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From the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients
January 2005



Healing with Homeopathy
by Judyth Reichenberg and Robert Ullman, NDs

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Animal Magnetism
We just returned from a workshop with Dr. Divya Chhabra from Mumbai, India, a modern master of materia medica. She opened up the animal kingdom to us in a comprehensive way that we would like to share with you. Most of you who have been reading our columns or keeping up with the newer developments in homeopathy are aware of the concept of animal, plant and mineral kingdoms proposed about ten years ago by Dr. Rajan Sankaran, the husband of Dr. Chhabra. This way of categorizing the vast homeopathic pharmacopeia had proved invaluable in helping to solve many of our cases. Over the past decade, we have been able to determine the kingdom of the patient's homeopathic medicine with greater and greater specificity, though our perceptions are not yet one hundred percent accurate. Nevertheless, using this schema has many benefits.

In this article, we will endeavor to give you some of the guidelines for determining whether a patient's case falls within the scope of the animal kingdom and some examples from the different families of animal medicines. A brief differentiation between animals, plants and minerals, though covered extensively in other articles and books, will also be given for the reader totally unfamiliar with this schema.

Animal medicines have primary issues of sexuality, competition, territoriality and hierarchy. Plant medicines, in contrast, have the issue of sensitivity to their environment, leading the cases to center around perceived sensations and reactivity to situations and stimuli. People who need plant medicines often, but not always, embody rather feminine characteristics of plant-like beauty, changeability and the softer emotions. Medicines from the mineral kingdom have the primary themes of structure, security, relationship, performance, attack and defense. They tend to be more practical, structured and down to earth kind of people. These characteristics of the kingdoms are, of course, quite broad, but even so, they tend to run true. When one can, through careful interviewing, accurately establish the themes of the case, the kingdom can become readily apparent, leading to a welcome narrowing of the field of possibilities in finding and selecting the correct medicine.

People who need animal medicines are often magnetic personalities with charisma, natural attractiveness and sex appeal. Conversely though, these same people may feel inferior, low, crude, dirty, jealous, used, cheated and abused. It is in this paradox between startling levels of outward attractiveness and animal magnetism and inner feelings of abused inferiority lies the entire spectrum of animal medicines. These medicines focus on issues of self-worth, dependence, competition, attractiveness, nurturing, hierarchy, territory, group acceptance, jealousy, performing and suffering wrongful acts, and the split between the animal and human side of one's nature. These animal themes are easily recognized as common and strong issues in the life of many humans. When they predominate in a case, versus issues of structure or sensitivity of the other two main kingdoms, it is likely that the patient needs and will benefit from an animal medicine.

Animal medicines are derived from the vast diversity of animate sources, including insects, arthropods, worms and mollusks, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and the blood or milk of mammals. Our knowledge and use of animal medicines is still in its infancy. Nevertheless, as greater clarity and specificity emerge in our practice, more and more patients benefit from these medicines, many of which were initially given plant or mineral medicines.

The type of animal from which a medicine is derived colors the way the spectrum of animal themes is experienced by the patient. Common themes are shared by nearly all of the animal medicines, while specific themes characterize the various animal families, and each individual medicine is known by the specific symptoms and characteristics that allow it to be differentiated from the others with confidence. A brief study of some of the families of animal medicines will bring this differential further to light. The snakes, spiders and mammal milks are undoubtedly the most well-known and oft-prescribed members of the animal kingdom. By examining these families and a few of their more prominent members, both the common and individualizing animal themes will become readily apparent.

Nowhere do the dominant animal themes become more apparent than in the family of snakes. The snakes definitely led the way in the emerging understanding of the animals. Snakes are reptiles, all of whom are limbless, scaled predators with a carnivorous diet. Some snakes are poisonous, and nearly all of our snake medicines come from the venomous group. This includes well-known medicines such as Lachesis, the bushmaster, Crotalus horridus and cascavella, the rattlesnakes, Elaps, the coral snake, and Naja, the cobra. Medicines from non-venomous snakes such as Python are beginning to be proved and used by homeopaths. This greatly expands the specificity of prescribing using the snake family.

