Materia Medica

Thuja With Emphasis on Children

The Soul of Remedies: Thuja occidentalis
Written by Chris Jorgenfelt

The article describe confirmed symptoms of homeopathic remedy Thuja occidentalis. Thuja is well known for its effectiveness in skin diseases, warts, growths, tumors, UTI and asthma. This paper reviews the clinically confirmed symptoms of Thuja, especially in children.

This article is based on 30 cases of children, teenagers and people just above 20 years of age. The majority is children between the ages of 8 – 16. In Sweden homeopaths are not allowed to treat children less than 8 years of age, which explains why there are no younger children.

I feel that an extended knowledge of Thuja in general and for children in particular is of great importance in homeopathy. Thuja has a reputation to be a difficult remedy to spot, but the main reason for this is that the remedy is lacking in a lot of rubrics and should be upgraded in others. In my practice Thuja is one of the most common remedies to be seen.

These 30 cases shows that the most common mental symptoms for children needing Thuja is:

  • Anger   – parents; toward  (3)  (new rubric)
  • Confidence   – want of self-confidence  (4)  (upgrading)
  • Fear   – dark, of (3)   (addition)
  • ”       – opinion of others (3)  (addition) – but for adults the 4:th degree is more correct
  • ”       – people  (4)  (addition)
  • Irritability  (4)   (upgrading)
  • Playing – desire to play  * alone (3)  (new rubric)
  • Reserved  (4)   (upgrading)
  • Timidity  (4)   (upgrading) * public; about appearing in (3)   (addition)

“Confidence – want of self-confidence” is the strongest of all symptoms in Thuja patients and the reason behind many of the other existing symptoms. They have a tremendous lack of self-confidence and this makes them show symptoms like “Reserved”, “Timidity”, Timidity * public; about appearing in”, “Fear – opinion of others”, “Fear – people”, “Ailments – anticipation, from”, “Fastidious” and above all their typical desire to try and please others “Pleasing – desire to please others”. Thuja should stand at least  in 3:rd degree in all of these rubrics.

The lack of self-confidence  in thuja homeopathic personality is pushing forward the need for them to try and be as perfect as possible in their clothing, hairstyle, make-up, performance and also in their work. Putting the demands so high for themselves that it is impossible to reach the goal and the failure to do so continues to feed the self-contempt they feel. They also make many efforts to try and please others, so that they will have a good opinion about them. One young man explained this very clearly to me “To be loved by others, you have to be very nice.” He had thoughts that tormented him all the time about what to say to other persons, as he wanted to say the perfect things. Thuja gave him so much more self-confidence that he could go out in life, daring to meet people again. He lived in a home for psychiatric youngsters.

Another patient put it this way, “I am getting very nervous when in a group of people. I feel they expect me to talk and to entertain them. I have to be very nice towards others. I also feel that people don’t like me, that I have behaved strangely or did say something that offended them. I am brooding a lot on this and have to check with people that they are not angry with me.”

One teenager told me that he always checked his work 5 – 6 times before leaving it. He was very afraid of making a mistake. He also had difficulties refusing to help somebody, even if he did not have the time or energy to do so. He was afraid to hurt the other person’s feelings.

What are mostly shown in younger children is that they are very timid in new places and with strangers, but at home with their parents their irritability comes out. They can be very angry and irritated, therefore rubrics like “Anger – contradiction, from” and “Anger – violent * things don’t go as he wishes, when” are correct in many of these children. But always behaving very nice or shy toward people outside of the family or in new surroundings. A typical statement from the parents is, “He  is insecure when it is something new. To meet new people. Cried when he started in school, but this is OK now. Contrary at home.” A few children are so shy that they hide when strangers come. In the office they are shy and tense. Looking at the parent when asked a question. Some older children think a long time before answering and my feeling is that they are seeking for the answer they believe will please me.

It surprised me during the work with these cases to find that nearly everyone of these children preferred to play by themselves. I therefore feel that the sub rubric “alone” should be added to “Playing – desire to play”, with Thuja in 3:rd degree. They prefers to be at home and play alone. One child would even lie to his friends, just to be able to be alone. The desire to be alone is also very strong in many adult Thuja cases. To be with others and especially strangers demands so much from them. Being alone is the only way to relax and stop loosing their energy. Many adults describe how they lack both physical and mental energy, giving them a strong fatigue and a lack of willpower that together with the desire to be alone makes them withdraw themselves partly from the society. They would prefer to be on the sick-list, so that they did not have to go to work anymore. Many also prefers to work at home and choose a type of job where this is possible.

If we look at the first symptom on the list of rubrics above, “Anger – parents, toward”, the majority of Thuja cases show a conflict with the parents. Usually only with one and then mostly the one of the same sex. It might be shown as some censorious statements, a real conflict with an aversion toward one of the parents or as bad as one 8 year old boy expressed it toward his parents “I will become a thief, so that I have to go to jail and get away from you.” In several other cases an estrangement from the family is shown instead, with statements like “I don’t feel at home with my family” or “I always feel like the black sheep in the family.” This split between the person and their loved ones is a commonly seen symptom in Thuja patients, although not so often shown in younger children.

