Materia Medica

Under the Volcano – Homeopathic Remedies from Inside the Earth

pollack apr image

An in-depth article giving an understanding of the remedies related to volcanic activity.



As a result of the immigration of my Czech grandparents to the south of Chile in 1938, the majority of my paternal family, including myself, were born and grew up beside one of the most active volcanoes in South America: Villarrica Volcano. Pucón, the town of my childhood, is situated at the base of this stratovolcano, which has a height of 2,847 meters (9,340 feet). The volcano dominates the view and, I believe, the lives of the people in Pucón.

Its most recent eruptions were in 1948, 1964, 1971 and 1984. I clearly remember the last one, which wasn’t violent at all like the previous ones, with the lava flowing down the cone, a magical view at night time. At present, all the Villarrica area is under zone alert. But the locals (including my parents who still live there) are used to it, that big old cone with the non-stop fumarole coming out its chimney. It is the focus of everyday life and it has an influence in people’s behavior.

The magnetic attraction that Villarrica has on people, like my grandparents, fascinates me. People settle and create communities around this magnificent force of nature. This happens all over the world, cities and settlements being developed, despite the danger that involves living “under the volcano”.

Under the Volcano - Homeopathic Remedies from Inside the Earth 1VOLCANOES IN HOMOEOPATHY

The first remedy that comes to mind when thinking about volcanoes and its Doctrine of Signatures is Sulphur. Sulphur is often called “the King of Remedies” (Pulsatilla being the Queen) for its wide and well known picture. Sulphur is also a predominantly Psoric remedy and it was proved by Hahnemann who described its action in The Chronic Diseases.

The crude substance comes from deep within the earth, brought up by volcanic activity. It can be found in yellow crystal form around volcanic vents and fumaroles. “When a volcano is actively erupting, then gaseous Sulphur makes the connection between earth below and the atmosphere above”(1). For the purpose of this project, I am going to centre on the picture of the remedy given by Misha Norland, according to its Doctrine of Signatures.

The second remedy to be explored is Hecla lava. Hecla has been in our Materia Medica since the end of the 19th Century, with cases described by Hering, Burnett and Clarke among others. Hecla was potentised after observations on the pathology developed by sheep grazing in the vicinity of the volcano. It is interesting to notice the connection between those symptoms originally described and those of Fluorosis, one of the most important livestock hazards during the aftermath of a volcanic eruption. The remedy Etna lava also has some common symptoms to Fluoric acid, as pointed out by Bruce Barwell, editor of Homoeopathica, the Journal of the New Zealand Homoeopathic Society in his article Does fluorine contribute to volcano remedies’ effects?(2)

The remedy Fluoric Acid was proved by Hering in 1845 and I have included it in my project because of its connection with volcano activity. Recent provings of volcanic material include Etna lava in Italy, Arizona lava in Devon and Cinis popo in Mexico. For the latter, I am including all the information I have been able to find up to date. For some reason, getting in touch with Mexican homeopaths hasn’t been easy for me.

The remedy Obsidian (Black) features in the book Meditative Provings, by Madeline Evans. Obsidian is a volcanic glass, formed when hot lava from an erupting volcano reaches the sea rapidly, solidifying and forming a black glass. To me, this remedy reaches a further level in homoeopathy and I haven’t included it in these pages.


I would like to thank Bruce Barwell, editor of Homoeopathica, the Journal of the New Zealand Homoeopathic Society, for his rapid response, interest, insights, generosity and enthusiasm for this project. To my friends in Chile, Valeria Kalfón and Mervil Frau, who live and work under the volcano, for their insight into the psychological and pathological aspects of a ‘volcano society’.

To Julissa Segura Urbano, homoeopath practicing in Puebla, Mexico. For her interest and for sharing of information with me about Cinis popo. To my husband Richard, for patiently proof reading and helping me to translate my ideas into ‘real English’. And finally to my grandparents, Guillermo and Catalina, for their seed planted under the volcano.

The themes of the volcano

In my collected memories, including emotions, sensations and thoughts, I can see themes unfolding from the active presence of the volcano in my life and in the community I grew up in. Interestingly, these themes develop in polarities, as homoeopathic remedies act out. Villarrica has brought a lot of devastation to people over the years, but it has also brought creativity and transformation. In miasmatic terms, the syphilitic miasm found its deepest representation in what a volcanic eruption brings about: creation follows destruction.

There is a sense of insecurity and fear in contrast with confidence and acceptance of the power of nature. Since the last devastating eruption in 1971, where avalanches of water, mud and rocks flew down the sides of the volcano destroying anything in its way, including trees, bridges and houses, the population has dramatically increased. People are building exactly on the places where the most devastation occurred, despite local government regulations and warnings. The endless source of energy and fertility attracts the population and the local government doesn’t want to interfere with the economic growth of the area. It is the rhythm of the volcano.

Ailments from shock’ features in Hecla lava, Sulphur and the rubric ‘Starting, startled’ is in Sulphur and Arizona lava. The rubric ‘Mind; FEAR; Happen; something will; terrible, horrible’ features Fluoric acid and Sulphur. Etna lava and Arizona lava both feature in Calmness and Resolution.

The native population on this land are the Mapuche (meaning “the people of the land”). Mapuche people believe that the volcano is the home of Pillán, the Spirit, founder of races and lineages. The volcano erupted because he was angry about the inadequate behavior of people. They didn’t fear him, they respected him like children do their father. Pillán showed his anger through smoke, tremors and lava. Villarrica’s native name is Rucapillán (meaning “home of Pillán”). The theme of anger and irritability is present in all the volcano remedies. Mapuche people also have a horizontal/vertical view of the world.

Volcanoes have to do with verticality. “Sulphur has to do with the connection from below (earth) to above (spirit) and its reverse”(1).

Volcanoes have an important role in the evolution of the crust of the Earth. It creates structures, reliefs and fertile land. The affinity of the remedy Hecla lava is with the bones, the structure of our bodies.

Lava features four states:

1. Flowing no matter what, nothing gets in the way (childlike state according to Misha Norland) Arizona lava. It burns everything.

2. Hardness, the crust of cooling lava (the compensated state). Resistance.

3. Aridity and bareness. Isolation (the decompensated state, pathological estate) Etna Lava.

4. Fertility, rebirth. Creativity.

Under the Volcano - Homeopathic Remedies from Inside the Earth 2The cooling of the lava represents the process of getting into the calm again. The activity has ceased, it is time to “chill-out”.

