Anything in the World is Fair Game in Homeopathy
The entire universe is the homeopathic pharmacopeia (pharmacy). Literally any substance in nature can be prepared as a homeopathic medicine or remedy. The 45-or-so most commonly known remedies, known as the polychrest, used to constitute the majority of prescriptions in our practice when we began to study homeopathy in the late 1970s. Now these remedies make up only part of those that we pcrescribe for our patients. Over 2000 remedies are currently available through homeopathic pharmacies, and more being proved all the time. It is also possible, as we have done on occasion, to prescribe remedies that fit the particular case well but have not yet been proved. We may even obtain the substance and have the pharmacy prepare the remedy, which is then available to us and to other homeopaths internationally.
There are specific criteria, upon analyzing a patient's case, for choosing a kingdom. In other words, most patients will need a remedy from the mineral, plant, or animal kingdoms. We have discussed these criteria in depth in many of our previous articles over the years. If the primary themes for a patient are structure, performance, security, identity, or relationships, we think of a mineral remedy and are led to the homeopathic periodic table to select a remedy. A single mineral may be needed or, frequently, a salt composed of two different minerals. If the main issues are sensitivity, reactivity, and changeability, a plant comes to mind. There are probably fewer than 1000 homeopathic plant remedies available; however, given the multitude of plants in the world (more than biologists can even estimate), more will be proved each year. Those whose principal issues are competition, survival, dominance, and submission, territoriality, or predator and prey need animal medicines. It may be a mammal, reptile, bird, mollusk, arachnid, or insect, depending on the symptoms and state. There are still other types of remedies, though less common, including microorganisms and imponderables (sun, electricity, magnetism, and so on).
Our focus in this article is on the homeopathic insect remedies. We have written several articles previously about snake and spider remedies, as well as individual cases requiring insect remedies. This column will be an overview of homeopathic material medica of the insect remedies with indications. We have prescribed all of the well-known remedies included here and many of the more obscure ones as well.
Entering the World of Homeopathic Insect Remedies
First, how can you be sure that the patient needs an animal remedy? The state, themes, and words used by the patient generally leave no doubt that his/her issues are:
- survival: winner versus loser
- victim versus aggressor
- strength and weakness; dominating versus dominated
- predator and prey
- feeling of being forced, harmed, victimized, put down
- camouflage, competition
- deceit, jealousy, revenge
- strong affinity or aversion for animals
Once it is clear that you are in the domain of animals, what will lead to a prescription of an insect remedy? The following issues, themes, language, and sensations will be expressed by the patient:
- small, tiny, powerless, helpless, vulnerable
- stomped on, crushed, squished, stepped on, trapped, cornered trampled
- torture, cruelty
- a feeling of being low, inferior, dirty, creepy
- short life span
- busy, speedy, restless, hyperactive, lively, sudden
- mean, nasty, greedy, rude, sarcastic
- need to do a lot in a short period of time
- invaded, intruded, encroached
- strong focus on food, reproduction, basic needs
- shameless, sexual exploitation, crude, obscene
- colors, particularly bright
- sensations: burning, stinging, biting, stitching
- reactions, physical or emotional, to insects
The feeling of being very small, invisible, like a fly on the wall or a speck will be verbalized by the patient, possibly with hand gestures. The individual may feel ridiculed, ignored, dismissed, minimized. The pace of the case is often quick and gives a sense of scurrying out of the way, just as an insect might do. We have often seen skin sensitivity, including an exaggerated response to insect bites.
The Most Common Remedies and Their Indications
Apis (honeybee): Swelling, heat, redness, and stinging. May be associated with a wide variety of complaints ranging from beestings and insect bites with swelling to allergic reactions (conjunctivitis, hives and other skin reactions), inflammation with swelling in various parts of the body (bladder infections are one example), and countless other conditions, again with swelling as the main feature. The skin complaints are typically better from cold applications. Jealousy is often seen with those needing Apis, which may have something to do with the biological imperative of the younger queen been needing to kill the older one. We have used Apis with lively, speedy, hyperactive children who share some of the other characteristics of the remedy.
