A 52 year old man consults me with complaints of palpitations. His heart beats irregularly and sometimes very fast, up to 180 beats per minute. The complaints are worse in the evening from 7 – 8, when he rests, and at night around 3 - 4 am, when he wakes up with palpitations. It is also worse from lying on his left side. These complaints started about 15 years ago and are gradually becoming more problematic. His cardiologist prescribes him Tambacor, Sotacor, Ritmoferine, and Digoxine. The conduction is going too fast, he says. He proposes an operation to cut the heart into strips and then sew them together again!!
His blood sugar level is slightly elevated. He has had an appendectomy 23 years ago and an accident 15 years ago; he fractured his right calcaneus after a fall from 6 meters. Since this accident, he has stiff toes and pains in his feet, worse from standing and walking, better from raising his foot. When asked about his inner agitation, he tells me about his business. He started as a mechanical engineer: he invented a special machine, which he patented. With that he started a business, which gradually grew and he now has 50 employees. He is very successful in business, but he feels more like a technician than a manager. One of his managers is cheating him, charging his company with false bills. He cannot understand that and it causes him a lot of grief.
A closed wife
When I ask more deeply about how this affects him, he talks about his other problem, which affects him even more. His wife is not open with him; she does not tell him about her past and about what has really happened. She has been married before and has two children from that marriage. She told him that she divorced her husband because he was an alcoholic and he beat her. She is from Finland, and when they visit her country and her family, they tell him all kinds of other stories about her, for instance, she had had many men and that she does not even know who the fathers of her first two children are, or that she has been forced sexually. There are also stories of incest. When he asks her about these stories, however, she says that it is not his concern; she stops talking about it, starts weeping, and goes to bed. It is not that he could not handle it if such had been the case, what he cannot handle is the fact that she does not want to talk about it. He says: “If she would talk about it, it would be all over and done with. As husband and wife, one should open one’s heart for each other, otherwise one is not complementing the other.” He has the feeling that the relationship misses trust due to the misleading stories of his wife. He feels cheated, as though he is being made a fool of. Deep in his heart, this brings him pain and grief. In other aspects, their marriage is good; his wife cares well for their four children and sexually they are compatible.
In his youth he was hassled by his peers with words like “dirty German” because his mother was German, although she came from the Baltics and had suffered in the Russian concentration camps. From these experiences, he had developed an attitude of proving himself: “I’ll show them what I am able to do.” This attitude led him to starting his own business. His expression is serious and worried. He has a bit of a sloppy appearance and he keeps his coat on during the consultation.
Weather: he does not like hot weather.
Time: < 7-8 pm, < 3-4 am.
Desires: sweet, chocolate, vegetables, raw food.
Aversion and aggravation from shrimps (2), oysters (2), lobsters (2), which make him vomit.
Sleep and dreams: he dreams of technical problems, and he finds solutions for them in his sleep. He wakes around 3 am with worries about his wife.
The main physical complaint is the palpitations. The main psychological complaint is that his wife is closed: these two go together. The heart is the symbol of love. He expresses himself by saying: “Deep in my heart this brings me pain and grief.” In the mineral kingdom, this leads to the sulphuricums, which fit his appearance and the fact that he is an inventor. There is, however, no sulphuricum with this specific love problem. I first thought about Natrium sulphuricum because of his wife being so closed, but with Natrium sulphuricum one would expect him to give up and withdraw. Repertorisation did not lead to a clear remedy, and I could not find the type of problem he had with his wife anywhere in the homeopathic literature. So, I applied the rule: “In an unknown case, prescribe and unknown remedy.” I knew that the Rosaceae, the family of roses, have a lot to do with love problems; the rose is a big symbol for love in our Western culture. Many Rosaceae have heart problems, as seen in the homeopathic remedies Crataegus, Laurocerasus, Prunus spinosa, and others. But which one should I give? Sometimes, differentiation is possible with food desires and aversions from some of the fruits of the rose family: peach, prune, apple, pear, strawberry or blackberry, but he did not have any special relationship to any of these. I first chose Spirea ulmaria, which did not do a thing, then Sorbus domestica MK, one dose.
One month after Sorbus domestica, he feels better: his palpitations are less frequent and less violent. He feels less stressed and is better able to tolerate the pressure of his work without feeling hurried.
Three months later, after three repetitions of the remedy, he feels much better. The palpitations have diminished for more than 50%, and his relationship with his wife is better. His wife is still as closed as before, but he is able to let it be instead of worrying about it. Sometimes, his worries return in his dreams. He had palpitations after dreaming that his wife betrayed him with another man. In general, he is less preoccupied with her past and so he is less agitated. He sleeps much better and does not wake at 3 am as often. He has no need for a heart operation.
This remedy is unknown in our Materia Medica, as is the case with many plants from the rose family, the Rosaceae. The English name is rowan tree, or mountain ash. It is a tree or shrub that produces a lot of orange berries in autumn. Sorbus has the same love problems as the other Rosaceae, as well as problems with heart and blood vessels. The special symptom is that he cannot bear his wife being closed, with an underlying fear of betrayal.
I once presented this case at a seminar, which was attended by a homeopath whose husband was from Finland. She said that people from Finland have the tendency to say nothing about their previous love affairs. In general, they are quite closed, but concerning love affairs this is even more pronounced. Sorbus domesticus is a very common tree in Finland: they make syrup from the berries, taking care to separate the poisonous seeds from the berries. This syrup is often eaten with meat. In Finland, Sorbus also has a connection with love. Near the coast is an island full of rowan trees, called Rowan Tree Island. Couples come to this island for their love affairs. The theme of taciturnity and love affairs is culturally connected with this tree in Finland.
From only one case it is difficult to say what the real keynotes of Sorbus are but in a good case like this, many modalities and symptoms are keynotes for the remedy: a remedy can only cure what it can produce in a proving. My ideas about the symptoms are as follows: palpitations, fast pulse, <lying left side. Weather: < hot weather. Time: <3 am (2), < 7 pm.
This case has first been published in “Wad Stories”
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Sorbus domestica; archenzo
Keywords: closed in love affairs, palpitations, fear of betrayal
Remedies: Sorbus domestica