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From the Townsend Letter
May 2009

Healing with Homeopathy
A Woman With Severe Allergies and Anxiety: Successful Homeopathic Treatment Over 11 Years
by Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, ND, DHANP, LCSW, and Robert Ullman, ND, DHANP

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I Get These Attacks….
Carol first consulted us for homeopathic care, by telephone, in early 1998 at the age of 38. What follows is not her entire case, but the most important information, in her own words.

I have all kinds of allergies – most recently dairy foods. They started at birth. When my mom stopped nursing me. Milk made me anxious and weepy. The chemicals in my brain don't function well after I drink it. After I reintroduced dairy into my diet, I began to get these episodes of waking three to four times a night, trembling inside upon waking in the morning, and a racing heart. The symptoms improved some after I gave up milk products, but they still bother me a lot. After a couple of nights of disturbed sleep, I develop complete and total insomnia. It's as if my adrenaline is going. My muscles jump. I get up and pace the floor. And I get so sick to my stomach that I can't eat. When the symptoms are full blown, I lose ten pounds a week. I have a lot of burping and my tongue gets a yellowish or white coating and my breath is bad. It's almost like I have a sour taste in my mouth.

During the attacks, all of a sudden there's a rushy feeling in my head. I can't take a deep breath. My arms tingle. I even feel an adrenaline-like tingling in the genital area. I feel numbness around my mouth. I get the jitters. My bowels move five or six times within a few hours. The stools turn bright yellow, like bile. They removed my gallbladder at 26 – they said it was nonfunctioning. The doctor told me it was hepatitis, but the liver biopsy did not confirm the diagnosis. I was told that I had scarring of the gallbladder and a kinking of the bile duct. Now it is harder for my body to digest certain foods. It feels exactly like when I had my gallbladder attacks. These attacks happened for the first time the year after my first child was born. I had the baby blues because my daughter had colic and I didn't get much sleep. My father-in-law died around the same time. They didn't know what to do with me, I felt like I was losing my mind. They put me in the hospital for psychiatric treatment. I was given antidepressants, but they didn't help. I still get frightened. At its worst, I don't even want my husband to go to work and leave me alone in case I become really ill.

I am allergic to dust and mold. My eyes itch and burn in the fall. I always have eczema inside and outside my ears. The skin becomes red, cracks open, and white, pasty, flaky stuff peels off. I used hydrocortisone cream to manage it. My skin is dry and flaky all over my body. It's necessary to use lotion or I would be scaly. I have vaginal yeast – a white, pasty discharge, but no burning or itching. I also have problems with PMS. My breasts become very tender and swollen, I get really crabby, and I have no libido. My husband wanted me to tell you about that.

My nature is to be quite compassionate. I am always feeling for the underdog. I never want to be mean to anyone. I would rather talk and not fight. Hollering is something that I can't stand. Issues must be resolved right away. Confrontation is not something I am willing to do. I don't even allow anyone in my house to say, "Shut up!" I get upset when things are out of kilter. I had a wonderful childhood. But even then I would become anxious and worried about things. Thunderstorms and the wind terrified me. I become extremely anxious when the kids are sick or if my husband and I argue.

A Series of Remedies – Then Bingo!
All homeopaths would like to say that we found the perfect remedy for each patient right off the bat. It does happen in many cases, as you have read in our articles over the years. We readily admit that it was not the case with Carol. It is not so much that we didn't understand her as that we did not recognize the picture of the medicine that she most needed for four years. Although it is not a small or rare medicine in homeopathic prescribing, we missed it, despite the fact that Carol's case is a classic presentation of it. That is one of the very reasons, besides the fact that Carol has done so well from taking it. Suffice it to say that a number of remedies were given, the last of which, Calcarea carbonica, was close but not close enough.

Fortunately, Carol had the patience to continue with inconsistent homeopathic results until the simillimum (the one best homeopathic medicine for an individual) was found. She, as well as her two children, have all responded extremely well to a particular homeopathic medicine, once it was found, and not needed any other. As much as anything, this article is a tribute to Carol's confidence in us and in homeopathy. The results for her entire family have been quite fruitful, because once we discovered the simillimum for each, treatment has been straightforward, highly successful on all levels, and economical; and appointments are infrequent. That is what is possible with constitutional homeopathic treatment. Carol's case is also excellent for teaching because finding the potency that worked very well but did not aggravate the eczema was challenging.

The Simillimum
This is a medicine that is also a mineral remedy and a carbon salt. Those needing it suffer from chronic digestive complaints, which are severely aggravated from milk and other dairy products. Like Calcarea carbonica (calcium carbonate), there is much perspiration, frequently having a sour odor and leaving a yellow stain. Individuals benefiting from this medicine have a low tolerance for conflict, preferring at all costs not to rock the boat. Patients needing homeopathic liver medicines can tend towards irritability and a sour nature, though this was not the case here. The medicine is Magnesium carbonica (magnesium carbonate).

Magnesium is in the third row and second column of the periodic table. The Magnesias, in particular, are indicated for people who feel that they were lacking in care, nourishment, and protection from infancy. They may exhibit feelings of abandonment; were often not breast-fed; and may in fact be orphans, or, if they were not, may feel that way. (It is fascinating, in Carol's case, that her problems began when her mother stopped nursing her, and how much emphasis she gave to her sensitivity to milk at the beginning of the first case-taking.) Those needing magnesium medicines often exhibit an underlying need for support, guidance, and protection. They can be very competent, responsible, and caring towards others. They often repress their tremendous underlying anxiety, or it may express itself only in dreams.

