Read Part One of this
A Tale of a Family
In this column, as in our last column, we are discussing the benefits
of treating a whole family with homeopathy. Last month, we presented
the cases of two brothers
diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD): Drew, who has benefited significantly
from Panther, and Jimmy, the math savant who responded beautifully to Silica.
The next member of the family we treated was Maggie, the mom, who first came
to us as a patient three months after Jimmy's initial visit.
The Benefits of Treating Multiple Family Members
When more than one member of a family is receiving constitutional homeopathic
care at the same time, there are a number of distinct advantages:
1. Family members are likely to stay healthier overall, either avoiding many
acute illnesses entirely or experiencing them less intensely and over a shorter
period of time. This means less discomfort, fewer days of missed school and
work, and less money paid out for acute medical expenses.
2. When an adult or child is receiving the correct homeopathic medicine, they
are in balance and much less likely to suffer from moodiness, irritability,
dissatisfaction, anxiety, and confusion. If everyone in a family is thinking
clearly and feeling in emotional equilibrium, there is no question that they
get along more harmoniously and family life runs more smoothly.
3. When there are periods during which homeopathic medicine is no longer acting
and needs repetition, it is generally evident to the rest of the family, and
those family members will likely suggest that the member consult his or her
homeopath. Usually, once the medicine is repeated, balance is restored to the
member and the rest of the family.
4. The family can plan homeopathic visits well in advance of potentially stressful
events or transitions, such as the deaths of an elderly pet or ailing family
member or a change of residence or school. Taking the correct remedy at the
time needed will help balance family members physically, mentally, and emotionally
and allow them to face difficult situations more gracefully.
5. Not only are acute illnesses less severe and frequent, but chronic illnesses
and hospitalizations are also less likely.
A forty-five-year-old teacher from Tacoma, Washington, Maggie was so relieved
by the result of homeopathic care for her two sons diagnosed with ASD that
she was ready to get help for herself as well. This is a common pattern in
our practice: first, the mom takes care of the kids, then herself. If the family
is very fortunate, the dad will also be willing to come in for treatment. Maggie
was taking Paxil when she began homeopathic treatment. Without the antidepressant,
she told us that she would still be awake, crying and worrying, at four in
Having my first child diagnosed with ASD
was like being run over by a truck emotionally. When my second son
was also diagnosed, it felt
as if the truck backed up and ran over me again. I was devastated.
You think your children won't have a normal life. How can they
cope? Who will come to their birthday parties? Yesterday I thought
my son was playing with another child. It turned out that the other
boy was choking him.
I've probably been depressed my whole life. My father was an
alcoholic and physically abusive. I still don't like the phone
to ring. I'm afraid to have my back to the door because someone
might grab me.
I've reacted by being too responsible. It feels like a burden.
I'm overwhelmed. Why does everything have to be so hard?
During the school year, Maggie suffered from occasional migraine
headaches. A striking feature of her case, revealed during the initial
interview, was her inordinate craving for candy.
I eat candy every day after school. It's best if it's
bright-colored. I'm like a child numbing itself. If I don't
have candy every day, I don't feel rewarded. Jelly beans are
the best. First, I eat all the pink ones, then the red ones, then,
finally, the orange ones. It's my reward for making it through
the day. But if someone offers me candy or cake during the day, I refuse.
I'm like an alcoholic waiting till Sunday to drink. If I did
eat sweets earlier, that's all that I would want to eat all day.
I think it's a self-destructive part of me.
I get afraid of people. I tell people to
call me, but I think, "Don't
give me a call." I'm afraid that they'll expect something
of me that I don't want to do. I just can't be that honest.
So it's easier to stay away from people. I feel guarded. Like
someone is going to hurt me. Not feeling safe. Like someone will
grab me… I always wear flat shoes so I can run away. It puzzles
me that women can wear high heels because how could they ever escape
they needed to?
Both of my parents were depressed. My dad was even hospitalized for
it. So was his father. My grandfather used to beat my dad.
Maggie suffered from hypoglycemia, which did not surprise us given
her strong craving for candy. She felt sick and faint if she did not
eat continually to keep her blood sugar elevated. Maggie described
a sensation of lightheadedness and of her body shutting down.
