Materia Medica



Differentiate between Aethusa, Carcinosin, Natrum muriaticum and Phosphorus in the rubric MIND, Love, animals, for

What does love for animals imply as a symptom? A love for all forms of life, including animals, could be seen as a sign of good health; but when it becomes a symptom, something pathological, then of necessity it implies a lack of balance. As a symptom, it must state that other species have in some way become a substitute for the self and/or other members of the same species – that people whose love for animals has become excessive are unable to give love to, or receive love from, themselves and other humans.

The lack of health inherent in the expression as a symptom can often be seen – people who love animals to excess often treat them with an apparent lack of true respect for the animal’s own nature and needs. But the expression is centuries old. Old enough for (particularly Western) societies to have ‘created’ many subspecies of animals who have themselves lost almost all connection with their wild ancestors and an independent mode of living. They are as inextricably bound up with us as we are with them. Their very existence is dependent on their relationship with us – they collude wholeheartedly in our delusion. Our pets are anthropomorphised, treated as a substitute for human infants, controlled, caged. (No wonder that cancer is so rife in domesticated animals.) Their naked dependency on their ‘owner’ will, no matter how unconsciously, satisfy some aspect of the ‘owner’s’ inner needs; whether this is a manifestation of a deficiency of self-worth, a profound need to express love and care, a desire for unchallenging and uncomplaining companionship, an over-identification with (literally!) the underdog, or, more insidiously, to redress an inner feeling of powerlessness in the face of the rest of seemingly powerful humanity.

The symptom is complex and there may be many issues and many polarities underlying its expression. Predominantly, however, it would appear to be linked to solar plexus (worth/self-worth) and heart (love/self-love) chakra issues which are both, of themselves, intimately connected. Intolerance of milk is a fundamental expression of difficulties in the meeting of basic needs – solar plexus issues – and all the four remedies in this differentiation appear in the rubric GENERALITIES; FOOD and drinks, milk, aversion. The solar plexus chakra also relates to the ego. According to many esoteric viewpoints, it is the acquisition of ego which differentiates us from animals. Imbalances in the solar plexus chakra can therefore lead to confusion in our relationship to the animal in us, projected onto the environment in our relationship with animals. If this idea has substance, we would expect to find evidence in the four remedy pictures of the polarity of love of animals. Carcinosin, Natrum muriaticum and Phosphorus appear in FEAR, animals, of, and, if Sankaran’s Aethusa case is taken into account (see below), the polarity is also manifest in this remedy. (Of the other remedies that appear in the rubric LOVE, animals, for, Medorrhinum and Sulphur also appear in FEAR, animals, of, while Calcarea phos has dreams of animals. Nuphar luteum – a very small proving of only 201 rubrics – has only love and great sympathy for suffering animals, while Psorinum appears only in love for animals. Sulphur and Calcarea phos have aversion to milk and Psorinum has aggravation from milk. Medorrhinum and Nuphar have no symptoms in connection with milk.)


Aethusa cynapium (Fools Parsley, False Parsley, Dog’s Parsley, Lesser Hemlock, Dog Poison, Cow Parsley, Devil’s Wand, Kelk, Lace Curtains, Pig Dock) is a member of the family Umbelliferæ and a close relative of Conium maculatum, Cicuta virosa , Oenanthe crocata, Petroselinum sativum and AsafÅ“tida. According to many sources, it has frequently been confused with other members of this family, particularly the more virulent Conium, Cicuta and Oenanthe. Umbelliferæ are quite difficult to tell apart – some of the common names are shared by several species: Cow Parsley, for instance, is more commonly applied to Anthriscus sylvestris. Kelk is a term applied to all umbelliferous plants describing the hollow stems. Consequently there is some disagreement over the symptoms which have been attributed to its poisoning, more recent authorities describing it as relatively innocuous in its effects.

It features in the rubric MIND; LOVE, animals, for as a clinical addition by George Vithoulkas. The original proving and all clinical descriptions of the remedy’s action prior to the latter part of this century do not bring out this aspect of the remedy. The proving features only delusions of seeing animals (dogs, cats, rats, mice, insects). The only other reference I could find to the remedy’s connection with animals is in an Aethusa case cited by Sankaran in which the patient has a pronounced fear of dogs (Sankaran, 1994. p48-49). Vithoulkas characterises the Aethusa patient as being reserved and self-contained but with strong inward emotions. They are individuals who feel apart. They talk to themselves and to animals. He describes them as ‘crazy for animals, cats and dogs, etc – look after them with unnatural passion’ (Vithoulkas, p1). Morrison states ‘Devotes entire life to animals and becomes intensely attached to his pets. Collects pets in great numbers’ (Morrison).

