times a day after meals.

The second type results from excessive feeding of fats or cream, or from the inability of the infant to digest fats in any form. Diarrhoea predominates with frequent acid, loose, yellow or greenish-yellow stool, in which numerous white curds are visible and the stools make the infant’s bottom red and sore.  The child loses weight very rapidly and has no appetite or stamina, and if stools are very frequent, shows signs of dehydration, looking old and with a very wrinkled skin.

Vomiting of sour smelling curdled food occurs sometime after feeding. In this condition the child may not be able to take carbohydrates, such as cereals or sugars, and must be kept on a very low diet, consisting of meat broth, carefully freed from every trace of fat, or skimmed milk, and gradually build up its digestion by careful addition of small amounts of honey, or small feeds of arrowroot and water gruel to the diet.

After the homoeopathic remedy has been administered for some time, and the stools have definitely changed their character, a small amount of fat, in the form of whole milk, may be added to the diet, and if this is tolerated increasing amounts may be given. I commence treatment of this type of case with the administration of one dose a day, given on three successive days of the nosode, Gaertner Co. This remedy was developed by Dr. John Paterson of Glasgow, as a result of his work on intestinal bowel flora.

 

Gaertner co. 30

The outstanding symptom is defective nutrition. The child is hypersensitive and precocious, afraid of the dark and of being alone. Inability to digest fats, breath may smell sweet, due to presence of acetone, child may be fond of porridge, but still loses weight, also suffers from the presence of thread worms, and may have a tendency to ear discharges. The remedies that are associated with Gaertner are Calcarea phos., Mercurius, Phosphorus and Silicea.This type of child has usually a poorly developed muscular system, hence the Silicea. In addition to the doses of Gaertner, select a remedy from the following.

 

Arsenicum album 6, 12 or 30

The child is angry, cross and violent, especially on waking, with pale or yellowish colour of the face. Vomiting immediately after eating or drinking of food, green or yellowish-green mucus, and the abdomen is swollen. The skin is at first hot and dry, later it is cold and covered with a clammy sweat. There are two characteristics that will point to the use of this remedy.

1. Unquenchable thirst for frequent small drinks of water.

2. The nature of the stools; they are either white, brown or thick dark green slimy mucous, which are not offensive, or profuse yellow or brownish-yellow watery stools, usually passed painlessly, and or an offensive, putrid odour. This remedy is useful for an attack of gastro-enteritis, if the above two symptoms are present. For this trouble, give a dose every half an hour until the diarrhoea ceases. In one case of a child which had been suffering from more or less continuous diarrhoea for four days, and had reached a stage of dehydration, where every indication pointed to Arsenic as being the correct remedy, I gave five drops of Arsenic 10m in water, and within five minutes the diarrhea had ceased and did not recur, and the child made an uneventful recovery.

Given in the lower potencies at the start of the trouble, the remedy would be effective, but in a critical state where it is essential to obtain quick results in order to save the child, then a high potency is required.

 

Calcium acetica 6, 12 or 30

A remedy for acute inflammation of the mucous membranes, with frequent offensive, sour eructations, stools are pasty or liquid,with an odour resembling that of a pig stye.

 

Calcium carbonate 6, 12 or 30

Refer to indications for this remedy under “constipated type”, but the diarrhoea calling for this remedy is a bulky watery yellow stool, smelling like rotten eggs, or one showing undigested food or curdled milk.

 

China officinalis  6, 12 or 30

Involuntary stools of yellow, watery appearance containing undigested food, or a clay like stool, varying in colour from white to yellow or brown, either type having a putrid odour. These occur after meals or at night, and are passed painlessly, and are preceded by colic and belching of wind.They are followed by a sensation of great weakness, and an inclination to perspire and if attack has lasted for some time,there is rapid emaciation, and the child becomes drowsy, the pupils are dilated, and there is rapid and superficial breathing. There is distension and bloating of the abdomen.

 

Hepar sulphuris  6, 12 or 30

An irritable child who is disinclined to expend any bodily or mental exertion.  He feels chilly and wants to be covered up, even in a warm room, and is oversensitive to pain. The child smells sour. The diarrhoea is painless, but the expulsion is difficult, the stools are white or pale yellow, watery or pappy, contain undigested food and smell like rotten cheese. These occur some time after eating or after drinking cold water, and during the day, the child feels more comfortable as soon as it has had a meal.

