Ankylosing Spondylitis

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[Also known as: Morbus Bechterew or Bechterew’s diseases, Marie Strumpell disease, or rheumatoid spondylitis.]

 

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a disease that belongs to the family of arthritic affections.

Spondylosis alone refers to degenerative changes at the affected site, such as osteoarthritis, of the vertebral joints and the intervertebral discs [1]. Ankylosis indicates that new bone formations are developing at the affected sites on the spine, fusing the vertebrae and eventually restricting mobility of the spine in that area [2].

AS is characterized by chronic inflammation that primarily affects the vertebrae of the spine. In its progression it may lead to gradual stiffening of the spine. A major location of the disease is the sacroiliac joint, however the upper areas of the spine and other joints, such as the shoulders, hips, ribs and smaller joints of the extremities, may also be affected [2, 3].

 

The inflammation and stiffness of AS may be experienced as severely painful and very restricting to the mobility of the sufferer. The symptomatology is variant, as is the time of first appearance of symptoms. It is commonly in early adulthood that symptoms begin to show. There is a diffuse dullness and discomfort that may initially be felt, with pain and stiffness, gradually aggravating during the night and in the morning. Sufferers may also have symptoms of light fever, fatigue and lack appetite initially. Pain, tenderness and stiffness will become more persistent over months and years, spreading along the spine into the neck. It is not uncommon that sufferers may also have symptoms of bowel and eye inflammation, and concomitant involvement of the heart and lungs [2, 3].

 

Ankylosing spondylitis is believed to be a genetic / hereditary disorder. It is assumed that a hereditary marker (HLA-B27) is a strong indicator for this disorder. However the HLA-B27 marker is not a precise diagnostic test, and researchers have identified over 60 other genes that stand in connection to the disorder. A distinct cause of Ankylosing Spondylitis has to date not been identified. It has though been observed that AS could stand in connection to an immune response. AS frequently broke out in patients following an infection of the bowel or urinary tract [2, 3].

 

The symptoms of Ankylosing spondylitis are often mistaken for other more common back problems, which makes it difficult to identify AS from the patients presenting complaints and symptoms alone. Usually x-rays, MRIs or the detection of the HLA-B27 marker are needed to make a more precise diagnosis. However, particularly in the early stages of AS, x-rays cannot provide evidence of the presence of this disorder as the deformity of the vertebrae is not yet visual in the imaging [2, 3].

 

Strong symptomatic indicators for the presence of this disorder are restricted flexibility in the lumbar spine, un-symmetric inflammation of a single joint (knee-, or hip-joint), iritis / uveitis, and the stiffening of the vertebrae. Characteristic of AS is also, that patients complain about back pain during the night, which is improved by movement. Most other, more common back problems find relief by rest and aggravation by motion. The appearance or aggravation of symptoms is usually in episodes or flare-ups, that are interrupted by phases of symptom remission and amelioration [2, 3].

 

The prognosis of disease progression is variable, as in each individual patient the expression of the disorder is different. Some patients may largely only suffer of intermittent discomfort and pain, while others may have more of the stiffness for lasting periods of time, and yet others may experience mostly deformity and even disability. With certain patients symptoms are so mild they rarely even are diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis [2, 3].

 

The treatment of AS is focused on the amelioration of the presenting symptomatology. Until today, there is no ‘cure’ for AS. The aim of treatment is to reduce pain, to retain mobility and to restrict deformity. As such exercise and physical therapy is suggested, as are inflammation and pain reducing medications. Surgery is a treatment option where a destroyed joint needs to be replaced or posture requires to be corrected [2, 3].

 

In terms of the CAM therapies, it has been found that sufferers of arthritis and related disorders seek complementary and alternative treatment in order to find “relief for pain and suffering that traditional medications have not provided”; in order “to avoid potentially serious side effects associated with [conventional] medications”; and to avoid costs of “certain conventional medical and surgical treatments” [4, n.p.]. Sufferers of AS have reported finding relief from CAM treatment [4].

The treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis with homeopathy has to be individualized. Accordingly, the remedies below may be helpful in the treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis [5, 6]:

Aesculus, Agaricus, Asa foetida, Aurum, Bryonia, Calc. Carb., Calc. Fluor., Calc. Phos., Causticum, Cimicifuga, Colchicum, Conium, Ferr. Phos., Formica rufa, Harpagophytum, Hecla lava, Kalium carbonicum, Kalmia, Natrium muriaticum, Phytolacca, Rhus tox., Solidago virgaurea, Silicea.

 

 

 

 

 

References:

[1] emedicinehealth (2017) Spondylosis, Available at: https://www.emedicinehealth.com/spondylosis/article_em.htm (Accessed: 15th November 2017).

