Materia Medica

Give My Regards to Arsenicum!

“Doctor hoppers and pill-poppers!”–Robin Murphy


Elaine Lewis


Mati Fuller


Caralyn Vessal


E: Mati, great news!  Caralyn is here to expand on our first article, “You Try Living With Arsenicum!”  You remember Caralyn, don’t you?  Her father had gout?

M: Oh yes, of course, Elaine; I think everyone knows who Caralyn is!  Arsenicum is a very common remedy so, Caralyn, thanks for helping us bring it to life!

C:  Well, I was reluctant at first.  It concerns my mother, and I didn’t want to put her in a bad light, but, Elaine twisted my arm…no, really, she twisted my arm!

E:  I hardly twisted it at all!

C:  OK, I’m just going to start my case.  OK.  So, my mother has me very concerned, to be honest.  She is not making much sense these days.  She is only 69 years old and NO ONE CAN TELL HER ANYTHING!  Every idea or thought has to be hers.  She does not give credit easily.  She has become everything that she disliked about her father.  She loved her father very much, but he was not easy to satisfy and guess what?  Neither is she!  She has become a bit snobby.  It is as if she wants others to know that she has a very high standard.  She pretends that she is aristocratic.  Mind you, I do not remember her being like this when I grew up.  Anyway she schlepps from one specialist to the next every week!  She has the best insurance that she pays an arm and a leg for and they are forever treating her with something.  She “claims” that she does not want surgery, but in reality I think that she would welcome the sympathy; but especially if the doctor recommended it and she declined it, then she could be a martyr.  My father is an enabler as far as we all are concerned.  His sun rises and sets on my mother and whatever she wants he is all for it. He just thinks that all her decisions are correct, even when everyone involved with my mother disagrees with him.

Mati, she has 4 broken bones presently from osteoporosis.  Her doctors keep filling her spine up with cement and causing these fractures.  I have told my mother along with my brother that her treatment plan is the pits!  And that she has to start using more sense!  She refused.  Well naturally the osteoporosis is to blame too.  I suggested Calcarea phos. in low potency several times a day to get started.  She is now willing to “try” it but prefers experimental chemicals (drugs) to get her well “quickly”.  However it has dawned on me that the more attention and sympathy she gets for her ongoing problems, that have been present for as long as I have a memory, is enough of an incentive for her to remain in this condition.  She loves the attention.  She even is mad at anyone who does not call her on a regular basis to check in and ask her how she is doing.  I want to tell her that people are tired of hearing how badly she’s doing, but she would get very mad at me and this would bruise our relationship.

M: Yes, Caralyn, this sounds very much like Arsenicum.  They love to have a reason to expect others to be there for them.  And, they like trusting the doctors, because if the doctor takes responsibility for their healing, they don’t have to.  And, if they are still sick because the treatment isn’t working, all the more reason for everyone in their lives to keep calling and keep honoring their misery.

C: You know why I know my mother has an issue that requires homeopathic attention?  After every knee injury, after every virus, after every neck ache, after every carpal tunnel incident, after every headache, after every burning nerve sensation, after every hip problem, etc., etc., she has never ever said that she has gotten better!  I know that after I recover from anything I am so happy to say that I am better.  My mother never admits that she is better.  Rather, she will say something like, “I am not better, I am just tolerating the pain better.”  Last night she went for an MRI because she thought that she had yet another fracture.  The MRI revealed that she did not have one.  I replied, “Well, at least that is good news.”  My mother’s response?  “Well, meanwhile, I am walking with a cane and I am in agony!”  She is taking pain killers and guess what?  She wants to wear stilettos to my brother’s wedding!!!!

E: Good lord!  Those are those tall, thin high-heeled shoes!

C: She has said on numerous occasions that she hopes that she can make it down the aisle.

E: Dear God!

C: Yet she insists on wearing them.  OY VEY is all I have to say!!!!!  The part of this story that I think you will find the most interesting is that my mother’s biggest peeve with her mother-in-law, my father’s mother, was that she was a hypochondriac and craved attention from her ailments!  Isn’t that ironic????

