2006 January

Falling Poppies

by Enna Stallinga
A female lecturer first came to see me at the end of December 2000. Born in 1956, she is married and has two children. She was anxious, cried a lot and had for several months had great difficulties in falling asleep. Her problems dated from a fall in January 2000, when she had fallen backwards, landing on the back of her head on a concrete floor. For months after this she suffered from various complaints: tiredness, dizziness and inability either to read or watch television, all to such a serious degree that she could hardly cope with life. At the beginning of June 2000, just when things were beginning to go a bit better with her, she fell again and once more sustained a bad blow to the back of her head. From this moment her condition deteriorated. Her sleep problems became worse and were now accompanied by a sense of panic. Attempts to fall asleep would result in a mental state of crystal clarity and compete alertness. She could not surrender herself to sleep. The instant she seemed to be dozing off she would feel an enormous shock about her heart. The alertness was connected with the idea that something could happen, that she would then be left alone and that she would be unable to cope with this. There was a sense of helplessness, powerlessness and utter desertion/desolation (??). The worse she felt she was getting physically, the deeper her despair.
She often dreamed about houses. There was a dream about a beautiful house which was burnt on the outside, a house in a wrong position or one with rooms too narrow for her to be able to get in. One of these dreams was about a narrow house made of mother-of-pearl. In another dream, a man came to the door and raped her in the house. There was also a dream in which she fell into a hole and noticed that she was no longer in her own body; she experienced a fear of being at so tall and rejoined her body. She had other dreams involving shock followed by a sudden sense of leaving her body.
She felt so miserable that she went from one person to another in search of care and attention. In fact, she felt like an angry child that did not really want to get better: ‘I just want to be looked after’. She felt herself alienated from reality.In addition to these problems she suffered from terrible stomach-ache: ‘As if someone had given me a real kick in the stomach’. This was accompanied by a constant sense of tension in the whole stomach area. There was tension too in the muscles of the back, in particular between the shoulder-blades, as if the shoulder-blades were being pushed apart. Her appetite was poor; she weighed only fifty kilos. She also complained of stabbing pains in the liver.She felt better in the evenings than in the mornings. However, she was regularly troubled in the evenings with cramping pain beneath the sternum and cold feet. She often awoke in the mornings with palpitations and feeling generally low.

Next to the feelings of helplessness and powerlessness that she had been faced with in recent times, the opposite polarity also played a role in her life. She knew precisely what she wanted and would tolerate no contradiction: ‘What do they think they are talking about; that’s not what it’s about at all!’ She had difficulty accepting authority but was herself capable of enormous feelings of superiority. She was easily irritated and impatient. For example, if her husband tried to tell her something she would have an overwhelming desire to cut him short because she already knew what he was going to say. Every little thing annoyed her. She compared herself to a fire-breathing dragon: ‘Get lost, all of you; I have to manage everything by myself anyway.’She had been low-spirited all her life. She hardly knew what it was like to feel happy. Impatient, talkative, eloquent, hearty, empathetic and refined; she was prone to markedly alternating moods. She was afraid of being alone and of thunderstorms (especially as a child) and had a deep fear of death. Religion was important to her.

Previous history
She was brought up in a reformed Protestant, middle-class family as the second oldest of five sisters. Her father did not concern himself with the family. As a child she had the role of supporting her mother whilst she herself had to remain calm and brave. She developed a strong character.
At the age of seven or eight she would deliberately do her sums wrong so as to draw attention to herself; then she would be called up in front of the class, which she loved. For a while she could not walk, although no physical explanation could be found for this. Her parents had to take her to the optician because she could no longer see. All these devices were designed to attract attention. It hurt her terribly not to be seen: everyone thought that she could manage everything so well.She told me that she had experienced numerous situations in which she had been terribly shocked. When she was a child her mother had wanted to hang herself. Not long after she met her present husband he was diagnosed as suffering from cancer. She made a conscious choice to stay with him and they decided to marry. The entire marriage had revolved around the central role played by his four to five yearly relapses. The moments that stood out in her memory were those in which he had arrived home with the news that he was once again sick. These moments always took her by surprise.

