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From the Townsend Letter,
the Examiner of Alternative Medicine
April 2006

Healing with Homeopathy
A Family Affair: Treating the Whole Family with Homeopathy: Part Two
by Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, ND, LCSW, DHANP and Robert Ullman, ND, DHANP

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Read Part One of this column.

A Tale of a Family
In this column, as in our last column, we are discussing the benefits of treating a whole family with homeopathy. Last month, we presented the cases of two brothers diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD): Drew, who has benefited significantly from Panther, and Jimmy, the math savant who responded beautifully to Silica. The next member of the family we treated was Maggie, the mom, who first came to us as a patient three months after Jimmy's initial visit.

The Benefits of Treating Multiple Family Members
When more than one member of a family is receiving constitutional homeopathic care at the same time, there are a number of distinct advantages:

1. Family members are likely to stay healthier overall, either avoiding many acute illnesses entirely or experiencing them less intensely and over a shorter period of time. This means less discomfort, fewer days of missed school and work, and less money paid out for acute medical expenses.

2. When an adult or child is receiving the correct homeopathic medicine, they are in balance and much less likely to suffer from moodiness, irritability, dissatisfaction, anxiety, and confusion. If everyone in a family is thinking clearly and feeling in emotional equilibrium, there is no question that they get along more harmoniously and family life runs more smoothly.

3. When there are periods during which homeopathic medicine is no longer acting and needs repetition, it is generally evident to the rest of the family, and those family members will likely suggest that the member consult his or her homeopath. Usually, once the medicine is repeated, balance is restored to the member and the rest of the family.

4. The family can plan homeopathic visits well in advance of potentially stressful events or transitions, such as the deaths of an elderly pet or ailing family member or a change of residence or school. Taking the correct remedy at the time needed will help balance family members physically, mentally, and emotionally and allow them to face difficult situations more gracefully.

5. Not only are acute illnesses less severe and frequent, but chronic illnesses and hospitalizations are also less likely.

Maggie: Depression
A forty-five-year-old teacher from Tacoma, Washington, Maggie was so relieved by the result of homeopathic care for her two sons diagnosed with ASD that she was ready to get help for herself as well. This is a common pattern in our practice: first, the mom takes care of the kids, then herself. If the family is very fortunate, the dad will also be willing to come in for treatment. Maggie was taking Paxil when she began homeopathic treatment. Without the antidepressant, she told us that she would still be awake, crying and worrying, at four in the morning.

Having my first child diagnosed with ASD was like being run over by a truck emotionally. When my second son was also diagnosed, it felt as if the truck backed up and ran over me again. I was devastated. You think your children won't have a normal life. How can they cope? Who will come to their birthday parties? Yesterday I thought my son was playing with another child. It turned out that the other boy was choking him.

I've probably been depressed my whole life. My father was an alcoholic and physically abusive. I still don't like the phone to ring. I'm afraid to have my back to the door because someone might grab me.

I've reacted by being too responsible. It feels like a burden. I'm overwhelmed. Why does everything have to be so hard?

During the school year, Maggie suffered from occasional migraine headaches. A striking feature of her case, revealed during the initial interview, was her inordinate craving for candy.

I eat candy every day after school. It's best if it's bright-colored. I'm like a child numbing itself. If I don't have candy every day, I don't feel rewarded. Jelly beans are the best. First, I eat all the pink ones, then the red ones, then, finally, the orange ones. It's my reward for making it through the day. But if someone offers me candy or cake during the day, I refuse. I'm like an alcoholic waiting till Sunday to drink. If I did eat sweets earlier, that's all that I would want to eat all day. I think it's a self-destructive part of me.

I get afraid of people. I tell people to call me, but I think, "Don't give me a call." I'm afraid that they'll expect something of me that I don't want to do. I just can't be that honest. So it's easier to stay away from people. I feel guarded. Like someone is going to hurt me. Not feeling safe. Like someone will grab me… I always wear flat shoes so I can run away. It puzzles me that women can wear high heels because how could they ever escape if they needed to?

Both of my parents were depressed. My dad was even hospitalized for it. So was his father. My grandfather used to beat my dad.

