Cuprum nitricum and the art of letting go
A 46 year old man consulted me for the first time in september 2000 complaining of pains and inflammation of the muscles (or tendons) since 20 years at least.
The localization varied. For example when lifting things, the wrists and the shoulders would hurt. A mean, sharp pain or a continuing stitching pain. Sometimes the region of the joints would be swollen and red. All joints and muscles could be affected < exertion < wet weather > cold applications > summer.
Other complaints this man had were:
swelling and pain under the left jaw since one year (salivation gland)
dizziness especially when riding in a car
insecure riding in tunnels or over high bridges
fatigue, waking early and unrefreshed sleep
Temperature: more cold then warm, if cold it would take long to warm up but if warm it would take long to cool down
Aversions : sprouts (3), beans (3), fruit (2), cooked fish (2), spicy (1), vegetables (1)
Desires: milk, pasta, rice (all 1), coffee (2)
Face: herpes lips; veins face giving a purplish impression
Mouth: aphtae: sensitive gums; retracting gums
Stomach: pain burning
The pains started when he was in the military service. An inflammation in the foot at 22 years of age was the first sign. The patient could not elaborate on the cause of the illness, but it will become clear when the remedy is prescribed.
When 15 years old he had an operation on a thrombosis in a leg after an accident.
Winter '99 - sinusitis frontalis
I see before me a stiff but friendly man, very tense and obliging. He is willing to help but also very closed. He is precise in his formulation and tries to be explicit in the dates. He is conscientious about trifles. He is a civil servant in Amsterdam, working in a technical section. He is an electrician by training, but has a more administrative and coordinative job now. He had held his job for 7 years now, outliving reorganisations and privatisation. He has nearly had it, but is not vehement about it. He wants to finish his job, rap it up decently before the whole section is going to be 'sold out'. He is starting to express himself more at his job, saying what is on his mind.
He describes himself as durable and trustworthy.
He likes objects, rooms, buildings to be in proportion: forms, shapes and colours should match. As an electrician he would finish his job neatly, clearing away loose wires in a nearly artistic way.
I started by prescribing a complex homeopathic remedy for the suprarenal glands (Bijnierregenoplex MMR containing mainly Testosteron C4, Adrenalinum C4, Cortisol C9, C12 and C15, Glandulae suprarenales C4, C12 and C15 and Kalium phosphoricum in different potencies) which has helped me and my patients in cases of chronic fatigue and low blood pressure (and vertigo). This is of course no fundamental therapy, but helps build up some stamina and resistance while I am searching for a similimum. Initial aggravations are lessened by this complex prescription, like when one supports the therapy with elimination complexes (drainage). The homeopathic remedy I opted for in combination with this remedy for the suprarenal gland was Succinum 30K once a week. I chose the remedy because of the fear of tunnels (recorded by Fayazuddin number 172 in Mac Repertory).
Shortly before his consultation I had been able to help two patients with this remedy and this had made me enthusiastic. The first lady had chronic cystitis, fear of tunnels and hypothyreoidism. She had a beautiful recovery. The second, man had fears, fear of tunnels, the same body tension and the same purple red face and neck as the patient I am presenting now. He had complaints of burn-out and regained his vitality in a few weeks time, quite a short time actually for a case with so much fear and weariness.
The Latin name Succinum comes from Sucus, the juice of a sap of a tree. And that is what the remedy is made of: it is the fossiled resin of ancient trees, dating from 65 million till 25 million years ago and looking like the Kauri trees in New Zealand. It occurs the most commonly in the region around the Baltic Sea. The fossile often contain trapped bubbles of air or vegetable/animal matter. Amber or succinum is used for jewelry. It had also been used for mummification and is known for its static-electrical properties.
The chemical formule is C10H16O with some H2S present.
Weiner, Murrel and Burnett prescribed Succinum (or Succinum acidum) as we can read in Clarke.
It was Burnett who first noted the keynote: fear of trains and close places.
Fayazuddin has translated this fear into the more modern fear: fear of tunnels.
The only other mental symptom of the remedy in the repertories is hysteria (and globus).