 

Iris versicolor 6, 12 or 30

Loss of appetite, white tongue, increase of saliva, nausea, rumbling in the bowels, followed by violent attempts to vomit which result in the forcible ejection of vomited matter, followed by exhaustion.  Stools are involuntary, yellow, green or brown in colour, watery or mixed with mucus, pappy or containing undigested food, odour is offensive. They are frequent, profuse, and there is severe cramp-like pains when passing them, and a burning sensation, which persists after stool.

The limbs and the body are cold, and this remedy is useful in infantile diarrhoea occurring during hot weather in the spring or autumn.

 

Magnesium carbonate 6, 12 or 30

White coated tongue, much thirst for cold water or acid drinks, especially in the evening and during the night. Refuses milk, or if it is taken causes a pain in the stomach. Rumbling and flatulent distension of the abdomen with colic and griping pains and the passage of much wind.  Stools are green, frothy and watery, with a green scum and floating white lumps that look like tallow. Bloody mucus may be present, and this settles out from the green scum and is very adherent. The stools are sour smelling and the whole body of the child smells sour. This is a remedy to remember for dysentery and infantile diarrhoea, occurring during hot weather or after eating fruit.

 

Mercurius solubilis  6, 12 or 30

Pale face, eyes look dull, tongue is swollen and flabby, with an increase of saliva, and the breath is offensive. Thirst for cold drinks.  The children are restless, especially when asleep, with frequent drawing up of legs and whining. Offensive or sour smelling night sweat on the head. Vomiting occurs some time after eating.

Violent and frequent urging to stool, which is accompanied by colic, causing them to bend or double up, continued urging and a sensation of never finishing, with burning or itching and sense of constriction in the rectum. Stools are colourless, yellowish or greenish, watery, with green scum floating on the surface, or looking like stirred eggs, odour is sour smelling.

 

Phosphorus  6, 12 or 30

Pale or sallow colour of the face with sunken eyes and blue rings around them.  Tongue, dry and clean or white, or moist and cracked, or with a red dry streak running down the middle of the tongue. Thirst with desire for cold or very cold drinks, which is vomited as soon as it has got warm in the stomach. Stools are profuse greenish, yellow or white, watery with lumps of white mucus, or white granules of fat resembling sago. They are painless, corrosive, and passed with much force. Afterwards, there is exhaustion and weakness, and a burning sensation.

 

Podophyllum 6, 12 or 30

Tongue is dry, coated yellow or white, and there is either much thirst or absence of thirst. Offensive breath at night, heartburn or vomiting of food and bile. During teething the child rolls its head in the pillow, or is restless, with half-closed eyes, grinding of teeth or moaning. Spasmodic abdominal pains and colic with retraction of the abdominal muscles. Before stool there is sudden urging, loud gurgling noise or violent colic, followed by painless, profuse, gushing, watery stools. The stools may be white or yellow, watery, with slimy mucus, or jelly-like in appearance, and very offensive odour. They are very frequent and may be followed by violent cramps in the feet, calves or thighs. Useful in cholera, as well as in infantile diarrhoea.

The remedy selected from the above list should be administered three times a day, or if the diarrhoea is very frequent a dose should be given after each attack, two or three pilules to a dose as indicated in the previous section. If one feels that the remedy matches the symptoms of the case perfectly and yet the case does not make progress, then a higher potency may be given, remembering that the remedy should not be repeated as long as the child is making progress and the diarrhea has stopped.  Mothers should remember that pasteurized milk does not go sour, like natural raw milk, but turns putrid, and may give rise to infantile diarrhoea, so do make sure that the milk is good before using it for preparation of the children’s food.

The annual report for 1945 of the United States Public Health Service shows that much more disease and food poisoning have been traced to the use of pasteurized milk than to the use of natural raw milk.

 

References:

Clarke’s Materia Medica.

Bell’s Diarrhoea.

The Homoeopathic Recorder, 1938, 1946.

From : Healthyself July 1948 – Editor -Ellis Barker

Courtesy http://www.homeopathycourseonline.com

About the author

James Ellis Barker

James Ellis Barker 1870 – 1948 was a German lay homeopath, who settled in Britain to become the editor of The Homeopathic World (later renamed as Heal Thyself) for sixteen years. He practiced widely in the 1930s and 1940s.

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