My mother would always comment that in my grandmother’s eyes the sun rose and set on “her doctors”. Yet my mother has lost all sense of reality by blindly trusting doctors that are just trying to make money off of her seemingly endless aches and pains.

M: Arsenicums hate hypochondriacs with a passion because hypochondriacs will compete with the attention they get!  And of course, Arsenicums are NEVER hypochondriacs.  They just have such unexplainable ailments that nobody understands, but they are always real!  This is why they always feel so misunderstood.  Nobody believes them, even though they are really, truly sick!  This is part of the pattern that goes with the Arsenicum profile.

E:  Are you being sarcastic?


C: Very interesting Mati….

Do you know that one of the cement injections that she received leaked out and the doctors think that the cement may be touching a nerve and this is what is causing her pain?  She wants to have surgery right away so that she can feel better right away.  I suggested resting for about a month so that all the fractures could heal and the swelling could go down.  She said that she would die if she had to lay around for a month.  She said that she needed the doctors to fix her so that she would feel better fast.  I told her that healing takes time and you cannot rush the body.  She said that she can not wait and that I am not a doctor.  MEANWHILE ONE OF HER SPECIAL DOCTORS ACTUALLY MADE HER PROBLEM WORSE WITH THE LEAKAGE OF THE SPINAL CEMENT!!!

She also takes reflux medication on a DAILY basis.  She says that “I AM FINE because I stay on top of myself and take the reflux medication.”  She says if it is not broken why fix it?  I only say this because the burning is a keynote of Arsenicum!  She said homeopathy cannot fix her problem.

M: Translation: doesn’t want to get well.

C: Plus, she feels that she does not have a problem any longer.  She complains about not feeling well and then when you remind her, she says that she never said that!

However now she has herself in a pickle.  With the supposed pain that she is in, the Arsenicum probably would not even work.  She prefers to spend most of her time searching for a doctor that will agree with her.  Mind you, one doctor actually said that he did not see that anything was interfering with her nerves, but she does not put stock in what that doctor has to say!

There may NOT be anything pressing against the nerve, yes!  However she is in pain now.  This pain is real, but in my opinion her need to feel perfect at all times created this situation.  She was not willing to endure the pain of the first spinal fracture.  She went to a doctor that was ready willing and able to “fix” her.  These unending problems are a result of this beginning.  My mother-in-law had a spinal fracture and it took her about 1-2 months to feel better.  My mother had her first fracture more than 5 months ago and is in worse pain now than when it started.

E: You know, it’s as if her decision-making process was destined to lead to this outcome.

M: The reason why Arsenicums do this is because you can’t easily leave someone who is sick and needs care.  This is why they don’t want to get well, even though they hate being sick.  Their sickness is their insurance policy.  It insures love and care from everyone in their lives.  It matters little if the love they receive from others comes from a sense of duty.  Whatever it takes, they want it, even if it means that they can’t allow themselves to get well.

The only way to get Arsenicum well is by saying, “I don’t care if you are sick, I’m still going to leave!”  You have no idea how fast this fact is going to make them well!  They recover, miraculously, in a very short time, because there is no way they are going to be lying around, sick, if nobody is there to take care of them!

E: Robin Murphy calls Arsenicum “Doctor Hoppers and Pill Poppers”!  They go from one doctor to the next.  And if you tell them there is nothing wrong with them, they’ll just go to someone else.  He tells a story about an Arsenicum patient who insisted she had cancer.  He tried to explain to her that all her tests came out negative.  At the end of the session he gave her a remedy and she asked, “Will this help with my cancer?” and Robin said, “Yes. Yes it will.”  He knew it was pointless to contradict her, she obviously wanted to have cancer!

M: Elaine, like I said in our first Arsenicum article, it’s because Arsenicum is here to prove that they are right and you are wrong, this is their whole mission in life!