 

[2] Spondylitis Association of America (2017) Overview of Ankylosing Spondylitis, Available at: http://www.spondylitis.org/Ankylosing-Spondylitis (Accessed: 15th November 2017).

 

[3] WebMD (2017) Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis, Available at: https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/guide/ankylosing-spondylitis#1 (Accessed: 15th November 2017). [4] Spondylitis Association of America (2017).

 

[4]Complementary Treatments, Available at: http://www.spondylitis.org/Complementary-Treatments (Accessed: 15th November 2017).

 

[5] Asa Hershoff (1996) Homeopathy for Musculoskeletal Healing , Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books.

 

[6] DHU (2011) Homöopathisches Repetitorium  Karlsruhe: Deutsche Homöopathie Union.

 

[7] Clarke, J. (1994) A Dictionary of practical materia medica New Delhi: B.Jain publishers Ltd.

 

 

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To take note and remember: Bellis perennis and the Railway spine – an extraordinary prescription for PTSD

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When trains were initially introduced as means of travel and transportation this innovative creation gave rise to much excitement, critique and a new type of fear disorder. A new era began. Travel became different, louder, faster, and the numbers of people transported with just one trip could be increased drastically. This was different to all that had been there before, and much was that new that effects and consequences could not be foreseen or estimated.

 

Passengers’ reaction to the noise of the steam engine, the motion of carriages, jolts of starting and breaking to a halt, and the accidents that occurred could developed into a disorder that was soon termed the ‘Railway Spine’. Collision accidents aside of fatalities and physically injured, generated patients that expressed a specific symptom complex. These eyewitnesses and victims could feel physically weakened, with numbness and pain spreading across their limbs. They could complain of spinal pain and stiffness, headaches and neuralgia.  They could be anxious and irritable, could suffer of disturbed sleep, memory impairment and lack the ability to concentrate.

 

While this disorder was very common at the time, today, it plays little to no role as a health disorder. Trains have become safer and travel much more comfortable. However, the symptom complex described has remained one prevalent today. It can be seen in car accidents, in what is termed ‘whiplash’, in victims of terror attacks, and in traumata of army service personnel that were engaged in warfare. The specific cluster of similar symptoms expressed in such traumatic and anxiety disorders has been labeled ‘Post-traumatic-stress-disorder’.

 

In an exchange with John Benneth (Thank you!) on my Blog-post ‘Must have … Bellis perennis’, I was pointed to the possible connection of PTSD to Bellis Perennis on account of its description for the ‘Railway Spine’ by J.H. Clarke in his ‘Dictionary of practical Materia Medica’.

 

According to Clarke, Bellis perennis is a remedy closely matching the clinical symptomatology of ‘Railway Spine’, strongly recommending it for use in disorders of PTSD. However, the Materia Medica of Bellis perennis otherwise demonstrates little to no specification for related symptoms in the proving details, and no other Materia Medica sources were found supporting this finding. Furthermore, having investigated remedies for the treatment of PTSD I have found no reference to Bellis perennis for the use in such trauma disorders.

 

None-the-less such finds are pearls of homeopathic wisdom that should be noted for later reference. One never knows if not in the future a patient stepping into our practice or clinic may need a prescription of exactly this remedy for his or her presenting state of health.

 

 

 

 

References:

Express Medicals Ltd. (2017) Railway Spine: a medical condition extinct or evolved. Personal contact.

 

Purtle, J. (2017) Railway spine? Soldier’s heart? Try PTSD, Available at: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/public_health/Railway-spine-Soldiers-heart-Try-PTSD.html (Accessed: October 2017).

 

Clarke, J. (1994) A Dictionary of practical materia medica New Delhi: B.Jain publishers Ltd.

Some homeopathic remedies for Anxiety, Trauma and Fear

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Anxiety, aside of the occasional state of anxiousness that everyone can experience ever now and then, can be a serious state of health. Termed ‘Anxiety disorder’, a number of mental conditions define the distress that prevents people from living a normal life. Characteristic for this anxiety syndrome are persistent, overwhelming states of worry and fear. These phases can be disabling, and may appear unmanageable. Panic, phobias, compulsion, and depression may combine, leaving the individual unable to lead a normal life.

 

Homeopathy with its holistic approach to healthcare can provide means to alleviate of the symptoms, and can assist the recovery from an anxiety disorder.

 

Some homeopathic remedies and their anxiety profile:

 

Aconitum:

This is a remedy that treats great fear and anxiety that comes suddenly. The individual has premonitions and fears the future. There is a tendency to start accompanied by physical and mental restlessness and anguish.

 

Gelsemium:

This is a remedy for the bad effects of fright, fear or emotional excitement. Physical ailments develop as a consequence of such triggers. There may be drowsiness, dizziness, dullness and trembling.