Snake people have the issue of surviving and getting ahead in their soap-opera-like delusional world of aggression, jealousy, deceit and manipulation. If approached too closely or attacked, they act aggressively to intimidate others into retreating, so that they don't have to lower themselves to actions of revenge and retaliation. This aggressiveness helps them avoid feelings of dirtiness, guilt and loss of self-respect. If these people are the subject of continued advance and threat, however, they will go for the kill without reservation or remorse. Because snakes are masters of camouflage, though, they will often prefer to hide behind an image of shyness, secretiveness and high morality. Like other animal medicines, they may seek attention through sexuality, clothes, money, jewelry, music and dance. People who require snake medicines have the corner on animal magnetism, and are often hypnotically alluring to their unsuspecting prey. Because Lachesis is the protypical medicine of the snake family, it is already quite well known, so understanding the themes of the two still common but less well-known medicines below may advance your understanding of this group of medicines to a greater degree.

The cobra is the most well-known snake in India. The subject of much mythology and spiritual ideation, particularly in Hinduism, its flaring hood, swaying dance before the snake charmer and his flute, and extremely lethal bite, have earned the cobra the position of the king of the snakes. The fact that the king cobra is the longest of the venomous snakes adds to its stature. There is an aura of nobility and royalty attributed to the cobra, which goes far beyond the lowly status accorded to most of the snake family. They inspire a mixture of awe and fear in those who encounter them. Actually though, cobras are rather timid snakes, who would much rather hiss and slide silently away than bite those who cross their path.

People who need the cobra as a medicine often feel a fundamental conflict between their higher (human) and lower (animal) nature, between duty and neglect, and between suffering wrong and doing harm to others. They feel a moral responsibility to care for and protect those who need them, while at the same time feeling wronged, harassed or abused by those they have a duty towards. This conflict causes them to brood over troubles that are more imagined than real. Morality and spirituality are often themes in Naja cases. Though they may feel a desire to take revenge for wrongs done to them, their sense of duty and responsibility often gets in the way. If they do succumb to their lower nature, they can feel extremely guilty and expect to be punished by God.

Crotalus cascavella
The Brazilian rattlesnake is the southern cousin of the more common North American rattlesnake, Crotalus horridus. The rattlesnakes are very social snakes, often living in family groups and coming together in large communities for the winter in some settings. Rattlesnakes, unlike most members of the snake family, bear their young alive and care for them. Though mostly encountered solitarily, they may also engage in group defense against predators. Rattlesnakes are best known for the characteristic rattles, which warn potential aggressors or predators that they are armed and ready to strike, saving the snake from unnecessary fights that could prove fatal.

Rattlesnakes are known for being violent and deadly if provoked, but like most snakes, they would rather warn then hide to eat and fight another day. According to Sankaran and Chhabra, the theme of Crotalus cascavella is needing the defense of the group, but at the cost of being forced to do what you do not want to do in order to retain group acceptance. This theme will also be seen in the far more socially evolved mammal milk medicines, particularly Lac defloratum. Crotalus cascavella patients feel looked down upon, as though they have no importance to the group. In feeling this way, they want to retaliate, but hold back to avoid being repudiated by the group, thus losing their security and feeling helpless, alone and weak. Crotalus cascavella patients often feel pursued and have the peculiar feeling of someone following them, to the point of hearing imaginary footsteps behind them. They can have fearsome delusions or dreams, such as of a giant, black skeleton or an enormous hairy spider.

Milk Medicines (Lacs)
The most well known of the milk medicines is Lac caninum, or dog's milk. Before the recent spate of provings by Nancy Herrick, who published Animal Minds, Human Voices and the Bombay School homeopaths, including Sankaran and Chhabra, the milks were largely unknown territory for homeopaths. Only dog's milk and skimmed mild (Lac defloratum) were used at all. Lac caninum was used primarily as an acute medicine for symptoms affecting the right and left side alternately, and Lac defloratum was used very rarely as a medicine for migraine headaches. With the wealth of provings done in the last decade, now finally, the milk medicines are coming into their own. Now we can prescribe the additional milks of the human, horse, cat, lion, dolphin, goat, elephant, rhesus monkey, and even llama. Potentially, the milk of any mammal may be used, and new provings will undoubtedly be conducted to bring to light the unique symptoms and themes of each of the milks.

What has emerged from the provings and a small, but increasing body of clinical experience are themes of the milk remedies centering around dependence and independence, nurturing and lack of nurturing, a feeling of having suffered wrong and the suppression of natural instincts in order to be able to harmonize with the group to which one needs to belong. Each milk medicine will express these themes in its own way. We can understand the differences through a few examples.