Etna lava provers experienced feeling calmer than usual: “I am still feeling very calm. I shout much less than usual, I think; I don’t fly into a rage; I face trouble quietly. As if I can look at the world more serenely”. (Prover 6). “I still feel cheerful and strong; I sleep less; I do a lot of things, more than usual…This cheerful mood is strange. I am not upset in spite of many troubles….I am not upset as if it’s not worth taking such things to heart…” (Prover 1). Hecla lava patients are usually calm, gentle and quiet but, when provoked, they explode in anger, out of control. Then, they become calm again. (Symptoms appear suddenly and go suddenly). Tranquility, serenity and calmness feature in Arizona lava too.

The “chilling out” aspect of lava is represented in the sensations of the lava remedies. The person is chilly, or the chilliness is alternated with heat, or the person experiences intense heat, like in Sulph and Fl-ac. Of course the “intense heat” can be seen on a mental plane, as in the case of Hecla. Etna lava also suffers from intense and impotent rage and Arizona lava can become abusive and cruel.

Suppression of emotions, especially anger, it is also a feature in all the lava remedies. “The silliest thing one could ever do with a volcano would be try to cap it, through this has been tried at least once in this century, with devastating consequences”(1). The volcano “cooks-up”, silently under the crust of the earth. Then, it lets go.

The burning sensation in all of these remedies is very intense. Fluoric acid suffers from an overheated system, so does Sulphur. It all comes from under the crust, under the skin. It is not a surprise that all these remedies have an affinity with the skin. Skin eruptions, rashes, itchiness. Cracked skin, like lava when it cools down. There is also the centrifugal effect of the volcano, the discharges are profuse and acrid.

There is also an aspect of cheerfulness in the volcano remedies. To me, this is the compensating state to the heaviness, building-up to the eruption. In my personal experience, the excitement of looking at a volcano in activity is immense. The senses become very acute (Arizona lava), there is euphoria and nervousness (Etna), Buoyancy of mind and an increase of energy (Fl-ac).


Under the Volcano - Homeopathic Remedies from Inside the Earth 3

The Materia Medica of this remedy is very extensive. For the purpose of this project, I have selected the symptoms related or compared to other volcanic remedies and to its Doctrine of Signature.

‘The stone which burns’ was the concept the ancients had of Sulphur. Native or elemental Sulphur occurs mainly near volcanoes and hot springs. It is widely distributed in nature as constituent of minerals, coal, petroleum, natural gas and in all living organisms.

Sulphur is yellow, odourless, tasteless, insoluble in water and extremely active. Heated at 115°C, it turns into a thin yellow liquid. When heated to 160°C it changes into a viscous semifluid.The viscosity increases up to 250°C, the colour changes from yellow through dark red to black, to change back to a thin, yellow liquid the closer it gets to its boiling point. Approaching 444°C, its boiling point, sulphur turns from a yellowish orange vapour through red into a yellow gas. Sulphur is widely use as a food additive. Sulphur dioxide and Sulphites are preservatives, antioxidants and anti-browning agents in foods. The most common adverse effect in humans is broncho-constriction and broncho-spasm, particularly in asthmatics. Other reactions include stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhoea, hypotension and skin problems. Support groups recommend that hyperactive children should avoid Sulphur-active preservatives.

To many authors, the central theme of Sulphur is the ‘delusion he is disgraced’. Scholten sees this characteristic as not knowing anymore what is good and what is ugly: ‘Delusion, old rags are beautiful’ or ‘delusion, rags are fine as silk’. Sulphur sees beauty in things that other people miss. This brings me back to the erupting volcano. The sense of the unknown and fear, as opposed to the attraction of the beauty of such a spectacle in nature.

Norland says that “Sulphur has to do with the connection from below (earth) to above (spirit)”. The more sulphur is heated, the more it changes, from solid, liquid, viscous, liquid again to finally meet the skies in gaseos form (the remedy is worse for atmospheric changes). “Sulphur comes into play where a person is unable to integrate the worldly with the spiritual”. Types present in polarities: The philosophical, theorizing person, who cannot bring his theories in the air down to earth (‘the ragged philosopher’).

Then there is the other, the practical, earth-bound stranger to spiritual life. He is “concerned only with the material physical level of reality”. The above-below polarity is also presented in a physical level: rushes of blood, flushes of heat and vertigo (ascending effects). Burning of soles, bunions. The feet, the contact to the earth, are affected. They cannot stand, always looking for a seat or to lean on something.

On the mental/emotional plane, the non-connection is in the relationships.”Sulphur’s failure to make and maintain relationships may lead to his feeling disappointed in his friends (‘ailments from deceived friendship’) and desire to live alone (‘aversion to all persons’)”.

The colours that elemental sulphur changes into, while heated, yellow, red and black, are featured in its Materia Medica: ‘delusion, she is black’, red face or yellow deposits on the skin. “Sulphur often suffers from liver problems, which can lead to a yellowish complexion”. Sulphur has many symptoms around heat. Burning sensations, burning discharges. Worse for becoming overheated.

Sulphur is insoluble in water. ‘Aversion to bathing’. Worse for bathing, especially the skin, which burns. He is thirsty, can gulp down large amounts of water.

The centrifugal theme in Sulphur is pretty much the volcanic way, from inside out. “The discharge outlets of the body such as nose, mouth, ears, anus and urethra can be compared to the vents and fumaroles of the volcano”. The Sulphur patient may show burning around these orifices. Also, Sulphur is prone to yellow crusty skin irritations. In the mental/emotional plane, Sulphur is fiery and irritable, “with a tendency to erupt in sudden anger”. His anger abates as quickly as it arose.

The summary of Sulphur that Misha Norland gives us is very interesting. He says the two main themes of Sulphur are:

• connecting (and in pathology not connecting) from above to below; and

• connecting (and not connecting) horizontally with others.

I already commented on this idea of verticality/horizontality, the Mapuche cosmovision.

