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Case Studies on Homeopathy - Four Cases of Eczema

by Dr Angela Jones(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 12 - May 1996

Eczema is the external or skin manifestation of allergy and, as such, can often be influenced by dietary manipulation. This approach is fraught with difficulties and frustrations and can leave the sufferer on a very restricted diet which is not necessarily healthy in other ways. It also begs the question as to why the person with eczema is allergic in the first place. Patients coming to me for homoeopathy often ask about special diets and my advice is to eat sensibly and healthily and not to embark on an exclusion or other dietary manipulation especially not during their homoeopathic treatment. Apart from any other consideration, we would not know whether any improvement were due to the diet or the homoeopathy! In any case, there is copious anecdotal evidence to show that persons successfully treated with homoeopathy can lose their 'allergies' and can subsequently tolerate previously 'banned' substances.

This is all by way of an aside - none of these cases involve food allergies! Heidi is fifty six years old and has suffered from dry cracked eczema on her hands for many years. She attributes this to having always bleached her cloths and handles them without using gloves.

When I first met her she had nasty dry scales all over the palms with cracking but no weeping or crusting. The only other eczema on her body was a patch behind her right ear.

It turned out that Heidi had been vegetarian since teenage, driven by her passionate love of animals. She does not even eat fish or eggs but finds dairy products acceptable. She is particularly fond of smoked cheese. She also has strong views about the weather, being totally intolerant of the sun but enjoying the rain.

Heidi's love of animals goes beyond the norm. She is very actively involved in animal welfare and spends many hours a week at a local animal sanctuary, immersed in the care of the unwanted animals that are brought there. This kind of wholehearted and unswerving dedication to a cause combined with deep sympathy for suffering is typical of the remedy, Causticum and I gave Heidi three doses of a 30c potency.

At follow up a month later, Heidi reported that her hands had been totally normal for seven days, and had only relapsed slightly since. A second dose of Causticum was given which resulted in complete resolution of the rash to date.

Heidi's case is one where the clue to the remedy lies not in the characteristics of the rash but rather in the character of the person. In Roger's case, the converse is true. He had had eczema for about three years when he came to see me first. It affected his trunk predominately, where it appeared as extremely itchy white blisters. Rather than being aggravated by heat, as is usually the case, Roger's only relief came from an extremely hot shower. The blisters occasionally burst and gave out a clear fluid. However, weeping was not a major feature.

There are few itchy rashes that are improved by heat and hot bathing. The combination of this feature with a blistery rash pointed to Rhus tox, a remedy more commonly used for rheumatic complaints. Three doses of a 30c potency resulted in a 10-15% improvement in symptoms. Further repetitions of the same remedy have produced continuing improvement and we recently increased the potency to 200c. I await Roger's report on this manoeuvre with interest.

Ian is four years old. His mother brought him to me last year because he had had an eczematous rash for several months on the neck, armpits and around the ears, For about one year prior to this, he had had slightly rough skin on the trunk. The new rash was far more severe and was complicated by crusting behind the ears which is yellow in colour. He had had no other skin trouble apart from a tendency to a spotty bottom and redness around the anus.

Ian was generally healthy, born by Caesarean Section at full term, bottle fed and fully immunised. He had had very few illnesses and hardly any antibiotics. There was, however, a very strong family history of allergic illness, and also of cancer. Ian's mother reported him to be a warm-blooded child with a tendency to sweat from the trunk and the feet. He has an excellent appetite, eating and enjoying all sorts of food, but with a particular craving for chocolate. Character wise, he is relaxed, cheeky, perhaps a bit of an actor. He always sleeps on his tummy, and used to stick his bottom up in the air as a baby and until he was three years old. When the family went to the seaside recently, Ian's skin cleared up completely.

I could hardly believe my ears as Ian's history took shape. Almost every detail pointed to the remedy Medorrhinum. The real clinchers were the sleeping position and the improvement by the sea. To my delight, the effect was dramatic with 75% improvement after one month and a continued improvement thereafter without any further doses being necessary.

The last case I would like to tell you about is that of little Ciaran. He was born, also by Caesarean, a bouncing eight pounder. His mother made Trojan efforts to breast feed but Ciaran never settled well to the breast and tended to be rather 'sickly'. Eventually, the towel was thrown in and Ciaran went onto formula cow's milk feed at the age of four weeks. Almost immediately, he became covered in a florid red, scaly and intensely itchy rash from head to toe. He was horribly distressed by his state and we immediately did what we could with emollients and mild steroids to alleviate the situation. His mother felt terribly guilty given that this eczema seemed to have resulted from what she saw as her own 'failure" to breast feed. She was also very unhappy about the use of steroids and we decided to try Sulphur, given that it is the archetypal eczema remedy. Matters unfortunately continued to deteriorate despite the Sulphur and the decision was made to obtain an urgent consultant opinion.

Suddenly, one day, at a regular baby clinic, it dawned on me that Ciaran was not a Sulphur patient at all. He was fat, sweaty with a big round head and quite phlegmatic in nature. I should have spotted long ago that he was a typical Calcarea carbonica baby.

Two weeks after three powders of the 30c potency, he was unrecognisable as the same child! The eczema had all but cleared.

Unfortunately, this improvement coincided with the visit to the dermatologist and, although he did not change the conventional treatment significantly, the parents could never be sure whether the homoeopathy or the consultant had been the curative influence.

These four cases show how unique is the therapeutic approach of homeopathy. Although the diagnosis was the same in each case, the remedy was different and individualised to each patient. Furthermore, the remedy was chosen on different grounds each time. In Heidi's case, it was her passionate love of and intense sympathy for animals that guided me to Causticum. Roger, on the other hand, needed Rhus tox because of the unusual benefit to his itching from hot water, improvement by the sea and the "bottom up" sleeping position were the clues to Medorrhinum in Ian's case and, Ciaran's overall morphology should have guided me to Calcarea carbonica earlier. Drawing these key facts from the large amounts of information gleaned in a homoeopathic consultation is one of the many fascinating challenges of homoeopathic practice.


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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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