Lac delphinum (dolphin's milk)
The dolphin is a very group-oriented sea mammal. Dolphin fish together, play together, enjoy sexuality and childrearing, and have a strong focus on the protection of the group. In order to keep the group together they must be caring, loving, communicative and exist together peacefully. The group works together to protect against predators such as sharks, humans and killer whales. However, in order to co-exist cooperatively and peacefully, dolphins may need to suppress anger, violence, competitiveness, jealousy and not being taken care of. Sound familiar? Humans have much the same issues, and humans who resonate with the dolphin feeling can benefit from Lac delphinum as a medicine.

Lac humanum (human milk)
In the proving by Sankaran, interpreted by Chhabra, many themes of Lac humanum came out. Primary were themes of being helpful to others so that you received acceptance and were not alone. The ‘I' needed to be sacrificed for the good of the "we." It is necessary to do things for others, obey the rules, and be sensitive to the opinions of others, but unfortunately, this also leads to feeling forced, treated like shit and ridiculed. The issue of having two wills is central to Lac humanum and to many animal medicines. Thus there is conflict between having both a spiritual and non-spiritual nature, a desire to work and a desire to go on a holiday, a desire to be an individual, yet part of a group. There is a lot of emphasis on one's relatives and on being helpful to one's friends, family, community and those less fortunate, what we might call humanitarian service.

Lac leoninum (lion's milk)
Here the queen of beasts, the lioness, lends her milk for the healing of humanity. There is a theme in this medicine of royalty, being a person of high standards, arrogant, with a love of power. But there is also the fear of losing this power and independence, resulting in being put down, blamed and brought low with feelings of being inferior, weak, fragile and lonely. The flip side of being the king or queen is to be a lowly pauper, dependent on the pride for everything and being dominated by the current king—or turned out to fend for oneself. Thus, the person who needs Lac leoninum reacts with anger, violence and pouncing upon one's enemies, especially when there is a feeling of hurt pride.

Medicines from the spider group have the combination of being small, weak and powerless leading to being laughed at, dominated, harassed and teased, combined with a tendency to deceit, trickery, and cheating, which creates a false sense of power in reaction to the domination. There is great restlessness and desire to be attractive and get attention. Interest or talent in music, dance or singing, and a keen sense of rhythm, as well as sensitivity to noise are commonly found among the spider medicines. There can also be a desire to climb or hide, with an unusual degree of physical coordination. The examples of spiders and their themes will give a greater understanding of both the animal nature of these patients and their particular individual characteristics among the different spider medicines.

Tarentula hispanica (tarantula spider)
This medicine is the model for the spider group. It is probably one of the most prescribed animal medicines, particularly for ADHD and bipolar disorder. Tarentula patients are lively and attractive, with a free or wild sexuality. Their sense of rhythm and musical talent are legendary, and they are often singers, dancers or drummers, at least as an interest or hobby. They often like lively music, rock and rap. Tarentula children love to climb, hide and dance, and can be quite restless or hyperactive. They are strongly seeking attention in nearly everything they do.

Tegeneria domestica (common house spider)
A recent proving by Dr. Chhabra brought this medicine to light. The sense of being small, weak, helpless and feeling dominated, harassed and teased came through very strongly in the proving. Patients feel cheated, used and taken advantage of, and will lie, cheat and trick others, creating a web of deception in return to take out their anger and gain the upper hand. There is a strong desire to win, and be one up on others, teaching them a lesson or giving tit for tat. Like Tarentula patients they want to be attractive, wearing bright colors and exciting perfumes. They are similarly musical and quite restless.
Hopefully, these examples of animal medicines from several families can help you become aware of the similarities and differences among them, and the unique characteristics of the many members of the animal kingdom. A study of these fascinating medicines will lead to a greater ability to differentiate among the kingdoms, their families and ultimately, to find the single medicine that will deeply help the patient.

Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman and Robert Ullman are licensed naturopathic physicians board-certified in homeopathic medicine in practice for over 20 years. Authors of seven books, including the bestselling Ritalin-Free Kids, they have also written Prozac-Free, Rage-Free Kids, Whole Woman Homeopathy, Homeopathic Self-Care, The Patient's Guide to Homeopathic Medicine, and Mystics, Masters, Saints, and Sages. Their newest book, A Drug-Free Approach to Asperger Syndrome: Homeopathic Care for Exceptional Kids (Starfish Specialty Press), will be released in July. The doctors practice at The Northwest Center for Homeopathic Medicine in Edmonds and Langley, Washington, as well as treating many patients by phone. They can be reached at 425-774-5599 or through their website at




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