Maggie suffered from hypoglycemia, which did not surprise us given her strong craving for candy. She felt sick and faint if she did not eat continually to keep her blood sugar elevated. Maggie described a sensation of lightheadedness and of her body shutting down.

Growing up, Maggie felt she was an outsider and unwelcome. Though she received considerable encouragement from her mother, the support could not override her father's depression and abusiveness.

I have a sadness about not being good enough and about my children not being good enough. It's like I was a tiny child who wasn't kept safe from my father. I have two images of myself: one is a person who is worth being taken care of, and the other is not.

The Sweetness of Life
We prescribed Saccharum album 1M (sugar) for Maggie, which helped her considerably during the first sixteen months of homeopathic care. It is an excellent homeopathic medicine for children and adults who feel that they were deprived of love and sweetness growing up, though usually it is the mother's love and nurturance that is lacking. Although the hypoglycemia was a confirmatory symptom, these patients are well known for their extreme desire for sweets. The differential diagnosis can sometimes be between Saccharum and Chocolate. Those needing the latter can also have deprivation of nurturance and feel as if they missed their childhoods by growing up too quickly. However, patients who need Chocolate crave chocolate specifically, rather than any old sweet. Both Saccharum and Chocolate patients can have a tendency to hoard their sugary stash.

One month later, Maggie reported feeling that "rage just dripped away." She described feeling much more herself, a comment that is always music to a homeopath's ears. Less tense, she recounted how she found loving Drew much easier. So noticeable was the change in Maggie that her husband described the previous month as "a honeymoon." Maggie even remembered a dream in which she recognized her husband as her "dream man." Although her fears were still existent, she felt less frightened overall. Though she still preferred not to have her back to the door upon entering a room, she no longer experienced her previous sense of paralysis. During this period, Maggie faced a particularly challenging episode with a vice-principal and was surprised at how well she had handled it.

Maggie had not experienced any headaches. She was still eating candy on a daily basis. In summarizing the changes she experienced, Maggie explained:

There's a sweetness between my husband and me. It's very natural and loving. It surprises me that I'm more assertive in my relationships. There are people on my staff who have approached me in such a warm way. That has never happened before. And I feel less phobic about letting people in…. more accessible. It's like something was taken away that didn't belong there. I feel more balance. More peacefulness.

Over the next 14½ months Maggie received three more doses of Saccharum and continued to progress. At two-and-a-half months, Maggie had weathered quite well the death of an in-law and faced recurrent stressful situations at work gracefully. In describing her reactions, she bubbled:

What staggers me is how joyful I am. It's just a fantastic feeling. I enjoy my kids. There's such a connection there. And much more laughter. I just get a kick out of things. I feel different and wonderful. There's such a sweetness to life." At five months: "I feel a calmness that I have never had before. More balanced. My relationships with other people have changed. I still eat candy and am hypoglycemic. I still feel some anxiousness when the phone rings. But, everything else… It's such a quality of life that I love.

Maggie needed several repetitions of the Saccharum when the feelings of sadness would begin to return, though to a lesser degree than before beginning homeopathic treatment. One indicator of needing another dose of the medicine was a return of anxiety about the phone ringing, a symptom that had diminished by 75%. In describing a conflict with another teacher, Maggie notably described the colleague as "a tigress."

Ten months into treatment Maggie felt great. At 13 months, she remarked, "I have never felt this peaceful for so long. I'm so unlocked."

A Deeper Picture Emerges
Sixteen months after we first saw Maggie, we decided to re-examine her case. She had continually raved about how much better she felt and how spectacularly the boys were doing as well. But certain expressions continued to occur in our conversations that led us to wonder if a deeper medicine might exist for Maggie. We were looking for the underlying state – in this case related to her feeling of being unsafe and her need to keep her back towards the wall – to become less prominent and, eventually, be released. In addition, the hypoglycemia and craving for sweets had not decreased markedly. We have found that giving a patient a fresh opportunity to once again delve into his or her symptoms, sensations, and state can be very fruitful and can often yield information that suggests a different prescription.

