I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self and the wounds to the soul take a long, long time, only time can help and patience, and a certain difficult repentance long, difficult repentance, realization of life’s mistake, and the freeing oneself from the endless repetition of the mistake which mankind at large has chosen to sanctify.
Our nomadic ancestors return in us. The cowboys of the nineteenth century now roam the range in diesel trucks. Americans change their residences every four years. Adolescents are treated as children. Their early knowledge of adulthood is accompanied by a lack of wisdom from guidance.
Our gestation period is the longest of any known species. Our sense of adulthood and independence from the family takes ever longer as requirements for adequate education to compete in the marketplace steadily increase.
As our gestation in adolescence is prolonged, so is our rebellion and inability to form coherent ties with our pasts. The rites of passage have been misplaced, so that they are enacted within the group from a sense of nihilism rather than purpose.
For the first time in our evolution, the past century was dominated by physicians whom women entrusted their care to, who would advise them not to breastfeed, not to hold their children when they were crying. Hospitals separate mothers from their children at birth. This is possibly the most misanthropic act in the history of medicine, and with long-term effects on mass populations.
Our generations became the most significantly unbonded in the history of mankind, based on medical advice. Even the most prolific promoter, Benjamin Spock, M.D. recanted his misguided advice. This inability to bond is passed from generation to generation. The inability to bond has effects which present themselves not only in our relationships, but in substance abuse, criminality and the inability to function with honesty.
We create our homes, our architecture, our societies and values that focus and direct our lives. It is our instincts however that form the base of emotional reactions and sense of security. This animal instinct that responds from the amygdala and basal ganglia of our brain forms our response to the environment. Do we feel comfortable that we can rest in our milieu?
We became the industrial nations where mountains were crushed to make the roads and parking lots. Our reflections were seen in steel and glass, instead of water. We bonded to whatever was shown from an electrical box that told us our visions.
Our primary disease is separation, the lack of being rooted, of not feeling at home in the world, in our bodies and in our selves. It is a homesickness. In primitive medicine this was called a loss of soul. The shaman’s task was to travel in the spirit world to find our selves, to bring it back and merge it with our lives. It is the attempt to find meaning.
In Leviticus, it is mentioned that the lepers were cast out of society. That same sense has pervaded our alienation from the group as ennui, and apathy. In the year 1226, in France alone, there were 2,000 houses for the care of lepers. Leprosy persisted in the West until the advent of regular bathing and cotton clothing in the fifteenth century.
The disease most frequently appeared as elephantiasis, though it was undoubtedly misdiagnosed, often as other diseases such as psoriasis or syphilis. The disease of the skin emerged again in the Middle Ages as St. Anthony’s Fire or malignant erysipelas. St. Anthony, the protector of those afflicted with this disease, is represented with a fire beside him.
The skin represents our most superficial relationship to the environment. Like the lungs, kidneys and bowels it functions to eliminate toxins. Skin is central to our appearance and its lesions are great concern for self respect. How natural it is that teenagers develop acne as their hormones change, as a means to ward off too close an emotional interaction. It is as if the body is producing a barrier until emotional development can catch up with the maturation process.
Yet again, we try to eliminate all signs of disease. Skin lesions are treated as symptoms rather than expressions of an internal disease. Medical history is a record of attempts to inhibit this expression. So eventually our defense mechanisms are perverted.
What was a superficial inflammation emerges as internal proliferation, the malfunction of eliminatory passageways, cystic and tumor formations. These were the basis for Hahnemann’s idea of psora, the primary miasm. The word psora came from the story of leprosy in Leviticus, which for Hahnemann represented the primordial example of a unifying principle which underlied the diseases of mankind.
It is the multifaceted expression of this inflammation and its elimination that plagues us with the secondary manifestations of functional disease. It presents as diseases that are undefined. Allergies are our reaction to the world around us. Allergic reactions, inflammation, and autoimmune diseases are all overreactions to what should be normal.
This represents our inability to find our place in our world. We treat the symptoms without understanding their message, without solving their meaning. So they return again and again throughout our lives, as environmental illnesses, anxieties or eruptions. All seek resolution and harmony. We seek some quiet sense of belonging.
This is the multi headed monster. Our sense of not belonging to the group expresses the archetypes of the scapegoat and the outcast. We see the world as something that happens to us, rather than an act we participate in. Our point of view becomes a defense to what threatens us, instead of one of many possible responses, a fixed reaction. Then we reinforce the expectations of others. We become crystallized. The element of surprise is missing.
The problem is constellated in our myths of the outlaw, the loner and the crucifixion. It is the story of Hansel and Gretel, when they awake to find the birds have eaten all the crumbs. Whether from social situations or economic influences, we may find ourselves in unfamiliar territory, a misplaced geography, lost in the wilderness. The flora opposes our imprinted sense of comfort. Even on a sunny day our prospects become dark and threatening.