 

Ignatia:

This is a highly emotional remedy. The need for it is triggered by worry and grief, shock and disappointment. The individual is easily excited, is nervous, erratic. There is silent brooding, sadness and melancholy, sighing and sobbing.

 

Opium:

In need of this remedy is someone who demonstrates a lack of vitality, is sluggish, delirious. There may be scary imaginativeness.

 

Verratrum album:

This remedy is characterized by weakness, collapse. There may be shrieking, cursing and frenzy. There is melancholy, mania and stupor. The individual is indifferent.

 

 

 

Reference:

Boericke, W. (2004) Pocket manual of homeopathic materia medica and repertory New Delhi: B.Jain publishers Ltd.

Clarke, J. (1994) A Dictionary of practical materia medica New Delhi: B.Jain publishers Ltd.

 

 

 

 

 

Must have … Gelsemium!

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Gelsemium is a wonderful little remedy that should not be lacking in a well-stocked homeopathic home-kit. It is a helper where emotional excitement, brings on the feeling of being ‘unwell’; and where staying concentrated or fixing ones attention is difficult.

 

It is also indicated where a headache is accompanied by muscular soreness of the neck and shoulders. In the event of having the lenses of eyeglasses adjusted, Gelsemium can help the eyesight adapt and removes that initial sensation of vision blurring and discomfort.

 

In fever or the common cold there may be flushing, heat and heaviness of the face, accompanied by coldness of the feet. The coryza that is common of Gelsemium is watery and excoriating, with dryness and swelling. Sneezing is followed by tingling and congestion of the nose. At the same time hearing may be impaired. Throat symptoms may be dryness, burning and hoarseness, with difficulty swallowing. There is the sensation of a lump in the throat and of the perception of swallowing the tonsils. Children tend to wish to be held because of a trembling sensation that may be perceived during fever. Chilliness may be experienced as waves going up and down the back. There is great exhaustion, muscular soreness, dizziness and thirstlessness. Thirstlessness is a major indication for Gelsemium. In measles Gelsemium helps to bring out the eruption on the skin. The cough of Gelsemium is dry and there is soreness of the chest and weakness of the voice.

 

Gelsemium is also a remedy for the sensitivity to weather changes, dampness and cold may bring on the complaints.

 

Gelsemium is a ‘must have’ in the home remedy kit!

 

 

 

References:

Boericke, W. (2004) Pocket manual of homeopathic materia medica and repertory New Delhi: B.Jain publishers Ltd.

Clarke, J. (1994) A Dictionary of practical materia medica New Delhi: B.Jain publishers Ltd.

DHU (2011) Homöopathisches Repetitorium  Karlsruhe: Deutsche Homöopathie Union.

It’s summer…let’s hit the road and travel!

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Its summer, schools out and you are ready to hit the road, board the plane, train, or boat and head towards your holiday destination. You are looking forward to the relaxing and reinvigorating time, yet just out of town or up in the air, you or your little ones are feeling unwell. It’s the road, the float or carriage on the wind, it makes sick. Now what?

 

Travel-sickness can instantly destroy all of the glee, joy and happiness associated with the anticipated vacation. I would know, because a mere 3 km out of my hometown the main road falls into a set of ‘murderous’ serpentine curves, leaving me in a state of nauseous delirium. “Stop making such a fuzz. It can’t be that bad”, is what I often get to hear. But, it is that bad! Luckily, since becoming a homeopath, I know that there’s a remedy for that!

 

Travel sickness? There´s a homeopathic remedy for that!

 

Since I have that appropriate remedy at hand, travel sickness is a thing of the past for me. So, for fellow sufferers, below is a collation of remedies I have used to alleviate the presenting symptoms.

 

Cocculus: The #1 remedy for travel sickness and sea sickness. There is dizziness with every movement, and this is accompanied by great nausea and frequently also vomiting. A keynote is disgust and nausea at the thought of, and particularly at the smell of food. The taste in the mouth is metallic, and the stomach feels hollow, as if without food for an extended amount of time. There is loss of appetite and the individual feels faint. Lying down in a warm room ameliorates. This sickness also occurs when the individual watches objects move. (Personal hint: Do not eat right before travelling – This sickness is worse if drink or food have been ingested just ahead of traveling).

 

Tabacum: In the event of this sickness there is the sensation of an incessant deathly nausea. Opening the eyes creates a ‘sick’ headache accompanied by said deathly nausea. The stomach feels empty, with a sinking feeling.  There may be sour, violent vomiting. The individual feels terribly faint. In a warm room and in open air the individual feels worse. The least motion or drinking can cause vomiting. Tobacco smoke is unbearable. The individual looks deathly pale, sunken, as if collapsed, and has cold sweat covering the face. He or she wants to uncover the abdomen.

