Cinderella in the dog's skin
Olga Fatula, Russia
The article describes a case with consecutive prescriptions of three remedies from the Mineral, Animal, and Plant Kingdoms. The three remedies, Magnesia muriatica, Lac caninum and Cucurbita pepo have similar themes of orphanage, being abandoned, offended and others. However, they are expressed differently, which shows in the case, with the accent changing towards a certain Kingdom. The facts of the patient’s story have formed a certain pattern of reacting to things and events, and they have served as the key etiological factor of the progress and escalation of the disease. During the curative process the patient finds ways to solve her family and relationship problems characteristic for the Silica Series, and the accent of the case moves to a different Series and another Kingdom.
KEYWORDS: Plant Theory, Elements Theory, Kingdoms in homeopathy, Magnesia muriatica, Lac caninum, Cucurbita pepo
The article has no repertorisation rubrics to explain the prescriptions as the characteristics, of the three used remedies, are generally known by the professionals. More importantly, the article focuses on the scientific and theoretical approach, demonstrating the practical application of the Elements Theory as well as the Plant Theory as developed by Jan Scholten.
A woman of 40, she is an accountant, married with two children.
Diagnosis: pre-menopause, early climax, with the main complaint of severe breast pain (mastitis) and PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome).
Previous treatment - she was prescribed hormones by her general practitioner and she took them for many years.
First consultation in March 2008
“I want to balance my hormonal disturbances.”
“Lately, my condition has been very bad. My breasts swell, they are very painful, and there is a sensation of stretching, puffiness. They feel like heavy dumbbells, or like balls bursting.”
“When approaching PMS there are strong pains in the small of the back, worse from walking. I want to fall down and weep.”
“It was a hard year. My husband has problems at work and he is mostly in a bad mood. He hardly talks to me anymore. I feel offended. I am afraid of a divorce and I fear that I won’t manage my life on my own.”
“My granny died this year. She raised me. I have a feeling of loss and guilt.”
“A lot has happened in the last year. My brother’s wife died at age 39 and she left an orphan niece. It was my duty to do everything. I felt the pain of the near ones and I could not do anything.”
“There is no inner harmony, everything what had been valuable in my life before collapsed.”
“I must help everyone, nobody can manage without me. I must pay attention to everyone, and help them, my children, my niece, my brother, my father.”
“My soul-searching ends up in the understanding of my own mistakes and the awareness of my personal responsibility – I am the one who is guilty. I have not managed it, I did not do it.”
“I have a fear of breast cancer. My daughter should not be left alone, without her mother, like I was.”
“In my childhood my mother abandoned us, she just went away. She used to come back, and then to leave, over and over again. She lived as a parasite and this led to her imprisonment. I was ashamed of her. I felt awkward at school, especially on the 8th of March - Women’s day.”
“My childhood was hard. All the housekeeping was on me. I had to care for the cow, the vegetable garden, and to fetch water.” (In the Russian villages, people had to bring water from water wells, in buckets. The wells were often located far away from home.)
She has a fear of breast cancer, poverty and divorce. She has a fear to be left alone and to not be able to manage things on her own. She also fears that her daughter will become an orphan. She has a fear of snakes and frogs.
She is chilly and worse in autumn, with the cold season coming.
Food: she prefers vegetables, likes a raw food diet, once in a while. She likes Indian spices.
This fits the Silica Series. The key problem comes from the structural function of the family and the relationships. She depends on the contacts with the near ones and the family. Her ailments appeared after a hard year full with the death of relatives. There is absence of contacts with her husband because of his depression.
This takes us to the Magnesia’s with the theme of orphans, depending on relationships, the fear not to manage on her own, hidden anger and the desire vegetables.
Then, to Chlorum with the theme of mother, abandoned by the mother, desire to care and assist, being ashamed and having breast problems.
Prescription: Magnesia muriatica 200CH.
Follow-up eight months later
“I had some improvements, both mental and physical, in the first six months. Since the last two months my menses are absent, everything irritates me. My breasts hurt as if they are about to burst.”
“The return of my complaints started after a big stress in September. My father’s neighbours called me to say that my father was badly ill. He lived alone in a village 500 km away. I found him in a terrible state - he was bare boned as a stick, with bleeding ulcers on the legs. There was dirt and lice everywhere. I was very tired, physically. I did everything alone, cleaning the house, throwing out old stuff, washing things. I carried him to the town hospital. Then I took him to the city, to my place. While he was here, over a week, all my hurt and sorrow came out, my bad memories came back to live. He is an alcoholic and during my childhood he did not talk to me at all.”
