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Case Study

Anaemia - Cases From Our Heritage
Compiled by:
T K Kasiviswanathan
'Ferr-met / Ferr-sulp / Cycl / Rubia-tinctora

Ferrum-met has as one of its symptoms: anaemia with great paleness of all the mucous membranes with sudden fiery-red flushing of the face. Dr E B Nash, in his Leaders quotes the observations of Dr Hughes that the treatment of anaemia by Iron is one of the few satisfactory and certain things in modern medicine. From whatever causes this condition may arise, whether it be the chlorosis of defective menstruation or simple poverty of blood induced by hemorrhages, deficiency of air, light and suitable food, or by exhausting diseases, Iron is the one great remedy.

He further says that the malady does not ordinarily arise from any failure of the quantity of iron supplied in the food and the fault lies in the assimilative process. Coperthwaite quoted by Dr Nash, adds that when iron is introduced into the system in large quantities with a view to supplying the deficiency of iron in the blood, it is not only not assimilated but will be eliminated almost entirely by the intestines. Dr Nash therefore writes:

"iron is no more of a panacea for anaemia than is Quinine for malaria or phosphate of lime for deficient bone development. My experience has taught me that there are several other equally efficient remedies for these conditions and that when they are not indicated they not only cannot cure but do injure every time they are prescribed. I have seen better cures of bad cases of anaemia by Natrum-mur in potentised form than I ever did from iron in any form, although iron has its cases, as have also Pulsatilla, Cyclamen, Calcarea-phos , Carbo-veg, China and many other remedies."

Dr Clarke writes: The obvious advantages derived in many cases of anaemia from the use of iron in its crude forms has led to very grave abuses in old school practice. In the anaemia of cancer and syphilis it is often of great service as an accessory and need not interfere with more specific remedies. But it is not suited to all cases of anaemia and chlorosis or even to majority of them and should never be given without discrimination and careful watching. The type of anaemia caused by iron and suited for its homoeopathic use is commonly seen in young persons subject to irregular distribution of blood.

The cheeks are flushed and in spite of it there is pallor in lips and mucous membranes, great fatigue and breathlessness. Delicate girls fearfully constipated with low spirits. Chlorosis with erethism. Mucuous membranes abnormally pale; feet swell. The irregular distribution of blood in chlorotics gives another set of symptoms which indicate Ferrum: haemorrhages of many kinds from over fullness of blood vessels from vaso-motor paralysis or else the delicacy of the vessels themselves."

Jan Scholten has used ferrum salts to cure patients who, among other complaints, were having anaemia. And has given two cases in his book Homoeopathy and Minerals.

A 35-year-old woman consulted Dr Scholten for, tiredness. She has three children who had suffered from many illnesses since the past several years but the strain of attending to them has made her feel that she would break sown. The children are now doing well. She is anaemic and slow in everything she does; not cheerful anymore and felt that she might need psychotherapy but averse to it. She does not sleep well and wakes up many times and mostly around 3a.m. This sleeplessness started after one of her daughters started having nightmares and she had to wake up to attend to her, sometimes even in anticipation. Feels weak and irritable during menses and is now averse to having any more children. When she was pregnant she used to be anaemic; her head and cheeks are flushed often with stitching pains.

Desires: meat, beef³, fish; aversion: eggs, wine; feels dizzy after a glass of beer Mind: As she was the eldest of the children she had to help her parents in her chidhood and it was heavy work; she also helped her uncle in her holidays when her aunt was in the hospital. She was afraid of criticism and was not good at studies and used to worry over the notes from her school about her performance, as they had to be signed by her parents. She is afraid of criticism. She is nervous but fond of children. She studied child psychology and likes to work with problem children.

Analysis: Dr Scholten found that the patient had clear Ferrum symptoms: flushed cheeks, tiredness with anaemia, dizziness after alcohol < 3 am; aversion eggs and wine. Ferrum traits of perseverance and fear of criticism or punishment are also present.

Ferrum-met does not fully cover the case as there are some muriaticum elements (mother) Desire to have contact with children as well as the past history of taking care of a big household and looking after ill children of her own" He thought of ferrum-met: There is a strong theme of that remedy in the case. The feeling that she has to remain strong in order to take good care of her children, to be a good mother to them. As soon as she felt that they did not need her care as much as before, she broke down."Jan Scholten

Rx: Fer-met 200 one dose; after taking the dose the patient felt very tired for two days. Then she felt better and cheerful and felt like doing things with children again; more energy and looked for a part-time job; her sleep also improved.