Hecla lava

Under the Volcano - Homeopathic Remedies from Inside the Earth 4

According to some texts, Hecla or Hekla is the Icelandic word for ‘cloak’, and comes from the German word ‘hexe’, which means ‘witch’. Mount Hekla is 1491 m high located in the south western part of Iceland about 70 miles (110 km) south east of Reykjavik and 35 miles (55 km) inland from the southern coastline. It’s Iceland’s most notorious volcano, sometimes referred to by the natives as the Gate or even Gates of Helleborus It is regarded by some as a stratovolcano, but others argue that it more closely resembles Hawaiian shield volcanoes. It is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and has terrified the inhabitants of Iceland since it was settled by Ingolfur Arnarson(1) .

Eruptions have contained a high degree of Fluorine coinciding with mass fatalities amongst livestock. The last one was in 2000. It is not clear from our books from what exactly Hekla lava is made of. References, including Clarke’s description of the source of the remedy, refer back to a letter written in 1872 by Dr Garth Wilkinson, of London to Dr. William H.  Holcombe, of New Orleans: “Its known pathological effects on the sheep in the vicinity of Hekla are immense exostoses of the jaws. The finer ash, which fell on the pastures in distant localities, was particularly deleterious, while the gross ash near the mountain was inert”.

James Compton Burnett writes in his Fifty Reasons for being a Homoeopath: “Dr. Garth Wilkinson went once to Iceland for a holiday, and observed that the animals which fed in the pastures where the finer ashes of Mount Hecla fall, suffered from immense maxillary and other exostoses. Being an adherent of the scientific system of medicine founded for us by Samuel Hahnemann, he brought some Hecla lava home with him, and it has been already successfully used to cure affections similar to those which it is capable of causing.”

Brita Gudjons(2) explains that Hekla’s ash is not really ash at all, but tephra, “a lightweight material containing silica, like a very small grain of sand containing bubble cavities which have dissolved acidic salts attached to the surface as a precipitation”. “Naturally, the finer particles will fly much further. The surface of the totality of these particles is proportionally to their size bigger, and therefore the amount of fluoride that they have absorbed in the process is higher than that of the bigger particles found closer to the volcano. This explains the curious ‘distant localities’ mentioned by Clarke”. This also explains why, at present, sheep grazing at the vicinity of Mount Hekla are not developing pathology.

The ash and scorie of this volcano contain Silica, Alumina, Lime, Magnesia, with some Oxide of Iron (Clarke).


It affects mostly the bones of the head, jaws, teeth and legs [Hering]. This remedy has cured many cases of necrosis of the bone when an operation seemed unavoidable. It also has been employed in sarcoma, moreover in glandular swellings such as Silicea [Vermulen].

Clark’s compilation from cured symptoms:

MOUTH: Excellent effect in toothache, gum abscess, swellings about the jaws and in difficult dentition.

BONES: Arrests many forms of bone disease, including osteosarcoma, scrofulous and syphilitic osteitis and exostoses.

GLANDS: Affected almost as much as the bones: “induration and infiltration of cervical glands, studding neck like a row of pearls”.

MODALITIES: SWELLINGS are painful and sensitive to touch, worse from touch and pressure.

RIGHT SIDE has been more predominantly affected.

Hecla lava is considered a small remedy in the Materia Medica. Nevertheless it is a deep active remedy… of course, it comes from deep inside the Earth! As far I could investigate, all references to Hecla lava come from observations and clinical experience. It was potentized from the samples that Dr Wilkinson brought back to England from Iceland. Seemingly, no actual proving has been done. The symptoms described in the Materia Medica are mainly physical. Homoeopaths I have spoken to, have mentioned prescribing Hecla lava on a therapeutical basis.

In fact there are only 8 MIND symptoms where Hecla appears in the repertory (Complete):


Mind; ANGER, irascibility

Mind; ANGER, irascibility; Violent

Mind; CONTRADICTION; Intolerant of

Mind; HELPLESSNESS, feeling of

Mind; INJUSTICE, cannot support

Mind; OBSTINATE, headstrong

Mind; SHOCK, ailments from

There are not really any references to mind symptoms in the Materia Medica, except from Vermulen:

Intense nervousness in the morning. > towards 3 pm.

Outburst of violent anger [and feeling of helplessness].

Ailments from shock, indignation and suppression of emotions, especially anger. [Aleem]

Quiet, well balanced people who, when provoked, can explode with menacing anger which they cannot control. They can be very insulting to all and everyone. Gentle people, with great sensitivity to admonition, criticism and injustice, which causes them to get very agitated. They suppress their anger until such time as they can no longer control it, and then turn violent. Ailments form shock, indignation, suppression of emotions and especially anger. “A Volcano usually looks gentle, but once it starts erupting it behaves very violently, blasts with blaze, the hot lava destroys and hurts everything around the volcano”(3).

Mohammed Aleem(3) has observed the following mental symptoms in his practice, from cases in which he has successfully prescribed Hecla lava:

• Ailments from shock, indignation and suppression of emotions, esp. anger.

• Generally gentle but highly irritable when provoked.

• Violent anger. Wounds others mentally and physically.

• Stubborn

• Sensitive to admonitions and injustices done to self and/or others.

• Abrupt

• Feeling of helplessness.

Chris Wilkinson, in his article published on the Internet, Information, thoughts and meditations on Hecla lava, 1999-2002 ( exposes the idea that “there is a lot in this remedy that is not yet unearthed, particularly in the mental symptoms and the essence”. He suggests a hidden and unexpressed side of it, “something eccentric and sensitive, maybe more like Sulphur? The idea of the cloak is interesting. There is maybe something unexpressed and hidden, and lurking there, or maybe it is more to do with a covering e.g. the tissues on the bone?”. His sense of the remedy is of rawness. “Eruptive, powerful, though mainly dormant”. “On talking to Diane Murray (a colleague from Bristol), themes around eating and isolation came up”.

The essence of the remedy, linked to the Doctrine of Signatures, is:

• Rapidity, symptoms come suddenly and go suddenly (Generalities; PAIN; Sudden; disappearing suddenly, and)

• Burning (Generalities; PAIN; Burning and Generalities; PAIN; Burning; internal)

• Violence (Mind; ANGER, irascibility; Violent)

The PHYSICAL symptoms described in different books (Clarke, Hering, Douglass, Vermulen) include:

• Marked action upon the jaws.

• Of great use in exostosis*, gum abscess, difficult teething.

• Nodosities*, caries of bone etc.

