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A Case of Remedy Relationships

by Dr Neil Slade(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 183 - June 2011

Leon was a five year old boy brought into clinic by his mother. For just over a year he had been suffering from recurrent bacterial conjunctivitis. His mother had taken him back and forth to the GP; he had been given various antibiotic eye drops and ointments and latterly he had been given oral antibiotics too. All of these had worked with various success but had only controlled the current conjunctivitis outbreak with varying degrees of success. His mother was getting very fed up with this. Leon had also had his eyes checked by a consultant to make sure there wasn't anything else predisposing him to these recurrent outbreaks; his eyes got a clean bill of health.

During the consultation Leon was an ideal patient. Homeopathic consultations are often long drawn out things while we gather as much personal information as possible; children can often get bored, leading to increasingly fractious behaviours. There was nothing like that with Leon. He smiled, answered questions, looked to mother for reassurance and clarification occasionally. A couple of times he had a wander around the consulting room, but always returned to his seat unprompted. It was clear that he had a great relationship with his mother, who reported that Leon was an ideal child. He would share his toys, play easily with other children, he was always smiling and loved being involved in things and being given tasks to do. All of this was sounding to be too good to be true, and to be honest, I found myself looking for Leon's halo after a while! I tried to get information regarding a more negative side to the boy and mother did say that Leon could not cope with being left alone or chastised in any way, "...He becomes inconsolable, as if you are leaving him forever". His mother reported that when he realiszs all is OK he becomes very loving, there are lots of cuddles and kisses, and the relief that he is forgiven or not going to be left is almost tangible.

In appearance Leon had very blond, curly hair, a pale complexion and ruddy cheeks. He was of average build and was well turned out, his mother said that he hated to be dirty and everything had to be in its right place with his appearance.

Leon's conjunctivitis symptoms were unremarkable from a homeopathic perspective. His sclerae (eye whites) would go red; his lids would swell a little and could be reddened too. In the mornings his eyes were often stuck and mother had to bathe them. He would complain they itched and hurt. His lids were often crusty and he would have pus material in the corner of his eyes. I asked about anything going on in his life before this cycle of conjunctivitis, but there did not seem to be anything else in the case. He had no other symptoms at all, other than he felt very sorry for himself when he had the conjunctivitis and needed a lot of cuddling and consolation.

Mother had tried some old fashioned remedies too, such as bathing the eyes with water containing a very small amount of salt and also bathing them with milk, but to no avail. Personally I am not a fan of putting things into the eyes other than something that is especially prepared and formulated for the purpose, so I asked her not to do this.

I decided to take a more constitutional approach to this case prescribing on the totality, i.e. taking into account his personality and emotional profile as well as the conjunctivitis. I prescribed him Pulsatilla 30c, once daily for five days. His personality fit the Pulsatilla perfectly. They are well behaved and will do things to please and get positive attention from others, especially adults if children. They cannot cope with being told off and will take things to heart. They require attention and consolation and find being left or 'rejected' in any capacity very difficult to cope with.

This first prescription was a great success and his eyes responded completely. We were all very pleased with the result, but a few weeks later the conjunctivitis was back again. I repeated the prescription with the same result. To cut several months worth of treatment down to the essence, my prescribing and treatment of this case was becoming like the GP antibiotic prescribing. Leon would respond, but a while later the eyes would be bad again. The remedy indication was incredibly clear, this child and the presentation of the conjunctivitis was Pulsatilla through and through. I tried various potencies and administrations of the remedy; nothing made any difference. I tried what we term an anti-miasmatic prescription of Medorrhinum. This is a very deep treatment and is often used when well indicated remedies fail to hold their healing effect.

Leon's mother had been very patient, but it was clear that she was beginning to despair of homeopathy getting to the bottom of the child's susceptibility to this condition. She drew strength from the fact that at least he hadn't had any antibiotics in any form during the time, as the homeopathy had helped with each acute occurrence. I was also starting to get very frustrated. I asked permission to take his case to a meeting myself and a couple of colleagues held once a month. During these meetings we would discuss difficult cases or new ideas in homeopathy etc over coffee (and usually cream cakes!). She gave her permission and I presented Leon's case. After the exposition, one of my friends began to ‘tut’ and berate me for missing the obvious. I still failed to see what she was getting at and after quite a bit of ribbing and teasing she said "Silica of course", the penny finally dropped with me, and the light came on! Silica is the chronic remedy of Pulsatilla and there is a very strong relationship between the two remedies. As Leon kept presenting with the conjunctivitis this was definitely a chronic condition. Pulsatilla was working fine in the short term but not getting to the root of Leon's susceptibility.

In short he had two separate prescriptions of Silica 30c, approximately four weeks apart. This seemed to have the desired effect. After the second dose of Silica 30c Leon seemed to be free of the conjunctivitis cycle he had been caught on. This case is one of my earlier cases in my career as a homeopath and I would see Leon every now and again over a period of about 3 years before the family moved away. From the Silica prescription onwards he was never troubled with conjunctivitis.


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About Dr Neil Slade

Dr Neil Slade  PhD LCH RSHom. Neil is a senior lecturer at two leading complementary therapy colleges and has two busy homeopathic practices. He is the Deputy Director of Pure Medicine in London's Harley Street. He regularly contributes articles to the national press, radio and television. Neil can be contacted on Tel: 01372 361669;

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