A critical point of confusion with homeopathy comes when patients ask “what’s the right remedy for my condition?”
Homeopathy is not a “one size fits all” system of medicine, with one remedy for one problem. Instead, homeopathic remedies are tailored to suit the individual. Each remedy can treat numerous unrelated conditions across a large number of people, while each condition may be treated by any one of numerous remedies
In Middle Ear Infections: One problem – 4 Remedies, we looked at how four children with an ear infection each needed a different remedy because of their different symptoms.
In this article, the opposite is discussed. One remedy, homeopathic Sulphur, treats 4 different problems: arthritic pains and weight gain; hot flushes and chest pain; lack of purpose and direction; and even eczema in a dog!
Case 1 – Arthritic Pains and Weight Problems
Beth was a 48 year old woman. She was tired, aching, hot and foggy for several weeks and was barely able to drag herself through each day.
She also spoke of chronic arthritic problems; a chiropractor had recently said that an x-ray of her spine showed her lumbar vertebrae to be “crumbling”. Pain from the degeneration would shoot down both legs.
Beth had also dislocated her knee in a fall, ten years earlier, and had undergone reconstructive surgery. The joint no longer had any cartilage and she experienced pain as if a red-hot poker had been thrust into it. At the same time, electric-like pain would shoot between her spine and toes. These pains were always worse at night and Beth said sometimes they were so bad, she would thrash about the bed.
Beth also had cervical spondylitis – an inflammation of the vertebrae in the neck causing pain and stiffness. Every month or so, the spondylitis would trigger a migraine, forcing her to bed. At those times her face would redden and her head perspire.
Beth’s was concerned about her weight. Since marrying in her 20’s it had progressively increased and she now weighed 93kgs. Though disinterested in food in the morning , Beth’s appetite would surge at 11am and the eating would begin – curries were a favourite.
Beth complained about heartburn from coffee, bloating with greasy food, belching that had an ‘eggy’ or sulphurous smell, cravings for carbohydrate, a strong smell to her urine (she likened it to that of cat’s urine) and frequent waking at night.
Health imbalances often create symptoms at the mental-emotional level so I was also interested to hear how Beth coped mentally-emotionally with these problems. She said she was prone to explosive anger and had a fear of snakes.
Sulphur was prescribed. Within two days of the first dose, Beth’s flu-like symptoms had resolved. Over the following months, other symptoms also improved; her urine lost its pungent smell, her anger lessened and her energy increased. Beth also developed a healthy desire for salads, previously preferring high carbohydrate foods and oily curries. Today, Beth weighs a healthy 72kg and takes an occasional dose of Sulphur (about every six weeks) when her arthritic pains return or become troublesome.
Intriguingly, Beth also had a history of being allergic to crude Sulphur – the very substance she needed in homeopathic form.
A word about Homeopathy and Weight Loss
Most of us love our food, and for some of us, excess weight becomes a problem. We would all like a magic bullet to rid of it forever but in homeopathy, no one remedy suits all people.
Homeopathy works to bring a person back to a healthy state of balance. Weight gain may be caused by unhealthy choices in food, or not enough exercise, but it may also be caused by an imbalance in the person’s health.
Symptoms of such an imbalance include: feelings of hunger leading to overeating even when full; craving for excessive or inappropriate food types; poor or altered metabolism; hormonal swings; emotional issues leading to comfort eating; lack of motivation or depression; and reduced mobility from physical problems.
All these problems are improved by good homeopathic treatment so weight loss is more easily achieved. An appointment with a qualified homeopath produces the best results.
Case 2 – Hot Flushes and Angina
A woman in her eighties called Margaret was baffled by the onset of hot flushes. They started with a viral infection some months earlier, and though all other signs of the virus were long since gone, the flushing persisted. Her face would suddenly feel hot and turn bright red for 10 – 15 minutes several times throughout the day.
Her doctor had been unable to find a cause, and was just as puzzled as Margaret.
Margaret also suffered from unstable angina – heart pain that would come and go at irregular intervals – and was taking a regular medication and spray to relieve the problem.
Other symptoms included: increasing irritability; itchy skin; hot feet, especially at night in bed; difficulty in falling asleep, and fear of spiders and heights.
Margaret strongly disliked chicken, loved salt, chocolate and lemons – she could, “eat lemons like oranges”, and never touched alcohol because it nauseated. To a homeopath, these food likes, dislikes and aggravations are just as important as the person’s physical symptoms.
All these symptoms correspond to Sulphur, the remedy prescribed for Margaret. During the following weeks the intensity and frequency of her hot flushes settled and then fully disappeared. She was far less irritable and her skin no longer itched. The angina also improved. At the time of writing this report she has not needed to use the spray for her angina for more than a year. Whether the blockages in her heart are resolving will not be known without further testing.
Case 3 – Lack of Purpose and Direction
Agir spoke of his inability to set goals. He wandered aimlessly through life allowing things to “just happen” and while most things had been good, he was now 50 and wondered if he could have, or should have, achieved more. He felt dissatisfied and directionless, as if the best years of his life had been wasted.
In talking to Agir I realised that he was a man of active intelligence who could be best described as philosophical rather than practical. He had started and studied many things but had not actually completed any of them – something more interesting had always distracted part way along. Most recently, he had studied a little homeopathy and had learnt enough to know it not only treated physical problems but also mental- emotional difficulties – perhaps it could help him?