“I do not show that I am hurt and irritated, but my body is strained; it needs relaxation. I am dissatisfied with myself and I feel I must be kind. I should be on time with everything. I talk a lot but do little.”
Prescription: Magnesia muriatica 200 CH.
Follow-up June 2009
“I feel physically better. Now I have time for myself. Before I was always late to arrive and with everything, despite hurrying. I started to contemplate searching for what I really wanted. I like it when everyone is OK, then I am fine too. I must always help everyone. I must be there. I should help my father, my brother and my niece who lost her mother. I feel guilty if I do not help. I spent my childhood without my mother. I must pay attention to everyone, to children, to my boss.”
“I want to work and to be independent. I want to be just and right; everything should be in its place. That’s why I liked it in Germany, and I liked the Germans themselves. I want to be on my own and not to depend on anyone. I create lots of problems for myself and I am stressed and anxious. But I cannot express it - I’m like a dog. I want more independence. I lack self-confidence and determination. Sometimes I doubt whether I can manage my work, maybe I should have agreed to a lower job position. I force myself to finalise things.”
“My menses are irregular and scanty, and everything aggravates when my menses are absent for a long time. I am irritated and angry for any minor reason. I have a big internal stress with a lump sensation in the throat. The main discomfort is caused by the pain in my breast. The former pains in the small of the back and abdomen are much better.”
Prescription: Magnesia muriatica 1М.
Follow-up March 2010
“Things were OK, the energy level was higher, no tiredness, the lump in the throat went away and the breast pain diminished, almost at once. Two months ago my gynaecologist convinced me to take Duphaston. After that, I had hot flushes and breast pain, once again. Now I have hot flushes at night, tachycardia, dyspnoea with sweat and oedema. I stopped Duphaston. I took Magnesia muriatica 1M on my own initiative and it ameliorated immediately. I had menses that lasted one day.”
“The complaint is the pain in the breasts, they seem to be unnaturally swollen, it feels like an inflammation, worse by touch, worse at night. Feeling of heaviness. I like to cool them. I had a really bad flu last month; after that the lump in the throat reappeared.”
“I feel weak, loss of energy. I am tired of myself, of my state, of the family, of everything. Everything is on me, work, home, children, I feel hurt and angry. Both, my brother and my father are alcoholics and they don’t care about anything. It’s only their neighbours who summon me at the last moment. What if I am not on time, or unable to come? My brother left my father alone, but he put all the blame on me. I have a constant recollection of all the bad things that happened, the devastation, the drinking and the mud. As a child, they sent me to the neighbours to beg for money. It was humiliating, I was angry. I always wanted to leave that place and forget it altogether.”
She has dreams of rural mud - the guests coming to her dirty place.
“I wanted cleanness. In my childhood, I had lots of responsibilities; there was a cow and a big garden. I could not wash away the dirt from under the nails. During my visits there, I was cleaning, making things neat and helping my granny who could not manage things herself. I was imposing cleanliness on my children. I ran away from my childhood, the drinking and the dirt of it.”
“Now, I cannot leave my father alone, despite all my anger. This is my cross to bear. It is like a tail that you cannot cut off, so you carry it behind you all your life. I am angry because I am not allowed to do what I want. There is no choice, no option. Everyone is dependent on something, the weather, the environment or another person. I cannot leave a man alone, he will die, or he will suffer from hunger. I must adapt my life to serve them, take care of them. It is a strain and a struggle – I must or I want, I cannot do what I want. If you do what you must do, but not what you want to do, because of someone, there is anger addressed to that person. It feels like a dog on a leash.”
We can see all of the previous themes, the relationships and the family element - caring for the relatives. However, now they are expressed in the manner of the Animal Kingdom: blaming others for her suffering, other people are guilty for my problems, someone limits my freedom or deprives me of something, being humiliated. Although it is a subtle difference, her previous emotions and sensitivities were in the sphere of family/structure/relationships and her own role in them. Now, it is the feeling that others create her problems. One can distinguish between things like “I am dissatisfied with myself” and “there is anger addressed to someone else as if that person is an obstacle on the way”.
The themes of family and relationships, the dependence on them, as well as the theme of dirt are characteristic for the Lac remedies. Also, the Milk group has problems with breasts as well as the connection between ailments and the hormonal cycles. The image of a dog on a leash gives the idea of the remedy. It is confirmed by the relevant Materia Medica and the repertory rubrics.
If we assume a correlation between the Animal Kingdom and the Elements Theory then the Lacs should be connected to the Carbon and the Silica Series, logically, because the source of these remedies is milk. In the human life it matches the time of mother-to-child connection, breast-feeding, securing the survival of the child, association of oneself with a family group, communications. The well-known Lac caninum has many themes of the Silica Series.