The theme of this remedy, according to group analysis, is that they have to remain strong to look after their children well and they are bold and resolute. As a child they often had to help being the eldest child. They really like children and look after them well; may make it even their profession such as a school teacher. They cannot tolerate criticism well and will be extremely irritable.

Case 2
A 35 year old woman consulted Dr Scholten because she feels tired < exertion and in the evening around 10pm. She is also anaemic, more after her pregnancy. Her menses were always copious, worse after when she had an IUD. Has pain in abdomen and is constipated from time to time. Past history of glandular fever and ear infections and frequent sore throats< when she is busy.

She feels hot when indoors but feels too cold outside; likes fresh air and sea and mountain; apprehensive of thunderstorms. Little perspiration. < 21 hours. Desires: meat, sweets, eggs and very thirsty. Aversion: milk < fat and sugar< beans, cabbage and coffee; makes her stomach bloated. Difficulty in falling asleep when stressed.

Dr Scholten analysed her life situation: it transpired that she has problem with relationships. In the first live-in relationship the boy friend was not good at building up a good relationship and threatened to commit suicide when she wanted to terminate her relationship though he did not do it. In the present relationship with her boy friend, he felt threatened when she had strong opinion on some issue; though creative and gifted, he wanted a lot of attention from her.

After the birth of their child she had to shoulder the entire burden of bringing it up though initially they agreed that they would jointly do it. She used to get angry when she was not getting the support she needed from him. Ultimately she moved out with her child. In her childhood she was a wild girl and was not liked in her conservative family; she used to get angry and throw things.

Analysis: "Someone who is anaemic and who has relationship problems; that is Ferrum and Sulphur and therefore Ferrum-sulph. In this case there are several indications for Ferrum: copious menses, red cheeks, desire for meat < cold and persevering and strong type of person. Irritability when her boundaries are not respected is also a symptom of Ferrum, says Dr Scholten. The desire for sweets and spices < heat > outside and the selfish and demanding behaviour are indicative of a Sulphur layer. A synthetic prescription of Ferrum-sulph emerges. The theme of group analysis according to Dr Scholten is that the patient is very concerned about the relationship and she works hard to maintain it; demanding the same commitment from her boy friend and disappointed when it is not forthcoming in the manner she envisaged.

After one dose of ferrum-sulph 1M she felt much quieter and less hurried. She has now a more balanced reaction to her boy friend’s lack of support and has respect for each other. She is also able to say no to her boyfriend when he demands too much of her attention. Less tired and less irritable.
Jan Scholten

A 16 year old girl menstruated regularly after her first period but her menses ceased after six months. She was low-spirited (Dullness) and wanted to be alone (Company aversion to; presence of others agg the symptoms; desire for solitude; alone, when amel); was irritable and offended at trifles (offended easily; takes everything in bad part) She was indisposed to work (indolence, aversion to work) and could not be persuaded to go out of her house even for a walk (going out aversion to).

She slept unusually long in the morning. She had become pale, anaemic with swollen eyelids.; lips and gums were pale. Heart turbulent with palpitation and complaint of great lassitude compelling her to rest frequently on going upstairs. She was apprehensive and had a feeling as if all the rooms were too small, yet would not leave the house. All pastimes given up; was only content when she could be alone (talk indisposed to)and weep. She also complained of pain in the forehead with vertigo.

Appetite poor and stool sluggish. All these symptoms are found in Cyclamen, and was prescribed in 15th potency by Dr The Eidherr, quoted by Dr Clarke. After several days the headache and vertigo were less severe and less frequent; with the appearance of menses after one month the headache and vertigo completely disappeared. The next menses came on time and flow was copious and with that the patient became completely all right.(Menses copious flow amel mental symptoms, during)
Dr Clarke- Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica

Case 4
Dr Burnett was called to treat a young lady who suffered from splenic anaemia after an influenza attack The other doctors who treated her did not succeed so also Dr Burnett. He also gave Med, which he used to give with success in many cases, on the advice of Dr Swan for the ill-effects of influenza. It also did not make any impact here. Finally based on the fact that pigs which fed on rubia get their tissues red he prescribed the patient 60 drops of Rubia-tinctoria Q in water daily. In a few days the extreme pallor yielded, the dyspnoea lessened and the remedy was continued for some more days till the patient became well.

Dr Burnett writes: "In several cases of anaemia I have used the Rubia-tinctoria with great advantage. It was one of Rademacher's splenics." He also cites another case of 52-year-old lady who consulted him for anaemia and debility of a very obscure nature. There was no menses for 6 months. Dr Burnett prescribed 10 drop doses of this remedy in water bds and in six weeks the patient was much better and in another two months she was perfectly normal.

(Best of Burnett, page 338, compiled by H L Chitkara)