• Osteitis*, periostitis*, osteo-sarcoma*.

• Rachitis*.

• Tumours in general.

• Bone necrosis*. Necrosis and sinusitis after mastoid operation.

• Exostoses sensitive and painful to touch. < pressure

• Tendency to suppuration and fistulae.

• Swelling and induration of glands.

• After extraction of carious wisdom tooth pain in wound, and at times in various localities in head and face, so severe that he cannot eat or sleep.


Under the Volcano - Homeopathic Remedies from Inside the Earth 5• Sheep developed immense exostoses on the jaws. (Observed by Dr. Garth Wilkinson)

• Another effect noticed was the drying up of the milk both in sheep and cows.

• In cows, postmortem examination showed the intestines filled with ashes, hardened to a mass, and stomach coated over with a pitch-black membrane spotted with brown, and difficult to remove by washing, the jaw teeth were covered with a shining metallic crust.

• Several young horses died from lumps in the jaw-bones, so large as to cause dislocation.

• Sheep, when slaughtered, were found to be of bluish hue internally, and the intestines were friable.

• In many cases worms from two to three inches long, with pale grey bodies and brown heads, and a little thicker than a horse-hair, were found in the bronchia.

• In sheep the osseous and dental systems were much affected.

• The head-bones, and especially the jaw-bones, swelled and became so friable that when boiled they fell to pieces.

• The thigh, and especially the shin bones, swelled and bulged.

• The jaws were sometimes covered with large swellings, which spread and were looser of texture and darker in color than the bone, these could be separated from the bone without injuring it, but in some fatal cases a hole going down to the marrow was discovered under the swelling.

Under the Volcano - Homeopathic Remedies from Inside the Earth 6

Eruption of Mount Hecla 2000

Head – Dizziness much worse on lying down, so that she must sit erect, and on turning in bed to the left side. [Douglass] A feeling as if the brain was turning over, with dizziness and blackness before the eyes, aggravation on lying down, and on stooping. [Douglass]

Chronic headache.[Hering]

Vertigo – With blackness before the eyes; everything goes up and down sideways. [Douglass]

Vertigo, everything goes up, down and sidewise. [Hering]

Nose – ulceration of nasal bones [Vermulen]

Face – Facial neuralgia from carious teeth and after extraction. Enlargement of maxillary bone. [Vermulen]

Eyes – Accommodation of left eye defective. Weakness of vision of left eye. Pain in base of left eye and on upper region of left orbit. [Vermulen]

Mouth – Toothache and swelling about jaws. Abscess of gums. Dental caries (esp. if that are very sensitive to pressure). [Vermulen]

Throat – Cervical glands enlarged and indurated. [Vermulen]

Chest – Asthma spasmodicum, and Asthma generally. Oppressive breathing with sensation as if there were a heavy weight lying upon chest and as if the air – cells were stopped up and clogged; amel. spring and summer, when rambling through the woods and breathing the pure fresh air. [Lilienthal’s Therapeutics]

Back – Pain in left sacroiliac region. < sitting; beginning of motion. > continued motion. [Vermulen]

Skin – Itching of chest remaining after herpes zoster. [Vermulen]

Extremeties – Hallux vagus* [Vermulen]

The SKIN rubrics are worth to looking at, Sulphur also appears (in black type) on all of them, except for Actinomycosis and black warts:


Skin; CRACKS, fissures (102)

Skin; ERUPTIONS (661)

Skin; ERUPTIONS; Crusty (139)

Skin; TINGLING, prickling (75)

Skin; ULCERS (324)

Skin; WARTS (146)

Skin; WARTS; Black (2)


•The swellings amenable to it are painful and sensitive to touch. < touch and pressure


•The glands are affected almost as much as the bones “induration and infiltration of cervical glands, studding neck like a row of pearls”.

•The right side has been more predominantly affected.

•< rest.

•< beginning of motion.

•All symptoms come suddenly and go suddenly. All symptoms are violent in nature.


•Intense burning

•Pain in wound when tooth has been extracted

•Violent pain: in upper jaw

•Severe continuous pain: in lower limbs

•Neuralgia: of face, in cavities where teeth have been extracted

•Headache: dependent on derangement of dental nerves


Acitomicocys Development of suppurating granulomatous tumours which discharge an oily, thick pus containing yellowish (‘Sulphur’) granules. Most affected are jaw, lung, intestine but it can occur anywhere.

Hallux vagus a deviation of the tip of the first toe, or main axis of the toe, toward the outer or lateral side of the foot.

Bone necrosis death of a limited portion of tissue, in bones, as a result of injury, a fragment dies and separates.

Exostosis outhgrowth from a bone, due to chronic inflammation, constant pressure, tension of the bone, tumour-formation.

Nodosities knotty protuberance

Osteitis inflamation in the substance of a bone, common in footballers

Osteo-sarcoma tumour of the bone

Periostitis inflamation on the surface of a bone, affecting the periosteum

Rachitis or rickets, “inflammation of the backbone”

Fluoricum acidum

Hydrofluoric acid

Under the Volcano - Homeopathic Remedies from Inside the Earth 7Fluorine, when dissolved in water, reacts immediately to form Fluoric acid. Fluorine is so active that it is not found free in nature. It is the most reactive of all the non-metallic elements, affecting every substance it comes in contact with, organic and inorganic. Its name is derived from “fluo”, stream.

Fluorine has become more and more present in our environment since World War II, with the development of the atomic bomb and commercial fluorochemicals, including in the production of plastics (with non-sticking qualities, such as Teflon), aluminium, paint preservative (enamels) and toothpaste. Many countries, including Ireland, are adding soluble fluoride to the drinking water in the interest of dental health. Additional sources of fluorine emissions are contributing to air and countryside pollution coming from the production of fertilizer, pesticides, glass, bricks and ceramics. Fluorine is highly toxic. Fluorosis is one of the most important livestock hazards during the aftermath of a volcanic eruption. Few historical eruptions are known to have resulted in fluorine poisoning in humans. Experience after the 1970 Hekla eruption shows that acute sickness occurred where the tephra layer was about 0.5 mm thick. At 1 mm thickness, 3% of the adult sheep and 8 to 9% of the lambs died. Acute poisoning occurred in the first days after the tephra fall and was accompanied by convulsive seizures, pulmonary oedema and kidney and liver damage(1).