In a society that is so displaced, where the bonding between parents and children is disrupted, we find the need for Carbo animalis. It is for the pathology generated from the loss of home and instinct.
I have found this remedy to be prominent in addressing the disease of loneliness. The clinical basis of Carbo animalis has historically been focused on its use in fulminant cancers, in which the lymph glands have been enlarged. It is a remedy described in cases of cancer of the uterus and breast. It is mentioned as suited to old persons, greatly debilitated, with blueness of the skin. It is indicated in the last stage of pneumonia, bronchitis and tuberculosis. Weakness of nursing women is an indication.
Carbo animalis is prepared from a thick piece of ox-hide placed between red-hot coals, where it must remain as long as it burns with a flame. Then it is quickly put between plates of stone, to put a stop to the combustion. If it is allowed to cool gradually in the air, most of the carbon is consumed.
Carbon is the base of organic matter, the form of life on earth. Carbon creates organic life forms. It binds with hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and itself to structure a whole range of organic compounds. Its versatility far exceeds that of the inorganic minerals. It is present in the air as carbon dioxide, which plants absorb to utilize the carbon in creating structure, liberating oxygen in exchange.
What is the basis for cancer in generation after generation? How does cancer arise from the poisons in our environment? Cancer is a disease of unconsciousness. Like a virus, many of which can be the instigator of tumors, it is unrecognized by the body until its development impedes the function of an organ, or creates pain through displacement.
Carbo animalis is indicated not only in cancer, but also in cases with a previous history of cancer. When Albert Schweitzer was asked if he had encountered cancer among his native patients in Africa, he replied that he had never seen a case until the white man arrived.
Africans do not get skin cancer in any significant numbers, presumably because the pigmentation of their skin protects them from the carcinogenic effects of the sun. But then why do African Americans get skin cancer?
When we look in the homeopathic pharmacopoeia for medicines listed under homesickness, we find Carbo animalis, Bryonia, Capsicum (red pepper), Ignatia amara, Magnesium muriaticum, Mercury and Phosphoric acid as the main medicines utilized in this psychological state.
Each medicine has its own uniquely associated mental states. As we develop the nature of each of these medicines from the homeopathic provings on healthy experimenters, we find the experience of homesickness. Then as we confirm those relationships in clinical practice, we begin to see patterns arising that express the common expressions of the state that requires that medicine.
The Carbo animalis patient becomes absorbed. They have anxiety when they close their eyes, anxiety in the dark, anxiety with debility, anxiety driving them from place to place. They feel as if they are in a deserted town. They can have dreams of wandering. They experience indolence and aversion to work. Their jobs are burdens. It is a sense of ennui and tedium. They fear narrow places, vaults, churches and cellars. They desire light.
These are the actual experiences. Then how do we see them? How do we recognize this medicine in our patients, our friends? Much of the minor symptomology of Carbo animalis appears to me to represent the symptoms of functional diseases. These diseases are not readily diagnosable, frequently recurring or changing in symptomology. They do not represent significant pathology.
Based on the psychological state with confirming physical characteristics, I found Carbo animalis indicated in cases throughout the life history of those who have been displaced. They are driven not by a desire for change of place or travel, but rather their circumstances evolve out of loss of connection.
Their anxiety and hurried states come from never feeling protected and nourished. Carbo animalis may be indicated in cases of abuse, divorce and bereavement, as well as in military brats who have moved frequently and in the chemically addicted. In many situations where attachment and bonding have been disrupted Carbo animalis may be indicated.
Separation can come at any age. For example, I saw a two-year-old boy who was adopted, and whose adoptive mother was recently divorced. They had recently moved to Colorado. The mother had no friends from her past and would not speak to her former husband except regarding practical matters concerning the care of their son.
His life was a series of sudden detachments from those who were closest. Despite his friendly disposition I felt his life situation had influenced his health. His chronic colds and earaches resolved under Carbo animalis.
In another case, a fifty-two- year-old woman who was experiencing mood swings consulted me. She was on estrogen replacement therapy after a partial hysterectomy in 1972, due to a benign tumor. Five years previously she had a mastectomy due to breast cancer. She had experienced stiffness for six months in her hands, knees and hips. She was fatigued most of the time. She’d had short-term memory loss for the past five years.
She was divorced after ten years of marriage. She felt she could never depend on her former husband. In the course of their marriage she moved fifteen times. She was impatient and angry, which was worse when she drove. Due to the history of cancer, frequent moving and arthritic symptoms, I prescribed Carbo animalis. Her anger and fatigue were relieved within a few weeks and her arthritis began to be diminished. By the third visit her joint pain was gone.
Soon I was able to see the common need for Carbo animalis. A sixty-two year-old woman, who had moved to be with her daughter after her husband died, came to see me. She worked at a large computer software company, where she found herself experiencing severe allergies.
