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by Dr Angela Jones(more info)

listed in anxiety, originally published in issue 18 - March 1997

Anxiety afflicts us at all times. It is part of normal life, a natural sequel to caring and responsibility. Usually, we can overcome our anxieties and continue with our lives undaunted. However, for the unfortunate few, anxiety is a source of terrible disability. One such lady came to see me last year in the hope that homeopathy could once again restore her to health.

Ellen was seventy two years old and had been of an anxious disposition all her life. Seventeen years previously, she had become exceedingly troubled by anxiety such that she was scarcely able to function. She consulted a medical homoeopath in the area where she was living at the time and was immediately helped by the two remedies that he prescribed. After that, she was well for many years.

Gradually, however, she slipped into a relapse with symptoms of physical exhaustion, aching in the left arm which she found very frightening, increasing irritability and weepiness and extreme anxiety particularly when anticipating forthcoming events. She described herself as extremely sensitive and with a strong tendency to blame herself for any problems which arose. She ruminated uncontrollably over events both past and present. She felt that life was scarcely worth living and described her state of mind as being as if she was constantly awaiting execution.

There was little of interest in the family or past medical history. She was averse to sweet things as they made her feel worse generally.

Garlic and onion caused abdominal bloating. She liked meat and fat and preferred warm drinks. Her sleep was restless and usually on her back. She tended to wake at 4am and found it difficult if not impossible to go back to sleep. She claimed to hate draughts and to like rain and mild weather. She hated stuffy atmospheres and direct sunlight.

Ellen described herself as basically shy and timid, finding it an ordeal to make conversation. However, she was courageous in her actions and made huge efforts to overcome her natural reticence and her recent anxieties in order to see things through. She liked to be alone as long as she was not totally isolated and there was someone nearby to call on if necessary.

On analysing Ellen's case there seemed to be many pointers to the remedy LYCOPODIUM. This is a fascinating substance, familiar to those of us who studied chemistry and physics at school as an inert yellow powder that was scattered on water and pushed aside by a drop of oil to demonstrate surface tension. It was used by pharmacists in the past to produce pills, also because of its inert properties. Interestingly though, if thrown into a Bunsen flame, Lycopodium explodes into a shower of sparks. This fact displays the latent power hidden in these spores of the club moss. When subjected to the grinding process of trituration, which is required to produce the homoeopathic preparation, powerful volatile (and inflammable) oils are released which are the active ingredients. People requiring the remedy Lycopodium are frequently very anxious, terrified of having to perform, are aggravated by sun and stuffy atmospheres and experience abdominal distension especially after onion. Ellen took three doses of the 30c potency and returned four weeks later.

Disappointingly, Ellen was no better. If anything, she felt more tense and more desperate. She was feeling constantly ill and depressed and wanted to stay in bed all day. She was prepared to enlarge a little more on elements of her personality which seemed important to her. She felt that she had been born insecure and needing to be loved. She avoided responsibility at all costs and hated making decisions. As a child, she had often felt frightened that something might happen to her parents.

Given Ellen's poor response to her first remedy, I had to rethink things. On reflection, I still felt that Lycopodium was the right medicine. I therefore prescribed a higher potency and prescribed three doses of the 200c potency.

I saw Ellen again four weeks later. She was beaming as she reported that she had had an immediate response to the higher potency.

Apart from a slightly gripy tummy after two tablets, she had had no side effects. The arm pain had completely disappeared, she had had an ECG with her GP which was normal and her mental state was much improved. She was sleeping well, had good energy and was eating well.

Ellen needed two further courses of Lycopodium 200c over the next four months, triggered by a drop in energy and the beginning of a recurrence in anxiety. The first course worked very well but the second one did not act at all. Neither did the next strength up, the 1M.

Ellen's anxiety levels were mounting again and she was feeling increasingly desperate. The only place where she felt better, she told me, was by the sea! Her husband drove her down to the coast every afternoon to try and keep her on an even keel.

I could not believe our luck! At last Ellen had given me the clue that we needed to unlock the case. When a well-indicated remedy fails to act or fails to hold the symptoms at bay, homoeopathic theory suggests the use of a so-called "nosode". This is a remedy made from actual diseased material which can help to move a case on, by clearing the effects of a long-past illness or even an inherited illness-trait. I gave Ellen three doses of Medorrhinum 30c. The clue to this remedy was that Ellen felt markedly better by the sea. Five days later, she took another dose of Lycopodium 200c which was the last potency that had acted.

After this combination, Ellen was well for six months! She came back to tell me how delighted she was. On close questioning, there was no sign at all of a relapse. I discussed with Ellen that she might like to have another set of Lycopodium powders ready in case the relapse occurs and she readily agreed. However, she may now be at the beginning of another long remission. Let's hope that it matches her last one which lasted seventeen years!

Of interest in this case, apart from the good result, is the use of the nosode, Medorrhinum. This remedy was developed by Hahnemann, the father of homoeopathy, according to his theory that all ill-health arises from inherited or acquired "taints". These taints or "miasms" had to be treated in order to restore health to the patient. Medorrhinum is prepared from a gonoccoccal infection. This is not to suggest that Ellen had necessarily ever had gonorrhoea herself. However, it is highly likely that her ancestors would have suffered at some point. Homoeopaths are trained to pick up certain symptoms, or disease patterns in the patient or the patient's family which suggest that a certain nosode may be helpful, and in Ellen's case the key note symptom "better by the sea" was certainly extremely significant.

Finally, I feel that Ellen's recovery is really a tribute to her own determination in the face of crippling psychological symptoms. Quite early on in her disease, she had been prescribed a tranquilliser, Lorazepam, and she found that just half a tablet miraculously alleviated her symptoms. It would have been very easy for her to simply rely on the tranquilliser and to have become dependent on them for life.

However, she was determined that this was not to happen and, consequently, endured bravely and patiently, many months of symptoms until a solution to her problem was found, in homoeopathy. As is so often the case, successful treatment for Ellen with homoeopathy arose from the partnership between patient and homoeopath.


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About Dr Angela Jones

Dr Angela Jones works in NHS general practice and also privately, using homeopathy alongside conventional medicine. Dr Jones can be contacted via the Faculty of Homeopathy on Tel: 020-7566 7800.

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