However, looking at a usual “dog’s life”, from the point of view of differential diagnosis, we can also see the Ferrum Series themes. A dog protects his owner’s house, helps shepherding sheep and deer, "works" in the police (search for people, drugs, etc.), and serves as the border guard. All of these are the themes of the Ferrum Series: work, guard and executing orders.
Remedies prepared from different animal substances differ in their mental and physical symptoms. However, they can complement each other and deepening our understanding of the Materia Medica of the Animal Kingdom.
Prescription: Lac caninum 1M.
Follow-up May 2010
There is a very quick improvements, the breasts are fine. She changed her job to become a chief accountant, as she always wanted.
Follow-up March 2013 (three years later)
Now, the chief complaint is, pain in the joints: the knees, legs, all around pelvis, worse walking.
Tomography showed protrusion of intervertebral disks, in the small of the back section with the diagnosis: spondylarthrosis with dystrophic transformations in the joints. Thinning of the cartilage in all joints, synovitis, and osteophytes. Menses stopped a year ago.
The bad pains in the joints were preceded by a food poisoning, or maybe it was a virus infection. She has fears that the illness is incurable. There are tears, she is worried, with feelings of self-pity and suicidal thoughts.
Prescription: Lac caninum 1М.
Follow-up September 2013
A telephone conversation:
“It was OK for half a year, the mood was good, and the pain in joints went away. Now that the autumn is getting colder, the complaints come back. The pain was preceded, again, by something like food poisoning, with nausea, stool disorders; I connect it with eating a spoiled watermelon.”
The moderate effect of Lac caninum was rather short, even when taking a doze daily (in water).
Pains in every joint of the right side of the body, aggravated by movements, ameliorated by lying down without motions. The right leg and the right elbow are affected. The pains are hot and expanding.
Prescription: Bryonia alba 30C daily. There is some small improvement, then Bryonia alba 1M.
Follow-up October 2013
Chief complaint: pain in small joints, swelling and stiffness in the morning, swelling of the joints. Arm or leg swell immediately if it remains in a fixed position. The whole leg hurts, from waist to knee, from knee to heel; it feels like overstrain. The pain is stabbing, shooting and hot, worse on the right side and worse from walking.
“I'm very tired. Everything lies on my shoulders; and I force myself to do things. I am overloaded by work; and cannot run away from it. Homework is solely my task, all of it. I feel alone in my illness; standard phrases of healthy people irritate me. It is as if I have never lived for myself, I postponed everything that was my personal matter. All the time I was doing things for others. It occurred to me that since the time of my marriage I have been under treatment for some illness. I would like to get away from it, leave it behind.”
Main events in the last three years:
“My brother died; I took my father from his village. I thought, he would be happy to live in a family. However, now I am ready to borrow any sum of money to buy him a flat and get rid of him. I think he creates lots of inconvenience, for my husband and my children. It is hard for me to adapt to everyone. I have always had a goal to achieve. I have always been responsible and rightful. To be right means, not being criticised and being approved by the majority, as in Soviet times. I am a good wife, a friend in hardship. I managed to find a common tongue with my horrible mother-in-law. I have always loved my husband, though now I see his egotism.”
“I have worked since early childhood. Now I am the main supplier of money for the family, I aliment the whole family. My life is between home and job and a bit of time for myself - such as swimming and fitness. In my profession in can do everything, I know everything, I can manage any task. The job is stable. I am the chief accountant and there is no hard pressure. It is normal for me that I am the chief in everything while being subordinate all the time. Sometimes I have so much work that I have no time to stand up from my chair. There is little moral satisfaction - money is more important.”
“I have achieved what I wanted. After school I came to town to work at a construction site. They offered to me the position of an accounting clerk. I stayed there while studying at the university. There was time when I worked little, in search of my purpose, but I could not find it. Then accountants grew in demand, the profession was well paid. It was easy to find a job; some accountants made a lot of money. I have found my niche, but I do not want to work long hours.”
“My illness is frightening because I won’t be able to work and earn money like now; I won’t be able to afford trips to warm countries, and things like that. I am afraid of poverty and I don’t want my children to live in poverty like I did myself in my childhood.”
When asked about her connection to nature: “I like to go out, into the nature, or to a forest. I like birch trees and bird-cherry trees. It comes from my childhood. I have flowers at home. I don’t like gardening, though. I had enough of it at my early age.”
She is interested in Ayurveda, attends popular lectures on psychology, and supports her son in his various psychological practices.
Prescription: Cucurbita pepo 30C, once a week, for one month.