Growing up, Maggie felt she was an outsider and unwelcome. Though she
received considerable encouragement from her mother, the support could
not override her father's depression and abusiveness.
I have a sadness about not being good enough
and about my children not being good enough. It's like I was
a tiny child who wasn't kept safe from my father. I have two images
of myself: one is a person
who is worth being taken care of, and the other is not.
We prescribed Saccharum album 1M (sugar) for Maggie, which helped
her considerably during the first sixteen months of homeopathic
care. It is an excellent homeopathic medicine for children and
feel that they were deprived of love and sweetness growing
up, though usually it is the mother's love and nurturance that
Although the hypoglycemia was a confirmatory symptom, these
patients are well known for their extreme desire for sweets. The
diagnosis can sometimes be between Saccharum and Chocolate.
Those needing the latter can also have deprivation of nurturance
as if they missed their childhoods by growing up too quickly.
However, patients who need Chocolate crave chocolate specifically,
than any old sweet. Both Saccharum and Chocolate patients can
have a tendency to hoard their sugary stash.
One month later, Maggie reported feeling that "rage just dripped
away." She described feeling much more herself, a comment that
is always music to a homeopath's
ears. Less tense, she recounted how she found loving Drew much easier.
So noticeable was the change in Maggie that her husband described
the previous month as "a
honeymoon." Maggie even remembered a dream in which she recognized her
husband as her "dream man." Although her fears were still existent,
she felt less frightened overall. Though she still preferred not to have
her back to the door upon entering a room, she no longer experienced
sense of paralysis. During this period, Maggie faced a particularly challenging
episode with a vice-principal and was surprised at how well she had handled
Maggie had not experienced any headaches. She was still eating candy
on a daily basis. In summarizing the changes she experienced, Maggie
There's a sweetness between my husband and
me. It's very natural and loving. It surprises me that I'm more assertive
my relationships. There are people on my staff who have approached
me in such a warm way. That has never happened before. And I feel
less phobic about letting people in…. more accessible. It's
like something was taken away that didn't belong there. I feel
more balance. More peacefulness.
Over the next 14½ months Maggie
received three more doses of Saccharum and continued to progress.
At two-and-a-half months, Maggie
had weathered quite well the death of an in-law and faced recurrent
stressful situations at work gracefully. In describing her reactions,
What staggers me is how joyful I am. It's just
a fantastic feeling. I enjoy my kids. There's such a connection there.
And much more
laughter. I just get a kick out of things. I feel different and
wonderful. There's such a sweetness to life." At five months: "I
feel a calmness that I have never had before. More balanced. My
relationships with other people have changed. I still eat candy and
I still feel some anxiousness when the phone rings. But, everything
else… It's such a quality of life that I love.
Maggie needed several repetitions of the
Saccharum when the feelings of sadness would begin to return, though
to a lesser degree than before
beginning homeopathic treatment. One indicator of needing another dose
of the medicine was a return of anxiety about the phone ringing, a
symptom that had diminished by 75%. In describing a conflict with another
teacher, Maggie notably described the colleague as "a tigress."
Ten months into treatment Maggie felt great. At 13 months, she remarked, "I
have never felt this peaceful for so long. I'm so unlocked."
A Deeper Picture Emerges
Sixteen months after we first saw Maggie, we decided to re-examine her case.
She had continually raved about how much better she felt and how spectacularly
the boys were doing as well. But certain expressions continued to occur in
our conversations that led us to wonder if a deeper medicine might exist for
Maggie. We were looking for the underlying state – in this case related
to her feeling of being unsafe and her need to keep her back towards the wall – to
become less prominent and, eventually, be released. In addition, the hypoglycemia
and craving for sweets had not decreased markedly. We have found that giving
a patient a fresh opportunity to once again delve into his or her symptoms,
sensations, and state can be very fruitful and can often yield information
that suggests a different prescription.
Maggie described immediately some of her underlying feelings:
I feel a spiraling downward. A defeat.
Betrayal. It's as if
I had been kicked in the stomach. Very, very hurt. Vulnerable.
