2010 May

Brachyglottis repens in children; six cases solved with the aid of colour preference

by Ulrich Welte



Situation of Brachyglottis: labouring under very difficult conditions connected with issues of a strong male figure; they feel that enormous demands are put on them by the father. When they pull themselves up, and somehow stand their ground, they are not easily daunted, but when they are crushed (sometimes even by a minor thing) they are devastated and weep and wail pitifully; it then becomes apparent how sensitive and vulnerable they are underneath. There is always some dominant father figure in the background, looming tall, a strong man with abundant male qualities. It resembles Eupatorium (eu pater = good father), who desires a benevolent and strong father but with an even more crushed quality, as is seen in Eupatorium perfoliatum, which was one of the main remedies in the Spanish influenza, with battered and crushed pain.

Clinical features: septic wounds, slow to heal; frequent putrid infections with high fever and battered or crushed sensation; weak and numb limbs, as if the life-force withdraws from the hands; cramps in fingers; writer’s cramp; spasmodic constipation; cystitis, nephritis, glomerulonephritis with excessive albuminuria; fluttering in stomach.

Color preference: 23C, a yellowish-green, like soft young leaves in spring. This color is confirmed in 6 of 7 of our cases.

Brachyglottis repens, Brachyglottis repanda, Puka-Puka, Bushman’s friend. A member of the Asteraceae Compositae family, indigenous to New Zealand. It is also called Bushman’s toilet paper (the underside of the leaves is soft and white). Formerly grouped under the Senecioneae, it is now reclassified under the Eupatorieae, the Eupatorium-like, which is also supported by its homeopathic profile.

The Maori, a warrior people with strong male attitude, used it extensively for septic wounds and obstinate ulcerated sores, also for foul breath. The British colonizers had found it useful in nephrotic syndrome (Bright’s disease) and neuralgic rheumatism[1].

Brachyglottis: Jan Scholten’s summary

- compositae characteristics plus:
- arthritis
- painful, crampy, heavy, lame, numb
- pectoralis major
- right-sided
- cystitis
- dominant father
- < 3h and <17h

Case 1: My father is a strong tower but he was crushed.

A 9 year old boy is frequently ill with high fevers up to 42° C, which usually begins in the late afternoon, 15-17h, with cervical stiffness. This sick state has been appearing periodically every 4-6 weeks, for more than 4 years. When he was 4 years old, he had a putrid oozing sore on his vertex, which did not heal for more than a year. This was suppressed and then the fever started. He had many antibiotics. Recently several milk-teeth had been extracted due to pus. Then the left side of his face became swollen and his hands became numb. Three months previously, he had mononucleosis and enlarged occipital lymphnodes (merc helped).

He has sad eyes, as if he has seen a lot of trouble, no good prospects. He looks delicate but with a defiant resolute chin pushed forward, as if he would not easily allow you to mess around with him. One or two days before the fever, he always changes mentally. He becomes weepy, demanding, and provocative towards his mother, calling her names, very vulgar and smiling mischievously, even when he calls her the f-word. At the same time, he seeks shelter with her and clings to her. When she says that he is presently in this phase, awkward and whining, and that she expects the fever tonight or tomorrow evening, he immediately butts in: “I’m no chicken, I’m not awkward“.

His mother had a very hard time during pregnancy: her husband, a forester, was crushed underneath a falling tree and got severely injured and they thought he may die. There were also merciless fights in the family, due to inheritance disputes. She did not know how to cope with all these difficulties and felt as if she were hanging in midair. Somehow, stretched to her limits, she got through.

The boy has recurrent dreams of a tall church tower swaying and he is below it. He is afraid that it will fall on him and crush him and he runs for shelter.

He is interested in agriculture and has his own garden, which he tends nicely. His color preference is 23C.

Analysis and follow-up

Frequent infections with high fever up to 42° indicate compositae. The only compositae with 23 C color preference is Brachyglottis (H.V. Müller discovered this[2]).

Confirmations: Aggravation around 17h is Brachyglottis. It has many symptoms with weakness and cramps in the hands and is mentioned in cervical stiffness, which is a concomitant symptom with his recurrent fever. The theme of Brachyglottis is: nearly crushed under a heavy burden, which is beyond one’s capacity. This was the feeling of his mother during pregnancy and it is also the theme of his recurrent dream. So he gets Brachyglottis 1M, 1 dose every 4 weeks.

