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Classical Homeopathy in a Child with Primary Immunodeficiency

by Jennifer Poole(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 105 - November 2004

George was a three year and eight month old boy whose family were open to homeopathy having previously attended a medical homeopath.

He had come to my clinic with an orthodox diagnosis of Neutropenia. This is a primary immunodeficiency where there are insufficient neutrophils, a variety of white blood cells responsible for killing bacteria and protecting against infection. A blood count measuring the percentage of neutrophils is used to assess potential risk of acute leukaemia. A reading of 1.0 is taken as a desirable lower threshold, while a reading below 1 represents 'at risk'. At 18 months George had shown no apparent Neutropenia but at two and three years of age blood counts had given very low readings of 0.6 and 0.3. After 15 months classical homeopathic treatment his neutrophil count measured 1.74 rising to 3.4 after 18 months treatment, as shown in the graph below.

Although George had been diagnosed with Neutropenia, this information was not in itself sufficient for a homeopathic prescription. The homeopath philosophy is that there will always be a remedy to match the whole pattern of symptoms; both physical and personal, and when this remedy is found it will stimulate the immune system to repair itself. So, it was necessary to collect a more complete picture of George's health, physical type and emotional temperament, before a homeopathic remedy could be given.

Medical and Personal History

George had been breast-fed as a baby and received BCG vaccine when one day old. He was a poor sucker at birth although latched on well, with some wind and vomiting up of food. His umbilical cord had also become infected.

At four months, he developed severe stomach pain, diarrhoea and vomiting for which antibiotics were given. This re-occurred at five and six months; antibiotics were prescribed each time. At seven months his right eye swelled and closed, followed by the left one. More antibiotics were prescribed for these. At seven months, George was unwell and in such frequent discomfort that his parents requested a blood test. There was no indication at that time of Neutropenia.

At eight months George developed a bloody discharge from his anus and the eye problem returned, together with a clear mucous discharge from the right ear. He also developed a large purple 'blister' on his stomach. At nine months old he had chicken pox badly, and more antibiotics for impetigo. He had a chronic discharge from his left ear with an odour 'like orange brine'. When I first saw him, both eardrums had been perforated, but the right one was now healed. He had recently had an ear infection but not used antibiotics for this. He also had nosebleeds occasionally. George had an appointment in three months time for his annual blood count. His previous measure had been 0.3. George was a friendly child with a good sense of humour. He was sometimes bold but not very confident. Temperamentally, his mother described him as not openly defiant but he could, "passively resist. He's an actor and likes an audience." George was currently attending a special needs unit for help with short-term memory and unclear speech. He had been assessed at about eight to nine months delayed with speech at three-and-a-half years old, although he was very bright, so was quite frustrated. George liked cats but was nervous of dogs. He would also sometimes pick at things like his clothing.

Homeopathic Protocol

A classical approach was taken with this case, in which the diagnosis of Neutropenia was not the focus but rather a symptom of George's compromised immune system. It was hard to say what had caused the Neutropenia, but it is possible that George's immune system had become totally overwhelmed by drug interventions and needed help to re-establish its own response mechanism. This would be the result of successfully overcoming his symptoms naturally. The ear discharge, although unpleasant and socially embarrassing, was clearly vital as without sufficient neutrophils, it was the only means by which George could clear unwanted toxins from his system. The discharge would only clear when the immune system was repaired, and could be seen as an indicator of this. Initially, George's speech and learning delay were considered the priority because despite his low blood count his health was quite good. However, he was frustrated and limited socially. One dose of the indicated homeopathic remedy was given – Lycopodium 10M split-dose – and a monthly follow-up appointment made.

Following the remedy George's mother reported two nosebleeds and a slight increase in his ear discharge suggesting a clearing out process had begun. The special unit had remarked, "He has come on really well and is joining in conversations more". His speech appeared quieter but clearer. No remedy was given as progress had been made. One month later the ear discharge had altered. George's mother described it as, "first yellowy green then brown like bad tea." George had recently started picking at things again and demanding more attention. He was now asking to be with other children more. The improvement in his speech and social development remained, so a new remedy based on all George's remaining symptoms was given – Silicea 1M split-dose. This was shortly followed by the appearance of a pustule, together with a mild return of his old impetigo, suggesting George's immune system was showing signs of recovering. However, after three months of treatment, his annual neutrophil count still measured 0.3.

After four months treatment the odour from George's ear remained but was now 'cheesy' and thicker and his mother had to clear it less often. A review of his special needs reported his speech and articulation were much better: "He has grown up over the last month". Physical development is 'age appropriate'. He was 'immature' at four years, but closing the gap now. As progress was still being made no remedy was given. A month later some tiredness with increased hunger suggested George was using up his energy in growing and developing. More old skin symptoms returned which showed a continued cleansing of his system. One dose of a new remedy was given for this new symptom picture – Sulpher 30c split-dose. Over the next few months several old symptoms, which had been treated with antibiotics, previously reappeared and cleared. George started a new school and liked it. His mother was pleased: "This time last year he couldn't even talk", she said. His learning had accelerated and he was now full-time at school with plenty of energy. The ear discharge, however, continued.