 

Petroleum: This remedy is particularly indicated for sea and travel sickness that is improved by eating. There is a feeling of great emptiness in the stomach. Appetite may be increased. There may be vomiting, but not necessarily. Vertigo and dizziness are felt in the head, at the occiput. It feels like the heavy head after intoxication with alcohol, and is accompanied by nausea. Salivation is increased. The abdomen is bloated. There is a strong aversion to meat and fatty foods. There may be increased burping and belching. The individual is better for warmth and lying with an elevated head.

 

Nux vomica: Nux is indicated for seasickness and travel sickness where there is persistence of nausea; bitter or sour vomiting, with vertigo and an intoxicated feeling. There may be occipital headache that worsens by conducting certain movements, or the head pain may stretch across the front of the head, above the eyes, with the desire to press the head against a hard surface. The vertigo feels like the brain is rotating. It feels like there is a swimming movement inside the head. There is a general sensitivity to noise, odour and light. Lying down ameliorates. (Personal hint: Sitting in the front seat of the car with a clear view of the road ahead helps alleviate travel sickness).

 

Borax: In Borax there is a true dread of downward movement, as in the motion of a plane landing, or a boat lowering on the waves of the sea. Like in the characteristic fear of falling, the downward motion produces anxiety and nervousness that shows in the facial expression of the individual. The downward motion, that also can occur when walking down a staircase, may cause vertigo and nausea. This sickness may produce vomiting.  (Borax is also the remedy indicated for babies that start and want to be lifted when put to bed. They also do not like being rocked or carried down the stairs.)

 

 

 

 

References:

Clarke, J. (1994) A Dictionary of practical materia medica New Delhi: B.Jain publishers Ltd.

 

DHU (1994) Homöopathisches Repetitorium  Karlsruhe: Deutsche Homöopathie Union.

 

Influenca Ltd (2017) ABC Homeopathy, Available at: http://www.abchomeopathy.com(Accessed: July 2017).

When the voice gets lost…

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Have you lost your voice, … however not by being startled?

 

Aphonia is a temporary or permanent loss of voice. The temporary type may be caused by an excessive use of voice, as in singers or speakers that have had to talk for an extended amount of time. This is often referred to as ‘clergyman’ hoarseness, in reference to the vicar of a village who would commonly contract this ‘sore throat’ following his Sunday sermon at Church. This Aphonia may involve the entire throat, larynx and vocal cords. It is an overuse trauma to the area.

 

Aphonia may however, also be the consequence of a cold, or of an inflammation of the larynx, and it may also be functional. In the latter case this occurs where nervous individuals are agitated and worried about having to speak in public, or before a large crowd, for example. They cannot appease their mind, and find they have lost their voice due to their fear of speaking. This form of Aphonia requires a different treatment approach to the one described below. It´s the anxiety and fear of speaking that have to be treated in such cases.

 

The permanent Aphonia is usually not treatable with medications alone. This type of hoarseness results from damage to the larynx and/or the vocal cords. Such Aphonia usually requires surgery.

 

In the event of an acute temporary Aphonia it is paramount to avoid straining and irritating the larynx and vocal cords further. Avoiding talk and allowing the throat to rest are the key aspects to attain rapid recovery. Beyond that, there is homeopathy to assist healing of the traumatized throat.

 

Some remedies are:

Aconite: This is indicated for the sudden onset, the acute inflammation of the larynx. A further indication is getting Aphonia from the exposure to cold wind.

 

Argentum nitricum: In professional singers or speakers this remedy is frequently called for. There is hoarseness and a complete loss of voice.

 

Arum triphyllum: Holding a speech, or speaking for an extended amount of time cause this Aphonia. There is hoarseness and a sensation of rawness in the throat.

 

Belladonna: A sore feeling and dryness are indicators for this remedy. Swallowing is painful to the patient.

 

Causticum: Coughing and dryness in singers or speakers are indicative of this remedy. A painful feeling of soreness is felt in the larynx.

 

Hepar sulphuricum: The accumulation of mucus accompanies this hoarseness. Coughing and dyspnea are aggravated by the exposure to cold.

 

Phosphorus: This remedy has soreness in the larynx and a dry throat accompanying the Aphonia. The dry cough is further aggravated by cold and speaking.

 

 

 

References:

Adams, M. (1913) A practical guide to homeopathic treatment Philadelphia: Boericke & Tafel.

Morrison, R. (1995) Handbuch der homöopatischen Leitsymptome und Bestätigungssymptome Groß Wittensee: Kai Kröger Verlag.

Croup – relief by homeopathy

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When children are ill, parents naturally worry. They give all their attention to their little one, tend to all its needs and aim to exhaust all methods and means that may offer relief to the child’s suffering. If then a cough sounds oddly ‘barking’, and breathing is audible by a wheezing, squeaky sound, alarm bells start to ring for a mother or father.