The expected fever does not appear, nor does the usual cervical stiffness or numb hands. His attitude changes to normal the same day and the swelling of  his face subsides. He talks during  his sleep in the first night (this is new to him, thus a symptom of the remedy; it is mentioned by Knerr). In the following week, his mother says he is more rational and agreeable. He is in much better shape mentally and also physically.

The day after the third repetition, he becomes really wild and he quarrels with his father, which he never did before, because he adores him and follows him explicitly. Then he weeps and gets a headache. The day after this incident he changes and becomes more self-assured. He also stops clinging to his mother. This is 3 months after the beginning of treatment. His mother says he is less defiant and more open. The fever is gone and he has been fine for 2 years. During this period, he draws a picture of himself: he is standing in a meadow full of flowers, smiling, with arms wide open, the rising sun shining behind him.

Case 2: My father is a big sheriff but I’m afraid of the dentist,

A girl of 4 years is brought by her parents because she is afraid of doctors and dentists. When our clinic helper tries to photograph her, she weeps miserably and clings tightly to her father.

During the interview, the mother leads the conversation and the father sits quietly and watches carefully. I notice his prominent chin and enormous lower jaw, like Michael Schumacher’s. He is a big strong policeman with authority, quiet, and sure. The girl also watches the situation carefully. When she notices that I seem to be different from the hospital doctors, she calms down, assuming a careful and a bit cheeky attitude, chin pushed forward and upward. The mother says that she never lets any doctor approach her for examination, if approached she defends herself violently with hands and feet. This is a problem to the parents because the dentist is at a loss and gave up with her. The only physical problem was obstinate constipation for some months, when she was potty trained. This may have been the first time she refused physical interference. Actually, she resists any approach if others demand something from her. When she has a fever, she wants to sit on her mothers or father‘s lap for hours and is very demanding and sniveling. The mother is difficult also. She does not like to answer questions and gives hardly any more information than she deems necessary.

After this short anamnesis, I asked her for colors. She chose 24C without any hesitation and nothing else.

Analysis and follow-up

Her main problem is the aversion to any physical or mental interference, especially from doctors. This indicates a compositae or lanthanide. Her face is round with little red apple cheeks, carbon- and hobbit-like, not the ascetic or fine-featured, mentalized long face of a lanthanide. So a compositae is the first choice. The only compositae with 23 C is Brachyglottis. Confirmations: her eupatorium-like attitude towards her father. When in danger, she automatically clings more to this big man, as a safe haven in distress, than to her mother.

She gets Brachyglottis 1M, single dose. After a few days, her father has to leave home for a short journey. She is extremely sorry, weeps and wails, which is quite unusual. She clings to him and would not let him go. Then she refuses contact for some days and sulks on her own. The mother wants some more medicine for her. She gets Brachyglottis D6, 5 drops daily, for 1 week. After a week, she suddenly changes and goes out to a sports club for children on her own, which she had flatly refused before. She is surprisingly outgoing and easy as never before. In kindergarten, they notice the drastic change immediately. The caretaker says she is astounded. There is a fire-drill and she insists on wanting to do it on her own;  “I can do that now myself.“ When the firebrigade comes, she does everything very successfully and without any help. Formerly, this would have been a typical situation where she would have clung to the caretaker, helplessly seeking shelter on her lap. Now, the mother dares to approach the dentist with her again, also with success. She has not needed the remedy for 5 months and is doing fine. I test the color preference again, 24C.

Case 3: I will never reach the towering level of my father or my successful brothers - the demand is too high.

He is a boy of 8 years and is brought by his father for learning difficulties and frequent infections of ears, throat, and nose. He has a full rosy face, good-looking but a little blunt, a bit like Sam Gamgee; he tries to look cheerful and unconcerned. A conversation is difficult because he dashes away to other things quickly, which is interpreted as attention deficit disorder. The anamnesis is also somehow hampered by his strong father, who is a dominating figure but who tries hard to be understanding and polite to his son. The problem is that he is so knowledgable that his intellectual approach interferes with a simple emotional contact; a true under­standing of his child on a direct level seems very difficult for him. He seems to notice this partly but cannot do much about it, try as he may. The boy feels this too and respects him much but wonder how to get to his father’s heart apart from being successful at school?