According to Eising (1998) mental symptoms are (among others): aversion to certain persons, desire to attack, censorious, childish, charmed by the colour orange, delusion lost, delusion beautiful, delusion injured, estranged, despair of life, fear of black, desire to hide homesickness, jesting, loves nature, serious, singing, sexual thoughts, veneration for the sun, everything seems wrong.
Physical keynotes of Succinum are:
enlarged spleen and complaints of spleen
sneezing, lacrymation and hay fever
boils on wrist
Eising mentions the following symptoms that are appropriate to this case:
vertigo, pain left jaw, sinus complaints, heartburn, wandering pain extremities, tension shoulders, weakness and lassitude.
In a proving the Gilde group did in october 1998 with Succinum a central theme that was discovered was: provers are looking for an essence, a morphogenetic field in the form and dimensions of the structure of space. A love of harmony of forms and architectural attitude can be expected in patients.
Reaction to Succinum
Six weeks after beginning to take the remedies the patient felt more energetic,
less dizzy and had less pain. He had not taken any painkillers. I was content and continued Succinum 30K once a week and started decreasing the Adrenal complex
from three times daily ten drops to once a day. The only flaw was an increase of pyrosis.
After three months I increased the Adrenal drops again to three times a day and the Succinum to 200K once in the 14 days because my patient was still insecure in tunnels, the pyrosis was getting worse, and some pain was returning (in the right shoulder especially).
Two months later (in february 2001) patient and I were very happy on the emotional
and physical level. I advised to only continue Succinum 200K when necessary.
In october 2001 my patient returned with pains as before, fear for tunnels and
bridges, vertigo, sweating and a dry mouth. What had happened?
On taking Succinum 200K he would feel super on the third day after the remedy,
but the effect would slowly wear down in the following days and not even hold
for two weeks. This cycle would start again after repeating the remedy, but
as we could see after half a year he was nearly back to his initial situation.
Should I continue with Succinum, now in a higher potency? I decided against it because on the emotional level there was no amelioration. The fear for tunnels was so bad, that he had asked his son who had not yet his drivers license to drive through a tunnel the pains had returned, eventhough they were not as bad as during the first consultation the dizziness and weariness were coming back and now hardly reacted to the Adrenal complex the tension in the patient was not really decreasing the amelioration of the remedy was too fast and too short there were no signs of elimination (physical) I write down all these arguments in retrospect but in fact I just decided that there was not enough progress in this case after a year of therapy and a new remedy was necessary. Later I grew intrigued and decided to figure out what criteria I unconsciously use to evaluate a remedy action. This is really the core of this article and will be analysed in the last part of this paper. But let us first look for a new and better remedy.
I sat and thought about the core of the case. There was a lot of tension and pain in a very serious and conscientious person. But there also was a revolt to being confined as you could see in his problem at work but even more in his fear for tunnels. The duality of tension and aversion to confinement led to a great loss of energy. In the tension, pain, seriousness, preciseness and desire for protection I saw a remedy from the Ferrum series, more precisely Cuprum.
This metal seemed a nice prescription for an electrician. On the other hand the desire for expansion, room and air as well as the tension could make you think of a Nitricum. The military service was a time in life when the complaints started and that the patient experienced as very restricted.
Burning complaints in stomach, aphtae, swelling of the lower jaw and mucous affection confirm the choice of a Nitricum as well as the congested veins in the face. According to Jan Scholten in Homeopathy and Elements the words describing Cuprum are: serious, cramp, ritual, maintaining, guarding and telling tales.
For Nitricum he mentions: assertiveness, enthusiasm, tension, congestion, relaxation, sociable, enjoying life, stocks fat, hypochondria, unforgiving and fear narrow places.
After Cuprum nitricum 200K once in a fortnight and restarting the Adrenal complex the patient had a slow but steady recovery. In May 2002 I stopped the complex remedy and prescribed Cuprum nitricum M once a month. Now the patient doesn't have any amelioration after taking the remedy but feels a slow but evident progress
continuing for months now. The energy level is good, there is hardly any vertigo, sometimes the pains come up and receide again < exertion < winter. The stomach pains and jaw pains have only gone away now after Cuprum nitricum. The fear for tunnels is not yet completely disappeared but is manageable. The patient has stopped his original job and after some months, as he was still not yet content, he found a new and better job, selling burners. So, the patient has found the energy and the nerve to change his situation, his job. And he talks in quite a relaxed way about all these changes. That is really the biggest change: the patient is less tense and stiff in his attitude. He is making jokes now no side splitters and is much more himself. In retrospect he was like a robot.