Agir had a long history of blind boils and abscesses which, in spite of frequent antibiotic treatment, always returned, and his skin was hot and itchy. Flatulence and sour smelling bowel motions were a problem. Agir’s wife, who accompanied him to the appointment, was quick to tell me how everyone in the family knew when Agir had used the bathroom because of the strong odour that would spread through the house.
When I asked about Agir’s ability to be organised and tidy she laughed and said that he was “domestically blind”. If left to him, the house would always be untidy and the dishes never washed as his head would be buried in “some book about philosophy”. This was a source of conflict in the marriage as Agir’s wife felt she managed the home alone even though they both worked.
Agir complained about cramps in his toes that disturbed his sleep at night. The soles of his feet would burn when in bed and if he slept on his back he would have a nightmare.
I prescribed the homeopathic remedy Sulphur for Agir, as it clearly corresponded to the mental, emotional and physical symptoms he experienced. At follow-up appointments it became clear that quite a change was taking place. Most of his physical symptoms resolved, and he was able to develop a greater focus in life. Plans were made to write a book with his cousin and an extension to the family home was commenced. His wife even rejoiced over the fact that he would more readily help with the house-cleaning. Best for Agir, he was no longer plagued by the feelings of a wasted and purposeless life.
Case 4 – A Real Dog’s Life
Many people are surprised to find that homeopathic remedies can also treat animals and even plants.
One of the advantages of working with homeopathy is that we do not have to wait for a disease to be fitted with a name before we can treat it – the symptoms the person (or animal) experiences are enough. For this reason, the same remedy used for a human can also be used for an animal, as long as the symptoms are similar. The following case is a fairly typical example of the use of homeopathic Sulphur for one of our animal friends.
Betsy was a 3 year-old black Labrador. She belonged to a loving family but they were being driven crazy by her flea-bite allergy. It would seem that Betsy would only have to sniff a flea in order to break out in a weeping and itchy rash. Initially, the rash had occurred at the base of her tail but as time progressed it had spread further and further up her back. Once present, Betsy would be in agony through trying to bite and scratch it. Being such a big dog, she would overbalance into furniture and nearby children in her attempt to do so – people and things were being damaged!
Betsy’s owners had made several visits to the Vet. In spite of expensive shampoos, tablets, lotions, sprays, and injections, the problem remained. Even though they did everything they could to keep things flea-free, it would take only one bite to start the cycle over again. Betsy’s owners were also concerned about the toxic nature some of these products may be having on themselves and their pet.
One of the joys of being an animal-fascinated homeopath is that part of my practice is made up of things that meow, bark, hop, gallop, jump, flap, run, moo, or swim. As I looked at Betsy scratching on my clinic floor I asked some other questions and found that she was generally a “hot” dog. In summer she would sleep on the tiles in the family room and even in winter would prefer to lie in the corner farthest from the heater.
She was a friendly, clumsy “klutz” and although most Labradors are big eaters, she was particularly gutsy. After eating she would relieve herself of very offensive gas that her owners said could clear a room. Based on these symptoms I prescribed the homeopathic preparation of Sulphur for Betsy which saw her have her first allergy-free summer. Her owners were ecstatic – Betsy didn’t seem to notice. Two years later she needed a repeat dose but has been eczema free since.
Sulphur is one of Homeopathy’s leading “polycrests”, meaning that unlike remedies that can only be used on a small range of symptoms, Sulphur treats a wide range of symptoms in a wide variety of people. Sulphur is frequently used to treat skin eruptions that are itchy and moist in nature – eczema, scabies, psoriasis, seborrhoea, poison oak eruptions, just to name a few. The itching produced will often be worse at night; for the warmth of the bed; for bathing; and for wool.
Sulphur is a remedy for disturbances of body temperature. Heat and flushing can be found in its symptom picture. The heat might be general but will often focus in either the head or the feet. Burning sensations can often be associated with the heat. There is often redness at body orifices (openings), for example, eyes may be red and “gritty”, the anus red and itchy, and lips just plain red.
People who need Sulphur may crave sweets, chocolates, ice-cream, fats, spicy foods, and alcohol, especially beer and whiskey. They can dislike eggs. Often they will complain of not being hungry in the morning until 11am. Gastric complaints such as heartburn, gastritis, and peptic ulcers also feature. Bowel motions and flatulence are offensive and diarrhoea, especially first thing in the morning, can be a common symptom. Sleep may be difficult with many people needing Sulphur complaining about insomnia. They may have problems with left-sided shoulder pains.
On the mental/emotional level, “Sulphur types” can be philosophically inclined but blind to the practical side of day-to-day living. Many have described their Sulphur partners or children as being lazy. Alternatively, they can be practical idealists who, with boundless energy, strive to help fellow humanity. They have a reputation for egotism and feeling superior to others, but this is often accompanied by great generosity.
Some of the conditions Sulphur can treat include: abscesses; acne; alcoholism; allergy; angina; heart arrhythmias; arthritis; asthma; bronchitis; chronic fatigue syndrome; colitis; congestive heart failure; conjunctivitis; constipation; dementia; depression; diarrhoea; eczema; gout; headaches; haemorrhoids; hepatitis; herpes; hypertension; lower back pains; menopausal flushes; migraine; nasal polyps, otitis media; pharyngitis; pneumonia; prostatitis; psoriasis; rectal abscess or fissure; reflux; rheumatoid arthritis; rhinitis; sciatica; sinusitis; tinea; tonsillitis.
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