Unappreciated. Someone kicks you while you're down and you can't
Then they walk away… indifferent. No one is protecting me
so that I'm safe. I feel pummeled, fragile. Violated. I wonder
else will hurt me. The people around me turned their backs to me
This was interesting because Maggie was able,
from the start, to plunge into some underlying feelings and also referred
to others having
their backs turned against her, which was reminiscent of her need
to keep her back against the wall for protection. We could see that
were on the right track. Maggie continued:
I've positioned other
people around me so that I would be safe. There's such indifference.
A lack of compassion. Like there's another
who's lying there dying and you could not care less. A feeling of being
under the control of other people who are essentially indifferent. People
walk by and turn their faces when you need them. Instead of helping
you from the abuser, they blame and punish the victim.
Identifying the kingdom,
plant, mineral, or animal was not yet totally clear. Maggie was expressing
issues of blame, punishment, victimization,
and betrayal, which could be mineral or animal. She was also sensitive
like a plant, but there was no clear sensation or modalities of a physical
symptom. The issue did not seem to be about performance and structure
but rather about victim and aggressor and survival. We waited to hear
what would come next:
I love cats. I am totally a cat person.
I love them because they have their own personalities. They're
indifferent to what you want. Very theatrical. And funny. You can't
court a cat.
independent. They have the courage to be independent. It's all
on their terms. And they're tremendously loyal. Cats are soft,
interesting, cleaver, and affectionate. I really enjoy their capacity
to show their distaste if they don't do what you like.
Captivated by how Maggie expressed so much so spontaneously about
cats and by the energy in her expression, we listened raptly. We were
also impressed by how many attributes mentioned by Maggie were quite
true about herself: funny, independent, courageous, interesting, clever,
Cats have their own little corporate lives.
They've got a schedule
to keep. Things to check out. Essentially they are in charge. It's
fascinating how they can dominate so much. My husband and I fight over
our cat's attention. She's so cool and aloof at times that
she makes us fight over her. Kind of snobby. A bit condescending.
We inquired about dishonesty, a word that Maggie had mentioned earlier:
Actually, I have been very naïve about
guarding myself. Not cunning. One needs to be cunning to figure
out how to beat the system. Artful.
How to play the situation so you will win, no matter how the chips
fall. You need to know how to read people. To not show your emotions.
To hold back. Be devious. To do what you can so you can win.
inquired about Maggie's food cravings and asked if she disliked
I love seafood and scallops. And milk.
I don't particularly
like rodenty animals. What is the point? Like little rats. One
time I was babysitting at someone's house and the child let the pet
gerbil out of the cage. The cat ate it. Suddenly I was responsible
for this dead gerbil. The cat was just doing what the cat should
do. I was annoyed with the cat but didn't have any feeling for the
gerbil. I don't understand why people get so whipped up about
little rodents. They don't seem to me to have any personality.
was patently clear that Maggie needed Lac felinum (cat's milk).
The issue of feeling abused and victimized, of having to guard
herself and keep
her back to the wall, a feeling of being abused, the indifference, and
the need to be cunning and clever to survive – even her
desire for scallops, seafood, and milk – all pointed
to this medicine. In addition, Maggie exhibited the symptom
of knives and pointed objects described in
the proving of Lac felinum. In this regard, we found it curious that,
her indifference to and distaste for rodents, Maggie asked, "What's
the point?" It was obvious that Sacharum, though producing a positive
response mentally and emotionally, was only a superficial prescription.
Thirteen Months on Lac Felinum
Five weeks after changing the medicine, Maggie shared the following:
know what the remedy is. I guess it was from the cat family. You know,
if somebody comes forward, I allow them to pet me. But, if they
don't, I stand my ground… I feel like I've developed a strength
that I didn't have before. I'm no longer allowing myself to be a
I can protect myself. I feel in charge of my life. I know what the remedy
is. I love cats. They're just so close to me. What do I love about
Part of it is their ability to be in charge. It means that what I do
or how I feel is not governed by other people.
Maggie continued to do well in all ways
on the Lac felinum for a number of months. She discontinued the Paxil.
Her only physical complaint
during this time was dandruff and eczema on her ear lobes which was
exacerbated by interpersonal stress at work. Nine months after the
first dose, she complained of painful eczema of her ear lobes. Maggie
has needed a dose of Lac felinum about every two months over the past
year. As of her last appointment, the eczema has improved, she has
not needed to resume her antidepressant medication, and she is continuing
to progress in all ways. It is quite curious that her remedy turned
out to be cat's milk and that her son Drew needed Panther.