Cantharis (Spanish fly): This is an invaluable remedy for sudden, severe bladder infections. There may be blood in the urine, excruciating pain on urination, and tremendous restlessness and anxiety due to the discomfort. Cantharis can also be useful as a burn remedy in cases ranging from sunburn to severe burns from other causes.
Coccus cacti (cochineal): This is the insect from which many indigenous cultures extract an attractive red, natural dye. It is most often used homeopathically for the type of cough with profuse amounts of expectoration, causing the person to gag. We have one patient who has done extremely well on this remedy constitutionally for the past four years.
Formica rufa (ant): This remedy is best known for skin conditions in which there is formication (an itchy, crawly sensation) and wandering pains, such as in arthritis. Renowned homeopath Divya Chhabra of Mumbai has articulated beautifully the deep, inner state of those needing Formica to be that of feeling like a slave – defenseless, weak, crushed, and needing to work very hard to prove their value and right to exist.
Lesser Known and Prescribed Insect Remedies
Blatta orientalis or americana (cockroach): Best known for its effectiveness with asthma, which may have something to do with those living in substandard and subhuman conditions, infested by cockroaches, who suffer disproportionately from asthma. According to Dr. Chhabra, the main theme is a need to be appreciated and praised, and considered to be polished masking an underlying fear of appearing cheap, crude, unsophisticated, and nasty.
Culex (mosquito): We learned this remedy many years ago from Dr. Jayesh Shah of Mumbai, who conducted a wonderful and thorough proving. The feeling is of having one's space and possessions invaded, of being taken advantage of and manipulated. There may be strong reactions to and aversions toward mosquitoes. There is a feeling of tremendous persistence and shamelessness and, at times, voyeurism. Dr. Shah recounted case after case of provers who found themselves in the most preposterous situations of having clothes borrowed, their furniture moved out of their apartments to make room for use by neighbors, and so on. We have several cured cases using this remedy.
Other insect remedies that we have used include:
- Vespa (wasp)
- Limenitis-b-c (butterfly)
- Mantis religiosa (praying mantis): We recently prescribed this remedy for a victim of ongoing sexual abuse, and she is responding very positively.
- Dust mite (house dust mite): We have a great case of a patient with dust mite allergy who responded very well to this remedy and spoke, without realizing it, from the point of view of a dust mite buried in a carpet.
- Bombyx (moth)
- Pulex (flea)
- Scolopendra (centipede): We have been using this remedy successfully for an adolescent with Asperger syndrome for over a year.
- Pediculus (lice)
Insect remedies that we have not yet prescribed:
· Cimex (bedbug)
· Coccinella (ladybug)
· Doryphora (Colorado beetle)
· Musca domestica (common house fly)
· A number of other remedies made from insects found in North America and throughout the world.
Insect remedies can often be confused with spider remedies. Many of the themes above are characteristic of both groups. The patient will often mention being afraid of spiders, especially poisonous ones, and may converse about one type of spider at length. There can also be confusion between insects and carnivorous plants. The proving sample of Drosera (sundew), for example, contained a trapped insect, which might explain the predominant theme of persecution. There may be some confusion with snake remedies, though there are many features, commonly mentioned in our previous articles and the homeopathic literature, that are unique to snakes. Since many insect remedies belong to the tubercular miasm, other members of this miasm, regardless of the kingdom and family, could possibly be a cause for mistaken prescribing.
Of course, these remedies, are expected to alleviate the patient's presenting physical complaints, be they bladder pain, bites, burns, skin complaints, asthma, joint pain, or other problems. But at least as notable is the sometimes dramatic effect these remedies can have on the mental and emotional state of the individuals. We have seen them go from feeling inadequate, victimized, inferior, and powerless to becoming strong, empowered, and confident. It is remarkable, as a homeopath, to see this type of change. Originally the patient talks unconsciously from the point of view of a lowly insect. As treatment progresses, this state evolves into one that is very different, with entirely different references, words, and feelings. These results are impressive, even for homeopaths such as ourselves, in practice for over 25 years. This is why homeopathy continues to inspire us and many others.
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; 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 have taught and lectured internationally, practice at the Northwest Center for Homeopathic Medicine in Edmonds, Washington, and live part time in Pucon, Chile. They treat patients by telephone and video consultation as well as in person. They can be reached at 425-774-5599 or www.healthyhomeopathy.com.