Temperature: chilly, cold hands, cold feet
Desires: fruit (3), cheese, sweet (2), chocolate, eggs, fresh things, fish, spinach
Aversion: sour (2), salt, fat, bacon, meat (1)
Worse: fat, coffee (stomach), alcohol (poor sleep), sour (stomach)
Perspiration: none
Menstruation: regular, 31/2 weeks, heavy loss (clots), dysmenorrhoea +
Premenstrual symptoms: irritable, headache and vaginal discharge with burning pain. Lot of headaches during (2) pregnancies.
Sleep: without use of Normison, falls asleep 04.00hrs to 04.30hrs; with use of Normison, wakes at 04.00hrs.

Headache: either band sensation or else the whole head is painful (changes from day to day), accompanied by numbness of scalp, especially over the vertex. A prickling sensation along the hairline. In the past, there was pain above left eye, pre-menstrually, and nausea lasting 2-3 days.
Skin: vaginal warts, painful to the touch; warts on soles of feet; clefts in thumb; bruises easily; bleeding gums; cold sores upper lip (1)
Mucous membranes: tongue carries indentations of teethStomach: stabbing pain >warm water-bottle; acidic burning Bowels: periodic flatulenceJoints: pain right shoulder (2), right hip and wandering complaints of ankles and knees
Extremities: restless legs evenings (2), varicose veins right lower leg (2)

The first prescription was Chelidonium 30K on the basis of:
M desire to be carried
M fear something will happenM weeping from despair
M anger at trifles
M loquacity
M anxiety, beside oneself
M practical, strong-minded (Frans Vermeulen, Synoptic Materia Medica 1)
M dreams fallingM dreams injuries
M dreams soldiers
G sleeplessness, until 4am
G desire cheese, coffee, aversion spinach (here???, desire), desire sour (here ???, aversion)
G - < 4am
L indented tongueL - varicosis
L appendicitis
L head pain forehead, above left eye
L head pain, injuries mechanical
L back pain, dorsal region, scapula betweenL extremities, pain, joints, wandering

Quite soon after taking the remedy Mrs R began to feel much better: She was less nauseous and the pressure over her stomach felt less. After initial bouts of crying she had a number of good days. She felt much better than in recent years.
Despite the encouraging reaction to Chelidonium, I kept feeling that mother-of-pearl should somehow be involved in the prescription. By chance, I saw in a garden magazine a beautiful picture of the mother-of-pearl papaver (a poppy variant with fragile pastel tints) and I thought at once ‘this is the remedy’, without realising that Papaver and Chelidonium belong to the same botanical family. Although the reaction to Chelidonium had been quite good, I nevertheless decided to change the prescription to Papaver rhoeas which, to my surprise, was a readily available remedy (given colour difference), Rhoeas meaning in Greek ‘that readily fall’ (referring to the petals), a theme clearly running through this patient’s history.
At the end of January 2001 she received Papaver rhoeas 30K. Bouts of incredibly deep weeping followed on the taking of the remedy. She had a mental picture of a whole village being annihilated and experienced a terror of being left behind alone. There was nobody else left in the village. She made contact with a profound inner sense of solitude and realised that this had to do with suddenness. Her sleeping and appetite gradually improved. The numbness of her scalp also became less. Now and then she felt anger rising inside herself. She felt she wanted to wear the colour red.The dreams of the slaughtered village became more and more clear as time went on. She saw in her dream that a woman was raped by soldiers while her husband and children had to look on. The woman could not accept the help offered to her by angels. She was so desperate in her loneliness that she had given up completely.After each dose of Papaver rhoeas she once again went through deep bouts of weeping whilst physically things steadily improved: sleep, stomach, liver, neck and head were all better. She kept trying to fall asleep without the aid of sleeping pills because she was so afraid of becoming addicted to them. In about May 2001 she at last succeeded in doing without sleeping pills.In May 2002 she once more sustained a whiplash injury, this time as the result of a car accident (top-to-tail collision at traffic-lights). Again she complained of dizziness and inability to read or watch television. According to her chiropractor the whiplash was a serious one. However, she continued to sleep well. After the accident she dreamed of falling, of flying and of drowning. The shock of the whiplash brought her again into still deeper contact with the earlier dream and now she experienced herself as the rape victim and the helpless man onlooker. She expressed enormous rage, both at the soldiers and at the man who did nothing. Papaver rhoeas 50MK was repeated and the complaints resulting from the whiplash disappeared fairly quickly. Over the course of one and a half years, I have prescribed Papaver rhoeas in increasing potencies from 30K to 50MK. She now no longer reacts with sleep problems when, for example, her husband is unexpectedly admitted to hospital.