Discussion curative laws
Now here are symptoms for a real change in health. Let me elaborate on these criteria of improved health.
The art of living is to let go
Herings Law: cure proceeds from above downward, from within outward, from the most important organ to least important organs and in the reverse order of appearance of symptoms.
Here Hering describes elimination and it seems to be mostly on the physical level: sweating, leucorroe, diarrhoe, increased urination, discharges everywhere as well as the occurrence of eruptions all are signs of the effect of a (right) remedy.
Symptoms going from above downward and from within outward can be understood literally on the physical level, but can be interpreted in the sense that first the mind and emotions should heal before the body can cure.
Symptoms from the past that reappear are in fact an elimination of illness in the past on the physical as well as on the emotional level.
In my view elimination is the central theme, an important sign of healing that should take place on all levels: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
I will elaborate on what one can observe after a homeopathic remedy on each and every level.
The laws of Hering seem to be a description of what happens on the physical
level. The laws are something to hang on to, but are not specific for a (total) cure. Specific in the sense that a healing according to the laws of Hering are no conclusive proof you are giving a right remedy.
Elimination in the form of all kinds of discharges are a sign your remedy is working. But they are no proof you are giving a similimum in my experience.
A wrong remedy can even provoke more discharges/eruptions than a right remedy.
Symptoms going back in time are also an effect of a remedy, but not necessarily of a right remedy, a similimum. I have seen old symptoms come back, and no cure follow the process. The intensity of the symptoms of elimination is not an indication for correctness of your remedy: you cannot postulate that more elimination or the more you go back in time, the better the remedy.
The cure going from the top of the body to the bottom is something I have seldom witnessed in 17 years of practice. It is also a direction of cure you hardly ever hear of in courses and seminars, so my lack of experience with this phenomenon is not only a lack of correct prescribing. And a cure going from above downward is not conclusive: I have seen eruptions cure from head to toe in the right direction according to the laws of Hering, and seen the same kind of eruptions reappear promptly afterwards, indicating that this law is not specific.
Symptoms going from within outward, is the law I have been able to rely on most.
It is a direction of cure I can observe on a daily basis, but even this law is no proof of a right remedy.
The overall cure of physical symptoms in general is of course a sign of healing and of a correct remedy. But as you have seen in my Cuprum nitricum case here above, as you have probably seen in many cases, cured symptoms are no guarantee for healing and health, no guarantee that you have prescribed a similimum. Palliation or suppression are unfortunately very common in homeopathy and not only a prerogative of allopathic medicine.
We have learned that a cure should be on a deeper level. But how can you evaluate this deeper level?
Before trying to define a cure on a deeper level I want to elaborate on the effect of homeopathy on the level of energy, because it is not always necessary to see and increase of energy after giving a rightly chosen remedy. On the contrary, an increase in weariness can be a good sign, a sign of letting go, a form of elimination. When patients start stopping their survival methods, this can result in temporary tiredness, as they let go years of tension, years of forcing themselves and years of containing emotions. When a remedy works, the patient starts to experience what he feels more clearly. So he can feel weariness, pain or emotions that were suppressed before. As a therapist you can observe a change for the better in patients even though they complain of being more tired. You can literally see the process of letting go or elimination in their attitude and demeanour: the tension in the face softens, the mask seems to melt. The tension in the muscles of the body lessens, the patients shoulders tend to droop and the whole body seems to slump. The difference between suppression and healing in a patient with decreased energy can be seen in the growing sparkling in the eye, the warmth of the expression and the increasing clarity in the aura of the patient.
In short the curing symptoms can be observed in small changes and felt by a practitioner who has more tactile abilities.
And last but not least the process of healing can be measured as for example with electro -acupuncture (Vegatest). The increase of energy can be measured even though the patient feels more tired: the testresults will have significantly improved compared to the test before taking the remedy. But alas, these tests are not irrefutable proof of a right remedy.