Maggie described immediately some of her underlying feelings:

I feel a spiraling downward. A defeat. Betrayal. It's as if I had been kicked in the stomach. Very, very hurt. Vulnerable. Unappreciated. Someone kicks you while you're down and you can't get up. Then they walk away… indifferent. No one is protecting me so that I'm safe. I feel pummeled, fragile. Violated. I wonder who else will hurt me. The people around me turned their backs to me

This was interesting because Maggie was able, from the start, to plunge into some underlying feelings and also referred to others having their backs turned against her, which was reminiscent of her need to keep her back against the wall for protection. We could see that we were on the right track. Maggie continued:

I've positioned other people around me so that I would be safe. There's such indifference. A lack of compassion. Like there's another human being who's lying there dying and you could not care less. A feeling of being under the control of other people who are essentially indifferent. People walk by and turn their faces when you need them. Instead of helping and protecting you from the abuser, they blame and punish the victim.

Identifying the kingdom, plant, mineral, or animal was not yet totally clear. Maggie was expressing issues of blame, punishment, victimization, and betrayal, which could be mineral or animal. She was also sensitive like a plant, but there was no clear sensation or modalities of a physical symptom. The issue did not seem to be about performance and structure but rather about victim and aggressor and survival. We waited to hear what would come next:

I love cats. I am totally a cat person. I love them because they have their own personalities. They're indifferent to what you want. Very theatrical. And funny. You can't court a cat. And they're independent. They have the courage to be independent. It's all on their terms. And they're tremendously loyal. Cats are soft, interesting, cleaver, and affectionate. I really enjoy their capacity to show their distaste if they don't do what you like.

Captivated by how Maggie expressed so much so spontaneously about cats and by the energy in her expression, we listened raptly. We were also impressed by how many attributes mentioned by Maggie were quite true about herself: funny, independent, courageous, interesting, clever, affectionate.

Cats have their own little corporate lives. They've got a schedule to keep. Things to check out. Essentially they are in charge. It's fascinating how they can dominate so much. My husband and I fight over our cat's attention. She's so cool and aloof at times that she makes us fight over her. Kind of snobby. A bit condescending.

We inquired about dishonesty, a word that Maggie had mentioned earlier:

Actually, I have been very naïve about guarding myself. Not cunning. One needs to be cunning to figure out how to beat the system. Artful. How to play the situation so you will win, no matter how the chips fall. You need to know how to read people. To not show your emotions. To hold back. Be devious. To do what you can so you can win.

We inquired about Maggie's food cravings and asked if she disliked any animals:

I love seafood and scallops. And milk. I don't particularly like rodenty animals. What is the point? Like little rats. One time I was babysitting at someone's house and the child let the pet gerbil out of the cage. The cat ate it. Suddenly I was responsible for this dead gerbil. The cat was just doing what the cat should do. I was annoyed with the cat but didn't have any feeling for the gerbil. I don't understand why people get so whipped up about little rodents. They don't seem to me to have any personality.

It was patently clear that Maggie needed Lac felinum (cat's milk). The issue of feeling abused and victimized, of having to guard herself and keep her back to the wall, a feeling of being abused, the indifference, and the need to be cunning and clever to survive – even her desire for scallops, seafood, and milk – all pointed to this medicine. In addition, Maggie exhibited the symptom of fear of knives and pointed objects described in the proving of Lac felinum. In this regard, we found it curious that, when describing her indifference to and distaste for rodents, Maggie asked, "What's the point?" It was obvious that Sacharum, though producing a positive response mentally and emotionally, was only a superficial prescription.

Thirteen Months on Lac Felinum
Five weeks after changing the medicine, Maggie shared the following:

I don't know what the remedy is. I guess it was from the cat family. You know, if somebody comes forward, I allow them to pet me. But, if they don't, I stand my ground… I feel like I've developed a strength that I didn't have before. I'm no longer allowing myself to be a victim. I can protect myself. I feel in charge of my life. I know what the remedy is. I love cats. They're just so close to me. What do I love about them? Part of it is their ability to be in charge. It means that what I do or how I feel is not governed by other people.