The boy is living in a highly respectable and knowledgable family. Both his parents have a high status in society and his two elder brothers are very successful at school. Only he, is the inattentive one and shuts down when he should study and has to mug up at school. He has few contacts and few friends, which bothers and worries him. It seems to half listens, half ducks, and seeks cover. He avoids direct questions with a cheeky attitude and funny answers, which are not to the point. He says that school is very exhausting and strenuous for him. He has a recurrent dream: a big monster with a lot of smoky hair and with an awful amount of hands frightens him and tickles him constantly.

He thinks of becoming a special agent in the secret service. He plays the piano easily, without having lessons. He has skin problems after eating tomatoes.

His color preference is 24C, confirmed 4 times in the course of 2 years.

Analysis and follow-up

A compositae does not come to mind initially and he gets Zinc-p 200 because of the emotionally hampered situation with his father[3], learning difficulties, and few friends and contacts (phos); 23-24C is also the color of zincum salts. It helps him initially but does not hold and does not go really deep. In this way, two years pass with several other remedies and little substantial change, until he gets a very high fever one night. Only then comes the idea of a compositae and things fall into place. The task is too much for him, and he thinks he will never reach the towering level of the father or the successful brothers = brachyglottis. Color preference confirms it. One could have easily found the remedy in the very beginning, but who thinks of Brachyglottis for learning difficulties? Who prescribes this “small“ remedy at all?

After Brachyglottis 1M , he recovers from the infection very quickly and then takes the remedy once per month. His performance at school improves and after half a year he gets the best marks he has ever had. He also finds friends now, has many contacts, and develops well. In this period, he changes to another school with a lower stress level, which also helps much.

Comment: The father is not convinced that the remedy induced the change and he may be right, because I also had certain doubts due to lack of information in the first 2 weeks after the remedy, when impressions and changes are still fresh. Usually, one gets the best hints about the value of a remedy by a good observation in this critical period but the parents did not inform me and I had to rely on information after the lapse of nearly a whole year. Incidentally, I saw the father last week and suggested to repeat the remedy just to see if it had any effect: it did. The father said that in the following days "his son answered substantially, is more concentrated and more to the point."

Case 4: A total daddy’s child with constipation.

A 3 year old girl suffers from severe constipation for two years. Only with laxatives there is a stool of hard balls every 3-4 days. Twelve hours before stool, she gets weepy, sniveling, and whining until the balls come out. She is seldom sick but when she is, she has high fever, above 39° C.

She enters the room slowly and only at her own decision, hesitates to sit down, then pulls herself up and starts the conversation herself. The mother says she is obstinate and has to do things on her own. If obstructed she becomes petulant. If she cannot solve a problem, she would rather try desperately for two hours to learn it herself than allow others to help her. But when there is some slight pain from a scratch, she becomes very very plaintive and whines pityfully. She is often clumsy and drops things. She has a full round face with serious dark eyes, looking curious but veiled, full cheeks, and a resolute chin, mouth defiantly closed.

She chooses 23-24C as her color with certainty, no other.

Analysis and follow up

Her behaviour is typical for a compositae, as we can now see from the other cases. The high fever confirms it. Her color suggests Brachyglottis, because the frequency and wavelength of this color touches her basic emotional vibration, and so she likes it. Yes, it is really that easy if you just use this method with confidence; you just need some more confirmations. Brachyglottis is a crampy remedy, and her constipation is a kind of cramp. In the Complete Repertory under stool, knotty you find brachyglottis (1), also under constipation (1). Of course, if you start looking for constipation remedies with hard lumps first, you will never get to this remedy and give Alumina or Mag-m or Sil, but let us see what happens with this “small” remedy.

She gets Brachyglottis C1000, single dose. The very same evening, she has two normal stools. Since that day, she has normal stools daily, without any pain or whining; no more laxatives. She goes to the  toilet by herself and gives up diapers on her own accord. Two months later, her mother says she has changed considerably: “Formerly she was a total daddy’s child, now she gets cheeky with  him and she also comes to me freely.“ The dominant role of the father was never adressed before. After a year, she gets pneumonia in both lungs, with high fever 40.9° C, after sinusitis. The pediatrician gives antibiotics. The mother phones, the child is very very sick, could not we do something? We send Brachyglottis C1000. Before the mailman can deliver it, the fever rises even higher and she becomes apathetic (also a compositae state in high fever – solanacaeae become delirious with hallucinations). The pediatrician changes the antibiotics but then the remedy arrives in time and helps in a few hours. It takes a week until she fully recovers. She relapses somehow into her old whining state but less so than before. So she gets Brachyglottis C30, every 2 weeks for a while and is fine since then, physically and  mentally. One year has passed.