Aethusa appears in the rubrics:

MIND; DELUSIONS, imaginations; animals, of

cats, sees
dogs; sees
insects; sees
mice, sees
mice, sees; running from under a chair
rats, mice, insects, etc.
rats, mice, insects, etc.; running; across the room

MIND; LOVE; animals, for
MIND; SYMPATHETIC, compassionate; animals; only for

The remedy is known mostly for a mental state of idiocy, characteristic epileptic convulsions, and a complete intolerance of milk, particularly in cholera infantum.

The intolerance of milk underlines the solar plexus connection to the seat of the problem. This seems to be the key to understanding Aethusa’s presence in this rubric. The degradation of mental faculties evidenced in the proving, and the lack of identification with other humans apparent in the feeling of being apart from the human race lead to the supposition that individuals exhibiting Aethusa pathology are somehow stuck in a more animal state of existence, and hence fear, but identify more with, animals than humans. Their hold on their ego and higher mental faculties is very fragile: rubrics such as MIND; FEAR, sleep, close the eyes lest he should never wake, to, and the tendency towards epileptic convulsions highlight this. Confirmation for the theory is found in the sensations as if … symptoms of the remedy. Reference to both Roberts and Ward give the following:

Bending backward would better pain in small of back
A feeling as if pain in the back would be ameliorated by straightening out
Feeling as if the stomach were turned upside down
Long, tongue were too
Shortened, arms were
Head was thrown back as if to relieve slight stiffness of the muscles of the neck
On sewing, feeling in left thumb as if it were stiff and immovable, and as if she could not extend it
Salivation, as copious as if from mercurial treatment
The skin of the hands dry and shrunken as if they had been washed in lye, especially on the palmar surface

Many of the above become understandable if it is imagined that an animal, which walks on four legs, were forced to walk on two legs as a human. There are many symptoms of back pain in the lumbar region (which is the main focus of the spinal changes undergone in moving from a quadripedal to bipedal mode of locomotion) ameliorated by assuming a more quadripedal configuration in the spine (arching backward). Throwing the head back to relieve muscular stiffness also puts the head into the same relationship with the spine as would be found in a quadriped. The sensation of the palmar surface of the hands being dry and shrunken hints at the pads of an animal’s paws. The symptom of the thumb is especially interesting, given that only other primates have the ability to use the thumb – dogs, for instance, have a vestigial thumb in the shape of a dew claw over which they have no voluntary control. Dogs have much longer tongues than humans and tend to salivate to a much greater extent. The qualities of devotion and attachment which Vithoulkas and Morrison describe Aethusa patients as exhibiting towards their pets are also dog-like, as is the tendency to have many pets since dogs are pack animals. In this context it is interesting that the common names of the remedy include Dog’s Parsley and Dog Poison.

Aethusa’s presence in the rubric LOVE, animals, for therefore seems to relate to a loss of, or failure to develop, ego, resulting in a partial energetic regression to a dog-like animal state where the individual literally identifies more with animals than humans.


As a nosode prepared from the results of disease process, Carcinosin epitomises a failure in the process of differentiation – cancerous cells do not know what it is they should be. They have lost their place, their role, in life. They obey the imperative to grow but are unaware of their correct function in the scheme of things, which is that of taking their place in the society of cells and organ systems which together constitute a properly functioning human being. If this symptom manifests within the microcosm of the individual, then it can also be assumed to be operating within the macrocosmic environment – the individual as a unit is also unaware of, or unable to assume, their correct place and function within their society. It is a disease particularly of Western society where there is little tolerance for failure to conform to an idealised image of a model citizen, where individual variation is barely acknowledged and the mechanistic model prevails. Our dominant model of health assumes that all bodies behave in the same manner and conform to a narrow range of responses around a perceived ‘norm’. Interestingly, cancer is also a disease prevalent among domesticated animals, though not their wild cousins.

The symptoms of Carcinosin echo many of those of Aethusa. Aversion to milk is found, indicating that the basic needs of the individual are not being met. Constriction around the heart hints at an inability to give and receive love. There are many respiratory symptoms – thoracic oppression with a desire for deep inspiration, asthma; again reflecting an inability to take in the essentials for life, to meet basic needs.