 

Croup is characterized by such a ‘barking’ cough that often makes parents take their children to see the doctor. However, this is only necessary in severe cases, where the body temperature is very high, or respiration is greatly impaired. For the milder cases there are homeopathic remedies that may help to alleviate.

 

Croup is a viral infection that affects the upper airways, the larynx, trachea and the bronchi. It is a childhood disease that can affect children between 3 months and 5 years. Croup is contagious; it may therefore be contracted more than once during childhood.

 

Initially it may appear the child has contracted a cold, as symptoms mimic those of a common cold. However, when the associated cough develops into the characteristic dry, ‘barking’, it is likely that the child has croup. The little patient may have fever, breathing may be difficult and inspiration may produce that distinctive wheezing sound. The voice may sound harsh and raspy, and the presenting symptoms are usually worse at night.

 

Symptoms are usually mild, and alleviation can be brought on by few ‘home’ measures. Hydration is a most important factor and the sick child should be encouraged to sip clear liquids such as water, juice or herbal tea. Milk products should be avoided as these produce more mucus and this is commonly already an associated symptom of croup, and may be a cause of discomfort to the child.

 

A common ‘home-remedy’ is the inhalation of warm moist air. This can be achieved by sitting the child next to the running shower. This can alleviate symptoms and may calm the cough.

 

The following homeopathic remedies are known to be helpful in cases of croup.

 

Aconite: This remedy alone may suffice to alleviate of the presenting symptoms. The dry barking cough is prominent, the child has difficulty breathing, is restless, nervous, and anxious. There is fever and the skin feels hot and dry. The patient has a thirst for cold drinks.

 

Belladonna: This remedy is indicated where a flushing of the face accompanies the characteristic symptoms. The child starts from sleep and there is drowsiness. The skin feels dry and hot.

 

Hepar sulph.: This follows well on Aconite, where there is a rattling sound of the phlegm in the respiratory tract. There is labored breathing and profuse sweating while coughing.

 

Spongia: This is another valuable remedy for croup. It has less fever than Aconite, but is also accompanied by restlessness and anxiety. The coughing is almost incessant, and there is no rattling of phlegm.

 

Drosera: A specific of this remedy are the attacks after midnight, and the need to sit up. Lying down brings on the coughing. The child may hold its chest while coughing. There is the feeling of a lump in the larynx.

 

 

 

 

 

References:

Adams, M. (1913) A practical guide to homeopathic treatment Philadelphia: Boericke & Tafel.

 

Chernin D. (2006) The Complete Homeopathic Resource for Common Illnesses. Google books [Online]. Available at: https://books.google.pt/books?id=4g8saZsOsGoC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false (Accessed: 10 May 2010).

 

Clarke, J. (1994) A Dictionary of practical materia medica New Delhi: B.Jain publishers Ltd.

 

EMedicineHealth (2017) Croup, Available at: http://www.emedicinehealth.com (Accessed: 10 May 2017).

 

Lilienthal, S. (1998) Homeopathic Therapeutics. Google books [Online]. Available at: https://books.google.pt/books?id=CMMXEyH_rIkC&pg=PA268&lpg=PA268&dq=drosera+for+croup&source=bl&ots=OHCC1l2tCZ&sig=-Hp_ABQsTJQGxy3iavpFIt2FbEk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiEj83vh-bTAhXBK8AKHW1BC_cQ6AEIQDAD#v=onepage&q=drosera%20for%20croup&f=false (Accessed: 10 May 2017).

MedicineNet.com (2017) Croup, Available at: http://www.medicinenet.com/croup/article.htm (Accessed: 10 May 2017).

 

NHS (n.d.) Croup, Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/croup/Pages/Introduction.aspx (Accessed: 10 May 2017).

Iberis amara – a remedy picture

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Iberis amara is a homeopathic remedy with major characteristic symptom expressions that make it specific for particular affections of the heart. It affects the muscle of the heart, the coronary arteries, the conduction system of the heart and the peripheral circulation. As such Iberis is indicated for cardiac and coronary insufficiency, arrhythmia (tachycardia), angina pectoris, hypertrophy, myocarditis and endocarditis.

 

The particular heart symptomatology includes palpitation that is instigated by the slightest of physical exertion. Closing a window, coughing, laughing, or turning over in bed may suffice to produce accelerated, irregular beating of the heart. During this episode the individual may experience the sensation of dull heaviness and dragging pressure in the region of the heart, and marked shooting, darting pains that are experienced as stabbing or stitching. These symptoms promote great anxiety in the patient and may cause associated feelings of fear and nervousness. There may be marked coldness of hands and feet, while the face may be flushed with a sensation of fullness about the head and neck. Cold sweat may develop on the face. The patient desires to sigh or draw long breaths.