Case 5: The value of color preference in acute cases. Scarlet fever with high temperature.

A 6 year old boy, who had frequent otitis during winter the years before, now comes with acute scarlet fever; typical red confluent rash on his chest and enlarged, highly inflamed putrid tonsils < right side, with pain in right ear, temperature 39.6°C. He is very quiet, does not talk. He is normally quiet and careful, but now much more so. A very thoughtful boy with deep dark eyes. His color preference is 23C.

During pregnancy, his mother had premature labor and was in hospital for 7 weeks; she had to lie down all the time and was constantly anxious about the child being alright.

Analysis and follow up

Frequent ear infections in winter with high fever indicates compositae; 23C is Brachyglottis. Formely, there has been no proper anamnesis; the mother always brought him quickly in for minor things. So, he just gets Brachyglottis 1M in water, hourly doses. Next day, the fever is gone, the eruption has spread all over but with desquamation and less red, his  throat is better, he talks again, and feels much better. Next day, he is like a different person, open and full of vim. Skin peels off in patches. Tonsils normal, ear painless. A very quick recovery. 

Case 6: I hate it if mom shouts at me and I can’t help weeping.

A 12 year old boy comes because his skin heals very slowly, even after small injuries. He had his left ear pierced some weeks ago to wear ornamental arrowheads but the piercing suppurates and he had to remove the arrows. Even then, the wound does not heal and keeps on festering.

He speaks indistinctly as if something partly covers his mouth but he gives direct and short answers. He plays it cool and seems quite strong but helpless beside his dominating mother; she is stronger. When he gets a chance, he butts in and corrects her with a wry smile: “you have already said that a minute before – you don’t need to repeat it“. What is worst for you? “If mom shouts at me.“ When I ask what happens then, he becomes silent and has to fight hard to hold back his tears. The mother says that  he is completely devastated when ‘somebody‘ shouts at him; he bursts into bitter tears and wails loudly. His father is unemployed and does the housework, while the mother works outside and earns the money. It has always been this way and the boy seldom sees her. He is the youngest of 3 boys and he wants to learn the same profession as his eldest brother, who is a metal worker. He chooses 23C and 7C.

Analysis and follow up

In his case, I had recognised Brachyglottis from the other cases and from his behaviour and his story of weeping bitterly when crushed (shouted at). His color preference confirms it. Festering ulcers and suppurating wounds are what the Maoris used brachyglottis for. In his case, the dominating figure is the mother, she plays the male role. That is also my impression of her, a male type, determined and uncompromising, and the boy tries hard to live up to her demands.

He gets Brachyglottis 1M, single dose and LM6 daily, after a week. After a month, he is more balanced and has wept only once since taking the remedy. He is more confident. The suppuration of the piercing has stopped after a week and he wears his ornament with pride.




See the compositae features! Defensive, fear being injured, defiant. Also the specific looks of Brachyglottis: chin defiantly pushed forward and upward but with fearful eyes and distressed look; clings to his weapon with cramped hand but stands his ground bravely;sweats with fear of being crushed by a stronger person.




[1] Maori healing and herbal, Murdoch Riley, Viking Sevenseas NZ, 1994, p.396

[2] Hugbald Volker Müller (1921-2000). The remedies of this color rubric are: acet-ac, berb, bism, bism-sal, brach, cahin, cit-v, coca, coff, m-aust, mag-acet, mag-br, mag-p, mand, mez, mosch, nit-ac, nitro-o, prim-ob, ruta, seneg, stry-ar, stry-i, stry-n, stry-s, zinc, zinc-ar, zinc-br

(see on the free website:  http://www.homeo.de/de/colorremedy.htm )

[3] emotional suppression due to a dominant father with the need for high achievement at school was described as a feature of Zincum by Jan Scholten in „Homeopathy and Minerals“ in 1993 and confirmed by Farokh Master in Links 1999. Jan also mentions that this situation is not too specific and is covered by other remedies also, p. 273.

Keywords: father figure, spastic constipation, infections with high fever, color preference
Remedies: Brachyglottis repanda {as Brachyglottis repens}


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