In relation to animals, Carcinosin appears in the rubrics:

MIND; DREAMS; animals, of


MIND; FEAR; animals, of

dogs, of
snakes, of
spiders, of

MIND; LOVE; animals, for
MIND; SYMPATHETIC, compassionate; animals; only for

Again there is the polarity between love and compassion for animals, and fear of animals, highlighting an imbalance in relation to the internal animal.

The particular expression of Carcinosin relates very strongly to feelings of self-worth. The ætiology of the remedy is often cited as arising from prolonged oppression and subjugation to either individual(s) or ideals (MIND; AILMENTS from, domination by others, a long history of). Individuals needing Carcinosin are not able to be who they are, but have to be someone else. Their perception of their role is confused and ultimately they succeed in being neither what they are or what others desire them to be (MIND; DELUSIONS, imaginations, body, body parts, arms, belong to her, do not; feet, belong to her, do not; hand, belong to her, do not; martyrdom, of; protection, defence, has no; separated, world, from the, that he is; superhuman control, is under; DREAMS, looking for someone and failing to find him; HOMESICKNESS, nostalgia; IMPRESSIONABLE, susceptible).

In this context the fear of animals evident in the remedy can be understood in terms of the fear of the animal inside – animal instincts are wild, basic, not subject to the intervention of conscious control, and would result in disapproval if given free rein. Dogs, in particular, represent a manifestation of a very masculine and threatening energy and seem to me to strongly reflect the father (ie. male archetype) issues identified by Smits in connection with the remedy (Smits, 1998). The domesticated dog’s nature has much in common with the Carcinosin state, which is also seen very clearly in the mental picture of Lac caninum. We have a term ‘underdog’ meaning the dog that gets the worst of it in a fight; anyone in adversity; a person dominated, or being or likely to be beaten, by another. Carcinosin is often the underdog, or takes the side of the underdog in attempting to mediate in disputes between others. Fear of frogs seems less obvious as the frog (unlike snakes and spiders) is not threatening, but a quick glance in the direction of a close relative, Bufo, might give some clues: Bufo is stuck in a childish mental state and represents the baser instincts. From this we could extrapolate fear of base instincts (again the wild, uncontrollable self) and perhaps also fear of transcending that state in the direction of ego development, since Carcinosin feels that their ego is unacceptable to others.

The individual can also exhibit the polarity and relate to the suppressed inner animal in the form of a projection onto the environment, hence SYMPATHETIC, compassionate, animals, only for. Other expressions of the more instinctual, animalistic side of their nature appear in such symptoms as MIND; ARTISTIC, aptitude; CLAIRVOYANCE; DANCING, desire for; MIND, DREAMS, devils; FEAR, dark; ghosts, of; MUSIC, desires; SCHIZOPHRENIA; SUPERSTITIOUS.

Carcinosin’s presence in the rubric LOVE, animals, for, therefore relates to a fundamental belief that what they are is unacceptable to others and that their only path to acceptance lies in complete suppression of their true nature. Self-suppression attracts external suppression. Their innate sympathy for their own self (including the inner animal) is also suppressed and hence projected onto the external environment (MIND; AFFECTIONATE; ANXIETY, environment, for; family, about his; health, about, loved persons, of; others, for; DELUSIONS, imaginations, martyrdom, of; SYMPATHETIC, compassionate; WEEPING, tearful mood, tendency, hurt, seeing others; sympathy with others, from).


Natrum muriaticum appears in the rubrics:

MIND; FEAR; animals, of

birds, of
dogs, of
insects, of
snakes, of
spiders, of
worms, of

MIND; LOVE; animals, for

pet, his

HEAD PAIN; GENERAL; animal fluids, from loss of
GENERALITIES; WOUNDS; bites; poisonous animals, of

It’s keynote symptom is AILMENTS, grief, from, and the centre of its physical pathology revolves around fluid and salt balance within the body. The many watery issues highlight the connection with water as emotion. Nat-mur cannot express emotion (MIND; AFFECTION; demonstrate, cannot; AILMENTS from, anger, vexation, suppressed, from; grief, sorrow, care, cry, cannot; COMPANY, aversion to, agg., alone, amel. when; INTROVERTED; LOOKED at, cannot bear to be; TOUCHED, aversion of being; VULNERABLE, emotionally) for fear of rejection and abandonment.