Maggie continued to do well in all ways on the Lac felinum for a number of months. She discontinued the Paxil. Her only physical complaint during this time was dandruff and eczema on her ear lobes which was exacerbated by interpersonal stress at work. Nine months after the first dose, she complained of painful eczema of her ear lobes. Maggie has needed a dose of Lac felinum about every two months over the past year. As of her last appointment, the eczema has improved, she has not needed to resume her antidepressant medication, and she is continuing to progress in all ways. It is quite curious that her remedy turned out to be cat's milk and that her son Drew needed Panther.

When the Simillimum Reveals Itself
1. This case is a good reminder that, even when a patient reports feeling relatively well, still deeper-acting medicines can be found. When specific words relating to the patient's state continue to arise without diminishing, either when describing symptoms, life circumstances, fears, or dreams, it is worthwhile to inquire again if the medicine is really the simillimum. Over time, the state should decrease in intensity. The out-of-proportion concerns that arise consciously and subconsciously as a result of the projection of one's state will naturally diminish. Underlying habit patterns and responses, in and of themselves, become less pervasive. Eventually, the situations that triggered the state are less likely to arise and, when they do, they will be met with less energy and resistance on the part of the patient.

2. It can be very helpful to allow time for a longer interview, either an extended visit (as we did with Maggie) or a retake, to receive the case in a fresh, unprejudiced way, so that new material and perhaps a new medicine will be revealed.

3. When the source corresponding to the patient is elicited, he or she will express much energy spontaneously in a way that has not before occurred in previous interviews. The patient will use words describing the source – in this case, the cat – that are the exact same words used to describe himself or herself, without even realizing the connection.

Todd: Vomiting
Two remaining family members were left to treat: the third son and the father. The dad remained in treatment briefly, then chose to discontinue treatment. This is consistent with our general experience. It is often the adult males who are last to seek homeopathic care and the first to leave treatment. We hope that Maggie's husband does return in the future, because his case is quite interesting and we believe that he could benefit from our help on a number of levels.

Eight-year-old Todd was the youngest son in the family. His chief complaint was vomiting and the case was quite straightforward and uncomplicated. Maggie described him as follows:

Todd has always been very petulant. Even as a baby, if a hair were out of place, he would cry. Or if you didn't hold him the right way or hold him all the time, he would cry.. You had to be entertaining him, stimulating him. He was cranky…hell on wheels. At nine months, this child could communicate in words. As a toddler, Todd would instruct his daycare provider about what to do. He ruled the roost. Everything was on his terms. He was in control. Todd likes being in charge.

It's better now with other kids than it used to be, but Todd has been known to cheat if his brothers are winning. Or to be aggressive. He can be a bully. One of his classmates had fallen and injured his head, needing stitches. A month later, Todd pushed the kid's head against the wall. Another time, he put glue on his hands and rubbed it into another kid's hair. Then there was time he and another child had a disagreement, and Todd put two fingers in the other boy's eye. He doesn't seem to process the consequences of what he's done. Neither of his brothers would consider doing that type of thing to Todd.

Todd is a big tattletale. An alpha kid. So bright. Nova and string theory
fascinate Todd. In fact, he tries to explain them to the other kids in his class. Taller than the other kids. A leader. He's our finder. He knows where everything is. His memory is phenomenal. Todd's funny act in the school talent show brought down the house. He reads biographies of all the presidents and has already planned out his political career. In fourth grade, he'll be secretary; in fifth, vice president; and in sixth grade, president. And the prettiest little girl in his grade tries to kiss him. Todd cares a lot about people—he made a juice stand for the Red Cross after 9/11 and buys little presents for everyone at the end of the year, even the janitor and his fish!

He can be the most wonderful kid, but there's a dark side to him. Jekyll and Hyde. Todd has the hardest time focusing because he's always thinking of something else, like his girlfriend or his political career. There's a cockiness and self-assuredness. And he just cannot sit still. He's a kid who could do anything, but something gets in the way. His handwriting is terribly sloppy. Todd is like a human tornado, leaving wrappers and everything in his wake.

Todd's only physical health concern was vomiting, which occurred about once a month. A couple of months before we first met him, he went on a class field trip then came back and vomited six times. Before an episode, his face would turn pale and he would simply report "feeling sick." The vomiting episodes would typically last 12 hours, during which time he would even vomit water. Along with the vomiting, Todd would be fatigued, limp, and doubled-over, whimpering with pain.