Apart from their fear of people and others’ opinion about them, the most common fear in children is of darkness and being alone when it is dark. They also show a fear of different animals, but the only animal that came up in several cases were snakes. One young patient also dreamed about snakes. In adults it’s common with a fear of wild animals.

The tendency to fanaticism can be seen sometimes. Children wanting to do one thing all the time and what is usually seen is that they only want to play a certain type of game all the time. In my cases it is computer- or TV-games. A sort of game where you can sit alone and play. Sport fanaticism is not uncommon. A few of them are also reading very much.

A point that is important to know about Thuja is the strong suicidal tendency that runs in the remedy. The underlying feeling is beautifully described by a 17 year old female patient “There is no future, no hope about anything at all. A complete lack of all hope in life. I have a feeling of being in other peoples way and being a nuisance for them, because nobody is appreciating me.” She had made suicidal attempts earlier in her life. Another  teenager patient that came in treatment because of a strong fear of people and fatigue, had cut her wrists several times before. She was a girl dressed in black, with her hair and eyebrow dyed in black. She preferred to sit alone and paint. It was very important for her to move away from home to her own apartment. It was remarkable to see that after a period on Thuja she changed her colours completely, and did not want to wear anything black anymore. She also became more outgoing and improved the relationship with her family.

Another patient describes the feeling like this; “Life is meaningless. I lack the willpower to do anything at all. I have no joy or motivation to do anything.” She was afraid to harm herself in this state. After receiving Thuja 50M and also taking plussed doses of the remedy the feeling disappeared in 10 days.

Nearly every one of my Thuja patients continues to a Medorrhinum state if treated with high potencies and regular repetition of the remedy in rising potencies. Most of the Medorrhinum patients will continue into a Thuja state if treated in the same way. These two remedies are closely connected to each other and it is many times extremely difficult to differentiate them, as the patient is showing symptoms from both remedies at the same time.

I would also like to make a comment about Carcinosinum, as several years ago I often used that remedy in my own practice. More experience with Thuja and Medorrhinum showed me that they have a lot of symptoms in common with Carcinosinum, and when indicated are mostly acting deeper and is moving the patient forward in a much nicer way. When the symptoms of Carcinosinum are there I recommend homeopaths to also look for symptoms of Thuja or Medorrhinum. I think Thuja in particular but also Medorrhinum are important remedies to look for on in cancer treatment, although my own experience here is very limited. Cancer in the patients background is common with these two remedies.

Finally some comments about the General symptoms of the remedy.

Thuja is dominantly left sided, but can also be right sided or symptoms can sometimes start on the right side and then move to the left.

These are very chilly patients with a strong lack of vital heat. Only a few children will be reported as warm. They have no love for themselves and no internal “fire” to warm them. Along the same line is their lack of energy giving them the peculiar fatigue. They are loosing their energy by all their worries.

They have a lot of sensitivity towards different food, most marked is milk and chocolate. Desires shows chocolate and fruit strongest, but also ice-cream, sweets and eggs comes up apart from the more well known as tea, onion and garlic.

According to sleep symptoms it is mostly seen that they are tired in the evening and wants to go to bed early and then wake up early. This is the opposite of Medorrhinum. Adult people often sleep on the left side, but the remedy can also have an aggravation from sleeping on the left side.

Physically many of these children have problems with asthma that is aggravated from exertion, catching a cold and in one case also from wet weather. The typical point for Thuja in asthma is that they cough a lot. Also colds that bring on a persisting cough is common.

Many of these children complain about abdominal pains and the remedy should be added in the rubric “Abdomen, Pain -Umbilicus *child refers to the navel as the most painful part” in 2:nd degree. Some had also headaches.

A few complained of growing pains. One had deep painful cracks in his fingers and soles. Two of them had tics or twitching in the face and one also severe stammering which became significant better when she received Thuja. I have also successfully treated mononucleosis with Thuja and several adult patients have it in their background. This is also the case for salmonella.

But most of  these children’s and youngsters main problem was the mental state they were in. Thuja can go all the way from minor complaints to severe psychiatric problems. It is a beautiful remedy that gives so much help to people with severe mental sufferings. Every homeopath should know this remedy well, to be able to help people suffering from the awful mental state that represents Thuja.

Chris Jorgenfelt

Svenskt center foer klassisk homeopati AB
Vasagatan 33
792 22 Mora, Sweden

About the author

Chris Jorgenfelt

Chris Jorgenfelt
Svenskt center för klassisk homeopati AB
Vasagatan 33
792 22 Mora, Sweden


  • Your THUJA article was very helpful to me and thank you so much for sharing your insights. I have a teenage boy presenting exactly the symptoms as described in your article and hopefully can be cured now by taking this remedy. Would your prescribe a high potency like 50M right away or use ascending potencies starting with maybe 1M – 10M – 50M?

    • You are supposed to start at a lower dose first than gradually take the higher doses if and when you stop getting positive results from lower potencies. sometimes takes awhile to see results.

  • Hi

    Very informative article about the use of Thuja in children.

    I would like to have your opinion about the use of thuya in a children with laryngeal papillomatosis caused by HPV. It seems to work in some adults. Please give your opinion. Thank You. David

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