When the Simillimum Reveals Itself
1. This case is
a good reminder that, even when a patient reports feeling relatively
well, still deeper-acting
medicines can be found.
When specific words relating to the patient's state continue
to arise without diminishing, either when describing symptoms, life
circumstances, fears, or dreams, it is worthwhile to inquire again
if the medicine is really the simillimum. Over time, the state should
decrease in intensity. The out-of-proportion concerns that arise consciously
and subconsciously as a result of the projection of one's state
will naturally diminish. Underlying habit patterns and responses, in
and of themselves, become less pervasive. Eventually, the situations
that triggered the state are less likely to arise and, when they do,
they will be met with less energy and resistance on the part of the
2. It can be very helpful to allow time for a longer interview, either
an extended visit (as we did with Maggie) or a retake, to receive the
case in a fresh, unprejudiced way, so that new material and perhaps
a new medicine will be revealed.
3. When the source corresponding to the patient is elicited, he or
she will express much energy spontaneously in a way that has not before
occurred in previous interviews. The patient will use words describing
the source – in this case, the cat – that are the exact
same words used to describe himself or herself, without even realizing
Two remaining family members were left to treat: the third son and
the father. The dad remained in treatment briefly, then chose to discontinue
treatment. This is consistent with our general experience. It is often
the adult males who are last to seek homeopathic care and the first
to leave treatment. We hope that Maggie's husband does return
in the future, because his case is quite interesting and we believe
that he could benefit from our help on a number of levels.
Eight-year-old Todd was the youngest son in the family. His chief complaint
was vomiting and the case was quite straightforward and uncomplicated. Maggie
described him as follows:
Todd has always been very
petulant. Even as a baby, if a hair were out of place, he would cry.
Or if you didn't hold him
the right way or hold him all
the time, he would cry.. You had to be entertaining him, stimulating him.
He was cranky…hell on wheels. At nine months, this child could communicate
in words. As a toddler, Todd would instruct his daycare provider about what
to do. He ruled the roost. Everything was on his terms. He was in control.
Todd likes being in charge.
It's better now with other kids than it used to be, but Todd has been
known to cheat if his brothers are winning. Or to be aggressive. He can be
a bully. One of his classmates had fallen and injured his head, needing stitches.
A month later, Todd pushed the kid's head against the wall. Another time,
he put glue on his hands and rubbed it into another kid's hair. Then
there was time he and another child had a disagreement, and Todd put two
in the other boy's eye. He doesn't seem to process the consequences
of what he's done. Neither of his brothers would consider doing that
type of thing to Todd.
Todd is a big tattletale. An alpha kid. So bright. Nova and string theory
fascinate Todd. In fact, he tries to explain them to the other kids in
his class. Taller than the other kids. A leader. He's our finder. He
where everything is. His memory is phenomenal. Todd's funny act in the
school talent show brought down the house. He reads biographies of all
the presidents and has already planned out his political career. In fourth
he'll be secretary; in fifth, vice president; and in sixth grade, president.
And the prettiest little girl in his grade tries to kiss him. Todd cares
a lot about people—he made a juice stand for the Red Cross after
9/11 and buys little presents for everyone at the end of the year, even
and his fish!
He can be the most wonderful kid, but there's
a dark side to him. Jekyll and Hyde. Todd has the hardest time focusing
always thinking of something else, like his girlfriend or his political
career. There's a cockiness and self-assuredness. And he just
cannot sit still. He's a kid who could do anything, but something
gets in the way. His handwriting is terribly sloppy. Todd is like
a human tornado, leaving wrappers and everything in his wake.
only physical health concern was vomiting, which occurred about
once a month. A couple of months before we first met him,
he went on a class
field trip then came back and vomited six times. Before an episode, his
face would turn pale and he would simply report "feeling
vomiting episodes would typically last 12 hours, during which time he
would even vomit water. Along with the vomiting, Todd would
be fatigued, limp,
and doubled-over, whimpering with pain.
This boy was irrepressible.