 

The heart beats faster and stronger and the actual pulsation is visible over the cardia-thoracic area. The pulse is erratic or intermittent, tremulous and not well-defined while being full and strong. The hearts action may at first be weak and is then succeeded by an increased full and strong, irregular pulse rate of +/- 100.

 

Concomitant to the cardiac symptoms there may be anxiety, increased salivation, dyspnea, and shortness of breath, the feeling of constriction and oppression, as well as vertigo. The patient may experience persistent eructation and bloating with an increased frequency of passing soft stool from the ingestion of food and there may be associated digestive weakness. A choking sensation may be felt in the dry throat and there may be the feeling of pressure and pain in the region of the liver. Soreness, lameness and trembling may be felt in the extremities, particular in the upper left arm and hand.

 

The patient feels worse for turning or lying on the left side, at night or upon rising in the morning. Altering the resting position or placing a hand on the chest above the heart does not ameliorate symptoms.

 

Following such an ‘attack’ there may be an increased urge to urinate only scanty quantities, and the patient may feel a general soreness and lameness throughout the body.

 

An interesting aspect of the therapeutic picture of Iberis amara is its association with gastro-intestinal issues. While this is not an integral part of the homeopathic remedy picture, it is so of the Materia Medica as a phyto-therapeutic agent. Iberis has been found to have antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, anti-flatulent and calming properties, which it exerts on the mucous membranes of the digestive tract. As such it has found inclusion in herbal complex preparations aimed at treating an irritable stomach, functional dyspepsia or the colon irritable, the syndrome known as IBS, and ailments of the digestive tract associated with abdominal discomforts such as cramping and pain, motility disruption, diarrhea or obstipation. One such complex preparation is ‘Iberogast’, which in some countries is known by the name ‘STW 5’, and contains a combination of 9 different herbs. Research however has come to conclude that it is in particular the combination of the 9 herbs together that promote the efficacy of the complex. Iberis amara alone has not been found effective for the above mentioned gastro-intestinal issues.

 

 

 

References:

Allen, T. (1877) The Encyclopedia of pure Materia Medica . Internet Archive [Online]. Available at: https://archive.org (Accessed: April 2017).

 

Boericke, W. (2004) Pocket manual of homeopathic materia medica and repertory New Delhi: B.Jain publishers Ltd.

 

Clarke, J. (1994) A Dictionary of practical materia medica New Delhi: B.Jain publishers Ltd.

 

DHU (1994) Homöopathisches Repetitorium  Karlsruhe: Deutsche Homöopathie Union.

 

Hale, E. (1897) Materia Medica and special therapeutics of the new remedies. Internet Archive [Online]. Available at: https://archive.org (Accessed: April 2017).

 

Hering, C. (1879) The guiding symptoms of our Materia Medica. Internet Archive [Online]. Available at: https://archive.org (Accessed: April 2017).

 

Madisch, A., Holtmann, G., Plein, K. & Hotz, J. (2004) ‘Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with herbal preparations: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, multi-centre trial’, Aliment. Pharmacol. Ther., 19(), pp. 271-279 [Online]. Available at: doi:10.1111/j.1365-2036.2004.01859.x (Accessed: April 2017).

 

No name (1997) ‘Expertengespräch anläßlich der 51. Tagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Verdauungs- und Stoffwechselerkrankungen mit Sektion für Gastroenterologische Endoskopie’, Aerztezeitschrift für Naturheilverfahren, 38(2), pp. 146-149.

 

Rahimi, R. & Abdollahi, M. (2012) ‘Herbal medicines for the management of irritable bowel syndrome: A comprehensive review’, World Journal of Gastroenterology, 18(7), pp. 589-600.

A false positive of heart diseases – the Roemheld syndrome

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It has become evident in our modern times, that many of our lifestyle habits, in particular keeping up with our increasingly hectic society, are taking their toll on our health. Our work-life balance is skewed heavily towards stress and our nutritional preferences are dictated by the time available to cook and the income to spare. It is therefore not surprising that our health is impacted negatively by how we conduct our life and manage our care. Such factors lead to the creation of ever new ‘life-style’ ailments that we succumb to, and are very frequently misdiagnosed for what they are not and are as a consequence not seldom inappropriately treated. One such ‘modern’ disease, that likely has some of its causative factors in our life-style and nutritional habits, is undoubtedly the ‘Roemheld syndrome’.