Chronic fluorosis occurred at Hekla where the layer of ash was 1 mm or more thick. Serious outbreaks of volcanic fluorosis have also been reported for sheep and cattle in Chile. The ash contaminated 4,000 sq km of grassland, and cattle started showing clinical signs of osteofluorosis after about 4 months. The main clinical signs were weight loss and lameness. Diarrhoea, tinged with the colour of the ash, occurred in many of the sick animals. In some stock there was kyphosis, and exostoses were accompanied by intense pain when the long bones were palpated (especially the metacarpus). There was a high degree of attrition of the incisors with almost total crown loss(1).

The toxicology already shows various symptoms known from the picture of the homoeopathic preparations of Hecla lava and Fluoric acid.

The Materia Medica of this remedy is very wide. For the purpose of this project, I have selected the symptoms related or compared to other volcanic remedies and its Doctrine of Signature..


(from Vermulen, Scholten, Clevelands, Lippe, Douglas, Sankaran, Farokh Master)


• Uncommon buoyancy; increased energy

• Immorality, increase of sexual desire. Crude energy

• Indifference to loved ones

• Requires little sleep

• Want to enjoy life and die without suffering

“Fluoric acid is frequently useful for caries of the temporal bones, and especially of the mastoid process, and that, too, whether it be the result of syphilis, or of scrofulous catarrh of the middle ear”.(2)


KEYNOTE: Destructiveness.

KEYNOTE: Necessity for energetic and rapid motion.

(General > for motion).

KEYNOTE: Heat (and < for it).

• Chronic diseases with syphilitic and mercurial history

• Glabella region (region of the forehead directly between the eye brows and above the bridge of the nose) bloated.

• Acts esp. upon lower tissues. Deep, destructive processes, bedsores, ulcerations, varicose veins and ulcers.

• Tissues are puffy, indurated and fistulous.

• Patient is compelled to move about energetically. Disposition to walk rapidly and keep in constant and energetic motion. It seems as if he could walk forever.

• Complaints of old age, or the prematurely aged, with weak, distended blood vessels. Young people looking old.

• Early decay of teeth.

• Pale, miserable, cachectic, flabby and broken down patients.

• Always feels too hot. Wants to bathe in cold water.

• Discharges: thin, foul, acrid or salty, causing itching.

• Calcareous degeneration.

• Numbness; of the part not laid on; in brain diseases, spinal affections.

• Loss of strength.

• Suffers from an overheated system.

• Diseases of the bones, especially of long bones


• Indifference towards those loved best. Aversion to his own family. Becomes interested in and converses pleasantly with strangers.

• Inability to realise responsibility.

• Buoyancy. Mentally elated and gay.

• Depression of mind.

• Domineering; tends to take over the interview.

• Opinionated, strong-minded. Focused on material world.

• Libertinism. Shuns responsibilities.

• Sensation as if dangers menace him, but without being afraid.

Sleep – Sleepy earlier in the evening. Profound sleep until late in AM. No desire to sleep. A short nap serves to refresh him, as if he had slept all night.


Head – Caries of skull bones, esp. temporal. Caries of ossicles and mastoid, and copious discharge; < warmth [Sil. < cold]. Exostosis

Face – Exostoses of bones of face (Hecla)

Mouth – Sensitivity of teeth (Farokh Master). Problems soon after the teeth have erupted. Wisdom teeth come late (ailments from eruption of). Mouth and teeth covered with dark mucous in the morning. Acrid or foul taste comes from roots of teeth. Toothache amel until water becomes warm in the mouth (Teeth, pain, drinks warm).

Throat – Syphilitic ulceration. Sensitive to cold. Constriction in throat and difficult deglutition.

Stomach – Heaviness. Sour eructations. Desires spicy food. Hunger with speedy satiety. Craves refreshing drinks.

Chest – Oppression of chest. Difficult breathing.

Skin – Ulcers. Feels as if burning vapours were emitted from pores. Dry, harsh, itching or cracked skin. Naevus or birthmarks on children (keynote).


• Profuse perspiration. Offensive odour

• Cannot bear extremes of heat and cold

• Acrid discharges

• Violent pains like streaks of lightning

(1) New Zealand MAF Biosecurity Authority, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry “Impact of a Volcanic Eruption on Agriculture and Forestry in New Zealand” (2001)

(2) Farrington, Ernest Albert: Supplement to Gross’ Comparartive Materia Medica Published as an appendix to the American Journal of Homeopathics, 1874

Arizona lava

Under the Volcano - Homeopathic Remedies from Inside the Earth 8

Basaltic lava from Flagstaff, Arizona

The eruption ocurred around 1000 years ago, leaving a vast area of devastation.

Arizona lava was made from trituration from a piece of Basaltic lava brought from Sunset Crater near Flagstaff, Arizona. It was triturated in milk sugar to the third centesimal and then potentized by the traditional single vial Hahnemannian method. Misha Norland at The School of Homoeopathy, Devon, England conducted the proving of this remedy in 1994.(1)

“I consider that the primary state of any substance, is just what it is, neither intrinsically good nor bad. It is only when the person who is it, is unable to integrate this state into their lives that problems arise. It is the secondary state, the compensation, that may involve suffering. However, should the compensation be successful and acceptable, then the suffering will be minimal and short lived or not apparent at all. It is the decompensated state, the failure to integrate primary with secondary state, that is obviously pathological.”

1) The primary state of Lava is flowing and going; going for it no matter what; nothing gets in the way of an active Lava flow. This is a child-like state, which, if found in an adult, would obviously be viewed as their characteristic (forceful) predisposition.

2) The compensated, secondary state of Lava, is hardness (like the crust of cooling Lava), resistance and obstinacy. Both primary and secondary state may be viewed by others as unfeeling, the behaviour as callous and amoral.

3) The decompensated state is not brought out in the proving, yet we may expect that characteristic psychological components might be aridity and barrenness. Isolation.” (Misha Norland)


(main symptoms from the proving)

Under the Volcano - Homeopathic Remedies from Inside the Earth 9GENERALITIES, Essence.

•Dictatorial and quarrelsome v/s naive, childlike, feelings of being under attack.

•Tall, powerful, alert, clear and active v/s falling, lack of focus, distraction, self despising and cowardice.