Maggie described him as follows:
[He is] like champagne out
of a bottle. You just can't contain
him once the cork is out. Todd never lacks for confidence and a clear
sense of what he wants. His curiosity is boundless. He's perpetually
asking questions that we need a librarian to research. He throws
himself into life-- not recklessly, but after careful thought.
We were, of course, looking forward to
talking personally to such a promising fellow. When we inquired about
his interests, Todd shared
that he was most attracted to "things that have not been explained
yet, like UFOs, ghosts, crop circles, gravity, Bigfoot, and if there's
life somewhere else in the galaxy." He was also inspired by how
one could make new things or survive in unlikely places. When asked
what he would like to be when he grew up, it is not surprising that
a young man with such a breadth of interests would reply as follows:
A spy or a pilot or a doctor. Having a really
big job to do that not many people can do where you're in control of
You have to make sure that people follow the rules. If they don't,
they get punished. There would be a consequence. People would be
a lot more safe if somebody were in control and made sure they
weren't hurt. Otherwise, if there were no rules, people could steal
from stores or destroy houses or hurt people. There needs to be
someone to put them in jail and stop them from doing those things.
who controls everything. Who can show them what is right and what
Todd admitted to a fear of heights and a minor fear of poisonous
The Eight-Year-Old Policeman
Todd's picture, as he told it, was self-explanatory. Here was
a highly capable, bright, ambitious, personable young man who got into
trouble when he tried to control other people, which he did on a regular
basis. Extraordinarily talented, Todd took it upon himself, much like
a superhero, to right wrong wherever he found it and to bring evildoers
to justice. This was a matter, not of victim and aggressor like his
mother, but of security and structure of society. The medicine that
fits this description perfectly is Niccolum metallicum (nickel). Those
needing this medicine have been likened to Robin Hood. A sense of self-righteousness
is present – understandably, since this mineral belongs to the
same group as Palladium. Along with Cobaltum, Cuprum, and Zincum, this
medicine involves a theme of crime, punishment, and justice. The theme
in the Niccolum proving by Rajan Sankaran was the need to protect the
interests of the weaker members of society and to assume the role or,
at least the attributes, of a policeman. This is a medicine belonging
to the cancer miasm, which means it is about control. Those needing
Niccolum are quite sure of themselves, intolerant of contradiction,
and can be quarrelsome with those who disagree with them.
Suffice it to say that Niccolum worked beautifully for this child.
At the five-week follow-up, his mom reported that he exhibited more
focus in sports and demonstrated
more engagement and a little more kindness. He had not experienced any vomiting.
Todd recounted that he sometimes felt as if he would get sick, but never did.
(That is a common response after any correct homeopathic medicine for any symptom.)
At four months, Todd's behavior was less aggressive, he was mixing well
with peers, and he had vomited only once. Eight months after starting treatment,
his mother remarked that he was not nearly as arrogant, he no longer showed
the Jekyll and Hyde polarity, and he showed a more sustained ability to empathize
with others. The vomiting had not recurred. Maggie estimated the improvement
Todd has needed four doses of Niccolum over the past 18 months. At his most
recent appointment, one month ago, his mother reported only one episode of
vomiting in the previous four-month period and no other complaints. The boy,
brilliant as ever, had scored in the 99th percentile of the Iowa Basic Skills
test in math.
Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, ND, LCSW, DHANP
Robert Ullman, ND, DHANP
131 3rd Avenue. North
Edmonds, Washington 98020 USA
425-774-5599 * Fax 425-670-0319
Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman and Robert Ullman are licensed naturopathic
physicians board certified in homeopathy. Their books include A
Drug-Free Approach to Asperger Syndrome and Autism (with Ian Luepker, ND), Ritalin-Free
Kids, Rage-Free Kids, Prozac
Free, Homeopathic Self-Care: The Quick
and Easy Guide for the Whole Family, Whole
Woman Homeopathy, The Patient's
Guide to Homeopathic Medicine, and Mystics,
Masters, Saints and Sages-Stories of Enlightenment. They teach and lecture internationally and practice
at The Northwest Center for Homeopathic Medicine in Edmonds, WA and
Langley, WA. They treat patients in person, by phone, and by videoconference.
They can be reached by telephone at (425) 774-5599, or you can visit
their web site at www.healthyhomeopathy.com.