This boy was irrepressible. Maggie described him as follows:

[He is] like champagne out of a bottle. You just can't contain him once the cork is out. Todd never lacks for confidence and a clear sense of what he wants. His curiosity is boundless. He's perpetually asking questions that we need a librarian to research. He throws himself into life-- not recklessly, but after careful thought.

We were, of course, looking forward to talking personally to such a promising fellow. When we inquired about his interests, Todd shared that he was most attracted to "things that have not been explained yet, like UFOs, ghosts, crop circles, gravity, Bigfoot, and if there's life somewhere else in the galaxy." He was also inspired by how one could make new things or survive in unlikely places. When asked what he would like to be when he grew up, it is not surprising that a young man with such a breadth of interests would reply as follows:

A spy or a pilot or a doctor. Having a really big job to do that not many people can do where you're in control of everybody. You have to make sure that people follow the rules. If they don't, they get punished. There would be a consequence. People would be a lot more safe if somebody were in control and made sure they weren't hurt. Otherwise, if there were no rules, people could steal things from stores or destroy houses or hurt people. There needs to be someone to put them in jail and stop them from doing those things. Someone who controls everything. Who can show them what is right and what is wrong.

Todd admitted to a fear of heights and a minor fear of poisonous spiders.

The Eight-Year-Old Policeman
Todd's picture, as he told it, was self-explanatory. Here was a highly capable, bright, ambitious, personable young man who got into trouble when he tried to control other people, which he did on a regular basis. Extraordinarily talented, Todd took it upon himself, much like a superhero, to right wrong wherever he found it and to bring evildoers to justice. This was a matter, not of victim and aggressor like his mother, but of security and structure of society. The medicine that fits this description perfectly is Niccolum metallicum (nickel). Those needing this medicine have been likened to Robin Hood. A sense of self-righteousness is present – understandably, since this mineral belongs to the same group as Palladium. Along with Cobaltum, Cuprum, and Zincum, this medicine involves a theme of crime, punishment, and justice. The theme in the Niccolum proving by Rajan Sankaran was the need to protect the interests of the weaker members of society and to assume the role or, at least the attributes, of a policeman. This is a medicine belonging to the cancer miasm, which means it is about control. Those needing Niccolum are quite sure of themselves, intolerant of contradiction, and can be quarrelsome with those who disagree with them.

Suffice it to say that Niccolum worked beautifully for this child. At the five-week follow-up, his mom reported that he exhibited more focus in sports and demonstrated more engagement and a little more kindness. He had not experienced any vomiting. Todd recounted that he sometimes felt as if he would get sick, but never did. (That is a common response after any correct homeopathic medicine for any symptom.) At four months, Todd's behavior was less aggressive, he was mixing well with peers, and he had vomited only once. Eight months after starting treatment, his mother remarked that he was not nearly as arrogant, he no longer showed the Jekyll and Hyde polarity, and he showed a more sustained ability to empathize with others. The vomiting had not recurred. Maggie estimated the improvement at 90%.

Todd has needed four doses of Niccolum over the past 18 months. At his most recent appointment, one month ago, his mother reported only one episode of vomiting in the previous four-month period and no other complaints. The boy, brilliant as ever, had scored in the 99th percentile of the Iowa Basic Skills test in math.

Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, ND, LCSW, DHANP
Robert Ullman, ND, DHANP
131 3rd Avenue. North
Edmonds, Washington 98020 USA
425-774-5599 * Fax 425-670-0319

Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman and Robert Ullman are licensed naturopathic physicians board certified in homeopathy. Their books include A Drug-Free Approach to Asperger Syndrome and Autism (with Ian Luepker, ND), Ritalin-Free Kids, Rage-Free Kids, Prozac Free, Homeopathic Self-Care: The Quick and Easy Guide for the Whole Family, Whole Woman Homeopathy, The Patient's Guide to Homeopathic Medicine, and Mystics, Masters, Saints and Sages-Stories of Enlightenment. They teach and lecture internationally and practice at The Northwest Center for Homeopathic Medicine in Edmonds, WA and Langley, WA. They treat patients in person, by phone, and by videoconference. They can be reached by telephone at (425) 774-5599, or you can visit their web site at


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