A Turning Point

A few months later George had an acute illness, during which an ear swab found Pseudomonas bacteria were present. Antibiotics were declined and a homeopathic remedy for these acute symptoms was given. The presence of Pseudomonas was significant as these bacteria are not usually present in an immune system which cannot make pus – a symptom of Neutropenia. So despite the GP's concern over their presence, they were an excellent marker of the progress of the homeopathic treatment, suggesting increased white cell activity and a turning point in his progress. Over the months George's temperament also altered slightly and he became more confident, even defiant on occasion. This was again taken to be a good sign, indicating a desire to assert himself and refuse limitations or frustrations. This is clearly vital if his immune system is to learn to assert and defend itself too.

A year after homeopathic treatment began George was doing well socially and his physical health was good except for the occasional nosebleed. His ear still discharged a foul odour, which showed it was still his 'waste outlet'. Attention now focused on the nosebleeds which had continued from time to time. The symptoms of these matched an acute ear infection remedy, which was also indicative of the previous swab contents; Pseudomonas and Streptococcus G. were both present. Because of their association with scarlet fever, sore throat, tonsillitis, and ear infections, it seemed possible it was the original treatment for his ear infections that had led to perforated eardrums and nose bleeds. A remedy was therefore prescribed – Belladonna 200c at four hourly intervals for three days – for this acute picture including nose and ear symptoms.

After 15 months treatment George's mother telephoned to say that his annual blood count had shown a ratio of 1.74, which was very good news. George had developed a left-sided swollen cheek. An ear swab was taken and the Consultant requested a second blood-test in three months time expressing concern at a 'risk of cellulitis'. He felt the increased blood count may have been due to this infection, as the blood count will rise temporarily during such a time.

A matching homeopathic remedy was given – Lachesis 30c split-dose – which included the symptoms of the swollen face. When the second blood test came through George's count had risen to 3.4. It has remained either at or above this level ever since. Three months later George's hearing was measured. The right ear was fine, but the left registered only 40 per cent. The ear discharge remained unchanged and a swab revealed Pseudomonas still present. Otherwise he was now quite independent, happy, healthy sand 'loud' with a good appetite especially after school. George loved parties and enjoyed a busy social life and was doing well with writing.

The ears had now become the priority, partly due to the foul discharge, partly to the limitations of hearing. The nosebleeds still appeared connected with past ear infections, possibly due to thin nasal lining tissue, a possible result of George's poor immune-function in the past. The acute remedy was therefore repeated – Lachesis 30c split-dose. However, after 10 days, George's mother rang to say he'd had two more nosebleeds and also, most unusually, wet the bed. A re-appraisal of all the symptoms for the ear discharge, nosebleeds, temperament and including the bed-wetting was made and Belladonna 200c was given once again; three doses at four-hourly intervals. This remedy had good results with the nosebleeds. Five months after, George's mother reported the ear discharge had finally ceased, becoming thicker and harder until it gradually stopped. George's mother recognized that the ear infections George had when he was very young were characteristic of the new acute remedy picture. So we had now worked back through George's original remedy states. As each had re-appeared and been treated homeopathically, George's immune system had gradually re-established itself.


This is usually the 'end' of a case – where the process has worked back from the present time to the 'beginning' in a reversal of health events. The final remedy given is usually that which matches the child's physical and temperamental constitution at birth. In this case the constitutional remedy for George was Calc. Carb. This 'constitutional' remedy would help reduce any susceptibility to those problems George had experienced as a baby by raising his immunity once more. 26 months after commencing treatment George's mother again reported his most recent blood count read 3.4. Over the following year George's neutrophil count varied between 3.4 and 9 but always remained well within the normal, healthy, range. A hearing test had shown both ears were now in the 'acceptable range'. George remained happy, 'cheeky' and doing well at school, both socially and in his general report. His mother reported, "He loves playing football, gym and making models out of anything he can lay his hands on. He has lots of friends at school but hates all the homework – he can get himself into trouble by being lippy! His reading is about two years above his actual age. He's no angel, just a normal six year old – how nice to write that!"

Footnote. It was hoped to run a pilot study offering parents of children with primary immune deficiencies a preventative homeopathic programme through the charity Children with Leukaemia. Unfortunately, they required a medically trained person to oversee the project. Therefore the study has yet to take place.


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About Jennifer Poole

Jennifer Poole is a Registered Homeopath with 15 years experience. She is a supervisor for homeopathic students and is currently undertaking research at Exeter University in child development and learning difficulties. She can be contacted on

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