•Lava represents the Phlegmatic/Choleric axis: Phlegmatic aspects: childlike, inward, unsteady.

Choleric aspects: hot, dry, forceful, determined.


•Absorbed, abstraction of mind.

•Anxiety of conscience, cowardice, want of moral feeling

•Abusive, cruel, cursing, defiant, dictatorial, selfish

•Alert, Clarity of mind or confusion of mind

•Anger, irritability, quarrelsome, repulsive mood

•Childish behaviour, childish speech, naive

•Aversion to company, taciturn

•Difficulty in concentrating

•Lack of self confidence, or confident

•Contrary, obstinate, headstrong

•Delusions: of being attacked, of being criticized, of being despised, of being laughed at. Has neglected his duty. He is a child. Separated from the world. He is tall.

•Despair of life, loathing of oneself

•Detached, disconnected, everything seems unreal

•Suppressed emotions, cannot weep though sad

•Ennui, tedium, impatience, time passes too slowly

•Excitement, anticipation, exhilaration, giggling, laughing

•Fears: robbers, thunderstorm

•Acute senses, sensitive, starting or unfeeling, hardhearted

•Theorizing, rush of thoughts or vanishing of thoughts, talking in sleep

•Tranquility, serenity, calmness

•Dirty, aversion to bathing


Sleep – Heavy. Restless. Aversion to rise. Waking too early. PHYSICAL

Vertigo – Vertigo. Vertigo on rising, while walking.

Head – Heaviness. Constriction. Tingling. Pain in forehead, around, behind, above eyes. Pressing, sharp pains. < light, > pressure.

Eyes – Itching. Dryness. Tired. Sees objects beside field of vision.

Ears -Stopped sensation. Heat. Red. Wax thin, yellow. Acute hearing.

Nose – Coldness on tip of nose. Acute sense of smell.

Face – Red. Dry. Heat. Burning pains. Pressing pains. Tingling of lips.

Mouth – Dry. Burning pains. Prickling pains. Tongue swelling. Taste putrid.

Throat – Dry. Swelling. Sore pain. Voice deep.

Stomach – Increased appetite. Capricious appetite. Gurgling, heartburn, hiccough. Nausea <night, <motion.  Thirst.

Abdomen – Pain burning. Pain in liver (Sulph).

Chest – Eruptions painful. Palpitation of heart. Oppression, pain sore, bruised. Hacking cough > drinking. Cough at night, wakens from sleep.

Back – Cervical region: itching, pain sore, stiffness.

Extremeties – Pain shooting on knees. Tingling of shoulder. Itching fingers.

Rectum -Haemorrhage, from anus, from hard stool. Pain during stool. Stool hard, with blood. Forcible, sudden, gushing, watery.

Urine – Copious. Brown.

Female – Genitalia itching, pudendum.

Skin – Dry. Inability to perspire. Itching. Psoriasis.



•Sensation of heat alternating with cold.

•Food and drinks desires: alcoholic drinks, cheese, chocolate, cold drinks, nursery foods, rich foods, soda pops drinks, spices, sweets.

•Food and drinks aversion: aversion to drinks accompanied by thirst.

•Ailments from traveling.

•External trembling

(1) The proving can be read at * Misha Norland gives the repertory of the remedy in the same website.

Etna lava

Under the Volcano - Homeopathic Remedies from Inside the Earth 10

Etna, situated in Sicily, Italy is the largest active volcano in Europe. Its structure has been formed through phases of activity, dormancy and erosion. Etna’s eruptions are prevalently effusive i.e. with lava flows running like rivers down its slopes. “Magma is a very hot natural substance composed of a heterogeneous system formed by liquid, solid and gaseous phases of variable duration. The composition of the liquid is often silicated but rarely carbonatite. Other elements present in the magma are Al, Fe, P (which, together with Si, are called the “structural components”) and Na, K, Mg, Fe Ca and Ti, defined as “structural modifiers” insofar as they modify the magma’s viscosity by interrupting the silicated chains and saturating the oxygen valence. The principal volatile components present in magma in significant quantities are H2O and CO2.”(1)

One of the components of Etna lava is Titanium dioxide. This compound is widely used in the manufacture of plastics and dyes. It is also used as a food additive and in cosmetics. It is very resistant to corrosion therefore it is used in metallurgy, surgical implants and prostheses. It is also present in drinking water. If inhaled, it tends to remain in the lungs. Massive doses can cause pulmonary fibrosis.

Etna lava was potentized from the samples taken from different areas of the volcanic strata of Mount Etna after the 2001 eruption. The proving was conducted by Dr Maria Francesca Spada, Dr Gaetano Arena and Dr Riccardo Nucifora and monitored by Professor Mario Matera(2), from October 2001 to March 2002. The proving was conducted following the rules of classical Hahnemannian proving. The provers described over 300 symptoms, which are the basis of a synthetic report on the pathogenesis of Etna lava.

(1) “Il Medico Omeopata” “ETNA LAVA – Proving symptomtology and clinical results”. By Pietro Gulia, Giusi Pitari, Gustavo Dominici.

(2)Mario Matera is the Director of the Department of Experimental Pharmacology and Clinic of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of Catania University.


(Symptoms described during the proving)

Under the Volcano - Homeopathic Remedies from Inside the Earth 11GENERALITIES

– Essence.

Chilliness, coldness. Lack of vital heat. Weakness, weariness, heaviness “Wateriness”. Watery discharges, dreams of water.

MIND – Themes:

•Calmness, feeling of calm, a good and cheerful mood and resolution.



•Anger, compressed anger, unexpressed, “a submerged feeling which has to find an outlet”.

•Exaltation, euphoria.


•Sadness, isolation.

•Nostalgia. Looking at the past. Also, breaking with the past.

Sleep – Disturbed. Insomnia.

Dreams – water, red colour; feelings of anger and resolution. Duality of symptoms: I have collected these symptoms from the proving, to me, they fit with the Doctrine of Signatures.

•Euphoria and nervousness followed by sadness.

•Irritability followed by serenity.

•Anxiety, with solitude and sadness followed by anger and outbursts of rage.

•Restlessness, agitation followed by mental and physical fatigue or relaxation.

•Calm and inner peace followed by tension and anger.

•Sensation of depression followed by oppression and then release by crying.