 

This symptom complex of ‘gastric cardia’ was first identified and described as a stand-alone syndrome in the early 1930’s, when Dr. Ludwig Roemheld identified the reflex heart symptomatology specifically caused by gastro-intestinal discomforts. Characterized by symptoms mimicking those of angina pectoris, the Roemheld syndrome is often mistaken for the former. As such the following afflictions are common to ‘RS’: Palpitation, arrhythmia (tachycardia), circulatory disorders, dizziness, dyspnea, and related states of fear and anxiety, panic attacks. Further symptoms associated with ‘RS’ are: Gastro-intestinal discomforts, trapped gas, nausea, hot flashes, sleep-disorders, syncope and tinnitus.

 

Ultimately the cause of the ‘syndrome’ is the development of gas in the digestive tract. This may be of varied origin and besides mal-nutrition, food-intolerance, indigestion, speaking while chewing and as such ‘swallowing’ air, may be caused by life-style factors such as stress, anger, or depression. Our sedentary work practice may play a role. We are accustomed to conduct most of our work sitting down, we engage in little physical exercise, eat rapidly and unhealthily, sooner or later such habits must make us ill. However there are also disease factors that promote Roemheld syndrome. IBS, irritable bowel syndrome, has been named as a potential adjunctive cause of ‘RS’, as has the existence of a hiatus hernia. Neural involvement of the vagus nerve has also been linked to the development of the ‘RS’ symptomatology. In this case sensory communication from the digestive tract to the brain is believed to impact the development of symptoms.

 

During an ‘attack’, the bloated gastro-intestinal tract displaces the organs in the thoracic cavity. To the patient there appears to be insufficient space in the chest. The bloated stomach and bowels push the lungs aside, generating pressure on the heart, causing anxiety, difficulty breathing, oppression, weakness, dizziness and faintness in the patient. The pulse rate increases, palpitation may appear and arrhythmia are triggered, in the form of tachycardia or extra systoles. It is not infrequent that these symptoms take a patient to see a cardiologist. However the causative factors of the presenting symptoms are often misinterpreted as originating from the heart itself.

 

In many cases the management of ‘RS’ can be achieved by altering dietary and lifestyle habits. As such, avoiding certain foods can alleviate symptoms and prevent ‘attacks’. Reducing alcohol and restricting the consumption of fizzy drinks, which promote fermentation in the bowels and thereby produce gas, can be helpful. Fast food, fatty meals, vegetables such as of the onion family, cabbage, pulses, pastry, and particularly white flour products should be avoided; such changes sooth the digestive activity of the stomach and bowels. However surgical intervention may be necessary where a hiatus hernia is identified as causative factor.

 

Conventional medicine suggests the administration of medication that reduces bloating, and inhibits the development of gas in the digestive tract. Yet this medical intervention is one that only palliates and does not remove the underlying cause. The issue remains and drug side-effects can produce consequential troubles in the long run. Acute alleviation can be achieved by herbal tea infusions with fennel, melissa, mint, juniper or black cumin. From a homeopathic perspective, remedies that aim at the removal of the digestive pathology and take into consideration the patient idiosyncratic cardiac symptomatology should be considered (gastro-cardia symptom complex).

 

 

References:

Brisson, J. (2016) Can Stomach Issues Cause Heart Disease? Part 2: Roemheld Syndrome, Available at: http://fixyourgut.com/can-stomach-issues-cause-heart-disease/ (Accessed: 27 February 2017).

 

N.A. (n.d.) Roemheld Syndrome Information and Resources, Available at: http://roemheld-syndrome.com/ (Accessed: 27 February 2017).

 

Stange, D. (2017) Roemheld-Syndrom – Ursachen, Symptome, Therapie, Available at: https://www.gesundheits-fakten.de/roemheld-syndrom-ursachen-symptome-therapie/ (Accessed: 27 February 2017).

It´s moon o’clock – time to chime with the moon

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It has been known since ancient times that nature has its own laws and rhythms. Most prevalent to us ‘modern’ people are undoubtedly the change of season and the turn from day to night, and night to day. Yet in the days of old, our ancestors abode to many more such laws of nature. They were knowledgeable of the wisdom within an array of most essential rhythms that governed their every doing. The application of these laws permitted them to optimize what was given and available, what they needed to grow and form to benefit their lives needs.

 

By observation, interpretation and inherited awareness our forefathers and foremothers learnt to apply natures laws to their cycles of planting and sowing seeds, to the growing and care of crops and life-stock, to the foraging and storing of food, to the maintenance of health and the resolution of sickness.

 

moon-1859616_960_720Nowadays science and technology are used to optimize such aspects of human existence. Yet nothing in nature is pure coincidence, nature had, has and will always have its own irrefutable laws that provide a clear rhythm and schedule for all processes that occur.

 

We ‘modern’ folk have lost much of the sensitivity for, and the ability to, interpret and apply these laws. One such rhythm of nature is the cycle of the moon. The way it exposes its face in the night sky impacts the tides, the weather, the growth on earthen soil, and all organic existence.