She complained of fatigue, that she was “just not herself.” She had frequent colds and recurring bronchitis since moving. Her legs cramped. She felt better in the damp rain of the East and worse in the dry air of Colorado. She reminisced about how beautiful her life in the Bronx had been.
Colorado and the Rocky Mountains just did not comfort her. She felt people around her were draining her energy. She wanted to be alone. She was always afraid her house in the east would burn down. She worried about things she could not control. She thought she would lose her marbles or die of cancer.
After Carbo animalis she felt energetic, and exclaimed, “maybe living in Colorado isn’t so bad.” She began walking and jogging. Her allergies were not affecting her. The cramps in her legs were almost all gone. She no longer felt homesick.
Another medicine we must consider in the feeling of being outcast is Hura braziliensis. Hura has been used in leprosy, where the skin feels as if it were tight and bound. The theme of the outcast and the leper is closely associated with this remedy.
Hura is a member of the Euphorbiacae family that includes Acalypha indica, Croton tiglium, Euphorbium, Jatropa, Mancinella, and Stillingia. These are highly caustic plants that cause great skin and mucous membrane irritation.
Hura is listed in the literature under the following mental symptoms: Forsaken feeling; Delusions they are despised; Deserted; Feels alone in the world; Delusions they are repudiated by their relatives; Forsaken with a sense of isolation; Thinks of Death; and feeling unfortunate.
Hura is a medicine for the deepest of depressions in which hopelessness predominates the landscape of the mind. It can be compared with the indications for Gold (Aurum metallicum) with its deep sense of responsibility and doom, or Antimony (Antimonium crudum), which is indicated in a person with a great sense of failure. In these medicines we would expect to see some generation of emotion. In Hura patients there are often none.
A middle-aged woman who I had treated for many years had moved away to the western slope of Colorado, to a beautiful dark town in a canyon. She had three children, and had hoped that by living near their father, there would be a more cohesive support system for the family.
She soon found she had made a mistake. She experienced rejection from her former husband and subsequently from the community. She lived with this burden for seven years, before returning to her former home. She came to my office complaining of a staphylococcus infection on her face that was threatening to affect her eyes. The common name for this infection is impetigo.
Some of the main remedies used in treating impetigo are Dulcamara, Black Walnut, Graphites and Rhus toxidendron. But my experience told me that this was a chronic situation that would only be served by addressing its root. She had returned to her home out of a deep sense of despair, having felt she had lived in rejection by her community all these years. There were many times in which she was unable to function due to her sadness, and subsequently she suffered several misfortunes including physical accidents and financial woes.
She responded beautifully to a dose of Hura, which lifted her spirits and resolved the long-term impetigo. Even though Hura is not listed under impetigo, it contained both the mental state and the characteristic description of skin eruptions that matched her condition. We may want to add Hura to our list of impetigo medicines. But more importantly, Hura helped her to move forward in her life.
We can compare Hura braziliensis with Hydrocotyle asiatica, known in Chinese medicine as Fo Ti Tieng. It is a remedy that has been mentioned for leprosy, though in my practice its main use has been in cases of lupus. Being an autoimmune disease, Lupus reflects the self-attacking nature of the mental state.
Hydrocotyle is described as a plant with extraordinary rejuvenating effects on the human brain cells and endocrine glands. The herb is found in the marshy, jungle areas of Ceylon, south China and southwest Asia. Fo-ti-tieng is called ‘Elixir of Life’ or ‘Long Life Elixir.’
Our confusion of orientation, not knowing where we are in the world or where we belong, is an inherent dilemma in evolving cultures. As values are transfused into a greater homogeneity, the distinctions that give one a sense of purpose are dissolved.
The collective becomes the dictator of purpose in society. Values are no longer generated from the revelation or meaning of an inspired culture. Parables are taught as rules without the underlying initiations. The consuming uncertainty of the corporate safety net has us on a course of planned obsolescence in which our lives are the fodder.
The working environment becomes narrowed to the point where a computer monitor is the only window to the outer world. Our job descriptions define how we must limit our creativity. This is the disease of homesickness, where we wonder if all these attempts to succeed bring even contentment, let alone joy. We return to our homes at night wondering why we live there.
Thank you Dr. Lange for these additional perspectives on Carbo an and Hura. I hope these will make it into our M.M. and repertories.
Thank you. Just ordered your book. There is a very unelightened reiew. God speed to the ignorant ones. BTW is the Fo Ti mentioned in your article, Ho shou wo?
What potencies do you use at first glance of Carbo animalis in your cases?
Fantastic article! Thank you. It’s making me think of a case of mine right now with autoimmune issues which she traces back to a big move from her home state, in spite of the fact that she moved for a happy reason—to be with her fiance.