Lac caninum resulted in a prolonged amelioration. The remedy helped each time when joint pains reappeared, for several months. Later, there was no effect; therefore, it was time to change the remedy.
The themes of family and relationships are there, but they don’t appear to be the main problem, as before. Again, the subtle change of the accent changes the Kingdom and the Series. Now, the accent appears to be, the work and the fear of poverty if she is unable to work because of her illness. This corresponds to the Ferrum Series. There were certain indications of the Ferrum Series before, for example, her profession as an accountant; she likes Germany and its nation with their proper order and well-organised lifestyle, her own desire of order, enforcing it on children. It was previously expressed as a desire of cleanliness, the opposite of dirt and contempt that corresponded to the mammals. However, the themes of the Animal Kingdom are not prominent anymore.
In this case we see a combination of several Series, including Carbon Series (tangible values), Silica Series (family, relationships), Ferrum Series (work, order). There are themes of standalone elements, that is, Chlorum (forsaken by mother, need of caring for others, desire to escape), Phosphorus (care of the relatives, brother, niece) and Nitrogen (desire money, fear poverty). Such a combination is an indication of the Plant Kingdom, and the Cucurbitaceae family in it.
Jan Scholten, describes in “Wonderful Plants” the Cucurbitaceae: They work a lot in order to enjoy life later. They work a lot for their family and they make enough money to support it. They did not have good opportunities in their life, so they do their best for their children. They have a strong fear of poverty, increasing when there is a danger to lose their business. They are overwhelmed by the fear that they won’t have enough money for the future, and for their old age.
Cucurbita pepo fits a situation like Cinderella. She works very hard and serves the whole family. She feels neglected as a draggle-tail. She lives for the sake of serving others, she delays her own pleasures for later time.
The Pumpkin family has many GIT problems (they contain cucurbitacin). The patient pointed to the connection of her joint pains with food poisoning, twice.
The combination of Chlorum and Nitrogen leads to the accumulation of water in the fruit, they can even burst (in the case above, oedema of the limbs, appearing when motionless, the type of breast pains, “as if a ball full of water, and nearly bursting”).
Jan Scholten, Plant Theory
Cucurbita pepo, index 644.75.06
64 – Themes of Hydrogen, Carbon, Silica and Ferrum Series. There are themes of material values (Carbon Series), the family (Silica Series) and work (Ferrum Series) in this case. There is no further expansion into creativity (Silver).
644 – Accent on Ferrum Series: normal life, work for money, for the family; work versus home. Order, rules: accepted and approved by the majority in the society. The work gives an acceptable position in the society.
644.7: Phase 7 is demonstrated by the facts of her life: abandoned by her mother, humiliated in the school and in the village, running away from family, escaping from her village into a town, ran away from the dirt and drinking.
644.75: Subphase 5 corresponds to Nitrogen and Phosphorus themes. Success, expansion; her perception is, she has reached her goals, the position of the chief accountant, a stable job, she works a lot and wants more privileges, tries other treatments like Ayurveda. She feels that the group is limiting her, and she limits herself because of the group.
644.75.08 Bryonia alba, Stage 8: They work a lot, they overcome hardships.
644.75.06 Cucurbita pepo, Stage 6: Striving to prove that she is capable to manage thing.
The three remedies Magnesia muriatica, Lac caninum, Cucurbita pepo have similar themes of anger and irritability that should be covered up and not shown to the public. One must suppress it in order not to be deprived of his family, group, its support and care. They are not sure of themselves; that’s why they are dependent on the group or a structure. They have a low self-esteem, they think that others ignore or despise them. They are orphans (Magnesia), or badly treated children without trust in their own abilities (Lac caninum), servants in their own family, Cinderella (Cucurbita pepo). They try to avoid conflicts, and they do a lot for others, but still they feel lonely and abandoned, deprived of friends and support.
At different stages of a case analysis we can see different expressions, or some specific tints of the same themes, that are peculiar for different Kingdoms.
Follow-up November 2013
A very substantial improvement; she thought she had totally recovered. Then she ate some bad quality food at a canteen, and her joint pains came back.
Prescription: Cucurbita pepo 30C, once a week for one month.
Follow-up June 2014
Things were fine over the past winter and spring. In June she went to Cyprus. After swimming in windy weather and in cold water, she had her joint pains, again.
Prescription: Cucurbita pepo 1М.
The next day she is much better, the pain is much less. In September 2014 she is still fine. She bought a separate flat for her father.
In March 2015 she called by telephone to say that her state is very good in every respect.
Olga Fatula, MD, PhD homeopathy, LFHom