Head – Heavy and blocked. Sensation as if the head is blocked. Heavy with a fainting feeling. Pains throbbing.

Eyes and nose – Watery. Hayfever SXS. Burning sensation.

Throat – Burning, catarrh, tightness of the throat and aphonia. Hoarseness, lowering of voice. Sensation of suffocation.

Stomach – Burning in the pit of the stomach. Frequent belching.

Rectum – Constipation.

Bladder – Frequent micturition and profuse urination.

Female – (Cured SXS) “Sudden but short improvement of menstrual pains. The pain is usually like a blade which cuts my uterus in two. This pain extends to the loins, more intense in the right side, and to the internal parts of my thighs”. Leucorrhoea: white, thick but not copious discharge. “The menses appeared before the proper time (an advance of 7 days): without pain; lighter, pinky menstrual blood. Usually my menstrual blood is darker. The menses lasted 5 days instead of the usual 3 days; the menstruation was more copious than usual”.

Chest – Cough, violent, racking, deep, hollow. In paroxysms. “The paroxysm ends in a sound like a gasp as if I have got whooping cough. Then I retch violently and I throw up mucus. The cough tears my chest, my heart. I am expelling a lot of catarrh and tears as if I can’t get rid of anything”. White-yellowish scanty catarrh, with bloody strings.

Back – Pain in lumbar region when standing for a long time. Sharp muscular pain in the loins on right. It gets worse while standing up or arching. Violent pains, like an electric shock.

Extremeties – Intense pain on right elbow down to the finger tips. Numbness (Right sided). > Movement.

Skin – Development of skin eruptions and rashes. Itchy. The initial picture of Etna lava was constructed carefully studying the characteristic symptoms noted by the provers.

The Etna lava patient would be:

•Lacking in vital warmth and wraps up well without getting warm. He suffers from hot flushes;

•Feels tired, heavy and lacking in strength and drags himself about;

•Has a heavy, watery discharge from the nose and eyes; has a deep, hollow, rasping, racking cough that manifests in violent fits;

•Has a strong and frequent urge to urinate, both during the day and at night; the urine is copious and as clear as water;

•Suffers from constant nausea, a burning sensation in the stomach, regurgitation and eructation.

•Has widespread, itchy rashes;

•Is elated almost to the point of euphoria, enjoying great energy and the sensation of being able to do anything;

•Feels calm but easily becomes angry;

•Suffers an intense and impotent rage; a repressed rage that leaves him feeling as if he is about to explode;

•Is resentful and unfeeling. He is unrepentantly furious with members of his family;

•Feels nostalgia for his family and children;

•Has unrestrainable tears that come flooding out like water.(3)

(3)Clinical cases can be read on “Il Medico Omeopata” “ETNA LAVA – Proving symptomtology and clinical results” by Pietro Gulia, Giusi Pitari and Gustavo Dominici.

Cinis popo

Under the Volcano - Homeopathic Remedies from Inside the Earth 12

Forty-five miles (70 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City – and the old Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán – stand the two great sacred mountains of Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl. In Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, Popocatépetl means ‘Smoking Mountain’ and is commonly referred to as “El Popo” or “Don Goyo”. It is Mexico’s most famous active volcano, being the second highest peak in the Mexican territory (17,833 feet / 5452 meters). Popocatépetl is linked to the Iztaccíhuatl (meaning “sleeping woman”) mountain to the north by the high saddle known as the Paso de Cortés, and lies in the eastern half of the Trans-Mexican volcanic belt. It looms over the Mexico and Puebla valleys, potentially threatening over 20 million people. It  reactivated in 1993 after 70 years in a dormant state.

Some toxicological effects were reported immediately after its eruption on 30th of June, 1997, when the biggest explosion was registered followed by a light precipitation of ashes. Observation of the symptoms in healthy people from falling ashes from the volcano include throat and respiratory tract irritation, cough, phlegm and nasal obstruction. It affects the skin and eyes, producing irritation. Mental symptoms included depression, nightmares and anxiety.

The effect that Popo ashes have on people with chronic respiratory complaints include exacerbation of symptoms, respiratory difficulties and bronchospasms. Homoeopaths from the region have observed that the remedy Sulphur seems to be indicated constitutionally in patients with high sensitiveness to the ashes.

Since 1993, an increase has been observed in rhinitis and rhinitis associated with bronchial asthma among the inhabitants of the city of Puebla. To the Aztecs, Popocatépetl is revered as one of the most important of their sacred mountains. Its rich volcanic soil combined with a congenial climate and plentiful water made its lower slopes one of the most fertile and heavily populated areas of Pre-Columbian Mexico.

The theme of killing and death surrounds the history and legends of this mountain. Cortés (the Spanish conqueror) used a substance from the Aztec’s sacred mountain to make gunpowder for killing people for the greater glory of the Spanish empire. At the same time the Aztecs performed their own bloodthirsty human sacrifices as a worship to the mountain. It is worth mentioning here that the knives the aztecs used for sacrifices were made of Obsidian.

The ashes of Popocatépetl contain glass in different proportions, silicon dioxide, sulphur, copper, magnesium, zinc and plumbum.

Cinis popo was made from the ashes of the Popocatépetl volcano, in Mexico. The proving was conducted in 1995 by Dr Luis Germán González y González and medical homoeopaths from the College of Homoeopaths of Puebla. The pathogenesis of Cinis popo was published in 2000 along with 39 other remedies in a compilation called Mexican Materia Medica by Dr Fernando François Flores.

The mental symptoms of the proving include (translation from Spanish):

• Anger, irritability

• Ailments from anger

• Anxiety about health, hypochondriac

• Anxiety of conscience, remorse

• Anxiety with restlessness, in need for movement and physical activity. > waking in fresh air

• Anxiety < closed spaces

• Confusion of mind

• Ennui, dullness of mind, apathy

• Fear of death, pessimism

• Forsaken feeling

• Impatient, gets violently angry

• Irresolution

• Laziness, loathing of work

• Restlessness > continual movement

• Sadness

• Undertakes, lacks will power to undertake anything

•Want of self-confidence

•Weeping. > fresh air

Two of the provers experienced conflicts with their partners during the proving, resentment leading to separation. To me, the mental symptoms of this remedy are very related to the legend (see panel). The geographic area around the volcano has been populated from ancient times. It is full of history, all related to the volcano. The volcano has had a big influence on the population and this is shown in the proving of its ashes.