In Carol's case, it was only when she became terribly anxious that her fear of being alone became so intense, she was afraid for her husband to go to work and leave her alone. It was the fear itself, which seemed so unlike her, that she found the most frightening. This is the state that we mistook for Calcarea carbonica. There was a positive response to the Calcarea, since it was close enough to the Magnesia, but not as much as we or Carol had hoped.

Response to the Simillimum
Dreams are often excellent keys to the underlying state in those needing magnesium medicines, and such was the case for Carol. What surfaces in the dream state is the deep-seated insecurities or fears. "My friend died of cancer. They took her body out. I went in , lifted up the covers, and she was there, alive. I was afraid it was a ghost, spirit." Another dream very reminiscent of Calcarea carbonica, therefore the confusion:
"There were little mice coming out from under the cloth seat of the car. I hate mice. I couldn't get rid of them. Then there was a big, black rat. I was terrified that it was going to chase me … come after me and bite me."

The other theme in Carol's case that is much more characteristic of a magnesium medicine is the aversion to conflict, which surfaced in real life in the form already mentioned, or her disliking fighting and arguing to the point of shaking when others demonstrated anger towards her. "I was the middle child. I always wanted things to be okay."

Finally, there is sourness and unpleasant odor of body discharges in cases needing Magnesium carbonica. Carol complained of "big, thick, yellowy-white scabs all over her scalp. I get this yellow, dry-looking stuff on my ears. It smells like rotten eggs on my scalp, and also on my earlobe. It becomes sticky, gooey, stinking. There are big, white, flaky chunks in my hair when I wash it. Big scabs that slough off." How interesting that this is a medicine for people with infant issues, and how similar this sounds to cradle cap, which affects newborns.

The Response to the Right Medicine
The first time we gave Carol Magnesia carbonica, we administered it in a 200C potency, and she experienced a tremendous aggravation of her eczema. This is not uncommon in patients who have suppressed their eruptions for years with hydrocortisone cream. In cases like Carol's, the LM medicines (one part to 50,000 dilution) often work quite effectively without causing an aggravation. Even so, it took us some time, by trial and error, for Carol to find the best dilution and frequency for her to resolve the eczema without flare-ups.

Four months after taking this initial dose, Carol reported,
The eczema has spread. It is driving me crazy. After I took the remedy, I would have some of those anxiety attacks and trembling at night. It has all gone away. For a while I was struggling with self esteem – doubting how people felt about me. That improved. My sleep is good. My periods have straightened out. I no longer have violent dreams. I was so fatigued after the first dose. I no longer suffer from PMS. I don't even know that my periods are coming. My hemorrhoids have gone way down, too. I still feel shaky if people are arguing, but it is not as severe. After I took the second dose, I had hay fever like I haven't experienced for years. It lasted about a week. Then I developed the worst yeast infection of my life. I've had vaginitis for years. I used boric acid and acidophilus vaginal suppositories. That took care of it in about a week.

Three months later, Carol reported that her eczema had almost disappeared, but was slowly coming back. The PMS symptoms were gradually returning as well. Her husband agreed that it was a very beneficial medicine for her, until the previous two weeks. This time we gave only a 30C potency of the Magnesia carbonica, but it did not work. We went back to the 200C, which again resulted in an aggravation, then 60C, and finally LM doses. It was clear that the medicine was correct. We just needed to find a potency that would work over time, without causing an aggravation. Magnesia carbonica LM2 in a double-glass method (the medicine is diluted and succussed according to standard LM preparation procedures, then that resulting medicine is prepared a second time the same way) worked the best. And it has continued to produce beautiful results in all areas of Carol's life, for the past five years. We have raised the potency over time, from LM2 to LM4, and she needs to take one dose every two to three weeks. "I need it the week that I ovulate. The first indication is icky dreams. The last was about a ghost or poltergeist coming to get me."

Every once in a while Carol has a relapse. She called in a panic, for the first time in years, eight months ago, due to extreme anxiety and sleeplessness just after having done all the planning for a graduation party for her daughter with 150 guests. At the same time she experienced burping, a white coating on her tongue, and nausea. Again Magnesia carbonica, along with a few doses of Bach Rescue Remedy, was quite effective.

We were able to do an in-person appointment four months ago. Carol had increased the potency of the Magnesia carbonicum to LM4 four months previously, using a double-glass method twice a day. The eczema on her breast had resolved completely with the higher potency. Now nearly 49 years old, she was beginning to experience vaginal dryness. "I have the anxiety very, very rarely, and it goes away as soon as I take the remedy. Going into the city no longer makes me nervous, nor does being alone, although the closest neighbor is a mile away." Otherwise, Carol was fine. We made some perimenopausal recommendations, including an herbal formula for the vaginal dryness and an aerobic exercise program for weight loss. We last spoke by phone a month ago, at which time she reported feeling very well.

Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman and Robert Ullman are licensed naturopathic physicians board certified in homeopathy. Their books include Whole Woman Homeopathy; Ritalin-Free Kids, Rage-Free Kids; Prozac Free; Homeopathic Self-Care: The Quick and Easy Guide for the Whole Family; A Drug-Free Approach to Asperger Syndrome and Autism; The Patient's Guide to Homeopathic Medicine; and Mystics, Masters, Saints and Sages: Stories of Enlightenment. They have taught and lectured internationally, and practice at the Northwest Center for Homeopathic Medicine in Edmonds, Washington. They live on Whidbey Island, Washington, and in Pucon, Chile. They treat patients by telephone and video consultations, as well as in person. They can be reached at 425-774-5599 or


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