To conclude this paragraph on increase or decrease of energy after a remedy: changes in energy are not a reliable parameter to evaluate the effect of your remedy. Subtle observation can help you determine the direction of healing, but is of course not a very trustworthy, scientific criterium.
Let us hope that the following paragraphs describing the emotional, mental and spiritual direction of cure give us more satisfaction in evaluating the process of healing then the physical laws of cure are described in the laws of Hering.
That is how we do it in de rainforest said Jorge. All negative forces need a way out, they want to go out gladly. Vomiting, sweating and diarrhoe are ways out (The Eagles Quest, F.A. Wolf). Shamanistic healing is familiar with elimination on the physical as well as on the emotional level. The forces mentioned above,are life lessons we encounter, and can be seen as messengers, a possiblity to feel and release old feelings. If feelings are temporary, one can consider them as normal. Temporary is a relative concept: the anger you feel after having been hit, will normally last shorter, than the grief you experience after the death of a close friend.. Feelings should be felt and then released. A psychiatrist once said :feeling everything and letting go afterwards, is a sign of psychological health. When feelings stick to you and you grow attached to them, I call them emotions. Emotions in my definition are blocked feelings, feelings you cannot let go of, the same kind of feelings you felt somewhere in your past and traumatized an inner child(part), that coul not develop from then on. The clugged emotions seem to fix you partially in childhood (or further back). Emotions - as is contained in the word - always want to get out: e + movere (move out). They clog up the system and thereby the stream of love. So emotions are feelings you hold on to and you forget to let go. In my vision there are essentially only four feelings or emotions that can clog up the system: anger, grief, pain and fear. A non-emotion that often precedes these four emotions and also causes blockage is denial.
O. Denial is not feeling fear and pain
1. Anger is an acting out of fear or pain
2. Grief is a solidification of fear or pain and
3 & 4. Pain is an entwinement of fear.
At the core of all feelings there is fear (or pain). When you dare to see the fear in the eyes, feel it and accept it (with love), it can be burnt and transformed.and love can stream in. Love, the ultimate letting go and acceptance of emotions/feelings, the flowing of energy, the natural state. So ultimately love is a sign of health
Now, how does this relate to homeopathy and the direction of cure?
Healing is letting go of emotions. So when anger, grief, pain and fear are temporarily intensified and then released after a remedy, this is a good sign. In my view there is also a direction of cure. Anger and grief are generally more superficial and accesible than pain and feear and are often the first to be set free. Fear is at the core of feelings, so healing fear is very essential in the curing process. We all have fears, consciously or unconsciously, ultimately the fear of deathor its polarity the fear of living. Feeling the death fear and accepting it, is healing the blockage acquired in earlier years. The death fear belongs to the traumatized child in us, a part that has been hurt and does not develop further on, remains frozen in a child like state. This process of experiencing the fear of death, has to be repeated more than once, for we encounter more than one trauma or blockage in our life. So, one dosis of one remedy is not enough to encounter deeply engrained fars.
In the Cuprum nitricum case in this paper, we see the fear or fobia slowly melt and the acceptance of the risks of life increase. We see how the patient lets go, which is physically observed in a release of tension and pain. We see the patient accept life and let go of fixed ideas. How ideas interact with fear will now be described.
Here I will dicuss beliefs and convictions that are deeply rooted in the mind as for example: I am a loser,I am guilty,I am higher in rank orI am dirty since
I have been raped.
Our firm ideas, beliefs and engrained habits are mental fixations, that inhibit our sense of freedom. Healing is freeing ourselves from inappropriate neural and mental paths of less action (The eagles quest). These paths of least action are the easy way we have resorted to in our mental habits, after years of cultural education and and uncounsciously learned patterns. The way we have survived.
But surviving is not living in freedom. Homeopathy helps a patient to become aware of his beliefs and life patterns.
Consciousness is healing are words of Deepak Chopra. And consciousness or awareness, enables one to make the choice to let go of - or eliminate - old beliefs and patterns. Here again elimination is the goal, elimination is healing. It is essential for the process of the patient, as well as for the evaluation of your remedy, that you are explicit in questioning your patient about what has changed in his views, beliefs and actions after a remedy. Jan Scholten has taught me to do this. By checking what they think has ameliorated after a remedy in his patients, Jan has become an expert in summarising the essence of a remedy in a one-liner.