Pic: Xavier López Medellín & Felix Hinz

A romantic legend that dates from pre-conquest times relates that Popocatépetl, a great warrior, was in love with the fair maiden Iztaccíhuatl, daughter of a tribal king. The legend comes from an oral tradition, therefore there are many versions of the same story.

The lovers went to the king who told them he would allow the marriage only if Popocatépetl was victorious in battle with a rival tribe. Popocatépetl went off to battle, was indeed victorious, but was kept away longer than expected. A rival suitor to the hand of Iztaccíhuatl spread the rumor that Popocatépetl had died in battle. When Iztaccíhuatl heard the news, she could not stop crying. She refused to go out and did not eat any more. A few days later, she became ill and she died of sadness.

When the king was preparing his daughter’s funeral, Popocatépetl and his warriors arrived victorious from war. The king was taken aback when he saw Popocatépetl, and he told him that other warriors had announced his death. Then, he told him that Iztaccíhuatl had died. Popocatépetl was very sad. He took Iztaccíhuatl’s body and laid her atop a mountain range that assumed the shape of a sleeping lady – the form that is evident in the western view of the Iztaccíhuatl today. Popocatépetl climbed the adjacent peak where, standing sentinel with a smoking torch, he eternally watches over his lost lover. Popocatépetl became the volcano Popocatépetl, raining fire on Earth in blind rage at the loss of his beloved. He sometimes throws out smoke, showing that he is still watching over Iztaccíhuatl, who sleeps by his side.


The purpose of this project is to get a deeper understanding of the remedies related to volcanic activity. The lava remedies in particular have related symptoms and common symptoms. Arizona lava and Etna lava are new remedies, their Materia Medica so far is based on information gathered from the provings. Clinical information is building up and there are a few cases published on the internet. Technically, I don’t think we can talk yet about the “Lava family”, although the themes and essences are coming very clearly through the provings.

Sulphur and Fluoric acid were included in the project for their connection to volcanic activity. The symptoms of the lava remedies are very close to those of Sulphur. Sulphur as a remedy has been around for a long time, as Hahnemann proved it. To me, Sulphur is the old cone, the remedy we all know. Reading different authors and listening to our lecturers, it seems that Sulphur is getting less and less prescribed nowadays. The “pure” Sulphur patient doesn’t seem to walk into ones’ practice anymore. Is that the old volcano getting quiet or extinct? I see it more like a moving away from Psora. The new craters and fumaroles are erupting; they are the lava remedies which are coming in under the syphilitic umbrella.

In an e-mail conversation with Bruce Barwell from New Zealand, he pointed out that Fluoric acid is an interesting and underused remedy. I’ve decided to included it here after reading his article on it. “It seems likely that the presence of a fluorine compound in lava or volcanic ash can create a dramatic discharge of fluid from provers and patients when given in potency”. What struck me about this remedy is the energy that it has: increase of energy, buoyancy of mind, fears nothing, love of liberty, freedom. This is the energy of the volcanic eruption and free flowing lava. All its symptoms are extreme: one of the hottest remedies, profuse discharges, offensive odour, strong sexual desire, loves spicy food… of course it is an acid.

I see this project as a work in progress. There is much more to it. I would like to get in touch with more homoeopaths working in volcanic areas and further investigate the socio-psychological aspect of people living under a volcano.

Carolina Pollak 2007

Carolina Pollak – This article was Carolina Pollack’s 3rd year project at the Irish School of Homoeopathy. Carolina is originally from Chile and has made Ireland her home since 1996. In 2008 she graduated from the Irish School of Homoeopathy, becoming a registered member of the Irish Society of Homeopaths. Her background is in Fine Arts, specializing in painting. Carolina runs a full time homoeopathic practice in Tullamore, Co Offaly, Ireland. Her work is driven by the life-changing results she continuously witnesses in her patients, of all ages, through the use of homoeopathy.

[email protected]

This article first appeared  on Scribd



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Materia Medica. Edited by Donald Macfarlan. Philadelphia: Boericke & Tafel. 1915.


Arizona lava:

•National Park Service, U.S. Department of Interior.

•The Homoeopathic Proving of LAVA. Basaltic Lava from Flagstaff, Arizona. Misha Norland & The School of

Homoeopathy, Devon, England.

Etna lava

•Etna lava. Proving symptomtology and clinical results. Pietro Gulia, Giusi Pitari, Gustavo Dominici.


•Proving of Etna lava. Dr Gaetano Arena.


Hecla lava

•Hecla lava. Information, thoughts and meditations. Chris Wilkinson, 1999-2002.

•Interhomeopathy. Hekla lava by Laila Alberts. January 2006.

Cinis popo

•The Patogenetic Research in Mexico. Dr. Fernando Darío François-Flores.

•Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Respiratorias Rev Inst Nal Enf Resp Méx 2004; Vol. 17(3):232-238 n.3 México sep. 2004. Notas informativas sobre cenizas volcánicas y contaminación ambiental. Octavio Narváez Porras

•Popocatépetl: The Smoking Mountain by Lindsay Elms 2001


Fluoric acid

•New Zealand MAF Biosecurity Authority, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. “Impact of a Volcanic Eruption

on Agriculture and Forestry in New Zealand” (2001).



•Department of Mineral Sciences, part of the National Museum of Natural History.

•Universidad de la Frontera, Temuco, Chile.




• Volcanes de Chile y sus erupciones.


Cover: Under the volcano. Oil on cavas.

Carolina Pollak 1995.

Photos: All pictures are credited.

About the author

Carolina Pollak

Carolina Pollak - originally from Chile, she has made Ireland her home since 1996. In 2008 she graduated from the Irish School of Homoeopathy, becoming a registered member of the Irish Society of Homeopaths. Carolina runs a full time homoeopathic practice in Tullamore, Co Offaly, Ireland. Her work is driven by the life-changing results she continuously witnesses in her patients, of all ages, through the use of homoeopathy.


  • I gained additional knowledge about volcano..sulphur.spiritualaspects.However volcano products are syphilitic is known from materia medica and it contains mercury,flouric acid etc.However it is my best remedy..hekla lava for toothache and of smokers

  • Interesting, but i am not too keen on contrived similarities between the remedy materia medica and the source.

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