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Okoubaka –  “a faithful jewel to have at hand in cases of food poisoning, intolerance, sensitivity”

… this is the bark of an African tree. There is no proving, to date, of this as a homeopathic remedy. Yet, this was made into a remedy on account of its folk medical use. This bark is known to have been taken by the members of an African tribe if and when they were invited to a neighbouring or other tribe and they could not be sure of the good will of the invitation and had to fear possible poisoning in the food or drink served upon their meeting [1].

This remedy´s action radius is mainly on the gastrointestinal tract (stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas). It is indicated for gastroenteritis following the ingestion of putrid food. It is also recommended for food intolerance, and temporary alterations of diet for example when travelling to foreign places, where the culinary customs are unfamiliar [2]. There have been reports of its use in cases of intestinal infections, celiac disease, IBS and Crohn´s disease [4]. Furthermore it has been used successfully for different forms of poisoning, and in the recovery from infectious diseases. [2].

Main indications are in fact the poisoning by food, chemical drugs, tobacco, and chemical additives to food. It is also indicated as a remedy for the aftermath of chemotherapy, and after the treatment, or as a preventative, for tropical diseases. Hay fever, allergies and rashes may react well to Okoubaka. This remedy is indicated in particular where illness or discomfort have occurred as a consequences to exposure to bacterial or environmental toxins, viruses, or chemical drugs [2].

Symptoms that a person needing Okoubaka may have, are concentration and memory problems. Persons may be irritable, depressive, may express anxiety, be fatigued after an infection, may suffer headaches, migraines, and dizziness.  The patient may experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea  stomach and abdominal pain with bloating or heartburn, or lack of appetite.

Patients with a tendency to hay fever may benefit from Okoubaka where breathing is difficult, asthmatic symptoms are experienced, coughing and a runny nose impair the patient. This remedy may be valuable in cases of allergies with itching, swelling, redness of the skin. It is particularly indicated if the allergic reaction originates from chemicals, chemical medicine, food or is of an unknown source [2].

I have used this „jewel“  to my homeopathic pharmacy on so many occasions that this is actually a constant and faithful companion in my hand-bag whenever I got out. I use it for example, when I have to eat `outside ´of my usual diet, and might expect to, as a consequence, experience discomfort after having eaten. When I´m invited for a meal, or go to a restaurant, and am unsure of intolerance or sensitivity to food or food additives, then I use Okoubaka as a prophylactic. The excessive contamination of vegetables with insecticides and pesticides may cause a strong reaction in persons that are sensitive, but also the natural food allergies may have a troubling impact, then, if the source of discomfort is known or a reaction is expected, then I prescribe/use Okoubaka. In cases of food poisoning, at the first signs of discomfort, I recommend/take Okoubaka. In the case that I have had too much to eat , am bloated, have developed gas, suffer of indigestion…I suggest/ take Okoubaka.

Okoubaka is, in my experience, one of the few remedies that are indicated for prophylactic use. Prophylactic use of homeopathic remedies is a controversial issue amongst homeopaths. The administration of a remedy prior to having illness indicating, patient specific symptoms, opposes a major principle of homeopathic practice [5]. Giving a remedy in order to prevent discomfort/illness from occurring in the imminent future, therefore, falls a bit out of the frame of common homeopathic practice. Yet, even Hahnemann had an exception to this rule. In the case of epidemics even he resorted to preventative prescribing [5]. Where discomfort can be avoided, as is the case with Okoubaka, I think it is worthwhile to use a remedy as such. Experience in practice has on so many occasions provided the evidence of Okoubaka working in the above indicated cases, also when used prophylactically.

[1] DHU (2012) Aus dem Schatz der Homöopathie: Okoubaka, last accessed December 2012 at URL http://www.deutsche-homöopathie-union.net

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

[3] Okoubaka (2012) Homöopathische Mittel, last accessed December 2012 at URL http://www.similasan.ch

[4] Bhatti, A. (2008-2010) Okoubaka complex, last accessed December 2012 at URL http://www.dratiq.co.uk

[5] Hahnemann, S. (1974) Organon der Heilkunst (2.Auflage) 6B Heidelberg: Karl.F.Haug Verlag