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Harnessing the power of a grain of sand - Case studies of silica

by Dr Angela Jones(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 14 - August 1996

One of the fascinations of homoeopathy is the extraordinary power that is produced in otherwise inert and everyday substances, by the potentisation process. Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homoeopathy, used the stock in trade of his contemporary pharmaceutical colleagues, by taking herbal tinctures as the basis of his serial dilutions. Insoluble substances were ground and diluted serially with lactose powder up to three times prior to dissolving in the standard alcohol/water mixture and submitting to further dilutions.

When ground, dissolved, diluted and potentised in this fashion, ordinary sand becomes the great polychrest, SILICA, which can influence profoundly any system of the body and has immense and diverse healing powers. I would like to tell you about a few patients in my practice who have benefited from Silica.

One of Silica's great indications is as a 'tonic' for small thin children who are failing to thrive. Simon was a typical case. He had been to the surgery once or twice a month all through the past nine months with frequent viruses and chest infections. He ate well but was not putting on weight and looked sallow and skinny. His confidence was poor and his school performance was falling off. Generally the whole family were concerned by his general poor state of health.

As a conventional GP I would have had little to offer apart from blood tests to rule out underlying conditions, perhaps a chest X-Ray and enquiries as to whether there was any cause for emotional upset such as family disharmony or bullying at school. Having done all theses things, I went on to make further enquiries. Simon had always spent a long time on the toilet and often had difficulty passing his motion. He also had very soggy smelly feet. This was surprising as he was generally a "freezer", feeling the cold badly and often crying because he felt cold when other children were outside without their coats. All these facts confirmed the suitability of Silica as a remedy for Simon and he had only three doses of the sixth potency. When I next saw him a month later, he had had no further infections. He had gained weight and his teacher at school had commented on his improved form. Best of all, his grandfather, for whom Simon is the apple of his eye, was overjoyed to witness the return to health of his favourite grandson. Since that time, Simon has required two further courses of three tablets in two years and remains well.

Helen's problem was of a similar nature, but as she was thirty two years of age, it was termed "chronic fatigue syndrome". She was suffering from terrible, disabling tiredness as well as joint pains and continuous sinusitis with headaches. Her build was also on the thin side and she complained of abdominal bloating and constipation. When I asked her about perspiration, in particular from her feet, she looked crestfallen. " I'm so sorry", she said. "I've always had problems with terribly smelly feet but I thought that I'd washed them enough this morning." I explained that this was a normal line of questioning and reassured her that I had not been offended by any smell.

It was clear to me that many of Helen's physical symptoms were typical of Silica. Interestingly, it also emerged that she was having increasing problems with loss of confidence and anticipatory anxiety. She ran a local playgroup but was finding it more and more difficult to cope, not merely because of the physical tiredness but also because of her escalating problems with actually getting on with the organisational side. If she had to write a letter or attend a meeting, she was becoming uncharacteristically anxious and found herself almost unable to function in any public situation. However, she would press on with dogged determination and usually achieved her goals though at great cost in terms of ensuing fatigue. This kind of mental state is often found in the Silica state and, I am pleased to say, resolved quite rapidly after three doses of the thirtieth potency. The sinus headaches and bowel irregularity were next to improve and the fatigue lessened in a step wise fashion after further doses at four to six week intervals. Sadly, we never managed to "cure" Helen's smelly feet problem!

Silica has a huge range of activities, but one of its chief sphere's of action is in the treatment of infection. It also has a very useful function in aiding the expulsion of foreign bodies such as splinters, glass etc. For this reason, it must be used with care in patients with implanted medical foreign bodies such as joint replacements, silicon breast implants or metal wires or plates.

One simple case which was highly satisfactory from my point of view, was that of my father who had had an ingrowing toenail for as long as I could remember. Every so often, it would become infected, but rather than see the doctor and have it dealt with surgically, my father preferred to spend months bathing the toe every evening and nursing it back to health. Soon after I started in homoeopathic practice, I persuaded Dad to take some Silica as his toenail had been particularly stubborn of late. I should say that the families of homoeopaths in training are frequently the subjects of similar informal clinical trials. Anyway, we settled for a twice daily dose of the sixth potency and, to my amazement, the nail was free of pain and sepsis within three days! Even more amazingly, the ingrowing toenail seemed to resolve and never recurred. It was as if the Silica had enabled the body to expel this troublesome splinter of nail for once and for all – a very acceptable alternative to the standard surgical treatment which is removal of the toenail itself.

Mundane as the complaint may have been, the curing of my father's ingrowing toenail had a profound effect on my development as a doctor. It convinced me that homoeopathy was truly effective and spurred me on to obtain a postgraduate qualification, a decision that I have never regretted, and hope I never will!

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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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