The Simple Life
Joseph Kellerstein, DC, ND
Life is infinitely complex and ultimately unknowable… kind of like homoeopathy! There is a really useful rubric that Dr Jamie Oskin gives a great lecture on: Mind; Ailments from Vexation. What he carefully excludes from this talk is that Vexation (frustration) is the life of a homoeopath. No wonder he is such an expert!
Alfred lives in a town in Northern Ontario – one of those small towns with an odd name you have never heard of. He is almost 50 years old, tall and strongly built. He works in construction.
Alfred gently sits down and begins talking softly in a very measured, almost controlled, way. I feel a bit uneasy.
“My problem is that I get these angry outbursts. People say it’s an attitude. I say it’s just a foolish thing. First, there is a frustration. I will develop this mean tone in my voice and blurt out something to my wife that starts with “I hate you, you XXXXX.” Then I think, ‘What did I just say?’ I was unaware!”
I ask him if anything else is going on in his system when this occurs.
He replies, “There is a welling up of energy in my stomach. It moves upward until the episode happens. There is also a fogging of the mind. A kind of confusion…
“I really regret the outburst. It will only occur when I am with those close to me. It has been increasing – getting worse in recent months. It got to the point where I feared I might psychologically damage someone I love. I have moved out of the house.”
“I need a hip replacement,” he adds. “So did my brother and father…
“The pain is worst when I walk on a level surface. Inclines are just fine.”
Wow! I thought; this is a great day! I have 2 excellent symptoms for my TBR2 (Bönninghausen Repertory). (See Figure 1.)
But wait. No remedy has both symptoms!
Figure 1.Initial Repertorization
So much for simplicity. But I bemoan the thought of ignoring this gorgeous symptom: walking on a level surface aggravates. So spontaneous. So distinguishing.
What if instead of using the Vexation rubric, I use Irritability? I can fudge a result. I like fudge (peanut butter). (See Figure 2.)
Figure 2.Second Repertorization
Although a bit patched together, this looks pretty good.
A Glance at the Materia Medica
So, lets check the materia medica for the mental symptoms associated with Ranunculus.
From Allen’s Encyclopedia:
Vexed and inclining to be angry; quarrels and scolds when the slightest cause is offered (after two hours).
Ill-humoured, and disposed to quarrel and scold the first forenoon; in the evening he is desponding, apprehensive, sensitive, discontented; on the second day he again inclines to be provoked by the innocent jests of his friends, etc.; this continues for several days, and recurs frequently during the action of Ranunc.
Then, only because I am somewhat masochistic, I check Roger van Zandvoort’s Complete Repertory 4.5 and see the same rubric (aggravated by walking on a level surface) (Figure 3). Ranunculus is listed, but Veratrum is as well! Veratrum figures nicely in the initial more accurate rubric of Vexation and outbursts of anger.
Figure 3. Complete Repertory 4.5
Here we are told the source is Boericke. Good, but not rock solid. Let’s look more closely at Veratrum.
Hahnemann says this about the remedy:
Pain in the sacrum when walking on a level, not when sitting (in the morning).
This seems quite clear, and the sacrum is pretty close to the hip.
So, what about the mind symptoms? Hahnemann lists the following for Veratrum:
Cursing and making a noise all night, and complains of being stupid, with headache and flow of saliva.
Along with persistent fury, great heat of the body.
He does not talk unless excited to do so, then he scolds.
He gets very cross, every trifle excites him (after 1 hours).
He searches for faults in others (and taunts them with them).
Why did Boenninghausen not include this symptom for Veratrum? Perhaps he felt it was not a characteristic. Does that make it less useable?
All in all, after reading the materia medica of Hahnemann, I feel Veratrum to be a better choice, based on the symptoms listed above.
Plan: Veratrum 30C once daily (1 pellet)
First Follow-up, 3 Weeks Later
The patient returned 3 weeks later and reported, “Life is much easier. The world seems brighter.” He’d had no more episodes (which had been frequent). He reported no change in his hip. He was scheduled for a hip replacement in approximately 1 month.
Was I right? Time will tell. I will follow this over the coming months.
Thank you, Sam!
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Joseph Kellerstein, DC, ND, graduated as a chiropractor in 1980 and as an ND in 1984. He graduated with a specialty in homeopathy from the Canadian Academy for Homeopathy, and subsequently lectured there for 2 years. He also lectured in homeopathy for several years at CCNM; for 8 years at the Toronto School of Homeopathic Medicine; and for 2 years at the British Institute for Homeopathy. Dr Kellerstein’s mission is the exploration of natural medicine in a holistic context, especially homeopathy and facilitating the experience of healing in patients.