 

‘La Luna’ governs our emotions and schedules the female cycle.  She is not a source of light herself, only reflects the shine from the sun. She lightens darkness, and her shine has a veil of mysticism, a hue of secrecy, for us. In her shade grow plants of poisonous character, the deadly nightshades. Already in the altered exposure of the moon, to the rays of the sun, lie strong forces that have the power to build and grow, to heal and strengthen. Hence, if we step back and pay attention to the neglected, if not forgotten forces of the moon, we can learn and subsequently adapt our actions and direct our focus, to become harmoniously in tune with the rhythms of nature, to benefit from what these laws can give, promote and enhance.

 

 

The moon travels along her periodic path, recurring in the same rhythm, completing the same cycle over and over again. She steps in and out of the shade, from new moon to new moon, travelling her cycle over 28 days. During this journey she always shows the same side towards the earth, always stable on its own axis, never rotating.

 

 

The meaning of the moon phases

New moon/Full moon: The new moon, the time when the moon is exactly between the earth and the sun, marks the starting point of the moons repetitive cycle. At this position, the moon is dark in the sky. No light is reflected from its surface, as the earth-facing side is receiving no light from the sun.

 

At this point the moon begins its cycle. Over the course of the coming 14 nights the surface of the moon increasingly becomes visible from earth. Gradually more sun light reaches the moon and we perceive the moon becoming bigger and rounder. This phase of the moon cycle is described as the ‘waxing moon’. La Luna reaches the half-way mark of its cycle during the 14th night. At this location, its earth-facing surface is fully enlightened by the suns light and we, on earth see the ‘full’ moon.

 

After the full moon, the enlightened area of the moon reduces. Over the coming 14 days, the moon is in its ‘waning’ phase. The dark area of the moon becomes bigger, the enlightened area smaller, until the moon becomes entirely dark again and the phenomenon of the new moon reoccurs. The moon-cycle has reached its end point which is also the starting point of a new cycle.

 

 

For all life on earth, for our human development and existence, this cycle plays a greater role than we now-a-days anticipate or acknowledge. As such there are energetic influences that impact us, our bodily functions and systems, and our doing.

 

 

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At new moon: the body has the greatest capacity to detox. This is a time for cleansing, for chucking out the old and welcoming the new. For endeavors, ventures and quests this is the most positive starting point of the moon cycle.

 

The waxing moon: is the most beneficial time for regeneration, for recovery and recuperation. It is a time of uptake / intake, of soaring energy and of gaining strength and power.

 

The full moon: then is a time of impaired and slowed healing. Wounds bleed more at this time. On this day our emotions are most volatile.

 

The waning moon: is a time of release. It is a phase of increased activity, of greatest power.

 

 

In the old days, much attention was paid to the position of the moon as it provided the schedule for the sowing of seeds, for generating the best crops and growing the strongest plants. The cutting of trees is not recommended on days of a certain position of the moon, as the ‘wounds’ will not heal well and the tree loses much of its life-juice. Similarly, in human health care, surgery is not recommended on some days, in particular at the full moon, as there will be increased hemorrhage and bad wound healing.

 

Only infrequently, if at all, do we nowadays relate any occurrences or incidences to the phases of the moon. The moon hardly plays a role in our schedules, and our hectic lifestyle has no space for the finely tuned sensitivity needed to perceive, or the wisdom to recognize the subtle forces of our celestial luminary. We commonly register the immense impact, without relating it to the moon. Yet, paying attention to those seemingly imperceptible influencing factors, may permit living a more balanced and harmonious existence. Such fluctuations of the rhythms of nature can be very valuable and may have a truly positive and beneficial impact on many aspects of our life [1, 2].

 

 

There is a homeopathic remedy derived from the moons light, ‘Luna’. It is indicated, amongst others, for the following symptoms [3]:

 

Irritability. Sadness, depression. Headache. Weakness of eyes, feeling of sand in eye. Sensation of stinging, smarting in the eyes. Feeling of coldness in head. Bitter taste on the left side of the tongue and increased salivation. Soreness of throat. Sour eructation. Flatulency in stomach with burning. Abdominal colic. Feeling of faintness in stomach with distension. Profuse urination. Immediate desire to pass stool after flatus. Menses returns after two days, after cessation. Sharp pain on left side of vagina. Suffocation sensation around the heart. Rapid pulse. Severe pain in sacral region. Rheumatic pains in left shoulder. Tendency to oedema.

 

 

 

 

References:

[1] Lichtenfels von, L. (2016) Mondkalender 2017, Rottenburg: Kopp Verlag

[2] Paungger, J. & Poppe, T. (1993) Aus eigener Kraft, München: Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag

[3] Clarke, J.H. (n.d) Luna, A dictionary of practical Materia Medica [online] available at: http://www.homeoint.org