May 2014

A cloud of poverty: a case of Melilotus

by Vladimir Petroci

This 45 year old owner of a funeral parlour came because of allergy to pollen. From April to September, he has itchy eyes with lachrymation, an itchy nose with copious watery discharge, and contraction of his throat. He loses his voice. During the spring and summer, he cannot go without handkerchiefs. He is allergic to grass and milk products.

He lived in his funeral home when it started, five years ago, because he had no flat. There was a lot of dust. He got pneumonia and he could not rest during that time. With the pneumonia, he had constriction of the throat, choking, and bleeding from the nose. Then, allergic rhinitis and asthma came on. At present, when he comes into contact with dust, he starts coughing and becomes nauseous. He is breathless during exertion at his job. He is dependent on high doses of antihistamines, which help him a lot. If he stops taking it, it takes another three days of antihistamine treatment for his condition to stabilize again.

His mother was an alcoholic. She finally died of a brain haemorrhage after she fell while drunk. Because of her, he has an aversion to alcohol. He was walloped by his mother when she realized he let other boys beat him. Children used to beat him because he was very skinny and weak. When he was eleven years old, he only weighed fifteen kg, when he was eighteen, he weighed sixty kilos. At that age, he was attacked once again and defended himself so fiercely that he injured the other boy. He got a suspended sentence and had to pay money to the boy he had injured.

From childhood, he was an outcast and a scoundrel. Since he was fifteen, he rode fast on a motorcycle without having a license, while the police chased him around the city, but they could not catch him. He hid the motorbike in the apartment. After two years, his mother turned him in and the policemen beat him. 

While attending high school for vocational training, he was getting 90 crowns of pocket money per month (about 13 Euros at that time). His father always came and took his money.  His father was a no-good, who did not provide food for his family, so they were always hungry. They were terribly poor and never had enough money to buy meat or sausages, or even shoes; if he and his brothers did not steal shoes at the doorsteps of other flats, they would have had to walk barefoot.

Once, his father broke his nose because he thought that he had taken 2 crowns (value of about 30 eurocents at that time) from his wallet, but in fact it was his brother who had done it. The brother died of fat embolism after his legs were broken by the mafia to deter him from testifying in court. His second brother is sleeping with his own daughter. The third brother fell from the roof and his spine is wired; they have no contact now.                                                                                                   

He worked as a labourer in a factory, where he contracted a severe fungal infection on his feet and toenails. The mycosis sometimes also appears on his body in the form of ring.

When he was eighteen, he was imprisoned for two years because he took a plumbing kit from the factory. They put him in jail immediately, since he already had a suspended sentence for bodily assault. Originally, he had to be in prison for three years but, for the first time in his life, his father did something for him. His father’s brother was in a high position in military prosecution, so he intervened for him. When the police arrested him, they beat him terribly. They left him in a provisional detention cell so he could die there, in case of internal injury, because it would be quite inconvenient for them if he would die in prison. He lost his hair from stress. The guards wanted to blame him for the death of a gypsy who had committed suicide because he was told he would be sentenced for four years. “I reported to the authorities that he wanted to kill himself by eating soap, but they ignored it.” He left prison weighing ninety kilos; he had trained a lot while inside and increased his weight by thirty kilos. He sent home all the money he received for work in prison.

During military service, his Achilles tendon was torn but the commander forced him to march till evening in the barracks courtyard. At the hospital, they sutured it but immediately after returning to the barracks, the officer came and ordered him to paint sidewalks. He threw a crutch at the officer and staggered to the toilet. There, he ripped off the handle of the door and broke a window by hand to escape.  The glass cut his arm, stabbed him in the abdomen, and his bowels gushed out. On the way to the hospital, the ambulance crashed at a road intersection. The stretcher to which he was bound was projected out of the ambulance and a broken jaw was added to his injuries. He was taken to hospital by a civilian ambulance. He was unable to feed himself but the nurse claimed that he rejected the food voluntarily. Consequently, they sent him to a psychiatry department. There, he was given drugs which caused enuresis, for which he was seen as a malingerer. He talked sincerely to a senior consultant and told him that he was not feigning enuresis, but that he had an accident in the army and he wanted to return home.

When finally home from military service, he started working with a printer. When people started to be fired, they dismissed him first, because he was the youngest. When he was fired, he could not find a job. The unemployment office finally offered him a job as a grave digger. He succeeded in this work and quickly progressed. Eventually, he became the lover of the funeral home’s owner. As she was not interested in his ideas on how to improve the functioning of the company, he left and started his own funeral parlour. Now, he is in competition with the original funeral home. He offers nicer and less expensive funerals. He sees his work as accompanying dead people to another world.

Since he began to be successful, it has become very tough. Once, when he was driving, another car started to chase him and men in it shot at him. Luckily, he was not hurt and his car only had broken windows and holes in the chassis. He did not let himself be intimidated and continued to expand his business. He got another warning: masked men came and beat him at his own company premises. Now, he is very cautious with whom he befriends and with whom he will cooperate.

He likes to eat everything. He likes fat meals, e.g. pork knee with cabbage, but after a meal, he feels that his digestion is very slow and his abdomen is distended. He feels heaviness, as though he has a stone in his stomach. He puts on weight easily. In his youth, he did not have enough food, so now, he wants to indulge. He is happy being fat since he gains more respect that way. Previously, he always felt humiliated.

