A 26 year old woman suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome for the last five years. When it is really bad she lies on her bed for four days of the week. Everything is too much for her; she does not have any energy at all. She also suffers from asthmatic bronchitis and has shortness of breath on going up the stairs, with pain in her chest in the sternum region; breathing difficulties are worse in foggy weather, changing to wet weather, warm humid weather, the first day of the menses, and in the morning between 8 and 10 am. It is better when she bends her shoulders backwards.
She has allergic reactions to some cosmetics, cleaning chemicals, paint fumes, spices, elm, beech, and beans. The allergies are worse in February and March, with irritation and redness of the eyes. She has a feeling of sand in her eyes, red upper eyelids, pain in the eyes, and an outward pressing pain at the root of the nose. During these episodes, she can become very restless, has the tendency to destroy things, and has overstretched her fingers. It started five years ago, when she began to work in a clothing shop.
The first day of the menses, she also has dizziness, a foggy vision, and she can not see depth. She is awkward and falls easily, especially on going up the stairs. She also drops things and walks into furniture. She has the feeling that she is floating, that her head is in a sack. The optometrist cannot find anything and spectacles do not influence it. The neurologist did a lumbar puncture and eye test but could not find any objective defect.
The allergy to paint solvents also affects her skin, which becomes red and itchy, especially the back of her hands, the front of her knees, the outside of her elbows, and in front of her ears. The skin on the back of her hands can become very thick, as if there is a layer on it.
She has recurrent ‘influenza’ lasting a week, eight or nine times a year. Her throat is painful, red, and itching; she feels ill, weak, fatigued, and has a low grade fever of 38°C.
Father has hay fever, her sister has also an allergy for paint fumes, and her mother has multiple sclerosis. The mother’s multiple sclerosis started when she was about two years old; when she reached thirteen her mother needed a wheelchair.
As a child she had somnambulism, which she liked. At age fifteen, she suffered from hyperventilation with feelings of shortness of breath and fatigue, but no fear or panic. The first attack happened in her classroom during a lesson on mathematics. She just fell down from her chair. It felt very unreal: “I wasn’t there anymore, it just fell on me.” Everyone said that they had expected something like that to happen because of the problems in her family, with the mother having multiple sclerosis. At the time, she also had a boyfriend whose mother had multiple sclerosis. It was not very pleasant at home. She was very obstinate and grumpy, which led her to seek psychotherapy. She left home to live with an aunt for half a year and later with an older sister. Her mother was quite demanding because of her disease and she felt that her mother was asking something of her that she could not offer. She felt powerless, thinking: “I’m not a physiotherapist, doctor or magician.” She thinks that her problems have nothing to do with her mother’s multiple sclerosis. That suggestion makes her angry: “Everybody is responsible for him/herself.”
In general, she can be quite angry and she expresses her discontent easily. Even little things can provoke a rage; “She could kick a cat to death that runs in front of her feet.” Having to do things, especially under time pressure, makes her very angry, with a red face, feeling the rage ascending from her hands, chest, and throat to her head. She is also angry with people who do not keep their appointments. She feels like a real scorpion, astrologically speaking. She likes to help people, to work together. She likes her profession of teaching English and likes working with children.
Generals: Weather: icy-cold hands and feet, worse from wet weather and change to wet weather
Time: Worse 8 to 10 am, better autumn
Desires: Meat, cheese, vegetables, fruit, melon, mango
Aversion: Peas (3) and beans (3), sour, sweet
Menses: Irregular, every three to six weeks; no problems with it
Sleep: Good, on abdomen
Dreams: Active and funny ones; jumping from a mountain with a parachute or acting in a movie. As a child she had dreams of going to the woods with her family and then a witch came to eat them.
This patient came to see me in 1993 and I could not see a clear remedy. Because of the strong aversion to peas and beans, I prescribed the bean, Phaseolus 1M. At that time, I did not have any further confirmation for this prescription. The rationality of the prescription is found in the reverse of the law of similarity: “In an unknown picture, prescribe an unknown remedy.” Later, I found that many of the patient's symptoms were symptoms of the Leguminosae family (Fabaceae), as you can read below.
After six weeks: when she came back, she told me that in general things were worse. She had been feverish for a few weeks, had a dry cough, muscle pain in her thigh, and some eczema on the side of her nose. The dizziness, however, was almost gone and she did not overstretched her fingers anymore. She felt quieter, not so hurried, and had more energy. Although her energy level had been up and down before, she felt that it was quite remarkable now when her energy was low for a few days. I repeated Phaseolus vulgaris 1MK and gradually she became better and better.
The remedy was repeated seven times during the first year. After half a year, her allergies were mostly gone and she had some muscle pain temporarily. Later that year, she had eczema, first under her eyes, later at the corners of her mouth and on her shoulders. The eczema was worse from sun, between 8-10 am, and worse from heat. Again, she had the same kind of modalities as before. Over the next five years, the remedy was repeated another seven times when small problems, such as fatigue came back. After that she had no more fatigue than a ‘normal’ person and she is still doing very well.
Article first published in Homeopathic Links volume 12 (5) 1999.
Keywords: chronic fatigue, allergies, anger, dizziness, powerlessness
Remedies: Phaseolus vulgaris