C: I believe that.  My mother is HIGHLY DEFENSIVE.  She defends her actions at all costs.  She is not the best at seeing another’s point unless she is totally removed from the situation.  One time we argued, screamed and yelled like lunatics over the definition of the word “basement”!  It was the craziest argument, honestly.  I said that the basement is the base of the house, however it is not always underground.  Sometimes it is partially underground.  Sometimes it is fully underground and sometimes it is entirely above the ground.  Mind you, my husband and I were looking for a house and we had seen many homes by this time.  My mother was ADAMANT that every real and true basement is entirely underground.  It sounded like someone was trying to kill someone in the house while this argument was going on!  There was actually a repair man in the bathroom and we had forgotten all about him!  Then he suddenly reappeared and I was mortified that he heard the whole thing!  My mother then actually asked him to settle the argument and I couldn’t believe it!  He said that there was no way he was going to answer!!!   So, my mother immediatlely got out Webster’s Dictionary and the matter was settled to my satisfaction as the definition confirmed my view, however my mother still disagreed!

M: It’s because they only feel safe when someone is agreeing with them!  So, of course, everyone, including the doctor (and the repair man) has to agree!  If the doctor doesn’t agree, he obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about!  And, this is also why Arsenicum is so obsessed with getting a proper diagnosis.  Once they are diagnosed with a sickness, with a proper name, they are basically “certified” and they’ll use it against anyone who doesn’t believe them!  A diagnosis is “proof” that they were right all the time, and that you, who didn’t believe them, were wrong!

Unfortunately, this is what happens when someone doesn’t learn their lessons – the patterns just keep repeating themselves.  Instead of trying to make themselves sick to get love and attention, they could just try to be nice to the people in their lives instead!  But being nice doesn’t keep them in control of the situation!

However, this doesn’t just apply to Arsenicum, it applies to all of us.  The patterns we’re stuck in, even though they are keeping us in bondage, are familiar.  They make us feel safe, because we know them so well.  Whenever you find the courage to break one of these patterns, it makes you feel horrible (that is how you can tell that you have succeeded in breaking a pattern – that horrible feeling is your indication).  This is because breaking a pattern immediately takes you out of your comfort zone; you don’t know what is going to happen next.  Everything becomes unpredictable, and with unpredictability, there is change, and with change there is freedom–freedom from the known!!!  If we truly want to get free from stuckness, the patterns have to be broken, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel, so this is the choice we all have to face at some point.

We can look at other remedies, too, and see how the patterns destroy all their relationships.  This, by the way, is what my book is all about.  Take Nat-mur., for example.  They always settle for something that is less than what they really want because it is “good enough for now” and then they wonder why it doesn’t work out for them!

E: Mati, I think people are reading this and seeing a lot of their family members here.  Caralyn, some people will be wondering if your mom has the well-known fastidiousness Arsenicum is famous for.

C: Actually my mother was a very laid back mother.  However, “I think” that she likes her home very clean and orderly so that others will think that she is perfect.  My mother likes to be admired.  She is not obsessive about cleanliness or order, however she can not tolerate a wrinkle on her clothes, a stain, heaven forbid, and anything that does not fit perfectly.  She is a critical type.  What remedy does this sound like?

E: Arsenicum, definitely!

C: Which reminds me, Elaine….You promised that if I submitted this somewhat “negative” narrative about my mother (“for the sake of science”), that you would have something equally negative to say about your parents!

E: I said that?  You know, it’s funny you should bring that up, because when I said that, what I really meant to say was that there are only 120 shopping days left until my birthday, which is June 20th, in case anyone is listening. ……… Mati?  This might be a good time to mention your book!

M: Yes! Don’t forget my book–Beyond the Veil of Delusions and my offer to the homeopathy schools still stands: I will send you a copy for review, just email me at [email protected].  My book is available at a number of locations, including and there’s a downloadable version at

E: And also, please check out our previous articles:

You Try Living With Arsenicum!

So You Think You Know Phosphorus?


M: Caralyn, you’ve been a great sport!  Thanks so much for sharing your mother with us–it means a lot to us all! 


Mati H. Fuller
[email protected]

Elaine Lewis

[email protected]


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: and

About the author

Mati Fuller

Mati H. Fuller, DIHom (Pract) was born and raised in Bergen, Norway and came to the United States in 1985. She lives and practices in Colorado and is author of "Beyond the Veil of Delusions, Understanding Relationships Through Homeopathy." [email protected]

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