Sticta pulmonis for example helps a patient to realise he/she is being used as a house maid. Barium releases you from feeling small. The Cuprum nitricum patient described above, has dared to change jobs and start in a totally new direction and become confident. He has also accepted that his process of cure is a slow one. Releasing preconceived ideas can also be seen in more tolerance, acceptance and forgiveness in your patients. There will be less egoism, more understanding of another point of view and thereby less duality, more oneness.
This concept of unity leads to the last item, the spiritual changes after a remedy.
A delusion (not the same thing as a belief) is a state, not only of the mind but of a person as a whole. A delusion is a broad, all-embracing concept. In
the delusion pursued of a Kalium bromatum patient for example, there is restlessness lower limbs on the physical level, fear of something indescribable wrong on the emotional level, and a belief that the wrath of God is upon him on the mental level.
Trusting that a disappearing delusion is proof of a right remedy, can be tricky, as there is the possibility of a shift of delusion: going from one delusion to another more dangerous one for oneself or for society. It is difficult to evaluate if your delusions are shifting in a healthy direction. In the process of spiritual growth, delusions are supposed to soften and decrease. More than in what the patient says, you can observe changes for the better in his actions.
No words, but deeds, is a dutch saying.
It is difficult to get rid of all your delusions. Most of us are stuck in common delusions, as for example the delusion that you are separated from another person, the delusion of time or the delusion of matter. Can one be totally free of delusions/illusions?
When I first read paragraph 9 of the Organon I was impressed and I rejoiced. In homeopathy we help the patient to be able to again realise his higher meaning.
I feel it is the task of a healer to enable the patient to be able to refind his own spiritual path. But how do we know the therapy is right on the spiritual level?
To describe the healing process, George Vithoulkas has emphasized an increase in freedom (of the patient), Jan Scholten the returning of creativity. A Buddhist would call it finding compassion, a more western oriented and stressed person is happy with calmness and serenity. I would call it: learning to go with the
flow and appreciating synchronicity. That is the process I am learning myself.
So what I am saying, is that each person has his own spiritual path.
Your patient can describe what he is experiencing on the spiritual level after a remedy, and thereby you will learn more about him, his spiritual path, as well as about the remedy. You should be able to discern the difference between theorising on the subject, and true changes on the spiritual level. The goal is to be unattached, but there is a lot of fake spirituality and detachement.
You can for example observe an increasing lightness in your patient: he will emanate less darkness as well as less heaviness. This is a sign of a step in the right direction of enlightenment. Enlightenment as far as I can see it is not only being free from blockage (elimination) but being your Self, using your full potential. In the Cuprum nitricum case the spiritual growth is seen in the fact that the patient is less attached to his job and emphasises the importance of enjoying mimself.
This last part of the paper is an attempt to be more extensive, more refined and more precise on the description of the laws of cure. Healing is letting go. After a remedy, we should observe elimination processes on the physical, the emotional and mental level, resulting in an increased lightness on the spiritual level. Elimination is a release of physical matter (as for example leucorrhoe, sweat or fever), emotions (anger,grief, pain and fear) and mental convictions and beliefs. Aggravation after a remedy is really just a witnessing of this elimination process. One elimination, even in the right direction, is no proof of an appropriate remedy, but the combined elimination on all levels and the shift to more lightness together, are an indication of a curative process. This is of course not the last word on the matter. I would appreciate receiving your reactions.
8242 GK Lelystad
Eising N., Succinum and Ignis alcoholis, the provings Ireland 1998
Scholten Jan., Homeopathy and Elements, Alonnissos Utrecht 1996
Vermeulen Frans, Synoptic Materia Medica II, Merlijn Publishers 1996
Vithoulkas G., The Science of homeopathy, Grove Press 1980
Wolf F.A., The Eagles Quest, a Touchstone Book 1991
Boericke, Clarke, Murphy and van Zandvoort in Reference works.
Keywords: cuprum nitricum, mineral, succinum, Hering
This article was originally published in www.interhomeopathy.org