As with the preceding remedies, it has issues with meeting basic needs, highlighted in the many rubrics it appears in in association with milk (HEAD; ERUPTIONS, milk crust, crusta lactea; STOMACH; ERUCTATIONS, General, milk, after; foul; milk, after; NAUSEA; milk, after; agg.; THIRST; morning; milk, after; VOMITING; milk; milk; curdled; ABDOMEN; DISTENSION, milk, after; CHEST; MILK, bad; disappearing; GENERALITIES; FOOD and drinks, milk, agg.; milk; aversion; milk; aversion; mothers; and finally, milk; desires) focusing on solar plexus issues and the relationship to the animal within. The focus of Nat-mur’s problems lies firmly in the area of emotions – the solar plexus is called the seat of the emotions – and in this remedy, the link with the heart chakra (unconditional love) is more apparent. Nat-mur is hurt, vulnerable and eventually bitter, all expressions of a closed heart chakra (MIND; ANXIETY; chest, in; heart, region of). Emotions are a cause of great pain: emotions attack and bite (as does the remedy – it is bold type in MIND; BITING), they are poisonous, highlighted in the susceptibility to actual bites of poisonous animals, and making the fears of aggressive and poisonous animals (dogs, insects, snakes and spiders) understandable. The fears of birds and worms may express a polarity of a slightly different nature – Nat-mur is the salt of the earth, it cannot soar, cannot experience the elation of the intense emotion that is unconditional love and which equates with flight, it is destined to crawl around on its belly like a worm, which is too simple a creature to have emotions.

Since the remedy cannot express emotion to fellow human beings or accept the emotion within themselves, this is subverted into relationships with animals, hence the polarity of LOVE, animals, for, and pet, for his. Animals do not disapprove of emotion; they receive it gladly or uncritically and do not reject the giver, even if that emotion is occasionally negative. The need to accept and love the animal within is projected outward.


Phosphorus appears in the rubrics:

MIND; DELUSIONS, imaginations; animals, of

insects; sees
rats, mice, insects, etc.
vermin; crawl about, sees
worms; creeping of

MIND; DREAMS; animals, of

biting him
horses; fearing to be bitten by a ferocious black
horses; ugly
insects; stung by
worms; creeping

MIND; FEAR; animals, of

cockroaches, of
insects, of
spiders, of

MIND; LOVE; animals, for
HEAD PAIN; GENERAL; animal fluids, from loss of
STOMACH; VOMITING; food; animal food, all

The centre of Phosphorus pathology is lack of boundaries. The individual is wide open rather than closed down and suppressed like Carcinosin and Nat-mur (MIND; BORROWING of everyone; CLAIRVOYANCE; CONFUSION of mind, identity, as to his; DELUSIONS, imaginations, body, body parts, scattered about bed, tossed about to get the pieces together; images, phantoms, sees; light, incorporeal, immaterial, he is; IMPRESSIONABLE, susceptible; MAGNETIZED, mesmerism amel.; SENSES, acute; SENSITIVE, oversensitive, external impressions, to all; SYMPATHETIC, compassionate; UNDERTAKES, lacks will power to undertake anything; WILL, loss of; YIELDING disposition).

With the absence of a clearly defined sense of ‘self’, there will inevitably be the solar plexus issues identified in the other remedies, but from a different perspective. In a sense, the Phosphorus relationship to animals has more in common with Aethusa – there will be an aspect of confusion between ‘own animal’ and ‘other animal’, hence the large number of dreams and delusions of animals. The dreams of horses probably relate to this aspect as the remedy also has URINE; ODOR, horses urine, like; and GENERALITIES; GLANDERS, a horse disease, indicating that on some level Phosphorus thinks it is a horse. The predominant animal forms, however, are those commonly classified as vermin or parasites and may reflect an underlying sense of vulnerability – a susceptibility to being taken advantage of – that such a wide open aspect is likely to attract in the form of its polarity, hence the fears of these animals as well as dreams and delusions.

In terms of its appearance in the rubric LOVE, animals, for, it seems likely that, aside from the general sympathetic open nature of the remedy, Phosphorus identifies with animals in mistake for the inner animal. Unlike Carcinosin and Nat-mur, the love of animals is not a displacement symptom but one of confusion due to its lack of boundaries.


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About the author

Wendy Howard

Wendy Howard - has been practicing homeopathy since 1998, graduating after four years of study at the Edinburgh College of Homeopathy. She holds the licentiateship and diploma in homeopathy awarded by this college. She is also a Registered Member of the UK Society of Homeopaths (RSHom).
Wendy contributes to international homeopathic research projects, has published articles in professional journals in Europe and takes part in, and occasionally organizes provings.
Her interests include Jungian psychology, Eastern spiritual traditions, quantum mechanics, astrophysics, astrology, anthropology and mythology.
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