Some thoughts over Papaver rhoeas
The only symptom listed for Papaver rhoeas in RADAR is apoplexy (1-108) (generals). A vulnerable area for this patient is the head: pain in the head, numb scalp and, of course, falls upon the head. It would seem that Papaver rhoeas is a remedy for head injuries and whiplash. Sudden shock is also characteristic of the remedy. Shock is anyway a theme of the Papaveraceae (see Opium). A sudden shock might be specifically characteristic of the poppy (in Dutch klaproos= slap or blow rose).The fleeing aspect of the papavers, which contain a lot of acid, is reflected in this case in the tremendous panic, the desire to be taken care of (desire to be carried) and out-of-body experiences in dreams. The other pole of this is the being brave and carrying on, a trait which had its use when her husband was seriously ill (DD:Ferrum). In the case of the Papaveraceae, patients can really nearly give up: they are closely acquainted with death. This gives the remedy a religious tone. The time of worsening, 04.00hrs (Chelidonium) is known to be a moment of transition. She did not dare to surrender herself to sleep. Many of the Papaveraceae have an influence on sleep disturbance (Opium, Eschscolzia).
The theme of father /husband and power/powerlessness also plays a role here. This is evident in the dreams which occurred after taking the remedy, the difficulties with authority and the patient’s own tendency to be domineering. Her father was also dominant, but did not bother himself with the family. The man in the dream undertakes no action while his wife is being raped. The area of the heart is important for this remedy. The patient refers constantly to her heart: heart palpitations, pain beneath the sternum and shock felt around the heart.Papaveracea (= poppy family):A.P.G.classification: angiospermiae dicots order of the ranunculales, family includes berberidaceae, menispermaceae, papaveraceae, ranunculaceae Papaveraceae contain alkaloids and are inedible. The alkaloids are localised in specialised cells and, in Papavera and Chelidonium, are also to be found in the milky sap. They form compounds with organic acids (in many cases). Tannins are missing.

(Abbreviated list of symptoms taken from RADAR)
Adlumia fungosa (adlu, 36)
Apomorphinum hydrochlor (apom, 55)
Apomorphinum muriaticum (apom-m, 2)
Argemone mexicana = papaver argenemone (arge, 3)
Chelidonium majus = Greater Celandine (chel, 3881)
Chelidonium glaucum (chel-g, 1)
Chelidonium (chelin, 1)
Codeinum (cod, 150)
Codenium phosphoricum (cod-p, 1)
Codeinium sulphuricum (cod-s, 0)
Corydalis formosa (cory, 35)
Corydalis bulbosa (cory-b, 2)
Corydalis cava (cory-c, 1)
Cryptopinum (crypt, 7)
Eschscholzia californica (esch, 1)
Fumaria officinalis = Fumitory (fum, 114)
Meconopsis cambrica = Welsh Poppy (mec, 0)
Morphinum and salts (morph, 521)
Morphinum aceticum (morph-a, 1)
Morphinum muriaticum (morph-m, 1)
Morphinum purum (morph-pur, 0)
Morphinum sulphuricum (morph-s, 7)
Narceinum (narcin, 8)
Narcotinum (narcot, 61)
Narcotinum aceticum (narcot-act, 0)
Narcotinum muriaticum (narcot-m, 1)
Opium (op, 3,325)
Papaver rhoeas = Common Red Poppy (pap-r, 1)
Papaverinum (papin, 3)
Sanguinaria canadensis = Indian paint (sang, 2,054)
Sanguinarinum aceticum (sangin-ac, 1)
Sanguinarinum nitricum (sangin-n, 32)
Sanguinarinum purum (sangin-pur, 0
Sanguinarinum tartaricum (sangin-t, 11)
Thebainum (thebin, 1)

Bremness L., Kruiden, Bosch en Keuning 1995 2.
Genderen H van, Chemische en ecologische flora van Nederland en Belgi KNNV uitgeverij 1997
Heywood Vernon H., Bloeiende planten van de wereld, Thieme
Pelt M, Wildgroei, Stichting Alonnissos, March 2002
Vermeulen F., Synoptic Materia Medica 1, Merlijn Publishers 1992

Categories: Remedies
Keywords: papaver rhoeas, papaverarceae, plants


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Posts: 3
Falling poppies.
Reply #1 on : Sat February 11, 2012, 15:45:56
Fab write-up and insights. Thank you.