He is allergic to milk, getting diarrhoea after drinking processed milk but he can drink raw milk without any problem. He likes rice, goulash, and sausages. Once, when he was a child, he did not want to eat tomato soup as it reminded him of blood. His mother got terribly angry, shouted, and threw a knife at his father, who she missed, hitting instead the patient in the forehead, where he still has a scar.

His biggest fear is not from accidents but from poverty. He drives and behaves very cautiously. He is cautious and careful due to the hardships he experienced in the past; he never uses violence anymore. When he was young, the anger accumulated in him and then, he exploded. He used to often be tortured and beaten. “Now, I would let myself be beaten just to not have to go to jail.”

He wishes he could study more; he would like to be a lawyer. He has the book of criminal codes in his house and likes to read it. He feels that prison made a man of him.

He had suicidal tendencies when his first marriage fell apart. At that time, he also had troubles in the funeral business.

Later, he married a woman, fourteen years younger than him, who is very good to him. He is happy with her. He used to be very quick-tempered, but now, thanks to her, he is calm.

He has coxarthrosis of the 1st degree, with boring pain in his hip joints. The pain is worse during exercise. He catches colds very easily – it is enough to just take the trash out to become sick from the air. All his scars and old wounds respond intensely to weather changes. His perspiration is quite intense, mainly on his head, neck, and shoulders. Sometimes, a flush of heat passes though his body.

I had the impression that he could be dangerous if provoked and that I should be careful with him. He looked confident, jovial, and manly. He was communicative as well; very interesting, keeping the listener's attention. He aroused sympathy. He is of medium height, stout, with a mildly prominent belly. He has short black hair and a three-day stubble.

For me, it was very clear case of Melilotus. This remedy meets the specific context as well as the characteristic symptoms. I always try to achieve this dual aim and I have much success with it in my practice. If either the context or the symptoms do not fit, the remedy is usually not correct. By context, I mean themes and position of the group of remedies in the bigger frame (of mineral, plant or animal kingdom).

With the Leguminosae family, I repeatedly encountered the theme of the failing entrepreneur, who is poor despite his best efforts. This patient is already successful but a cloud of poverty still hovers over him. Leguminosae are confirmed by the slow digestion, heaviness and bloating after meals.

One of the remedies which came to mind during the consultation was Nitricum acidum. An impoverished Nitrogenium case is either Nitricum acidum or one of the Leguminosae family. The difference is in their response to poverty. Nitricum acidum is angry and cursing at those who took his property, while the Leguminosae are milder and still trying to overcome their adversities. Self-esteem, joviality, good communication, and social skills are also typical of nitrogen compounds. The Leguminosae family has the most prominent nitrogen themes.

The specific remedy came up when I started to repertorise:
Nose, epistaxis, typhoid fever, during (or Nose, epistaxis, fever, during, agg.)
Generals, weather, change of weather, agg.
Melilotus is in both rubrics. It is famous for bleeding tendencies caused by transformation of coumarin glycoside to dicoumarol by a number of species of fungi. Coumarin has a sweet odour, readily recognised as the scent of fresh mown hay. This glycoside probably has the function to discourage predation. It is easy to recognize these themes in his story. As I searched through the rubrics of Melilotus, I found a very interesting confirmation of his story:
Mind, rage
Mind, anger violent
Mind, delusions, arrested, is about to be
Mind, fear, arrested, of being
Mind, delusions, persecuted, he is persecuted
Mind, danger, of impending
Mind, fear, poverty, of
Mind, suspicious

The course of treatment
After reading these, I had no doubt about the prescription anymore and gave him Melilotus 30C - one granule, three times hourly. It was the April 17th, 2012.

He immediately stopped all allopathic medication. On the 4th and 5th day, during the weekend, he had very severe symptoms of hay fever. Came Monday, and his hay fever was already becoming milder and gradually subsided entirely.

About two weeks later, he had a relapse and repeating Melilotus 30C did not improve his state efficiently. I therefore went to the highest potency I had in my stock: Melilotus 1M.
Since that time, he has had hay fever only once, in July, when he was near hay. He did not use any allopathic medicines, without which previously he could not get by. Without them he had itchy and watering eyes and a runny nose. His allergist could not believe that he was free of symptoms, so he offered her to mow her lawn.

On September 17th 2012, he reported that this was the best summer he had had for the last 5 years. During the whole summer, he only had hay fever symptoms three times, at which times he took Melilotus 1M; within a few days, the symptoms subsided. He had no dyspnea during the whole season.

In May 2013, he needed another dose of Melilotus 1M as he felt some itching in his eyes. Till my last contact with, March 25th 2014, he has had no symptoms of hay fever or breathing difficulties.

Note: The situation of this patient was uncommon for Slovakia even during the era of socialism. His story is very outstanding. Don't be afraid to visit Slovakia!

Flickr: faceplant; Paolo Martini; CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Wikimedia Commons: Père Lachaise chemin Errazu; Peter Poradish; CC BY-SA 3.0
Wikimedia Commons: Echter Steinklee Melilotus officinalis, Zingst; Kristian Peters; CC BY-SA- 3.0

Categories: Cases
Keywords: pollen allergy, physical abuse, emotional abuse, imprisonment, mafia, fear of poverty, suicidal tendency
Remedies: Melilotus


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