Gelsemium is a sycotic remedy. It belongs to the plant kingdom. Gelsemium has “ailments from anticipation”, “ailments from bad news”. The Gelsemium persons get apprehensive in the face of ordeals and develop a lack of self-confidence in such situations.
The patients tend to lose their control and balance. So the main feeling in Gelsemium is: “I have to keep my control when going through ordeals. I have to be able to withstand very difficult, trying situations. I have to be able to withstand shock and bad news without losing my control”.
So they keep courage when facing ordeals, and are not shaken up even by frightening situations. This courageous Gelsemium is exactly the opposite of the picture we read in the books, of the coward who is unable to face any unexpected event. Any exciting or bad news, shock or anticipation can make the person lose his balance and control.
He may develop giddiness and a fear of falling. He may lose control over his bowels. He develops a kind of paralytic or cataleptic immobile state. He is shocked and is therefore unable to move. In some patients, I have seen that they give the impression of control on the outside in the face of ordeals, but inside there is a lot of fear, a lot of anxiety, and they panic. They do not like to reveal their inner cowardice.
Gelsemium may sometimes seem to appear like Stramonium, with clinging and a desire for support always. But Stramonium is far more acute. Also, in Stramonium, the threat is perceived from outside of him, whereas in Gelsemium, it is the lack of confidence which is the main problem.
I remember one case of Gelsemium particularly well. The patient, a woman, was a dancer who had developed eczema on her feet. This woman gave me a history that she had been in a very bad accident and had some of her bones broken. In spite of this, she managed to give a dance performance though she had to put up with a lot of pain.
She also related that on one occasion her house had been broken into by five men armed with choppers. In this situation too, she managed to keep her cool and salvage a lot of her valuables. With Gelsemium, her eczema flared up so that she was unable to move out of bed. This situation caused everyone, including me, to panic, but she went through it, maintaining her control and balance, and improved subsequently.
- Ailments from anticipation, foreboding, presentiment.
- Ailments from bad news.
- Ailments from excitement, emotional.
- Ailments from shock, mental.
- Excitement, hearing horrible things, after.
- Confidence, want of self.
- Timidity, appearing in public.
- Fear, cease to beat, unless constantly on the move, heart will.
- Fear, self-control, of losing.
- Dullness, sluggishness, think long, unable to.
- Fear, falling, of.
- Clinging to persons or furniture, etc.
- Clinging, child grasps the nurse when carried.
- Diarrhoea, excitement, from.
- Fear, ordeals, of.
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To read about the philosophical approach to developing these remedy pictures, see Dr. Sankaran’s introduction to Soul of Remedies: